Analysis: Decisions that decide F1 pole and race results and trigger a team mate feud
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Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Aug 2017   |  1:51 pm GMT  |  225 comments

On the face of it, for the second year in a row the Belgian Grand Prix was finely balanced when a Safety Car intervened and neutralized the strategies.

However this time it put Mercedes in a tricky position as they had deliberately chosen to prioritize qualifying on Saturday and so did not have a new set of ultra soft tyres saved for their drivers in the race. The tactic worked for Lewis Hamilton to take pole and win the race ahead of Sebastian Vettel, but it failed for Bottas in his challenge for a podium.

Ferrari missed the pole position, but were in a strong position when the late Safety Car allowed Vettel to put on a set of ultrasoft tyres that on paper were at least a second a lap faster than the softs Lewis Hamilton was forced to use.

We’ll examine the decisions that led to this situation and what would have happened without a Safety Car. We will look at how Red Bull Racing got away with a very risky tyre selection for the weekend, netting a podium for Daniel Ricciardo.

We will also examine the chaos at Force India, where the drivers hit each other twice, look at how Sergio Perez got ahead of Esteban Ocon in the pit stops despite a five second time penalty and look at what part the team strategy decision-making played in creating that tension.


Pre-race considerations

Pirelli’s Mario Isola persuaded the company to bring a softer selection of tyres to Spa than originally planned, to try to reintroduce some variables to the strategy. It paid off well, with some teams making risky selections, such as Williams and Red Bull that had only one set of soft tyres for the whole weekend. As it turned out the soft tyre was the best race tyre, but Red Bull was committed to a two-stop race leading with super soft tyres and got away with it, thanks to the late race Safety Car.

This played into their hands, allowing Ricciardo to attack Valtteri Bottas at the restart on ultrasoft tyres to the Finn’s softs and he could pass him for the final podium position.

His task was also helped by Kimi Raikkonen making a mistake early in the race and not slowing for yellow warning flags. He was given a ten second penalty that dropped him out of contention for a podium. It was Raikkonen’s second important mistake of the weekend; he also made one in qualifying, as we shall see.


More than one right answer: Balancing risk in qualifying and the race

This race was more interesting in some ways for what it might have become had the Safety Car not come out, than for what it was. Hamilton was able to hold off Vettel despite being on the slower tyre at the restart.

But we have to go back a couple of steps to examine the thinking that led to this position.

Mercedes view on Saturday was that pole position was the biggest priority; it was therefore more important for the drivers to have extra performance runs in qualifying to find the limit for the decisive final runs in Q3. So both Hamilton and Bottas were given a second run on new ultra soft tyres in Q2. This allowed Hamilton to find the limit especially in Turn 10 (Pouhon corner) for example, where he was almost flat in his final lap and that made the difference for pole.

Ferrari didn’t do this, wanting to save a set of ultra softs for possible use late in the race if there were to be a need to switch to two stops, or a late Safety Car. They balanced the risk of that against the risk of the drivers not quite having their eye in for the final qualifying runs.

In fact some oil on the track from Palmer’s Renault affected the first Q3 runs so there was only the final run to make it count. Raikkonen had a chance for pole but made a mistake. He made up for it somewhat by offering Vettel a tow in the final sector. But pole had been lost to Mercedes, which meant that Hamilton controlled the race.

Fast forward to around Lap 27 of the Grand Prix and Hamilton is leading but cannot shake off Vettel. The Ferrari was faster at the end of the opening stint on ultrasoft tyres and the new aerodynamic updates on the red car are working well. Mercedes are under real pressure on a track where they expected to dominate.

The debate on the pit wall of both teams is now whether to stop again. Mercedes’ are aware that Ferrari has that set of ultra soft tyres available, to try an undercut, which they do not have. However they do have Valtteri Bottas in play in Vettel’s pit window, meaning that if Ferrari moves first and tries to undercut them, it will be Bottas’ job to hold him up for two laps if possible, which would have been quite an ask, while Hamilton stops for softs.

