Analysis: Winning F1 title across a major rule change the greatest achievement
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Posted By: James Allen  |  01 Nov 2017   |  1:28 pm GMT  |  378 comments

Among the accolades that have been flying around this week after Lewis Hamilton clinched his fourth world championship and the third with Mercedes, perhaps the most significant factor has been less remarked upon.

This was the first time that the F1 drivers’ and constructors’ championships have been successfully defended by a team across a major change of chassis regulations.

When one considers that in recent F1 history rule changes have tended to be introduced in order to end a period of dominance by one team, that achievement for Mercedes is all the more remarkable.

Dieter Zetsche Toto Wolff Niki Lauda

It is certainly not lost on the team members, for whom this is the greatest source of pride in this year’s results.

Ferrari’s long dominant spell in the Todt/Brawn/Schumacher era came to an end with a major change of tyre regulations for 2005, which played into the hands of Renault’s supplier Michelin, who won in 2005 and 2006.

Red Bull were the masters of the exhaust blown diffuser in the V8 engined era, but when hybrid turbos were introduced in 2014 along with a ban on exhaust blowing, they lost their dominance.

Not much will change for 2018, apart from the challenge for aerodynamicists of incorporating the controversial ‘halo’ device, aimed at improving driver head protection. With F1 being engine dominated since 2014, we will also see a convergence of engine performance gradually towards the new regulations of 2021, which were outlined yesterday.

Ferrari had a strong car this year and failed to win the world championship through a combination of reliability issues on the power unit, especially the Version IV unit and also errors by their lead driver Sebastian Vettel, which cost points.

There is a post-mortem going on in Italy now and Vettel’s nervousness under pressure, especially at the start in Singapore and Mexico is in the spotlight, as well as his actions in Baku, where he angrily drove into Hamilton behind the Safety Car.

Mind games have played their part in Hamilton’s success this year; Hamilton can be seen winding Vettel up in the Mexico drivers briefing on F1’s Facebook page and it’s an interesting cameo of their relationship. Hamilton was the victim of the mind games of team mate Nico Rosberg in 2016, part of the reason he lost to him along with reliability failures.

To beat Hamilton and Mercedes next season, as well as Verstappen & Ricciardo in Red Bulls, Ferrari and Vettel will need to be at their absolute best from the outset and execute perfectly on preparation, qualifying and race strategy to get the title. So far there have been no recriminations, but it’s not hard to detect an under current of concern about Vettel’s ability to deliver for Ferrari. That will be one of the most interesting things to observe next season.

Meanwhile Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has been speaking about the turning point meeting he had with Hamilton after he lost the title to Rosberg in Abu Dhabi and was furious that the team issued team orders that he should speed up, when his only chance to win was to back Rosberg up into the pack behind. Vettel, as the only four time champion at the time, had no appetite to overtake Rosberg, deny him the title and make Hamilton a four time champion himself.

For Wolff the roots of Hamilton’s 2017 title success are in that kitchen table meeting:

“After a difficult moment in Abu Dhabi last year, we had a long evening in my kitchen, during the course of which we aired all the frustrations and issues that had grown over the years and got them out of the way. I think that we both felt a sense of relief, and that was when the relationship went to the next level. He went off into the winter break, and he came back with a great mindset. He has grown stronger over the year. The relationship with Valtteri is also an important factor. We have a great spirit within the team. That was an important piece of the jigsaw.

“I’ve been working with him for five years now, and I’ve never seen him operate at such a high level,” said Wolff. “The raw pace is spectacular. He understands the tyres and the ability of the car which, at times, hasn’t been easy to drive. I haven’t seen such a sustained performance on that level before.”

What do you think of Wolff’s comments? How do you feel about Mercedes managing to win either side of a major regulation change? Leave your comments in the section below

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1

so long as hamilton is at mercedes, they’ll win..

2

correction: As long as Merc has Engine advantage Hamilton can win.

3

No, as long as Bottas or another considerably slower driver is Lewis'' teammate, they will will.

Put someone as quick or quicker than Rossberg and Lewis will rip the team apart.

The Sky interview claiming sabotage. The Sepang claim of team sabotage,.....etc.

Oh and rip himself apart too,...... The Snapchat weekend in Japan.(Whispered)

4

He he he, Dimwits and their delusional desperation fantasies about some other drivers who can go to Mercedes and depose Hamilton. Who are these drivers who can go to Mercedes and be consistently technically good as Rosberg across the season, which has such bearing on pace. And will any driver on the grid be able to respond when Hamilton realises he needs to dig deep and drop his teammates like a stone by making technical switches to find superior performance that leaves his teammates bewildered on the other side of the garage ( Button 2012, Bottas 2017 ) ? Alonso apart, they will all need similar scale of mechanical misfortune to beset Hamilton to beat him. Hamilton was absolutely right to read his team the riot act on the bewildering scale of mediocrity on his side of the garage. Hasn't it paid off with bullet proof reliability. His team is happy and intact. The only people ripped apart are those hankering in futility for his demise.

5

Hello, it has become traditional for me, following your almost daily reference to last years Japanese Grand Prix, to point out that Lewis followed up that race with four straight wins and poles, hardly counts as "tearing himself apart" does it.

6

Didn't 'they' still win then?

Does "Snapchat weekend" said out loud cover one cycle of rocking back 'n' forth in place? 😃

7

The same could be said of Vettel. Imagine Hamilton and Vettel as team mate's?

