Not in the script : Lewis Hamilton avoids downbeat moment of F1 history
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Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Oct 2017   |  10:11 pm GMT  |  145 comments

Lewis Hamilton won the F1 drivers world championship for the fourth time, becoming the most successful British driver of all time, but not in the way he had hoped to do it.

Hamilton was looking for a moment of glory with a race win, but instead his race was blighted by contact with his title rival at the start that led both into the pits at the end of Lap 1. He finished ninth.

“Not the race we wanted, but who cares? Four time world champion!” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff over the radio.

“A big thanks to everyone in this team what you have done this last couple of years has been incredible and I’m very grateful, thank you,” replied the new champion.

“It doesn’t feel real (the fourth title),” he said, while wrapped in the Union Flag in front of the huge Mexican crowd.

“It’s not the kind of race I want. I did everything I could; I got a good start. I don’t know what happened at Turn 3 but I came back.”

Hamilton even suffered the indignity of being lapped by the race leader Max Verstappen and by Valtteri Bottas.

Over the radio at one point he asked whether Vettel had driven into him on purpose, which his engineer answered uncertainly.

The resulting race looked set to be one of those occasional desultory ones, where he seemed to be brooding and struggling to come through the field, with a damaged car. But in the closing stages he came alive and had a wonderful battle with Fernando Alonso’s McLaren which went on for several corners as he climbed through the points.

It was a strange way to end what has been one of his most effective seasons in F1, where his driving in qualifying and races has gone up a level. THe championship battle with Vettel was compelling up to the day when Vettel crashed into Verstappen and Raikkonen in Singapore, then had two consecutive engine problems in Malaysia and Japan, which gave Hamilton a slam dunk.

It’s a shame that the end of the championship was not as exciting as the start, but they all count the same and Hamilton’s fourth title makes him only the fifth driver to cross this threshold.

I’ve been fortunate to see four drivers do this in my career. First Alain Prost in 1993, then Michael Schumacher in 2001, then Sebastian Vettel in 2013 and now Hamilton. The only other man who has been there is Juan Manuel Fangio, whose five world championships is now Hamilton’s target.

Vettel was magnanimous in defeat: “Overall he was the better man and did the better job, simple as that.”

Force India in the pink – 4th place achievement impressive
Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez have been a compelling story this season and another strong race weekend in Mexico confirmed their fourth place in the Constructor’s Championship, a fabulous result for the independent team from Silverstone.

In many ways they are the benchmark independent team in F1, operating on just below the $150m a year that we believe the budget cap will be set at when it comes in. They do a fantastic job on that budget and although they have not got a podium yet this season, they have been super consistent and impressive. Congratulations to Vijay Mallya, Bob Fernley, Andy Green and Tom McCullogh who get more bang for their buck than any other F1 team.

Ocon has a 27 race finishing streak and has been a consistent points scorer all season; but for me the story is he has moved has up a gear in the last couple of months, doing what keen observers of F1 drivers had hoped to see from him – qualifying and racing ahead of Perez in the final part of the season.

The 20 year old Frenchman is putting Mercedes on alert for 2019. Although Daniel Ricciardo has been linked with Valtteri Bottas’ seat at the end of 2018, the three pointed star has invested in Ocon for a few years now, having bought him off Gerard Lopez’ Gravity Management.

His development curve is that of a top F1 driver of the future and his first third of 2018 will be fascinating to watch.


Anyone want to buy a used Renault motor?
Although they got their third win of the season, with Max Verstappen, it was also difficult weekend for Renault’s engines. Pierre Gasly hardly turned a lap in practice, Daniel Ricciardo took a massive grid penalty and then suffered a failure in the race and Nico Hulkenberg was also told to ‘stop the car’. Carlos Sainz also retired from the race.

The French manufacturer has had a push towards the end of the season and Red Bull has risen on performance, but it’s not been without pain.

Much rests on what they can do for 2018 as to whether the works team and McLaren can get podiums, the Red Bull can get regular wins and even fight for the championship.

What did you think of the Mexican Grand Prix? How do you rate the job Force India has done? Leave your comment below

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1

Great win for max and a worthy wc in Hamilton. But James I'm astonished that no1 in the media has picked up on the fact that Hamilton had to get out of the throttle to avoid losing his front wing with max and is the reason seb hit Hamilton. For me it was just a racing incident. Your thoughts please

2

I'm not sure what your point is. Vettel was losing the battle with Max on the inside of turn 3 so there was a gap at the outside. Lewis had no other option than to go there and it ensured he had a good run on Vettel coming out of that corner. Max obviously went to the outside kerb to get some momentum and a good exit and Lewis indeed had to back off to avoid getting his wing clipped. But I don't see what's special about that? True, that sort of put him in Vettel's path who oversteered into the Mercedes (or for the conspiracy theorists here: gave Vettel the opportunity to punt him) but Lewis would always have overtaken Vettel here.

All in all, it's pretty amazing given Max's bad luck at the beginning of the year that he didn't get a flat anywhere AND that his PU stayed alive. Not sure why Sainz retired but if that was engine related we had only 2 Renaults finishing (Gasly and Verstappen)

3

Yes good hard racing. Max very aggressive as he wants to win, but fair. I thought contact between Vettel and Hamilton could have been avoided by Vettel maybe, and was costly for both

But nothing worth penalising

4

Well if I watch the slomo of turn 3. Just before the crash of VET and Ham, VET straightened his steering wheel then turns in again as noticing HAM. At the right moment he hits the throttle controlled to get into a light drift into HAM.
First of all VET would know his car front wing was damaged when he tried to bumpercar VER.
Second of all VET has amazing car control.
Third of all (beside his emotions) VET is verbally swift and cunning to focus the blame on others with words.

It's on the margin. Race accident or tactical move by VET to also try to slice up HAM's wheel before he'd had to pit for a nose job.

5

I might get a bit of grief for this, but I'm sure that the contact between Ham and Vet was on purpose.

Here's why.

Vettel already knows that he has damaged his front wing, granted he doesn't know how bad but front wings are nearly always changed at the beginning of a race.

Given that and the fact Hamilton went around him and looked like he had the speed to stay in front, in a split second that he had, made the decision and he gave the wheel a couple of wild movements, which did look like handling difficulties, desperate to try and stop him being in front.

He's shown impatience, wildness and the ability to do senseless acts spontaneously.

Most cars that loose a front wing, or parts there of, make it back to the pits for a new one, and in his (Vettel) eyes his race for the title was already over, and it was a win win if He (Hamilton) got a puncture.

6

Congratulations to Lewis on an amazing year. Thoroughly deserved.

After the summer break, Lewis stepped up a few notches, Seb made that critical misjudgment at Singapore that took his campaign downhill.

Next year looks , oh so promising. HAM-VET-VER-RIC-ALO all in competitive cars. !

Lewis and Seb have mopped up 8 of the last 10 titles ! It looks like we could be in for some Max mopping time now. Daniel needs to step up a bit, if he wants to see his dream of becoming a WDC come true. Bring on 2018 !

7

Congrats to all prior WDCs, all well deserved as they always are!
But can we have a new face for the WDC next year? Please..?

8
Clarks4WheelDrift

Loving your confidence that Vet, Ver, Ric and Alo will be in cars (some with a Renault PU) able to compete with the works Mercs next year!

Here's hoping though, competition in qually engine modes and in the races.

9

The truth is Clarks, even if Red Bull, Ferrari and Merc all win the same number of races next year, you will still say the Merc is "the most dominant car in F1 history".....

