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Hamilton leads another Mercedes front-row F1 lockout as Ferrari falters in Azerbaijan qualifying
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Posted By: Editor   |  24 Jun 2017   |  3:44 pm GMT  |  296 comments

Lewis Hamilton took his fifth pole of 2017 and his 66th of all-time as the 2015 champion swept away the rest of the field for Mercedes’ second one-two of the Formula 1 season. It was quite surprising given his difficulties on Friday in practice and also that his Mercedes was 1.1 seconds faster that the Ferrari. The field spread was large; Massa’s Williams in eighth was 2.2 seconds slower than pole.

Both Ferraris managed to get on the second row, with Raikkonen outqualifying Vettel for the second time in three races, while Max Verstappen had a gear sync issue and couldn’t carry his practice form to the final qualifying shoot-out and Daniel Ricciardo crashed out in Q3 to bring out the red-flags.

“It was do or die,” said Hamilton post-qualifying. “If ever there was a time for me to perfect, that was the time.

“In qualifying, sometimes you can’t extract it, but it was a perfect lap.”

Q1

Last year’s pole position time of 1m42.758s, set by Nico Rosberg, was instantly beaten by his former team-mate Hamilton, who led Q1 having clocked in at 1m41.983s on his second flying effort.

Verstappen filed in as runner-up, albeit 0.561s off Hamilton’s time. Team-mate Ricciardo finished fourth fastest, while Ferrari Finn Raikkonen split the pair of Red Bulls.

Hamilton’s counterpart Valtteri Bottas struggled, and finished more than one second down in seventh, behind championship leader Sebastian Vettel.

The two Force Indias were narrowly behind in eighth and ninth while Felipe Massa, tenth fastest, was just 0.003s slower than Sergio Perez.

Eliminated were both McLarens, Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson and Haas’ Romain Grosjean – the Frenchman livid with his brake performance.

Jolyon Palmer did not take part in qualifying as an engine fire at the beginning of FP3 ruled him out of any further Saturday running.

Alonso will start at the rear on Sunday having introduced an upgraded MGU-H and turbo for Friday’s practice sessions. His gearbox failed in Friday’s FP2 but the MCL32 was running in qualifying.

“Qualifying was not very important today because of the penalties. Definitely I think we were not competitive anyway. The whole weekend we weren’t in the top-10 in any session,” said Alonso.

The penalties, added onto those handed to McLaren for changing engine parts after the Canadian GP, mean Alonso has been pushed back 40-places while team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne has been given a 30-place grid penalty.

Q2

Hamilton stormed to the summit of Q2, crossing the line at 1m41.275s, 0.227s quicker than Bottas, who was showing some signs of closing in to the Briton.

Title-rival Vettel was third, 0.636s off the top spot with Verstappen splitting the two Ferraris by finishing fourth fastest.

Lance Stroll beat Massa (ninth) with a continued show of confidence from his home race, having booked a place in the third session finishing seventh fastest in Q2, clocking in at 1m42.284s.

Stroll was just 0.069s behind Daniel Ricciardo and ahead of both Force Indias, of which Perez finished eight fastest and Esteban Ocon tenth, scraping into Q3 at 1m42.735s.

Both Toro Rossos were out of the running for pole position as Kvyat finished 11th fastest for the fourth time in the last six qualifying sessions.

Carlos Sainz Jr was behind in 12th, though a three-place grid penalty from Canada drops him down, while Dane Kevin Magnussen and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg will start 13th and 14th, respectively. With Sauber using the 2016-spec Ferrari engine, Pascal Wehrlein was slowest in Q2, 3.328s away from Hamilton’s time.

Q3

Hamilton took pole in a final qualifying session which was red-flagged with three and a half minutes remaining, with only Bottas within a second of Hamilton’s pole-lap.

Ricciardo slid through the exit of Turn 6 and slapped the outside barriers with the left side of his car, relegating him to tenth on the grid for the race as his left-rear tyre slumped unceremoniously off its tethers.

The clock was paused with Bottas provisionally on pole but just enough time for the field to produce another qualifying time; the session restarted after a seven minute clean-up.

Another sensational qualifying performance was produced by Hamilton on his final run, with a time of 1m40.593s enough to put him 0.434s ahead of Bottas.

His efforts to overcome the 12-point gap behind Vettel in the drivers’ championship will be further boosted as Raikkonen starts third, and Vettel fourth on Sunday.

“The lap, in the end, wasn’t perfect. I was struggling with the front-left temperature.

“Disappointing, but second place is not bad,” said Bottas.

Raikkonen’s time of 1m41.693s was enough to keep Vettel 0.148s away, but neither Ferrari could get within a second of the leading Mercedes, nor could anybody else apart from Bottas.

“It’s been difficult with the tyres to switch them on, it’s been a struggle every time,” said Raikkonen.

“Luckily the last set had a slightly better feeling on the warm-up side. If you switch them on, you can go a lot faster.”

Verstappen’s early qualifying form and hopes of a coup were dashed by the leading two teams and a mistake in Sector 2. He will start fifth as his time of 1m.41.879s was enough only to beat Force India and Williams.

Stroll’s momentum wasn’t interrupted by the red flag and the 18-year-old managed to out-qualify his team-mate for the first time this season, by 0.045s. Both Williams will start eighth and ninth, behind the Force India duo led by Perez, who starts sixth.

Have your say in the comment section below

 

Grid, Azerbaijan GP:

POSITION

DRIVER

CAR

TIME

GAP

1

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes

1m40.593s

2

Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes

1m41.027s

0.434s

3

Kimi Raikkonen

Ferrari

1m41.693s

1.100s

4

Sebastian Vettel

Ferrari

1m41.841s

1.248s

5

Max Verstappen

Red Bull

1m41.879s

1.286s

6

Sergio Perez

Force India

1m42.111s

1.518s

7

Esteban Ocon

Force India

1m42.186s

1.593s

8

Lance Stroll

Williams

1m42.753s

2.160s

9

Felipe Massa

Williams

1m42.798s

2.205s

10

Daniel Ricciardo

Red Bull

1m43.414s

2.821s

11

Daniil Kvyat

Toro Rosso

1m43.186s

12

Kevin Magnussen

Haas

1m43.796s

13

Nico Hulkenberg

Renault

1m44.267s

14

Pascal Wehrlein

Sauber

1m44.603s

15

Carlos Sainz

Toro Rosso

1m43.347s

16

Romain Grosjean

Haas

1m44.468s

17

Marcus Ericsson

Sauber

1m44.795s

18

Fernando Alonso

McLaren

1m44.334s

19

Stoffel Vandoorne

McLaren

1m45.030s

20

Jolyon Palmer

Renault

 

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296 comments

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1

Congrats to Lewis, going one better than Senna.
Bottas p2
Kimi p3

Vettel? well, he was up all night reading novels about Enzo Ferrari.....

2

Going one better than Senna... Meaning what exactly? What's the point of this comparison? Feeling special Phil?

3

Going one better than Senna...

Pole positions - Hamilton has now surpassed Senna's pole position record and sits alone, in second place, in the all time pole sitters record books. With a bit of luck and a following wind Hamilton may draw equal with the all time record (held by Schumacher) of 68 at Silverstone - that'd be nice wouldn't it. You know, Hamilton drawing level at his home GP 🙂

4

Also, how do you use those quotes? Your help would be very appreciated...

5

Also, how do you use those quotes?

When you reply and enter your username and email , just below are the " (next to the camera icon). Click on those when replying and a box will appear - add whatever you want in there and click submit. The quote then appears at the top of the reply and you add your text in the usual way below 🙂

6

I know what he meant, just can't understand the comparison. Looking at the statistics, Schumacher is the best judging by the number of wins but surely we can't use that kind of shallow reasoning. Comparing Lewis to Senna is equally pointless - how can you fairly compare Lewis' debut in top team to Senna's? What about reliability?

7

Nice last line, but I suspect Vandoorne may well be reading the Belgian unemployment guidelines at his local JobCentre..............according to 𝘓'𝘌𝘲𝘶𝘪𝘱𝘦 (French daily newspaper) his long term future at McLaren is already very blea, and yet another underwhelming performance looks even bleaker.

However, one youngster who is not heading for the Dole (unemployment offices) is Ocon, who is only on average a tenth behind Checo, and indeed, L'Equipe mentioned on the weekend that he is already on the shopping list of Renault for 2018.............

Good week for New Zealand, what with a couple of Kiwi's winning Le Mans and the All Blacks giving the Lions a shiner in Auckland (grudging respect for that performance - fortress Eden Park lives upto its reputation)..Unlike their colonial neighbours in Australia, the New Zealander's do know how to win and put in a accomplished performance! Daniel Ricciardo must be very red faced indeed this evening......unlike Lewis Hamilton, who yet again showed his class. He's the NZ RFU team of racing - the benchmark.

8

"Good week for New Zealand,............"
I guess you don't watch FIFA Confederations Cup football where NZ got crushed by Russia, Portugal, and Mexico. New Zealand is last in their group with an embarrassing total of zero points.

