Insight: Key indicators that show whether Ferrari favoured Vettel in Monaco F1 GP
Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  30 May 2017   |  2:49 pm GMT  |  350 comments

Looking back over the last few years’ Monaco Grands Prix, a pattern emerges, where controversial strategy calls have decided the race outcome.

When it is so hard to overtake, the decision-making is critical.

Last year it was Red Bull’s misstep on Ricciardo’s strategy and then an error in the pit stop itself, in 2015 Lewis Hamilton lost the race on a bad strategy call, in 2014 he was angry because Mercedes stopped both cars on the same lap behind the Safety Car, giving him no chance to challenge.

This year Ferrari had their drivers 1-2 in the grid, but the driver who took pole ended up losing the race on a strategy call, to his team mate.

As the winner was the driver on whom Ferrari is basing all its hopes of winning the world championship, then apparently the rationale becomes clearer.

But did they really favour him at Raikkonen’s expense? Or was there more to it than that?

There has been a huge amount of interest in this story and hopefully here, with a deep and careful analysis, taking in the private views of several of the F1 team strategists who were active in the race, we will get to the bottom of it.

Monaco GP 2017

Theory 1 – Ferrari favoured Vettel over Raikkonen

Although they are not open about it, Ferrari’s ethos has long been that the drivers’ championship is what matters to them, not the constructors’.

They have less need to worry about the financial aspects than other rivals, who prioritise maximum team points scoring in races because the constructors’ table is what pays the prize money.

Mercedes’ ethos is always to get the maximum team score, but also to win the race, but to do that they would not sacrifice one car and have that driver finish fourth instead of second as a result. Ferrari would and they have done it as recently as China with Raikkonen.

So is that what happened here in Monaco?

Raikkonen was leading the race and the rule in Monaco is when leading don’t be the first one to make a move.

There was no real pressure from behind from Mercedes or Red Bull, even though Max Verstappen had just pitted to try to undercut Bottas. Raikkonen still had margin.

He was catching up to Marcus Ericsson in the Sauber; as he came through Turn 18 on his in-lap to the pits on Lap 34 he was 2.2 seconds behind the Swede, so he would have caught him on Lap 35 and may have taken some time to pass him.

At the same time Ferrari strategists would be looking for the gap that Raikkonen would be dropping into after his stop and it looks like they believed he would clear Button and have just Wehrlein to pass on his out lap. Another lap or two and he would have easily cleared both, but he would have encountered Ericsson anyway, so it’s swings and roundabouts.

Kimi Raikkonen

The tyre performance was clearly dropping off; Raikkonen was doing 77 second lap times and had begun to back his team mate Vettel into Bottas in third place.

The radio traffic made clear that both team and driver felt the tyres were near the end, probably down to around 25% left on the rears. The team strategists have access to a data screen that plots the tyre degradation lap by lap and other strategists could see Raikkonen’s deg curve clearly.

However, strangely, on the lap before he pitted, Raikkonen’s middle sector was 35.799s, which was four tenths faster than his previous laps. That would normally get your attention and indicate that there is potentially something left in the tyres and some strategists, under no pressure to stop, would leave him out.

As the team operates a policy of the lead car having the pit stop priority, perhaps what Ferrari should have done is ask Raikkonen what he would like to do and let him make the decision.

They didn’t do that, made the decision for him and he pitted. His in lap was slightly slower than Vettel did later, as was his stop itself and on the out lap he encountered traffic – losing around 1.5 seconds clearing Button and Wehrlein. He passed Button in Sector 2 of the lap and Wehrlein in Sector 3.

Vettel stayed out, found great pace over five laps and managed to pit and come out ahead, which many think is what Ferrari intended all along.

Further evidence for this theory is that Ferrari did not do in the first stint what a team would normally do when seeking a first Monaco win since 2001 and ask the second car to drop back several seconds from the lead car to hold the field up to protect the lead car against Safety Cars and other risks. (They did do this in the second stint to protect Vettel’s position, with Raikkonen dropping back.)

Sebastian Vettel
Theory 2 – Vettel won the race himself, not because Ferrari gave it to him

There is no denying the fact that Ferrari would have wanted to give their lead driver the extra seven points to make a maximum 25 on a day when his main title rival Lewis Hamilton was struggling and scored just six points.

And although that was the outcome, there is another theory about how they got there, which is that Vettel won the race in a way that no-one could have predicted.

Vettel was faster on the day and had he been stopped first he would have undercut Raikkonen. The data shows that. You can also look at Verstappen’s out lap from the pitstop on new Supersoft tyres to see that Vettel would have been even faster and would have undercut Raikkonen.

So if it was pure cynical pragmatism to get Vettel ahead, that’s what Ferrari could have done, clean and simple.

At this point, because Vettel had been sitting behind Raikkonen, Ferrari would have no clarity on what the degradation curve on Vettel’s tyres looked like – because he wasn’t running at his own pace. So they would not know what his potential pace was. This was also true for Ricciardo in the Red Bull, who did the same thing as Vettel, also with a positive outcome.

What actually happened was that once Raikkonen stopped, Vettel cleared Ericsson and then over the next five laps pushed hard. The first three laps were faster than Raikkonen had been managing; on Lap 34 he did 76.5s, then 76.4s and 76.2s, which shows that he was working out the best operating window for the tyres.

Sebastoan Vettel, Monaco GP 2017

What was astonishing were the next two laps, when he found the sweet spot; 75.5s and 75.2s. This is two seconds faster than Raikkonen had been doing before his stop on worn ultra softs. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo did something similar.

No-one operating in the F1 pitlane on Sunday would have seen that level of performance coming, even Vettel himself didn’t see it coming. He just pushed for all he was worth in the hope that it might give him a chance to win.

Actually the reference showed that Raikkonen was still on schedule – despite the traffic with Button and Wehrlein – to be ahead of Vettel at the start of Lap 37.

What swung it Vettel’s way was those two laps 37 and 38 which were in the 75 second range that meant when he pitted on Lap 39, he came out just ahead.

Anyone who tells you they could see the pace on those two laps coming ahead of time is lying. It was an astonishing performance and it won him the race.

Kimi Raikkonen

Our conclusion is that this is one of the most fascinating scenarios we have encountered in the UBS Race Strategy Report since it began in 2011 and you can convince yourself either way depending on your own theories or biases.

There are a couple of things that don’t add up in Ferrari’s behaviour, which hint that Ferrari favoured Vettel, such as pitting him into traffic and also that quick middle sector for Raikkonen just before he stopped that hinted that the tyres still had some life in them.

But our conclusion – having spoken to insiders, the drivers concerned and strategists involved in the race with deep knowledge of the tyres and what they were doing – is that Ferrari got the outcome it wanted, but on this occasion favouring Vettel wasn’t what they set out to do when they triggered Raikkonen’s stop on Lap 34.

Daniel Ricciardo
Red Bull pincer movement on Bottas

This was not Mercedes’ weekend; apart from Free Practice 1, they had problems all weekend with the tyres, getting them into the right operating window and paid a price for it, with fourth and seventh at the chequered flag.

Bottas did a wonderful job in qualifying to bag third place, but in the race he suffered with his tyres and was a sitting duck as a lone player against the Red Bull pair. Red Bull did what they often do in these situations; they split strategies with Verstappen trying the undercut and Ricciardo the overcut. If Bottas had stayed out, he would have been undercut.

Verstappen’s plan failed because his pit stop was a shade slow, due to poor position in the pit box. Ricciardo went long and, like Vettel, found good pace in the tyres to jump both Verstappen and Bottas for third place.

The UBS Race Strategy Report is written by James Allen with input and data from several F1 team strategists and from Pirelli.

Race History & Tyre Usage Charts

Kindly provided by Williams Martini Racing, click to enlarge

The number of laps is on the horizontal axis; the gap behind the leader is on the vertical axis.

A positive sign is an upward curve as the fuel load burns off. A negative sign is the slope declining as the tyre degradation kicks in.

Raikkonen’s tyre degradation is clear at the end of the first stint, as it is for Bottas. Look at the astonishing pace of Vettel and Ricciardo on used ultrasoft tyres, once they clear the cars ahead.

On the Tyre Usage chart observe that, once again, the third Pirelli tyre compound, the hardest of the three, was unused again. This has been the case at most rounds.

The three tyre compound rule, which gave plenty of intrigue and interest last season, is simply not working this season as the tyres are too hard.

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Doesn't matter how much you guild the lily.
It was a subtle dump Kimi behind the back markers give Vettel the free air to pump the fast laps and then it looks like a smooth transition from Fin to German.
Brundle and alot of respectable F1 Journalist all say that Ferrari wanted to bring Vettel up to maximise the points difference between the two title drivers.
The look on Kimi said it all. If this is Kimi's final Hurrah at Ferrari with Peter in line to be Vettels official no.2 driver and lap dog. Then Kimi should get as many wins under his belt. The love shown to Vettel and the lack lustre behaviour of one the team personal towards Kimi told the whole story.
When Kimi was at Mclaren driving the MP4-20 he had the freedom to do his thing. He looked alot happier than now. He was Ferrari last Champ and now it's all brushed under the carpet. Sad state of affairs. If Ferrari just admitted to like Mercedes did at Spain that they used Bottas as a rear gunner then that's fine. But Ferrari are as sneaky as the silent movie bad guy twirling his string moustache as they tie Kimi to the rail tracks.


I agree. I'm not sure about this but Seb seems also to have a lot (or a few) new parts, like the new launch/clutch system, with kimi doesn't. But thats not a conspiracy theory at al. Actually ferrari have been pretty open whit giving Seb (or Alo) the new parts that works, and give Kimi the unproven parts to test them in races. So it's been pretty clear there are politics involved. And why did Kimi leave? What intrigues me is why he came back. At Lotus for exaple he had the freedom to drive and boy dif he drive. Almost like in the mclaren days. But i must admit he's not in his primes, but still give him the equal treatment, he deseres to go out of the sport in fashion. He's been a cult figure for so long, and bloody fast i maight say.


As a great fan of Raikkonen since his arrival in F1 (I still rate him as the most naturally talented driver on the grid bar Max Verstappen) I hate to admit that Vettel won this one on pure pace.

Kimi was too slow at the end of his first stint, there was a risk that either the undercut by Bottas and Verstappen would work or Ricciardo could threaten one or both Ferraris.
If Ferrari had pitted Vettel first he would have made the undercut work as Raikkonen did not have the pace on the US-tyres to do what Vettel did (15,6 and 15,2). Nobody else on the grid had that kind of pace either for that matter, I think Ricciardo was closest towards the end of his stint witk 16,0. Vettel was much faster on the SS-tyres too, he would have made up what Raikkonen missed on one clear lap.

Despite those monster laps the difference was not big, about a second. This clearly Indicates that Raikkonen actually got the best strategy. Furthermore Vettel got lucky when Ericson pitted, something Ferrari had no way of knowing. If Ericson had stayed out for 1-2 laps longer Raikkonen would probably have kept the lead.

It's ok to be disappointed when your favourite driver doesn't do as well as you hoped. But it's not ok to promote conspiracy theories contrary to the facts readily at hand to diminish what was a great performance by Vettel. A real fan of F1 the sport doesn't do that, a real fan can appreciate a great performance when they see it.


P Kara, are you Crofty in disguise?