Alternatively Mercedes could move first and pit Hamilton onto new soft tyres. There had been some blistering on the rear tyres and with memories fresh of what happened to Ferrari in Silverstone when they ignored that, there is a strong case for stopping Hamilton. The teams’ strategy models said that if they switch to a two stop at this stage, Ferrari would probably win the race. Then the Safety Car intervened.

The blistering problem eased temporarily in the laps immediately before the Safety Car, so no move was made. In fact inspection of the soft tyres after the race suggests that Hamilton would have been in trouble to reach the end without the Safety Car intervening.

So he was both unlucky and lucky, in a sense, that it did.


Force India – how did Perez get ahead of Ocon despite serving a five second time penalty?

The most interesting story of the Spa weekend was the further spat between Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon at Force India. This time it became toxic as twice Perez edged Ocon into the wall on the run down to Eau Rouge.

The first one at the start he took full responsibility for. The second, which triggered the fateful Safety Car late in the race, was highly speculative on Ocon’s part, but still required Perez to make a decision to risk contact and a loss of team points. The team has come down hard saying that they will no longer be allowed to race, but was the team partly responsible for creating the situation in the first place, with Ocon angry that he found himself behind Perez after the controversial second stops?

Ocon had track position advantage over Perez after their first lap contact. Both cars survived and made their first stops onto supersoft tyres, so both were committed to a two-stop race.

However Perez was given a five second time penalty for a matter unconnected to the start. As they approached the second round of stops, therefore, Ocon is clearly the lead car and Perez has no real threat from behind as Grosjean is 6 seconds behind, also on a two stopper.

Normally the leading car has the pit stop priority unless there is some kind of outside threat to the tail car.

With 20 laps to go Force India pitted Perez first. He served his five-second penalty and rejoined. His out lap on new tyres was very fast and at this point the team should have made the call to pit Ocon on the next lap. He went around again and in the course of those two laps lost five seconds to Perez.

When Ocon pitted he rejoined just ahead, but on warmer tyres Perez passed him into Turn 5 at the end of the Kemmel Straight.

Either Force India had their tyre model and undercut profiles wrong – which would be strange having seen after the first stops that Ocon pulled three seconds on Perez by stopping two laps earlier – or they must have known what would happen.

Either way there was now a situation where the driver who has been ‘wronged’ at the start by his team mate but got away with it and is on course to beat him to the flag, loses track position to his teammate. And there is a fair bit of history between them from Canada and Baku.

Clearly angry, Ocon tried for force the issue, when it might have been prudent to try the pass with DRS on the straight after Eau Rouge, but Perez made a decision to come across on him.

There comes a point in relationships between teammates that you can never come back from. It would appear that Perez and Ocon have now passed that point, which means that one of them is likely to move on at the end of the season. As Renault is keen to have a French driver, Force India is reliant on Perez’ sponsors and Mercedes is keen to place Pascal Wehrlein, it would seem that the circumstances are there for Ocon to be the one who leaves.

Those considerations were already in place before Sunday’s race, but now there is likely to be more movement.

Likewise a big decision needs to be taken at Mercedes. With Ferrari clearly on a rich run of form with technical updates on its car; two huge development packages were brought either side of the summer break – Mercedes doesn’t have any tracks where it can consider it has an advantage, while it is sure to have a disadvantage at some high downforce tracks like Singapore.

With Bottas dropping back to 31 points off the championship lead after Spa, the time is surely approaching for Mercedes to ask him to play a supporting role, which will include a ‘spoiler’ role on strategy during races.

The compensation is likely to be that he is given an extension to his Mercedes contract, probably for one more year.

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

Race History and Tyre Usage Charts – Courtesy of Williams Martini Racing – click to enlarge

Indicating the relative pace of the cars, the gaps between them. An upward curve shows good pace, sudden drops indicate pit stops.

