The end is near
Yas Marina 2017
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton on another planet in F1 qualifying but Ferrari have a trap planned
Hamilton, Vettel F1
Posted By: James Allen  |  15 Jul 2017   |  6:00 pm GMT  |  97 comments

Motorsport is all about preparation awaiting opportunity, as Ross Brawn has always said.

But sometimes it is also about ‘inspiration’ and today was one of those days for Lewis Hamilton, who managed to find half a second over the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel in British Grand Prix qualifying.

Hamilton put a lot of that huge time margin down to the inspiration he derived from the Silverstone crowd and from guests like former F4 racer and double amputee Billy Monger, who has been with Hamilton’s group this weekend.

Lewis Hamilton

Tomorrow Hamilton goes for his fifth British GP win, however the job is not done yet. Ferrari are set to be more competitive in the race, as they often are, partly due to the fact that they have less margin between their qualifying and race modes on the engine.

In this case there is also the fact that Vettel didn’t put his A game on the table today; he was sent out by the team for his final run in Q3 into a gaggle of three cars on his outlap, including Verstappen and Hulkenberg and he had to slow to let them get ahead so he could have clear track. That meant that the tyres were not ready for the hot lap and he lost 2/10ths in the first sector alone as a result.

For the race, the main observation is that there are two Ferraris at the front and only one Mercedes. With Valtteri Bottas’ five place penalty for a gearbox replacement, Hamilton is vulnerable to a Ferrari attack if they have the pace to follow him.

We have seen it several times this season, for example Red Bull did it in Monaco on Valtteri Bottas, with Verstappen trying the undercut and Ricciardo the overcut, which yielded a podium. On that occasion Bottas was struggling a bit with his tyres. Hamilton has not shown any signs of that in practice, although the degradation was higher than Ferrari’s. Raikkonen had lower degradation than the other two front runners, so could be a candidate for the overcut.

Ferrari, Mercedes F1

Vettel is well clear of Raikkonen on drivers’ championship points now, so he will certainly get the strategy that Ferrari feels has the highest chance of netting a win, if they are P2 and P3 and close enough to try a pincer movement on Hamilton,

“It depends on the pace we have,” Vettel told JA on F1 tonight. “If we all start in the same order then we can put him under pressure. He can’t react to both of us, that is ideal.

“We will have to see how the pace is after the start and the first lap.”

In FP2 the Ferrari was around 3/10ths of a second slower on the suprsoft on long runs, but there wasn’t any data from Mercedes on the soft as they didn’t do any long runs with it. Ferrari was quick on that tyre.

In general Ferrari has had the edge over Mercedes on the supersoft lately, including Austria last weekend. If they do the first stint tomorrow like they did the second stint in Austria, we have a race on our hands. It is possible to do the race in one stop and Bottas may try it from 9th on the grid starting on the soft tyres, but at the front it is likely to be an opening stint on supersofts and then two stints on softs.

Mercedes has its tactics too; although Bottas starts ninth he is targeting the podium and is able to one stop (soft/medium) that could keep him in Ferrari’s pit window and put him ahead on tack after Ferrari’s second stop if their pace drops.

Vettel played down the idea that it’s always good to beat your rival on his home soil, saying that all the drivers appreciate this event and this circuit.

“This is a great race for all drivers, lots of fans and a lot of support for all of us,” he said. “The crowd is very fair. It’s a great track, really enjoyable,

“So for sure it’s a nice race to win with a lot of history; it means a lot.”

How do you read the situation going into this race? Leave your comments in the section below

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So inspiration came from crowd and Billy not the Mercedes Q3 engine mode interesting, had he been on pole by 0.001 maybe that might wash.


Rockie, the same engine used by Bottas? If the margin was that small wouldnt you say that he "barely managed to beat Kimi"?


Had he not succeeded on taking the pole , Mercedes would be pointeda as the one and only pit the blame on.


