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Analysis: Ferrari reliability and famous F1 backmarkers give Lewis Hamilton breathing space
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Posted By: James Allen  |  08 Oct 2017   |  8:59 am GMT  |  542 comments

Ferrari bounced into the 2017 world championship with a bang, but look set to end it with a whimper as another failure on the Ferrari power unit in Japan handed Lewis Hamilton an unassailable 59 point lead.

Hamilton has won five of the last seven Grands Prix and the swing of points due to Vettel having two non-finishes in Singapore and Japan and a compromised race in Malaysia shows how unforgiving motor racing can be.

Hamilton can clinch his fourth world championship in Austin with a win and Vettel finishing sixth or lower. And Mercedes have an even stronger chance of closing out the Constructors’ championship.

“The misfortune of Ferrari is unbelievable, the third bad race in a row. Their car is super fast and it just lacks reliability, that is their next step,” said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff who went to the Ferrari pit wall after the race to commiserate with his opposite number Maurizio Arrivabene.

Hamilton has been driving extremely well of late, but Ferrari’s run of results beggars belief given how quick their car is and how strong the challenge. We have quickly forgotten that Vettel led the championship after every round until last month.


Red Bull finish strongly but Verstappen denied a crack at the win

It was another strong weekend for Max Verstappen, second ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, but he had a good chance to win a second race in succession.

He finished only one second behind Hamilton after the champion-elect ran into trouble with vibrations, he said, on the power unit after upshifts. He also struggled with the tyres after the final Virtual Safety Car.

Verstappen had a real chance in the final laps, but Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa who were having their own dog fight for 10th place, got in his way after Hamilton lapped them and that gave Hamilton the breathing space he needed.

Afterwards Verstappen played down the part played by the famous backmarkers, saying that he had only been able to close on Hamilton due to traffic and admitted that he was on the limit with the front tyres himself. Everyone was mindful of what happened with Vettel and Raikkonen at Silverstone.

Ricciardo’s race was compromised by losing the start to Verstappen and then losing a place to Ocon. That separated him from his team mate and meant that Red Bull could not try one of their ‘pincer’ strategy moves on Hamilton, with one car undecutting and the over running long.

Ricciardo also had to contend with a charging Valtteri Bottas at the end. He and Kimi Raikkonen did a reverse strategy, starting on the soft tyres, which worked out to gain places. Bottas finished fourth from seventh on the grid and Raikkonen fifth from 11th grid slot. But there was disappointment for Bottas that he didn’t have enough laps on the supersoft at the end to manage to catch Ricciardo for the final podium position.

Red Bull again showed some impressive race pace for another double podium, but once again Ferrari’s reliability issues played a key part in that. It’s one thing to have a quick car, as Ferrari undoubtedly has, but with Raikkonen’s gearbox grid penalty and Vettel’s retirement, Ferrari certainly handed it to Red Bull.

After the race, Christian Horner observed of his car that “chassis wise I can’t see it’s second to anything”, a familiar refrain from the Englishman with regards to the missing element.

But they also need to start the season more strongly. Think back to the way they performed (or didn’t) at the Australian Grand Prix.

Jolyon Palmer – exit stage left
Jolyon Palmer’s F1 career ended with a twelfth place finish after an engine penalty, summing up his season. The Renault car has improved a lot in recent months and the team want to maximise their points scoring in the final races at the same time as giving new signing Carlos Sainz a benchmark for next season’s car.

“Carlos was signed for next year and Cyril (Abiteboul) made it clear that he wanted him in the car for the rest of the season, it’s a shame not to finish the season but I respect the decision,” said Palmer.

“The stress levels have been pretty huge, it’s been very difficult. I’m out, that’s F1 and it’s a shame but I’ll move on, there’s plenty to life.”

What did you think of the Japanese Grand Prix? Do you think Verstappen would have been able to pass Hamilton without the backmarkers

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542 comments

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2

Even without the back markers, Max would have found it pretty much impossible to pass.
They allowed him to catch up t o Lewis anyways. Between the pace reduction in turbulent air and the deficit in "grunt" on the straights, it would have been a bridge toI far IMO

3
Clarks4WheelDrift

Max stated after the race he felt he had no chance to take the win, to overtake the Mercedes with the power advantage, despite closing.

It's a shame that the leaders interrupted what was looking like a great final two lap battle between Massa's Merc Power and Alonso's cornering on fresher tyres. 😉

Seriously though, that was one of the most boring races I've seen in a while...

Brawn and Co need to look at this as a real case study on what is wrong with F1 and the lack of wheel to wheel racing at the front...

Cons:-

The poison that is "works Engine modes" define Q3 and grid, again, predictable.

Force India's close together, not allowed to race each other.

HASS cars together, not allowed to race each other.

Overly complex PU has destroyed Ferrari's title hopes again, title decided off track.

Number 2 driver compromise strategy to use as a blocker to ensure no action on track.

Massive gaps between car laptimes, late action halted by blue flags.

Ocon so much slower that nothing can be done with a great start.

Pathetic tyres not really allowing 2 stops as a decent strategic option making it more boring that previously even at Suzuka!

No2 drivers so slow in the top team and 2nd top team that nobody challenges or barely races against their teammate.

Grid penalties and PU penalties.

Pros:-

Mags overtake on Massa.

No drivers and engineers radio pretend whinging to "let Charlie know"

erm, the gorgeous, smiley Force India girl who holds the dictophone for the driver interviews.

ermm, the McLaren pit girl doing Alonso's pit board and wheel swaps in the garage on Saturday.

ermmm, really clutching at straws now, Suzuka reminded me of the 2005 race with Kimi, Alonso, Schumi action when taking 130R looked amazing.

Man I hope Austin is better, or at least Lewis wraps up the title so we could get an interesting dynamic at the final races, especially Brazil!

4

A woman working in the garage is a pit girl... the other sexe are probably Pit boys?

5

@ Clarkes4WD...some very good points when enumerated.

6

Clarkes, if you want to know what the grid would gave looked like without any quali modes being used, just look at Q1, no teams use them in that session, be careful what you wish for though.. ...
What about the young lady on the Red Bull pit wall?

7
Clarks4WheelDrift

Yes, how could I have forgotten the Red Bull strategist... another +

Shame her cars are just not fast enough for any strategey to work in Japan, she may have a chance in Brazil though, especially if it rains.

8

Clarks, I bet she wishes both her drivers could get off the line cleanly!

9

Hamilton would have let him past like in Malaysia, most likely.

10

Why risk becoming a target for the Blue-spear?

11

I agree the back markers kind of evened out. Bottas helped more so.

The thing is the vibrations on upshifts probably mean a gearbox change for Hamilton but hey could take 1 and still win. A 56 point shift in 3 races is the largest swing I have seen in my lifetime.

What has to happen for Vettel to win now is that kind of points shift in the other direction but the odds are astronomical against this.

I dunno what if on the back markers but I do know what is.

Hey James did I miss some graphs? The internet can do funny things.

12

The "back markers" not only little influence, they were midfielders and fighting their own battle for points. I think it ridiculous for them to have to totally compromise their own battle when the closing cars are about two seconds a lap quicker and provided there is no blocking, should easily pass.

Real back markers should immediately move aside.

13

Blue flags from 11-20, top 10, racing no compromise. Simple.

14

That’s the Strategy Report on Tuesday

15

Very good race by Max again, pushing Lewis all the way until the end. First part of the race Lewis had everything under control, but on the Softs Max looked to be just a little quicker. Overtaking is another thing of course. Shame that Alonso and Massa intervened in that fight in the penultimate lap. In the end, well done Lewis. Another deserved win.

Starting to feel sorry for Vettel. It was his own fault in Singapore, but just bad luck in Malaysia and now here. Still Raikkonen was rather subpar this weekend. Sure he had the grid penalty but qualified poorly and didn't have great racepace either.

Bottas was just a bit better than his last races but still just too slow for the great car he's drving.

Good performance by Ricciardo, but again he just wasn't up to the racepace of Max.

Good job by Ocon too. He had a great start but his car just isn't up to the top 3 yet.
Sainz didn't do himself a favour crashing his Toro Rosso twice this weekend. Let's see what he can do at Renault. I think he's a good driver, but not a great one. He'll have a hard job beating Hulk.

16

Yeah me too because 2 issues weren't Vettels fault. That stuff with Stroll was bizarre.

I think we me see Hamilton and Vettel fight it out for the win or Red Bull has the possibility of snatching 2nd away and Bottas is getting closer to Vettel in the WDC.

But hey it's been a pretty good season. 2010 was better as 4 drivers had a chance at the last race that year. Well Hamilton had only a slim chance.

I don't think this will be wrapped up at Austin. Man you can't sleep in the US to see those good Asian races.

The next 3 are perfect. Austin Brazil Mexico are close enough. Even Europe is OK but Suzuka Singapore and especially Malaysia is bad. I'm surprised I watched all live. So sad Malaysia is gone next year. That and Turkey are 2 of the best HT designed tracks. Notice I didn't mention Austin!