10

To me it makes sense the engines will converge more next season, so yes i expect a very competitive field. It's the curve of diminishing returns with further R&D. This type of engine at somepoint is reaching its limits or where a lot of extra work only produces very little extra power.. so even Honda should be able to catchup..hopefully.. and that would be awesome..

11

Wouldn't say it was downbeat.
I'd say it was the amalgamation of pure racing at the start. You had 2 out and out race4s in Versteppen and Hamilton and another poor F1 driver aka Vettel in a Ferrari who just hates being shown up. Lacking in race craft decides to crash into the Mercedes "Schumacher style" to gain an advantage.
Lewis deserved the Championship
Vettel deserved a drive through penalty.
Max deserved the win .
Well done Mercedes and Hamilton.

12

Come on man, it was racing. Everybody in the race knew the start was the best place to pick up places. Also, everybody involved in the schlemozzle (is that the right spelling?) on the first lap has raced with all the others more than once so they had a good idea of what each would do. I was surprised that Hamilton was as aggressive as he was, but only a little - he is a racer and while the championship matters a lot, still he is a racer in the moment. Max only did what Vettel, Hamilton, Rosberg - the list is nearly all-inclusive - would have done in his place and his car. Vettel could have allowed for possible wing and suspension damage by backing off just a tad after first contact, but come on. He is a racer and he did what a racer will do - go for it. Judgment might be questioned in all their cases, but only by bystanders - in the cars we have what we want - racers.

13

Doubt that such was the case. First corner after loosing part of his frontwing due to the contact with MV. The car probably reacted differently than what he was expecting. At the moment of investiagtion, both drivers were out of the points as a consequence of the collision, I think that was the reason the stewards decided no further action required.

Like Malaysia, Vettel needs to back home, and write down the following old and somewhat dusty, but still true rules. More races are lost than won at the first corner, and to finish first, you first need to finish.

Is it fair to say, that Vettel has become his own worst enemy? Malaysia even though he doesn't have a reputation as wet-racer like LH and MV, he could have finished 3rd over there and maybe even 2nd in mexico. This would've added a 21 points to his total. That woud've brought his total up to 298. LH on third place for Mexico would have added another 13 points for him bringing him up to 344, making Brasil the most likely deciding race. Not that it woud´ve have been that much more favourable.

14

Congratulations to the newly crowned 4 time world champion. It's been a pleasure since debut witnessing the journey. Looking forward to a few more years. Get in Lewis!

15

The Number 4 is celebrating its birthday alongside Stroll: Title number 4 for number 44, while his rival, Vettel -- who brought back those Baku demons -- finished 4th, 'Fource' India's achieved 4th place. CONGRATULATIONS King Lewis!

16

For a while there I thought Lewis wants to win the WDC by finishing last, which would have been a fun unique statistic.

17
Clarks4WheelDrift

Glad Force India have their 4th place because their drivers can now finally race each other...

Ocon fast in qually, Perez often faster in race, now allowed to challenge. Wonder if Bottas will also improve now, bet Dan Ric wishes for a race against Max without penalties or failures for either...interesting dynamic to the end.

Does Dan Ric now have to take another penalty next race?!?

18

It's all well and good bringing in budget restrictions but how do you police it. Also if Ferrari and Mercedes are operating on double the 150m. Surely they will have to make people redundant?.

19

I think triple is closer to the truth.

20

vettel broke his front wing off verstappen and attacked hamilton's left rear with the jaggedered edged front carbon fibre remains of his front wing, still couldn't stop hamilton becoming four times world champion.
next!

21

It was Schumacher wasn’t it ... Seb’s ruthless actions replicate his idol and countryman more and more every race!
I thought he’d changed a lot after becoming a father and seemed more humble in the year before he went to Ferrari but those assumptions have been well and truly smashed by his bad attitude during the seasons since.

22

Ferrari is well known as a team that's run by stick rather than by carrot. They'll sack or publicly criticise anybody at the drop of a hat. The pressure on Vettel within the team must be immense, so I'm not surprised that he's tried to be aggressive, over-cooked it and that accidents have happened as a result.

23

Indeed, Vettel was quite ''messy'' at the start again. He started it by unduely pushing Verstappen out of the track. He then touches Max rear tyre, damaging his front wing. It could therefore be that him touching Hamilton afterwards was done on purpose ...
Or not. From the videos, it seems that Verstapp delayed his acceleration a bit at the exit of turn 3, putting havoc behind him. But this needs confirmation.
Anyway, Vettel damaged his front wing on Verstappen first.

24

Big Congrats to Lewis. This has been his best year as a driver since 2008 IMO. The merc is still the choice car on the grid, but the competition has been a lot closer this year than in the previous 3, and its in that competition that Lewis has focused and flourished.

25

Good comment LKFE.+1.

26
Tornillo Amarillo

The 20 year old Frenchman is putting Mercedes on alert for 2019.

He is ready and calm for 2018. He cannot do worst than Bottas next year in the same machinery.

27

Agreed - He is the real deal !
Look forward to seeing the bunch of Verstappen, Ocon, Sainz, Magnussen, Leclerc, etc battling it out in front!

28

I agree he looks ready, but another year polishing his craft out of the limelight will probably be more beneficial.

29

Haha. Just when I thought racing couldn't get any better the top 3 rolled the dice and Max came out on top. I caught the end of Martinsville and it was fantastic. I believe if you can race on a short track you can race anything. Both races are about track position. But some can pass better than others. I noticed Vettel was pretty good at that but Hamilton only had to cruise.

Now who do you guys think is the better driver? I used to think Hamilton was. I still think that because I have seen Hamilton win in inferior cars. 2018 should be very interesting. Mercedes has the reliability but that Ferrari is faster. Red Bull and McLaren should come into play if that Renault engine gets better.

30

hamilton’s pace was decided by the pitwall. vettel had his car on full power while hamilton hadn’t. that’s the reason it looked like vettel could pass and hamilton couldn’t. as for driving ability, attacking defending, wet weather driving, hamilton is in a class by himself. all his skills are on display on youtube, right from age 8. he drives as well as he drove then, beating all comers.

31

There are other skills on display to there 😉
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83FrJdDAhyU

32

seen that mana many times and majority of those were due to car failure. not bad for a 10 year career. you will not see hamilton crash like alonso did behind gutierrez or vettel crashing into verstappen at the start of the a race..
you will not see another driver as good in your lifetime so enjoy it while it lasts.

33

You've seen Hamilton win in inferior cars? The majority of his 'records' are in superior cars, his most inferior cars are virtually always top 3 in the constructors every year. If I'm not wrong every year that Hamilton won a race his team mate in a similar car has also won a race, but for one year, in total. So it wasn't walking on water. There are several drivers who've won in inferior cars and at least one that has taken titles to the final race in inferior cars...

34

hamilton won hungary in his 2009 mclaren.

35

How many titles has Alonso won, having been over a race win back sometime during a season? Zero. Hamilton has won 2 that way.

Tell me, who last won the WDC in a non-WCC car?

36

2008 Lewis Hamilton, when Ferrari won the constructors title.

My personal favourite, 1982, Keke Rosberg , TAG Williams Racing, they came 4th.