The pace of Red Bull (purple line) is clearly not as strong relative to Ferrari and Mercedes as they had hoped, especially considering in the second stint Ricciardo is on supersofts, while the leaders are on the slower soft tyre.

Note how costly Raikkonen’s ten second penalty was to his race effort. Luckily the Safety Car brings him back to have a chance to pass Bottas. Also you can see at the end of Stint 1 that Vettel’s pace is still strong, Hamilton’s begins to dip before his stop.

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1

Belated thanks for this interesting strategy report. Watching the race I had no idea the leaders were so marginal on one stop. I’d probably assumed they wouldn’t pit again. Maybe we were robbed of an even more dramatic race! It’s also interesting how the soft tyre was much stronger in race trim than it was in free practice sessions, meaning that it could hold its own against the supersofts and ultrasofts late on (albeit partly due to Hamilton’s brilliance).

With the Force Indias, I’m glad for the focus on the pitstops, something Channel 4 didn’t do enough of for me. The key was: how did Ocon end up in the clutches of Perez? I originally thought he had gone too slow, even accounting for Perez’s undercut because Sergio did have a 5-second penalty. But maybe the cost of old tyres is really big at Spa because it’s such a long, fast, sweeping circuit.

The problem Force India have is that it’s happened several times now. And it seems quite immature in all honesty. The team could have nipped it in the bud at Canada arguably. But the drivers have to take responsibility too. In fairness, both are at critical stages in their career; Ocon is establishing himself and Perez is desperately trying to keep himself in the shop window for the top teams. So the pressure is high. Ironically, however, Perez’s response to it arguably makes him less likely to end up with a top team. But we’re all human ultimately and can’t get it perfect all the time.

2

Just a question: how many points have Force India lost this season due to the collisions between PER and OCO, and the situation in Canada as well?

3

James,

would be interested on your thoughts on Lewis’s comments in the pen after the race when asked “—-could not have really gone much better”

“No, I, it was a really good weekend, a very strong weekend for the team, they did a fantastic job, the pit stops were amazing, we had a good stop, umm, I think Ferrari were ultimately quicker today, I was just able to keep them at bay, you know if the cars were reverted, I wouldn’t have been able to, I don’t think I would been able to have held as close as he did with me, so it was good, but what’s comforting is 200 races and I’m as strong as ever, so they say you probably get worse with age, but I think it’s the other way round, I feel pretty good today”

Given Seb finished 2.3 secs behind Lewis,Ferrari did well, and Ricciardo did well to hold off Raikkonen in the Ferrari given Ferrari’s pace.

4

well I have something to say about Perez-Ocon situation:

“el que se enoja pierde”

which its an expression we use in latin america to describe exactly what it happen to Ocon, he get mad… I think even when this time Perez was clearly the one who hit his teammate, it was responsability of Ocon who shouldnt try to do what he has done before and get the same result, now FI will be “force” to decide a number 1 driver, and clearly Perez will put that in his contract for the rest of the season.

Now, that also rules against Perez, since he is just condemned to be in a middle team forever.

5

Very interesting. James, I have two questions (sorry for the length). 1. There is a lot of talking / speculation about the limitation on burning oil on ICE from Monza, and the fact that Merc introduced spec 4 for SPA and will use it in Monza should be a clear advantage to them. Also I understand that the Italian GP should be Merc giving that the car has a longer wheelbase less draggy overall than Ferrari. But on the other hand, and if so, I was expecting more performance from Spec 4 Merc; instead red and silver were quite close (the real difference, watching them on TV if those data on screen are real, was how much faster Merc was able to regenerate electric power compared to Ferrari) . I read somewhere that spec 4 is 20/25 HP more than Ferrari spec… 3. So isn’t that possible that Ferrari, if introduce spec 4 with a rumored ICE at higher compression, be at least as powerful as Merc despite less oil burning allowed? What feedback are you getting from people in the paddock? 2. This more than a question is a thought that is bugging me . Ferrari head of P.U. went from Ferrari to a side job into Fiat Chrysler Group… no fuss no noise… what about if it is just a separate unit that can develop without being under the eye of FIA all the time?