That is EXACTLY what I was going to ask.
I mean, between Kimi and Vettel I'd choose Kimi to win, on every single race.
But it just so happens that Kimi has a slower race pace than Vettel, probably because the base of Gina was made to better fit Vettel's needs than Kimi's.
But in all fairness, Kimi didn't stand a chance whether he had pitted later or if he had pitted earlier as he did. Vettel was going to end in front of him. And I would really love to see Kimi kick some serious ass the rest of the season and become champ at the last race.


@ P Kara
A pretty fair assessment, and James laid out the facts very well above.

A beautiful friendship is coming to an end, Kimi and Sebs, and I have no idea how Kimi plans to take the rest of the season, whether on fire with anger and out to grab as many wins as he can [or is allowed 🙂 ]; or whether he will lose motivation and even end his contract early and leave the kennel to Lassie.
Far from confused, his demeanor on the podium showed that he understood very well just how the team managed to nobble the victory out of his hands.

As James showed, there was only one chance for the team to deny Kimi his win and that was in the pitstops, by sending Kimi out in traffic.


Kimi at the finish line was disappointed and unsure about what happened. I'm sure he'll understand, once he sees all the numbers. There is science and there is faith, Brundle and a lot of respectable F1 journalists are preachers. James is more a scientist, and he proved the earth isn't flat!


And maybe P Kara, will let us know how Ferrari have "guessed" that in the usual pit rush avalanching every time the driver in front of Vettel will pit and the one in front of Kimi will not.
What if the reverse have happened ?


Kimiwillbeback says the truth.
And I myself consider that the evident bitterness of Kimi was a reflection of the fact thet he - at his level of expertise - realised that he could not deliver the same performence. Was he sad he is not as young as in 2007, or because he feels that the car is more "Gina" than " Finna" for him to perform at max, that only he could answer.
Was he not feeling the undercut "Sword of Damocles " hanging above, he would have at least strongly protested the pit call.

Edward Millington

A breath of fresh air.


Whilst I agree with his conclusion in this case, I couldn't see anything scientific or objective about JA's conclusion in rating Nico's season as superior to his teammate's last year. I'd say Mark Hughes for is far more consistent if you're looking for maximum objectivity.


James has not driven a F1 car in anger in a F1 race unlike Brundle. James may have raced on a few tracks but not in the same sense as Brundle Webber.
Believe it or not there are areas on Earth that are flat though . Have you ever been to the Fens 😄 flat as a pancake you can see the Ship of The Fens for miles (Ely Cathedral).


You don't need to be ill to become a good doctor. I'm sure Mr Newey hasn't raced a lot, and the best tactical people don't walk the trenches in a war. Racing strategy is like chess, knowing how the pieces move is not enough to win a match, and the endresult depends more on what others do than on what you can do. While Brundle and Webber might have more experience as a driver, they won't be good designers, and probably would fail if they were to decide on strategy.


Well said George!


🎵You don't have to be ill to be a doctor and drink some Cherry Wine 🎶!!
Isn't that a song from the 80s 😄

I got one
You don't have to fling your arms 🙌out and make airplane sounds to be a Pilot ✈😄




Peter = Perez


If Einstein was JA writing this posting you would have twisted its meanning anyways.


Couldn't have said it better. Facts and substances are having a long bad time lately.


If Einstein began writing for JAF1 then they'd definitely be a "fracture" in the Space🔷Time 💥Continuum🔛. Which may lead to a divergence of two time lines⏰🕛 and create an alternative state of being💢 . Perhaps even a state of "no time⚫".
"State of no state⚪".
It'll be Einstein nodding👤 as he slowly vanishes (trying to send a post on JaF1) into a rip〰 in time⌛ followed by everything else....🔚
No chance of that AlanF1


Thank you, James. Greatly appreciate the objectivity of your analysis.


It's articles like these that elevate James so highly above other Formula One journalists, especially from those within the British F1 media community.



His blog gets then dragged down by the comments from P Kara and the likes. Shame.


#3498. On this site contributors are blessed with a relatively low level of censorship and enjoy a wide ranging degree of tolerance regarding individual's views, whether those opinions are conspiracist in nature, from an 'engine warrior', or harping on as a fan boy. This is fundamentally a privilege; a privilege I am just enjoying...


Very true 3498. Biased driven agendas are very easily spotted by many on here.


SARS, your agenda is probably the easiest to spot...


Maybe they did not directly favoured Vettel, but it is true looking back two years that Vettel gets much more "attention" when it comes to strategic decisions. Also, in Monaco track position is everything, speed is secondary important. In Monaco, as there is no passing, they could have waited with pitting Kimi as long as they wanted, and they must have seen that he would came back in traffic. They simply did not care about Kimi. I just hope he earned a contract extension with that Monaco pole and by supporting Vettel this year, because it is fantastic to see a driver getting a Monaco pole in 2005 and one beating two young leading drivers 12 years later. It is fascinating in any sport. Bring on Spa and let the old guy who once was considered the most talented and fastest driver on earth to show some of his magic left at 38 and beyond.


@Peter "Vettel gets much more "attention" when it comes to strategic decisions." - giving Vettel more attention wins championships, even when the attention is subconcious. Proven quantity.

We are talking about favouratism only because there is nothing else to talk about - any detail that is available to journalists has been chewed million times allready. Most meaningful knowhow is kept in secret. So, all that`s left is organize contests, outings, and some other puppyflatteries, to fill the blanks.

Most people who came Monaco came to be in the mix of excitment, not to follow the race in detail, and details they are what allow you to enjoy the race.

Do we have to start to congratulate each other passing through moderation?
All agendas here are moderated. Within this frame to talk something meaningless is already a feat.


He gets the "attention" because he is the one acting like a team leader and consistently the faster driver.

Makes perfect sense to me.


Peter, you're forgetting a few things:
1: RAI seemed to struggle to clear lapped cars. His engineer told him twice he needed to get closer to activate the Blue-flags.
2: Track position is everything, BUT you better protect yourself from an under or overcut. RAI was on the verge of re-entering traffic, holding both Ferraris up, while RIC closed the gap. This means RIC could've passed one or even both Ferraris. Bringing in VET first would've meant even harsher criticism if VET got in front,and be a gamble on what RIC could do. 3: In Monaco there is a threat of a Safety car situation from L1 to L71. This means Ferrari can't risk to have both cars compromised in case of a SC. This WOULD be the case if both haven't pitted, but P3-P8 on new rubber. Such a scenario would force at least one driver outside the points, which is plain stupid.


Great clarification - thanks!
Conspiracy nonsense tiresome.
Vettel certainly won it fair and square.


I couldn't believe how Vettel was jumping and whooping it up like he had really won the race instead of having it handed to him on a platter by the strategy guys. Then I read this article and now i see that Vettel used his brain as well as his driving ability to get the win. Good job Seb.


Fair and square with the lead driver being pitted into traffic for no apparent reason.


Nick I do agree with the comment, isn't all pit stop delay has something to do with Kimi crew? Have any one seen Vettel pit stop faster than kimi


@NickH agreed.


Nick, you read the thing about his deg, right?


That's the top and bottom of it....


That's not what is written in the article......!

If his in lap was faster, and the pit stop was slightly better it would have been close BUT he was still on target to retain the lead after all that . The only thing that went against raikonnen was the fact that vettel put in two stonking laps that surpassed everyone's expectations.

Vettel clearly finds more performance in the tyres than raikonnen even at the end of their life.


Always been a Kimi fan and never much of a Ferrari one but the harsh reality is Vettel is a faster driver. ferarri's chance of winning both championships lies with Vettel and if I ran a team with 300 million budget I'd want my top driver to win


May I disagree?
I would want *any* of my drivers to win, as long as I could get both championships.
I don't think Kimi lost any skills recently. I think he is still as skilled as he was when he won it for Ferrari. But there are 2 things going against him.
1-the car doesn't seem to fit him. I'd say Ferrari contracted Kimi as a 2nd driver and as such has built Gina as close to Vettel's needs as possible, which IMHO seems fair.
2-Kimi will always be Kimi, that guy that wins a championship and still looks as if he just got home from grocery shopping... He doesn't *look* emotional. It might not be easy to perceive that he is fighting out there every lap of every GP. And *that* is huge on a team of mainly latin people (like myself). Look at them on podium ceremony's. They're thrilled while Kimi looks to be ready for his cup of tea. That's gotta be working some against Kimi inside the team.


You make a hell lot of sense in your posting. Both drivers are great and Kimi is gonna win races, but not Monaco. Only by luck, he is not fit any longer to fight those streets for 78 laps pushed by hordes of fantastic drivers.


Question: Did Vettel clear Ericsson himself, or did Ericsson pit right after Raikkonen did? Watching on TV, it looked like the latter, which would have been another variable that unexpectedly fell in Vettel's favor.

It's worth noting that Ferrari, Red Bull, and Mercedes all pursued effectively the same strategy with the drivers who were running ahead before the pitstops (Raikkonen, Verstappen, and Bottas). All three pitted in the same 2-lap window, and I doubt that Red Bull and Mercedes were deliberately trying to cause their drivers to lose position. This lends credence to the theory that Ferrari were following what they thought would be the optimal strategy for Raikkonen.


Ericsson pitted - Seb was lucky and Kimi had to overtake him..


Clarification please - you didn't mention all the drivers that tried undercutting but failed. E.G.: Kvyat. I accept your conclusion because you use substance to justify any claim, which is why I read this blog. So, do you not see Kimi's failed undercutting attempt as the same level as Ric, Bott, Kvyat, Perez and Button? Why or why not please?


James, Kimi lost 2 seconds to backmarkers while Vettel was pitting, that is why he lost the lead of this gp....


Thanks for this James. The best analysis on the subject ... AGAIN!


Totally agree with this assessment. I have read it on many websites but none has presented this level of insight and clarity. Good Job James


I wish we had access to transcripts or recordings of Ferrari's team radio! My gut tells me that it is completely within Vettel's nature to ask the pit who was where and what the gaps were. Once he understood that, he knew he had nothing to lose by going for the over-cut. Ferrari has not shown so much brilliance with strategy in the previous races in terms of Vettel. I think Vettel did what he normally would do. He saw a chance and took it. It was his decision and not so much the team's.


Which is what separates the good from the greats


I'm not sure about anything but this subject becomes boring , some people talk like as if they just discovered the F1 world ! and yet we've seen it recently in the case of mecrcedes' instructions to bottas " Lewis is faster than you " which to my great amazement passed unnoticed ! .


Lol love your comment. People have two weeks to moan. I said it in the past article here, only one team imposed team order out of the top 3 this year. That ain't Ferrari or Red Bull. Team order is perfectly acceptable and within rules as well. Ferrari would own up to it if that's what they want to do. Vettel potentially lost the Bahrain GP, because the team didn't ask Kimi to let Vet through.


Spain 1990 (Move over Nigel for Alain)
Germany 1999 (Move over Mika Salo for Eddie)
Austria 2001 (Move over Rubens for Schumi)
Austria 2002 (Move over Rubens, Michael wants to win)
Indy 2005 (Hold station Rubens, stay behind Schumi)
Brazil 2007 (Move over Felipe for Kimi's title chances)
Germany 2010 (Move over Felipe for Fernando is faster than you)
Monaco 2017 (Move over Kimi if you want a contract for 2018)

Now which team has a history of imposing those team orders...............


Ferrari are pretty merciless with their team orders. They used to instruct Schumi to give Barrichello a token win every now and then!


McLaren and Mercedes - always favouring Hamilton!


Now, give this man a cigar!


Why would Kimi want a contract for 2018 if he is not allowed to win?
He doesn't need the money or the frustration


Baised much?


