Analysis: Setting off a chain reaction – how to make things happen in F1 races
Insight
Posted By: James Allen  |  31 Oct 2017   |  3:56 pm GMT  |  94 comments

Mexico is a great event, with huge crowds, but it’s turning out to be a place for strange races, due to the unique circumstances of the altitude, which impacts the way teams prepare and run the cars and constrains overtaking.

Another decisive factor at his stage of the season is the ‘nothing to lose’ mentality and how that collides with teams who still have something to lose. This was one of the triggers behind what happened in Singapore and it happened again at the start in Mexico.

With the championship more or less decided before the race and with most teams at this stage now only racing one or two other competitors, the decision making has a different edge.

Teams like Red Bull with Max Verstappen have nothing to lose from being aggressive, while teams like Renault need to look ahead at how they can gain places and points, rather than look backwards at how they can defend a position.

The drivers championship is now decided and Force India has confirmed its fourth place in the Constructors’ table so we are likely to see most of the cars at the front going for it in the last two races because now they all have nothing to lose.

This was a race where the Virtual Safety Car made a decisive appearance, allowing drivers who had not stopped to get a cheap pit stop and consolidate their positions, reducing the threat from behind, so drivers like Lance Stroll and Kevin Magnussen really benefitted from that.


Pre-race expectations

Mexico is rather like Sochi in that it is a low energy circuit, so the tyres last a long time, even the ultra softs, which went to half distance. At the same time, the track is difficult to overtake on because it is hard to get close to the car in front without temperatures soaring. The Drag Reduction System to aid overtaking has less effect at altitude because the air is thinner and the cars are going faster on the straights for the same reason.

For most teams the clear strategy for the race was one stop with ultrasofts to around Lap 30 and then supersofts. However, the key was staying out of traffic, which could cost 3/10ths of a second per lap due to cooling limitations on the car. So there was an argument for stopping early and using soft tyres if you could run in clear air, rather than run on supersofts in traffic.

Mexico is a track where few cars get to run at their fastest strategy.


Raikkonen sets off a chain reaction in midfield fight

Ferrari had the fastest car in Mexico and, like Singapore, this was a race Sebastian Vettel should have won.

He took pole position, but the start was always going to be high risk with almost 900metres drag down to Turn 1, like Sochi, it’s easy for the pole sitter to be slipstreamed and with Max Verstappen having nothing to lose, Vettel came off worse and even damaged his car and Lewis Hamilton’s in secondary contact. They dropped to the back.

Kimi Raikkonen lost ground too, slipping to 6th in the first stint behind Ocon, Hulkenberg and Perez.

Ferrari needed to break this train of cars up for two reasons; to get Raikkonen ahead of these midfield cars and also to create spaces so Vettel’s path through the field would be clearer.

During Lap 18 Raikkonen was told to pit, a very early and aggressive move, then told to do the opposite of what Perez did. Force India, thinking more of defending at this point than moving forward, pitted Perez to cover Ferrari but Raikkonen continued and Perez carried on. This was a problem for Perez because he came out into traffic behind Magnussen, which was avoidable. And it was not until Lap 30 that he managed to pass him.

If they had allowed Raikkonen to stop, for softs, he would probably have had a slow warm up on the tyre and Perez could have pitted a lap later for supersofts to cover him. Force India clearly doubted whether the supersoft would reach the end of the race, but it turned out that they would have done.

But Perez’ move triggered Renault into a reaction with Hulkenberg, at this stage Renault’s only remaining car in the race. If Force India didn’t need to stop on Lap 18 then Renault certainly didn’t need to stop with Hulkenberg on Lap 19 because it put him out into traffic behind Magnussen, instead of travelling quickly in a gap behind Ocon.

And there was a further negative knock on effect of sitting in traffic; it meant that his power unit overheated and ultimately he retired the car on Lap 25.