9

@gazboy
May well be that the all blacks are dominant in rugby. But I would also add that Australia is a place of sporting excellence aswell. And us British should know that to well and good gaz.

10

Nice baiting the Aussie there.... 😀 Wallabies are rubbish (2 decades of rubbish). It's the fourth football code in Australia- probably less popular that basketball now. It's the only sport NZL play isn't it? 😂 They should dominate when everything is about the All Blacks

Let's see what happens in the coming Ashes Gaz. Normal order of Aussie domination of the Poms

11

You seem to have forgotten team ENZ syndicate beating the shit out of Oracle ream USA in the Americas cup !

12

Did you say the same last time when NZ was up 8-1?

13

vettel injured his right foot and had a used engine..

14

All that "Walk like an Egyptian" 😨dancing while listening to The Bangles. He may've sprained his ankle.
Or was it at Umpah music festival's summer lederhosen thigh slapping competition 😨?

15

am not sure of how he did it. i just saw him limping in slippers and a contraption tied around his right ankle..

16

Yeah, but braking wise not an issue - it's all left foot braking these days!

17

he'll need to press and come of the accelerator at different rates and rythms, which can be hampered by a pain in the ankle..

18

Or maybe Vettel had been practising his moonwalk 😊

19

@C63
😂good one😂
I don't know what you think, but is this a new Lewis thing. Trudging around in free practice, seems like he's keeping his cards close to his chest. Then comes qauli, and bang, half a second faster than everybody else. There's me thinking yesterday that it was Monaco problems again, but no! Montreal more like it.
If that's the way he's playing it, then that is a great move. Tactics with a big "T"👏

20

It's a more Mercedes thing than Lewis thing. They have shown this season how superior that engine really is with all but one pole. When that engine is turned up and there are a lot of straights in a circuit, Mercedes is still half a second ahead of Ferrari. Plus Vettel will have to take a penalty soon without a doubt. So, my view as a Ferrari fan, the season is over. I put $1000 on Mercs and Lewis winning the championships, which I was happy to lose. Sadly, it's the same old story. But we have at least enjoyed some good races.

21

@zero
Don't be too downbeat, the season ain't over yet. I find it a little surprising how people talk doom and gloom just because Merc dominated in Montreal, and have a lockout here in Baku. Vettel has won a few races aswell this year, bad luck in Montreal , bad luck here in Baku. Let's see what the race holds. It seems some people will only be more happy if Merc are sitting in the midfield, or worse. Ferrari will come back, and there is Redbull slowly making gains aswell. Maybe a little to late, but I hope they can soon be at the front battling.

22

Yeah have to agree James. I think these last 2 tracks really suited Mercedes and there are plenty of tracks coming up that will suit the Ferrari. Also note that Vettel could have been right with Lewis in Montreal if not for his incidents.

23

Ferrari have had as many front row lockouts this year as Mercedes, and if Bottas was the Mercedes lead driver Vettel would have 5 poles (the same as Hamilton has now). I'm sure you'd then be posting about how Ferrari have a baked-in qualifying dominance.

24

It's a more Mercedes thing than Lewis thing

That'll be why Bottas has one pole and Hamilton has four so far this season... because it's all just the Mercedes PU. In fact, anyone could have had those poles if they'd been driving the Merc. Oh wait, Bottas HAS been driving the Merc...

25

So, you are saying sandbagging is a Lewis thing? You could be right! By the way, i don't recall questioning Hamilton's or Bottas' ability. Data from all the analysis in this website along with the sky sports broadcast shows horsepower and straight line speed advantage in the Mercs are the most superior. And on a track line Baku and Montreal it was Mercedes' front row to lose. Check my comment before the Canadian GP, I put money on the Mercs finishing 1-2. Because it wasn't a rocket science.

26

Do you really believe that Merc/Lewis are sandbagging? That Lewis would have been happy to spot Vettel a 25 point lead and throw away Monaco? Can't see it myself.
As for speed traps as evidence of the Merc superiority - During quali (when the cars are at their fastest) Vet was 5th and Ham 6th at Baku. The 2 lead cars were powered by a Ferrari PU and the 4th was a Renault. Clearly, using speed traps as evidence, and applying your logic, the year old Ferrari PU is the most powerful.....

27

Was at a wedding today and forgot the predictions! 🤣

I may throw in the towel until next year.

28

@nick
There you go, weddings, marriage! Just ruins a mans life and takes away everything of importance in his life😂😂
I nearly missed it too. Had 5 minutes to read the qauli report and put in my predictions😱

29

Haha absolutely!

Will try harder next race 😆

30

Tactics with a big "T"

I'd like to think it was tactics but somehow I doubt it. I reckon it's these bloody tires! They have such a narrow operating window and are so tricky to 'switch' on it takes a couple of sessions to get dialled in. Fingers crossed for the race 🏁

31

C63
Yeah, your probably right👍😊

32

It's called saving PUs.

Why is everyone having a laugh at Vettel's expense? Is he taking that over from Lewis?

33

@sebee
Relax sebee😉, it just fits with the interview he done. He's still a fantastic driver.

34

I hope you know I was kidding.

35

Not downbeat mate, like a lot of other F1 fans I'm also hoping for a two/three teams title race. Like Alonso, I'm also a F1 fan first before any other races. Sometimes it's hard to believe that F1 is the pinnacle of motor sport. Look at moto gp, look at indycar, look V8 supercar even. Those catagoroes manage to put all the best drivers in a possible winning position race in race out. This year is of course better than the last 3 in F1. That goes to show how low the expectations have become.

36

reading novels about Enzo Ferrari.....

😂 Very droll 😂

37

Get in there mate, I see you like it, few and fixed, your buddy is chasing Vettel in chmpionship #s

38

Fangio vs Enzo Celebrity grudge match on the spirit level.
Fangio by some knockout .
Then the call to the Don 👥

39

BOOM 💥 One chance to fix his mistake on the first run in Q3 and Hamilton delivered! Does anyone still doubt his ability? What a great lap under pressure😅Clear second in the outright poles and on course to gain equal first at Silverstone - that'd be nice 😆

40

Not many are doubting the ability mate. You just think that way. Of course it was a great lap. Half a second over his team mate is no mean feet. You Mr Hamilton fan need to realize at some point that most of the comments are analytical, just like this entire blog.

41

most of the comments are analytical,

Analytical - relating to, or using logical reasoning.
You reckon?

42

C63, as Bottas led the two Mercs out for that crucial final run, did the thought cross your mind that with provisional pole in the bag, that maybe Valterri would have some sort of accident that would bring out the yellows and guarantee his pole?

43

TimW

Only a certain vicious German/finish/monagasque driver employs the dark arts of driving.

44

@tim
Agree with KRB, don't think Bottas is that kind of player. And I do believe he's a lot more talented than Lewis"s last teammate.

45

@TimW, @KRB,
and did the thought cross the mind of you right honourable gentlemen that Verstappen, who led the field on the outlap, could have done the same to protect his and RB's P3? Rather more worthwile because it involved the 2 spots now lost, would have avoided a lot of start chaos and hussle and, unlike Bottas' case, would not have been rescinded during the race.

46

Lemwil, it didn't occur to me to be honest, I guess I'm just cynical about Lewis' team mate doing it!

47

Would you be that stupid with his contract position?

48

JonL, the previous guy didn't get the sack when he did it....

49

no he didn't - but unlike Nico Bottas doesn't have a contract for next year. Only a fool would do that at his 8th race for a team and hope to sign a new contract anytime soon.

50

Valterri would have some sort of accident

Well, I didn't actually get to see or hear the last few minutes of quali as I was on a train from Milan to Paris at the time - very cosmopolitan I know 🙂 Now I don't know if you've ever tried tuning in to quali from abroad (on the move), but Sky Go and C4 don't work outside the UK so I was left with the radio. Tuned into 5 live via the BBC website and all was going well until Ric's crash and the red flag. This delayed the session, but the good old BBC stopped the broadcast bang on time - about a minute or so after the event was scheduled to finish - aaagggghh! Then you just get a recorded message saying that it's a contractual thing so hard luck! This just left me with the twitter feed so all I got was effectively the result rather than a blow by blow account of the action 🙁
As for Bottas pulling a stunt like Ros did at Monaco; I don't think he's quite so sneaky, but I bet he must have been tempted as he knew that Ham was the quicker.....

51

C63, you don't realise what you have until you don't have it! I remember trying to explain what F1 was to a Spanish sports bar owner in the pre Alonso days once, he had no idea what I was on about!
I don't think Valterri is as "vicious" as Rosberg, maybe he needs to start looking into the dark arts, as trying to match Lewis on pace isn't working out that well...

52

Honestly never had that thought. Bottas wants to beat Lewis straight up, without employing any dark arts. That's my take.

53

KRB, I'm sure that you are correct, the thought just popped into my mind while I watched them leaving the pit lane, good on Valterri for playing a straight bat, so much better than the last guy...

54

What pressure?

55

You don't think Ham was under any pressure to secure pole for that final run in Q3?