Actually in 1990 Mansell destroyed Prost season (Estoril). In Spain he didn't move for Prost... he did move for Senna though, a few seconds after Prost took the lead.


Well, when you're working for a win, I wouldn't say you're destroying your teammate's season. Nigel IIRC won Estoril '90 and from my point of view you cannot criticize a driver for wanting to win. Besides IIRC Prost didn't come 2nd on that race.
I think team orders are ok as long as we know it was team orders. If a team asks a driver to let his team mate by and he complies, it's ok.
If he doesn't comply to the team orders, it's ok with me and then he will have to work it out with his boss.
I think that's what happened with Nigel. He left at the end of that season to Williams, didn't him? Maybe because he had already decided to do so or simply because he wasn't much of a team player. Just look at the 86/87 seasons to understand why.


Lao worth pointing out,

1990, Spain was late season and Prost was fighting for title.
1999, Salo had replaced an injured Schumacher and was supporting Irvine's title challenge
2005, Schumacher led throughout. RB wasn't quick enough
2007, already answered
2010, Massa was supporting Alonso on title challenge. After all, it was Fernando, not Felipe, that was in contention in Abu Dhabi that year...


1997 Jerez, move over DC, Mika isn't fast enough
1998, Australia, move over DC, Mika misheard
2008, Germany, Heikki, move over, Lewis doesn't want to be held up

1981, brazil, Carlos, Alan is contracted to win. Although its only second race of the season
1997, Jerez, Jacques, we agreed previously race with Ron that we'd let McLaren win if they helped us against Ferrari
2014, Malaysia, Felipe, Bottas is quicker than you...

2016, Monaco, Nico, let Lewis past, you're too slow!
2017, Bahrain, Valterri let Lewis by for second now.

Need I go on - this is merely a small selection. The truth is they have all employed team orders throughout F1 history.

What I always disagreed with was early season use of them. Massa giving up position in Brazil 07 is perfectly acceptable because it was the.title at stake.

Look back to pre-Schumacher Ferrari history and you'll discover Ferrari never employed team orders until a title was at stake. The drivers were free to race.

Why? Because Ferrari reasoned that his cars won races, any driver winning for him was acceptable.


It is really shameful that people like Gazboy are dragging this blog down with his/her comments.


how do you present a rational response to a rant ! 🙂
Yes you are right of course they have all used team orders and its up to peoples personal bias which ones they choose to recall

Aaron Noronha

Germany 2008(Heikki moves over for Lewis)
Malaysia 2013(Rosberg asked not to attack Hamilton)
And your point is????


Exactly GazBoy welcome to Ferrari Favourite chalk board .
Nicely stated 👍


Says a founding member of the LHFC


Gaz Boy, soooo wrong, JA analysis didn't help, did it?

Tornillo Amarillo

James, is Ferrari cheating with tyres?
Is that what Toto asked when he pointed an "Italian Mystery" ?
I'm confused...


no .. not cheating with tyres,

lauda and marco both told on servusTV that ferrari just build the best "mule-car" to test newest wide pirrelli tyres ..

merc and rbr didnt have enoutgh downforce one the mulecars to really get right datas ...



The Italian mystery is called Pirelli, which Mercedes seem unable to use. Mercedes complains because they think Ferrari had more/better data on the new tires... Mercedes could be onto something because they've played such a stunt a few years back, but were caught in the act...


Haha of course they are. Just like Merc cheated on tyres between 2014-16 😂


As well as RBR in 2010-2013.

Tornillo Amarillo

Like Merc supremacy was the PU though.


No way last 3 cars were very quick in slow and fast corners.


There's an article. Think it might be Martin brundles, could be wrong, that says Vettel visited the Pirelli factory, like all drivers can, a few times to understand the tyres and fed it back to Ferrari. Whereas Merc weren't that bothered.


Sounds like the beginning of his Red Bull era...Nah, this will be Vettel repeating Prost's 90s challenge. One year, then boom, bad Ferrari thereafter. Or maybe not, time will tell.

Tornillo Amarillo

Looks like a tale for children...

Aaron Noronha

Haha so it was. I read that many posts I couldn't remember where I read it 😳


I see this leitmotif growing as Russia and Trump. Really?


Please don't stick that on this forum!
I'm not going to comment on that whatsoever, it just Does Not belong here.


Who made you the JAonF1 thought Police? Its passed MOD...that's all you need to know. I think its relevant and mildly amusing (emphasis on MILDLY!). To each their own... when you are moderator you can ban these things, until then.....
Back on subject: As much as Id love to hit out at Ferrari I dont think they manufactured this result. Im sure this result was their preference but Vettel won this for himself. Very Good drive from him and he fully deserved the win. RAI? he shows very, very occasional flashes of speed but is that enough for a seat in a ferrari? If so I hear Max Chilton is available. Hopefully, and I really cant see it, this will wind him up and give him the rocket up his.... that he needs to start pulling his finger out. Sure things didn't go his way at Monaco but it cant always be bad luck when it happens so very often, as it does with him. Anyways... Well done Vettel, good drive, good win. On to the Next... Canada.. Lewis' hunting ground. He's got some ground to make up but if anyone can do it....


"If the points made are good and the discussion is appropriate, I don't see why this should bother you.
I am sure that if a post is say, 2 pages long, it wouldn't pass the moderation, so far the modding here is excellent."

This is what I wrote yesterday in a reply to someone asking for some mod intervention. I do not have any need to feel as a moderator or try to curb someone's thoughts.
But - I have enough of the political aspect of our lives, with the new "Alternative facts" movement and a new rise in extremism, outside F1.

I said please, because I am asking him to keep the forum a place for discussion on all what it is F1, politics of F1 and so on. You don't see here people shouting about bringing PC in F1 and I don't need it.

I'm only saying "keep the Trumps, the ISIS, Russia, Brexit, China's Internet Wall, etc. for other forums".
I hope you understand now how it was meant.


Lol. Finally an analysis thats not all conspiracy. Tired of hearing all that sky bias and SALT.

My two cents is that ferrari did not intentionally screw kimi. They gave him first priority with the pitsops. Who on earth would have known vettel had a 15.5 and a 15.2 in him. Actually nobody ever mentions that. They just continue with that narrative that ferrari screwed kimi bla bla bla. It took perez another 40+ laps and new US tires to get the FL. If kimi were to know that i think he himself would say that seb should have won cause he was plain faster.

Tornillo Amarillo

Have Ferrari had equality between drivers any time in the past?


Why have equality, if Vettel results before the race 1, 2, 1, 2, 2. Meanwhile kimi results were 4, 5, 4, 3, DNF. Monaco was the first place that kimi out qualified Vettel.
This meant that Vettel had twice as many points as kimi. As far as i know ferrari PU are already on its fourth turbo out of 5 for both drivers. The chance that they will have to face grid penalties is very high, and for me i don't see why not focus on the driver who's been faster throughout all this season so far.
Kimi needs to be faster and outperform Vettel, but for this season, it is going to be hard, ferrari will not allow them both to fight in the races, and ferrari will try to maximize points to Vettel.


Actually, given that their current drivers aren't equal I think they can afford to being equal!


It was not the 15.6 and 15.2 alone that got him the lead as so many of you want to believe. , That helped to be sure but even with those laps SV would not have cleared KR if it weren't for the traffic. Most of you have no interest in the detailed data and fail to mention that KR did his own 15.6 and 15.2 so SV's "hot laps" had nothing to do with it at the end of the day since they were negated by KR's own hot laps. It was all down to KR being dumped behind JB and PW, plain and simple and what is Ferrari's answer to that?


correction, KR did not do a 15.2 as I stated above, the table I read transcribed his lap 39 time incorrectly. He did at 15.527, the report I read had it at 15.257. Nevertheless, the point still stands KR essentially matched SV's fastest laps so that is not where the race was won.


As you say, Kimi lost 2 seconds behind Button and co at the same time Vettel was pitting, that is the only reason he lost, nothing to do with how fast Vettel was...


If kimi was so fast why did he not try and create a gap to vettel before the pit window? Or complete a faster in lap?


He had track position was controlling the race so no need to set record laps prior to pitting. They called him suddenly in to cover Bottas so there was no chance to try and build a gap. He went into pits with slim lead and lost it SV by a tiny margin so this was all very close. Look I am not trying to take anything away from Vettel, but as I see it Ferrari played favorites which was their right to do, but I don't like it at this stage of season. KR was racing SV and not VB but Ferrari did not manage it as if KR was racing SV.


Agreed. His middle sector shows the tyres were fine so there was absolutely no reason to drop him into traffic. Without the traffic he would have won despite Vettel's 'hot laps'.


His middle sector just shows he knew he was pitting and so he pushed hard on his in-lap.


I've looked at the detailed data, and it shows that for much of the race Kimi was rather slow but that he delivered his one burst of genuine speed precisely during those laps in which you claim he was "dumped in traffic".

Which raises two questions. 1) How could Kimi be so dramatically faster when he was "dumped in traffic" than he was while running alone out in front leading the race? 2) Was he incapable of going faster during the end of his stint on the ultra-softs, or was he unwilling to do so?


You may have looked at the data but you clearly don't understand it. KR did faster laps on the super softs then SV ever did. Two 15.6's and SV never got below 16 on the super softs. And KR did not due "his one burst of genuine speed precisely during those laps in which you claim he was "dumped in traffic" He did those times after he cleared the traffic.

Ashish Sharma

Kimi didn't do a 15.2. His fastest was a 15.5 on Lap 39.


You fail to mention that KR's 75-second laps were done on fresh tyres and SV's 75-second laps were done on 40+ laps quali tyres, after circulating at 77 seconds.


Bw, that is not correct, Kimi did two sub 76 second laps prior to his stop.


The ultra soft was the faster tire and had lots of life left in it so there was nothing all that special about Vettel's laps as DR showed. KR had no need to push as he had track position and control of the race until his team set him up. Look they had the right to do that, but all these argument that SV won this on pure merit are nonsense. They used KR to cover the VB in third place and this tilted things towards SV.

I NOTE THAT YOU FAIL TO MENTION that Vettel never did manage to set a sub 16 laps on the super softs on a lighter and lighter car where KR did on a heavier car so who was really faster? We don't honestly know since the race was stage managed by Ferrari.


Of course SV won on merit - increasing pace and setting FL on dying tyres. And it's problem of KR that he clocked 77s on ultrasofts when DR was making 76s behind them.

I note that you fail to mention that once SV was back out, KR has never set a time under 76.3 despite car getting lighter, while SV clocked 76.0s and 76.1 quite a few times. So, you were saying about being faster...
(of course if you understand racing, you'll know why it's irrelevant)


So what were ferrari supposed to do then? Should they have kept kimi out doing 1.17s while ricciardo is catching up? Or keep him put until the gap to sainz was decreasing? If they pitted seb and seb were to undercut him while doing 1.16s then everyone will bring out their pitchforks and burn Ferrari. Fact is ferrari was always gonna be vilified if vettel won regardless of the pace he has shown.

Aaron Noronha

Vettel had to overtake Erricson too he got lucky that he pitted(Ferrari had no way of knowing that at that time). KR never did a 15.2. His fastest lap was a 15.527 . And Ferrari has nothing to answer to you or anyone because you arent paying Kimi's salary

Aaron Noronha

Good unbiased report. Trying selling that to the Kimi brigade :p


'Most of' the people here trying to push this are Mercedes and/or Hamilton supporters. Pretty clear why the reason for that would be isn't it.
Even if Ferrari did issue some form of team-orders I admire them for doing it in the manner they did (although past history shows they have actually been very translucent in ordering them previously). Didn't hear a driver complaining or demanding his team-mate let him by on the team radio once. How refreshing!