37

Lewis in 2009 - McLaren-Mercedes was objectively the 4th best car at best. He won 2 races that year! Here is the list of Formula One winners:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Formula_One_seasons
Please tell me which winner on this list won with inferior machinery. The closet argument would be Brawn in 2009 but that was more financial constraints than a bad car (Button dominated the 1st races). The best way to determine if the driver is in dominant machinery is look who wins the WDC and then look at which team wins the WCC. You will notice apart from Brawn and Mika (McLaren) every WDC in the list was in a team that won at least 2 WCCs! That is formula one, it is a equipment series, you cannot win with out the car.

38

Cheesypoof aren't the majority of all driver's records set in superior cars? Surely a bit of a pointless comment, also are you sure about the whole titles going to the wire in inferior cars thing?

39

vettel won monza 2008 in a toro rosso while hamilton drove from the back. he beat kovaleinen in his mclaren.

40

I always though the skill of an F1 driver was not just been fast on track, but it was also playing the musical chair game that is getting into the best cars on the grid, by luck or insight. And I am ready to be corrected on this one. When has any F1 driver won an F1 title without been in a superior car? Ever.

41

It's blatantly obvious that he won his first championship in an inferior car in 2008.

42

Hamilton's diffuser was heavily damaged so he couldn't maximise the car's potential, hence his struggle to pass other cars....

43

hi engine setting was down too because they later asked him to use a higher setting, he asked if the tyres would last at that pace and got told they had a plan..

44

I didn't see that on the videos. Vettel seems to only touch Hamilton's tyre, not the rear wing base or the diffuser. But I didn't saw a photo of hamiltno's car after the race ...

45

vettel cut hamilton’s tyre with shards of his front wing and as hamilton returned to the pits, the tyre disintegrated and distorted parts of his diffuser...

46

There's a very tiny picture from Ted where there is some damage to the right side of the diffuser. i did not influenced his topspeeds as he could do the same track times Bottas did on occasion.

47

Congratulations to Lewis on the 4th WDC. He really upped his game this year and he has been really consistent all year but more importantly since the the break he has found the next gear. I cannot wait for 2018 season. I think the Mercedes team was very conservative in its 2017 challenger, especially since they lost a big part of their suspension characteristic to the challenge from Ferrari. They still have the best power unit in terms of qualifying and reliability and next year (unless they change the rules) there will only be 3 allocated units for the season. It will be interesting to see how that works out or if the championship will be won by the team that takes the least grid penalties.

48

He was struggling to come through the field because the car clearly wasn't working that well on the softs, the team were telling him to not get too close to the car in front, and who knows how much damage Seb had caused in turn one, but who cares? Four times World Champion baby!!

49

In the post race commentary on Sky, Ted Kravitz showed on his mobile a picture of Hamilton's car diffuser - it was damaged on the left part.
It might be a good reason for his struggles with overtaking during the race.

50

but who cares? Four times World Champion baby!!

I think that pretty much sums things up Tim - the 4th title is all that matters.

51

C63, yep, turns out it was in the bag after all......The best P9 of his life! Great day for Lewis, lots of kind words from his contemporaries, even Massa! JYS couldn't bring himself to spit the lemon out though, a shame really, but we don't expect better. The most interesting quote came from Valterri "before I came to Mercedes I knew Lewis was talented, but I didn't realise how hard he works".

52

You're not wrong about JYS - he's always had a bit of a downer on Ham - not really sure why. If he wins quickly then he should learn to win slowly, he does that and it's still not right. No pleasing some I guess.
Yes, I caught that comment from Valterri - very nice to hear a team insider say something to dispel the myth that Ham's a bit work shy. It's obvious of course - success on that scale clearly doesn't come without a lot of hard work, but it's still nice to have it said out loud.

53

C63, speaking of people being hard to please, have you noticed that a certain regular poster of Sir Jackie's generation is MIA this week?

54

lol - you're right. I thought he'd be one of the first to offer his congratulations! If memory serves he went missing in a similar fashion after Ric had a sulk on the podium at Monaco 16.
Maybe the pressure has got too much and his head exploded 🙂

55

Either Vettel can't control his car or he can't control his temper. This is the fourth time this season he has been in preventable accidents. I hope Bottas makes up the 15 points.

56

I see your point but I think no one cares. Who remembers the guy who finished second anyway? If it mattered whether you finish 2nd or 3rd, Ferrari would have swapped Kimi and Seb at the end, just give Kimi a pitstop and job done.

57

Jeroen, it's a good point about the runner up spot. People do celebrate silver medals in the olympics, and reaching a world cup final is seen as a great achievement in football, but p2 in the drivers standings? Nobody cares.

58

Methinks, Mclaren is having buyers remorse. Renault not looking much better than honda.

Toro Rosso 2018 wdc, called it first.

59

Yes, McHonda's performance was interesting.

Does being faster in thin air suggest that they're normally held back by excess drag? Or does the thin air just act as a leveller between strong & weak engines?

60

The latter :).

61

Wishful thinking that most probably is not gonna happen, but I still gave you a +1 vote! ;o)

62

You perhaps forgot what power unit won the race?

63

Toro Rosso 2018 wdc

I second that!

64

Renault won the race

65

@Oblah

Agreed, both Honda and Renault had "new" power units fail this weekend, but Renault pips it by getting a car to the top step.

Also, because it is a high altitude circuit, I'll give both manufacturers a pass.

66

At least they won the race though...those Hondas could barely overtake the 2016 Ferrari engine even with DRS. Van Doorn couldn't do it for several laps.

67

From here the Renault looks like a much better prospect that Honda. It's fast enough to win, so even if it breaks half the time you still have a shot at a win the other half. The Honda is neither fast nor reliable, it has no redeeming qualities.

68

No redeeming qualities?...
It has a nice name! Lol.

69

I actually enjoyed the tussle in the first lap. At least, you could see that Vettel and Hamilton were both going for it despite the risk of losing or winning the title today. I am especially impressed with Hamilton who didn't hang back and let the two front runners just duke it out and just waited for the results. He actually went for the lead and was just unlucky to have his tires punctured by Vettel's desperate attempt to take back the two positions he lost.

Congratulations to Hamilton for his deserving 4th title. His fight back after the summer break gave him this championship. Great champions extract the maximum from the car that is given to them and that's exactly what he did. 4 titles, two different teams, 3 different regulations. Great career. So far. More to come, I hope.

70

Once again Vettel did the wrong thing. He should have realised that LH position didn't matter. Because the only thing he can hope for is a DNF for Lewis.
He should have gone for 1st or second, discounting LH's position. So, after MV passed him he should have let LH take second.

71

you could see that Vettel and Hamilton were both going for it despite the risk of losing or winning the title today

I'm not sure if I agree.. Vettel *needed* to win and then still he'd be dependent on what Hamilton would do. Lewis on the other hand needed to finish 5th but that's with a Seb win, and even if Seb would win and Ham would finish 6th or lower he still hasn't exactly lost the title. He still would have had 2 races to get 1 point or something silly.
Max had nothing to gain and nothing to lose and for him there's only 1 position that matters anyway so there you go.

It's going to be fun in the last 2 races now everthing is wrapped up, so everybody can go all out racing.

72

Ferrari International Assistance, FIA, turning a blind eye again... to Vettel playing bumper cars..

73

And overtaking Massa outside the flipping track! They penalised Max for doing the same thing to Kimi just a week before! I'm so furious!

74

Martin Brundle was clearly way off when claiming Vettel should give the place back to Massa, so clear how the Brits watching that one-eyed sports channel are being carried away when its Vettel in action. If anything, Massa should be penalized for forcing another car off the track. Happily the stewards meant the same thing so let Vettel keeping his place. Verstappen was by his own doing cutting the corner short. A very different thing.

