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Melbourne 2018
Australian Grand Prix
Hamilton dominates Japanese F1 GP as Vettel challenge grinds to a halt
Posted By: Editor   |  08 Oct 2017   |  7:56 am GMT  |  349 comments

Lewis Hamilton took his fourth Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix victory as Sebastian Vettel’s championship challenge all but ended at Suzuka. After a faulty spark plug retired Vettel from the race, Hamilton’s win at Suzuka has given him a 59-point lead in the drivers’ championship.

Max Verstappen briefly challenged for the lead, but second place was his at the finish with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo third, on the podium for the first time at Suzuka. All were greeted on the podium by Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato.

Hamilton tried on the Indy 500 winner’s ring in jest. “I need that ring!” he said before Toto Wolff went up to the Ferrari pitwall to offer his sympathy.

The spark plug slowed Vettel as he fell down the order on lap two, having tested Hamilton’s lead through Turn 1 to no avail. Carlos Sainz Jr went off at Degner 2 soon after, in his last race for Toro Rosso, and the Safety Car was summoned.

“Sad to close the race like this,” said his engineers after Sainz apologised to the team.

Hamilton mastered the restart as Vettel tried every combination on his steering wheel, but there was no solution and the Ferrari retired as the Mercedes pulled ahead.

Meanwhile, Raikkonen was pushed to 14th having been bumped off by Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg; Ferrari’s woes showed no signs of ending.

The recovery drive was on for Raikkonen and he jumped up to eighth by lap 10, after a Virtual Safety Car was pulled out for Marcus Ericsson’s crash at the second Degner curve.

There was no sign that Verstappen could have threatened Hamilton’s pace and it was only until Verstappen pitted midway through the race when that lead was challenged. He emerged with a marginal lead over Raikkonen.

Hamilton pitted on lap 28 but emerged behind team-mate Bottas. “Hope he’s not out for much not longer as I’m getting compromised,” said Hamilton down the radio, as he was slowed down with Verstappen right behind.

Verstappen made a move through the final chicane but Hamilton blocked successfully, and on the following straight, the grunt of the Mercedes engine showed its might as the Red Bull was left in the dust.

The Red Bull desperately hung onto the slipstream of Hamilton but on lap 31, Bottas was pitted for super-softs (to emerge in fourth) and Hamilton took advantage of the clean air in front.

However, a few laps later, Hamilton said that his rear tyres were dropping off, but he continued to lead by around two seconds and the Mercedes revelled in clean air to stretch its legs through the final laps of the race.

Bottas was catching up to Ricciardo late on for third, with Raikkonen nowhere to be seen in a distant fifth.

The Virtual Safety Car, borne out of tragedy at this grand prix where Jules Bianchi lost his life in 2014, was imposed with five laps remaining, leaving three laps to go for Verstappen to catch Hamilton for the lead, and for Bottas to catch Ricciardo for third.

Verstappen was right behind Hamilton through the Degners with two laps remaining, though backmarker Fernando Alonso slowed the Red Bull briefly in his own attempts to win a point.

Hamilton hung on, though hampered by vibrations which he blamed on the power unit. By a margin of 1.211 seconds, victory was his. Red Bull took another double-podium finish, with Ricciardo holding off Bottas by 0.901s at the chequered flag.

The Force Indias were in a battle of their own at the end of the race, but they didn’t challenge each other, as Perez was eager to attack Ocon in front. Team orders, after numerous collisions between the two this season, prevented him from doing so. Ocon took sixth behind Raikkonen, and Perez seventh.

Having finished eighth or better at Suzuka for the last five years, Hulkenberg was furious having retired on lap 42 as his DRS setting was stuck-on, and the pit crew failed to fix his rear wing.

The Haas drivers, lurking mid-pack, were pushing hard for points and the door was open through Turn 1 on lap 43. Both shoved their way past Massa who was struggling on softs.

Massa did shut the door with some wheel-to-wheel contact but Magnussen found his way ahead, eventually finishing eighth ahead of his team-mate, leaving Massa to take the last point.

In its final home race, McLaren-Honda’s torrid time was punctuated by a lack of pace throughout and the team’s decision to pit Stoffel Vandoorne and Alonso earlier than its rivals didn’t pay off – both were stuck behind Williams’ Lance Stroll as they emerged around lap 33.

Capping off an unceremonious homecoming, Alonso’s late chase of Massa didn’t stick and he finished 11th, with Vandoorne 14th.

Stroll went off late on through the Esses, nearly hitting Ricciardo in the process, to become the final retiree of the race, with his first failure to finish in 13 races.

Jolyon Palmer finished 12th in his final race for Renault before Sainz takes his seat beginning with the USA GP.

Will Hamilton seal the title at Austin in two weeks’ time? Have your say in the comment section below.

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It would have been different if there had been 2 proper safety cars out instead of the VSC’S because the pack would have caught Lewis and Max could probably won the race


Very dull race.


So when Mercedes keep repeating publicly that they are struggling, are they referring to both cars or just Bottas’s car?


So, it is game over. We knew this before this race, right? However, we also knew what a great showman LH is. “It was a very difficult race …”, “…I’ve got make sure I kind of man up and show my age and make sure that I stay ahead…”. What are you talking about LH? Ah … you … such a drama queen.


Four more races to the end of the season, how many first lap crashes can Sainz manage? If I were Renault, I’d be worried about having enough parts for him to break. Palmer might have the last laff.

Before the season started, several journalists wondered if Ferrari would be able to keep up the development of their car. They’ve failed before and it’s happened again. The Ferrari engine isn’t strong enough to be reliable through the season, if they had the qualifying mode of the Mercedes, they’d probably blow up every other race. Both Renault and Ferrari have had over 3 years to improve their engines and catch up with Mercedes, they have both failed. It’s their problem to solve, it’s time to stop moaning about Mercedes who got it right from the start.

At the beginning of the week, Daniel Ricciardo received a boot in the family jewels from Motivator Marko, when he told the world RB didn’t want him. Danny then picks up a podium and still people are on his back. He might have picked up a win or second place, if Verstappen had done something daft. Which teams will be in the queue to sign Danny up for 2019, probably all of them. If McLaren had any sense, he could replace Alonso next year. He’s just as good a driver, without the massive ego.

What more could Lewis Hamilton do today? Once again he’s won at the slowest speed, ensuring his tyres and engine were not overstressed. It’s become absolutely pointless running off at the front and building a massive lead, because the poor quality of some drivers all but guarantees there will be a safety car in practically every race. That we saw 2 virtual safety cars this time was very unusual, in fact probably unique this year. Did Whiting see the ghost of Jules Bianchi ?

Ocon continues to impress. Bottas needs to up his game next year.


ok its over, see you next year.


Congratulations to Hamilton.
I told everyone after the Australian GP victory that we are still a work-in-progress and Mercedes will manage this WDC & WCC easily. Everyone tried to spice it up, especially the media that this year it is going to be close blah blah blah. Merc tried to manage nicely, but their arrogance got the better of them at Monza and showed their true pace, finishing 30 seconds ahead and calling their own bluff. They have 3 tenths in qualifying and 5-7 tenths in race pace ahead of us.
Anyways, we need to stop moaning about reliability, Vettel mistakes, threw away the championship etc… We have made good progress over last winter and competed till this far, compared to the horror show last season. Our aim for next season is around 6 wins and challenge for the title as long as possible, Merc will win it easily anyways. Focus should be on development and secure Max contract.
P.S: Let’s hope Halo won’t be as bad as it looks next year.


Pos Team Points
6 Toro Rosso 52
7 Renault 42

Err, did anyone else find Sainz crashing near the start somewhat suspicious?

Gives his new team that little bit more chance to overtake his old one before the end of the season…


If was Ironic that Palmer drove a much better race that his erstwhile replacement and might have got a point or two but for his grid penalty. Palmer left with his head held high and Sainz left with his tail between his legs.


Vettel Lost the WDC in Baku and in Singapore, just because his fault.


After reading every post i just want to say …….i cant stop laughing that peeps think ves is faster than lewis

Lewis had so much bad luck last year that he has been driving with all modes turned down, if he had a new engine in that merc today he would have been 30 seconds in front

Hes beaten alonso in the same car
Beaten rosberg every year only lost last year because of mechanical problems… the only driver that has won every year since he joined f1…..even won in the dog years off mclaren( kers year comes to mind)

I wasnt a lewis fan…i started watching f1 in 1995 supporting schumacher ……but god lewis has become a complete driver…he ticks every box

Everyone always say imagine this driver …that driver in a merc????

This merc is not the best car …….school of thought!!!! Lewis in this years ferrari would have won every race untill the sepand problems

And on that bomb shell…..vettle is average…ask daniel ric


P45, get real. I know you love your drama queen, LH. But, perhaps it is not as simple as your brain thinks it is. I am happy you mentioned 2007, as the only reason that McLaren, and FA as well, did not get the driver’s championship was LH. He went to the stewards of the Hungarian GP as a cry baby, accusing FA of blocking him during the qualifying. There was no other F1 driver ever, I repeat EVER, that went like that to the stewards accusing the team mate. All of them, before LH and after him, had sufficient dignity and integrity not to do this. Of course, FA was demoted 5 places and the points that he lost that day denied him, and McLaren, the title.