SARS, not everything is about Lewis, you are becoming obsessed...


It's a lovely thing TimW they seem to be obsessed with the guy.
Cannot see the wood for the trees but that's Aussie culture. Prejudicial thought processes


I think it's the other war around James- Ferrari cares more for constructors not the drivers championship, it just so happens that they tend to favour the guy who maximises points over the course of any year..and rightly so imho..


I know for a fact that is not correct, they 100% are about the Drivers' title


James. can you ask your Ferrari insider itself then let us know! I have doubt about what you say. sorry

convince me, why Ferrari always go with best/experienced drivers then? even with bad car? doesn't make sense

Ferrari always build their car customized to their driver. that's why brought Vettle in order to dominate later on


Ferrari choses the drivers title over the CC, that's for sure! If possible they want both. It's also logical, WDC is way more important: Because in 5-10 years, no-one mentions Merc won x CC's but they'll keep saying Lewis Hamilton won at least 2 of his WDC's with a Mercedes car, and another in a Mercedes powered car! They'll even remember he lost the title to ROS, who was in a Merc. Don't believe me? Without research, tell me how much CC's Ferrari won in total. And now tell me what drivers won a WDC in a Ferrari. I bet you'll get nowhere on the first, but score decent on the second question


Could you tell us how do you know that? What are your sources?
Thank you for such a great analysis, btw! Love your blog.


Since the Strategy Report started the F1 team strategists have been willing to speak privately after the race and share insights because they want F1 fans to understand their side of the sport better

I speak to a range of them so we get balance

It's really fascinating and it's great that they do this, knowing this content strand is widely read by fans and young engineers


I have said it many times on this subject but the prize money situation is unacceptable and gives Ferrari and unfair advantage. That needs to be one of the major issues addressed by Liberty.

Aaron Noronha

Its not unacceptable??? Seriously :/ If you stick around in an organization you are going to be getting a bigger part of the provident fund or your salary will increase each year because of your annual increment.

Mercedes has just come in full time only since 2010 and there is no gurantee that it will stick around if it cant win the WDC for 10 years. Ferrari has been around since 1948, Mclaren since 1966 and Williams since 1977. like them or hate them these teams are the very core of F1. And amongst these Ferrari is the most famous and the most followed team followed by Mclaren. That is why the big teams like Mercedes, Redbull and Mclaren have no issues with the extra annual Ferrari is paid. Its only the small teams that are bickering. Even now if Bernie Ecclestone would launch a rival series with Mclaren and Ferrari it wont be long before Redbull and Mercedes join them. Even in the recent global fan survey Ferrari reinforce its position as the no 1 team worldwide and was ranked no 1 in all regions. This was a sample of just 150 thousand of the estimated 400 million F1 viewers. Ferrari still enjoys a patronage of over 30% of the fan base With both mclaren and mercedes having half of that support. And you still think ferrari dont deserve a premium??? Have you ever wondered why Floyd Mayweather earns so much per fight compared to other fighters??? The same can be said about Ferrari.


'Have you ever wondered why Floyd Mayweather earns so much per fight compared to other fighters???'

I suppose because he's never lost and is regarded as one of the best pound for pound in history.

That said I would never pay to watch him, his fights make Sochi look exciting!


100 million a year guaranteed and not dependent on performance buys a lot of loyalty. I'm sure every other team on the grid would show equal loyalty for that cash in the bank every year.


They probably would but unfortunately for them they don't bring to the table what Ferrari is bringing. Tough luck.


I'm not quite sure what you mean by Ferrari bringing to the table what others don't. If your talking about their proud history and solid following, i'l agree with you, but other teams also have this, maybe these other teams would have an equal level of historic success and following if they had been given the same level of financial reward and influence Ferrari have had. Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti Ferrari, I'm not anti anyone now Bernie has gone. But I am anti the current renumeration situation that has handicapped so many teams for so many years.

Ashish Sharma

Interesting Read. Which side do you lean towards, James.


It's in the conclusion!


James, with all due respect your analysis is lacking critical details. Two of your commenters in the Race Report thread provide the detailed data needed to sort this out on the facts. The detailed lap by lap times for laps 33 to 40 tell the real story. Contrary to most claims Vettel's 15.6 and 15.2 laps had nothing to do with what happened as KR did his own 15.6 and 15.2 which nobody wants to talk about for some reason so those Vettel laps were negated. You have to look elsewhere for the answers to what happened.

Ferrari clearly set this up for Vettel, there is no other read. Why was KR responding to Bottas? Makes zero sense. Why was he let out into traffic when another lap or two would have put him clear? Makes no sense. They didn't exactly give it away, but set it up very nicely for SV.

Always shocks me how much emotion and opinion enters the debate, most people don't want to look closely at the data. And if we are talking about the data, SV's in lap is what really jumps out yet even with that he barely cleared KR and we know KR lost about 1.5 due to JB and PW.


Was Ferrari right to do what they did, if they did it?


Sebee, they did do it, and they were right.

Ashish Sharma

Kimi didn't do a 15.2. His fastest was a 15.5 on Lap 39.

Ashish Sharma

Sorry didn't phrase that correctly. The conclusion was well reasoned and the argument with Vettel's early 15s on does make it case for not being a pre-planned strategic call.

I wanted your views on whether there is a feeling that Vettel is being backed for the championship from Ferrari and will get the favorable calls, though not the outright "Slower than you" assist. ( with little things that you mentioned like, the pit stop that released him into traffic, not tracking his data proactively, or even the absence on the radio messages to Kimi to speeden things up when Vettel was doing 75s).
Given Kimi's erratic form, and sensitivity to a good practice session, it wouldn't be all that surprising.


Kimi's in lap was 1.5 seconds slower than Vettel's. If he had matched Vettels in lap he would have been ahead of the traffic and ahead of Vettel. Kimi wasn't quick enough. Its that simple. Was it a conspiracy to get Daniel ahead of Max?

Ashish Sharma

1. It isn't as simple, as you should read the analysis above. Kimi was behind Ericsson who pitted before Vettel caught up to him.
Despite his in-lap, despite the traffic Kimi was on track to keep his lead even 3 laps after pitting.
2. I agree, that it was the 2 laps after that when Vettel set a blistering pace that the race was won.
3. Red Bull wanted a podium, since they couldn't overtake on track, while a Ferrari 1-2 was a given on the day. So Red Bull tried the overcut and the undercut, splitting strategies and got one to work. They were looking for a podium and not the driver's championship. Ferrari had no need to split strategies.


My impression at the time was that Kimi stopped on schedule; he made a radio call asking whether or not it was time to pit immediately before Ferrari told him to come in. That doesn't fit with a pro-Vettel conspiracy.

SV DID pull a Schumacher, but not in the orchestrated favoritism sense. He simply strung together a blistering series of laps before pitting, and that was clear during the race.


Agree with everything here, except that Vettel did not clear Ericsson, but Ericsson (fortuitously for Vettel) headed into the pits just as Vettel was catching him. This is quite important as Ferrari would not have been able to foresee this, and which means that dropping Raikkonnen into traffic would not have made the difference if Vettel had to clear Ericsson at the same time.


Even without Ericson diving in the pitlane, Vet would've gotten in front: maybe they would've had even less margin, but there was enough.

Tornillo Amarillo

Was Sauber benefiting Ferrari?


When the race analysis is more interesting than the race itself xD
What's missing in Theory 1, IMO, is that Ferrari can't wait forever until Kimi's tires are depleted to pit.
If there were a Safety Car call, Bottas and Verstappen {already pit compliant} would delete the gap {depending on the position of SC deployment} and when/IF the Ferraris make their pits Bottas and Vertappen would be P1 and P2.
Also, about theory 1, I didn't hear Kimi's crew chief telling him something like: Kimi, you have to pit soon, give all you can in the next {3?} laps, to open a gap to Vettel.
That would a fair treatment to Kimi, IMO.


There was a message from the team that basically told Kimi to be faster 5 laps before than the pit stop. How much warning does he need?


Where can I find that message? Maybe I missed it but I didn't hear it in the live broadcast.


James, this is more Mozartian Opera. Now from you.
Did Wolff suggest to Vettel ahead of time he build up a cushion before he pitted? Maybe Vettel just had the brains to figure it out.


I'm sure Wolff didn't tell Vettel anything at all


They brought Kimi out in traffic says it all.

Still who cares, that car is a flyer.


Vettel was definitely faster thoughout and those sub-16 laps were extraordinary! but i can't but think that ferrari were not trying very hard with raikkonens strategy. It doesn't help that raikkonnen himself doesnt contribute much to the strategy, he doesn't show the spacial awareness that vettel does. and ferrari have been sleeping on kimi's strategy in the past few races as well, like australia. So yea, i think there was no conscious plan to put bettel ahead but they were also refusing to try too hard for raikkonen. Because let's be honest, if they really wanted to, they could have kept him ahead, but they didnt feel the need to because both the top places were ferrari's anyway. and kimi made it hard for himself when he didnt cross button quickly. I was alarmed at how much pace he dropped behind button , he showed a lack of initiative by lying back and hoping for a blue flag. he should have gotten closer.


You have no idea what your are talking about. What about KR's sub 16 laps which matched Vettel exactly? Too many people shoot off their mouths without the facts. The delta was in the in -laps and out-laps and we know KR was dumped into traffic on the outlap and even then SV barely cleared him.

Way too early in the season for this kind of B.S. Shame on Ferrari.


What were Ferrari supposed to do? What would you have done? Kimi's lack of pace forced Ferrari's hand. He was endangering a one-two finish (pardon the pun), possibly even endangering the team's first win in the principality for 16 years.


#1 is not thepry. It a simple mathmatics.

You have 10 construction and driver championship out of 16. Do simple math. Its 62.5%. So how is not correct? How?? You funny mate



Oh dear, Robert, your showing your impartiality I'm afraid. Raikkonen didn't match Vettel's laps exactly, he was a couple of tenths shy for a couple of crucial laps. You are right in that the out-laps were also crucial and it was Vettel's fortune that Ericsson pitted when he did, something the Ferrari pitwall couldn't have planned for. Also, Ferrari had to respond when Verstappen & then Bottas pitted as Raikkonen's pace the 10 laps preceeding those stops were on average 0.3s slower. Had they not pitted Raikkonen (or Vettel) then they risked losing P1 & P2. It had already been planned beforehand that Raikkonen would pit first and so he did.

Is it not enough that RedBull employed a similar strategy to their lead driver, not knowing for sure that the overcut was more powerful than the undercut and that Toto Wolff has said he doesn't believe Ferrari deliberately gave Vettel the favourable strategy? What more do you need?


Fair points, but I am not sure they risked losing P2. None of the other cars were a real threat to either Ferrari in my opinion, but you can argue quite rightly that the if a car were under threat it would of course be the second car. In my opinion Ferrari had to much pace for even the second car to be attacked. KR did match SV laps quite closely but he did not do a 15.2 as I had originally thought since the lap time chart I saw had transcribed his lap 39 time incorrectly. I stand by my opinion that they played it to give SV an advantage. It wasn't blatant and SV had to make it work but their called makes no sense if they were allowing their two drivers to battle each other on the up and up. They obviously have the right to that but it seems kind of early in the season for this.