Hulkenberg’s stop in turn triggered Force India into pitting Ocon from fourth. Arguably, this too wasn’t necessary; with the performance deltas between cars reduced by the anomalies of racing at altitude, Ocon would have been able to hold Raikkonen in all likelihood and then as it turned out, the Virtual Safety Car gave them all a cheap pit stop on Lap 32, so Ocon might have had his first podium.

Raikkonen continued and was able to take advantage of the Virtual Safety Car to make his stop and consolidate his position. The only odd thing about Raikkonen’s race was that he fitted the soft tyre rather than the supersoft. That was because he didn’t have a new set of supersofts. Ferrari had chosen to use it in Q1 and to save a set of ulrasofts for the race.

This was presumably in case of a situation of having a chance to attack at the end of the race on a two stop, but it seemed strange as al the indicators were that a one stop race with ultrasoft then supersoft would be the default.


Virtual Safety Car not good news for everyone
Sauber has been plugging away this season, with only two points scoring finishes and no joy since June.

Last year Marcus Ericsson came close to scoring in Mexico with a bold strategy that saw him pit on Lap 1 and then run to the finish on a single set of tyres.

This strategy relied on the fact that in the midfield, the pace differences between cars were minimized by the traffic and the difficulty of overtaking.

They did a variant on that strategy this year, pitting one car early (Wehrlein) and the other one late (Ericsson). This put them in the position where they were a pit stop apart in time so rivals like Stoffel Vandoorne couldn’t get them because if he tried to undercut Ericsson he would come out behind Wehrlein and get held up. It was working quite well until the Virtual Safety Car, which neutralizes such strategies. Ericsson’s car later failed in the race anyway, but it was interesting to see a team trying something different at the back of the field.

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

RACE HISTORY AND TYRE USAGE CHARTS
Courtesy of Williams Martini Racing – Click to Enlarge

A graphic representation of the Race History in terms of the lap times of each car. It shows the relative pace of the cars and the gaps between them in the race. Upward curve is good pace, downward curve demonstrates slower pace. Sudden drop is a pit stop.

Look at how the Perez/Hulkenberg/Raikkonen/Ocon battle resolves itself with a sequence of stops. Stroll’s race is a good example of riding your luck after a strong start and focusing on track position. He lucked in with the Virtual Safety Car at the right moment when he needed to stop, but you have to be in it to win it!

Perez stops a second time to see if he can catch Stroll on fresh tyres, but the teenager judges it well for another strong result in 6th.


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94 comments

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1

James what did you think of Kimi's driving at the weekend? Personally I thought it was an abysmal performance by KR -54 seconds behind in Ferrari to Max in an RBR is unacceptable in my view even compared to how unspectacular the Iceman normally is these days . Raikkonen wasn't even anywhere near Bottas . K-Mag and MV were my stars of the race.

2

Once Kimi has found himself behind FIs and a Renault thanks to his bad start, the best he could realistically hope for was a third. And in such situation it's probably smarter to wind things down and bring car home rather than tilting at windmills. Vettel did the same when in fourth and over 20 sec behind Raikkonen. Bottas probably too once he realized that Verstappen is faster.

3
Clarks4WheelDrift

So what's the excuse for Kimi's qually yet again then, 8 tenths off Vettel's pole time.

Crikey, 2005 Kimi would be "turning in his grave" 😉

4

All of Kimi's tyre temperature sensors failed during qualifying...which then affects tyre preparation.

5
Clarks4WheelDrift

Bottas and Kimi are looking more and more like a waste of two good seats that should provide more racing, more constructor points and taking points off the No1 rival driver more often...

Brazil should be awesome, great action track, potential wet-drying track, but most importantly nothing to lose for most drivers...

6

Stroll has really matured over the course of the season. A rushed entry to the premier class but now has the chance to be higher than Massa in the Championship if that is the case Massa has no chance of being retained for 2018.