56

Is it just me, or does Bottas look.... just not right!
Has he dropped ten pounds or something?
He doesn't look 'right'.

57

@cassady
I haven't really noticed, but it's possible he's lost a few pound to help with the Merc weight problem. Who knows🤔

58

He looks much the same as last time so far as I can tell .

59

Anyone doubting his on-track superlativeness is either not paying attention and/or taking their eyes off the key indicators.
When he gets his mojo on , and overcomes his tendancies towards tempermentality, the only current driver who could match him, even in the same equipment, is likely only Vettel; it's difficult to pick between them on the best days.
Vettel is, of course, much smarter, especially in strategic thinking, but in a straight-forward race in the same equipment, when hamilton has a clear head, it'd be a coin toss.
This latest qualifying speaks volumes, clearly establishing a trend of <making it happen when the chips are down.
And C, this represents a new level of clutch performance for Hammy; this new clutch-performance trend represents advancement for Hamilton a capability that he has not always had; he is still improving!
Of course, it doesn't hurt to have the fastest equipment, but half a second over his team mate in the same equipment!!!
Anyone who dismisses this is just not paying attention, and/or doesn't understand the nuances of this game.
Incredible run!

60

Hi Dean, out of interest do you think Vettel driving into the side of Hamilton on purpose was a smart thing to do and demonstrates he is clearly the smarter of the two? Personally I think he was lucky not to be black flagged - it was completely outrageous. Plus he's got form when it comes to losing his temper - remember him swearing at Charlie and just about everyone else last season? Doesn't seem like the actions of a smart man to me. What do you reckon? Oh, and whilst I have your ear - do you think Merc threw this race on purpose as part of the MMC?

61

@deancassady and @KRB - I dont know how guys are using such effective Formatting options (Bullet points et all from KRB) but for the long paragraph posts, the highlights do seem highly effective.

For someone glazing over the long paras, it helps one to decide if one is intrested to read the whole thing or not.

I wish I knew how you were formating it so well.

62

much smarter, especially in strategic thinking,

Really ? What evidence do you have to support that hypothesis? The teams, by and large, look after strategy - it's a myth that drivers do. Apart from feedback on how long tyres might last they play a very small role in race strategy - Merc have a team of around 30 engineers during a race feeding info to a team of 5 (with a combined F1 experience of over 100 years )looking after that sort of thing.

63

At the 1989 Italian GP, Ayrton Senna qualified 1.7 SECONDS quicker than his team-mate Alain Prost. Same chassis/engine/tyres/constructor and yet the brilliant Brazilian was 170% quicker than Professor Prost.............

OK, Prostie wasn't the best qualifier in the business, granted, and he prefered to spend practice perfecting the optimum race set up............but 1.7 seconds SLOWER than Senna?????????

64

' Vettel is of course much smarter, especially in strategic thinking '. Utter nonsense. Hamilton used his intelligence and brainpower to direct his engineers to prepare the car the way he wants it,and finished half a second ahead of his teammate ; he will subject Vettel to the same treatment if they ever end up as teammates.

65

Hey that's a odd assumption regarding intelligence? !!
What's next people of colour don't make great swimmers ?
Only thing about Vettel is his air tight contract. Probably states his team mate must give way at all costs. "It's my team and your not allowed to play, unless you stay behind me."
Ricciardo swam against the tide and beat Vettel . Vettel packed his bags and trumped off to Ferrari.
Victory to the Aussie at Red Bull.

66

Intelligence? Really? This again! In their 10 years together in the sport what evidence has vettel - poor in school by his own admission to be more intelligent than Lewis.
How come no one says seb is smarter than kimi hence the reason he's outqualifying and racing him.

67

It went some way to making up for that hash of a weekend here last year. Still, pole only buys you 8 metres.

✔Qualifying
❓ Start
❓ Opening laps
❓ Race pace
❓ Pit stops
❓ Race strategy
❓ Reliability

The race pace of the Ferrari's was better on Friday, though that was before Mercedes' Saturday setup changes that look to have worked well.

68
Tornillo Amarillo

Pole buys you Glory, records, you-are-the-faster Title, and the others aren't.

69

its all car

70

Hey couldn't see your message to me here. So, I thought I'd let you know my reply.

You said if Bottas was the Ferrari driver, Vettel would be 5-0. Well if you listened to the radio messages this year, it Mercedes who let Hamilton pass under clear team order, not Ferrari. I'm not hypocrite like some F1 fans that deny facts or don't own up to the reality. Don't be sure about what I or anyone else would say. Some of us put our hands up and own up to things unlike others who have tunnel visions.

71

My point wasn't that if Bottas was at Ferrari Vettel would have beaten him 5-0, my point was that if Bottas was the lead Mercedes driver Vettel would have had 5 poles and the perception would be that Ferrari was the dominant qualifying car - it's Hamilton that has made the difference.

And I'm pretty sure I could predict what you'd say in any situation, certainly with regards to giving Hamilton any credit or not. And frankly if you believe Ferrari don't operate using team orders or team preference in any way then I don't know what to tell you...

72
The Grape Unwashed

Are you being serious? Mercedes and Ferrari are neck and neck at most circuits, but Hamilton was nearly 1/2 a second faster than Bottas and a whopping 1.2 seconds quicker than Vettel: that's down to the driver, not the car!

After the session was restarted Mercedes' careful warm-up sequence was impossible, the team was in uncharted waters -- and Ferrari should have had a massive advantage. THIS WAS ALL ABOUT THE DRIVER.

73

Relax, Andrew M is joking ... he doesn't believe that.

Just making fun of the ready excuse of the anti-LH faction.

74

"Are you being serious?"

No 🙃

75

Sure,driven by a robot!

76

While the car is great, common don't take anything away from him... he was exquisite!

77

Do you reckon ? I used to think that, but I've started coming round to the idea that Ham might be chipping in just a little something here and there😉

78

Sometimes I just post joke comments like that to see how many likes they get.

79

HAMtastic lap from Lewis on pole more so after starting the second run in Q3 after the tyres had cooled down thus showing good mental strength.

Likewise, good mental strength from Kimi to improve his time and hence jump Max.

As for Max, unfortunately for him the Red flag happened with time still to play for otherwise he would have kept P3, all the same decent effort from Max in P5

Perez once again showed his team leader credentials by out qualifying his rookie teammate and thus maintain the team's support in terms of team orders

Another star of quali was Lance after getting one over Massa thus showing Massa's tutorials are beginning to bear fruit and with Lance's age, he can only improve in terms of skills.

80

I've read tht ocon is on average 0.100 behind Perez in qualifying. When u take into account the experience difference, I don't think Perez should be getting too comfortable.

There's mega focus on max for fair reason, but ocon is showing signs of huge talent. I understand force Indias decision to sign him up instead of pascal

81

@ Flawless

Interesting points, thanks for sharing

82

I agree with you

Also his race pace. Normally young drivers lose out more to experienced team mates in races, because experience counts even more over 300km than a single 5km lap

But Ocon is now onto Perez race pace too and that's even more impressive

He's very grounded, so I see a winning future with Mercedes for him

83

"...Massa's tutorials..." LMAO!

84

@ spokes

It's true, Massa has been tutoring Lance e.g. how to approach certain corners etc

85

That is very nice of Massa

86

@ Nomad

Yes, but Massa is just returning the favour after Schumi did the same for him

87
Clarks4WheelDrift

Zzzzzzzzz...

Get in there Mercedes!!

Domination like 2016, 2015, 2014...

Just what we need when apex missing, mistake ridden Bottas has replaced Rosberg.

Get in there Nico!! F1 world champion!!!

Wake me up in 2021, see if Max can win another race as an "old" man.

88

Get in there indeed. One year of Mercedes domination is just what we need. Please go to sleep and come back in 2021. Boring.

89

dominance is only celebrated by current fans and by history, when you look back you will realise how talented the Merc squad is

90

66th for #44!

91

So what?

92

Not exactly, only 35 for #44

5 for #10
7 for #4
1 for #3
7 for #2
4 for #1
7 for #22

93

both belong to hamilton..66 and #44.

94

Fw14b, good research!

95

@FW14B
*thumbs up* 😉

96
Clarks4WheelDrift

So that'll be 31 well earned poles (except those against teammate Kovalainen when his biggest rival was the mighty Massa) and...

35 handed on a plate with no competition with the Merc PU.

35 where the Merc engineers turn on full beans mode for Q3.

35 where the only competition was Rosberg or Bottas!

No competition that is except when Rosberg took the pole trophy that year 😉

97

Have you counted how many of his poles Schumacher got against his contractually shackled/doormat teammates? The mighty massa?A combination of massa driving an obviously faster car ( the Ferrari of 2008), and being a clearly fast driver who would grow some metal as the 2008 season evolved, yes ,made him mighty indeed. You are talking nonsense. You are not talking about the massa of 2008. Non of Hamilton's teammates are doormats.They all put up a fight In their own ways,and have had to be put away. I thought you want excitement in F1 ; then you should pray that Vettel will soon be joined by a decent teammate.