75

with all the cheating and all the help from his teammate and the huge advantage at the start of the season, in contrast, hamilton giving away points to his teammate and basing his challenge mainly on his part, he still won the championship with two races to spare. hamilton destroyed vettel! i doubt vettel will ever recover from such a pasting...he might as well do a rosberg..

76

@cyber
That’s how I saw it aswell👍🏻

77

Was that the move where Seb had 2 wheels still on the circuit? The parameters of the rules are that all 4 wheels have to be off the track for it to be considered "leaving the track", so it wasn't comparable to Verstappen who did have all 4 wheels clearly off the circuit in the US GP.

78

Strictly speaking Verstappen overtaked Kimi on the iniside of the track at the USA GP. But you might have thought that at the bare minimum the Massa/Vettel overtake would have been noted.

79
Clarks4WheelDrift

😉 No fury required as cutting the inside of the corner is not the same as being oversteer pushed off the outside.

80

you mean Massa pushed him off track and was not penalised?

81

Massa actually went into the corner way too fast and lost the back end. Vettel couldn't go anywhere else.

82

a thoroughly enjoyable quali and race! I will rate it the best in years.
congrats to Lewis
congrats to Merc
congrats to Ferrari for taking the fight to the Championships
congrats to Mad Max on a brilliant nearly mm perfect W/E
congrats to Danny on a brilliant but short-lived mega lesson on overtaking
super impressed with Esteban - surely gonna have a 2019 seat at Merc
super impressed with Force India as the best value team on the grid bar none
kudos to Lance on his 19'th birthday
kudos to KMag and Haas - a near brilliant drive from nowhere
kudos to Pierre. I think he is the real deal solid driver
kudos to Brandon in his 2'nd race - pretty solid
kudos to Maca - I see some possible podiums - maybe even a race win next year
gloves off the final 2 races!! hope it rains in Brazil !!!
can't wait...

83

You Mercedes will be winning over a tweak to existing PU regulations. This is not enough to unseat you from your dominating position in this PU era. Yes, I'm calling it. 2016 Mercedes tried to play ball in Australia and it fell back in their lap, and they will try to do it again here in 2017, not winning the first Grand Prix to deliver the "Formula 1 is back and Mercedes CAN be defeated" headlines, but it will be just a temporary deception.

I wrote that March 20th, 2017, before the season started.

https://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2017/03/toto-wolff-the-margins-at-the-front-of-the-f1-field-have-shrunk/

How did we do deancassady? Did things happen as we expected in 2017? Did Mercedes maintain domination, but did just a little more than what was necessary to draw the fans and stop the predictable/boring/foregone conclusion headlines? Was there any doubt about their 50th year anniversary WCC/WDC? They even managed let Max have a couple! Like that "de-rate" Lewis yield in Malaysia and today....because what good for F1 is a Lauda declared #2 Bottas winning when Mercedes already won the WCC, and Lewis was going to win the WDC? Might as well get some good will from Liberty and help mint the new F1 star in Max. It matters not to Mercedes. And if they show they will play ball, so will the ring leaders...perhaps.

I remember James highlighting that it was Ferrari's 70th...like that mattered to Mercedes. They let Ferrari be 2nd for their 70th, and even doing just enough still got them by 150 points in WCC. Are they giving back to the sport while taking the big prizes? Did Mercedes "manage" 2017 well deancassady? Bringing Ferrari into it early, then chasing them down as predicted? I think Monza was the "let there be no mistake about it" moment. Was there ever any doubt?

Now, the question is 2018. What will happen? FIA let that guy go to Renault with all the PU secrets, and now apparently RBR is a winner. Would Mercedes allow their domination to end in 2018 at the hands of a sugar water maker? I don't think so. But for the full prediction, we'll have to wait and see what happens to the post 2020 formula discussions. If Mercedes doesn't like it, they will steamroll the field until then, and punch out of F1 2020. To go play with their 100% electric FE toy. It is more relevant to the Mercedes EQ Power branding they advertise here away, with first car in the range from Mercedes coming in 2019, a 100% electric SUV. Which is where I'm leaning at this point. No more Mr. Nice guy letting others "have some". It will be a complete steam roller until 2020...if Mercedes is not pleased with what Liberty bring to the table in the upcoming days. Liberty knows that Mercedes can play nice, and completely or steamroll the product that is Formula 1 by 3 years of total domination Part Deux.

I wonder if Liberty will risk this, and at the same time trying to take 100m away from Ferrari? Is there a way for Liberty to please both of these for good of show? Is Bernie telling the truth that Mercedes and Ferrari are "united" and cooperating? Do you doubt it? Or will Liberty have to pick one at the expense of the other? Old divide and conquer? And if so, who would they pick to isolate and drop? Certainly not Ferrari, right? Which is why I think Mercedes will leave F1 if there is no MGU-H - which is expensive, takes away the sound of F1, but which Mercedes really wants. No MGU-H is a deal breaker for Mercedes, so if we don't see it on the post 2020 PU, we know Liberty have chosen to isolate Mercedes. But even that is not so simple. This whole post 2020 thing is going to be fascinating. Everything is on the table. Breakaway. Formula X1. Bernie/CVC coming back to buy F1 because the debt pressure crushes Liberty. It's going to be exciting.

84

Honestly Seebee you are coming across as a very old man that has not been able to cope with reality. What kind of twisted logic is that??

85

I am truly honoured by your references and acknowledgements of the forecasts of the 2017 season, which I made... and I think you were all on board with... and saying the same thing?!

I must admit, while it has trended favourably inside a line of totally acceptable consistency with my forecasts (I'd be totally happy with a ±15% ), I must admit, I'm somewhat startled by how precise it was (in my own memory); I mean, didn't I even say it would be Austin or Mexico?

BTW: great comment.

So, certainly " ...things happen as we expected in 2017...", and , Mercedes certainly did maintain domination, they really rubbed EVERYBODY'S face in it, (the Monza show was painful as a Kimi fan, who is at Ferrari now, so...).
But, you got to hand it to Lewis/Mercedes/Toto, they really lined everything up for this era, bided their time with focus, during the closing stages of the previous era, patience, patience... Lewis...
They have effectively re-defined THE new operating model of a top-rung F1 team; remember how the Japanese integration to the modern F1 failed on their last forway, when Toyota and Honda could NOT compete? It was the interface between their business bigwigs and the actual running, focus on management structure and key on race team company interface with board (I might have meant to write 'bored') room types at the parent multinational conglomerate.
Well, a new approach has been tested very successfully!
[see image of Tonto in his full glory]
I may have ... perhaps, well, 'maligned' is too strong a word... but, in that direction..., but the proof is delivered in the results, and these result are perfectly definitive.
Way to go Tonto!
(there, I wrote it; in my culture, credit must be given due when appropriate, after so much... in the direction of 'maligned')

I have already addressed future predictions (based on this successful trend analysis so far), ... probably more than once:
1. Mercedes will just simply NOT be able to keep utterly donimating, and get their target ROI from the hefty F1 project investment!
Consistent with ruthlessly cost/benefit-based decision-making trends, as evidenced trough all of their successful 'moves', they will pull out of F1 as a manufacturer team, though continue to supply engines to customer teams, starting at the end of the 2018 season; so for the 2019 season there will not be a factory Mercedes team on the grid! Though one could expect the purchaser of the Mercedes team to be in a good starting position to win 2019, after winning 2018 so easily.
Mercedes will likely announce this plan within a week following the last race, coupled with a marketing campaign to maximize 'the legend' of Mercedes F1, by jumping on board with the 'winning'; team for their last crushing victory over their competition before again receding into the background, waiting for the next time to strike (probably NEVER); as you have mentioned, Merc will go to concentrate on dominating FE, which they will do (with fireworks of ROIs) and at the same time contribute SUBSTANTIALLY to the building of the FE brand!