Maybe I’m just in a bit of an odd mood today, but that ranks as a pretty dull race.
Well done Alonso for hauling the Honda from last almost to points, Raikonnen put in a decent recovery.
Normally I’m delighted to see a Ferrari retire, but the race was just flat … Everyone managing tyres, HAM not doing anything wrong, but having made a decent start it was error-free rather than brilliance, VER did no more than keep him honest, RIC got beaten off the start and described his race as “lonely” in the interviews neither threatening VER nor under threat – BOT almost made a contest of it at the end. But yawn … basically. Whilst I don’t mind Lewis getting a bit of help from the gremlins getting at the Ferrari machinery (kind of makes up for what happened to him last year) , it does look like this championship which looked like it was going to be down to the wire excitement is going to peter out with a whimper.
Expect Ferrari to turn in on itself and people to be to pay with their jobs for some of the recent errors.


You’re right. It was dull.


@ james Encore…pretty much the same way as i saw it. Good post.


I’d like to see Seb’s spark plug. As they don’t have any moving parts, that plug has some explaining to do!


No moving parts but they do wear. Every time they spark a tiny amount of electrode gets vaporised. They can certainly fail. In this case I believe it was actually the coil that failed.


It will now take a miracle to deny Mercedes and Lewis their fourth titles. The only questions is where the celebration will be held. I suspect Mercedes will clinch in Austin, but Lewis may have to wait a bit longer as the race in Austin will be on the two softest compounds and Austin can be quite warm, even in November – although considering the freakish conditions in North America over the last month, there could also be hurricane floods and earthquakes. Mechanically, the Mercedes this year has been very fickle while being very reliable, and with the WCC all but secured, Mercedes may see little need to run their power units at risky levels for the last four races. This year should be a reminder to F1 fans, mechanical failures are part and parcel of the racing season and this year the luck is with Lewis, and the bad form is on Ferrari.

Mercedes still have their work cutout for them. Today, Lewis was appeared to be very comfortable on the supersoft which was supposed to be their Achilles heel, and then struggled on the soft which was their preferred compound, this weekend. Finally, Lewis and Mercedes come to America with a chance to win it all in their fourth titles in Mercedes biggest export market (NAFTA region). However, only one driver has ever beaten Lewis at Austin – Sebastian Vettel.


THe US Grand Prix has been kind to Lewis, he has won 5 of the 6 he has contested.


Strange you’ve totally missed the sacrifice of BOttas who was ordered to let HAM pass and effectively hold up Verstappen after his move,


Well done Lewis. Starting to feel sorry for Vettel. Karma has punished him enough now. He needs a breather.


Despite the good performances from Hamilton and Bottas, the race itself didn’t seem as well managed by the Merc team as it could have been.

Hamilton lost far too much time behind Bottas and then, when finally let through, they didn’t keep Bottas out for as long as they could have done to keep Verstappen behind. In all of that, Verstappen was able to close up on Hamilton, and when Merc then had the chance to re-build the gap, they chose to pit Bottas very quickly (it didn’t look like getting past would be easy) Didn’t seem to make sense, especially given that Bottas was nowhere near to making up a place by pitting so early.

Good result for the team, but only builds (at least my) the view that they’ve not been as operationally and technically strong as they should have been. The fact Ferrari have shot themselves in the foot with poor reliabailty and RBR only got up to speed in the autumn will have saved them, but they won’t be so lucky next year.


Found tactics odd as well.


Verstappen was right behind Hamilton through the Degners with two laps remaining, though backmarker Fernando Alonso slowed the Red Bull briefly in his own attempts to win a point.

It appears Alonso was summoned to the stewards for blocking Hamilton, not Verstappen. Still, whether they blocked or not, it was refreshing to not here the disrespectful outbursts or frenzied “Blue flags” shouting that typically accompanies Vettel in situations like that.


Great weekend by Lewis. With Seb’s retirement, Lewis is knocking on the door of wrapping it up. Austin is another favorable circuit and conditions pairing for Mercedes and is a track where Lewis has won all but one of the races run there, and a win there would mean he could close out the championship by finishing 7th or worst in each of the remaining races- which Lewis should be able to do with ease even if Mercedes turned down the engine. I suspect Lewis will make it official in Mexico City barring any problems for the next couple of races.

However, the story for me is Red Bull. They are there and ready to challenge for a championship. Verstappen was right with Hamilton in race pace on the soft stint, and RB had enough of a margin in the corners to make up for getting destroyed on the flat out sections- and they were able to hang with Mercedes on their turf in terms of temperatures. I suspect the three teams will be very evenly matched the rest of the year and it will be a very intense fight for victories- and I wouldn’t be surprised if all three teams get wins in the closing four races. In any event, this bodes well for a very close three-way championship fight in 2018- especially with the resurgence of Verstappen, who is looking ominous at the moment.


If they can’t qualify at the front with certain engine modes, they can’t win a championship.


Even to salvage some face saving Ferrari needs an act of god.


It looks like Alonso and Massa are mistaking blue lights for heavy traffic motorway admission lights: allowing just one car at a time to pass.
But if the overtakers (Lewis and Max) are this close to each other you really are supposed to make way for the both of them, barring one or two tight corners.
Way too many corners and straights before Max finally was let through. Without penalties this behaviour will definitely not change and racing at the front will suffer.


Thought it was all okay, just regular situation on a narrow circuit and not on the straights.


Ferrari…. *shakes head*. What a mess 🙁 A LOT has to go wrong now for Lewis… Congrats to him, great drive. Looks like he had a better car in the first stint but the second one was a lot closer between him and Max. I thought he was managing the pace more or less (also because of the comments his engineer made in the cool down lap) but it looks like both he and Max were really pushing each other (both drivers admitted that post race interviews). Renault really need to come up with something for qualy!

Though for Bottas. Clearly 2nd driver, had to give up a podium position to ensure a Lewis race win. And what on earth happened to that poor Ferrari press lady? I wasn’t watching UK coverage so only heard about it from the Dutch commentators but it didn’t sound very pleasant.


Nice with for Mercedes. That car looks like its on rails compared to the others.
Hamilton should thank himself lucky to have the most dominant car in F1 history at his disposal that enables him to knock off records as easily as he has.
Would love to see Max in the Merc for we would really see just how much faster it could be, especially considering what hes donw with that underpowered Redbull these past two races.


hamilton was so lucky to have the same car as alonso in the 2007 season. if it wasn’t for that season, everyone would say hamilton’s successes are due to the car. he destroyed alonso so it can’t be the car. it’s got to be the man!


‘He destroyed Alonso… ‘

It’s comments like this that makes everyone take you so seriously.


Totally agree with you but don’t let the long list of Lewis lovers drown you out. There’s a lot of them on here. They’ll whine that Lewis had all the bad luck last year, conveniently leaving out that every driver wanted the Mercedes seat. This is the most dominant car in history and in this era with so many races, if you have a dominant car, you’ll set many records. I’ve said it before, the real star is Mercedes.


@ Cheesy…Interesting that Bobby Epstein said exactly the same thing yesterday!!!!


if you can guide your engineers better than the rest of the field can, you’ll have a dominant car..


Cheesypoof. Do you think that this years Merc is the “most dominant in history”? Any actual numbers to back up your claim? Or did that one come from the usual place? Are you also suggesting that Lewis didn’t have any bad luck last year? A strange, and easily refutable claim to make isn’t it? You are correct that all the drivers wanted that seat, but Merc didn’t want any of them did they? Why do think this might be?


Hamilton had all the bad luck last year, which robbed him of a title. This year it’s gone the other way.

You really think Max would be any quicker?!? You are better than this Sars. Most neutrals would want to see the best driver crowned champion at the end of the year. Which is – barring a disaster – what will happen this year. Think about big mistakes made by the drivers through this season, and who’s made the least, and you’ll be left with your champion.


You are better than this Sars

I’m not so sure he is – this little ditty from Sars appeared in my inbox the other day (didn’t pass MOD)

New comment on comment. “Lewis Hamilton storms to first Suzuka F1 pole with lap record” post
Author: Sarsippious
And you cry when people troll your girl Lewis.
Classy as ever R2D2.

Kinda of ironic that he mentions classy so frequently.


Keeping my comments. Thats so cute.
Funny that for all the many ones posted on here that are far worse you make no mention of. Vettel has been slandered on this very thread by many well known Hamilton fans yet no mention of them?
The special treatment the LHFC members receive off you is spell binding.


Keeping my comments.

I wouldn’t get too excited if I were you – your comment was still in my deleted items folder (which I empty about once a year) Does that count as keeping it?
Anyway, at least your reply clears up one thing, namely ‘that you don’t care what other commenters say’. Yet here you are, trawling through a thread that is 4 days old replying to comments when they weren’t addressed to you. Doesn’t sound like you don’t care to me.

Finally, whilst I have you ear, perhaps I can save you any further trouble (and the MODs unnecessary effort). If your only intention is to try and insult me you might as well save your time and effort. I don’t know you and I never will, what you think about me is of no consequence whatsoever – it’s just words on a screen from a nobody from nowhere.


Interesting but have you considered that the car can’t be driven flat out all race? Lewis could have gone much faster if he could rag the tyres all race and use more engine power. But these current machines require A LOT of management.

You seem to be insinuating that a 3 time champion, who could easily already have 6 or 7 if it jist came down to the driver, is considerably slower than Verstappen. It’s possible but then that would make MV the fastest ever.

A bit early for such assumptions I feel.