If there has to be another race in the US for prime time in Europe I think Watkins Glen is already there in eastern standard time.

But a good day to all.....

17

Pushing?

If pushing means laps 7s slower than their quali laps then I guess that's right.

18

They say we're young and we don't know
We won't find out until we grow...

19

I present you, Lewis' Japanese Grand Prix full of 95s, start to finish! How do you spell driving to a delta again? Is it "p-u-s-h-i-n-g"?

Talk about repeatability. Talk about predictability. Talk about automated routine.

Come on James, this type of stuff needs to be discussed, and is exactly the reason your forum exists. Don't let this picture go into the abyss. 🙂

20

I agree Sebee.
Also its hard not to feel Merc have been managing this championship from the get go as you predicted many times much to the distain of others many of whom are Hamilto fans. Go figure huh....

21

Sarsippious. You realise James poured scorn on Sebee's managed championship theory don't you? I hardly think it's just Lewis fans who believe that Mercedes are deliberately throwing races.

22

How, pray tell, did they manage it? Did they hypnotize Seb, and get him to sandwich Max and take himself out of Singapore? Did they cause Seb's turbo failure in Malaysia qualifying, or his spark plug in Japan?!?

Without those three events, none of which Mercedes had a hand in, Seb would still be leading the championship!

Anyone who thinks Mercedes managed this championship (as in holding back) is just indulging their irrational and fanciful side, as some way to process the hurt.

23

The only thing that's being hurt unfortunately KRB ars the viewing figures and as an F1 fan first and foremost, its ossues like those that concern me the most.
I dont believe this season, based on the drop off in numbers here in Australia and ones that tend to be replicated in most other markets, has shown that the rather timid Ferrari renaissance to have stemmed the bleeding of fans leaving the sport.
Mercedes need a return of those viewers to maximise the exposure of their brand as much as the next manufacturer and i dont beliwve its out of the realm of possibility to think they havent always shown their true pace for the benefit of the show.
The sudden lack of pace and the just as sudden regaining of said pace at times this year certainly in my opinion makes that question or thought a valid one, fanciful as you may think yourself.

24

Once again Sarsippious I find myself asking you for evidence of your claims, do you have up to date tv ratings figures? How do they compare with the record track attendance numbers? How does Seb leading the championship for over half the season count as a "feeble renaissance "?

25

The gaps we see between race fastest lap and pole this season are entirely consistent with the most similar previous regulations, the 84-85 or so Turbo no refuelling era. Looking back at tracks that haven't changed much and races that proceeded in a similar fashion to its counterpart this year, lets look at the 1984 vs 2017 Canadian Grand Prix:

1984: Piquet (Brabham-BMW) Grand Slam:
Q=1:25.442, FL=1:28.763, Difference = 3.321s

2017: Hamilton (Mercedes) Grand Slam:
Q=1:11.459, FL=1:14.551, Difference = 3.092s

The difference of course being back then to get that fast in quali they had disposable 'grenade' engines that lasted a handful of laps before exploding and being replaced by a race spec tuned down engine, here they can do that same quali difference with an ultimate performance engine mode, and the same PU can still do the race plus another 5 weekends.

Besides, 'pushing' in the race is about how hard the driver can push the car - if you want them to be pushing, sprinting all the time, then you bring back refuelling and therefore take tyre wear and management out of the equation - heck if you really wanted to shatter every lap record by 5s or so tell them that in addition to refuelling and fresh tyres they can have a new engine every week, use the ultimate quali mode as much as you like. My point is its nothing to do with the excellent quality of the technology, and everything to do with the regulations the FIA choose to run the sport to.

26

I agree your hit the spot far too many regulations . F1 is to push the cars to the limit.

27

By the way, YES Jonno143!

YES!

Yes, to refuelling, because right now they are not pushing. They are pushing the per lap fuel allowance, meaning they could go faster if not for that limit.

Yes, to new engines every weekend. Because again that causes them to dial it down to reduce damage, and new engines each GP would eliminate penalties. Eliminate long term reliability of components as a championship decider too. Eliminate fans in later part of the season going to races and seeing their driver start at the back or DNF because of engine use that happened in races before. How fair is that? Imagine you go to a concert, but they have to dial it down today for the show you are at because they left it all on the stage in the city prior to yours. Or the lead singer has to be put in the back, behind the drummer our of sight, because....his mic failed at the show before. How do you feel about that? $400 per ticket anyway, please.

How many problems are solved this way? Do you doubt that a fresh engine could be delivered to each car, each Grand Prix for the exact same budget they currently spend on these complex units? Absolutely it is possible. Simplify...and beautify!

28

even formula e drivers push sebee.

29

Yeah, you're right. PU damage limitation is another reason they don't push.

30

Sebee, either that or the rock solid Pirellis don't allow it, add in the lack of refuelling and there's a far more likely explanation.

31

we all know that race pace and quali pace are miles apart. that doesnt mean they don't push in races.

32

Qualifying is different than the race. Qualifying is all about that one lap while the race is all about the whole race distance.

33

@ Steve...really?

34

Speed walking is different from running. You see, speed walking is like the current PU Formula 1. Running, well, that's only allowed for one lap on Saturdays, then...speed walking only!

35

I would love to see speed walkers that can do 90-95% of their running pace!

36

Didn’t you know Sebee, in 2017 going 7s a lap slower, cruising around, taking it easy means “pushing very hard”?

37

The racepace of the Bulls was about as equal as equal can be. The wheel spin at the start, whether clutch or driver, with the resulting lack of pace in the first couple of hundred metres that allowed Max and then Ocon past was the difference. I think Max has tempered his approach somewhat since Singapore and it is paying dividends, but did not see him as having any discernible pace advantage.

Ocon put in a lot of effort to hold up Daniel, which I think showed his inexperience and only served to compromise both of their tyres and races, finding himself struggling immediately afterwards and falling into the clutches of others, including his teammate. He was never racing against the Bulls, he was racing against the cars that started behind him and will have learned a lesson today.

38

@Bryce

I dunno. Ocon has been vocal at several races this year about seeking a podium, so running in third, even though he couldn't live with it, I think he was precisely where he wanted to be,

39

@Bryce, well put. Exactly as i saw it. The only other time that Ric lost to the front two was when they left him out longer on the first stint and he lost a second a lap. I assume they were looking for a spot to drop him into, but i was concerned when Brundle commented that they thought Red Bull were going to try and have him hold Lewis up so Verstappen could close in. I'm glad that wasn't the case, but i do wonder what the strategy was...it seemed to leave him in no mans land?
Given that we now know what RB's position on Dan post 2018 -i'm afraid we might see a bit more of this going forward. It would surprise me at all if they've dropped Webbers old clutch in already! 😉

40

I agree Bryce, Verstappen seems to have tempered his approach after Singapore. I've been impressed, he seems to be progressing rapidly. Not just blisteringly fast, also making some mature racing decisions. Much more mature than some of his senior colleagues.

41

Thought it was interesting the conversation he had with the pit wall towards the end....admittedly his tyres were shot.

"Can I have a crack at him"

"As long as you're good boy and still bring the car home intact"

Gilles, Ayrton and many other greats of the past would be rolling in their graves!

42

wht telling lies when the truth is out there.

Verstappen: “Am I allowed to give it everything?”
“As long as you’re sensible.”

Asking if all systems are available in the last few rounds is just sensible.
I guess you also have problems with the communication of HAM?
And let them roll in their graves.. at least VER was responsible for some action then 😉

43

I don't have a problem with anything and am surprised at your response......and I was not directly quoting anyone....just expressing a thought when hearing this communication and thinking of analogy which is different from era's gone by....different F1 from the past....don't read too much into it old mate!

44

Nothing differently done by Max in comparison to Singapore. Just not a Ferrari cutting across this time.

Ocon actually did ‘a Vettel’ at the start, but was lucky not to hit anyone.

45

Exactly as how it is. Verstappens approach is the same as in Singapore. He is not fighting for the championship; He is just trying to win the race.

46

No it compromised Riciardo. Force India runs Mercedes engines. Icon and Perez probably got the best positions possible.

47

Do not forget the sacrifice of Bottas options when he was forced to move over for HAM and did his best to hold up verstappen. If not HAM would be in a world of hurt by the chasing Verstappen.

48

Do not forget the sacrifice of Bottas

Wasn't Bottas an entire pitstop behind the leading pair at that stage of the race?

49

Anytime we agree on anything is a rare lucky day. However, I’m disappointed that you don’t recall any of my comments about Kimi’s position in the Ferrari this season. Good start though!

50

Life is full of disappointments Fzero 😉

51

Whatever helps you sleep the night

52

Eric, what do you think Valterri sacrificed?

53

His realistic chance at a podium.

54

Eric, not a chance.