7

He looked all at sea just one race previously at COTA. Yes he has improved since the start of the season but that was from an abysmally low base and he still has a lot of work to do. Williams have by some margin the weakest driver lineup aside from Sauber.

8

I can't make out if its Massa being inconsistent or Stroll. I think stroll has improved massively, I remember his radio transmission in Monaco a panicked "someone help me, please, i'm gonna crash", I thought as a dad with a son of a similar age, it was heart braking to hear the panic in his voice.
He's come on a long way since then.

He's seems to do well on low/grip or down force situations, I wonders if this just comes from skipping some junior formula and isn't ready as he could be for the extra down force. Wonder if he would of faired better had started last year, when the cars had a lot less down force.

9

Stroll doesn't look as hapless as he did in the early races, but the points gap between the two is misleading, not least because Massa retired in Azerbaijan when running ahead of Stroll, if he'd stayed in the race he would probably have finished second with Stroll fourth.

10
Clarks4WheelDrift

Stroll has been disappointing over the season and poor in qually, with a couple of lucky, big point scores.

11

Yep he basically lucked in at two races to get the majority of his points. Monza was probably his best weekend. Aside from that he's just been hanging in there quite literally judging from the kickback he gets through his steering wheel.

Passed his best Massa has trounced him in qualifying and majority of races (would have finished ahead in Baku if not for some weird failure on his car).

12

As Martin Brundle pointed out in the Sky F1 commentary it's either feast or famine with Lance in terms of result. This race it was feast . Lance has done better in races than in qualy that latter of which needs to improve drastically next season.

13

I agree that he certainly has improved over the season, but I still find him to be a bit inconsistent though. And Massa isn't a good measure either. Will be very interesting to see next year when he has a better team mate.

14

I was reading in L'Equipe, that, privately/quitely, a lot of of Merc F1 personnel are starting to realise just how good Nico Rosberg was, and how much they underestimated him; he may have not been quite on Hammy's level, but he was always within a tenth or two of Lewis.

Compare to that to Bottas, who was totally outperformed by Max during the race - on merit - and while in public they would never criticise the Finn, behind the scenes they realise just what an asset the younger Rosberg was.......

My DOTD was Ocon - just in time for the reintroduction of the French GP at Paul Ricard next year he's hitting peak form. Making the Prime's last and stay reasonably competitive for 50 odd laps was highly impressive, and taking the corollary from his superb Mexican performance - including outqualifying a Red Bull - he's been impressive all year. Without doubt the best rookie of the season, and surely with even 2 races to go, the AUTOCOURSE editor will include Ocon in his Top 10 drivers of the year. I would even him him 10/10 for weekend up in the altitude of MC.

15

Doesn't surprise me. I posted before the start of the season that the biggest thing that would become clear this year is how undervalued Rosberg was, and its turning out to be true. We know Bottas is no slouch but look at the number of times he has out qualified Hamilton this year (I'm not sure what the number is but its not a lot) then Rosberg who quite regularly out qualified Hamilton.

16

If the time and performance differences between the teams over 2014-2016 where the same as today, Rosberg would have been not even close to winning a championship. Many occasions Rosberg would qualify 3 to 5 tenths behind hamilton and still was starting second on grid. Try to calculate that towards this years’ performances. I believe Rosberg benefitted more from the Merc of 2014-2016 than Hamilton. I didn’t matter how his qualy was compared to Hamilton, he was still there. He wouldn't get away with it today he won't.

17

Nico is grossly underestimated by many. To take a championship off Lewis, in the same car, no matter the circumstances, is no mean feat.

Dare i say, that the duels with Nico from 2014-16, have also played a part in molding the Lewis that we saw in 2017.

18

the difference between Hamilton and rosberg was pretty damn close, it's no mistake that rosberg was always challenging Hamilton in the junior categories.

compare bottas to either of them on current form for this season and it's an ocean of difference in f1 terms, for his sake he better have a much improved second season.
he's shown that he can win races, shown that he has dogged determination when he needs to fight from the back of the field...just can't do it for a whole season.
it's either that or he's the type of performer who needs an expiring contract hovering over his head.