2018
If you look at the larger trends over the past 35 years, you always see Renault finding stuff in the second half of an era, and delivering 'the sleeper' power, Williams ...1997, and obviously RB 2009-2012 (was it?), even though other engines were recognized as more powerful.
I expect the Renault to be good next year, with three very competitive teams!

But who's kidding who, that just means they displace Ferrari as the prime pretender from earlier on in the season.
Yet you never know. We have a saying for that in Canada (oh those Frenchies; they can be so clever); no, I just made that up.

So, your end thing about pleasing Merc and Ferr, is not really an issue. But, I fully expect very bad blood with the Ferr clawbacks, and oh yes, it is kind of absurd, the way it is now, and you really must have full Bernie-magic to actually pull it off, and they definitely do NOT have that in the new ownership executive.
The good news (for them) and us, is that F1 is totally salvageable as the premier racing-with-cars brand, and should be able to generate super-duper ROIs, if they play it right; but can they figure it out (as I believe I have)?
Probably not.
So, it'll be interesting to see what Ferrari does, especially seeing as they have no life preserver in the FE as yet (as so it seems below their self-image, or something).
Back to Mercedes, just to highlight the business contrast; it will blow your mind when they announce this logical necessity of pulling out of F1 at the end of 2018 as a team manufacturer, but that is the only competent business decision under these circumstances!
And it also conveniently cements the Merc F1 Brand (what I used to think of Honda), they only come to win!

Not too bad.

A certitude.

I hope I didn't bore anyone.
Thanks for all the chuckles (Sebee).
Oh, and don't be bothered by the denialists, who heckle you, you nailed it!

86

Well, you nailed it down to the race.

And now you're super specific about your withdrawal of Mercedes. Totally logical, and honestly a perfect exit strategy plan wise. Much more so than my more emotional steamrolling of field next 3 years and punching out 2020 by dropping the mic, Nico Rosberg style.

In your plan they release the hounds in 2018, win, exit as champions, then they can even give top grade PU for 2019/2020 to customer teams to steamroll the rest of the field. Once they exit, it is not really them losing.

Ross just released the news that MGU-H is not in the post 2020 rules. Form all I read this is not something Mercedes will be happy about.

Renault, that dude just went to Renault from FIA with all the secrets. So the prediction of Renault coming on is a good one, and likely.

It all makes sense deancassady.

For now, let's see what the response is like to these new post 2020 rules. Let's see how Liberty take 100m away from Ferrari. I can't wait for that one.

87

Sebee, I wouldn't be drawling attention to your prediction record if I were you! How many wins have Mercedes decided to give away this year? Was it 3,4,5,6 or 7? I'm struggling to remember.....

88

Whatever is enough to not lose control, but maintain appearance of a challenge.

89

did you find vettel’s ontrack action boring?

90

@sebee. Nice work, we obviously have similar tin hats where F1 is concerned 😉
Go back to Malaysia 2015 and the “Merc helping Ferrari with their Hybrid tech” connotations find their humble conception.
Bernie was furious that Merc totally dominated testing and then the Aus GP where Lewis got Pole, FL and the Win with Nico 2nd. He immediately went on the warpath and set about making the terrible TV ratings climb again. No matter what or how!
What better way to stop the Merc dominance and excite the masses than to have a Ferrari / Vettel win against all odds. The headlines were immense!
The electrics were the problem, more specifically, the massive engine+electrical output and how it affected traction and tyre deg.
Their leap from also rans in the 2014 championship, 2015 testing and the OZ GP to all of a sudden becoming easy winners within 2 weeks was astonishing.
Bernie met with Toto and Arrivabene in a highly public scene in the Sepang pitlane in front of his TV cameras for all to see. We never heard what they discussed.
Toto looked angry and nervous but smiled for the cameras. Arrivabene looked delighted at what was being said. It was very strange to see at a time when Merc were unbeatable and Ferrari were struggling!
Next day, Ferrari dominated and Merc made a highly contentious “rookie” strategy call to pit both cars which handed the race to Ferrari on a platter.

Had Bernie threatened Merc with not showing their cars on the telecasts during races if they didn’t do something to help with the rating? As was hinted by F1 insiders and media many times that year.
Did Merc hand over some ideas about PU software which marries the PU to the drivetrain more efficiently ... and / or cooling of the electrical components to allow for more power and more grip? It was hinted later that year by F1 insiders and media that that was exactly what happened.
Paddock whispers and conspiracy theories about Merc - Ferrari collusion went nuts for a few weeks after Malaysian GP, especially after Bernie made more comments about it. The comments and insinuations never stopped all year ... and Bernie still repeats those same comments to this day with no hesitation.

91

What Bernie admitted on Friday would be an absolute storm in any other sport. The admissions are nothing short of a confession. Yet, it's been dismissed as senile old man talk and got little mention. Most fans will never even read about it. Or the pieces only look at it in current context of PU era stuff of Mercedes vs. Ferrari.

He just gave us a taste of F1 culture and how things work. That will not change right away. Takes a few years for new owners to implement new culture from the top down. And you always have to wonder how significant the change can really be.

I guess what is coming for post 2020 is the first taste of what those changes may be. As I said, the attempt will be fascinating. Let's see how much of a direction change they manage on this ship. Can Ross Brawn, one of the best players at the table in this game really change the rules?

92

*Flips the record over.*

93

Hey Five, do you prefer an MM or an MC cartridge?

94

Sebee, Torchwood seems to be way to young to know what's needed to play the record on the record player. 🙂

95
Torchwood Mobile

@Sebee - I have no idea what either of those two are.

If I cast my mind back to all the cartridges that I have used over the years, ink, video game, etc., I think my faves would have to be "Star Raiders" and "Rescue on Fractalus" for the Atari 8-bit.

96

Then how can you know about flipping record over? 🙂

By the way, don't forget to buy my record. It's on Amazon now. It's also available on CD, since you don't know what MM and MC is. Here is the track detail.

>
Track listing
Artist: Sebee
Album: I need a fix
Side 1
I. I miss that trademark sound. (5:10)
II. When drivers drove (4:33)
III. Less then 10%...of the package (3:14)
IV. You're too damn heavy (2:57)
V. 10 (7.10)
VI. I need more than 4 (...PUs) (3.49)
VII. Everyone needs a shot (3:25)
Side 2
I. Let the fuel flow (4.08)
II. Quit buying trophies (3.29)
III. Fair shot for all (4:41)
IV. Hybrid...is compromise by any other name. (5:19)
V. 10 [Dance Mix] (8:12)
VI. If you love us, you will fix it. (6:00)
VII. You can do better. (2:48)

97

I think you should just buy DVD's of past F1 and watch old races all day...Why bother?

98

Most race weekends you predicted that "this is the weekend that Mercedes lets Ferrari win."

Most race weekends, Ferrari either suffers a reliability problem, driver error or just plain lack of luck and lose the race to Hamilton and Mercedes increasing their leads in both championships.