James your analysis cannot be faulted. My view is simple. If Ham gets a good start and is able to pull away by up to 4secs min either an overcut or undercut will not prevent him from winning especially if his stop is smooth.


I would dearly love Kimi to jump HAM at the start, back him into VET then disappear into the distance and tell the pitwall in no uncertain terms that he is running his own race and is not terribly interested in their plans just at the moment, thank you.

Alas, I cannot fully understand Kimi's willingness to be a team player......


I guess that it has nothing to do with regular big fat pay cheques! I mean who else is going to pay him that much, especially towards the twilight of ones career.


cannot fully understand Kimi's willingness to be a team player......

I agree - he has enough in the bank not to have to put up with it. It's quite sad to witness really .


Merc needs to nail the start like they did last weekend. If they can do that and nail the pit stop in that order then the race is winnable. If they mess up the start then that's it - game over. I am sensing Max with a podium this race.


ooh.. love the TITLE!! @James 😀


What? On another planet on his out lap when he blocked Grojean? Between Vettel avoiding sanctions in Baku and Hamilton avoiding a penalty here it is pretty clear the FIA are happy to "interpret" the rules as they please to protect the leading drivers. Absurd


The worshipping continues......


The worshipping continues......


Haha 😀 Really? Well i hope it's clear who. red Red RED Ferrari have a Trap Planned xD Go Red!!

Do something. Anything,

Before DeanCassidy comes to remind us of the MMC.


All Hamilton needs is to come out of the first corner ahead of the Ferraris. With the race pace we have seen during Friday practice, I will not bet a copper on the effectiveness of an undercut or an overcut during the race on Sunday.


probably a left side cut or a right side cut would do it for them...turn one, abbey gives you an idea of the difference between the drivers abilities each time that shockwave arrives...


Exactly my thoughts. However, don't forget the typical Silverstone weather. I don't buy any suggestions that it will be hard to overtake. There are many places around the track where 3 trucks can run side by side. Therefore, I also believe that Bottas will have a big say in the win as long as he can get away trouble free in the first lap.


I hope that you're right.


If Hamilton gets enough ahead of both then he should undercut both of them. The super softs seem to wear more than the ultrasofts at least for Mercedes but Hamilton was showing good speed on the softs . They even ran the mediums in practice. Bottas starts on the sifts too. Then there is always possible rain.

There is a lot of angles to Silverstone as always.


As far as the best British driver ever that has to be Jim Clark because he and Stewart too raced in a time when race had a high mortality rate.

JC gave his life. All them guys back then were better no matter what the record books say.

With that being said Hamilton will probably break MS pole record maybe in fewer races. No one will catch MS record for wins for a long while. Just maybe Vettel could catch that but 4 more wins to break it will be tough.

Isn't Vettel in line for a grid penalty over needing another turbo soon?


I agree Jim Clark was one of, if not the greatest but not through driving at a time of high mortality rate, his performances were dominant at times leading from the start and never challenged


Jim Clark could drive anything quickly, like 3 wheeling the Lotus Cortina at speed to take the Saloon Car Championship.


The neanderthal man was more clever than any of us, Newton and Einstein included. Wasn't he?


Don't dismiss a whole generation. These guys are far better physically and mentally trained, and the cars are far more physically and mentally demanding to drive. The competion is a lot stiffer and there's more of it: there's a far bigger pool of aspirants these days; even a vastly bigger gene pool. And the pressure on them is much higher than it was in the clubby days when Clark was racing. Lots of their off track time is taken by corporate PR and support of various causes. The season is much longer and far flung.


From what I heard, one or two were swapped out as an abundance of caution which, if I am not mistaken, means they can be reused without penalty. Correct me if I'm wrong because this was just commentator chatter a few races back.


I was very touched by the way Hamilton had his brother, Nic, with him on the start straight to share the celebration of his pole position in front of the crowd. Vettel also had a laugh with Nic. It made for a heart warming scene which demonstrates why Hamilton receives such loyal support from his fans.