I reckon Hamilton is also a bit baffled at the fact that rosberg was truly a world class driver, just how far those two pushed each other through 14-16 can finally be given correct context.

19

Gazboy, Nico wasn't always within a tenth or two of Lewis at all!

20

You're right. There were many times when Nico was ahead.

21

The idea that Merc are now 'just realising how quick Rosberg is' is arrant nonsense designed to support this idiotic historical revisionism. Merc. were always praising Rosberg's speed and consistency, until he upped and left with no notice.

22

And do you want a toxic driver pairing where the slower driver spends so much time undermining the quicker one, or punting him off the track.

23

You are right TimW... Sometimes Nico was ahead!

24

Gary, yes he was, and a lot of times he was nowhere near.

25

You're right, tim ! Often rosberg was a tenth or two in front of Hamilton !

26

Come on Tim! Look at Rosberg in Quali trim in 2014, he was mega! And Hamilton is probably the best qualifier the sport has ever seen, shows how quick Rosberg was.

27

Ben, he was certainly mega in Monaco 2014! He also did a great job to get pole in Hungary and Germany when silly Lewis decided to start at the back instead....

28

RE TimW:

Last season the AUTOCOURSE editor analysed the average qualifying margin between all team-mates - excluding any quails where technical gremlins struck - and Hammy had an advantage over Rosberg of 0.140 seconds - and Lewis is THE qualifying king! For comparison, this year Alonso has an average advantage over Vandoorne of nearly 0.850 seconds!

Hammy WAS faster than Rosberg Jnr, no doubt - but somehow Rosberg Junior dug deep so that the gap wasn't on the same level as say, Senna and Berger, or Mansell and Patrese, so credit where credit is due.

29

Gazboy, it was 12,6 to Lewis in qualifying sessions that they both took part in last season.

30

Average is one thing, but in terms of qualifying results Rosberg outqualified him surprisingly often

31

Yep, sometimes he was much further ahead 😉

32

Not Bernie, when was that?

33

Ocon is as big as a talent as Max is. Bob Fernley mentioned last weekend that he's expecting Mercedes to pull him back after 2018, even though the agreement with Force India runs a year longer than that. They certainly should.

34

Great analysis.
Still reckon Vettel did a Schumacher on Lewis.
He thought if I can't win then "I'm taking Lewis with me!".
Not really Cricket unless you want to get all Borderline again. If Schumacher and Vettel played cricket they'd probably use The Borderline technique (historical cricket bowling tactic and nothing to do with "the unmentionable ") .

35

P Kara,
Yes Vettel thought of all that in 2 or 3 seconds. Some comments are just plain ridiculous.

36
Kamiel from Piquet to Hakkinen

@ P Kara
"The Schumacher" was copied by from Senna and Prost.

37

I am pretty sure it's "Body Line" tactic.

38

P K, re: cricket...do you mean "Bodyline"?

39

Yes but predictive text kept chucking Borderline I should re read thing thing before posting.
But thank you for correcting a Robot error.
I am indeed am not a robot 🤖

40

Affirmative...

41

Not convinced Vettel hit Lewis deliberately but certain understand Lewis asking if he had.

Also hate to be the nitpicking person on the internet but guessing you mean Bodyline not Borderline?

42

if vettel didn't hit verstappen and hamilton on purpose, can you explain why a 4 times world champion has often hit so many people challenging him for the lead of a race?
of course he hit them on purpose. he had a 50 50 chance of hitting them and he scored 100% hits.

43

I don't think he deliberately hit him but I did find myself asking the question, if this was a few races ago, would he have made more effort to get out of the way?

44

I don't think it was deliberate either *but* to hit one driver on a corner in their wheel with your wing is one thing to hit two does look like at best worryingly poor judgement.