The fact is that Vettel and Ferrari lost the championship mostly due to unfortunate circumstances and reliability problems. Kindly give Vettel and Ferrari some credit because without those problems, this championship would have been closer and Vettel would probably be even leading it after the Mexican race. It was close until after the summer break when it poured week after week for Ferrari while Hamilton and Mercedes capitalized.

Even with this race, you were suggesting that Lewis might suffer some kind of problem to stretch the title. How did that turn out?

But I understand the thinking especially if you are a Vettel or Ferrari fan. 2018 is not yet here and there are already excuses. Good ploy and must ease the pain. Whatever works, I guess.

99

Yes, it would have been closer, but result was always going to be what we got. Just closer and more dramatic...for the show.

Interesting that Ferrari has not passed Mercedes for the win on track...still! I'm puzzled why they let Max pass them on track for P1...but of course with some de-rate excuse we never got a complete explanation for. How was Lewis'...pole sitter battery not charged? And if it was charged, how in the world did he unload all the power on lap one to build gap yet Max, with Renault power no less, kept with him and managed to have spare power in battery to pass Lewis? Is that right? Something doesn't add up.

100

Why do you even bother watching?

101

Jc, because he likes moaning.

102

To see how the business is managed.

Not for the amazing car sounds. 🙂

103

Well, it could have been worse. If Vettel succeeded in giving DNF to Hamilton, with this result, Hamilton would have celebrated from the garage. At least he completed race, executed couple of passes, including the hard fought one with Alonso and then celebrated. I'd say, it was deserving.

104

Well done Lewis.

105

Better this victory to clinch the championship, be it muted, over,/b> all the drama (and melodrama) of his first year in F1, and it causing him NOT to win the F1 championship in his first season!
Way to go; and it was an interesting 'completing' manner to clinch the championship.

The big caveat to Hamilton (the same must be said for Vettel also, in fuller truth), is the three championships (of four years) in the undeniably best car on the grid.
But, like I said, Raikonnen /Ferrari stole one when his team mate conspired to undermine the entire team to bully the team to clearly recognize him as "the number one". (Raikonnen himself should have had at least 2 prior to 2007, including both of the Alonso championships benefitting from the mass damper).

So, anyhow, in the end, it's a wash, and Hamilton earns the 4th WDC as fairly as it could be done.

Predictions:
1. look for Bottas 'payback' victories in the last two races.
2. look for Verstappen to have moved to a higher gear, totally NOT unnoticeable; he will be tough to beat! So, even with Mercedes' full support, the second step may be the highest Bottas will be able to get for the last two.
3. look for a potential challenge from Kimi, as Ferrari also look to 'show a little love' for their own dedicated Finn soldier; a threat to win using the 'Ice' approach.
4. the other strong upwards trajectory accelerators are: Ocon (incredible, the 'real' thing), Sainz (he may have a similar tilt up as Verstappen, eerily; look for Carlos to challenge for a podium in at least one of the final two), Renault in general, including the Hulk, snatching 5th from TR at the wire, is a real possibility.
5. Mercedes announces that 2018 will be its final year (in this current stint/domination) as a factory manufacturer, and will be pulling back to engine supplier only, starting in 2019 season.
6. Likely another (though possibly closer) Hamilton/Merc championship in 2018, after the usual hype of (finally!) close competitiveness between several teams in pre-season testing, and the McLaren is beaten by the Honda-Toro Rosso. (ha ha!)

106

Interesting prediction on 2018. I guess that will all depend on those post 2020 rules. I don't think they would announce it so early though. I think they would first go out there and steemroll the field. Then once done, they would drop the mic off season.

The only way to stop that next 3 years of PU era domination by Mercedes would be for Liberty/FIA to do the very thing Bernie spoke about Friday perhaps?

107

No dependence whatsoever on the 2020 rules.
Mercedes are beyond that.
They simply cannot make it even through the 2019 season (crushing everyone else) and have F1 maintain the adequate fan base to support their minimum required ROI for their F1 project!
Also... rules change means the pot may be stirred sufficiently for them to be knocked off their perch.
NO WAY! are they going to stay in the game to be one of the losers; they've established quite a remarkable record in F1, and there really is no compelling reason to risk it by staying at the party too long.
As you wrote before, FE domination awaits with loads of happy shareholders at their repeated wads of blown off ROI$$$.
Look for FE to gain credibility fast and move to a higher pressure development lab for electric automotive technology; well suitable for the Merc domination.
It may even be watchable as soon as 2019!
(but you never know).

We need to throw a party for patting each other on the back; what continent are you usually on?

Too bad about SV; I can't see Ferr winning in this era/formula, re: the Merc-miles-ahead, fact of life.

108

THe championship battle with Vettel was compelling up to the day when Vettel crashed into Verstappen and Raikkonen in Singapore.

Just a small correction, Verstappen crashed into Raikonnen who crashed into Vettel.
Regardless of who's fault it was, thats how it happened.

109

Exactly and it's this type of reporting that has polarised F1.

110
Torchwood Mobile

Well done getting your report up so quickly after the race, James.

Sorry that you stopped enjoying the season after Ferarri's mishaps.

111

It is not a question of that - I don’t care who wins

It’s about the tension going out of it

This is a sporting competition and the close competition was good while it lasted

I regret that it didn’t go all the way to Abu Dhabi

112

Not sure how much of HAM's overtaking difficulty was due specifically to Merc's aero issues following others and/or his engine being turned down as VET seemed to have fewer problems. I am sure most fans would trade the last word in aero for closer racing and more overtaking. It would also help curtail budgets if aero development was limited and/or key parts standardised. Ditto for MGU-H to extract the last % of efficiency. We want (and F1 needs) more battles like ALO/HAM throughout the field and the race.

113

I never really understand that thinking.

Usually during seasons where the title is decided the very fact that the leading drivers no longer have to tiptoe around for fear of dropping points or in these tonight years, where reliability is all, sets us up for a few no holds barred proper races with nothing to lose for anyone.

At least we then see some racing rather than clumsy moves or in defended overtakes.

We may even see some interesting pit strategies and engines being run to the full.

What’s not to like compared to say a title being decided by a bust engine? Following 65 laps of careful driving and non contested overtakes because it’s all about getting some points?

Just because it’s the last race?

114

But all were praying for a Vettel DNF when Hamilton could not close the gap.
Unfortunately when it happened people realised quickly what that meant.

115

Congratulations Lewis ... to win it after being behind for so long and come out after summer almost unbeatable is a great effort by any measure. Some will say it was the car, and that may have been so for the past 3 years but not this year. Ferrari made it interesting and competitive, so much so that I believe this is far and away Lewis’s best championship win.
I’m in my 50s. My hero was Ayrton Senna.
The void that was left after he passed was huge for his loyal fans. I never stopped watching but I never liked or appreciated Michael, for various reasons, so when this super confident, super talented young black guy with the Senna colours on his helmet arrived at McLaren F1, singing the praises of is hero and dedicating himself to being as good as him one day, my F1 dedication was reignited.
As a true blue lad from Downunder, I will always back the Aussie in the field, no matter what! But Lewis has always made me feel a special connection to Senna. Like he is there at every race, sitting quietly by himself on a corner somewhere, watching Lewis keep his memory alive.
For that I will always be grateful and respect Lewis.
Thanks Lewis, it’ been a wild ride at times ... but isn’t that what F1 is all about?
Hopefully our Honey Badger gets a shot at a title soon (at Ferrari so he can fight Lewis properly) and makes us as just proud as Lewis has made British F1 fans.
Break out the bubbly ... CHEERS!