Yawwwwwn😪 the better he drives the luckier he gets…. strange that.
Whoever wins it between VET and HAM this year will fully deserve it. This has not been a walk over. I’ll take it but I did feel for VET and his fans today… we have been there and know how gut wrenching it can be. That said… VET has made alot of errors this season… where Lewis hasn’t. This still isn’t over by the way….but it’s looking safer than ever. VES drove another great race today…. finally starting to put a more realistic slant on the RB intra team rivalry. .. he’s been the best driver at RB this year but has shot himself in the foot once or twice… just like VET.
Bring on USA….. oh…and….GET IN THERE LEWIS 😁 hehehe


Sars, you think this years Merc is the most doninant in history?! Not even close. Nice try though, I understand you have to have a dig….


Clueless Vettel has turned a Ferrari which should be the most dominant car ever created in the history of F1,into a car which Is only faster than the Mercedes ; and he is still losing. This is because of a combination of his limited talent as Ricardo exposed, and him hanging on to Raikkonen for dearlife as teammate ; a driver who is making Zero technical contribution to put the Ferrari where it should be. Enough of Schumacher type shenanigans. Time for drivers who loathe intra team competition start getting their comeuppance.Vastappen to Ferrari where he is guaranteed to destroy Vettel. Hamilton will destroy his young career if he goes to Mercedes.


Hamilton would not destroy Verstappen’s career if they were team mates . Max would be one of the few able to live with him. Hamilton is great driver but not untouchable. Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg proved that.


I agree with that and it shows he can be unsettled – but would add that he is driving at an exceptionally high level at this point in his career

Webber said to me the other day that he now believes Hamilton is the best since Senna..

That’s a big thing to say.. a few have passed through F1 in between


@ james…I seem to have missed your post and would like to comment. Hamilton we all know is a top driver but for anyone to say that he is the ‘best since Senna’ is, IMO, wide of the mark. He owes his reputation to being in the very best car, bar none. Would this same attribute be made if he had been driving the Red Bull for the last four years? Obviously not…then one needs to ask the question why.


One could argue though that Hamilton feels able to drive at such a high level because there is no internal pressure from his team mate? I think if Lewis wins another 2 WDCs this and next season I think he will choose to retire from F1.


Certainly the competition is less ‘toxic’ than it was with Rosberg and that seemed to get under Hamilton’s skin.

I think he has learned a lot from that about himself – yes with Bottas the dynamic is different anyway, but I think Hamilton has moved on a lot mentally as a sportsman


Sars & kenneth will surely love that endorsement. 😂


Got any sleeping pills for me KRB?


Wha? I don’t follow.


+1 KRB – LOL.


How can you come here and make such a crass, and ill judged remark like that? Is vettel responsible for preparing the cars on race days, or are the mechanics, and the people Ferrari employ responsible. Yes, Riccardo did beat him for 1 season, but Vettel is 4 time world champion and that is done done by a slouch. The only error (and i admit it was a big one) vettel has made in the last few races, that he can be blamed for is Singapore. I would advise you calm down, and remember, there are still 4 more races to go. It not over yet. (until the sizeably proportioned lady sings)


As long as those rails aren’t anywhere near a car in front it is fine and in a world of it’s own. However, in dirty air it is far from perfect, nor best on grid.


Yes its amazing how Verstappen now with a working car shows that Ricciardo is just a #2 driver. =8-!


@Cyber Comments like that are just silly. Max has had two good races. He has had reliability issues but he has also made stupid mistakes. He’s talented but Daniel is all round a better driver at this stage because he crosses the finish line and gets on the podium.


i rate verstappen incredibly highly for being able to compete at that level at the age of 20 but that is no reason to disrespect ricciardo. disrespecting ricciardo only downgrades verstappen’s successes. ricciardo is a top driver, possibly heading to ferrari after next season..



Heading to Ferrari. Hope so aveli.


don’t you think ferrari made the wrong choice, signing vettel instead of ricciardo?



Well as a Danny Ricc fan I would of course yes they have made a mistake. Thing is Vettel got the gig to take Ferrari back to the promised land. If he doesn’t win the title next year (which he won’t IMO because Lewis will still be on the grid) the so-called Vettel ‘experiment’ will have failed. It will be time for Marchionne to rethink his approach to winning the WDC for Ferrari.


Daniel’s and Max’s race pace was the same in this race. I noticed Max was a bit quicker on fresher tyres than Daniel and vice versa as the tyres got older.

Daniel was 6.5sec behind Max when he got into clean air after getting past Ocon and then lost seconds because he stayed out longer on the first stint.

He finished 8.5sec behind Max – so therefore virtually identical over the 40 full face distance. Max beat Daniel in this race because of his better start than Daniel, fair play.


Thanks Sarsippious. The Hamfosi would like to thank you for the salty tears. They taste delicious. Feel free to donate anytime.

Funny how everytime lewis has a good race, a new teammate or a win – you lot always wonder how (x) would do in his car/team. Weren’t you of the opinion bottas would be more than a match? Apologies If I’m wrong, there are so many haters out there.

I will say though, I’ve often wondered what lewis could do in that ferrari, it looks a peach to drive.


Right about now in a Ferrari? Lewis would be blaming outside forces for affecting his car, or point to his team mates side of the garage and say something strange was happening. He might even tweet about it if you were lucky, then you’d get to rub your little hands together in joyous reception of his tid bits of wisdom.


“…wondered what lewis could do in that ferrari”

Easy, in that Ferrari, I’d suspect that Lewis would have had a PU issue or DNS at the last race and an early retirement at this race, another PU issue… 😉


Clarkes, maybe, but having won the Belgian, Spanish and Singapore Grand Prix, he would still be leading the championship, leading you to describe this years Ferrari as the ‘most dominant car in history’….


You forgot the Russian and Austrian GP wins too, which Seb let slip away through a bad start and a bad final corner in qualifying, respectively.

This reminds me of Seb’s 2009 season, where a catalogue of driving errors prevented him from mounting a serious title challenge. As I said before the season, Seb needs a car comfortably quicker to beat someone like Hamilton.


Sour gRRRRRR…apes sour puss 😁


I liked his start, that set him up for a strong result. Then that move on Vettel! Sure he was struggling but it was an awesome move altogether especially since he would have lost so much otherwise. Same with that pit exit with Kimi, if he would have been behind the Ferrari he would have lost 5 seconds easily judging by how quick he dissapeared in the distance.


Measured drive to the flag and victory for Lewis. Good for him.
Unfortunate for Vettel. Ferrari have gifted the championship, or did they really? Reliability is part of the game.
Max is definitely showing is mettle, one for the future.


Luck didn’t get him the car. Proven ability did. Obviously, you can’t help but take a dig at the man’s ability. manSuch poor taste!


Luck didn’t get him the car

Spot on – luck hasn’t helped him keep his seat either.


hamilton is set to be crowned champion in brazil. senna’s turf.


No, Mexico.


A bit of rain would make things interesting


Agreed! Sad for the remaining races this season but cant see it goes otherwise…


Pretty good race, horrible luck for Seb, but Lewis could have a similar run of reliability issues. Some good scraps down the field, but apart from a couple of nervy laps at the end, not much happened up front. Driver of the day? Lewis didn’t have much to do but couldn’t have done any more, same goes for Max, I think Occon gets the nod this time, ran third at the start and beat his team mate to sixth, good job.


horrible luck for Seb

Relax Tim – it’s all part of the script/conspiracy 😉


C63, I think Ferrari are looking at the wrong page…


Yeah DOD must be Ocon!
Must give those Dutch Verstappen fans some credit though, as they certainly get their votes in, as he again took the official DOD title!
Overtake of the race was not among the front runners as that was essentially a bore fest.
Overtaker of the race was Magnussen for that ballsy move around Massa, who is a well-known pain to pass!


Cyber, yes KMag did well there, he doesn’t always keep it clean, but just about managed it today! I thought Kimi was extremely clumsy with Hulkenberg at the start, he should have backed out of it.


Don’t think there is too much to worry about….planets would have to line up in a very spectacular fashion for Lewis to lose it from here.

Ocon is really starting to look the goods isn’t he?


still slower than Perez though at that race…great qually and start but hardly dotd


Clarkes, let me guess who you voted for…..


Jungle, he really has forced his way passed Wehrlein in the Merc pecking order, as well as Perez in the Force India one!


Lewis drove a masterful race TimW.
Pity about P.U. gremlins. Hopefully he won’t end up with a problem in USA GP.
Did anyone watch the Bathurst race also. Wet wet and more rain.
Congrats to David Reynolds in his Holden👏


Bkf, well managed from Lewis, but Seb’s absence made it a bit more straightforward than it would otherwise have been. Didn’t see the Bathurst race, might try and find it.


The delay for the lights to go out are random, this prevents the drivers predicting the start and gaining an advantage.


not for prevention but a test.


On BT sports channel 3. They will have a 1-2 hours condensed show on its website or channels in a few days.


I know it’s important to get news out quickly but this report feels a bit clunky and not very nice to read.


Its the style – which will inevitably be felt at JAonF1 unfortunately…


I’d also argue Hamilton didn’t “dominate” the race, it wasn’t exactly Silverstone or Monza.


Pole position, lead every lap, never had to actively defend position…sure he didn’t run off into the distance but it could still be described as a dominant performance. To me it was reminiscent of many of Vettel’s performances in the past where he would get about 4 seconds up the road and then manage the gap to the end.


who did?