98

Clarkes, living in a 100% sour grape diet can make a man very bitter.....when are you going to take a similar hatchet to Vettel's pole record? You could minus off all the ones earned with a geriatric team mate, and obviously do the same for all of Schumacher's where the other guy was contractually bound not to beat him....

99

huge asterisk on that, rosberg winning anything last year has an asterisk behind it

and I could go on as to why and how rosberg was literally handed the title but I would either be killed by someone highly trained or banned from this site

100

Why does Lewis' success bother you so much?

101

Sour puss 😄
Never mind 😄

102

Cue a certain brand of Hamilton fan to keep yapping about how Mercedes don't have the fastest car. Any chance to spit shine their man. Renault capitulation but I guess seeing how well Red Bull did, perhaps it shouldn't be all criticism. As for Honda, I have generally been speaking positively of them all year, but this is absurd. Engine upgrade can't work, after it was supposed to be ready for Canada, penalties from now on...just leave F1 already.

103

Well said mate. It is interesting to watch. I even get abused for saying "Mercs have a good car", let alone the fastest car. Some people take that comment as somehow undermining Hamilton's ability. Go figure!!! In my 25 years of following F1, I have never seen such reactions. Not even Senna or Schumacher fans were that irrational.

104

Formula zero. When did you get abused for saying Merc have a good car?! Not on this site that's for sure.
It may astonish you to learn that there are some people out there who try to exaggerate the performance of the Mercedes in order to undermine Lewis' ability, I know it sounds crazy but there really are regular commenters on this site who simply don't like Lewis and see any good result from him as something to be belittled as much as possible.
I really don't think there is anyone who didn't think that Mercedes had the best car throughout 2014,15 and 16, but the fact is that this year things are a lot closer. At this track the Merc was clearly quicker than the Ferrari, but not 1.1 seconds a lap quicker. Lewis delivered a great lap in a great car, go figure!

105
The Grape Unwashed

Hamilton's car isn't 1.2 seconds faster than Vettel's. This was all about the driver.

106

Really? He is 1.2 seconds faster than the closest Ferrari because of him? All I can say is "WOW" to your comment.

107

F zero, ridiculousvto suggest it's all down to the driver, but equally ridiculous to suggest it's all down to the car.

108

Pot kettle?

109

no one was talking about any car being dominant when vettel won this year

give the Hamilton hate a break lads, it's boring now

110

That's cos Vettel's car was never dominant this year. Dominant is when you lock out the front grid by a sizeable margin, have track position, the clear etc. Dominant is what Mercedes have been for the past four years. You guys can fawn over that all you want. I didn't hate on Hamilton, I spoke on a certain section of his fans and their hypocrisy.

111

Ferrari locked out the front row earlier this year
are they dominant now?
margins aside that Ferrari car has beaten Merc this year with all things being equal, there is no dominant car this season

talk about what you're actually seeing on track instead of creating your own narrative to justify your stance

112

A real shame for Honda. They should pull out if they don't hire more capable people.

113
Clarks4WheelDrift

Merc are dominant here and have the fastest car full stop.

Bottas blew his lap when the track was quickest, missing apexes before the straights throwing away half a second and still locking out the front row!

Ferrari 1- 1.2 seconds back due to the PU.

114

Clarkes, full stop? No input from the driver at all? You don't think Lewis did anything worth of note? Hardly surprising that you think that, it's not as if you ever say anything different is it? I'm not trying to tell you that Lewis is 1.2s quicker than Seb, or that the Merc wasn't the fastest car at that particular track yesterday, but all from the PU? That's ridiculous, do you have any idea how much more horsepower would be required to go 1.2 seconds a lap faster? Obviously it can't be down to the engine can it? Valterri has the same engine and wasn't 1.2 faster, Kimi has the same engine as Seb and wasn't 1.2 slower was he?

115

Except in this case it was the Pirelli guys manipulating the race. How does the tyre guy get to tell the teams to run the kind of tyre pressure that would be fine on a family saloon

116

How much would Alonso give to know how quick a mclaren would go with a Mercedes engine? In fact how much would mclaren give to know that? Their superstar driver? Shame on you Honda.

117

Cheesypoof. The Ferrari and Mercedes are very close together, overall this season. Certain tracks will favour one car over the other, and it seems that Mercedes has an advantage in qualifying, while the Ferrari has often been the better car on race day. Over the course of the season so far it has been very tight between them, but this track certainly suits the Mercedes strengths, add in the engine problems for Vettel and you have a sizeable gap.
I am well aware of your disdain for the expert view, but they are clear on this issue, and it has nothing to do with a desire to "spit shine their man".

118

It seems I have a disdain for your 'expert' view, if you want to call it that, what with your rose-tinted Hamilton glasses on. It's amazing (sarcasm, see comment above about certain brand of fan) that you are willing to argue week in and week out on pace with me, when the simple fact is Mercedes almost always dominate qualifying, getting position on track and all the obvious benefits that brings. Last race we saw what that not being on the front row means you can get caught in battle and damaged, as happened with Vettel. On this front it hasn't been 'tight'. The Mercedes engine is dominant again as we see all the Mercedes teams leap forward. A more than one second gap over everyone else given Bottas mistakes, and you're still polishing your brand.

119

Average starting position in 2017:

VET 2.13
BOT 2.63

120

Cheesepoof, spot on mate. Mercedes is by far the best piece of engineering, the fastest car without any doubt. If someone thinks you can beat Montreal record with a second car on the grid, then nothing can be done, really.

121

Alan be real man, all track records are being broken this season

literally what point are you making by mentioning this detail?

122

Alan, the fastest car in Canada, and the fastest car in Baku, but what about Australia, Bahrain and Monaco? Who had the fastest car there?

123

Cheesypoof, not my expert view, the real expert view gleaned from, amongst other places, this very site! Didn't I say that Mercedes retain an advantage in qualifying? Why do you feel the need to tell me this again? Why do you feel the need to come here week in an week out and desperately try your best to belittle any success that Lewis has earned? All good questions.....

124
Jean-Christophe

@TimW many experts including this site suggested after Monaco that it might not be until Silverstone before we could see Mercedes shine. Canada and Baku were supposed to play into Ferrari's strength.

125

Jean, anywhere with lots of straights and big stops suits Mercedes, we never did get to see what Ferrari could do in the race in Canada though did we?

126

JC, no one really knows what the strengths of these cars are

if you watched the fp sessions you will note that teams were expecting to run low Downforce this weekend, the setup for these cars in reality for this weekend is high downforce though

rbr is doing well because they can run a low Downforce setup due to newey magic on their base aero setup and mechanical grip

the old playbook doesn't apply this season, the game has changed and teams are having to adapt when the cars hit the circuit and prove their prior knowledge to be nonapplicable

127

TimW , The points you make are very valid and fair based on previous 2017 form but I Think Ferrari are beginning to slip behind development wise ever so slightly . I would not expect the 2017 Ferrari to be over a second down on it's Merc counterpart. Whilst it is not yet clear whether Merc have reclaimed an advantage their developments seems to be working where as Ferrari's in the last race or 2 has been questionable. Even With Vettel's old engine the gap in qualy should have been down to around 0.6-0.7 if Ferrari were 100% nailing development I feel. Also it is virtually certain Ferrari will take engine pens later in the season so Ferrari need more wins ASAP rather than relying on the latter races.

128

Stephen, Merc seem to have the upper hand, but I think the upcoming tracks will suit Ferrari more than Baku.

129

🙋🏻‍♂️

130

There you go again Tim - clouding the issue with facts 😉

131

@TimW - I am starting to suspect, ever since the new Mercedes Reliability upgrade, all the Mercedes powered teams have taken a step above all the Ferrari powered teams in outright power in thier highest mode.

132

Nomad, yes Merc said they wanted to be able to run the higher engine mode for longer, Ferrari need to get working on theirs!

133

It was suggested tht the reliability upgrade was primarily focused on extending tht power burst period

134

I think it's way too early to say if Mercedes' car is actually faster; even if the two cars are roughly equal in performance the pendulum will still swing from one car to the other from track to track. I would also argue that Mercedes have a much faster driver line-up (with Hamilton>Vettel, and Bottas>>Raikkonen), so even if the cars are equal I would except the Mercedes to look faster by virtue of their drivers.

135

I like to think tht Hamilton is better thn vettel, maybe with qualy pace but I think vettel has a slight edge on race craft.

136

This is twice now that James has described Hamilton’s Q3 effort as "sensational", yet both times you haven't been able to bring yourself to offer a simple acknowledgement of his efforts. So I guess a) James is a Hamilton fanboy, and b) it takes a special kind of Hamilton detractor to constantly downplay his contribution to the success of Mercedes.

When Mercedes have the tires figured out, they have the fastest car, definitely over a single lap. Let's see how they fare tomorrow in the race ... usually Ferrari has been better on Sundays relative to their Saturdays. The long lap here puts a big emphasis on the MGU-H to deliver a greater percentage of the power, compared to most other tracks.