The data from long run pace indicates that Mercs have atleast couple of tenths per lap over Ferrari. I do not get why you still continue to hype up Ferrari this season. They have had 2 poles from 10 races. Mercs won 5 races ( could have been 6) when Ferrari won 2. The Ferrari is certainly more competitive than last year. But they still have a small gap to Mercs even in the race pace.
The only reason Vettel is leading is because he is more consistent and Hamilton had problems in 2 races and he was offpace for another 2 races.
The Ferrari being equal or faster than Merc in race pace seems like a convenient excuse in case Hamilton loses this championship, likelihood of which is very small.

Tomorrow,if its a normal start and everyone keeps their position ( which is likely considering poor starts of Ferrari this season) Hamilton is going to win big no matter what Ferrari throws at Merc.


It is the role of the media to hype things up a tad. It is evident that from Spain onwards, the Mercs have a car advantage (except Monaco, for obvious reasons). They are winning the development war over Ferrari.


I think it's been more that Merc got on top of the tyres around then

Agree that now Merc seems to be developing more strongly too

Pressure is really on Ferrari


Perhaps they should allow Fans to CROWD SOURCE their personal computer(CPU) processor time (like cloud computing) to their favorite team's development resources.

Like Google introduced to the world more than ten years ago to break the human gene code by distributing the calculation in tiny chunks and spreading it to people (automated) around the world who were willing to donate free CPU time on their machines.

Technically it is not a "COST" to the team- its COST SAVING in fact, so it is good for the small teams even and the FIA cannot restrict development CFD time gained in this way on the argument of "Cost control".

One can say that Big teams like Ferrari and Mclaren might get the lions share.

But the small teams can get INNOVATIVE and ENTERTAIN with their Marketing campaigns (Not more Marketing budget.. more fun entertaining and immersive ideas) and entice more FANS willing to contribute to their Cloud computing power.

If fans want their favorite team to win (some teams more than the others) and get involved, how can the FIA stop what the world wants? 🙂

The marketing campaign can be the great leveler for the team budgets.

The FOM could regulate the entire thing through the F1 app.. those who pay for the premium services use their personal credit cards, so Big teams cannot go illegally setting up fake accounts posing as fans and trying to contribute Cloud computing time externally 😉

Anyway, I was wondering about the Innovation Challenge That Tata Organises, I know they have many rounds, but the last round had very narrow topics.

Why not have a round on Marketing and Tech over lap for entertainment for the next round? Or why not let your readers on submit ideas through your site that you can forward to them, in case it does not fit the "Challenge heads" on the main competition?

I know the Tata people go for narrow headings with strict limits and restrictions because they need to sift through hundreds of thousands of ideas that come in. JAonF1 has millions of users, yes, but actively I see lesser people using the Comments section on the main site. I wonder what would happen if you also opened up a "submit your ideas to this email section" 🙂 For those ideas that are failing to fall into the traditional moulds set by the main contest.


As has been the case for some years now, surely Mercedes still benefit from the tyres being so hard as their car is harder on them?! Di Resta said this in Friday practice.

It's such a shame the tyres have such a big say on performance. Bring back tyre war.


Would it be true to say that you are a fan of Lewis and Merc. as it is not entirely
clear ?? Oh, and a disliker of the red ?


My reply was to 'Rohind' mate, do try to keep up.
I agree that James is very neutral.


Try reading the blog maybe?

It should be abundantly clear that James is very much neutral and favours no driver or team.


Correct - nor nationality


Oh I'd love to know the answers to your questions too! Without a weather intervention I'm expecting Hamilton to win by at least 30s margin with a turned down engine after the first pit stop. We will find out in a few hours of course.


Agree, Merc dominate here with power and aero and will do in Hungary also. The Merc drivers have struggled for consistency and decisive overtakes and the Merc team just sandbag for reliability when leading plus they turn it up for Q3 as usual.

Ferrari's are racing Bottas here, only chance to impact Lewis is if he gets round to lapping Kimi!