55

Yeah I bet those graphs could show had Bottas pitted earlier he could have got Riciardo but Hamilton may have ended up second. I think Bottas had fastest lap.

56

The reason they left Bottas out for so long was because he was going to put on the super soft tyre (having started the race on a contra strategy to the other leading drivers) and the team wanted to be sure his tyres would last. Leaving him out as they did compromised Hamiltons race so it was only fair that Bottas repaired the 'damage' before pitting imo.

57

So you mean team mates do not race each other anymore. They just obey teamorders. Okay... fair point if that's what you like.

58

Eric, they race each other if the guy behind is fast enough to keep up!

59

No I don't mean that team mates don't race each other anymore - but if one is in with a good chance of securing the WDC and the other has virtually no chance then it would be foolish to allow the one who has no chance to obstruct the one who does. Would it not? We aren't talking about the first or second race of the season here - we are at the business end and every point counts.

60

Jdr, maybe he would have won! Maybe he would have win all the races if he didn't have to keep moving over for Lewis......

61

Hamilton was pretty clear where the vibrations were coming from and it wasn't the tyres! Lauda exposed as either a man with little clue OR someone who can't be trusted to tell the truth. Trying to protect Mercedes public image?

62

aezy, you remeber how Lauda said at Spa that Bottas should be #2 now? Then he's basically been that?

Everyone just dismissed it some silly old grandpa talk right? Because huge international corporations install silly grandpa as chairman.

Lauda is one clever sharp dude. Doesn't he still fly himself? In jets? Just an example of his mental sharpness.

63

Hamilton said it was on upshifts. That could still mean oscillation on rear tires or maybe a gearbox.

Whatever it is I'm sure it will get fixed. Passing is possible at Austin so even if Vettel wins every race from here on out Hamilton has to just about score nothing for those remaining races. Its not impossible but likely AND if Vettel keeps having issues Bottas could claim second place.

64

could be the clutch..

65

It sounds like the gearbox or it could be those oscillations in the tires. In fact it on tire seemed to come off that way. The tire side wall's are too wide. Those big tires don't belong on 13" rims.

Vibrations could be anything but I see grid penalties. No one shall escape.

One last thing. NBCSN sucks!

66

If you're in the USA, watch the over-the-air free F1 broadcast on Unimas. Here in L.A. it's on Channel 34.2. The coverage starts on a delayed basis three hours after the live broadcast. Only the OTA Electronic Program Guide is accurate for the broadcast time, as all the other guides like Zap2it show the race as broadcast live (I think COTA is actually live) but are in error. The coverage is in Spanish, but from flag-to-flag the broadcast is commercial free.

67

You really don't know which is the right choice?

68

Lauda is a company man and knows who sign his paycheck !

69

Nikki is worth millions. He doesn't need to worry about upsetting anyone.

70

Not even Mrs Lauda ?

71

Lauda is shareholder of the team. So i guess he pays his own checks 😉

72

Lewis was wrong! Toto confirmed as much during the post race interview that the vibrations may have been phantoms. Lewis has a tendency to overreact in the car. If you watch F1 you will always get a picture of gloom from him on the radio, even when he is comfortably ahead in races. I have concluded he is one of those people who need adversity in their way to keep themselves sharp. He seems to dislike comfort and stability, you always hear Lewis tell reporters he was driving on the ragged edge. Some people only thrive in chaos.

73

how can the best driver of all time misunderstand a feeling in the car which could be better explained by the team principal?

74

12
1:12 pmOctober 8, 2017
Frederick1 Star2 Star
Lewis was wrong! Toto confirmed as much during the post race interview that the vibrations may have been phantoms. Lewis has a tendency to overreact in the car. If you watch F1 you will always get a picture of gloom from him on the radio, even when he is comfortably ahead in races. I have concluded he is one of those people who need adversity in their way to keep themselves sharp. He seems to dislike comfort and stability, you always hear Lewis tell reporters he was driving on the ragged edge. Some people only thrive in chaos.
+20Reply
Share

That is true. Lewis can only thrive under pressure. Look at how poorly he performed against Nico in 2005 just after he won the title in COTA.

75

Exactly! I said it here before when people were complaining about his partying. His lifestyle works for him, not against. Sameness goes with attitude in the car or on camera. Being negative, complaining and moaning works for him. Even the sky commentators agreed with you on this during the race.

76

Frederick, Toto did the inspection of that car really quickly didn't he....?

77

Reminds me a little of that idiot in the White House!

78

Yeah Hamilton remembers last year. When you don't have the race won but are in the lead every single noise makes the mind do this.

He did say it was on upshifts. So someone needs to look at it anyhow.

79

Some people are even upsetted with Hamilton conveying technical informations about his car to his engineers. If indeed Wolf said that, any rational person would say how does he know that before the engineers had checked. Some of us are not upsetted or obsessed with Hamilton's irrelevant
jet setting lifestyle in the comfort of his private jet. 😁
Apparently, he must have Vettel's style 'stability' at home with a baby to prevent him from shooting himself in the foot in Singapore. 😁

80

I really hope that they don't expect him to live a boring life like the one Seb seems to be living.

81

Um because he the driver and telemetry doesn't tell all. But Hamilton does tend to think like that with all of the reliability issues last year.

He might have been able to push harder in Malaysia but didn't see the need to take the risk as long as he finished ahead of Vettel. At Suzuka he kept the door shut.

82

Frederick, although you may be right, don't forget things have often gone wrong for Hamilton when in a commanding position, look at Malaysia last year.

We all fear that "knock" or "squeak" on our own cars, listening for the worst, I imagine that's heightened when you've been leading a race and your engine goes pop!

83

When Horner was quizzed about this during the race he blew it off as Lewis been Lewis....understandable given his position and context of the race.

I know when you are way out at sea and running from a storm even though you know you'll make it back safe your senses are heightened like Frederick mentioned.... you still listen out for "bumps in the night"!

84

Lewis was wrong!

Shouldn't that be Lewis 'may' have been wrong!

85

Seriously? That’s what you picked on?

86

A tip for you Fzero - if any of your facts are backed up by a statement which includes the words alluded to - then you haven't got a fact. You're welcome.

87

Lewis (almost) 4 time world champion doesn't know the difference between tyre vibration and gearbox/engine issues in a car he is driving? Are you sure you would prefer to believe the corporate party line?

88

unless hamilton was toying with verstappen..

89

er, no. Why would he do that? 'I know, I'll risk a DNF and the WDC just so that I can play games with Verstappen'. I think Lewis is cleverer than that.

90

I dunno if it was tires this oscillation thing is very new. A couple of times tires came off of rims due to this. I think this as it has happened and can't be that many bad rims.

91

To further quote Ted and the Notebook on SkyF1 even Lewis backed off the seriousness of the engine vibrations story in the group press conference. The fact is Toto and the members of the Mercedes pit wall are in a better position to understand the severity of what Lewis is going through in the car. They are the ones who see all the telemetry streaming into the system. Finally the radio messages broadcasts are incomplete, almost always delayed, normally out of context to what is on the screen and thus largely uninformative. The real juicy technical communications are embargoed from broadcast.

92

wolf and lauds just don’t want their competitors having any hope..

93

Aezy, I would imagine the company line is "we have no idea if there was anything wrong with Lewis' car, and won't know until we strip the car down and inspect it back at the factory".

94

Can see Marchionne handing Arrivabene his P45
And then the shareholders handing Marchionne his P45.
P45 = loosing your job and ending up with a final Wage Tax receipt to hand to your next employer (if you find another job 😉).
Red Bull are gaining strength and may end up in second place in the constructors championship.
Ferrari in Dire Straits (come on "🎵it ain't working🎵").
Mercedes looking good and Lewis is the backing down. With only one Brit left in F1 on track it's a shame there isn't another one in this field to be up there with Lewis.
All in all a good race 👍

95

Now vettels down 59 points Hmmm That 40 point swing in Singapore and 13 points in Baku those 53 points would mean vettel would still have good chance in the WDC

96

He needs to leave things alone except quality control.

97

Marchionne wont be going anywhere.

98

Directors are beholden to him for allowing them on Ferrari board. He plans to retire from FCA in a year or two, and Ferrari will be his full-time retirement job, hanging out at every race.

99

Ferrari had the best chassis and entire package out of the gate. Vettels temper hasn't helped.

SM just took a page out of Enzos book and got rid of the top people and let the young guys do it. They came up with a design that no one else thought about. You now see Red Bull looking similar.

The only problem with Ferrari is quality control. Mercedes has this on Hamilton's side of the garage because of 2016 experience.

I think 2018 might see 2 more teams that could get wins.

100

Just like Merc handed p45s to haug, fry etc in 2013 after 3 years of failure?

101

Yeah, like those men had the budgets at the time or benefit of the long term regulation push games Mercedes was playing.

Wrong place, wrong time. By good people.