116

Great comment Jack,

117

What wonderful comments. There were points during 2010, 2011 when I feared that Ham would be a 1 time WDC..

118

Congrats to Lewis, 4x WDC. A hard fought battle all year, he put in some really strong drives to bring this one home (not today though :P).

It a as definitely a season on two halves, with Merc coming strong in the second half as some predicted. Vettel also had a bit of a roller coaster ride in the second half, the pressure of winning a championship for Ferrari seemed to get to him, and to the team as well. Hopefully they come back stronger next year.

Max with a great move at the start, and then owned the race. This performance should send shivers down the pit lane....warmed by the fact Max will be powered by a Renault lol.

Seb looked clumsy in T2 and T3. He seemed to lose track of where his front wing was...

Ocon with another fantastic drive. Can't wait to see him resume his battle with Max.

Stroll with a solid 6th. Every time I'm ready to write this kid off, he does something like this lol. I think Williams will be in a real dog-fight next year, he'll need drives like this consistently.

Wtf is up with the Renaults?? They must be throwing the kitchen sink at it to get every drop of power and have really sacrificed reliability. Hopefully it's a very short term thing....like it or not, we need them strong next year to prevent another 2 way title fight.

Hopefully it rains in Brazil, and Max & Lewis can have a good scrap in the wet.

119

Good comment Twitch.

120

Forgot to add, my favourite part of Lewis's 4th world championship was his really odd sprint out of the stadium, rounding Nigel Mansel Curve on top of the tech-pro barrier...then knocking over a man running backwards, who then took out another member of the chasing mob. It was an utterly brilliant moment of television, I was on my feet applauding 😀

I appreciate that FOM are trying to give fans more access to the paddock, but that seemed a little crazy at various points in the weekend lol.

The techno on the podium was terrible....and I'm not someone who hates techno and electronic music, but that was just, yuck. If I was there in person, nothing would have made me want to leave faster >.<

121

Please that wasn't EVEN close to Techno just some hyped up trashy eletronic music! There's plenty of great house and techno DJ's that could have been there in place of that clown.
Mixing with two hands in the air is the same as a driving with two hands in the air! You are bound to crash!

122

@twitch
Couldn’t agree with you more about the Dj afterwards, ridiculous!

123

A big congrats to Lewis on his 4th title and looking forward to 2018 shootout between Lewis and vettel for the 5th World title.

P. S: James, yesterday Lewis was humiliated with the blue flags waved at him probably after a very long time. Is it possible to know the last time he was blue flagged?

124

IIRC Spa 2014

125

Surya, they said in commentary that it was Barcelona 2013.

126

- Awesome drive by Max!
- Congratulations to Lewis!!
- And I wonder how Alonso and McLaren are feeling about those Renault engines now..?

127

Well done to Lewis Hamilton for winning the 2017 title and now being a 4 x WDC. Ok, he had a very good car but unlike '14 through to '16 it wasn't as dominant in all tracks but through his skill he accumulated more poles and races wins and was pretty much untouchable. Fair play to him.

128

We really do need a better Renault engine next year don't we James. 5 teams with a chance of winning a race would be great even with a halo on the car!

James how come Kvyat hasnt been linked with a drive at Williams next season I think he could be good option for them.

129

I think Renault will be in a world of hurt if they don't deliver in 2018, as they have been building up expectations for the 2018 spec themselves. No way around that now. Not to mention that they swapped the least complaining customer in Torro Rosso for another customer team famous to complain a lot.

130

He has been mentioned but at the same time he is in the position he is with Red Bull for a reason

131

Well done Lewis! The best man won and deserved the championship, especially after the summer break.

With regards to Vettel, notwithstanding the unfortunate engine problems he suffered, I think the one word that has summed up his downfall this campaign is, when you think back on Baku, Singapore and Mexico: impetuous.

132

Lewis is a bit lazy. Last year and this year also he started very mediocre. Only when things begin to look bleak he finds the ultimate gear. Last year an engine failure was too much, this year everything went wel.
But it only shows what a great sportsman he is. Winning by fighting!
Ocon is at least a second Ricciardo, fast and mature. If i was Mercedes i would promote him to the main team, say as of Barcelona next year...
But really Renault, what a disastrous reliability. Hard to imagine that next year they will have a powerful AND reliable engine. But if they do 2018 will become a fantastic F1 year!

133

Downbeat, a fitting end of an anything but spectaculair season for Mercedes. Their dominance has been broken. Red Bull and Ferari both failed to captilize on this. Reb Bull by not being ready for the season, Ferrari due to reliability issues and Vettel's performances.

It just makes me struggle where to put LH's performances. Is the car that much overrated because? If true, it explains VB's performances and why the other Merc powered teams are further down. If the car is that great, than why has Mercedes resigned VB?

And why was LH not able to slice through the field like Vettel did? Could the answer be that there was more than a puncture? This due to the accident itself or as a consequence of driving around with a punctured tyre.

And now about Force India, secured 4th place. Great for customer team, outdoing the Renault worksteam. Only surpassed by Red Bull, but considering it´s budget, but it should be labeled as factoryteam without it´s own engine. Yet the gap between Mercedes and Force India is very significant, and with Williams not that far behind, I think it´s fair to say that at least we can rate the Mercedes engine. But car and drivers, it leaves me puzzling.

Oh well a couple of races more to go. Most important prizes are out. Maybe we´ll see the drivers going out for additional glory and having knives between their teeth. And since forth has been secured for FI, Perez and Ocon are free to race eachother as well.

Counting on exciting races to come up.

134

I'm a little more optimistic about McLaren next season. If Renault can match the reliability to the speed they seem to be getting out of their engine now, McLaren could well be in the mix. The chassis has been often touted as the best in the field so next year we will surely get to find out.

As for Vettel, he has turned into the crash kid again. I think his four titles won with such domination has really cost him the experience of wheel to wheel battles. That weakness is now being exposed. If you take the top four drivers, Vettel, Hamilton, Verstappen and Alonso, Vettel is easily the worst at wheel to wheel racing. I think we are approaching an era of very tight competition and that could really prove crucial over the coming years.

Vettel struck me as a desperate figure in that lap one battle as he seemed completely lacking in skill against two superior wheel to wheel drivers.

135

SV red mist again. A great shame as it deprived us of a good LH and MV battle. Think LH might have got him as VB was only 16 seconds astern.

136

Well, no surprise there, Vettel continues to show his weaknesses - essentially entitlement combined with temperament.

Lewis did as he promised, he went for a win - very little to lose and being conservative at the start just dumps you back into the grips of the next fast charger.

First corner was always going to be a problem and Seb knew Verstappen doesn't give an inch so no problems with his aggression there, it would have been expected and planned, but Hamilton...

Here is my reading, Vettel was so surprised that Hamilton mugged him (taking an open door that no driver would ever refuse, however conservative a race they may be planning) that he had another of his road rages and simply floored it without thought about how he was going to deal with it - stewards implied he was out of control, but I think that was self-induced. He's got years of form for that and his fundamental weakness is that he has not even tried to address it. I believe that is because he has a second flaw of an over-developed sense of entitlement.