137

Ah yes, the same brand of Hamilton fan, insisting everyone acknowledges their god, or face their wrath. How hilariously repetitive. I have my own mind and my own opinion. Keep count I guess?

138

cheese, your opinion ignores the facts
that's why Hamilton fans will berate you

I'm seeing people here saying stats mean nothing and the eye test means nothing, and even that expert opinion means nothing

how do we grade drivers when you aim to discard all the metrics used to measure drivers?
is a bit of a madness tbh

139

You make it sound like having to give forced tribute. It's just about being reasonable. A simple "good lap" would suffice.

I like it that you can't bring yourself to even do that ... you just betray your own unreasonable nature, to the entire gallery. Keep it up!

140

I think in one of the previous weekends on a comment I made that mentioned nothing of Lewis I was told I should have praised him. That is absurd, and part of what your clan expects it seems. With so many of this ilk barking out in praise, why should I? Any driver who's been lucky enough to be in the strongest team with virtually no competition but his team mate for several years in a row doesn't need any further "praise". Apparently that's enough to draw your unending praise and condemnation to anyone who doesn't sing your tune. Thanks for the invite, but no thanks, I'll praise the best driver of the season so far, and it's not been him. Glad to share my opinion with the gallery, and congrats on your permanent seat on the bandwagon.

141

Cheesypoof, you have your opinion, and we don't need to wait for any on track action to take place to know what you will say...

142

James is quite a journalist, unlike the happy bunch on Sky. I acknowledge Lewis' contribution to the team and his excellent driving skills but am annoyed at the media and fanboys portraying him as the best ever.

143

annoyed at the media and fanboys

It's not just Lewis that get's that sort of treatment. When Vet was on his winning streak at Red Bull the same sort of things were said about him; metronome , machine like etc.

144

wesa m8, the media and fans portray lewis as the best right now, not ever (you can't have more talent than fangio if you've crashed your car)

do an eye test on the drivers next time we have a wet race and list down which drivers leap off the screen

you'll be sounding like the media guys very quickly, cause they're all commenting on the same thing, they can only report what they're eyes see

145

They report what they see but also like to use statistics which is a cheap trick. Remember Schumacher dominance days? He was portrayed as the best ever - smashing most of the records and to an average person he was the personification of F1, you know, because statistics...heh. Have to be fair though, Lewis is nowhere near his wet driving skills.

146

Just ignore those posts. They're mostly from aveli, who goes overboard on Lewis.

147

have the tires figured out

I think you might have a point there - earlier in the season Ferrari seemed able to dial their tyres in more easily with a wider operating window . Merc reported that after Monaco they ran their simulator 24/7 for 10 solid days trying to get to the bottom of their problems. Maybe that hard graft is starting to pay off?

148

C63, do you remember having arguments about how rubbish Mercedes are and how obvious it was that Ferrari have built a much better car? Seems like such a long time ago now....

149

Ferrari have built a much better car?

Just after Monaco - I believe that was portrayed as clear evidence that Merc had built a donkey and Ferrari was the superior car. Despite both teams being equal on wins over the season at that point. All we will need is another poor showing from Merc and the pendulum will swing back I'm sure 🙂

150

Imho the merc is a far more advanced car with a lot more speed to unlock. But unlocking that speed is taking them longer to understand and also presents them with a very small operational window. I do expect them to leap ahead once they figure it out along with a weight loss program

151

You get 1-2 when the car is the fastest. This race setting is just another bull, Mercedes is one of the greatest car ever, only blunders give them less than 1-2 places. Let's just be honest, nothing taken from their merits. We should brace for another boring championships, hope I am wrong.

152

KRB
Yep they'd rather kick air and make excuses about everything else.
Next it will be, that Climate change helped Lewis, and that the stars were aligned. Plus the Mercedes uses a unique hogs blood fuel, which favours the Brit. So it was a easy pole.
But when Vettel gets a pole it's awesome and wow. Comical.

153

Mercedes have been strong on the last two circuits which are arguably the most engine dependent on the whole calendar, hardly a surprise. I expect Ferrari to come good at Austria and Hungary, Silverstone will probably be a lot closer.

154

Re chessey,or a certain type of anti Hamilton fan, who can never give the guy any sort of credit at all.

155

mercedes have the fastest driver of all time!

156

@aveli @bbernie
!! 😀
What in the world. You two are super funny

157
Clarks4WheelDrift

The current champ?

But he's not racing anymore!

158

Niki Lauda?

159
Tornillo Amarillo

Fangio, from Argentina.

160

if you are in a position of authority to tell me how to spell or post, please show us your id...

161

i wrote it as i wanted..i chose and paid for my very expensive computer all by myself, it came with a user manual which makes no mention of you so why are you trying to tell me how to use it? i use the keys as i wish because it is my computer i used to post my opinion..

162

That post makes no sense. "I spell everything wrong cause I can!!" Hamhilton is not the fastest driver of all times, i think. Gimi Raiggonen is faster and Schnebastian Feddel too. Ayuorton Zenna was very fast too.

163

the logic is all present because you got the full message.

164

mm that's true sort of

165

With his tongue?

166

i have just spent a few minutes searching the mercedes website and they don't have a driver called nikki lauda..

167

LOL / good one! If Hamilton sticks around he's going to smash a lot of records!

168
Clarks4WheelDrift

That's because it's one 'k' in Niki.

Glad I could be of assistance, when not available try google. 😉

169

Ah, I'm not sure he can use Google unless it's been Hamilton approved.

170

There was certainly some midsummer magic in Lewis' pole lap. Smells like another getaway victory for him tomorrow.

171
Stephen Taylor

Hamilton has nailed Baku -excellent job by him . Solid jobs by the two Ferrari's ,Bottas and Verstappen though in Max's case he will be disappointed not to make row 2 when he probably should've done but at least he did't crash unlike his Aussie teammate . Special mention goes out to Lance Stroll who seems now like a completely different driver confidence wise this weekend like a man on mission to prove himself worthy of F1 after his first points in Canada and after all the stick the naysayers have given him . Long may this continue Lance.

172

@Stephen Taylor - Stroll's money helped him - again. Who else can afford to have private practice days between races? If Mercedes arranged for their drivers to practice as often, we'd never hear the last of it.

173
Stephen Taylor

At least he seems to have taken advantage of the that opportunity and not wasted it. Stroll should not be made a villain because he is a paying driver he should be judged on his performance .

174

verstappen is lined up for a great race tomorrow!

175

This is a concern lol

176

Verstappen is lined up for a great race tomorrow!

@aveli

err, he is again right behind Vettel and I hope it doesnt end up with Vettel fighting from the back again. Although I am not sure if Baku is a wheel to wheel sort of track, but its better to watch the Championship leaders fighting it out at the front, than trading places -playing catch up from lower down the grid- in alternate races.

177

This circuit favors Mercedes, no doubt, but nevertheless I'm starting to grow concerned about the competitiveness of the championship. Hopefully Ferrari can show strength in the race. Is Mercedes getting on top of their tire issues?

178

I agree. I see Ferrari falling behind going forward. Especially with penalties they are going to receive.

179
Stephen Taylor

Tyres won't be a problem as no Ultras-which are normally used on street circuits. Sadly the compound nominations for this race had to be made before they truly Pirelli realised the extent of just how durable their 2017 tyre range was. Had they been able to select the compounds once this knowledge was understood i'm sure they would've picked Ultra-Softs for this race. This will be one the easiest 1 stops of the season I think. This will be like a Bridgestone era race I suspect.

180

some are still struggling to accept that hamilton is the best ever....but they can't escape from the results.:

181

I think the 'some' are the people continually arguing about a subjective issue. That's what best ever is? It's opinion not trophy/stat related.

182

qualifying represents how good a driver is and hamilton has scored more pole than anyone in the history of the sport appart from schumacher who cheated like this..

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JrhGdDxkprM

183

waiting for his career to finish before I rank him as a driver, though he is firmly in the top 3 imo, if you were to use an American term then Hamilton would be on my f1 Mt. rushmore (along with fangio, Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart)

but i agree that people refuse to accept how great a talent we're witnessing in Hamilton
I would expect him to hold all the driver records in f1 for a while after he retires
but it must be said, verstappen is literally positioned to rewrite the record books himself, so we should be in for some exciting times ahead

184

verstappen is exciting but is different, both his mum and dad raced. his dad owned a carting school before he got into f1 as a driver. hamilton had no such upbringing let aloneness genetics.
I thought alonso was in a perfect position to break all of Schumacher record as Schumacher retired for the first time..

185

Please enlighten us with some arguments why he is the best ever? Genuinely curious...