6

Some thoughts on the PER-OCO incident, where I think the opinion against PER has been too biased
Not saying PER was right, just do not see him the reckless, agressive pay driver some comments label him as

PER seems to have been a victim of the ALO-HAM (or VET-RIC, or…) syndrome, where the more experienced driver is caught by surprise with the new kid’s speed and is sent off balance and starts making mistakes

In the past PER has been able to gradually outrun highly regarded team mates KOB and HUL and avoid major problems with them, BUT beat him badly on his worst season at Mac but got over it
He still is beating OCO 9-3 in qualy and 8-1 in races completed by both so it is not like he is been trounced

Two races PER did not finish was because of contact with OCO, and at Monaco he took care of himself (and poor Kvyat)
OCO do seems to be the real stuff and is improving quickly

IMHO as I posted after Canada, PER was wrong in not letting OCO past, because he created an enemy and he had not much to lose then (ask HAM and BOT)
Since then he has not kept a cool head when having OCO in his mirrors, which is only creating a tense situation, attracting bad press and compromising his possible move to a more successful team in the future

On racing terms however, why should he let OCO (or anyone else) past if they are fighting for position?
At Baku he closed the door (aggressively) at turn 1 and was ahead on his line (and at the wall) at turn 2, when OCO hit him

At SPA lap 1 he made a mistake and was sandwiched by HUL and OCO and apologized
At he last incident he was ahead and on his line and shut the door defending his position

I think OCO has been hot headed as well
At Canada (as HAM usually says on the radio), if he was faster he should have gone past PER, if he could not, then stick to your place and finish the race (how was he going to pass RIC if he could not pass PER?)

At Baku, avoid heavy traffic incidents and finish the race, if PER is ahead and against the wall why squeeze him?
At SPA, wait for DRS on Kemmel and do a clean pass
If I am smart and driving at 300km next to a wall I would avoid the guy who just pushed me into it a few laps back

His reasoning is that I’m faster so PER should have backed off at Baku and since he did not I squeezed him into the wall
At SPA I’m faster and PER should back off and not squeeze me into the wall
He can’t be correct both times

If PER should have backed off at Baku, then OCO should have backed off at SPA
If OCO did not back off and give room at Baku, why did he expect PER to back off and give room at SPA?

Lastly, while I consider OCO to be an above average driver with much potential, has a treat 8from his interviews) that reminds me of the late MAL (and even PER himself), who was a fast driver, was involved in accidents but always blamed the other guy and never learned from his mistakes, (or the others errors or actions)
Maybe he should ask GRO for advice on this matter

They will keep clashing (hopefully not crashing), not because PER wants to or is too stubborn or agressive, but because if they meet a faster car, they will be passed, if they meet a slower car, they will pass them, the only other car with the same speed is the other Force India so they will be racing close for the rest of the season

7

The season is over folks. Merc can now burn 1.2L oil (?) against 0.9L for every other team. More power, easy poles, magic button for undercut/overcut threats, doesn’t matter. A dual engine formula from Monza, way to go MIA.
If Vettle wins this year’s WDC it will be one of the best drives in the recent memory, where even the rules was create / being created to prevent anyone other than Merc from winning the Championship.

8

Y’mean like getting a 10s stop-go penalty when a black flag was clearly warranted? That was a penalty awarded not on the merits of the incident, but with a view to how it would impact the championship standings. Weak all ’round from the FIA.

I would like to think that the FIA would issue a clarification after the season as to what sort of incidents require a black flag, so that it’s abundantly clear to everyone starting next season. Yet how could they issue such a clarification if Vettel were to win?

9

where’s the first wet race?

10

Fantastic analysis. I was wondering during the race about how Ocon lost so much time to Perez, that they found themselves battling each other.