45
Tornilloa Amarillo

Perez stops a second time to see if he can catch Stroll on fresh tyres, but the teenager judges it well for another strong result in 6th.

Lance drove a 1 stop strategy perfectly, and also VSC came, so perfect result.
He is top 10 in the standings by now and consolidating with his drive P5 for Williams. Rookie of the year !!

46

A fine analysis, as usual, but what about the start, and what about the strategies of Mercedes and Ferrari?

47

But Perez’ move triggered Renault into a reaction with Hulkenberg, at this stage Renault’s only remaining car in the race.

Not correct.. Sainz kept in the race till round 58 and by then the Hulk already ended his race.

48

As always James, super analysis - really enjoyed that!!

49

it is a low energy circuit, so the tyres last a long time

I have a question - does anyone know whether the likes of Sochi and Mexico are low energy circuits by design or is it just random - does the surface just happen to be made out of whatever tarmac they have lying around or is there a grand plan to mix things up from one circuit to another?
ps thanks for the excellent report as usual JA.

50

Mexico is low downforce due to altitude - so it is by design as that is where they chose to build it! They run a high down force package to gain every little bit they can - thin air has less effect on aero and cooling which is why following was particularly hard. Turbos go a long way to hide the effect on the engine.

51

MC is a rear limited, traction limited circuit, and to make the rears last it's a case of running soft springs/dampers and cranking up the differential to minimise wheelspin. That's what kills the rears on a RLC - lots of low gear wheelspin exiting the traction zones. As most circuits are clockwise, it's usually the rear left that takes most of the abuse, and therefore it's the rear left corner that will have suspension and axle settings as soft as jelly to stop the wheelspin.

Also the aero balance [aerodynamic centre of pressure] and centre of gravity will be moved rearwards so the downforce distribution is more biased towards the rear axle, as greater rear downforce helps protect the left rear on a RLC. That's why having an underweight car with lots of ballast movement potential is such an advantage - the ballast can be moved in the direction that the circuit's tyres require (i.e rearwards at Mexico City).

52

Thanks Gaz - very comprehensive and informative.

53

It's a low or high energy circuit by design. When you make a 90 degree turn it puts a lot less stress and heat on the tires when you do it at 50km/h compared to 250km/h. Low energy circuits tend to be harder for the rear tires (in case of high-powered RWD vehicles) due to accelerating from low speed more often. High energy circuits, with longer and faster corners, put more stress on the front tires because you spend more time rotating the car at its limit (no matter the drivetrain).

The surface also has a design, but it's also subject to change due to wear and tear. Generally it gets less abrasive, so it will have less grip but less wear on the tires.

54

Thanks for your reply - what I was really getting at is: is there some one at the FIA or Liberty who says 'right, we've got too many high energy circuits on the calendar so in order to mix this up, and throw a curved ball, we need a low energy one to give someone else a chance'. Same with the surface- do they deliberately set out to have a low grip low abrasive surface or is that just chance?

55

It was an interesting race, but not a classic. The fans made it for me, those guys love their F1!

56

James,
If this graph s to be believed, then Vestappen didn't pit at all (no sudden drop). Bottas basically had a drive through, and everyone else pitted.
Also on the topic of pit stops and the graph above, what happen to Stroll? He was ahead of Ocon before his own pit stop during the VSC (Ocon already pitted on lap 19-20). Ocon also pitted during the VSC and emerged way ahead of Stroll from the pits? Williams has, for the last couple of seasons, the fastest pit crew, so how's this possible? Or I'm reading it all wrong?

57

If they where near the pits they would not have los that much time as the rest. Thats the only thing i can come up with. The further down the more time lost that graphic would suggest to me.