Fact that kimi tyres were almost done. Look at tires/lap degradation curves to see it. Beside vettle not proves it was right time to pit 1st car first
Then why Kimi couldn't match vettle after pitting. Lets looks at lap times after Vettle pitted. In theory kimi tyres should be in optimal operating window vs Vettlel !

Problem is now ferrari is ahead and that what made Hamiltin fires his statement nothing for but to make some distirbance inside Ferrari

Wolf. Alain P. Alessi all said its not planned. Only us see it different? Do we really know racing more than these professionals??impossible



"What about KR's sub 16 laps which matched Vettel exactly?"

You mean, those sub 1.16 laps on the new tyres taken at the pit stop which you don't think Kimi should have made? The ones which nearly equaled VET's time on 35 lap old tyres? Those 1.16 laps? Which he could never have made if not for the pit stop you're upset about him making?


Busa, Kimi did two sub 1.16 laps prior to his stop.


Not that l can see (FIA lap analysis.), his 2 sub 16 laps came in lap 38 & 39 while Kimi made his stop on lap 34. Marc


Apologies, I was looking at the wrong car, he didn't do sub 1.16s


As i said in another thread: too early in the season for team orders if both cars are 1 and 2. You loose more than you win:
a frustrated 'number 2' when you may need his help in a possible battle of 3 teams at the end of the season
2-3 DNFs for the 'number one' because of engine failures and the 'number 2' too far away in points to fight for WDC


Mercedes have been using team orders since Australia, when a faster Bottas was told to hold station behind Hamilton.


Busa, was he? When did this happen?


since Australia

Your welcome!


Sarsippious, so the conspiracy theory that Ferrari favoured Vettel in Monaco is nonsense, despite the strong evidence to the contrary, but the conspiracy theory that Valterri was told to hold station in Australia is believed immediately, despite there being no evidence to support it at all? People's hidden agendas seem to be popping out again....


Depends on who ask obviously.


When fighting for RB championships, Vettel won a few of them almost single-handed. He can do it now if the car is great, Kimi should cover his current position in standings, that can ensure both titles. Kimi's employer is Ferrari, nobody is gonna pay him more, so he needs to work hard.


I came you the exact came conclusion, through careful analysis with the fingers on my hand while talking to myself... But it still counts. Nice work James ☺


Best posting... nice 🙂


Thank you for going against what the majority seems to believe with regards to the Vettel/Kimi conversation James. Doubt it will change the view of the many that saw mischief in the strategy taken.
I thought and still think that it was not done to secure the win for Vettel, more that he made it happen himself.
I have no doubts that Ferrari see Vettel as their main weapon in the fight to the WDC and that a some point this season if required, they will ask Kimi to give up his position if he is ahead of his teammate, but that hasn't happen yet and there might not be a need for it if Mercedes drops races here and there. Should Ferrari best Mercedes in Canada, the Mercs will have plenty to worry for the rest of the season. Marc


This is one of the more absurd conspiracy theories I've heard in a sport where concocting conspiracy theories is a favorite pastime.

Kimi was slow. That's the beginning and end of it. If you look at the laps times by driver Kimi was running in the 1.17's prior to his pit stop and failing to open up a gap either to Vettel, or more importantly to Bottas in third. His lack of pace was threatening the possibility of a Ferrari 1-2 finish. Once he came out with fresh rubber he was notably faster, including setting his faster lap of the race.

Meanwhile Vettel, who had been bottled up behind him, was finally able to unleash his true pace and promptly started lapping 1.5 secs quicker than Kimi had been managing on the same tyres. One point five seconds! Later, after Vettel changed to the super-soft and both were on the same rubber, he continued to leave Kimi in the dust. This is simply not debatable - Seb was far faster than Kimi in Monaco.

The ONLY way Kimi could have won this race was if Ferrari had been willing to deliberately compromise Seb's race, and risk a 1-2 finish for the team, in order to ensure a Kimi victory.

Lastly, let me point out that we have seen a team repeatedly and incontrovertibly favor one driver over another this season. That team is Mercedes and the driver favored has been Hamilton. But somehow that is never blown up into a fake "controversy" by the press.


I guess maths isn't your thing, so don't bother. Some people read a clock to see how late it is, Others like to know what makes the clock tick. This article explains why it was time for a stop, when the cars stopped.


Did you bother to read the article?

I fail to see how a detailed analysis looking at the pros and cons of the arguments constitutes a 'fake controversy' !


chill out man, I don't think Busa was saying that YOU are doing a fake controversy, I understood more like "media" keep talking bout conspiracy theories all the time,

Yours is not an article about the controversy, yours is an article about data facts and strategy.


Did you read my comment? I did not say that this article was a "fake controversy". I said the whole fake controversy over this matter was a fake controversy - a position which your own article only reinforces.


I don't think Busa's criticising this article but rather the media's love for conspiracy theories in general?

Aaron Noronha

I think you are fairly unbiased but trust me you cant please every one. 🙂 Good Job James


James, fair assessment but why was Kimi so angry? The man was literally seething with rage. There is disappointment but this was unbridled rage, which leads me to think something was up.

Kimi had the same pace as Vettel this weekend, he knew the only way to win was to back vettel into bottas, forcing ferrari's hand and potentially winning. Ferrari was always going to swap during the pitstops. Not a fan but I'm gutted for kimi, he really deserved it.


I thought that was his usual happy face.


I'm glad someone knows what Kimi's "seething face" is!
I thought it was the same face he pulled the day before when he got pole!


I spoke to him after the race and I wouldn't say he was 'seething'

He was disappointed not to win. But he has had times when Ferrari has deliberately used him and jeopardised his result to help Vettel, as they did with Massa and Alonso in the past. This wasn't one of those, as I explain in the article

He made it clear after the race that he needed to see all the data and hear the explanations before he knew what had happened to him.


There are two parts to it
1. Any journalist finds it hard to get Kimi to talk. Thats Kimi ...and the reason why he has so many fans. Doesn't show too much emotions and doesn't try to say "Hey ya doing"
2. Nico Rosberg was so nervous to come close to Kimi, let alone ask the right questions.


I spoke to Kimi quite a bit after the race and he was disappointed but he was certainly not 'seething'

He was smart enough to know that he needed to get a full debrief before saying anything he might regret

Ashish Sharma

A request for when you meet interview him next time. Do ask him and let us know, what he thought after the post-race debrief and after looking at the graphs.


Red Bull pulled the same strategy with VES (early stop) and RIC. So, are they also now under investigation of favouritism of 1 of their pilots ? Don't think so.

IMO there was no manipulation from Ferrari, Kimi was just not good enough to win the race, this is my reasoning :

1. If Kimi had built a gap of 5 or 6 seconds, he would have staid ahead after the stop. he just wasn't able to do that. Don't forget, that contrary to Seb, he had been racing in clean air most of the race
2. Only Kimi is responsible for the deg of his tyres. It was because of the deg that he wasn't able to pass the backmarkers.
3. At this stage Seb was inherently capable to go much faster (as we would see later) + he started losing precious time behind Kimi : BOT and VES were closing in fast on Seb.
4. Seb won this race on his own merrit, saving his tyres (i say it again, in dirty air, something Kimi was not able to do even not in clean air), passing the backmarkers in no time, and pulling out these astonishing times out of 40 lap old US tyres.
6. Yes, Kimi came back in traffic, but he also was equiped with a completely new set of soft tyres, which normally gives you an advantage compared to 40 lap old US tyres.
7. Seb rejoined the track just a few metres ahead of Kimi, taking in consideration the above, a margin too small to accept the thesis of the team deliberately favouring one pilot (and also because they had the undercut scenario available for Seb which would have put Seb clearly in front)

I understand that Kimi fans are hugely disappointed, but i don't understand/accept that they are searching for external causes and manipulation from Ferrari instead of focusing on the performance of Kimi. Kimi had a fantastic weekend, but Seb was just brilliant, and won this one completely on his own merrit, not because of Ferrari favouring him. That, imo, is an unworthy analysis for his stellar performance.


"I understand that Kimi fans are hugely disappointed, but i don't understand/accept that they are searching for external causes and manipulation from Ferrari instead of focusing on the performance of Kimi."

It is mainly fans of Rightful Champion™ and team from BRACKLEY who are looking to vent their frustration 🙂


2 is false: Kimi's tyres weren't worn, they were OK-ish, but Kimi didn't have the faith in them that VET had.
3 is false: BOT and VES were on nearly identical times after their stop. Before they pitted they came closer because RAI was slow in passing lapped cars
4 is false: Kimi's tyres were OK but out of optimal operating window
6 is impossible to prove. VET and RIC were quite a bit slower after their stop than the laps before!


I love facts people :)!

Thanks for saving me the time to write a similar post.

Torchwood Mobile


Did Verstappen or Bellof get pole for the first time in 128 races?


That's why no-one gives a [mod].


"That's why no-one gives a [mod]."

What a fantastic sentence!


@ can't use the word 'mod' here as it means mostly something scatalogical, demeaning and insulting. Please refrain in future.


Ah, but they did in the 70's!


Why should it matter at all?
You get pole to have an easier shot at win on Sunday, but it's never granted.


@ Torchwood Mobile.
Impressive reply, great build-up of arguments..Did you know that the annual World Debating Championship takes place very soon ? Don't wait to do something with your talent.


Honestly James, by the time you have come out with this report the only thing I have on my mind is - If this was not a narrow dangerous track to over take on, Vettel would have simply overtaken Kimi on track if he was faster. Then there would be no such controversies. They should make Monaco a race without points. Have your glamor but spare us this torture with this instigating negativity nonsense.

Hamilton said it after qualifying, barring mishaps at front, it would be tough for him to get points. Even toward the end of the race he found it better to sit behind Sainz till the end. Monaco is amazing for its sheer madness.. but please make it a non championship round. This is not how championships should be decided.

All this controversy would not arise if the track allowed the faster driver to simply overtake on track.

I am sure Kimi looked icy because he did not have the relevant data on the podium and unsurprisingly guessed that he was short changed. But the thing is.. Kimi did not have more pace than Vettel today.

I wonder how awkward it must be for Vettel, how the media yanks his chain so miserably even when he is the faster driver. But atleast he gets good practise for when they really do have team orders later this year. All drivers learn to take it in their stride.

But for us the fans, I do not know why some sections of the media are trying instigate so much un-ease? It seems this section is trying to ease itself into realization that indeed at some point in this year Ferrari will start supporting one lead driver.

Then Merc will do the same. But sections of the media want to set up Monaco for saying "Ferrari started it first so Mercedes followed". But it was Mercedes that started it with Bottas in Bahrain.

Mercedes allowed Lewis to pass Bottas twice using instructions because Bottas was the slower car on that day and it made sense to give Lewis a chance.

But Kimi and Sebastian were getting caught by Daniel at an alarming pace and Kimi was unable to respond. So they pit Kimi and released Vettel. What is wrong in that?

Yet its so sad how some section of the media are turning this into some sort of low quality entertainment that feeds on negativity.

If you want racing, solve the issue of tracks that do not allow proper racing. As for the media, please keep it wholesome.


You should have wrote this as a Haiku.


Anyway, I am glad is one of the few platforms that are truly Balanced in their coverage.

Also I am grateful for the site's wonderful community of users and moderators that provide a platform for so much expression.


Kimi wonders, while Vettel wins
So many in the media with hidden Agenda
While few of us fans weep


@Sebee.. i swear 😀

All this happens when I am in a hurry yet want to post. Then i press enter with all the haphazard emotions showing through. Also I probably need an editor 😀

Haikus are so much fun to write in though!