Also, I feel Kimi did not really have a chance for Pole (not the Kimi of 2017 anyways). Plus, our commentators mentioned that the Ultra soft had a 0.7 sec per lap over the Softs, this is just enough to get past the Mercedes, except at the restart.

11

It was more than 0.7s, on the Merc it was 0.8 but on most cars over a second

12

@JamesAllen – wonderful interview with Mick Schumacher post his lap. The noise of the Benetton brought back great memories.

Brilliant background on Perez/ Ocon saga. It would appear that the team also need to justify their actions and overcome any suspect favouritism.

I was thoroughly impressed with Perez and Ocon’s post race interviews. Both laid out their very rational, eloquent views. You’d have thought both would have jumped out of their cars, all hot headed and only muttering “no comment” to the press.

13

Since when did “he was trying to kill me, twice” become rational 🙂
But the Perez-Ocon fight is a delectable sub plot in the 2017 season. Makes one look forward to the anticipated Ocon-Verstappen fight that F1 may witness few years down the line.

Ocon looks to be a really good deal and Perez’s career progress could be hampered, because he has been unable to shake him off.

14

The Force India debacle is a failure of management, just as it was at McLaren in 2007.

Being philosophic by saying “we are racers and we let our drivers race” might sound nice but the reality is that the best teams tell their drivers where they stand and dictate terms to them.

It was entirely predictable that the problems faced by Force India would flare up at some point in the year. Dousing the flames will be much more difficult.

15

The problem I see, is ocon is completly disconected from reality, one is virtual reality, and another is real life… There is no reset buttom, game over, play again, type of sport… The one Who is behind is responsible in any accident… Just like hamilton closed the Door on ricciardo at Mónaco, if it was instead Young ocon both would be out…
This problem with reality and virtual reality is a consecuense of no moral value, New age education, etc. Very typical of the New generation… And the roll model of this is, of course, Young Max V. and the next one Will push it even further… Something needs to be done.

16

Forgot to ask earlier, what was KR’s mistake in Quali ? Understand the failure to lift for a “waving” yellow — even if MV was parked at the sidelines there were workers exposed and the Stewards had no alternative but to penalize.

17

Not being able to improve his time on the final qualy run. He said on the radio that he messed it up. When the TV pictures cut to him, he was pulling himself out of Vettel’s way, having given Vettel a tow in the third sector. So one must presume, that the mistake was made in the first 2 sectors.

18

I definitely think Mercedes will have to take action soon on their driver equality. Giving Bottas Monza to deliver is fair though, he has earned it with his consistency this year.

James, is there any truth to the rumors that Alonzo wants a new engine supplier? What a bind for McLaren, if so. Surely he must know, though, that that is the wrong move? Unless Alonso plans to race into his forties, his only chance for WDC glory is with McLaren-Honda.

19

Given JA’s comment below, perhaps there is something to the report on another blog: “Honda’s data was showing no signs of a problem when Fernando Alonso reported an engine issue and retired his McLaren. . .”

The article went on to point out that he was being re-passed on the straights following his move from 11th to 7th at the start and noted that Alonso had remarked that the race was ‘only a test’ or words to that effect.

McLaren appears to indeed be in a bit of a bind with this one unless Honda can deliver during what we have left of the season. So is Alonso, for that matter without a “competitive” seat anywhere else it seems. More to come, however, and this is, after all, the F-1 “Circus.”

20

@Mathew,
I agree that Bottas has done well enough to be given the chance to keep fighting for the title, but if Mercedes keep at it too long it will only help Vettel if the race results seesaw between the 3 of them. Of course Hamilton did mentioned that he wanted to win it the right way afterall, so maybe he is the one pushing Mercedes to let his teammate have an equal chance. Just being a tease here. Marc

21

I believe he wants Renault engines

Problem is that’s a massive financial hit to McLaren

And no guarantees that he would stay after 2018 if something better came along..