Just like anyone could easily argue that those there now are just benefiting from work done before them. After all, Wolff wasn't the one arguing on behalf of Mercedes for these rules as of 2007. He jumped in when the boat was primed. Lewis wasn't the one designing these PUs writing the software, etc. He didn't even know how to pick engine modes without engineer help. Like Kimi, Nico, etc.

Right time, right place. Taking credit for work done by those before. Funny how people look at things. Funny how people assign credit where it isn't necessarily all due.

I could even argue that it is "stolen" McLaren people who are responsible for good part of this domination.

102

Sebee, a bit like Ferrari stealing all of Benetton's key staff in 96? I bet you were incandescent with rage when they did that.......

103

Very relieved to see you are still willing to comment on this site Sebee. Believe me, it is not the same without you.
Regarding Singapore you have it right. The possibility of an event was advertised in the paddock, heavily suggested on the grid and perfectly executed after lights out. An incredible piece of driving. Payback was swiftly administered however, Raikkonen knew what had transpired. His brakes failed far to accurately for Crashappen to go across his bow. All in all, I have to admit, it was a beautiful piece of driving. Reluctantly I'm forced to admit also that the kid has championship potential. Let's not forget his teammate either. Set against the startline antics of his partner the obscurity of why he wasn't able to threaten the car ahead is less vailed.
Anyway Sebee! Your Comment, just above. Unfortunately you are likely, never ever to know just what an incredible true story lurks behind the Mercs.
Check out a certain edition of Autosport magazine, issue; 22 August 2013. Page seven. Ross Brawn article. Then have a dig in your archived footage, post race Sochi 2014. E. J. Prompts Toto. (A word for him at home).

104

I seriously doubt that Mercedes could have won this one without Lewis.

105

And who played an instrumental role to get Lewis to Mercedes? Haug?
And who drove the push for hybrid regs, which Mercedes exploited so well?

You give Lewis so much credit, but so few give Haug the credit for convincing Lewis to come. And don't doubt it, convincing was necessary.

You're welcome....I guess.

106

@sebee
It was Ross brawn. Met Lewis at his mums house I believe. Talked him in to moving to Merc.

107

Haug? really?

I thought it was Lauda and Brawn. That's what Lewis says, at least..

108

@James Allen - the bulk of F1 stories have never and will never be written. Either because of the secrecy associated with the sport or because of the power of the previous owner who censored much of the interesting stuff. The Interweb allows makey uppey stories easier to disseminate to the point some of them become 'facts' over time. Norbert Haug has never claimed to have been behind the Lewis Hamilton move to Mercedes, it's just another figment in the imagination of a rabid keyboard warrior.

109

I think Lewis agreed to move if Norbert shaved of his moustache...the rest is history.

110

"Haug was also a key figure in tying up a deal for Lewis Hamilton as the 27-year-old will replace Schumacher at Mercedes from next season on a three-year contract after a 14-year association with McLaren"

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2012/dec/13/norbert-haug-mercedes-benz-motorsport

Lest we forget who was the man at Mercedes when Brawn was bought out and Mercedes became a team in the first place.

Makes perfect sense James. Haug was around McLaren all the time, deep on the inside. He knew who the key people to pull were. He knew Lewis closely after working with him all those years. He knew the plans Mercedes had for the PU era, and he could assure Lewis that he could pick the people from McLaren and they would hire them to make Lewis feel good. Plus Haug could certainly hint to Lewis that works Mercedes engine wasn't going to continue at McLaren...as additional incentive.

111

He knew the plans Mercedes had for the PU era, and he could assure Lewis that he could pick the people from McLaren and they would hire them to make Lewis feel good

Even if you are right, don't you wonder why he wanted Lewis, not Button? Or even Alonso and alonso's contract was shaky then? Don't you consider Lewis as one of "the instrumental people" if not most, that Merc pouched?

112

"tying up a deal for Lewis Hamilton" is not the same as persuading him.

Lack of detail here, but it sounds much more like Haug was there to finalise the financial aspects, and not that he was a key influence in Lewis's decision to move to Merc.

Brawn and Lauda undoubtedly did the real work.

But all credit to Lewis for being the one ALL THREE wanted SO badly at Mercedes 🙂

113

@ Sebee...well done. I also recall some similar comments quite a while ago. Just another put down from a rabid keyboard warrior. Keep it up...

114

I could even argue that it is "stolen" McLaren people who are responsible for good part of this domination.

Like Lewis Hamilton?

115

He was part of the combo. Would his absence change the results for Mercedes? I think we could easily debate that it would not.

116

That last thing about McLaren being responsible for making a mess of things is true. Imagine how good they would be with a Mercedes PU?

117

I thought Nico had a degree in engineering? Does anyone know? He seems very smart to me.

118

I don't believe Nico has an actual degree in engineering although I believe he was offered a place at University but, as he was also offered a seat in F1, he did not take up the option. Also, Williams ask all their prospective drivers to sit an engineering exam and apparently Nico got the highest mark of all the candidates. You are right, he is definitely not daft.

119

He does not have a degree

120

@ james...I believe that Rosberg has expressed a desire to get more involved in F1 as an expert commentator. He would be excellent and you should see if you can get him to be a guest writer from time to time. I do know that there would be some opposition to that from his well known detractors but i'm sure that they would be in the minority.

121

@ James...sorry to disagree but Rosberg does have a degree...A 'degree' of intelligence that's why Brundle shadowed him so closely in order to get some inside running info on the current crop of cars. Far better than the blathering on of Hill and Herbert who aren't up to date with the intricacies of the current cars and the actual driving of same.

122

Nothing to add Sebee.

123

@Sebee - rewriting history again. Very few, if anyone in a leading position in F1 was in that same position 10 years ago. Personnel move from team to team all the time. No team steals personnel, stop being a bitter little man.

124

Obviously. But the people named have made significant contributions to this team and receive little or no recognition today for the direction they put the team on. Haug for example was there for 5 years of the push toward PUs, and was key to signing Lewis as Schumi's replacement.

To be honest, I can't say that this path has been good for F1. But there is no doubt about the results of that path for Mercedes.

I could easily argue the point that Haug deserves more credit than Wolff for current Mercedes success, since Wolff was neither the visionary of the PU formula, nor architect of the parts. Nor was he instrumental to Lewis joining Mercedes. In fact it could be said that he has displayed resentment for amount of Mercedes results success credit assigned to Lewis and perhaps 2016 was aimed to balance that out perhaps?

125

Sebee, how long would Mercedes' success have to continue before the current managers could take some of the credit?

126

Didn't Fry work at Ferrari?

127

Nick Fry

128

Pat Fry was at Ferrari, Nick Fry was at Mercedes having been a big part part of Brawn GP

129

I think SB meant Nick Fry, not Pat Fry.

130

Pat Fry at Ferrari. Nick Fry at Honda and early Mercedes.

131

It's indeed incredible to see how Ferrari falters these last races. A shame because it would have been really nice to see the title going down to the wire.
Interesting comment about Red Bull - I hadn't thought of it this way but you could indeed argue they could have challenged for the win with at least one car.

Special shout to Jolyon - it's incredible how he manages to keep his chin up despite all that's happening to him. He almost seemed upbeat in the post race interviews. You can say what you want but he seems difficult to break!

132

Notice the aero on that Red Bull now. It looks like they copied Ferrari and added to it. I wonder how fast they would be with a Mercedes PU? These cars could get real fast in a couple of years.

133

Well I think the mechanical failures of the Ferrari's started after they crashed into Max, I think Ferrari isn't that good in repairing their cars....

134

Yeah Ferrari is not that good with repair but practice they should get good.

135

Exactly after the crash Ferrari couldn't get their cars back together right. Its a young team. They may even yet win a few races left.

136

I think the mechanical failures of the Ferrari's started after they crashed into Max

True talk?

137

Certainly issues cost Vettel. Kimi rather cost himself with a messy weekend ( the mistake in FP3 especially and I don't think Raikkonen would've been ahead of Max certainly. A poor weekend from Kimi . On Max he seems to really have the bit between his teeth now. The last couple of races are actually the impressed i've ever been with Max in his F1 career . I admit I still wasn't sure about him at beginning of the season about his ability -less so now.

138

I was. After Brazil last year I had no doubt. Max will win a WDC one day unless something terrible happens.

He just needs to make the right moves or maybe stay put. He has many options by 2020 I'm sure.

139

Have to admit that I am also warming to boy wonder. No doubt about his speed and racing talent, and he seems to be maturing too. That he didn't feel the need to trash Alonso and Massa for possibly costing him a crack at LH, is a credit to him. Certain other drivers would definitely have had a moan...

140

I agree redline. Max is maturing into a fine racer. His temperament is settling and as it does the results are starting to come his way. Only consistency will bring him a WDC.

141

Only a fast car will bring him WDC..

142

...not with a 50% DNF rate

143

so he should not go to Ferrari 😉

144

No I don't think so the long straights and tight track he'd have a problem 0assing the Merc.
Don't think Lewis would've given Japan away like he did at Malaysia.