186

some talk of fangio, the wealthy amateur backed by his government, as the best ever but i see fangio as an oversized bully who bullied his way into the fastest car available, sometimes mid season, and took over his teammates car each time he suffered mechanical problems.
for example in 1956 fangio moved to ferrari to win his fourth title. enzo ferrari and fangio did not have a very warm relationship, despite their shared success. fangio took over his teammate's cars after he suffered mechanical problems in three races, the argentine, monaco and Italian grands prix. In each case the points were shared between the two drivers. at the season-ending italian grand prix, fangio's ferrari teammate peter collins, who was in a position to win the world championship with just 15 laps to go, handed over his car to fangio. they shared the six points won for second place, giving fangio the World title.
some also talk of schumacher but i know that like fangio, schumacher bullied his way into special contracts which allowed numerous advantages over his teammates. not only did cheat like this

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JrhGdDxkprM

senna crashed into prost to win a champion, which the best don't do.

hamilton is a natural talent, he didn't have rich parents nor parents with f1 experience yet he scored 9 consecutive podiums in his first 9 f1 races. demonstrating in his first season that he was the best at overtaking and defending his position for victories...like this

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=U8190t4mrbc

he demonstrated he was the best at driving in the wet...like this

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qyYOJnMpK6U

all this in his first ever f1 season.
he has gone on to develope into the best ever as he has demonstrated in his on track action, winning more than all drivers he competes against, acored more pole positions than all drivers he competes against, nor matter how long they have been racing. by the end of this season, he would've scored more poles than anyone in the history of the sport, without cheating or asking for special favours.

because he is the best ever, he has the largest ever antifan following...

those who vigorously fight blindly against the fact that he is the best should be aware that in the end, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that hamilton is the best ever, long before he retires from f1...

187

I wouldn't say best ever! I would say top 3 no doubt!

188

verstappen also demonstrating why he's top dog at redbull.

189

66 Poles 🏁
GET IN THERE LEWIS 😆
Sup erbium lap 😎

190

66th pole for car number 44!

191

Ferrari have until 2pm tomorrow to plan the dreaded "switch". Here's hoping Kimi RAI will scupper their plan.... 🙂

192

Yep.
Already talk how they'll create an opening for Herr Vettel.
Hopefully at one of the races Kimi will stick two fingers at team orders and drive for himself. After all he was Ferrari's last Champ. Seem to think Marchionne has forgotten that nugget of gold.
Kimi already looked abit down.
When asked how he'll manage the race on Sunday. He seemed abit coy knowing he will be the sacrificial lamb.
I want Ricciardo to go to Ferrari (if they decide to drop Kimi) next year and see the smug grin disappear of Vettel 😄.

193

I honestly don't see tht happening at Ferrari. Vettel left rbr with a year to go. He's massively talented and without a doubt one of the top 3. Sure rbr had all the data but CH did say tht u can't make a man race for u if u doesn't want drive for u. There were races where DR had the edge but I don't think vettel was trying very hard to avoid it. Vettel is a smart and strategic man

194

@Phil Glass @Biffa

But it was weird how Vettel lost his front wing at the start of the last race and still came up behind Kimi -right from last place- by the end of the race.

Judging from what Kimi said in yesterdays conference, it was a bit uncomfortable for him but it seemed even he recognised that Vettel is more at ease with the car than him this year in many races as the podiums demonstrate.

Kimi even touched the wall at some point in the last race and generally didnt seem to be able to threaten the two Force Indias let alone the Redbull.

The Ferrari is definitly capable of taking on the FIs. Vettel proved it by the end of the race. I do not think this car suits Kimi all that well.

195

Ricciardo's own smug smile has mostly been absent so far this season....

196

Smug? Seriously? Give the man a break! His genuine enjoyment of F1 has been a breath of fresh air.

Dan proved his talent against Vettel in 2014 and Kvyat in 2015. He is being sorely tested by Max in qualifying this year. That's life!

197

@Skeptic... you could say exactly the same thing about Vettel

198

Emphatic pole from Lewis, I just hope this isn't the beginning of Mercedes domination. If it is, then it's likely going to be a one horse race, I don't think Valtteri can consistently keep up with Lewis. Ferrari, wake up!

199

Wasn't the Championship suppose to be over after Vettel took a 25 point lead? My o my how things have changed! lol

200

It's in the medias best interest to say someone else is going to win it or say it's close when they know full well it won't.

201

of Mercedes domination.

I reckon it's all to do with these flipping tyres! Raikonnen mentioned something in one of the interviews about how much time can be won or lost by 'switching' the tyres on. Early season Ferrari were better at getting their cars in the sweet spot compared to Merc butI read reports that Merc had their simulator running 24/7 for 10 days straight after their Monaco woes and it looks like that might be paying off.

202

Interesting reasoning. Ferrari should be worried.

203

What we don't know is what Ferrari have been up too - I'm quite sure they've not been lolling around catching up on box sets they missed on Sky. But they appear to have gone a bit quiet when it comes to communicating with the press (at least that's what I read) so people are left to make up their own minds.

204

Yeah, Ferrari had better wake up. I wonder if this year will end up as some have predicted: - Mercedes out-developing Ferrari as the season goes by and possibly gifting us a lone horserace. Except if Botta's steps up.

205

I'd put money on it.

206

I don't get people. Vettel is up by 12 pts! He's in the best position at this point in time. Reading your post it sounds like Vettel is just barely staying within a race win of Lewis.

207

I think it is over! The writing is on the Stuttgart wall!

208

You're right - It's just one poor quali (relatively speaking) for Vet - hardly the end of the world.

209

I personally think that the standings are the way they are because of strong driving from Vettel and some poor performances (to take nothing away from the good ones) from Hamilton. However, if Mercedes gets on top of heir tire problems and if Ferrari can't keep its development up then driver performance will matter less and less. I'm not sure it is definitive whether Mercedes has the besr package, but today's qualifying seems to suggest it might. The last time the championship was won in an inferior car was 1986.

210

Arguably the 2008 mclaren was inferior to the Ferrari based on constructor standings but that is also heavily influenced by koveleinens performance which was meh

211

The last time was 2008.

Hamilton's performances in Russia and Monaco were more down to Mercedes' problem getting the tires working, than any substandard driving from Hamilton.

212

Gonna have to disagree with you.

The Ferrari might have been faster in '08 but the Mclaren was definitely not inferior. At least not in the way it was to the Williams in 1986.

Yes, you're right, tires seemed to be the problem for Hamilton in those races.

213

All I am taking away from this isn the enormous and worrying spread into the top 10. 8th place is a full 2 seconds behind pole. That is a huge amount.
Sure Ham had an exceptional pole but when bottas does a very average lap, by his own admission, and still is comfortably 2nd it's back to 2014 again :(.
Come on Ferrari please don't drop behind now we need to keep this season competitive.

214

Ferrari have fallen behind mid season consistently for most of the last decade. I would like them to compete well, but won't hold my breath. With lighter, more powerful, overcoming suspension regulations early season, Mercedes are surely big favourites now.

215

Ferrari In a few races time, they'll be tight rope walking towards engine penalties and grid drops.

216

like this

Pos No Driver Team Q1 Time Q2 Time Gap
1 2 Brazil Ayrton Senna Williams-Renault 1:21.548 no time —
2 5 Germany Michael Schumacher Benetton-Ford 1:22.015 1:21.885 +0.337
3 28 Austria Gerhard Berger Ferrari 1:22.113 1:22.226 +0.565
4 0 United Kingdom Damon Hill Williams-Renault 1:23.199 1:22.168 +0.620
5 6 Finland JJ Lehto Benetton-Ford 1:22.717 1:24.029 +1.169
6 27 Italy Nicola Larini Ferrari 1:22.841 1:23.006 +1.293
7 30 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber-Mercedes 1:23.119 no time +1.571
8 7 Finland Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Peugeot 1:23.611 1:23.140 +1.592
9 3 Japan Ukyo Katayama Tyrrell-Yamaha 1:24.000 1:23.322 +1.774
10 29 Austria Karl Wendlinger Sauber-Mercedes 1:23.788 1:23.347 +1.799
11 10 Italy Gianni Morbidelli Footwork-Ford 1:23.663 1:24.682 +2.115
12 4 United Kingdom Mark Blundell Tyrrell-Yamaha 1:23.703 1:23.831 +2.155
13 8 United Kingdom Martin Brundle McLaren-Peugeot 1:24.443 1:23.858 +2.310
14 23 Italy Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Ford 1:24.078 1:24.423 +2.530
15 24 Italy Michele Alboreto Minardi-Ford 1:24.276 1:24.780 +2.728
16 9 Brazil Christian Fittipaldi Footwork-Ford 1:24.655 1:24.472 +2.924
17 25 France Éric Bernard Ligier-Renault 1:24.678 1:40.411 +3.130
18 20 France Érik Comas Larrousse-Ford 1:26.295 1:24.852 +3.304
19 26 France Olivier Panis Ligier-Renault 1:24.996 1:25.160 +3.448
20 12 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Lotus-Mugen-Honda 1:25.114 1:25.141 +3.566
21 15 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Jordan-Hart 1:25.234 1:25.872 +3.686
22 11 Portugal Pedro Lamy Lotus-Mugen-Honda 1:26.453 1:25.295 +3.747
23 19 Monaco Olivier Beretta Larrousse-Ford 1:27.179 1:25.991 +4.443
24 31 Australia David Brabham Simtek-Ford 1:27.607 1:26.817 +5.269
25 34 France Bertrand Gachot Pacific-Ilmor 1:27.732 1:27.143 +5.595
26 32 Austria Roland Ratzenberger Simtek-Ford 1:27.657 1:27.584 +6.036
27 33 France Paul Belmondo Pacific-Ilmor 1:28.361 1:27.881 +6.333
28 14 Brazil Rubens Barrichello Jordan-Hart 14:57.323 no time +13:35.775

217

Why would you pick that GP as a comparison?!?