Shame to see the season, which finally was competitive again in the beginning, fizz out like that because Ferrari is pissing it away, and see Hamilton channeling Nico Rosberg by just consolidating and winning it by driving safely. I guess it’s making look Red Bull good, but with the Mercedes he could have won with 10+ seconds. He was lucky in the end that his cold tires from the virtual safety car didn’t punish him and Max was stalled momentarily by Alonso. It would have been funny yet unnecessary if that had punished his earlier save drive. Ricciardo really needs to up his game because he starts to look like a second driver. If he wants to go to Mercedes or Ferrari, he must realize those teams don’t take the second driver of another team.


Let’s face it, Mercedes’ unreliability early in the season flattered Ferrari and Vettel’s chances of winning the WDC.
Ferrari haven’t even looked the goods since the end of June.


He was leading the championship in the middle of September…I don’t remember anyone* saying the title was over when Vettel was sitting on pole in Singapore with Hamilton 5th.

*Ill qualify and say “anyone sensible”, there are some who think Mercedes can actually go 5 seconds a lap faster and are just playing with everyone.


Any driver out there, in Lewis’s position, would drive to protect the WDC. Don’t make it about Lewis specifically, that just makes you look petty and uninformed.


Yeah a second driver whose about too take third in the championship. Max has a good run in two races and you get excited. You need too settle down. The difference between Daniel and Max is that Daniel doesn’t take a teammate out at the first corner or take stupid risks. Have a look at the scoreboard buddy.


@Ragnar, so if we only take a look at the scoreboard, Kvyat is a better driver? (see 2015) Or was Ricciardo clearly better, but the scoreboard lied? You can’t have it both.
Anyway, fan opinions like yours or mine don’t matter, what matters is what Merc and Ferrari bosses think, and they don’t look one-dimensionally at the scoreboard.


Mercedes and Ferrari only renewed their second drivers for one year because they know Ricciardo is available in 2019. That’s what the Mercedes and Ferrari bosses think.


What the Merc and Ferrari bosses thought was we’ll extend our second drivers contacts by one year because Ricciardo is available in 2019 and we both want him.

Now of course they want Verstappen as well but they will have to wait for 2020 to get him. If they weren’t interested they would have extended Bottas’s contract further and dumped Kimi for another driver for next year.

Daniel has been third in 2014 and 2016 in a car that shouldn’t have been able to get there. Sure 2015 was a shit year for Daniel but the car was woeful. We’ll see what 2018 brings. The fact of the matter is Daniel has brought his car home to 9 podiums this year. Regardless of what Max’s reliability problems have been (and he has been savaged this year no doubt) Daniel is no ones second driver. He has consistently been in the right place and the right time and made overtakes that other drivers wouldn’t try. Like taking Raikonnen and Bottas at Spain one go in a car that shouldn’t have been able to catch either.


agreed. he has by no means been a second driver but the less experienced verstappen has been a little bit faster.


Do you think lewis was managing the pace? Taking care to massage his PU and therefore losing tire temperature?


@Oblah I think he was managing the pace because he was doing a Nico and just be save and not drive to the max because that increases the risk something happens. But while I still think that’s part of it, his tire comments made me reassess. Pirelli assessed this race as a 2 stopper, turned out it was only 1 stop, forced by the challengers taking a risk. So yes, the Merc was faster, but this race was also about tire management. Hamilton was more of a manager this race than a racer, Merc tactically responded well and Hamilton executed well.


Formula 1’s new bosses are doing a bad job at ensuring the title goes down to the wire! (Tongue. In. Cheek!)

It seems Ferrari have gone back to 1996 levels of reliability! Hamilton getting the job done, though.


give them’s only their first attempt.


Related at all to the whack he got in Malaysia?


You want us all to demonstrate to get Bernie and his sprinklers back?! ;o)


Feel a bit sorry for Vettel – would have been much better to see some action on track.
Verstappen kept Hamilton honest but never really challenged until after last VSC but that was spoiled by Alonso – is he after a seat in the Mercedes or something?
And it’s a bit annoying that the director cuts away from a final lap battle to watch Hamilton cross the line, (this happens a lot – I’m guessing there’s some contracted element to see the winner cross the line but have they never heard of picture in picture?


Calm down. Alonso was battling Massa for the last point in Japan for Mclaren Honda. He was within a second of Massa and closing the gap rapidly before that. Then Lewis comes along and isn’t much faster and was let past, then Max. I don’t think it was that drastic of a block, and it’s worth fighting for one point if it’s your last home gp for Mclaren Honda.


Calm down? I’m not exactly fuming! I agree Alonso was fighting Massa and I was disappointed that battle was spoiled by Hamilton and Max coming through – I’m sure Alonso would have had a go…after all we all know he is faster than Massa(!)
F1 can be frustrating like that as we very often get robbed of battles that have been brewing all race because of back markers or people being lapped.


Lewis seemed to have problems as Max closed, Lewis taking time to get on to the back of Alonso before lapping, as Ant Davisdon spotted. Massa is hardly going to move aside at the S’s when racing Alonso, just unlucky for Max where they met on track but also as soon as Lewis lapped them both he seemed to speed up again. Shame there wasn’t another lap for the Massa v Alonso battle interrupted by blue flags.


aezy_doc Don’t forget Verstappen was also baulked by Merc team play with VB earlier in the race.


Agreed but that was technically for position whereas alonso and massa were being lapped.


Get in there, Lewis! It’s a shame that Seb couldn’t take the car to the end, but Max certainly, provided a tense finish! At the end of the race, I think Martin Brundle called him “World Championship-elect”, I like the sound of that! Keep ’em coming!

Another target should be for Valteri to move from 3rd to 2nd in the WDC.


hamilton has reshuffled his mercedes race team to give him the service he needs to demonstrate why he is the best of all time, smashing pole records with superlative demonstration of driving skills only to let the race take care of itself. verstappen shows just how much better he is than his teammate.
as for vettel, he has a huge pie to consume. it was reported that he said he believed in karma just before the racing started…i hope he’s respectful of karma from now on..ocon, my man! did it yet again with perez stealing his line “can i pass ocon?”. that line belongs to ocan!
gasly’s expected to complete his championship so what the next move at renault?


Hamilton is a great driver no doubt but its a shame for F1 and all of us that technical gremlins decides the WDC this year. Just as it did last year.


Cyber, it isn’t over yet, but it is a shame that Seb has had these problems. It could have been a great race today.


Agreed. I would have loved to see the race between see and ham while still hoping ham wins. Hopefully no more reliability issues for all three teams for the remaining races.


Well I don’t agree, Vettels loss of championships point is entirely his fault, by first crashing Max between him and Raikkonen, and last race hitting Stroll… they can blame the others, but it was entirely Vettels fault, he was so close to battle for a championship… due to his own faults Hamilton will win this year… maybe Vettel has to learn as well, that there are other cars on the circuit…


vettel has probably learned that now. he’s had quite a few lesson’s this season, going head to head with the best of all time. he said himselve he’d learned a lesson on drafting in spa and monza…
i wonder when he’ll get the chance to make use of those lessons..


Not really, Ferrari’s engine gremlins have been equally as costly, arguably more so.


How exactly did crashing with Stroll affect his race at Malaysia?


@ Wendy….Yes, there’s some doubt about the Singapore race incident but the Stroll accident has nothing at all to do with it. Twice now he’s had a [reported] problem with spark plugs and inlet turbo manifolds. and of course you do know that they are a third party supplied product! I’m sure that you’ll also be aware that the team would be doing massive due diligence on those particular parts. So if that is correct then your dissing on Vettel is not warranted to the degree that you have indicated. He’s an easy mark for the uninformed, IMO.


Wait what?! I thought mechanical breakdowns were the fault of the driver being too hard on his equipment, and any points lost in this way dont have any effect on the championship battle!!


Indeed Tim – apparently there is also a direct correlation between outside distractions, homework (or lack thereof) and mechanical failures. Poor starts are also thought to be another consequence but there is more research required before the experts can be completely sure, as the evidence presented appears to have been anecdotal in nature.


But it has many times….that’s racing.


Reliability is also mark excellence in f1. There is no point having a car that is blisteringly fast, if it is so unreliable. The last 3 races one or both cars have not lasted the first few laps. You can’t win constructors championships never mind drivers title with dire reliability like that. Back to the drawing board, at least with quality control.


Maybe, if we wanted to watch your tin cans down under, we would have already.


Reliability is a part of motor racing. Sure lewis is enjoying courting lady luck but last year she was a b….
Personally, I dont think it’s luck. Since ferrari introduced their new PU, it’s been problematic.


Vettel, the man who almost won in a slightly faster car.
Alonso, the man who almost won in a much slower car.


Clever and witty, i’ll give you that… but completely one dimensional.


Faster car?


Who is better?


You mean that Vettel now experience what Alonso was through at Ferrari?
All looking bright and good at season start for this being the WDC-year but then it all fizzles out, as the team and all just disintegrates over the last part of the season…

Ferrari and Vettel still have a mathematical chance to win the WDC. But it is highly unlikely. Even before we saw the result of todays race. And they can only thank themselves for being in that situation!

Everybody expected that Mercedes would again dominate this season, and with Rosberg going on retirement all pointed towards Hamilton as a given winner for 2017 WDC. Yet Ferrari managed to surprise us and give hope for a season with some racing involved for the top spots. Vettel winning 2 races right at season start and Hamilton and Bottas battling for next wins, cannibalizing points from each other for the WDC. Ferrari were steadfast focused on the WDC for Vettel with Raikkonen sacrificed to play his role.
Ferrari was clearly up there with a plausible chance to win the WDC!

Mercedes still dominant with their extreme quali-mode but the Ferrari race trim was better than the Mercedes.