145

I was somewhat disappointed with this race. The loss of Vettel was a major blow and Mercedes/Hamilton now have it well and truly in the bag. Just how bad has the Ferrari reliability become? The race was at times tense and at times boring but overall not too bad. Verstappen drove another storming race and he did very very well. He was fortunate that Ricciardo gave him space at the start otherwise they may both have been out by the first corner. That allowed Verstappen through and even Ocon got past!!! By then Daniel was out of the frame and that is when a win/second place became nothing more than a distant dream. Daniels's pass on Ocon was superb and i was surprised that Ocon got away with some of his dangerous moves. Overly aggressive IMO. Must say that it was rather good to see Rosberg in the Sky team for the weekend. His comments made a lot of sense and he was a refreshing face with some relative insight. Herbert really has to be relieved of any further involvement. The WDC/WCC is now over for all intents and purposes. The final denouement is but two weeks away. I am just hoping that Ferrari can finally put a weekend together at COTA..one of my favourite circuits. Can't come quick enough.

146

verstappen started on the right hand side of the track while ricciardo started on the left. verstappen stayed on the right to be in the inside for turn 1. ricciardo moved over to try to limit verstappen’s turning trajectory but verstappen didn’t let that worry him. he made a good use of his brakes and accelerator pedal. ricciardo hardly gave him room into turn 1.

147

@ Aveli....sucking eggs again? The starting position from fourth on the grid is, IMO, far better than third. Any wheelspin or slow getaway from third and you're toast going into turn 1. That is exactly what happened. I suggest that you listen to Ricciardo's comments post race. He couldn't see where Verstappen was and he gave him room rather than take the chance of them both contacting and going out. Verstappen got a better start and he capitalised on that. Well done Verstappen.

148

Good points Kenneth. I also had to question Ocon getting away with his moves against Ricc., while Alonso gets a reprimand.and points on his licence.
Very refreshing to listen to Rosberg. Brundle clearly enjoyed his company and insight.

149

Rosberg did well in his commentary debut. I liked how he took the blame for trying to hang it out around the outside at the start of the 2015 Japanese GP (during the Track Parade portion of the broadcast). Was also nice to hear Nico call Lewis one of the greatest of all-time. If Johnny had said that, he would be lambasted on here ad infinitum.

150

Well he would, wouldn't he? As in, he beat him to the 2016 title so that adds some serious value to it (as with Alonso's 2005 and '06 titles vs Schumacher)

151

Was 2005 a fair fight or was it one sided due to the technical competition? I seem to remember that Schumacher's car was not able to compete with Alonso's car at least in 2005. Or am I wrong? Wasn't Alonso's car so much better?

152

The rules that year allowed one set of tyres for quali and race - nuts!

That suited Michelin (Renault) better than Bridgestone (Ferrari)

153

05 fight was between alonso and raikkonen

154

i remember rosberg saying his turn would also come after hamilton first championship victory.

155

Do you think he's just saying that though, or does he really believe it? Rosberg's smart enough not to make a claim that wouldn't receive widespread agreement.

156

Speed is the inverted form of reliability. If you increase speed, reliability goes down. The only way to improve both is better raw-material, e.g. Better power-pack.

157

I agree Ken. I really like the fact that Nico isn't prone to hyperbole like the rest of the sky team.

158

Lkfe, so it's ok for Nico to say Lewis is one of the best of all time, but not anyone else?

159
Clarks4WheelDrift

Ah but Tim, Nico only needs to say it once, not ten times on every thread 😉

160

Clarks, so Nico has said it once more than me?

161

Oh, now i do...
I momentarily forgot your sole focus...

162

Lkfe, so when you talk about the Sky teams 'hyperbole ' you aren't talking about them praising Lewis too much? Pull the other one, any mildly positive comment from Jonny about the championship leader is enough to get you and Kenny bashing the keys in rage!

163

It will be hard (for you in particular) to comprehend, but i wasn't actually thinking about Lewis in particular at all.
In my view it's more of a Brit-centric thing (which i guess is only to be expected given the viewership).
A good example is Jo Palmer...they all have a vested interested in empathising with his plight, but other drivers of a similar calibre are completely anonymous to us. I don't recall really ever seeing anything on Ericsson for instance.
Now that Jensen is gone, (and now Jo as well), maybe they are talking about Lewis more than before.
I will admit that the mindless promulgation of Lewis stats from Crofty does do my head in.

164

One of your many good points was clear for all to see in Japan when Button was interviewed during practice. When asked why they wanted to interview him Herbert replied it was because he was a brit.
Its clear for all that Sky is heavily biased during their coverage of the British drivers, understandable to a point, however as a wod feed for many its quite galling and vomit inducing the fact they dont try and hide it one bit.

165

Sarsipious. What a ridiculous comment, the Sky team are there primarily for the British market. This commentary is available to other broadcasters if they don't want to do their own, but be in no doubt that you are watching coverage intended for UK consumption. If the Aussies TV company could be bothered to do their own commentary and punditry, would you find it so vomit inducing that they sought out Ricciardo for interview?

166

Lkfe, so who were you thinking of then? You say you were thinking of British drivers in general, but not Lewis in particular? Seriously mate, the other one has bells on!

167

I'm not following Tim?

168

@kenneth
Right about Rosberg,! If there’s one person who can give good insight, it’s Nico. I thought he did great.
And the less said about Herbert the better😉

169

@ james...thank you. He was breath of fresh air. Herbert and Hill should be retired. I must say though..i'm expecting to see Herbert explode [ literally ] one of these days.....and that will not be a pretty sight. Haha

170

If he did you'd see his eyebrows hit the lense or give Rosberg a pencil Tash and pencil chin hair for the first time 😄
So doesn't the glorious land of racial intolerance and backward stereotyping of the indigenous population not have their own glorious F1 tv team and show?
Or are they still busy building a Post Office/benefit office and a Bottle-O
next to each other in areas where the aboriginal people are homeless and treated like the Rohinga people in Myanmar?
OlaRooo

171

Ocon only moved once not twice. That just goes to show how hard it is for cars to pass at Suzuka.

That's why the back markers made no difference but Bottas did. These Mercedes cars are worse than the rest when running in the wake of another car.

172

I thought he moved twice. Very borderline but Danny Boy didn't complain, I guess that means it was an okay defence.

173

@ Rob...Yes i thought so too. The fact is that Ricciardo was intent on putting on the pass and he did in a quite spectacular manner without complaining. That's a racer for you.

174

I think he moved twice on a couple of occasions. Prior to the relaxation of the "Verstappen" rule, he may have been punished as VET was.

175

Rosberg was indeed very eloquent! And it was very obvious that all the drivers and team folks he met with were pleased to be interviewed by him as all were big smiles and very talkative !!

Same reaction btw when I saw Button conduct some interviews after the Qualifier!

176

@cyber
Couldn’t agree more😊
Does anybody know if it was just for this race he was commentating, or is he doing the rest of the season?

177

James, he hasn't got anything better to do has he?

178

@TimW - For sure....

179

@timw
😄 i dunno Tim, with all his money, ithink he can do whatever he wants now.
By I think he kicks himself in the backside when he says Lewis is one of the greatest ever. Then he’s basically telling us all that there’s another reason for why he could become WDC last year. 😉
But I must admit, he gave a refreshing insight to the commentary, don’t you think?

180

James, ge has always had money.... I thought he was good in the commentary, obviously he knows his stuff.

181

Yeah we even got some comments from Nico Rosberg here in the US. That guy is so smart. How many languages does he know? 7 or 8? Doesn't he just about have a doctorate or something?

I think he was a good deal more help to help Mercedes testing than Hamilton was.

If Hamilton wants a car to suit his style he needs to test a lot. I think Vettel actually helped Ferrari that way just as MiS did. It was about those Bridgestone tires for MS.

I still see Mercedes slipping.

182

@jdr - what testing? Lewis Hamilton does his share of pre-season testing. There are a couple of other odd days, which are usually left to the test drivers. Lewis did miss out on the tyre testing last year, because he was under the impression it would be pointless as the mule cars they used were nothing like this year's car. I doubt it made much difference as this year's Mercedes is a camel, that no one has admitted designing. Funny that.

183

I read somewhere, I think it was Paddy Lowe that said it but not sure, that Lewis could not be a good test driver because he drove around car flaws.

184

I read/heard somewhere that one of Barrichello's greatest strengths was his ability as a test driver. Very consistent lap times apparently - which is what the engineers want so they can assess the different parts. My point, before you ask, is that being a great test driver does not necessarily translate into being a great race driver. I know which accolade I think most drivers would prefer.

185

Jdr, Lewis can't do anymore testing, it's limited by regulation.

186

I had a laugh with the Button (and Coultard) interview after qualifications - After they interviewed Lewis, he wandered over to the parked Ferrari and was studying the back of the car, and while they were then interviewing Vettel, his eyes kept going off to the left - I think he was watching Lewis and his Ferrari - Lewis was certainly getting into Vettel's head in my opinion.
Was good seeing Jenson Button again.