That's the difference between Hamilton and Vettel, Hamilton believes in himself and he believes he can make the difference to get in front and works out how to do it with his particular skills. Vettel simply believes he should be in front and hasn't therefore done the work to address his shortcomings. After the race, often we have seen Vettel put on the act of being the cool, calm and collected person, but year after year in the car, he has made basic errors that have cost him. He's never been able to consistently judge where he is in his car relative to others - he needs to sit in the simulator for a couple of weeks, grinding away and sorting out that weakness. He clearly has the potential as to drive at that level he does must be instinctive, so he just needs to hone those instincts. As he feels entitled, he comes away feeling hard done by rather than sensing that there is something for him to address. In a way, he reflects the Ferrari culture perfectly - they should be able to win, they have the money and the skills, but something in their culture stops them addressing that last 1% - they thought they'd done enough at the start of the season and relaxed. When they realised they hadn't, rather than looking at what to do, the blame game starts, heads dropped, mistakes and carelessness (even if only the trivial error of the fire extinguisher this time which could have actually had serious consequences and will have unsettled preparations when they needed to be 100%).

I think Merc dropped the ball in going for the yellows - too conservative, and clearly they had not done the work to understand that the low level of grip just wasn't going to cut it in traffic. I'm not convinced Lewis had damage and I think he was fighting in a car that didn't want to give - once he changed tyres he could deliver. Be interesting to hear from Merc their thinking on why 70 laps on a severely sub-optimal tyre was going to be better than two charging sessions on super or even ultras. Clearly Hamilton was questioning why he hadn't been given ultras rather than super-soft for the last session on the team radio - though he's learned a lot of tact in recent months!

I hope Renault have got development parts to try, because they've got plenty of drivers to try them on. Alonso gives another reason to be a little less impressed with his sulky response to being overtaken by Hamilton - but at least he gave Hamilton a chance to demonstrate that in close quarters, he is the man.

137

At what point do we start mentioning Lewis consistently in discussions as a top-5 driver in F1 history? He's certainly got the resume and the records for it and stands out among his contemporaries in pretty much every aspect of driving skill. (Wet, single-lap pace, overtaking, driving around car deficienies etc.) In my mind he has at least earned a place in the discussion for the top-5 along with the likes of Senna, Schumacher, Prost, Fangio, and Clark (the others who I think qualify on balance)- and I think he's clearly ahead of at least one or two of them. (Fangio for sure, probably Prost.)

And to be honest, I don't think Lewis is anywhere near finished. He seems to have all the energy in the world and is ready for a tougher fight. I think he also knows that Mercedes has another ace in the hole for the last three years of the engine formula- of which they are still on top in terms of horsepower- with the addition of James Allison as the technical director. The guy is a proven engineer and technical chief with a track record of rapidly improving every car he's had a chance to touch. There may be some concern now that Ferrari and especially Red Bull seem to have caught them on race pace, but Allison alone provides all the reason to expect Mercedes to continue at the top for the next three years- and I think there's a really good chance he'll beat or match all of Schumacher's records before he's done.

I think Mercedes should definitely take Ocon over Ricciardo for 2019. What he's doing against Perez- matching him over the course of the season, and for the last few races beating him rather convincingly- is more impressive at this point in his career than what Ricciardo was doing at the same point at Toro Rosso against JEV. He's not afraid to mix it up with anyone, just like Ricciardo, and that will be necessary against Lewis. There's every reason in my eyes based on this to believe that he could do just as good a job as Ricciardo against Lewis if not a better one- and for much cheaper.

I think Ricciardo is on the verge of following in the footsteps of his countryman Mark Webber. He's got top level pace and arguably the best racecraft in all of F1- and, like Webber, is certainly championship calibre. But he has the misfortune of going up against a generational wunderkind with Verstappen who is only going to get stronger and stronger against him with experience. And based on the comments coming out the team heads, it looks like Red Bull is moving in the direction of establishing Verstappen as the #1 driver like they did Vettel and building the team around him. It looks like that all of the doors out are shut, as Mercedes and Ferrari have top quality junior drivers they seem keen to promote to race seats that they'll be able to do for cheaper and perhaps to less consternation of their existing star drivers.

The only way out I can see for Ricciardo that gives him a chance of winning a championship is to work his way into a seat with Renault somehow. They're on the way up and committing the necessary resources to building a championship team, and we already know they tried to get him at the last minute in the negotiations with Red Bull, even though they had been talking to Sainz already for a year. Though to me, this would mean that either Sainz ends up getting outperformed handily by Hulkenberg- which I think is highly unlikely, as I think Sainz is a level above Hulkenberg and will beat him- or that Renault ends up dropping Hulkenberg, which they don't seem keen to do at all and seem very happy with him as a driver. However, I would expect rumors involving Renault and Ricciardo to pick up next year- and that it will be part of a greater series of conflicts between the two sides going forward.

138

We were robbed of a big fight at the front between 3 drivers because of what to most looks like the usual Vettel channeling shumacher.
Although it was unlikely Lewis would ever loose the title he was denied a fitting way to win it and stand on the podium in the top 3.
I would guess he will redouble his efforts for the next races and into next year now he is aware what his rivals will stoop to.
Was fantastic to see him in that dust up with Alonso for 9th even though it was not really needed.
Alonso can sleep easy about the last 3 years knowing that he would never have won the title staying with ferrari.

139
Fernando 150% Alonso

You're right about Alonso in your late sentence. But, i think he will have offered us a longer battle, until the last race in Abu Dhabi

140

I think there is spice to come in the final two races. Vettel will want the no. 2 slot in the championship and Mercedes will take great delight in giving it to Bottas instead. Ferrari would be mortified.

So I predict an exciting last two races of the season, with Hamilton pulling out the stops to help his team-mate (and he won't be averse to banking some goodwill for next season).

141

Great drive by Vettel, showed that he would have walked the race if the mad stappen did not yet again try and take him out like in Singapore. Mad stappen not worthy to shine vettels boots and lets hope he gets nowhere near a Ferrari drive in the future. Hamilton may have won he crown but deep down he and Mercedes realise their time is up and the red stallion was the fastest car this year and will be odds on for next years title

142

pas67, you seem the sour note in the otherwise very civilised comments on this page. sorry to see you're full of negativism..have a look at Hamilton's new attitude, it seems to work well for him. So i look forward to next year!

143

Without a doubt the most cost-effective team in F1.

144

Hamilton s car had battle scars all over it. Someone mentioned the diffuser. Maybe so but I think they should have went red purple instead of yellow red. He might have got 5th and controlled his own fate. Now Vettel got in an out much faster than Hamilton did. He played to win and almost did. Vettel should have run into Bottas maybe then he would have clipped his wing without getting his tire. I think Vettel was in a sandwich just like Max was. Max got a slightly better start but 3 wide does not work there or as Kevin Harvick said about Martinsville there is going to be beating and banging and hurt feelings cause on tracks where there a few places to pass sometimes you have to be rude and move people out of your way. There was quite a bit of that in Mexico. It seems a prime track for that.

Everyone seems so upset about that boxing announcer at Austin. Liberty is not wanting to pay these teams like Ferrari for just showing up. I know Fiat sold a bunch of stock a while back but whether they get money or not the money should be about winning and where you finish and if there is a payout beyond that it should be divided equally.

Now isn't that fair? RB knows how to make this work better than it does now and I think hey it's OK for people to make money if they earn it.

145

After hearing that drivers debrief I know what happened. Track limts were discussed. Hamilton said why didn't Vettel get a penalty if Max did. The answer was terrible. I think made Hamilton willing to take a risk. Those 3 are going to take risks. I bet he don't stop racing hard. He has a lot of respect well at least for him for Vettel.

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