58

That is strange.
Why would drivers further back lose more time compared to those up front????
The further back they are, the more time you lose (the bigger drop they have). Strange.
Graph is suggesting exactly that. They all lost (give or take) 22-23 sec per pit stop.
they've lost relatively less, compared to those who pitted outside of VSC window, but never the less.
There must be something wrong with the graph, we must agree. 🙂

59

Another race where the McLaren chassis looked competitive, if only they had a half decent PU. Bring on 2021 to get rid of these hybrids!

60

Well at least with a Honda they finished. Not something the majority of the Renaults can say!

61

Hurts to see Kimi loosing loads of places, during the Race starts. Its time to hang that helmet.

62

He did mention in the interviews that the cars behind him took advantage of the tow down the especially long straight. Probably swamped him before the first corner.

63

Well if he makes a good start he normally gets taken out by either Bottas, Verstappen or Vettel so what's the point.

If you actually rewatch the start both Ferraris got good initial starts and then dropped back dramatically towards the end of the straight like the team had misjudged the deployment settings or something.

64

Seb and kimi didnt have a tow, thats why they lost places.

65

Surely Kimi was getting a tow from the cars in front of him??

66

""so what's the point."" if this answer arises it's time to hang the helmet indeed.

67

I thought that too, they both took off like a rocket to begin with! I thought Vettel just got caught by slipstreaming but will have to have a look at Raikkonen again.

68

I had a suspicion that FI chose the wrong strategy for their cars. Was disappointed as Ocon was looking good for a podium.

69
The Grape Unwashed

Hi James, what did you think of Vettel's collision with Hamilton? Hamilton gave him plenty of space, Vettel had plenty of time to see the move unfolding, but it seems to me that he just allowed the cars to come together without taking avoiding action. Here's the onboard -

https://youtu.be/_z82oard5n8?t=42s

Surely that was avoidable?! Was this a cynical move in your opinion, the red mist descending, or something else?

70

Drivers are weighed after the race, so why not introduce a lie detector test after every controversial race? It would be fun!

71

Sebastian had Bottas on his Right hand side and the only option to avoid a collision with Lewis was to lift off / brake.

But it looks like he was fighting the car as well.

72

If you watch frame-by-frame, when Vettel hits Hamilton, Hamilton hits Verstappen's left-rear tire with his right-front wing at the same moment. There is a spray of RF wing element chunks from Hamilton's car. The World Feed didn't not show the front wing change at his pit stop after the clash directly, but you can barely see it in the background when they show the RR tire change.

73

If Seb did that on purpose (I would like to think, that is not the case) - then I would say he has masked it well. But then all 20 of them guys are smart cookies.

Also, it is not sure what the impact was of Max straightening out his car, after he completed Turn 3. Max's car was hit coming into Turn 3. Lewis got such a good drive out of Turn 2 and was very close to hitting Max's rear left. Did Lewis have to brake ever so slightly to cater to Max's move?

Inconclusive ... Plausible ...

Last 2 races - 3 super drivers - 3 evenly matches cars. Nothing, but pride to play for. Sumptuous.

74

Avoidable I would say, but it's a big call to say he did it on purpose..

75

Suggest you check the speed/acceleration of Hamilton coming through that corner and you will see that he either lifted or lost traction for that split second before Vettel hit him from the back. It appears as Vettel had the throttle full down and had good traction and had full faith in the same was the case with both cars ahead of him. Hamilton lifted or lost traction just at that point as he went wide over the kerb there which has a rather riddled surface for its entire length. Try and compare Hamilton's forward movements in that sequence compared to Verstappen and you can see that Hamilton's car suddenly drops in acceleration versus Vettel and Verstappen.

76

Cyber, if you look at Lewis' onboard he actually makes slight contact with the back of Max's car, not sure if this was before or after the contact with Seb, but he certainly had nowhere to go. Initially I was suspicious of Seb's left steering input that took him into Lewis, but the offboard shot from the helicopter shows he had a snap of oversteer so it was just opposite lock being applied.