218

this is a lot closer than in the past where the top 10 spread was over 10 seconds./

219

The top ten is spread by 1.79 secs in the race you have chosen, less than today.

220

@aveli- the copy paste did not work out too well, but I will take your word for it :O

221

Max didn't make a mistake in sector 2,he had a technical issue as per the post quali interview. Real shame as he deserved p3.
Lewis... Omg what a lap. Awesome!

222

According to VES, he had a gear sync problem in his final qualifying effort which cost him 2 tenths.

223

It appears there will just come no end to the reliability issues with Max' car. Hydraulics failure ended his FP3 and at the moment supreme in Q3 he was suddenly confronted with a gear sync problem. Gear synchronisation in his final timed lap was slow all of a sudden costing him 0.2s in the transition from sector 2 to 3. That effectively cost him P3.
For the race, this once more does not make one feel comfortable. Verstappen is in
danger of becoming a pre-race and early race stage side show, quite undeservedly so. His WDC tally is a distortion of reality as it is, but if he DNF with another technical issue AGAIN and if Ricciardo (who clearly buckled under the pressure) and Perez drive some points home again, the standings will be such a deviation from real merit and potential as to become almost farcical.

224

Both ricciardo and verstappen have put it into the wall this weekend...so far. let's wait until the flag waves tomorrow before throwing comments. Drivers push hard and sometimes they make slight errors...unusual in Ricciardo's case but there ,nevertheless and he admits it was simply his fault. So what's your point apart from taking a cheap shot? Yes, verstappen is fast so what?

225

Would u say the same about Hamilton or would the slight error render him mentally weak?

226

@kenneth, it's not that cheap. True, they both put it into the wall, but I feel there was a difference. Verstappen was not under any pressure at the moment, it really was a lapse of concentration. (You could actually argue that's worse but THAT would be a cheap comment.) Daniel who was behind Max all weekend still had no competitive Q3 time and was under severe pressure to deliver - and failed. Nothing cheap in pointing that out.
Agree with you that the real thing is still to come but my remark about Ricciardo buckling was purely quali-related and therefore appropriate.

227

@Lemwil - If Lewis Hamilton had a series of reliability problems like Max, every man and his dog would be claiming that it was due to poor driving, lack of mechanical sympathy, etc, etc.

Not that I'm pointing fingers...

228

@Rodger R,
High trees catch a lot of wind, one could say. Verstappen may yet experience the same.

229

Eeuh, more probably it would be like: Mercedes is favouring Bottas, giving Lewis the bad engines, etc

230

Noted the etc but u gotta put out cracking under pressure and mentally weak. Those are the favourites.

231

Another superb qualifiying performance LH, hey @Kenneth that go faster button in LH's car still seems to working quite well 😀.

232

@ReviLO: the best indication the button really exists came from Johnny Herbert's 2-cars-in-one-picture analysis where Lewis' and Bottas' laps were meticulously compared. Turned out the 0.5s difference came solely from the final 2km stretch. Hamilton pushed the boost button, Bottas couldn't or forgot to.

233

@ Revilo...Hahahah yes it certainly is and this year hamilton won't have to ask his pit wall which button to push either .....

234

Believe it or not, I'm actually unhappy to say, I told you so about the subterfuge with the MMC (Mercedes Managed Championship), still going on!.
Well, it;s still going on, just more camoflaging tactics this year, to preserve the barest illusion of competition, and guard the ever-the-top-priority ROI.
Someone challenged me a few races back, when the Ferrari/Vettel package was looking so admirable, 'are you over your MMC conspiracy theory?'
I said (paraphrasing) 'no way. Until another team wins the WDC or WCC, I won't be convinced.'
Just taking this trick, and that trick, and... that trick too out of the bag of Merc tricks, all tested up and ready to give advantage!!!
Be that as it may, we can all hold out the hope of a safety car, since it seems really tricky, shadows, and what not, in the tight , twisty part of the circuit. RB's DR is usually pretty good at staying off walls ,but not this time.
I expect (unfortunately) Vettel to be in 2nd or (at worst) 3rd by the end of the first lap.
But we could have a yellow flag, if not red flag at the first corner with Checko and The Max going into it at the same time!
I definitely expect some fire there, unless The Max can leapfrog Kimi, which he will likely try to do; so both Kimi and Vettel are at risk from the third row into the first couple of corners.
Another interesting spot could be Sainz and Grosjean, not because of Grosjean, who really upped his game after the incidents a few years ago in the Lotus, but Sainz is going backwards in terms of staying out of trouble.
You will have noticed that having been a big supporter of Carlos' obvious speed, not too long ago, to him emerging as the most unreliable/incident-causing factor on the grid !
What happened?!
Now the best prospect on the grid is Esteban Ocon, by a mile!
Look for him as a 'surprise' podium in the next few races, and I am looking for him to start beating Checko at Force I (the sooner they change their name... can't come too soon). Ocon, The Pink Panther.
Look for silly season talk to reveal a bidding war between Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes for Ocon next year, he is the real deal.

235
Tornillo Amarillo

Of course Ocon will do the Podium, no doubt, maybe tomorrow at Baku!
Perez has a problem, "the car" is so good and the PU is a rocket, next year he can only go to replace Kimi or stay in Force India like forever...

236

I don't get how Vettel in 2nd or 3rd after the end of the first lap is a bad thing, when he's starting 4th. Care to elaborate?

237

This is just silly,it is all the driver and Ham is the best the world has ever seen

238

@deancassady - Conspiracy theories are thataway >>>

239

Well said. Mercedes? Neah, they are the second car. Really? Never seen a faster car. Yea, Mercedes' tactics is a travesty.
Agreed, Ovon seems to be the best kept secret, a real gem, time will tell.

240

Verstappen did not make a mistake in section 2, he had a gear sync failure.

241

Mercedes on pole was expected cause they have the most powerfull engine. But the way they turn up the engine to declass the rest in Q3 is just sick. Smells a bit like oil if you ask me. I don't trust them for one bit.

242

You should not trust, their car stinks. Oil.
Toto said Ferari has a hidden oil reservoir. A master of illusions, Toto.

243

Let's hear it for the other end of the grid: say what you like about Jolyon Palmer (and I'm sure many of you will), the guy can't buy a piece of good luck at the moment. At least the management appear to he publicly supporting him. Should be a good race at the front though.

244

Is it fuel burning restriction or just a track specific issue for Ferrari?

245

I was thinking the same! Hope it's not the case of oil burning.

246

What a pole by the Hammerboy!Congrats
Well done,Mercedes!
Stroll has began flexing some lean mean muscles.
Special mention should be also made of Ferrari for packing up so early for vacation which is a month away!Upon resumption,they will have to be wary of Red Bull,as the Mercs have began pulling away.
And oh,Max at 5th slot......well,Ferrari drivers,be warned of a potential crash.
McLaren and Honda,this is a real incubo still with the Spec3 engine.An engine for every race shows they are still not finding their way out of a wet paper bag!
"Monisha's boy" again proved it was on merit and not on anything else.

247

Verstappen told he had a gear sync problem in sector 2 and it has cost him 2 tenths at least. How is it possible Redbull being this fast on a track like Baku?

248

Leaner aero and great mechanical grip.

249

Good DNA I imagine.

250

Great lap under pressure from Lewis, Ferrari on the back foot due to the late engine swap, Ricciardo bins it, and Kimi ahead of Seb! What will Ferrari do about that tomorrow? Impressive stuff from Stroll on a weekend when everyone seems to be making a mistake every other lap, he has been the most error free guy out there! Ahead of (a ragged looking) Felipe on the grid, and with a good chance of points tomorrow, I do hope he proves the doubters (including me) wrong.

251

@TimW

Yes Stroll was surprising on a relatively new track for all drivers, in its second year. I wonder where @TORNILLO AMARILLO is today? He is the self confessed Number 1 Lance Stroll Fan on this site 😀

252
Tornillo Amarillo

In a Paradise...

253

What pressure?

Hamilton has by far the fastest F1 car in history for the 4th year especially in Qualifying, a massive advantage on this track, even though he managed to crash last year (when the real pressure was on and he lost the Championship..), a 3rd rated driver as a team mate and gets the team order in his favor since race one.

So what pressure exactly are you talking about?

254

Vettel never had a teammate as good as Rosberg,who I believe wiill consistently beat Vettel. 2013 proved Vettel cant handle pressure. Webber wanted to finish his career with a couple of wins,hence he lifted himself from his doormat stupor. And when Vettel sensed that Webber was threatening in a couple of the qually sessions, Vettel became ragged and was outqualified. That is why I regularly say that Webber ,by choice relegated himself to the position of the doormat. He couldn't care to find the energy(mental/physical) to be consistently competitive. Vettel will be a very wobbly guy when he finally has a very competitive teammate he will have to put away. He has been dodging them so far.