187

Didn't notice that. But did see Vettel having a really good look the Silver Arrow.

188

hamilton has been in vettel's head since march.

189

Rented a small apartment.

191

Nico was great. For sure. ☺

192

@aezy
He apparently got a bit of grief on Twitter for his “ for sures”😄

193
Clarks4WheelDrift

😉 For sure, for sure...

194

If a driver smashes his car to pieces two races in a row, general maintainance must surely suffer. Between the travel, the complexity of the cars, the limited number of staff avaiable 'in the field' and forced re-use of major components, it's no surprise that something has given in the Ferrari this weekend.

195

It was a spark plug, so nothing to do with contact.

196

Well not the spark plug. Ferrari scrutinized and identified a faulty ignition cable. Thats why changing spark plugs didn't do shit....

197

@ ray...they couldn't change the malfunctioning spark plug as it meant dismantling and removing the entire air box...quoted by ferrari in an interview. Would like to read the confirmation from Ferrari that the plug wasn't faulty...if you have a link.

198

Anytime now, we will hear it was an electrical problem, caused by a lump of broken engine breaking some wires.

199

Yes maintenance suffers especially with a young team. Ferrari does have a young team because they got rid of the old guys all at once.

200

For sure, it was good to see Rosberg in the Sky team for the weekend.

201

Fortunate? He just had the better start and had enough overlap to claim the first corner. You’ll have to admit that Max beat Ric fair and square for the second race in a row.

Agree with your assessment of Ocon. At one point he changed direction three times when Ricciardo was trying to pass him. Rather extreme.

202

@ The1dik Watch the start again. Ricciardo slightly slower off the mark but by then Verstappen was gaining. Daniel had the position but as he said in the interview, he couldn't see Verstappen so he left the door ajar so as not to hit him if he was in fact there!.

203

No, that only applies to Daniel and other drivers. When Max passes overtakes he is either a. agressive and dangerous or b. Lucky.
When Daniek gets in front it is to be considered superb racecraft.

/sarcasm

204

If we take away the emotion, in bird's-eye view this season is kind of logical. Two competitors (Ferrari, Red Bull) trying to catch up Mercedes, and trying to close that gap came with less reliability.

205

Not sure ferrari have been chasing mercedes all season jan van diemen I think Ferrari were ahead at the beginning of the season were overtaken in the middle but Ferrari have looked faster in recent races but have failed to convert that speed advantage into points.

206

Too much dispassionate objectivity for the typical fan 😉

207

Alonso who left his negative Karma at Ferrari was replaced by Vettel. Vettel began behaving like Alonso of yesteryears in Baku. Now he is paying the price. How ironic to see Alonso provide an assist to Lewis in equalizing Vettel's tally of four titles.

208

It wasn't intentional. Alonso held up Hamilton too. He wanted to get around Massa real bad. That mattered little. The VSC helped too I think with tires.

209

Alonso's so called bad karma is BS. They screwed him out of a WDC due to bad pit strategy - as such he is still revered by the Tifosi. Red couldn't give him a winning car and 5 years was enough.

Vettel however, screwed himself and Red out of a WDC by blunders at Baku and Singapore. He'd better perform better next year or he may have RIC as a teammate.

I don't think Alonso provided assistance to Hamilton - he was fighting for position with Maasa.

210

Grosjean cost Alsonso that title. Spa first corner robbed Alonso of more points than he lost the chsmpoonship bu.

211

Yeah I think Vettel was given a better car than Alonso was and Alonso almost won.

212

Agree Derin!

213

Right on each point.

214

Don't... confuse Vettel with the grudgy little man Alonso.

215

I think it is difficult not to question Vettel's behaviour. He is unable to accept when he is in the wrong, Baku, Singapore and the incident with Stroll, where on-board camera footage now confirms Lance Stroll was completely innocent. Vettel is quick to accuse others, slow to apologise and even slower to learn from his mistakes.

216

Terrible also watching Alonso today not giving way when shown the blue flags and solid blue dashboard light! Whining about Magnussen giving him a fair run for his money then pulling such classless stunt today again. Such a hippocrate! At least now the stewards were investigating post race and I understand Alonso was given a reprimand and two penalty points.

Hulkenberg btw appeared to haven gotten away with running Raikkonen off the track, but that was maybe ignored as 'general mayhem at race start'? Just fun to observe that the biggest complainers are themselves frequent violators of same.

217

I too thought that HUL blocked out RAI but Kimi did not complain in his post race comments saying that he ran wide so I guess he could have backed out behind HUL.

218

Yeah he got that for impeding Hamilton. Go figure? EG never followed blue flags when he was in F1. He didn't do it in a few races he run for Indy Cars and they don't throw them often. NASCAR don't have them. F1 should because back markers are so much slower.

219

Personally i think that blue flags should be eliminated from F1.

220

It was the final nail in the coffin for Vettel as Martin Brundle stated.

221

The corollary to this article's argument could be Lewis Hamilton arguably lost the 2016 WDC as well to poor reliability, the lost 25 points when his engine grenaded itself in Malaysia terminally damaged his championship hopes.................the irony is, reliability in the modern day era is so good that just one or two DNF's can ultimately lose a driver his chance of the title. However, it must be emphasised that Vettel was the cause of his own misfortune in Singapore with his crass stupidity - those points he dropped in South East Asia rests firmly on his own shoulders.

222

Once but not at Suzuka.

223

Again Singapore - wonder boy is allowed to move where ever he wants and no one asks questions, as he does not have a brake pedal. Lewis can move and close the door aggressively, which is called as racing move. When Vettel, does this - its called crass stupidity, if anything he did not tag any one.

224

Vettel failed to see KR or he would have been OK. That was kind of a freak thing IMO. Of course with hindsight being 20 20 it was at night and was raining and shouldn't have assumed it was only 2 wide when it was 3.

225

Yes, only Hamilton has the superb track awareness to know the distance between himself and the competitor, and also the nous to factor in that driver's talent - whether he'll be able to brake in time.

Actually my favourite bit was on the last restart, when Max started zooming up close to Lewis, to the side of course (not behind him like Vettel, duh). Hamilton then started weaving non-stop and Verstappen backed off. Two top racing drivers sussing each other out. There are going to be some great races between them in the next few years.

226

I see what your saying. But if the 2 common sense approaches below are followed by your boy, his position in the drivers championship might be better than they are now.

1. Only move to cover an opponent 2nd on the grid when the full length of your car is in the lead.

2. If not all your car is past the 2nd driver on the grid your are trying to cover off, (which is allowed) be aware of what is on your right and left and if possible to their left or right. Generally, Lewis, (and others) despite his many faults, almost always follows that rule, so does not leave a trail of carnage and wrecked racing cars in your wake.

227

wigfon.

It's a racing move when you're fully ahead of the other car when you close the door.

When you attempt to close the door before you're fully ahead of the other car(s) that you're racing with, it's called a 'Doofus move'

228

Wigfon, clearly the difference is, Lewis was ahead of Seb in Japan, while Seb was alongside Max in Singapore.

229

Time to give it a rest.

230

Kenneth,[mod], your dislike of Hamilton and Anglo-Saxons if off the scale!

231

We don't like the tone of the original of this post

Please be very careful with your language and racial references

232

It was an unreasonable post that even after moderation is still poor on any scale.

233

"colonials", "convicts", "Anglo-Saxons" - shouldn't this sort of comment be moderated and have to pass the 'we're in the 21st century' test before being allowed??

234

I know you colonials descended from Irish Catholic and Scottish convicts

Oh boy, I thought we moved to another another millennium and all these mentalities died off/evolved.
I hope that day will come sooner than later.

236

@ Gazboy...your criticism is so wide of the mark as to be borderline ludicrous! Your attempts to pinpont the ethic backgrounds of early Australians is total nonsense, just another whinging 'pom'. who thinks that they rule the universe. Sorry pal, but you;re showing your petticoats. As i said earlier...give it a rest.

237

whinging 'pom'???

238

@kenneth I just ignore a lot of these misleading, irrelevant, twisted comments. Leave it mate. Let JA handle it.

239

Come on Kenneth, not all poms are whingers😳 😄

240

@ james K....I certainly didn't mean that as an overall comment. I have lived, worked and spent a great deal of time in England and even sailed under the Red Duster so i know your country well and i loved it. What irks me, and i know it shouldn't, is this constant profiling of Australia and it's peoples by ignorant people who fail to acknowledge that "the Empire' entered into a final decline in 1948.

241

“Whatever its roots, the word Pom has, in the Australian vernacular, universally recognised associations of chinless effeminacy, haphazard dentistry, dubious hygiene and tireless bellyaching (eg "as dry as a Pommy's bath towel", as a simile denoting extreme thirst).