Then again Bottas may start like Austria and follow Lewis into turn 1 😉


Facts stated, what else you require.


Agreed. The Mercedes is still a better car than the rest, some early tire troubles but that wont last. Ferrari is much better than previous years it will still be a Merc wash in the end.


Hi James

Will Ferrari potentially have to go longer due to the potential "gap" they would feed back into that may put them behind a yet to stop Bottas who could then help Hamilton out a bit? Or is this not the dynamics at play at Mercedes at present?


A lot will depend how many places Bottas makes up at the start and his position when the others reach their pit window.
If he does another of his jumped starts, he could be right up with Ham, Vet and Kimi.
At least he should be safe from Danil 'the torpedo' Kvyat!


they should rather look out for bottas...


Yes definitely good point


great minds think alike.


A Ferrari undercut would need to have a clear window behind it... would a Mercedes one-stop with Bottas interfere with any attempt to achieve this?

Stephen Taylor

James you have given a scenario that could happen if Raikkonen and Vettel are running P2/P3 tomorrow . What happens if Kimi takes the lead from Hamilton and drives off into the distance with Hamilton 2nd and Seb 3rd?


At first, I liked the thought . Then reality sinks in. This is 2017, not 2005 🙂


How on earth would Kimi 'drive of into the distance' from Hamilton?


Kimi wins.


is that possible with vettel on track?


Then Kimi will win 🙂


Kimi ... drive off into the distance ...

It's not 2005 you know!


Huge RK fan but this made me chuckle


HE would have to start now


vettel and raikkonen should be more concerned about bottas than hamilton..


That would be case closed on our debate.


Like that has ever happened.


now you know.


Then Seb will try to undercut


I am sorry to say bit Kimi will be fifth by the first corner.


Then alarm clock goes off and we all wake up. Ferrari won't drive into the distance against this Mercedes. I hope I'm wrong though 🙂

The Grape Unwashed

Ferrari were level with Mercedes in P3, add a sprinkling of rain and Hamilton is 1.3s ahead of his teammate, 0.55 ahead of Raikkonen and 0.75 ahead of Vettel - an absolutely stunning performance. However the Ferrari strategy pans out tomorrow, Hamilton has shown he is in a class of his own.

Stephen Taylor

Yeah that's because because time was a 1.27.376 not .776 that was a typo . Apologies.

Stephen Taylor

Don't know where you 1.5 from as the gap from between Hamilton and Bottas from cos it's not right.
Hamilton 1.26.600
Bottas - 1.27.776.
That's more like +-0.676 difference to me.


Really....? Not 1.176 ?

The Grape Unwashed

Stephen, that's some shonky arithemtic you've got there 😀

But yeah, I got the gap wrong too, F1Fanatic has the times as 1m26.6 for Hamilton and 1m27.376, which makes 0.776... a yawning gulf in lap time.

In the dry, in final practice, the top three were covered by a few hundredths of a second...

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’28.063
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’28.095
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1’28.137

In qualifying it was down to seat of the pants on a drying track, that's when the gap appeared. Talent was the differentiating factor.

Tornillo Amarillo

I want Lewis wins, but a couple of days ago something told me "Kimi" will win it.
Now Kimi got the P2 for tomorrow...


Tornillo, if it isnt to be Lewis' day, then I would love to see Kimi win, especially if he manages to circumvent Ferrari's inevitable efforts to get Seb in front.....


Money on LH and Vet for 1st place


does that thing have a name?


Race pace. Unless Raikkonen has had a new lease of F1 performance life, which must be welcomed by all, I do not believe the placings of the top 3 in Q3 is a true reflection.based on season 2017 form so far, the gap from Hamilton to Vettel is too big to be true. If it is genuine then the two Red cars will not see which way Hamilton went. Hamilton has not been slow off the mark for some races now. If he is, then we could see a Red car 1-2 at the end of lap 1... unlikely in my opinion.