But as it went, Ferrari are clearly terrible to handle expectations and the role as favorites. While German Mercedes appear methodologically focused throughout. Even through the challenges they confessed having mid-season to get their car and tires to work as they wanted.

So yes, Ferrari started out very impressive!
But they have now repeatedly dropped the ball when otherwise Mercedes were weak. Mercedes are used to the favorite role but also superior to keep it together and maximize the outcome when not all works as intended. Not so at Ferrari and Vettel can also blame himself for this misery he now is in, with his temper and behavior. For that trait you can say he is a perfect fit to that Italian team. ;o)

Aka, though fully allowed (or unpunished if you will) Vettel has to consider his action in Singapore, ending the race for both Ferraris at the start. No need to push Verstappen that hard when having his primary adversary far behind on the grid. And then the team dropped the ball in Malaysia and now again here at Suzuka.

Hamilton played it safe in Malaysia, no need to gamble too hard against Verstappen. The car was clearly not up to it that day. Reason why the Ferrari folks must be extremely upset with themselves to see that Vettel was with no doubt the fastest man/car combo on track driving all way up to end in 4th. Vettel could by then easily have been in a solid lead for the WDC!

Main responsibility has to be Vettel’s. His own actions on track have cost dearly. The Ferrari car has most of the time been great in race trim and his team mate has faithfully supported Vettel’s push for the WDC. This certainly was not the case at Mercedes at the season start.


Plus 1 – good post.


But as it went, Ferrari are clearly terrible to handle expectations and the role as favorites. While German Mercedes appear methodologically focused throughout. Even through the challenges they confessed having mid-season to get their car and tires to work as they wanted.

Without going into stereo types sounds pretty right to me.
Neubauer would be proud, Enzo would be spitting chips.


You are being a bit biased against Ferrari and SV in particular.

The Singapore accident – while SV start was indeed a bit sluggish, he acted like everyone would expect from a title contender, best practice from Schumi days.

As for the slightly better race trim – it was not so universal throughout the championship so far as you describe it. And when it really was, “slightly better” is not always enough to pass Mercs enjoying super-quali mode and front-row starts on track.

You do believe that it the guys switched cars Ham would still win the WDC with Ferrari this year?


the guys switched cars Ham would still win the WDC with Ferrari this year?

I don’t think Hamilton would have made the same errors of judgement that Vettel did either at Baku or Singapore. How many points did Vettel throw away in those two races – 38 points down the drain if my maths are correct? If Vettel could have those points back then suddenly the championship battle doesn’t look like quite such a steep hill to climb.


Someone who almost made sense on a sensible website.


Must have been quite a relief for Hamilton to have won that. I think he got so lucky to have come upon Alonso and Massa on the last two laps. It looks like Verstappen would have caught him otherwise.

It’s crazy watching how quickly Hamilton’s numbers are going up. 61 wins. 71 poles. I remember just a few years ago when he joined Mercedes he was in the low 20s. Then when he hit 32 or 34 wins or whatever and became the winningest British driver. Wow.


His numbers seem crazy not because of Lewis, but because of Mercedes. If you look at Mercedes numbers you’ll see the real superstar. And then Lewis’ numbers won’t seem so crazy.


Cheesypoof, so Seb’s numbers are really Red Bull’s numbers, Michael’s are all Ferrari’s etc etc…


I don’t think Lewis was received. He was not giving the 100 percent to drive off into the distance. Instead he was driving conservatively knowing will that he had Maxi at bay.


That’s what you get with the best machine on the grid.


Wesa, the team with the best machine get the best driver.


Yet bottas finished 4th and he isn’t a slouch.


Bottas is a slouch.


Bottas has dropped his head.


He is a slouch, about the pace of Massa past his prime, slouch even when he isn’t staying out to hold up rival cars.

Who has been more “slouchy” recently though Bottas or Kimi?


About the pace of Massa? He beat Massa 17-4 in qualifying last year, and scored 407 pts to Massa’s 308 in their 3 years as teammates.


Bottas was sacrificed for Lewis and lost his chances for a podium there.


Yet bottas finished 4th and he isn’t a slouch.

Bottas is an average driver. Slower than Nico for sure.


First year in a new team/car, in a car that is known to be temperamental.


Exact opposite for mine, as the main reason Max caught right up to him was the inefficiency of the merc coming into the dirty air of those cars, which also brings on their Achilles heal of working their tyres.

They never seem to be able to stay in close proximity for any length of time when trying to overtake, even when they are able to storm up to within a second behind. Once clear of the stragglers, even Max as well, Lewis bolted away in a car that is a demon in fresh air.


He “bolted away”” and took a one second lead.. wow he really bolted then 😉


yet that is how good he is!


Max said, it was the track that allowed him to catch lewis. The gap was hovering around 2.4 seconds. It was very tight admitted. That max will definitely be a threat in the future. I feel for Daniel…his days are numbered.


Remember that if RB is bought out by Horner and Newey then Dr Marko’s days may be numbered!


@Oblah – not according to Christian Horner. He wants to keep the pair until 2020.


Yeah, it’s rubbish the amount of podiums Dan has taken in the past 10 races or so… 😉


“daniel’s days are numbered” – yep, that’s why RBR are so keen to get rid of him
Seems like every other team are so keen to get him out of F1 that they are prepared to spend $20 mill a year to buy him out of Red Bull. Then they can keep him sitting in th3 sidelines while the teams fill the seat that would be wasted on Ricciardo with one of the young chargers left – like Wehrlein or Palmer or Ericsson. Yes, that must be the plan!


Gee how long do you think he has….should we start….you know arrangements?
I did not get too see the whole race but I did see the start and last 20 laps and Ricciardo was not able to catch Verstappen, but he did maintain the gap to between 12 and 9 seconds for that period. Ricciardo needs to improve his starts.


It looks like Verstappen would have caught him otherwise.

Catching is one thing, passing is another – as Murray Walker used to say 🙂


Yay, Lewis the champion… He can’t possibly lose the championship anymore unless Mercedes drops the ball like Ferrari has been doing in last races. He can sit out two races and will still lead the championship.

Good battle for win between two of the hottest drivers at the moment until Fernando the narcissist decided to ignore the blue flags and ruined everything.


Fernando is a bad player past his prime.


He can’t possibly lose the championship anymore

He certainly can lose the WDC – remember 2007 when he had a 17 point lead with 2 races and 20 points available? It ain’t over till it’s over.


Lewis isn’t racing for team Finger Trouble now. McLaren managed to lose 2 WDCs because they left cars out too long on worn out tyres.


Thanks you very much. Ppl and commentators keep saying it’s over and it’s darn well isn’t. Until he it’s mathematically impossible it’s not over. Let’s get there first. One race at a time.


But mathematics is a cruel mistress!


Too right !


The BBC had better hope so, they’ve already got graphics up showing Hamilton with 4 titles…


59 pts is like a 23 pts lead in the old scoring system. So yeah, anything can still happen, but only bizarre races, or two instances of unreliability, would be enough to derail Hamilton.


A mechanical failure and a crash. That’s all we’re talking about.
Combine those two with two Vettel wins and we’re down to 9 points. A A third Vettel win and Hamilton finishing 2nd leaves us with a 2 point difference.

No, not likely, but 2 DNFs in 3 races wasn’t likely to happen to Vettel before Singapore.

Yes, it’s safe to say this should be done and dusted, and if Hamilton finishes the next race in the top 5, I think it’s a done deal. But I simply don’t know how people can look at the experience of Ferrari in these last few races and simply decide that it’s ridiculous to think the same could happen to Hamilton. Add in the fact that there’s a greater challenge at the front than there has been for 3 seasons and lots of drivers with nothing to lose. I just don’t think it’s as clear cut as others are making out.


but only bizarre races

I don’t disagree with your comments KRB, and if it was between two drivers that I didn’t mind who took the title I’d say the same thing – but I won’t be counting any chickens just yet. Not till the title is mathematically out of Sebs reach. Speaking of which; have any fresh challengers fallen by the wayside today?


Yep, Ricciardo is out now too. Bottas is 72 pts back, and needs 73 pts because he can’t beat Lewis on countback. So he can’t lose 3 pts to Lewis in Austin or he’s out. Vettel can’t lose 16 pts to Lewis next race or he’s out.

Mercedes will likely clinch in USA.


@ C63,
Yes, I always smile when people crack out the hyperbole and spew out lines like “He can’t possibly lose”. Not mentioning the fact that the number of points to be won is still greater than the gap between positions 1 and 2, Vettel has had 2DNFs in the last three races. Bottas has had an engine fail this year, so it’s not impossible that Hamilton suffers the same. Similarly, he could take himself out or get taken out of any of the final 4 races. If it can happen to one driver, it can happen to any other. I don’t think it will, but it’s foolish to think this is done and dusted.


@ kris…i’ll stick my neck out here and say that ‘Hamilton’s got it in the bag’. Now if i’m wrong i’ll take some penance and offer a ‘mea culpa’. How’s that?


Yeah right…
Lewis will effectively need 3 dnf’s in the last 4 races. Never going to happen…but we can keep up the fascade as long as you guys like…


You know Alonso was part of that season?

Hamilton had a 12 point lead going into the penultimate race.


You are right – what I meant (but didn’t explain) was the title was lost to a challenger who was 17 points behind with only 20 on the table. So, when people start saying it’s in the bag I prefer to be more cautious.


You still fail to mention that there was an element of Lewis covering off a closer rival, giving Kimi a chance to sneak the title. Vettel also had that luxury in 2010.