If I may quote KRB...5,7,5! 🙂

Trust me, we've all commented with rethinking. I'm pressing cancel more often myself recently.


5 7 5! 😛


I've read this twice and I have no idea what you are trying to say


Hi James, have you considered creating a word or character limit to comments? I don't think this is an appropriate place for essays.


lol, I also hate when people put those really long coments and explanations, don't understand why they can't keep it simple and give the straight point...

But I do keep simple, just Ignore them.


If I could like this post multiple times I would...I like a debate/argument as much as the next person but most of the long answers are just nonsensical.


Let's make June Haiku month at JAonF1! 🙂


considered creating a word or character limit

@Joffrey.. for character limits there is twitter ! The reason is so awesome is because of the freedom of expression!!


If the points made are good and the discussion is appropriate, I don't see why this should bother you.
I am sure that if a post is say, 2 pages long, it wouldn't pass the moderation, so far the modding here is excellent.

Scroll through or ask the post's writer for a TLDR, sometimes it works wonders.


I found it easy to understand. He basically said 90 % of the brit F1 media stinks.

Imo the good that came out of this race is that the 25 points gap from Vettel to Hamilton is a much better reflection of their season so far than the meagre 6 points Vettel had over Hamilton before the race. So far 6 races into the season Hamilton has won 2 races thanks to timely safety car intervention after rookie mistakes by Giovanazzi and Vandorne and not a single one on merrit. Bottas has won on merrit once by the way. Vettel has either won or was the other guy who challenged for the win. If Hamilton had contributed any useful set up data in Russia and Monaco Bottas might have been able to put the car on pole position there too, what do you think James ? On RTL Germany they said that Rosbergs and Hamiltons set up converged over the years and last year when Hamilton often went into a dead end road with his set up after free practice he could just copy Rosbergs before qualification and still be competitive. But now with Bottas new to the team and maybe having different preferences on set up the charmed life of Lewis H. seems over at least for time beeing until Mercedes gets Bottas closer to Hamiltons preferences. Mercedes car is fundamentally still slightly faster than Ferrari when they get it into the right window and their extra boost for Q3, starts and restarts is very effective and particuarly Bottas has demonstrated this over and over again with his Q3 laps, starts and restarts for those who paid attention.


@ Topper...good post. Hamilton refuses to share his set up data with Bottas....lucky Bottas.

Aaron Noronha

He intends to say that Monaco should be a race where points shouldnt be considered because its hard to overtake and most races are just a procession.


The 3rd and last paragraphs are key -
When in doubt, focus on the shortest ones!


@James.. haha sorry.

If i had to condense that it would read-

1.) Keep Monaco GP on the calender because its mind boggling to imagine F1 cars going around those narrow streets so close to the barriers.

2.) Make the Monaco GP a non championship race without points like Ross Brawn was suggesting- perhaps to try experimental Qualifying formats etc.

3.) As long as these cars are wide enough to prevent overtaking in Monaco, and are SOLELY Dependant on PIt stop window calculations. Hence it becomes tedious for the fans when some sections of the press (Definitely NOT though, which is one of the finest platforms covering the sport) start creating tension in the virtual world about this race weekend, (for the last few years I may add)

- If Ferrari let the second driver Vettel do a undercut, this section of the media would have torn them apart. Since Ferrari over cut, its becoming fodder for instigating rude suggestions trying to create conflict within drivers inside a team from external sources.

I will not mention the reporters name since they do the pen interviews "together" but Kimi was asked on his face if he was the Number Two driver. This question right after a race where Kimi has not been shown the relevant data of how the race panned out.

I am sure yours being one of the best Websites on F1, the concerned reporter may come across this. IS IT FAIR to ask Kimi if he is the second driver at that moment of time? 🙂

I have been a fan of Kimi for years and it felt like a Slap across my face watching him having to answer that. Off course Kimi must have been feeling a whole lot of weird stuff in his head right at the moment but the reporter was playing on emotions there.

I liked the race, it was fun to watch, but at the end why Do i come out of the weekend with a bad feeling? Watching your hero being asked questions like that.


Interesting and balanced view, but you're not going to convince me that Ferrari didn't split strategies to give Vettel an advantage.


Agreed !


That's like trying to prove the colour of the Lords underwear, I see 🙂


They didn't split strategies, actually, both drivers were on one-stopper 😉


Think it's fair to say there's more to strategy that the number of stops cars make 😉😉


You sound like you wished Ferrari had stacked VET behind RAI pitting on the same lap, because that would've been the only way Kimi was ever going to win this GP.


Or possibly pit Vettel the lap after Raikkonen, like Mercedes always did with Hamilton & Rosberg. Or give Kimi actual choice in when he was going to pit. I don't care that Ferrari favour Vettel, it's the sensible thing to do, just making out like they didn't is just ridiculous.


Thanks James - I enjoyed this analysis. I don't think anything is conclusive one way or the other. That said, Ferrari do seem to be caught between a rock and a hard place as I would say that Vettel has a better chance of winning the WDC than Riakkonen who is somewhat less than consistent. What do you think?


Good article James. however I don't agree in certain points, in regards to conclusion/theory 1
1- Ferrari won total 16 constructions and 15 driver championship. out of this 10 was won both as constructor and driver. Means, your theory of Ferrari more focusing on driver champion is not correct
2- Kimi middle sector was 35.457 vs 35.328 for Vettle . so Vettle had better grip obviously
3- Kimi pace was slowing not consistence from lap 16 then got slower from lap 17 till he pitted, while Vettle speed matched Kimi till 5th lap then started to get faster and faster till was almost half a second before Kimi pitting
4- from lap time, you can clearly either Kimi was struggling till pitting or was slowing Vettle, it should be other way around if he is faster than Vettle
5- No one can predict traffic within almost impossible to overtake track as Monaco
6- His times was new tires is no match with Vettle after pitting. Kimi clearly struggled with tires before and after pitting
7- In regards your point of Ferrari ideally would ask him what to do. lets say right, but wouldn't be his call first? Means wouldn't he the one to ask as LH does in several occasion!!!

I myself a Kimi fan, but lately his performance is not as expected for world champ. I personally think his performing is greatly affected by Switching his Lotus time engineer Mark Slade with Dave Greenwood


"1- Ferrari won total 16 constructions and 15 driver championship. out of this 10 was won both as constructor and driver. Means, your theory of Ferrari more focusing on driver champion is not correct"

That includes results going back to the 1950s, the current Ferrari team definitely operates in the way James laid out.


I agree with James that I don’t think it was as much Ferrari giving it to VET as much as it was VET seizing the opportunity. Those laps that VET and RIC put in on the used ultras were magic and no one could have predicted that. Verstappen’s reactions to losing out on the overcut and the need for the team to sit down with him and show him the race data proves that. I have been very impressed with VET work ethic and ability to lead from the cockpit on a number of occasions this season. He has great presence of mind and knows what is going on in the race around him and what needs to be done at any point to win.

I feel a little sorry for Kimi and his fans, but in all honesty he has floundered the past few seasons and has been outclassed by ALO and now VET. He lacks the killer instinct. At any point he could have tried to open the gap to VET during the first stint when he was in clear air, but he could not or did not. Even after he’d been passed in the pits he immediately dropped back and accepted second. Could you see VET or HAM doing that? He should have been all over VET gearbox pressing him but he gave up (or didn’t have the pace) I don’t think Ferrari has a #1 driver, but RAI lack of aggression / pace gives the appearance that it does. Winners put themselves in the best position to win. Kimi did not do that.

Meanwhile over at Mercedes HAM looks more like a clear #1. We may be left wondering in this instance with Ferrari what the intent was, but there is no doubt that he has benefited from explicit team orders on multiple occasions this season alone and has BOT to play rear gunner for him (e.g. my job was to slow down VET – no actually Bottas your job is to win races...) I found HAM's comment that Ferrari had appointed VET as #1 as ironic as it was tasteless. Already the excuses are being bandied around for his apparent impending failure to win WDC a second year in a row…


A lot o sour grapes all around because Vettel won and dully increased his points lead over Hamilton. Vettel on his day has no equal on F1 grid ! The strategy report Theory 2 is 100% correct.


Yes gogo, not all the grapes are from Kimi fans either, are they!


Right on. Hurt then salted, must be terrible.


Lewis has started playing mind games bluntly by saying Ferrari favored Vettel in Monaco..but he is going to fail big time because Vettel does not follow too much news/ media just for this purpose only


VET will hear it anyways, but who cares. Think why LH said it? Whatever reason, quite a few in fact, that is Lewis. I hardly wait to see the gap increasing, then you will see more of it. And more noise on this forum.


This is why I love this forum!


Excellent stuff. You're right, it's easy to see and understand both theories. Either way, Ferrari got what they wanted.


you can convince yourself either way depending on your own theories or biases.

Ferrari *WOULD* shuffle their drivers to put the chosen one - who is leading the championship - in front. They have form in that regard.
Post race they said it was planned before the race that Kimi would stop first - I don't think they could have known that would favour Seb . So this time they got the result they wanted without needing to "do a Ferrari"


Vettels on board shows him make a switch change on his steering wheel as Kimi pitted. It is likely he turned the engine up? I wonder if Kimi had the same engine mode available or if Vettel used a qualifying mode. If Kimi had that mode available it's unlikely he would have used it, as Ferrari didn't tell him to hurry on at any stage. I guess Kimi presumed he had track position before Vettels stop so it was a case of just bring it home.


One thing I didn't see mentioned in the article, although perhaps I somehow missed it, or it is thought less relevant than it seemed to me...

I didn't save the recording and I haven't looked up the exact numbers to verify, but, as I recall, Raikkonen's pit stop was 3.5 seconds while Vettel's was 3.1. ( I don't recall at all the total time in pit lane for each, and I'm not suggesting that Raikkonen's was intentionally slow.) Vettel didn't come out very much ahead of Raikkonen and it seemed to me at the time that those 4/10ths were actually pretty significant in Vettel getting the lead.


Total pitstop time from entry to exit (pitlane time plus actual stop time) were:
Vettel: 24.306
Kimi: 24.833.
Think it was also shown on screen during race (if some care to re-run), where Kimi's actual stop was something like 0.2 secs longer than Vettel's. So Kimi's drive through the pitlane was a bit over 0.3 secs longer than Vettel's.


Hi James,

This is one hell of a analysis, I massively enjoyed reading it, even more because I always examine the laptimes very carefully, make some charts and my conclusions were mostly the same after being crunching the numbers.

There is one thing that you didn’t mention that IMO was important in Ferrari having to choose one of the 2 drivers to stop in lap34 (just immediately after Bottas pitted): to cover against a Safety Car and eliminate any possibility of losing the win.

My reasoning here is that depending where you are on the track a Safety Car can destroy your race. And given that at that time Bottas and Verstappen had already pitted Ferrari had to think how to face the risk of a SC, so they needed to pit at least one of their drivers to protect the lead, that way Ferrari made sure they had at least one car in front of the competition (Bottas / Verstappen) in case a SC was brought. Given Raikkonen was leading he should have had the pit stop priority and therefore was the chosen one. Does this make any sense to you?

Thanks for all the fascinating stuff you share here.


Great analysis James, thanks for the objective write up. What I do fail to understand though is the red Bull scenario. Yes, they had a chance on Bottas with the undercut but they were always going to come back on track behind Sainz. Carlos wouldn't have had to move over therefore the pair would have lost valuable time. Ricciardo would always benefit from this?