77

Agreed TimW, he had nowhere to go really. Also on the snap of oversteer. Lets not over-interpret the situation and speculate in bad intent when none justified. The two touches happened to fast after each other that there was no time to recognize damage situation and thereafter pursue opponent to 'take him out'. Its hilarious even to think that you could 'take your opponent out with certainty' when you are behind still in the curve in a slower accelerating car while said opponent is further forward out of the curve and accelerating away. Anyway, I am no fan or neither, just observing the factual images and stats available to us. But all this speculation and conspiracy mongering being posted is getting tedious.

78

If it was avoidable, why then did he not make any attempt to avoid it? He appeared to just throttled down into the back of Lewis.
Reeks of the 2014 Nico "making a point" move. Its just that there was no point to be made here. Should we consider that his race was already compromised by the contact with Ves already. Not much is being made of this obviously significant incident. sad, IMO.
Would be grateful if James could give a thorough analysis f this. Not that it made much difference though.
Thumbs up for the great job you do.

79
The Grape Unwashed

@Kehinde, but there's a difference between a coldheaded Rosberg/Schumacher move, which was about maximising advantage, and the hotheaded moves we've seen from Vettel, which have been about venting frustration.

Being ovetaken by the upstart Verstappen would have been annoying anyway, but being slapped into second and suffering damage must have been infuriating. Then Hamilton swept round and suddenly he was looking at a P3 finish in the best car, against two drivers who already get "way too much" coverage. It's at times of stress that his critical faculties seem to shut down and his fight-or-flight response takes over.

80

I am sure he did it on purpose - it was instinctive, and he has demonstrated this type of instinctive behaviour many times. On the engines james what sort of power will they be producing ?

81

Agree with you Tim and Kehinde
👍

82
The Grape Unwashed

Thanks for the reply - I agree. My first thought was 'red mist', but then I saw some comments about it being a cynical move which left me undecided. He's never been a cheat, but he has acted in a hotheaded manner in times of high stress.

83

I don't believe it was done on purpose. Vettel has been very poor wheel to wheel this year and it has badly cost him. If you consider Alonso, I genuinely believe if he was in the Ferrari this season, the championship would still be alive. Rarely did Schumacher make mistakes like this going wheel to wheel. His indiscretions were out of desperation when seeing a championship slip away due to a damaged or slow car when rivals were about to pass to take the title.

That's not a defence of those tactics by Schumacher, but more an observation that Vettel seems lacking in wheel to wheel ability. My theory is that his titles won in such a dominant RBR have robbed him of the experience of learning wheel to wheel racecraft. Hamilton and Alonso but the nature of being in hard title fights have done that apprenticeship, and Verstappen seems to have done his share of learning in the last year and is now really honing his craft.

84

I don't believe it was done on purpose. Vettel has been very poor wheel to wheel this year and it has badly cost him. If you consider Alonso, I genuinely believe if he was in the Ferrari this season, the championship would still be alive

This nonsense about Alonso again.
The same driver who threw away a 44pt lead against Vettel in '12 laughable at best, some perspective needed.
I'm guessing he would somehow have not had a turbo failed or spark plug problem so much BS one has to just wonder.

85

Disagree Grape Unwashed ,
He has surfed on the edges of cheating...You only have to look at his coming "toos"with Webber multi 2-1 and his blatant swipe at Lewis in Mexico. For a so called "multi-champ" you'd expect an appreciation for fair racing. Except he has never been able to do that. Alonso and Lewis had a skillful dogfight on track. There was zero carbon flying off the cars.
With Vettel once both cars had overtaken him. He was given ample space to fit behind Max and Lewis. Instead he turned his wheel into the Mercedes.
In the real world on a public road that would be an aggressive move with intent to cause damage and injury.
He knew what he was doing. After the race he deflected and squirmed around the issue,
saying "this is Lewis's day and we should be concentrating on that".
How on earth he got away with it is incredible.
If Max had done the same he'd be receiving a drive through 2 points on his licence and the book thrown at him (same goes for Lewis).
Instead he got a chance to change his nose cone and a 14 second head start from Lewis (it took him longer to pit with a shredding tyre).
Totally unacceptable an a amatuer move by Vettel in the height of battle. A blatant unsporting move.