22

Mclaren needs to do what’s good for McLaren (in the long term). The Honda deal is allegedly worth $1b over its course – with no title sponsor, can McLaren afford to turn their back on that? Plus you need to factor in the cost of an alternative engine supplier. So leaving Honda will “cost” McLaren $120m per year, and that’s assuming no damages have to be paid for early termination of the contract.

They cannot be held to ransom by Alonso, no matter how good a driver he is…

23

@ Redline…If you in any way correct with that number allegedly being spent by Honda than what a massive waste of money. I mean that’s gross mismanagement of shareholders funds. One Billion for zippedy doo dah and heaps of bad reviews. Hard to actually believe that it would take so much money to produce what is, to all intents and purposes, a Japanese Edsel, in a manner of speaking.

24

@Kenneth … well of course I have no way of knowing the exact numbers, but if the rumoured $100m that Honda is paying McLaren annually is totalled over the 10 year contract duration… And then you have to factor in the cost of the engines, which McLaren would otherwise have purchase.

The $1b guess is just what the deal is worth to McLaren… the actual cost to Honda would be considerably greater if you include R&D, staffing, infrastructure and logistics. Mind-boggling figures – that’s why Honda need a long-term deal, so that the expenditure is amortized over that period.

25

Kubica for maclaren? High enough profile, mature attitude, great team player, has he still got the speed?

26

Alonso, possibly the best F1 driver ever, is toast. By all means use uncorperate language and express your frustrations but there is no coming back from retiring a healthy car. The macanics and engineers are still trying and would be sacked if they were not. Should be asked whether he would like to leave straight away. Perhaps this is what Johnny Herbert was on about earlier in the season.

27

James.
Do you or rather do the engineers think the current engines will break 1100bhp before the switch in 2021.
Also is there any discussion about trying to reduce the weight of these cars so they are less like champ cars and more like f1.

28

James do you have any more info regarding the settings on Alonso’s car not recognising Pouhan being taken flat out and therefore reducing his power output? How can this be automatically built into the cat at specific corners?

29
The Grape Unwashed

Fast forward to around Lap 27… The debate on the pit wall of both teams is now whether to stop again.

Hi James, wouldn’t Ferrari just stay out regardless of Hamilton’s decision? If Hamilton came in he’d have to make up about 22 seconds in 17 laps and also pass Vettel – which sounds like a tall order. But if Hamilton stayed out, Vettel would wait for an opportunity nearer the end of the race when Hamilton’s tyres were worn, as there was a blister developing on one of his rears.

It seems to me that Mercedes were very lucky to get the safety car as it gave Hamilton a free pit stop and removed the concern over blistering. As you imply in the article, the tyres were marginal. Vettel, on the other hand, looked to be able to keep his tyres in great shape, presumably thanks to the higher downforce setting on his car.

I suppose Ferrari’s expectation was to undercut Hamilton at the pit stops, but that proved impossible because Ricciardo was blocking the window. Shouldn’t they have gone aggressive with a slim rear wing to give them a better chance of attacking on the Kemmel straight, especially as Mercedes were favourites for pole position? Perhaps they went conservative in order prevent a recurrence of the tyre problems at Silverstone?

Mercedes doesn’t have any tracks where it can consider it has an advantage, while it is sure to have a disadvantage at some high downforce tracks like Singapore.

This is a bit of a worry for the remainder of the season. Had Hamilton lost Spa the championship would would have been unwinnable (barring terrible reliability on Ferrari’s part). Now it’s a little doubtful whether Mercedes can win in Italy, and even then that would only leave Hamilton tied with Vettel and looking forward to a drubbing in the very next race – Singapore. Mercedes need to make a step forward in order to give Hamilton a reasonable chance at finishing ahead come Abu Dhabi.

30

They don’t stand still

Ferrari has had two great upgrades in succession, now we will see what Mercedes brings

31

Great drives by Lewis and Seb, they sure are driving their cars at a very high level, proved by the pace of Kimi and Bottas. If there are only minor updates brought to both cars from here on till the end, it is going to be a close battle.