255

Spot on. Thanks for having your own opinion 🙂

256

You either hate him or love him but you cannot say that Lewis Hamilton is not up there with the legends of this sport!

257

Records speak for themselves. Of course they were all gifted after he threw away his career

258

On his day he's one of the best ever, no doubt! He's just had so many of those days in his career where it's like his head is somewhere else.

259

@Deano some will never accept it no matter what the lad achieves, but as as was acknowledged not so long ago by someone who I superset is much more knowledgeable of these matters than you or I (most likely) that, eventually the sheer weight of the numbers lead you to one inevitable conclusion.

260
Tornillo Amarillo

HAM is a living legend, enjoy it ! (buy tickets!!) :))

261

OMG he is just so you know awesome and excellent,the son i wished i had

262

An exciting qualifying session.

The clock stopped at 3:33 in Q3 -- and Lewis Hamilton took his his 66th pole of all-time.

Numerologists out there?

263
Tornillo Amarillo

All my best favorite drivers there, Lewis on Pole again, rookies Ocon in P7 and Lance P8 !

Kid Lance didn’t know the circuit and beat Massa, extraordinary, so proud, why nobody saw this Canadian come through from the beginning of the season to this point, except you know… me 😊

GO LANCE !!!

PS: JV eat your words about Lance now please, you are the worst ever pretending F1 journalist in history!!

264

If I may, what about Stroll makes you a fan of his?

265
Tornillo Amarillo

I saw something on him, same with Ocon and Ham, I've never understood doubters (why to say "haters").
And most importantly, he is Montrealer, my city by choice, so I support the kid himself before the driver, it's like a son.

266
The Grape Unwashed

Stunning lap from Hamilton. Everyone was heading into the unknown following the red flag, but particularly the Mercedes drivers who struggle so much to warm up their tyres. On a track where there is so little margin for error, this was a scenario where the cream rises to the top: and to be almost 1/2 second ahead of his teammate was simply brilliant.

267

Just watched Lewis' on board camera pole lap. Especially impressive are his cornering (unspectacular but very precise and secure) and lightning fast gear shifting on corner exits. The Merc qualimode boost does the rest.
Must mention Stroll too. Smartly not too aggressive in the tight corners and relying on the Merc bhp on the straights. Canada was decent, this was even a bit better.
Perez and Ocon are there to stay as the best of the rest.
Ricciardo is sitting pretty on his 3-time podium points cushion but needs to improve his quali performance, if only for the Force Indias getting close. Not to Max but to him.

268

Maybe unlike other street tracks, Baku requires an element of finesse over raw aggression. The old, the slower it looks the faster it is vibe.

269
Clarks4WheelDrift

Alonso was funny...

We're building up and they think we're on a warm up lap because we're so slow so they pass and get in our way 😉

What happened with the new Honda PU update that was removed again for the old PU?

Why swap back? How can it be any worse in speed, reliability or thirst? I can only assume it would explode with such ferocity it would take the drivers with it!

270

@Clarks, Funny yes, but at the expense of his employer paying him 40m $. He is being allowed to be sarcastical on a consistent basis now it seems.

271

The excuse is that, why waste the new engine by adding mileage here when they have virtually no chance from the back? Apparently this upgrade didn't have any issues, and adds between 15-30bhp to the power. Having said this they believe they are about 100bhp down. By this logic then at the next race this upgrade should be there, offering an extra 30bhp. My opinion is this is crap and they should have used it here because most of the time they never finish the race anyway, put it on here, test it in race, and then they have good data for the next race onwards.

272

Can anyone shed any light on the 'opening' of turn 8? Seems in the face of it that it would be in the long Mercedes favour - was this the one area Red Bull could make up some ground now neutralised?

273

The f2 race was red flagged when second place man rammed the wall and blocked off the circuit. Thts a possibility but more likely that toto rubbed shoulders with Charlie

274

Confused end to quali on c4 sort of ruined it dunno who is to blame but f1 needs to develop a minimum standard for the broadcasts.we saw cars from about 2 miles away crossing a line you couldn't even see.

275

Looks like Merc are on maximum point scoring levels again. Feels like Ferrari managed to create the illusion during 6 races this time instead of one or two like in the past couple of years. Oh, well...

276

Would someone please explain why the tyres were able to get into the correct operating window with 3 mins 30 secs left after the red flag when it seemed as though it had until that point been taking several teams several laps to do ?

277

I just want to know how much SR. Stroll has paid Sky media to make his name seem good. cause when Massa get p5 there is barely even a mention but when lance gets p8 its hailed like a pole position.. i mean put two good drivers in that Williams and they would be fighting thse Force India's . Just sad to see media trying to spread nice "FAKE " reviews about stroll..

278

Judging from today's podium, I would recommend a huge slice of humble pie.

279

Lol u gotta be kidding. Let's see . Rai, max , Massa and hulk out of the race. All of whom we're ahead of him. Vettel and Hamilton who were ahead got penalties and a loose something causing them to go back and the 2 people who were behind stroll overtake him to take 1st and second respectively. Well done indeed. Bravo stroll. He just crusied arroynd in that Williams doing nothing

280
Tornillo Amarillo

Both Force Indias were 0.6 faster than both Williams in Q3, amazing difference with the same upgraded engine (the "rocket").

If Kid Lance continue matching Massa, Williams will really need to replace the Brazilian for 2018, but who is in contention for that seat ?
I have no clue...

281

Interesting that Vet was ahead of the nearest Forceindia by just 0.3s. Clearly that Ferrari should be further ahead...

282

Mercedes has more top end power, while Ferrari is better in the mid-range.
Also Ferrari has better suspension, but no zebras to attack and gain time in Azerbaijan.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqpoVYmB3Wg

283

DeWeberis, this link is gold, thanks for it. This comment and the one below makes your contribution really valuable reading. Great mate!

284

Given the MERCS Q3 oil burning boost, the achievements seem a bit artificial to me. HAM may have 2nd all time poles but the last few years definitely have a question mark hanging overhead. Like overtaking using DRS...

285

Interesting Ted' qualy notebook
1> Mercedes will only discuss engines with McLaren after it parted ways w/ Honda, as a matter of respect.
2> There is a Team Boss license in F1 - didn't know that. Team Bosses hv to be present in all races.
3> Colin Kolles was vetoed to go Sauber by some "F1's senior personnel".
4> A new team was incorporated as China F1 Racing Team Limited.
5> Ross Brawn confirmed there are 2~3 team spots left and people are interested in them, under the new administration.

286

China F1 Racing is not a new company - it dates back to 2003 as a business services business and has a French lawyer as a director. It was a name change that was recorded in May'17 and carries forward a substantial debt

287

2 and 3 are related

You cannot be a team principal if you are not licensed, same with tech directors etc

This came in after Crashgate, Singapore 2008, so the FIA had some sanction over executives as well as drivers

It's an excellent plan

Kolles would have been Bernie's man on the inside of all the meetings etc

They blocked that

Will Bernie's next move be to try to buy a team?

288

@James Allen - Bernie's treatment of Colin Seeley and Gordon Murray when they were working at Brabham is well known, who would be daft enough to work for Bernie in a new team? If I were only the gatekeeper, I'd be off like a shot.

On the same theme, I'm shocked to see Tonto and Lauda were in discussions with Flavio Briatore. If team owners have black balled Kolles, there should be a black boulder on Briatore even getting into the F1 paddock.

289

DeWeberis and JA, thanks for these comments, the most meaningful for today's article.

290

Congrats LH, VB & KR! Imagine if they had to start from back... SV drive last GP was brilliant... as fans, we need more racing, more passing... VivaF1

291

Lets see the Red car's race pace this weekend and over the next few. The gap during qualy was big so I hope this oil burn ban doesn't let the Mercs get away in the championship.

If they do pull away from Ferrari then only another Lewis melt down (snapchat) will stop Merc from winning this year.

292

It's petty but maybe Vettel should focus more on car setup and not Enzo Ferrari's biography. Splitting one's focus can be detrimental to his championship - as seen by the numerous lock up, donuts down escape roads. Won't win the championship driving like that.

On a serious note, how do haters do this? Every driver has poor weekends and this could be vettel's, or is hamilton the only one not allowed to be perfect.

293

It's funny how the FIA announce they are again looking into oil burn and some teams using this to boost power. And ferrari suddenly have a bad qualifying . I wonder if they have taken something off the car on advice of the FIA.

294

Could the 'old' engine that Vettel changed to, be one that isn't designed to use a lot of oil?

295

Vettel acting more like a diva ramming Hamilton than Mariah carey.😂

296

HI James, tell me how can teams use their simulator at home plant during the weekend GP. It's not like having a 3 cars for the weekend instead of 2. If wasn't for Anthony Davidson on the Mercedes simulator. How much is the Lewis pole, if some other driver helped him, when he said sharing set-ups is not good.

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