If no one's feelings are hurt at Monaco, it means they didn't hold the race. If Ferrari did execute team orders, this is the first time they did it without pulling their pants down while pounding their chest.


I think Ferrari did it on purpose, there is no other explanation for leaving him out for those five laps, I can't help thinking that if five laps in clean air wasn't going to be enough for Seb to clear Kimi, then it would have been six or seven. or however many it took. I also think it was justified, Seb has earned that backing from the team, it is tough on Kimi, but he should have done more at the start of the season.


'there is no other explanation for leaving him out for those five laps'

Absolutely. Pit Kimi into traffic, give Vettel the overcut (generally assumed before the race as the way to go). And yes 5 laps made it so blatantly obvious.

At the end of the day they pay Kimi's salary so they can do what they want but it's the denial that is difficult to tolerate.


NickH, agree with all that, but to be honest the denial doesn't bother me either! Just the way it is, they all do it.


+1 I agree on all points.


I don't think the, 'leaving him out for 5 laps', is part anyone's argument of a conspiracy/unfair treatment. If Vettel was lapping strong enough to jump Kimi then of course his engineer/garage is going to keep him out. That's part of general competition and it would be bonkers to do otherwise. So yes, they would "do it on purpose." Same happened with Ricciardo. They didn't tell him, "sorry mate you have to pit the lap after Max to play fair."

Peoples concerns are whether Ferrari deliberately compromised Kim's strategy through bringing him in early and into traffic, and whether it was advantageous at that point of the race to pit first.

As others have pointed out, to protect against a safety car it made sense for Ferrari to bring one car in straightaway. And the pace of people who pitted showed that an undercut was possible (if a gamble with traffic).

The only point of suspicion for me is Ferrari bringing Kimi into traffic (although there was that other Sauber, which Vettel got lucky with it pitting).

But I agree mostly with James. I think Ferrari may have given Vettel an "assist" with the Kimi traffic but probably weren't expecting Vettel to show such pace and weren't overtly forcing any team orders. Of course when Vettel showed a sniff of a chance then they're going to happily let it play out. Bit that's largely racing in my book.
Ultimately Kimi didn't show the pace he needed to stay ahead. And he should have built a bigger gap in the first stint to protect himself, of he could. I doubt Hamilton would have allowed Bottas to close within 1.5s before the pit window. And I say all this having liked Kimi to have win.


Not sure about this whole protecting from a safety car thing, if a safety car had come out then Kimi could have pitted under it and gained the same advantage as Ricciardo.


Same happened with Ricciardo.

It wasn't the same with Ric. Red Bull had tried to jump Bot with the undercut and Max and failed , so they then used the overcut with Ric and succeeded. Max was stuck behind Bot which was his hard luck - no way Red Bull were turning their nose up at 3rd place to save Max's feelings .


C63, perfectly logical.


It's not often we sing from the same song sheet C63!


Let's hope it's not the last 🙂


Vettel's lap times were so good, if the team had forced him to pit, now that would be a team order. More importantly, they had to cover Ricciardo who hadn't pit yet, in case of a SC that might grant him the lead. Either way I fail to understand why Ferrari are obliged to pit Vettel right earlier.


Re, the team order was telling Kimi to pit when he didn't want to.


Kimi didn't want to pit? Did he say so?


They left vettel out for five more laps to cover off ricciardo. You ask why? What if there was a safety car / red flag / VSC. Then RB will win cause they get a short / free pitstop. That would have been a LOL moment of pure stupidity right and we will all be laughing at them. No matter what way you look at it. It was good strategy. They had everything covered in ensuring the win. Vettel won because of his PACE and how the circumstance played out.


F1 fan, pitting early makes you more vulnerable to a safety car ,not less! Kimi dropped behind Ricciardo when he pitted, what of teh SC was called then? Ricciardo stays ahead, if Kimi had pitted fter Ricciardo then he stands to benefit, not lose out.


So if a safety car came, they would have to stack both ferraris and it will end up 1&3. Yeah i guess kimi could have won but that was not the optimum reault for the team. And i was replying to your comment anout why they left vettel for fove more laps.


F1fan, why is it the race leader who has to sacrifice his strategy to guard against a safety car?! If the Ferraris had to stack in the pits then Seb would be disadvantaged, not Kimi, let Seb worry about that!


Very good point. I think many miss the need to account for the risk factor of a safety car scuppering things. It's why teams pitted at least one driver at the same time as other teams as a means of risk avoidance. It seems too many people are basing judgements without assessing the probabilities and information to hand at the times decisions had to be made.


it is tough on Kimi, but he should have done more at the start of the season.

He should have done more in the race. People are upset that Seb was given five laps in clean air on the ultrasoft? Kimi had thirty laps in clean air on the ultra-soft and failed to capitalize on it. As soon as he got out of the way Vettel showed what the car was really capable of.


Busa, it is his perogative as race leader to control the pace.


Bit it is not wise, because you can lose the win and come second as a result. It's better to build a cushion, if you can.


James . What you think of tyres war back . And ross brawn ? I am tired of this pirelli controled show


@Didier... and what do you expect to see then?


James, considering the ongoing building work to expand Monaco into the sea, are there any plans to alter the F1 circuit at all? It really seems an ideal opportunity to lengthen the track to help overtaking.


Nice analysis but where is the detailed lap by lap data to back it up? A couple of commenters in the race report thread provided the detailed lap by lap comparisons for KR and SV which are very informative. After looking over that data the only conclusion I can come to is that Ferrari did in fact favor Vettel, not blatantly, and SV had to make the most of it which he duly did, but Ferrari clearly set up a situation where Vettel could get by. He did put in some good laps but even with those laps and KR being dumped out behind JB and PW, he barely cleared KR. Everything stinks of a set-up.

I would be pissed if I was KR; track position is everything in Monaco and they clearly disadvantaged him. Simple logic tells you there was no need for KR to react and cover VB in third. KR was racing SV, not Bottas, but that of course is not the way Ferrari acted. Ferrari orchestrated this perfectly for Vettel. Again it wasn't a total give away, but it was no accident and it was not down to Vettel alone.

I notice JA has offered no explanation for why they dumped KR in traffic when he could have easily cleared them if left out another lap or two.

The whole thing stinks and disappoints me as a fan. I want to see great racing, not some stage managed outcome. I know, I know, we always get some of this, but that doesn't mean we have to like it. If we are 14 races in to the season with some real competition then by all means they should do what they need to do, but in race 6 it is total bullshit.


Very well put. Thank you for that.


"I want to see great racing, not some stage managed outcome. "

You must be infuriated by the goings on at Mercedes then, where they've been stage--managing their races from the very first race of the season.


Excellent, James. Thank you.


Ferrari favors Vettel, and it favored him in Monaco. End of the story. A dishonest attempt to manipulate realty, James!


A typical case of today's world: all over the place convictions are struggling to face up to science and absolute data.




Full disclosure: I am in the #7 club.
But as I mentioned in my comment after the race, this was a race that Vettel won!

Now who knows how the cars are 'prepared' prior to the race; if anyone says they know, then they must have slept with the car (if you did, please let us know).
But, I was somewhat surprised at Kimi's drop off, prior to encountering the first of the back marker traffic.
Was it actual drop off, based on tire wear, or could it have been a tactic by Kimi?
Regardless, what we saw in the race, was Vettel erasing the cushion that he'd been creating, and getting to within a second of Kimi; surprisingly little performance hit from following so close to another car?!
Now, at that point in time, if I am Ferrari, I must preserve my best alternative for winning the race, with either driver, but preferably Seb, for sure (because he is currently leading, utterly regardless of how he came t olead the championship)!
Now, they could have left both cars out, longer, but closing the optimum operating window to try to get a 1-2, as one/both of the cars could have hit the cliff on the tires, and compromised their likelihood for winning the race (the priority objective for this race!)
While James gives the benefit of the doubt, for a Seb undercut, I don't believe any of us could say with reasonable validity what would have happened if Seb had been pitted, into traffic, first, for either him, or Kimi.
Back to Ferrari, the pragmatic approach would be to pit Kimi first, give Seb a chance to see what he could do in clear air, and maximize the likelihood for the Ferrari 1-2.
That is what they did, and despite being a huge Kimi fan, that is what I would have done, too!
After that, it was all Seb Vettel.
He made his own luck and advantage, and rightly won the race, and Ferrari got the 1-2 at Monaco!

Again, you have to look at this period, prior to Kimi arriving at the back markers; this is my question mark, and this is where Kimi failed to win the race.

It is what it is.


Dislike long postings, but enjoyed yours. Well said, sensible and fair. I have the same unknown about undercutting, Vettel may have won or not, but I am inclined to believe in a positive result. Both drivers are favorittes for me, in time I have become a more VET than RAI fan, so the result was great. I wish Kimi were more of an Iceman after the race.


Fully agree with you @deancassady and I am in the #7 club also! ;o)
I am certain that Kimi will be equally satisfied when browsing through all the data. It was the right thing to do at the time and it is what it is.

From seeing all the responses to this subject, it actually appear to be more other drivers' fans that wants to stir the pot...

Carlos Marques

My suspicion Ferrari orchestrated the finishing order was confirmed when the Ferrari person who went on the podium to collect the constructor's trophy was all animated with Vettel and completely IGNORED and turned his back on Kimi. Lack of respect.


The Ferrari person that you refer to is Riccardo Adami, who is Vettel's race engineer. He was also Vettel's race engineer back in the Toro Rosso days, so no wonder they celebrate now being back and winning together at Ferrari.
Think you are over interpreting things that are not there.


One thing that really surprised me was how badly cars were affected by turbulent air. I wouldn't have thought that was such a big problem in Monaco, but perhaps the tunnel effect of a street circuit exacerbates that problem. Many cars were slowed once they were in 2 sec of the car in front. That's crazy!

The only driver who did better - that I noticed - was Vettel. He seemed comfortable until he was within a second, or even slightly less, of the car in front. Kimi seemed to really struggle with this as he came up to Button and Wehrlein and it seemed a very long time for the blue flags to come out.

Not sure this is relevant to this particular debate.

I actually don't think Ferrari are so clever as to have pulled this one off in favour of Vettel. So many commentators were lamenting their strategy decisions last season. Now they're geniuses. I don't think so.

And finally one other thing. The article does mention that Ferrari might have asked Kimi about pitting and we never heard an obvious transmission of that. However, we did hear Kimi ask about pitting just before he made the stop, suggesting that he was considering it and perhaps thought his tires were ready for changing.


Excellent insight, thx. Many good points, but the nicest was the first before last paragraph about Ferrari strategists. I was also thinking that Kimi's radio message may have expedited Ferrari decision to pit him, not sure about that though.


@JA, after reading your race strategy report twice and looking over the lap times for KR and SV very carefully the only conclusion I can come to is that Ferrari intentionally decided to set up a situation where the positions would be switched. You claim Vettel was faster and let's assume that is true for sake of argument, but KR had track position and track position is nearly everything in Monaco. You claim that SV could have undercut KR and taken the lead the way but there is nothing to to support that view. He would have had one lap to make that work because if it were an honest race, KR would have reacted to that on the next lap and their is noting to indicate that SV had that much speed on one lap to make it work.

Ferrari very cleverly stage managed a swap of its two drivers, plain and simple. One can argue the merits of that. I for one don't like it at this point of the season but claiming this was all on merit by SV is nonsense.