Ferrari can hang with the Mercs but wont be able to overtake them on track, neither can they out qualify them. The only way to win is by playing pit stop poker and using Kimi as a rear guard

32

What about how Ric got an underpowered car into 3rd?Are the Renault engine not allowed to burn oil because they may get to close to Merc and the great Lew?

33

Perez was ahead and taking his line the second time and Ocon was a bit foolish . Maybe FI engineered perez ascendance due to his sponsors. I think he should take his cash to renault who are on a par with FI. Doubt perez is in the running for major drives elsewhere but was unfairly maligned at Mclaren but due to them being rubbish he doesnt have to feel hard done by now.

34

Great race to watch. Hard to tell which car I would rather be in at this point. Could Vettel have made it to the end on the softs if there was no safety car? He was pushing Hamilton really hard who had to cover making it to the end.

35

Both were in a stale mate. It would come down to tire management. Too close to call.

36

I don’t know about Vettel’s tires conditions but I believe Toto mentioned that Hamilton’s were starting to blister prior to the SC. No matter now anyways. Marc

37

Mistakes in quali. And race by Kimi meant that Ferrari could not play a team game and push Hamilton.

Time for Bottas to be declared #2.

If I were an employer like Renault I would take Ocon (rising talent and already pushing his teammate) ahead of Perez who clearly is uncomfortable with Ocon”s pressure in spite of being a veteran.

38

Considering kimi’s ‘mistake’ in qually netted seb on the front row. I think the team game was worked very well. Heck ferrari, even left kimi out there hoping to hold up lewis…

39

@Oblah,
He pitted a lap after Vettel. You expect Ferrari to pit both their drivers on the same lap really? Raikkonen did not seem to have been much of an infrigment for Hamilton anyway. Marc

40

Looks like the ferrari is the better car . But mercedes the better engine.
If I were forced India boss I would ban perez for 1 race.
On another note. Can mclaren buy williams mercedes contract and let williams have the Honda engine . After all that williams is awful and is wasting the mercedes engine in the back.

41

Even though SEB had new Ultras {tires} – vs. LEW new Softs – they spent five laps behind the Safety Car shaving their tires to heat it up.
So the peak advantage to the tire gap was cancelled due to the SC.
Therefore, after a couple of the soft tire became the one to have, turning things up-side down.

About SEB’s overtaking attempt.
The top speed SEB achieved was 332 Km/h @ 11,940 rpm – with tow, no DRS.
320 Km/h @ 11,500 rpm at the end of straight.
So I really doubt SEB could have overtaken LEW bcs his top gear {8th} wasn’t long enough for a full car overtake.
If LEW and SEB were side-by-side, LEW would throw SEB out of the track.
So IMO SEB would only overtake LEW if there were no 2nd pit stop and LEW tires were shot in the final laps or LEW had to pit and SEB not.

42

He didn’t have the tow he needed, because Lewis forced him into that drag race.

How you could possibly think that Lewis gained, tire wise, b/c of 5 laps of behind-the-SC running, is simply astounding. You are reaching for any explanation, other than the true one.

43

Do yourself a favor and read mark hughes race report, its much more informative. In it he discusses, lewis’ tactics at eau rogue and ferrari’s de-rates. Plus mercedes having an override (maximum power) button.

Also, you must be aware the time spent behind the sc was detrimental to lewis more so than seb. Yes everything is getting cooler, brakes, tires etc. But its much much easier to maintain temps on a softer compound. Seb was two compounds softer. More importantly, kimi and Daniel were able to overtake bottas on the same straight. It was never about power, it’s racing IQ. What lewis did to stay ahead was masterclass!

44

Yep again Debs with your wishy washy tactical analysis.
“Thrown of track” how over egging the Pudding can you get? 😂
Get your facts right .
Well said Oblah

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