He has no such luxury this year.


All I am trying to say (not very well it would appear) is that when people say this years WDC is done and dusted – I don’t agree! I then point to 2007 as an example of when it looked to be similarly ‘in the bag’.


Sure, but I think his position now is significantly stronger than it was going into China in 2007.


I’m not sure Ham’s position is significantly stronger now – in 2007 Rai trailed by 85% of the available points and Alonso by 60%. Whilst in 2017 Vettel trails by ‘only’ 59% of the available points. It’s hard to compare though as there are 4 races to go and there were only 2 in 2007 – meaning there was more of a sudden death element to 2007 compared to this year. But even so – I don’t think it’s nearly as clear cut as some are claiming.


It is precisely the number of remaining races which makes all the difference. To understand why, it’s useful to carry out a thought experiment and take this to the logical extreme. This way, we can observe the underlying principles more clearly.

So instead of comparing a 60% of-the-points-available advantage between 2 and 4 races remaining, let’s compare it between 1 and 8 races. Which of the below is the “better” scenario?

– 120pt lead with 8 races remaining
– ‎15pt lead with 1 race remaining

Clearly, the latter makes you utterly vulnerable to a single DNF/ major incident, whereas the former offers plenty of safety nets to get the job done.

Now to support the original 2007 and 2017 comparison with some maths. Lewis was vulnerable to at least 1 DNF in 2 races in 2007, and is vulnerable to at least 2 DNFs in 4 races in 2017 (note that being vulnerable here doesn’t necessarily mean losing the title, but exposing himself to realistically losing it).

Let’s assume there’s a 10% chance of a DNF. So in 2007, there was a 0.9*0.9 = 81% chance of Lewis comfortably securing the title (no DNFs).

But in 2017, there is a 0.9*0.9*0.9*0.9 + 4*0.1*0.9*0.9*0.9 (chance of no DNFs + chance of 1 DNF) = 94.77% chance of comfortably securing the title (no more than 1 DNF).


+1 Nice number crunching Shalan.
There is a snag though with your statistical modelling. You have assumed that the probability of a DNF is equal at each race and the likelihood of it happening re-sets at the end of each race – in the same way that probability on a roulette wheel re-sets after each spin (it could land on red 100 times in a row and the chance of it being red on the 101st spin is the same as it was on the first spin).
With motor racing (unlike roulette wheels) the conditions are different at each race – it might rain for instance, the driver(s) might be unwell or unhappy about something , Kimi or Max might feel a little bolder etc. But most crucially of all is the equipment they are using at the end of each race is slightly more worn than it was at the start. Therefore the probability of mechanical failure increases with each race and is not the same at the end of the season as it was at the start. In other words, the longer Hamiltons run of reliability continues the greater the chance of a failure. So, as we are towards the end of the season….
Anyway, as I said already – I am happy to accept that Hamilton is in a good position, but it ain’t done and dusted until the title is mathematically out of the other drivers reach. Not for me anyway.


That did play a factor. McLaren strategy with Hamilton in China ’07 was absolutely ridiculous. They had a chance to eliminate Kimi, while making it extremely hard for Alonso. McLaren & Ferrari were well up on the rest in 2007, such that a very conservative strategy in China still would have netted at least 5th (4 pts), which would have meant Kimi eliminated, and Fernando needing to win or come 2nd in Brazil. With the speed the Ferrari’s had there, that would have meant the title for Lewis. Some horrifically bad strategy there.


Even though I wasn’t watching F1 back then, it still hurts to think that he was painfully close to pulling off an incredible accomplishment, only to miss out right at the end.


Some horrifically bad strategy there.

You’re right – I remember watching the race and thinking why don’t they just settle for bagging less points and taking a big advantage into the final round. I can only assume they were trying to win the championship in China.


Nicely driven.
Ocon will a championship contender when the old guard retire. Driver of the Day👏.
Well done Massa holding back Max & doing a Kubica (for Vettel a while back when he was at Renault).
All the best to J Palmer🙋.
Arrivabene will be back to promoting cigs in Italy as Marchionne will be sending him an offer he can’t refuse.😂


Mmmm Ocon driver of the day? He was at least .3s slower than perez


@D1M0NST3R – slower but finished in front of Perez. Racing isn’t all about fastest laps.


Ocon will a championship contender

I like/rate Ocon, but I felt he could have resisted the early race overtakes from Ric and Bot a bit more than he did. I know they had faster cars but it just seemed like he gave in too easily.


I thought OCO fought too hard against RIC and compromised his own race when he should have just conceded and got on with it in clean air.


Get in there Lewis!
Just the way you like it, no challenge whatsoever. Congrats on your 4th WDC.

Great job James!! Heard your english media colleagues made Vettel’s spokesperson Britta Roeske cry.


no challenge whatsoever

Whose fault is that then?
Lewis for being the best on the day, or everybody else for not being the best.
All the manufacturers had exactly the same chance as Merc to build a decent PU and car with reliability. Year 4 and we still have people blaming Merc for other peoples failures.
Pathetic really when you exam it closely.


no challenge whatsoever

Really?! Was Lewis challenged in Malaysia? I bet you would say yes because Max came close and overtook him, just like he came close today, but couldn’t overtake. I know it’s frustrating when a driver or team you support are not winning, but at the end we all are F1 fans and shouldn’t take anything away from any driver. By saying that Lewis was not challenged today, you have denied Max a great race he drove against Lewis just like he did in Malaysia only that he didn’t win today.

Lastly, Last time I checked Vettel/Ferrari was challenging Lewis until they entered self-destruction mode in Singapore


no challenge whatsoever

Eh? What was Verstappen doing if not challenging?


Cmon, Lewis was never ever in any danger. Any thought otherwise please open your eyes.


Try looking up the definition of challenging Dufus.


Underestimating your opponent is step one .
Loosing races is step two.
Ham is very well aware of the danger VER posed to him. He has a clearer sight than some blinded followers do.


Britta needs to toughen up if what you say is true… working for the “great” Ferrari and bursting into tears due to facing some criticism…poor. Ferrari have tough questions to answer… seems fair to me. Plus id say the pressure for all at ferrari is coming from internally…and when you blank out the press dont expect to win any friends there.
Tough day for you huh… diddum’s. I did actually feel for VET today he deserves better than ferrari can provide him. Never the less….GET IN THERE LEWIS 😂


Spoken like a true gentleman Brit…


I’d hang on there if I were you – the details seem very sketchy so far as I can tell. And if you want to talk about gentlemanly conduct then I don’t believe Vettel comes out of this looking too good, sending her along on her own to face the press wasn’t very nice. That said if the press were unpleasant or whatever and made her cry then they should apologise – but I doubt it’s as clear cut as Rohind is suggesting.


@C63 – I wasn’t questioning the incident – as you say the details are a bit murky.

My sarcasm was directed at the original poster – that kind of position is hardly appropriate – irrespective of what actually did or didn’t happen.


THAT post was entirely appropriate…. hence it passing mod and being given significant approval by readers. These vague reports about britta come from 1 dodgy Dutch journo and others who were there have refuted the claim. It’s all typical ferrari! Deflect attention to others as they are too important to have to address difficult questions. Ferrari are pathetic in almost every way. Poor old arrivabene looks gaunt and unwell from all the unnecessary pressure. He really does look unwell. That said….he made his bed….



I agree re your comments about Arrivabene. He doesn’t look a picture of happiness does he? Largely I think because of the pressure placed on him by Marchionne to take Ferrari back to the promised land. Two inderfulfilled years now with him as TP. But ultimately Marchionne pulls the strings and he has to accept some responsibility especially for falling in with Vettle’s push to appoint an ageing Raikkonen for another yearea. Crazy!


There’s a quote from Marchionne on the Sky website where he’s talking about quality control and reliability – “It’s a problem we’ve probably ignored over time because it was never of much importance,”. Not important! It’s hard to believe that he would actually say such a thing.



Agree, remarkable comment. Seriously though he seems to struggle with English so would there be a possibility that he got his words mixed up or he’s been misquoted. Obviously though if true there’s the explanation for their mechanical problems right there. But surely not!


Ferrari have been the only team to match Merc’s pace this season. Plus you seem to overlook the fact that Vettel has crashed his car two races in a row – leaving the team to do more than the usual race weekend prep. Other than Merc where would Vettel go, exactly?


How very gracious! Rohind, Lewis loves a challenge. I’m 100% positive that he would have wanted Vettel to be in the race today and finish. Ultimately it’s not up to him though.

I feel bad for Seb and Ferrari though. It’s the worst when you’re out of a race through no fault of your own. I’ll say it again, but a Best X of Y Results system would allow days like these to not affect the Drivers Championship as heavily. If it was best 13 of 20, then Seb would only drop his 7th (6 pts) at Silverstone, while Lewis would drop MCO, AZE & HUN (28 pts).

The inescapable fact though is that Hamilton has driven better than Seb this year. Seb has made big mistakes (Baku, Singapore, Malaysia post-race), to the point that it really would be a travesty if he became champion over Hamilton this year.


Haven’t they used best of X in the past? But I’m not in favour of that system, all races should count equally towards the Championships. Besides how do you determine which races you can dro?, surely you would have to do it on classifed results i.e having completed 90% of the race distance.


Literally no one who is fair would say Hamilton drove better over the first half of this season. To me and many others Vettel has been the better driver. Meanwhile Lewis has had his team mate scoot over oh so nicely for his benefit. “Travesty”? Yeah right.