I do hope it's more of a competitive race than the gaps in Q3 suggest. Very windy tonight. I wonder what the weather will be like at Silverstone when those red lights go out. Bring it on.


That was some lap, maybe the other guys need to take a couple of days off.....


Yeah, to top Q1 by 1.3s in a McLaren Honda, incredible. 😉

You mean the Mercedes PU engineers can take a couple of days off, or the rest of the year, as nobody can touch the works Merc.


Since one says about the other guys, why fail noticing the car.


Wonder how many drivers will be on holidays next one they have


Come on Ferrari! Give us a great race and a win!


Before the race, I wonder if Vettel studies race tactics as much, or more than Hamil. For sure if Vettel wins, he might be more the professor


Although its was most probably an affectionate comment due to how much they like him Raikkonen being called 'a person who makes slow progress and falls behind others' by his boss should normally call for a disobedient response tomorrow.


undercuts don't work this year.


They do on tracks where there is tyre degradation

Tornillo Amarillo

It is never too late to be what you might have been.
George Eliot

If Hulk got his maiden Podium tomorrow... I'm gonna die drowned in Champagne!


It's Hamilton's race to lose, especially as he's so well prepared.
I hope Max gets a good result or at least a chance to stretch his legs.


Not very inspiring how he ruined Romain Grosjean's qualifying. Ham said his team didn't tell him Romain was coming up. Then Toto has the nerve to say Romain should just be happy to be in F1 - this is after HIS team didn't tell Ham a car was coming up. No penalty. What would happen if Romain ignored the blue flags tomorrow? Mercedes is getting arrogant.


I would phrase that rather differently...they are arrogant.


You are so right @RiffRaff111, he clearly ruined Grosjean's corner, anyone else would have had a penalty but it's Hamilton in England... what can you do. Toto has always been super arrogant.


Go Ferrari go, show Hamilton your rear end.


"Lewis on another planet" ... the same one where he spent Tuesday - while everyone else was in London?

The Grape Unwashed

Axel Knutt, ah yes the less publicised (but no less important!) Tuesday curry and darts evening, he really ought to have joined the others.


In Austria, Seb wasn't able to keep pace with Valteri during the first stint; the long run during p2 suggest a 3 tenth gap; I don't see how Ferrari is going to keep up with Lewis. They need to be more concerned about Max!

The Grape Unwashed

On the second stint Seb was easily quicker than Valtteri, Mercedes and Ferrari were very evenly matched over all.


Frank, get yourself back in that Williams garage pronto. You're worth a couple of tenths apparently.

Antonis Papadakis

At the first pit stop both ferraris will overcut Lewis. The key here is to overcut MAX


What a stunning lap by LH....amazing speed! Lets hope this translates in to a win again today. Unlucky for DR, when it rains, it pours and it will be great to watch him carve through from the back. Also what was SV ranting about on his cooling down lap after Quali? Looks like he definitely still has anger Looking forward to the race what ever happens.


'. . . Hamilton on another Planet . . .'

That was last Wednesday.
Saturday saw his feet firmly back on English soil.


As long as he's not taken out I'm putting my money on Hamilton, his head seems to be in the right place. He has a good car and he has the skill.


just like I said, no one is capable of beating hamilton at silverstone except car failure.
what an awesome drive!


Racing gods had a plan and now things look how they were supposed to. Many congrats to Hamilton, it feels like he was destined to win this weekend no matter what. Great pole and flawless drive to victory. Kimi showed great pace for a laggard and Vettel's pace was befitting of his talents. Great drive from Bottas, he is growing stronger and stronger, he is now seriously in the WDC. Max's defending was great and showed Vettel unfair antics the fair treatment. You almost feel like Max in 2nd best car vs his competitors is going to be lot of fun to watch because he is still going to win and we will amazing racing. Hamilton leads the championship now, it going to be very interesting to watch the atmosphere unfold at Ferrari now.


So, what happened to this so-called trap Ferrari had planned That worked out well! lol


At the end, Ferrari fell into its own trap.

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