The view of Australia's human rights and equal opportunities commission is that Pom, while hardly a compliment, isn't quite an insult: it has ruled that Australian fans may utter it, though it wearily acknowledges that Pom might stray into the realm of racism when deployed in conjunction with words commonly associated with the term.”

You have a very strong, and very obvious dislike of the English, it’s far to late for you to try and sugar coat it as if it’s some light hearted banter. I find some of the things you say on here utterly deplorable.

242

Absolute insanity!!! The AHRC is a blot on the landscape.

243

@kenneth
I know😉 all’s cool.
But I’ll think your find that “empire” started its decline in 1918😊. But I suppose if one can’t admire the Aussies for what they’ve achieved in this world, eg-sporting excellence and so forth. I mean, just living in such a dangerous country fills me with admiration for you aussies😄
Then I suppose small name calling is the last thing ones got😉

244

@ James K....IMO the Empire was in decline earlier but the final nail, was in 1948 with the partition of India. That signalled the termination of the last of the far flung colonial outposts. A pivotal point in the history of the BE. Small 'name' calling was simply a response to those British migrants who, soon after their arrival on this mostly desert island infested with 'things' that wanted to kill you, waxed on about how good it was at 'home'. There were those that left and returned here quick smart and there were those that stayed and enjoyed their freedom from grey skies and cold pork pies!!! We now look on it as all rather humorous.

245

I don’t think he meant all.

246

@FZ
I know😉 but thanks anyway👍🏻

247

If you are going to try and take the high ground Kenneth, probably best to avoid slurs like "whinging pom".....

248

C'mon Gaz, I'm sure you can stereotype even more than that!

249

Go Brexit yourself Gaz.

250

@ RayC good one, i like it.

251

Malaysia Seb's quali misfortune and lack of safety car in a race he could have won, plus this once in decades spark plug failure tells that Karma is watching. Whatever Ferrari and Seb's blunders, Karma is just too much to deal with.

252

Alan, Lewis had an identical spark plug failure at the Australian GP in 2014.

253

Interesting

254

Karma of course.. for.. ( take a pick)

255

Hamilton didn't help himself last year.

256

What a shame the potentially epic season has dissolved away due to reliability issues. I'm happy for Lewis to win it after his own reliability issues last year, but it's not the way anyone wanted it to happen

257

The championship battle does feel a little like it's lost some of it's fizz - but, assuming Ham goes on to win, I'll take it with a song in my heart 🙂
I've seen too many close battles go the 'wrong' way over the years.

258

Based on the things you picked on from other people’s post, I don’t expect much better from you mate. Feel free to read my reply to your pal TimW.😜

259

Yeah, that is very true.
Miserable final, with no competition the passion is fading. Time for other things.

260

Lets talk about 2018 then. I think more teams than 2 could be in play. Maybe 4.

261

I have Seb down for two of the final races.
Mexico
Brazil
Lewis name already on USA
AbuDhabi is anybodies as it won’t matter.

262

Honest, I don't care too much about that. Fate has doomed Seb, he is done this year, that might have been his best shot, who knows what will be next. Hopefully not Hamilton, for me it is an inflated champ, no offence, this car is too much for the value of the titles.
Focus on the young guns.

263

Congratulations to Lewis, the now four times WDC, and my condolences to all of us, f1 fans, that have a very predictable winter ahead. It's always good when e best(s) succeds. What is alarming, and I hope I'm wrong, is the noticeable lack of perspective, for us. There's not a real challenge, be it due to,bad luck, inferior machinery, or simply inability to deliver, whichever you pick is sad in its own way.
And will remain that way, ass soon as Hamilton move on, there will be not may more that two, maybe three in a position to be still on the contention by the last race. Verstapen, Ricciardo and possibly Occon(?) at first then the cycle of dominance, or,annoyance, starts all over. No matter who, sooner the latter in the process their success would became just more of the same, with no dispute. And that is the true essence of f1, not the overtake, but the chaise, not the unbeatable, bit the restless, not the easy, but the worthy. That's when supporters from both sides would cheer the winner, and the defeated the same way, with respect.

A great champion needs an eve, better opponent to really feel the need for being on his top 24/7.

Respects for Lewis's top skills, but also for Vettel's ambitions and dreams.

For us, that's what we have and shold only hope for a better nest year.

At least we can put our weapons down and have a laugh all together, no hard feelings needed anymore! 🙂

264

You are a poet and I didn't know it.

265

I think Fernando and Felipe gave Lewis a bit of breathing space, but Max's high downforce set up was hurting him on the start finish straight. I think the result would have been the same. The vibration from the engine that Lewis reported in the closing stages is of some concern going forward, although he can afford to take a penalty or even a dnf with Ferrari having their own problems.

266

They need to press full on for victory in Austin. This is the last circuit of the year where the circuit design and the likely weather conditions will really favor them, as the weather will be quite similar to how it was today in Suzuka and the circuit design likewise. Mexico City, Interlagos, and Abu Dhabi feature quite prominent slow and twisty portions of the circuit, which will give Ferrari and Red Bull the advantage. If Lewis can score a win in Austin, he'll clinch the tie-breaker of wins and be able to clinch the championship in Mexico City the following week with a finish of at least fifth or better- which he should be able to do given the distance from the top-3 cars on the grid (and his current pace gap to Bottas) to the rest. He would probably even be able to pull that off in Mexico City by taking a penalty for replacing the PU, just to be safe.

267

Paige, anything can happen, but it is highly unlikely that Seb can stop Lewis now. Cota is a track that Lewis goes well at, so hopefully a win there will suffice. The truth is Lewis will lead the championship going into Brazil even if he has a dnf in Mexico and Austin and Seb wins them both!

268

Tim

I think it's just about in the bag now. Being the competitor Lewis is I think he would have preferred a closer fight for the championship but given the disappointment of last year he won't be caring too much about Vettel and Ferrari especially after Baku.

For Ferrai it will be another year of underachievement punctuated by Vettel's antics and unreliability. Marchionne will be starting to wonder whether Vettel is really the guy to take them to the promised land and rethinking the decision to reappoint an ageing Raikkonen who with supposedly superior machinery will probably finish behind Ricciardo.

Do you think Vettel apparently warmly thanking his his team after the race was an acknowledgement that the season is pretty much done and dusted?

269

Adrian, Seb and Ferrari can blame each other, but it's unlikely they will win the title, and unlikely that they would have won it without the reliability issues or brain fades. Seb's pit perch tour did look like commiserations all round didn't it? A nice touch, but he did leg it shortly after!
I don't doubt that Lewis would have preferred more of a fight, but it appears that it will be straightforward now, I don't use the 'itb' phrase, I remember 2007!
Signing Kimi for next year was a mistake, to win titles everything has to be as good as you can get it, Kimi isn't finishing highly enough to justify his place there, I would live to see him win one last race, as he was a brilliant driver, but that seems like a long time ago now. Leclerc is heading for that team, and seens very quick, how about Kubica in thr interim?

270

Tim

Having wrapped up the F2 championship and being a Ferrai Acadamy driver you'd think Leclec will end up there but when? He's only 20 and I can't see him being parachuted into Kimi's seat without a year or two of F1 experience. Sauber seems likely for next year but who will be kicked out?

Robert Kubica as an interim? I can't see it because he would be too much of a health and safety risk, not only to himself but other drivers on the grid. I know he's been subject to extensive testing but how would he stand up physically to a full season of continuous practice sessions, racing and time spent in the simulator. He might be ok but equally the might be an element of doubt and this is why I think Paul di Resata will get the drive ahead of him at Williams. If Williams don't take Robert I can't see Ferrari taking him. F1 is a tough business.

2007! What was it 3 drivers going into the last race of 2010 who could have won it (I think). So close for MW.

271

I see penalties for Ferrari too.

272

Boullier has handed the baton to Horner to claim the best chassis in F1. I can't figure out whether Horner is trying to put pressure on Renault or distract Matesitzh from the fact that the RBR chassis has been found wanting in testing for the third year in a row. RBR do some cracking in season development, imagine if they started with a chassis that was half decent this year - they would be winning consistently now. I don't know how Horner (dosen't) manage the new chassis design and personell but something needs to change for 2018 or it will be Gasly/Sainz at RBR for 2019

273

Nah, they wouldn't be winning. Maybe an occasional GP here and there but without the quali mode on the engine, they would have to fight their way up every time. And the car is obviously not the quickest on the straight which makes overtaking difficult. But it really says a lot about their chassis at the moment that they can hang (and even challenge for the win) with that engine.

274

@ Isha,
Well commented. I like Horner, but he's so calculated in what he says. As much as Renault could have done a better job, it's only really this year that RBR can say they have the best chassis. The chassis side hasn't been perfect by any means, and they arguably didn't step forward from year 2 to year 3 of the hybrid era. One can only imagine how much more interesting this season could have been had we had RBR, Ferrari and Merc fighting for wins from the start, with each of them having their own (very different) strengths and weaknesses. Hopefully, we end up with three cars capable of winning races from the start next year. If that happens, though, I guess RBR will be desperately hoping that Honda makes its promised gains from this year.