Hehehebe poor old cheesy is cracking up. It’s a joy to behold 😂


Ok, whatever you say. We all know how fair and reasonable you are cheesy.

Vettel didn’t maximize his opportunities at the start of the year. He should’ve won in Russia, Spain & Azerbaijan. Instead he didn’t because of a bad start, a better driver, and his hothead nature. Austria again he lost pole in the last corner, from which he would’ve won easily. Spa was another that he should have won. Singapore he took a needless risk. 25 pts gone. If he had maximized his opportunities then, he’d still be close or even leading today.

People give Vettel leeway that they would never give Lewis.

After Baku, Singapore & the bizarre post-race cut across Stroll in Sepang, and Vettel’s initial reactions to each, it’s hard to suggest that he would serve as a worthy example that the champion should.


Even if Vettel had won at Bacu and Singapore, he’d have an extra 38(?) points plus Ham would have lost 10ish points by not winning Singapore. Suddenly Hams 59 point lead is only an 11 point lead – not nearly such a steep hill to climb.
Still, it’s all woulda coulda shoulda and all that counts are the points scored.


Ferrari would order Kimi to move over if it would benefit Vettel. Besides Ferrari are well known for ordering one driver to move over for another.


Cheesypoof, I wonder what Lewis would have to do for you to say that he drove well? My guess is there is nothing he could possibly do that would elicit any kind of positive comment from you, which kind of makes your appraisal of his performance a bit pointless doesn’t it? As there is no chance whatsoever of you ever saying anything other than he was second best, you might as well not bother.


a Best X of Y Results system

It would be interesting to see how many who rejected that system/suggestion last season would like to see it introduced this.


I suspect people would prefer which ever system best benefits the driver they support.

I’m in favour of keeping the current system where all results count equally. Sometimes the driver I support will win other times they will lose.


No question the travesty is winning the championship as a result a series of misfortunes and Ferrari blunders. That is not a win, it is a gift.
Fact is Vettel was more consistent than Lewis, he was on first place till Monza when Ferrari screwed up. Again and again this year…
Baku was a blunder indeed, Seb failed in Lewis trap that provoked him. Singapore was more Verstapen and Kimi than Vettel, it was his right to take the line, but who knew Kimi was heading to a disaster.
Malaysia and Japan were tragedies, last spark plug caused troubles 25 years ago. Both Ferrari crapped miserable. Carribean Voodoo.
50% of his races were mainly screwed by Ferrari or massive bad luck or Bottas holding him back. The same Bottas his buddy desperatly asked to back up Vettel in Baku. Talking about greatness.


Hehehehe seems Alan is on the boat to crazy too. Bon voyage boys…. bon voyage 😂


Yet another wonderfull and insightful comment Dean. Your everything thats wrong with these threads. Surely there is other sites where your trolling would be better appreciated????


In the 2nd half of the season Hamilton has driven flawlessly and maximised the car’s strengths. He will undoubtedly deserve the title and it would take a catalogue of errors from here on in to lose it.

I also think Vettel would be deserving as well and in my book he has only really made one costly mistake, Singapore. He should have played that safer. Baku was silly but he actually increased his championship lead so purely on that basis it wasn’t a championship wrecker. And the Malaysia incident with Stroll was after the points had been dished out (I don’t believe it had any relation to his engine issue problem, correct me if I’m wrong).

Factors out of Vettel’s control have been more costly. Obviously today and then Malaysia qualifying. In contrast I believe the only issue Hamilton has had all season is that headrest coming loose in Baku and even that was human error. Lewis has had pretty immaculate reliability this year and I guess he got the bit of luck that deserted him last year.

All in all it’s just a shame the end of the season will fizzle out when it was looking like we’d have a great showdown.


Ahem. Baku


He has driven well, but has had to race wheel to wheel very little. To be fair, it’s an easier ride when you have the best car, a slow number 2 roadblocker teammate, and no dirty air with an engine mode Q3 boost that gives pole at most tracks.

Ok, at the Merc bogey track, he “passed” cars at Singapore as Kimi, Max and Seb collided to retirement while taking out Fernando.

Not his fault he can only beat his opposition though, just a shame there isn’t really any opposition for the nth year in a row.

Another well ‘managed’ works Merc year …zzzzzzz


Baku and Singapore were massively costly – assuming VET won and Verstappen and Raikkonen made it to the end, it would have been around a 35 point swing, add 13 lost in Baku and you’ve got a fifth place between them. Spain and China should have been Ferrari wins as well – VET & Ferrari will look back at this season as one they should have won but threw away.


Singapore was arguably a 40 point swing if Hamilton had finished 5th.

Then Malaysia, another big points swing. Even with his Baku madness he would still be in there.


@Nick – you forgot to add into your equation “If pigs flew”


Its a perfectly reasonable comment – If Vettel had not thrown away Baku and Singapore and HAM had finished 2nd in Singapore, the WDC gap would be 14 points, regardless of Malaysia and Japan.
Two incidents which were totally in Vettels control and he messed up – not fantasy suggestions, unless you’re just trying to defend Vettel


Get in there Lewis – a well managed race; he always had Verstappen covered, despite what the over excited commentary team would have us believe – although Max has really got the bit between his teeth now and Ricciardo must be getting concerned.
As good a result as Hamilton could have wished for with his championship aspirations in mind – if you are a Ferrari or Vettel fan I guess the last 3 races haven’t been quite what you were hoping for, but mechanical retirements are part of motor racing – so no moaning please 🙂


“mechanical retirements are part of motor racing” – paraphrasing Vettel. He is not the one moaning about reliability costing him a championship. Its the primadonna’s and blinkered fans that do that 😉


Let’s see shall we – if Ham goes on to secure the WDC, how long do you think it will be before ‘they’ start saying it doesn’t count because of X, Y or Z?


@C63 – there are blinkered fans on all sides, and I wasn’t in any way suggesting that its only the LHFC that are moaners… the FA brigade are even worse 😉


C63, very much looking forward to all the people who congratulated Nico on his ‘thoroughly deserved championship’ last year, saying the same thing about Lewis this year…..


Like the ones who pointed to Hamilton’s DNF in Maylasia last year as handing the title to Rosberg?


Mcm, works both ways doesn’t it? Although I would say that there is a clear difference between Mercedes building a more reliable car than Ferrari, and Mercedes building one reliable car, and one lemon. If we get to Abu Dhabi and Seb has list the title by the eighteen points he may have lost in Japan, then I might force put a sympathetic noise….


Don’t be surprised if that Irish driver, Tim O’Glock gets numerous name checks in the coming months, years, decades.


You’re not wrong – plus the crash in the pit lane in Canada and the stewards in Australia and the Singapore GP 2008 etc yawn ZZZzzzz


How is that “lap record” today? 6s slower to pole fastest lap on Sunday when it counts? You don’t mention it? And who set it? The “pushing” Hamilton? Max?

I guess that V10 2005 1:31.540 Kimi official fastest lap is still the right answer if you’re ever on Jeopardy and have to name the fastest lap record at Suzuka?

More importantly, why don’t we discuss why cars are 6s on best lap slower on Sundays vs. Saturdays? Burning oil Saturdays? Driving to a fuel use delta on Sundays? Are they perhaps resting on Sundays, like God did?


Apart from the last one I’d imagine a combo of those things, but the most likely is tyre wear and deg. Keeping the tyres in the ‘operating window’ is critical to making it to the end in the fastest over all time.


I suspect some of the speed difference on Sundays vs Saturdays is that on Saturday they fuel the car for 3 or 4 laps vs fuel for however many laps the race is on Sunday.

They use a set of fresh tyres for those 3 or 4 laps on a Saturday vs tyres which might have done a lot of laps by the time fuel comes down towards the end of the race.


Sure. That’s why the cars are 10s slower at the start.

But near end, when cars are light and rubber decent, still 7s slower than their Q3 quali laps? This doesn’t explain it.

Cars are clearly turned down and run to a fuel use delta. Notice how faster lap records are posted more often when SC appears and saved fuel.


How’s this any different to back in the 80s where the cars had 1500bhp for qualifying then trundled around with 800bhp during the race trying not to run out of fuel? Only difference then was that reliability and actually running out of fuel determined the results. People need to throw away their rose tinted specs and stop constantly slating the cars. Sure F1 could be better no one argues more than me that some of the rules are ridiculous but what we’ve got isn’t bad.

The overriding thing I took from this weekend is that the pole lap was a full 11s faster than that famous onboard lap of Senna’s in 1989 or whenever it was!


Was much hotter on Sunday.


Sebee, how much faster do you think a 2017 car could go if it had traction contril like Kimi’s 2005 McLaren?


@TimW – he’s only providing more proof he’s doesn’t understand F1 or motor racing in the slightest.


Is this my Groundhog Day? I’m I destined to forever read about race pace lap times? Somebody tell me who my Andie Macdowell is. Let it go. V10’s are in the past.


LOL. Hamilton fans sure did moan last year.


Nico Rosberg, the clever 2016 WDC who beat a current standing WDC to the crown in the same car no less!


I’ll take it obviously, but I’m slightly annoyed or the last two races have panned out. Not only have we been robbed of a closer title fight, but Vettel has effectively been given a pass – he was likely to lose the championship anyway after Singapore through his own devices, but now he can hid behind his car’s reliability.


I’ll take it – wouldn’t bother me unduly if Ham wrapped up the championship by September winning every race from pole!
I appreciate not everyone would agree with that point of view 🙂

Seriously though – re the pass – whatever happens and however Ham wins (assuming he goes on to take the title) there will always be those who will denigrate his achievements and the facts of the matter won’t worry them in the slightest.