Aaron Noronha

If Vettel had pitted and done the undercut. Ferrari would have to keep Kimi out to cover Riccairdo. If the team gives both the drivers a chance to win then why should it hamper Vettel by calling Kimi in the next lap??? As i recall Vettel stayed out 5 laps. So you are basically saying you wanted Ferrari to choose a strategy that would ensure Kimi would have won the race even if he was the slower race driver??? As for assuming. Look at the lap charts its pretty evident from it that Kimi was struggling for pace. look how his laptime line starts to be erratic instead of a smooth curve. And how he was asking the team help to get the back markers out of the way but struggled to get closer to them. There is no assumption here its plain fact. And FYI the gap between Kimi and Vettel was 1 second. Max was able to set his best middle sector & the fastest final sector of any body on track on his out lap. Vettel would have surely been more than a second faster than Kimi on his outlap sufficent for him to undercut Kimi.


"Raikkonen was leading the race and the rule in Monaco is when leading don’t be the first one to make a move."

So, why?


Was he the first to make the move? It was Max, then Bottas and them Kimi. Can you count? See my fingers?


"...rule in Monaco is when leading..."

(I carefully read this very carefully written article three times before commenting)


exactly! that alone suggest a lot.


Kimi's question before pitting may have triggered the action to pit him. And by the way, what is wrong with Ferrari decision? Oh, Lewis...
It is a many hundred million business trying to maximize the race results, let's be honest, Kimi will not be a champion at the end of the year, so giving a chance to Seb to win in his tough fight with Mer is common sense. VET does not have too many turbo replacements than LH, maximizing Seb points is critical goal.

Aaron Noronha

Because if they had pitted Vettel first and he had undercut Kimi, people would have cried saying why was Kimi left out on older tyres. Thats why


Pitting first or pitting after Kimi would have made little difference to not only the race outcome but also those here who want to believe team-orders we're in place irrespective of the facts presented to them.


"He (Raikkonen)was catching up to Marcus Ericsson in the Sauber; as he came through Turn 18 on his in-lap to the pits on Lap 34 he was 2.2 seconds behind the Swede, so he would have caught him on Lap 35 and may have taken some time to pass him."
"What actually happened was that once Raikkonen stopped, Vettel cleared Ericsson"


Aaron Noronha, thx mate. Better than my posting


JA must have steely nerves 🙂


Or steely something else.

At least its refreshing to see an objective matter of fact run down of the race data and resolve from an English F1 website. No wonder the uproar by many folks as the UK press/tabloids are thriving (profiting) by fueling the conspiracy thoughts. As do an unfortunate driver...


I could not agree more. JA is the best man, happy to have him around.


Interesting theory James but personally I disagree. I don't recall the last time the lead driver pitted so many laps before the guy in 2nd at Monaco. There was no real urgency as there was still a comfortable gap to Bottas, and they clearly gave up the prime strategy for Kimi when they called him in first.

As you say, Ferrari have the luxury of being able to focus solely on the drivers championship, but when that comes at the expense of the sports fans at the marquee event, that's where Ferrari start to appear to be above the sport. That's fine and all, they didn't break any rules, but in 3 years when we are seeing continued decline in the sport it will be these incidents that will be responsible.


Thanks for the detailed analysis. The simple analysis is that everyone who stopped early, lost out. I don't think any of those teams foresaw that.


I think they foresaw it but still had to try it, at least with one driver.
Usually this is done with the slower driver at that point of the race, the only exception was Red Bull, but they had something unsolved from last year.


Superb analysis and this is what ai was also thinking and writing:-)


To those of you here that are so insistent that Ferrari invoked team orders in this race, you are also saying that Redbull thus favoured Ric over Ves as well. We all know how laughable that theory is.
Now refer to the Spanish Grand Prix of 2016. Pitting first and giving up track position sometimes just has the possibility of not being the correct call, as both Ric and Vettel found out that very day to the detriment of their own winning chances.
Where were the CT's then I ask?


Sarsippious, the two instances are not the same, Red Bull were trying to get at least one of their cars in front of Bottas, Ferrari already had the one two sewn up.

Torchwood Mobile

I don't understand why saying something about one person or entity, ALWAYS means that we are saying it about other persons, despite not mentioning them.

Surely people have done the same thing, for different reasons, before!


The similarities in this instance make it applicable. By saying one and not the other it leaves yourself open to questions on you're intent and reasoning.

Torchwood Mobile


I don't mention apparent similarities, and here, Red Bull, because they are not on my radar.

That you and others seek to put them onto my radar, says more about your own intent and reasoning, than mine.

We have a television programme in the UK called Countdown.

A computer is given a series of numbers, calculates a total, and people cleverer than me have thirty seconds to do their own mental calcs to reach the same figure.

Much of the time, different people get to the same result, but via a different route; and that is the logic that I apply to F1 - that two people, entities, teams end up at the same place; I do not assume that A and B followed the same reasoning, just because they ended up at the same place.


@ sars......How very true.


If they did favour Vettel, I don't blame them! Kimi, while fast on his day, doesn't have enough of those days. He ain't going to win this championship. Hamilton is a major force t be reckoned with and if Ferrari are to beat him, then Vettel is your man. For the past few years, Kimi has been trounced by his team mate...he gets it right once and the Kimi crew are up in arms. He's very cool, no doubt and very fast...but past his best.


I am a Kimmi fan too, yes, all your observations are correct. He is past his best. Stil, I am one of those that think Kimi is not so cool as some say, it is a Finn thing, emotional stuff or lack of it, but poorly hidden sometimes. Watch him when he wins, he enjoys it, or last case, Monaco podium. That was quite weak in fact, that wasn't an Iceman. The way he is talking gives hints about his mental power, but hey, that's Kimi and many of us are hoping he is gonna be around F1 for many years to come.


Superb analysis as ever and I feel Vettel pulled it out of the bag. On an aside is there any info on what set up error Merc made to Lewis Hamilton's car. I think the channel 4 coverage mentioned that they could not amend the issue under Parc ferme rules but they knew what the prole was. I'm intreigued about the mechanical engineering side of things.


I will try to make this short.

Problems faced by Ferrari just before first round of pit stops.

1. Bottas now 2+ second behind and now Ferrari are facing traffic. (Same traffic that had already cost Ferrari 4+ seconds)
2. Because of the proximity of bottas before the stop Ferarri cant wait to see if under cut can work (Verstappen nearly got the undercut work on Bottas and plus with traffic it has been proven that Bottas will catch up remember 4 seconds already lost in two laps)
3. Safety car (Ferrari could not afford to double stack. The second car would likely lose second and possibly third)

With those three then it is obvious that Ferrari have to stop on immediately to keep the win, so the questions for the team order folks are

i. Who should Ferrari have stopped first?
ii. When to stop the other Car?

Please consider a that an accident can block parts of the track (the whole track is an advantage to those who have not pitted and a block at pit entry or exit favours those who have already pitted as (long as the race is not stopped).



In what degree ~ 0.5 sec difference of pitstop times between Seb and Kimi has played to race outcome? That .5 sec was to Seb's favour, also the team could not certainly planned that. If not this .5 sec, would Kimi retain the position?


Nice article.

Seb did well and Kimi lost too much from the first backmarkers till his stop. Even so, Seb was lucky with the Sauber pitting as the undercut, no matter the tyres, is usually king, the overcut is so rare. I also thought Max would have jumped Bottas even though it was just one lap.

Do you think Kimi would have had a better shot at the win if he'd paced the first stint slower, as there is no overtaking here, saving his tyres for a fast blast at the end prior to his stop?


Does anybody remember "Fernando is faster than you"'
The F1 and the media are plenty of cynicism


Great article James, clarifies many doubts.

Based on the numbers, here's what I think: -

Kimi was around 1.2 seconds ahead of Vettel when he pitted, and lost 1.5 seconds to him when overtaking Button and Wehrlein. Also, his pit stop was 0.3 seconds than Vettel's (If I remember correctly). This means that Kimi was a net 0.6 seconds behind Vettel.

Vettel pitted 5 laps after Kimi, and excluding the lap Kimi had to overtake traffic, he had 4 laps to overcome a deficit of 0.6 seconds. Now consider the following points:

1. As James said, Ferrari couldn't have had an idea of HOW much faster Vettel could go when running behind Kimi. For all they knew, he was only as much faster as the rate at which he closed the gap to Kimi in latter stages of the first stint i.e. around 0.150-0.200 seconds a lap. Ferrari only had reliable performance and tyre-degradation data on Kimi, and since he was leading the race, it's not a stretch to imagine that they could have considered the same data as at least a minor reference point for Vettel's tyre deg.

2. The radio traffic indicated that both Kimi and Ferrari felt that the tyres were at the end of their life. True, Kimi was 0.4 seconds faster in Sector 2 (than his previous laps) the lap before he pitted, but it could just have been a case of the driver trying to extract the most out of whatever life the tires had left. We've seen many drivers do this in previous years, and even set personal best sector times on their in-laps.

Considering the points above, it is possible that Ferrari expected brand new supersofts to perform better than 35 laps old ultrasofts.

For Kimi to overcome the 0.6s deficit in 4 laps, he had to be at least 0,150 seconds a lap faster than Vettel i.e. slightly faster than his team-mate who was running on old ultrasofts, which Ferrari might have expected.

But surprisingly, when Vettel took his pitstop, he came out more than a second ahead of Kimi, which means that Kimi was actually slightly slower than Vettel in those 4 laps (around 0.1 to 0.2 seconds per lap), which must have been contrary to Ferrari's expectations.

Note: - As mentioned in the article, Vettel got lucky with Ericsson pitting just ahead of him. Otherwise, he could have lost around 0.5-0.8 seconds lapping the Swede, assuming he caught him at a corner. This would have negated almost all of Kimi's deficit to Vettel.

So, it turns out that Kimi was slower than Vettel on new supersofts and in clean air, and slightly unfortunate with Ericsson pitting. I think that the two under 75s laps that Vettel did truly were unexpectedly outstanding. Ricciardo was in a similar situation and setting great laps, but even his best was 1.16.0...a whopping 0.8s slower than Vettel's best.

Kimi didn't lose because of being sent out in traffic, he lost because the overcut turned out to be a better strategy due to Vettel doing a damn fine job. Assuming Ferrari based it's strategy on Kimi's tyre deg and used at least some of that data as reference for Vettel, they couldn't have known that the German would be as fast as he was in the end.

I'm with the theory that Vettel won because of his pace and that Ferrari weren't intentionally favouring him.


Great comment Neutron! I think you nailed it. In line with James' analysis but I think the key was the fact Kimi still wasn't faster on new tyres. Vettel deserved it.

Craig in Manila

Clearly, Seb realised (was told?) that Kimi pitting early and the track emptying ahead of him was his opportunity to try to get the lead and he went for it.
He was then suddenly able to do some hot laps in clean air. So be it.

But, in the laps before Kimi's pitstop, was Kimi running at an instructed delta/speed or was he allowed to push harder if he so desired ?
Could he have been five seconds up the road if he had wanted to be ?

Further, after the pitstop when it was becoming clear that Seb was making his move, did we hear a Ferrari engineer saying "PUSH PUSH PUSH KIMI" ?
Or did the Ferrari engineer just let him think that all was ok and that he would be back into the lead in due course ?


Kimi was indeed pushing as much as Vettel during those same crucial laps!
Both Kimi and Vettel made their fastest race laps during lap 38+39.
Case closed.


@ james...again, a clear distillation of facts and well reasoned objectivity. Well done.


Finally, an objective analysis from an unbiased journalist. Thank you James.


James this is wonderful! Great analysis of what I thought was very interestin