275

All I wanted to watch is close races as the championship has no longer been a fight for a few races now. Instead, I decided to start cooking dinner after lap 33. What breathing space? That was a classic case of Mercedes managing the race. They could’ve been 30-90 seconds ahead of the Red Bulls if they wanted to. I don’t think they would’ve cared that much if Ves won, just like the last race. They will do what they need to do to secure WDC. That’s all there’s to it. Ferrari had obviously done a better job than last year and to stay in the championship as long as they have. But Mercedes beat them fair and square and now they need to shift focus 100% on next year.

276

Its not exactly over yet. Its not likely but still possible.

277

I think Merc cared more about this race than Malaysia, and I don't think Hamilton would have let Verstappen pass him as easily as was the case in Malaysia. In Malaysia, Merc knew that the pole position wasn't an indication of them having the fastest car, and a fight with Verstappen would have only compromised Hamilton's race (especially it being so early in the race). I think Japan is also more of a prestigious race for drivers to win than Malaysia and I think it's one Hamilton probably cared about more than Malysia.

I don't know if we'll find out, but I wonder how much Hamilton pushed until the VSC. For all we know, he went into engine preservation mode and cruised. I don't think that he could have won by 30 or 90 seconds, but I did get the impression that he could have created bigger gaps earlier in the race.

278

Formula zero, if, as you claim Mercedes could have been 90 seconds ahead, why didn't Valterri finish second, or even on the podium? What has caused youbto think they had that kind of pace available? Do you really think Lewis wanted Max that close?!

279

The merc seemed to open up a gap reasonably quickly when the pit window for an undercut was approaching, though anything more than a second is a big stretch.

280

@Tim W, I’m guessing you read my other post by now about Bottas, which should answer your question.

About the second part, Lewis didn’t want Max that close, but to save engine and gearbox Merc took it super easy. And Mercedes’ 80%-90% on a track like Suzuka is more than enough to keep the Bulls at bay. They did what they had to do, not what they were capable of.

281

Fzero, I asked you what had caused you to believe that Merc could have gone so much quicker, if the answer is "nothing I just decided for myself", then just say that.

282

@TimW I thought you are being sarcastic as it’s clear as day light. Here’s a clue for you and your pal C63, 320.8 vs 317.1. You can do the rest of the work, very basic math. Wait for James’ strategy report otherwise.

283

F zero, and what are those numbers supposed to be? Thry look a bit like speed trap figures, but clearly not from this race.

284

I like your positivity with Ferrari did a better job than last year, but the thing I see is that our hopes for next year are in vain. 2018 will be the same, Mercedes will have the edge for sure, brace for it.

285

Well I’ll be disappointed if Ferrari can’t seriously build on this year’s improvement. I’d like to think that they have the right people in the right place to make that happen.

286

Agreed Al,
With one less PU available, reliability will dictate the WDC in 2018, not racing. If Renault can give the RB a qualy mode, then the front half of the season might be exciting, but i anticipate that everyone will be "turning down" at the first opportunity. We may even see some teams opting out of free practice so as to limit mileage.

I'm already braced!

287

@ LKFE...It's beyond stupid to reduce the number of PU's available for next year in light of what we've already seen to date. The grid penalties are just so ludicrous. So if more engines give up then they will have to install new ones so where are the cost savings coming from. They still have to be transported around the globe!!! So how do they extend the racing life of these engines? Run them below current levels? Beef up the internals, therefore increasing the weight? Maybe someone who has the inside engineering expertise can enlighten us...James?

288

Palmer exit is of course long overdue. I’m not a fan of drivers leaving before the end of the season. I suppose Palmer got a healthy cheque to vacate his seat. He never deserved to be F1 this year anyway. So, this doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is that he is not the only undeserving F1 driver on the grid at the moment. I put Bottas undeserving to be in that Mercedes, but not F1. Stroll and Ericsson in my view are way on top of the list.

289

On the subject of undeserving - how do you feel about Kimi retaining his seat for 2018?

290

Now that’s the first decent question I had seen from you.

One word, “disappointed”. I can elaborate more, but I’m tired of the same thing saying, reading and listening.

291

Now that’s the first decent question

What an incredible coincidence - that's the first decent answer I've seen from you!
It must be our lucky day 🙂

292

Palmer exit is of course long overdue

Indeed; his replacement had another cracking weekend didn't he??

293

You can’t judge his replacement until he drove the same car. His replacement has had million times better season than him overall though.

294

FZ,
I'm warming to Lance, but i know what you mean.
I think the other seismic shift that no one is talking about is that Lewis is the only Brit in the field now. I think there is a real possibility that he will retire before we see anyone filling the void.
This surely must be an issue for Liberty's marketing plans in the home of F1's biggest fan base?

295

Oliver Rowland, George Russell and Lando Norris are the most likely to fill the void, although I doubt any will be on the grid within the next two years.

296

@ LKFE...Hamilton won't retire. His ego wouldn't let him. I must admit though that it stirs the creative juices to imagine an F1 world without him. What would the legions of Brit supporters do....collectively? Maybe that could be an interesting thread of it's very own given the verbal prowess and humour often seen expressed here....by some hahaha

297

Ken, i posted an alternative to Lewis previously, but it doesn't seem to have made the grade.
It's very clear to me, that there would be a royal order that British allegiances should fall down commonwealth lines. So they've got either our Daniel or kid Lance.
Either that, or there will be a mass defection from F1 and they will all go to Ibiza to watch Lewis DJ?
We'll need to get some more t-shirts made up...I just had a chuckle trying to guess the sizes...

298

@ LKFE..... maybe we'll see some interesting comments but i fear not as the proposition will be just too hard to contemplate. The main point though is this...would we let them have Ricciardo..just as a loan until, they get one of their own hahahah.

299

@kenneth
We got lando Norris on his merry way Kenneth, you can’t get rid of us that quick 😄
Otherwise there’s plenty of other non-British drivers one could follow if your a fan of F1.

300

@ james k....true. I know virtually nothing about this kid but he certainly is receiving lots of attention. Maybe he'll be good. For your sake i hope so....

301

Kenneth, and who are you going to talk about? I guess you could stick it to Max instead of Lewis, so you guys should be ok....

302

Lkfe Lando!

303

Bottas and Stroll are deserving of their place in f1. Bottas at Mercedes was really the only option they had, at the short notice rosberg left them with. For me, stroll's Baku & Canada drive makes him deserving of his place on the grid this year. If Williams (re stroll) were not in the habit of going for the money all time from even when sir frank ran the team, then stroll would not be there. Agree with you on Ericsson. His crash today was just embarrassing.

304

Bottas in F1, yes. Not in that Mercedes. He is a Williams driver at best. Mercedes’ reason to hire him is a different story.

And Stroll, any driver that can’t beat Massa 9/10 times in the same car at qualifying or races, don’t deserve to be in F1. Reported $30m+ a year daddy’s money is hard to say no to for a team like Williams of course.

305

Why Stroll? He's had ups and downs but on his way now. This year's cars are much harder for all the drivers and even more so for ANY rookie. Can't blame him for today.

306
Tornillo Amarillo

Stroll scores like Massa and Hulk, the Williams car is not good enough and he is in his first season in F1 still with 18 years-old. How some people could compare him with Palmer, 26 years-old, 2 seasons, no podium...?
Lance will have a 2nd season and he will do well with more experience and hopefully a better car.

307

The backmarkers were what brought Verstappen into play in the first place. So I don't think they made a huge difference in the winner of the race.....

308

No difference and don't understand why it is being mentioned.

309

It think it's over now. Vettel can still win but odds of that happening is pretty high. I sure didn't think Ferrari would drop the ball that many times in a row.

310

Great win for Hamilton, but you have to feel that Vettel and Ferrari have thrown this one away. Vettel lost Singapore, Baku, had the better car in China and Spain, and have now lost 2 races due to reliability.

311

Mercedes can afford to take an engine penalty now to ensure they finish all remaining races.

312

They tried that last year and it backfired rather spectacularly for Lewis. I expect this year they will be sticking to plan A.

313

Yep, but I don't think Merc would want to do that - they would want to show that they can win the championship with their allotted engines.

I am certain that Mercedes are driving with the engines turned down most of the time now they are not battling in races for the championship. They know exactly how much life is left in their engine stock and are managing their races accordingly - giving themselves some headroom this race to save for later. It wouldn't even surprise me if Hamilton's tyres or power unit vibration comment at the end of the race was pre-planned gamesmanship to try and persuade Ferrari that Mercedes had engine issues that they were covering to get Ferrari to go flat out, because they know the Ferrari engine is fragile. There was no need for that conversation on open radio on the cool down lap. Having said that, it could also be a preplanned conversation to justify a replacement engine as you suggest.