That is one of a kind twisted idea… Hiding behind the car? Are you for real mate?

Torchwood Mobile

Granted, cars are not as bulletproof as movies suggest, but still a viable survival tactic.

What’s your problem with it? Not sporting enough?


These cars are really big – you could easily get a couple of F1 drivers behind them


Even worse,.. some people pushed the + for it.


Sure am mate


Yep….hes for real and i for one agree with him. VET has got a pass…. All of his tomfoolery this year shouldve cost him the title not these mechanical issues…. Now there is room for debate on the issue.


Lewis’ poor performance and not beating Nico on track a bunch if times cost Lewis the WDC in 2016 too, right?


No. As per my previous message…the matter is up for debate due to mechanical failures. Same applies to lewis last year.


AlanF1, what AndrewM meant to say is that Vettel fans will hide behind the car’s reliability. These are sportsmen, they will take the blame and say they’ll come back stronger or something motivationally generic like that. It’s the fans he’s talking about. Now when a pro-Vettel-anti-Hamilton fan talks, they won’t say Hamilton beat him on merit, they’ll say that he cruised to it because Vettel’s car broke down.


C63, mechanical breakdowns are part of the sport, but it is hard for people not to moan about it because it seems like bad luck, not poor preparation.


That Kimi and Set seemed to suffer the same engine trouble in Malaysia kind of suggests poor prep on the part of the team rather than a whim of the ‘taking gods’. The crash in Singapore, very much inevitable once Vettel decided to cut Max off. A broken spark plug, well sure that might be bad luck….. or a sloppy mechanic….


Reliability issues ALWAYS have a cause – there is no bad luck involved.


What a turnaround in 7 days! Mercedes struggled in the muggy humid sweatbox of South East Asia, but in cooler, fresher temperatures and conditions they were back on the pace.

Kind of proves my theory that I have espoused that close, sweaty conditions suffocate the Merc’s potential (see also Hungary) but put it on a track with lots of fast sweepers and in moderate temps it is the class of the field. Add on excellent aerodynamic efficiency and Lewis Hamilton’s talent and you have a formidable partnership.

Hammy is in the prime of his life at the age of 32, and since Silverstone has been driving better than ever, his pace just too much for the opposition.


I don’t know about the close and sweaty conditions – I thought it was just the hot which was the problem; overheating the surface of the rears (?).

Hamilton certainly is driving beautifully at the moment, no question – he makes it look easy. But if it was easy then why isn’t Bottas doing it too?
Hopefully we’ve got a few more years of his [Ham] talent to enjoy/appreciate.


I would say his car is too much for the opposition. Same as Schumacher era of domination. Altough, Lewis is not on Schumacher level and never will be.


What if he beats Schumi’s record haul of race wins and WDCs as well as the poles he already owns? What would you say then? Remember Schumi had his fair share of dominant cars too – as anyone would need to amass those statistics.


He can beat all the records he can, that won’t make him the best. Same goes for Schumi – records made him better than he was.


You know as well as anybody that Schumacher was never really the best. Senna was the best and he is the only driver that we can argue whether Lewis has surpassed him or not.


I know. Senna was better. But Schumi was stronger driver than Ham will ever be.


Oh I don’t know, if he stays in F1 well past his best he might eventually drop down to Schumachers level. Although I don’t think he will ever get to the level where he deliberately rams his car into his opponent no matter how long he stays.


Not arguing with Schumacher’s antics – guy was too obsessed with winning. I just think Ham isn’t on the same level he was. Same goes for Schumi who coudn’t reach Senna level of mastery.


No thats true he’s more Senna’s level 🙂


Oh lol. Do elaborate, please.


Wesa, not even if Lewis deliberately crashes into a couple of championship rivals, or tries to fix qualifying?


Please what exactly did Schummy do that Ham hasnt done?
And for good measure Ham has never opposed having a strong team mate. Please…


True, Ham doesn’t oppose strong team mates. But Schumacher was a faster driver, be it wet or dry. That said, Schumacher’s records made him better than he was.


Agreed, he doesn’t oppose strong team mates, even tough he only had one. Nevertheless, he’s not on the same level as young Schumacher. But he also isn’t a cheat.


Lewis is not on Schumacher level

If Schumacher was such great shakes (and I’m not saying he wasn’t) why do you think he insisted on contractual #1 status – with his teammates required to give way from the very first race of the season? Whatever you say or think about Hamilton, he has never had that luxury.


Don’t know why he insisted but he was a very fast driver in his younger days. I think Ham reached his peak and can’t compete with that. Same goes for Schumi – no matter what records broken, he wouldn’t reach Senna level.


It’s a pointless debate as it’s your opinion versus mine – we neither of us have any proof. Interestingly though – Mark Webber told JA that he considers Hamilton to be the best since Senna and I guess MW knows more than either of us and he isn’t biased, so….


I wouldn’t call it pointless. Perhaps none of us will change opinions but it might be of use to someone else. I respect MW but appeal to authority always struck me a bit “uninspiring”. One would have to analyse closely the context in which Mark spoken – when did he say that? Recently? How much unbiased might he have been after mistreatment at RB? Perhaps he said it so to annoy Vettel?


Perhaps he said it so to annoy Vettel?

Why would it annoy Vettel? You’re not suggesting that Vettel is quicker than Hamilton are you? I don’t think even Vettel believes that.
But in all seriousness it is a completely pointless debate – we neither of us can be right as we have no proof and as none can be found….


Wesa, how do you know that Schumacher was faster than Lewis?


Wesa, how do you know that Schumacher was faster than Lewis?

I’ve seen all their races and made a conclusion.


And I would say Mercedes’ pace is flattered by Ferrari’s stunning incompetence and intemperate driving. But carry on, the last time I had to deal with this level of sports idolatry was when Henry Aaron took the HR title from the Babe.


Idolatry? Don’t make false constructs out of my comment. First of all, am not a Schumacher fan. Despite being fast, he made the sport boring plus he was a cheat. No matter the records, he wasn’t the best. Ham can break every single record but that won’t make him better than he is. I would say he reached his peak and that is no small feat, but same as Schumi, the cycle continues – records determine who the best is.


Just as a point of fact – you don’t have to deal with anything. You choose to do so, of your own free will.


if you are a Ferrari or Vettel fan I guess the last 3 races haven’t been quite what you were hoping for, but mechanical retirements are part of motor racing – so no moaning please 🙂

I’m glad Hamilton is a better winner than you are 🙂

Max has really got the bit between his teeth now and Ricciardo must be getting concerned.

Well I have to admit he did not look as happy as he normally does after the race, he was lacking spark.
But anyway well done Hamilton looks like he may have it now and good drive by Verstappen cool, calm and thought out drive.
Putting pressure on someone like Hamilton is no easy feat.


So here’s the thing – I’m every bit as good a winner as all those who rejoiced at Rosbergs victory last season were – or more accurately rejoiced at Hamiltons loss (they didn’t really care about it being Rosberg, as anyone apart from Hamilton would have done). Hamilton fans were told repeatedly that losing a certain win and a 28(?) point swing in Rosbergs favour at Malaysia last season made no difference to the championship and mechanical breakdowns are part of the deal – they will still try and claim this now from time to time. So, what goes around comes around as they say – hence my being pleased at the result today 🙂


You can be pleased but let’s not try and mask it as a leveling gesture. One team has dominated this sport for years. When Nico had bad luck on occasions, when he was told to attack Lewis etc, and finally won last year, people can rightly be happy. All we’ve had this year is one team trying to break a stranglehold that is suffocating this sport unless you’re a Hamilton fan. It’s extraordinary to have your main competitor wiped out 3 races in a row. It’s extraordinary for someone to rejoice on a boring one team championship unless they prefer this one team winning. So to now compare this to Nico in an inter team battle is just an excuse. There’s no need. We generally know where everyone stands.


people can rightly be happy.

So now you get to decide when it’s ok for people to be happy or not? What makes your opinion any more valid than mine?


I never said it was. Youre gussying it up as though you are simply giving justice to those who celebrated Nico last year, you’ve summarily judged them in your comment. And I’m saying it’s not the same in this case. Mercedes has dominated for years, their drivers literally do not deserve any more luck, they’ve had more than the entire grid.

If you can’t see that difference then I guess I hope for your sake the Ferrari’s fail to start their engines or get wiped out at the first corner so Mercedes remain dominant for another year and you can get another “Get in there Lewis” comment right after. We’re not all going to fall for the woe is me excuse cos of Nico winning last year.


I’m sure there is a point in your comment somewhere – but for the life of me I cannot see it.




Get in there lewis 😆


Man, that chip on your shoulder just grows and grows, even when you tack on that your pleased with the results at the end of the usual “those anti-H people” or “Malaysia ’16” rantin’.

so on another topic, should Sergio get busy firing people, should he support the team fully or should he step down himself! Wonder what the tifosi would prefer…


tack on that your pleased

Did you mean you’re? Otherwise your sentence doesn’t make sense.

As for your second point – no I don’t believe that Sergio should start firing people – a climate of fear might bring short term gains, but ultimately it doesn’t work as the best people will tend to find a job elsewhere e.g. James Allison.


Here, here C63!! Bang on the money!


Thank you Dean – very kind of you to say so.


If anyone was lacking spark it was Sebastian.


Lol, on one of his cylinders, you mean. 🙂 good one.


COTD, for me. I LOL’d pretty hard.