86
The Grape Unwashed

@ P Kara, as I said to Kehinde, he's never really shown an appetite to cheat: hitting Webber in Turkey was bad/arrogant driving, the multi-21 thing was selfish, but they're not about flouting the rules for personal gain. In Spain against Hamilton he took his line on the first attempt (which is what Hamilton would have done in his position) and held the inside line on the second - really fair racing in my opinion.

Vettel had so little to gain from cheating, had Hamilton retired he was still going to win the championship in Brazil - Vettel was never going to be able to overturn his points deficit before the end of the year.

Check out the video which Ionut E posted below, I think that's a good analysis.

87

Hi James, looking at the relative pace it appears to me that it was entirely probable that Raikkonen was slowed by Ferrari for 10 laps from around lap 43 to lap 53. It's what I would have done in an attempt to get Vettel into a position where he could snatch 2nd place if one of the front 2 cars had had a mechanical issue. Raikkonen was in no danger behind from Ocon or Stroll both of whom were dropping away in pace. So Ferrari could afford to slow him down, not risk loosing 3rd place, to give Vettel a chance to catch up. Where 2nd place would have kept the championship alive. Not much risk for a very large reward.

If this was in fact the case then I believe Ferrari should come clean, as without that Raikkonen's race pace looks disappointing, even though he finished on the podium. The season is over and Ferrari have nothing to lose and it may well help in people's understanding of why Raikkonen is there for 2018.

88

The more I watch the incident between Lewis and Seb the more it's difficult to believe there wasn't a degree of intent on Seb's part. He had enough room to race along side Lewis so it was either clumsy or his 'red mist' descending as he saw both Max and Lewis had passed him.

As much as the commentators would have you believe the race was over by turn 3 and with it the title fight. As a consequence the race was pretty anti-climatic bar the odd scrap. Lewis-Alonso stands out, oh how we all hope there's more of that next season!

I love how the media are saying how much RB and Ferrari have 'caught up' with Mercedes in development and how next year will be really close. I guess that would be correct if Mercedes have been sitting on their collective hands when it's come to developing the 2018 car. James Allison is no mug, look what he did with the 2017 Ferrari.

Congrats to my mate, he's been outstanding since the summer break. You can only beat what's in front of you (in Lewis' case behind him!) so he throughly deserves the title and plaudits that go with it.

89

I don’t think it was premeditated, but once SV loses out through turn 1&2 and sees LH sneak ahead then I think he realises his best chance is to nudge the Merc and try to cause some sort of incident, whether it is just pushing Ham over the kerb or causing him to lose momentum or whatever. The last thing he wanted at that point was to have a clean and straightforward race for all the frontrunners. I think that on balance there have simply been to many incidents this year to give him the benefit of the doubt for every single one.

90

A good (imo) analysis of the incident, maybe will help with the final verdict 🙂
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiOGSiEwHM0 .

91

Good analysis and I confirms in my mind that its a racing incident...Vettel was too busy trying to control his car which caused the accident. Unfortunate as we would love to see what the race would have turned out to be otherwise but it is what it is....

92

Wow, that 2-stop really did not work out for Perez.

93

I'd be interested in an analysis of the Race History graph to explain some of the VSC effects: Why, for example, do Ocon and Massa appear to benefit? Magnussen's pace was falling before the VSC but then stabilised (did he pit?) Why, as you go down the field does the graph show bigger and bigger "dips" during the VSC period, when I thought the VSC preserved the gap between cars?

94

Ban pitstops during virtual safety car.
No fuel issue, and no tyre issue as they are already running slow.
This removes the random benefits for those who stop during a VSC.
Does that sound fair for all?

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