8

Lewis would destroy Vettel and by destroy, I mean on track and off track. His battered legacy would simply disappear if he went up against Lewis in the same car.

9

One cannot take away Hamilton's incredible skills. That being said, Wolff can give his car to Alonso, Vettel and the 2019 version of Verstappen and Ocon and he'd get the same results. I truly believe that this pool of drivers would dominate on equal footing as Lewis.

10

And i truly believe that had Alonso or Hamilton driven the Ferrari, they would still be champion, or certainly run closer than what Vettel managed. The Ferrari was a very strong car, it's been the faster car now in nearly half races. There really are no excuses. Vettel made too many mistakes and couldn't handle the pressure. I think both Alonso and Hamilton would have done a better job in that strong Ferrari car.

I'm glad you said a 2019 version of Verstappen, because as it stands, i think he still lacks the consistency and risk/reward judgement skills needed to seriously challenge. That should come as he matures.

11

#Buffy
+1

12

Forgive me for being literal but, same results? Unlikely. Comparable results? Maybe from Alonso and Vettel. Verstappen and Ocon? We'll have to wait for the results. In my opinion, Jules Bianchi was as talented as these two. Sadly, he was taken way too soon. Nonetheless, as undeniably impressive as Verstappen and Ocon have been, neither of them has ever had to bare the enormous pressure of being the championship front runner. Pressure gets to everyone. Especially those select drivers in the rarefied position of being expectant champion. Even Senna and Schumacher! Lewis, Alonso, and Vettel have routinely had to deal with that kind of pressure. Vettel and Alonso have always been known to be meticulous, technically astute, and a very hard workers. And even they have suffered from the enormous pressures of fighting for the title. For instance, Alonso in 2007 and Vettel in this year's championship. Also, Verstappen, Ocon, Vettel, or Alonso are better qualifiers than Lewis. That's not just me saying this. Regardless of circumstance, Lewis' teammates generally come out on the short end of that competition. And being on pole is an enormous advantage. Anyhow, excellent post.

13

Thank you James for bringing this comment "Also, Verstappen, Ocon, Vettel, or Alonso are better qualifiers than Lewis." to my attention. I actually meant to type Also, Verstappen, Ocon, Vettel, or Alonso are NOT better qualifiers than Lewis.

14

Better qualifiers than Hamilton?. You need to recheck your statement.

15

Surely you meant that they are *NOT* better qualifiers than Lewis?

16

Hamilton has been very impressive this year. Merc didn't have the significant advantage they've had the last couple of years, so he's made more of a difference.

Speed wise, look at where Bottas is in the same car.

17
The Grape Unwashed

That being said, Wolff can give his car to Alonso, Vettel and the 2019 version of Verstappen and Ocon and he'd get the same results.

@ Joe, that might be true of 2014-2016, providing you also gave them the number one status which Alonso and Vettel seem to demand, but it's not true of 2017.

Why? Because if Lewis wasn't driving for Mercedes he'd be driving for Ferrari this year - and this year's Ferrari really should have won the championship. Lewis would have made the difference.

18

Ferrari should have won? Can you prove that?
I would say Mercedes has been playing us the last few years, by "failing to perform" to keep it close, but if they want / need to, they turn up the wick to match the competition.

19

George, can you prove that?

20
The Grape Unwashed

@ George.be, if Mercedes have been "failing to perform" for the last few years, they've done it spectacularly badly! They've crushed the competition through 2014-2016!

I posted a comment below (around message 119), detailing 6 tracks where Ferrari had a performance advantage but failed to win - only only of these tracks was lost due to reliability, two were lost due to conservative set-ups, two due to driver error and one due to a bad strategy call from the team.

Add to this Baku, where Ferrari didn't have a car advantage, but were presented with an open goal and squandered their chance. Hamilton would have been able to win the WDC in that Ferrari, it was good enough.

21

Marchionne's certainly of the view that their car is the best.

https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/132830/ferrari-painful-title-defeat-exposed-weaknesses

"To answer your broader question about what went wrong in F1, I don't believe in bad luck.

...

"It was a combination, especially in the second half of the season, between technical issues and driver error... or driver misjudgement."

...

"We regret not having done better, but the car is there - it's in my view the best car on the track today."

Yeesh, that's a pretty harsh thing to put out there publicly about the drivers, even though I agree with it. It seems to me that Ferrari isn't going to allow their drivers to ever diss the car, like Alonso used to do.

22

Krb, remember when Prost said his Ferrari "drove like a truck", if they can sack him, they can sack Seb....

23

Dominate? No way they would all be close.

24

@ Joe. Maybe so. But the others still possibly wouldn’t be as complete and good as Ham. And maybe they wouldn’t do as well, on the other hand. Alonso might sour the team. Vettle’s emotions might go incadescent during the tough times, and Max’s discpline and performance might careen all over the place.

All drivers have their weaknesses, but Ham seems to be that more rare type that actually persists at doing something about them.

25

I'm not so sure about that. Lewis getting pole has been instrumental in him winning the championship. If Lewis was in the Ferrari and managed to qualify ahead of the Mercedes, then the championship would be very different. Seb and Lewis on a number of tracks have been between 0.1 - 0.2 seconds apart. It would be quite possible for the positions to have been reversed a small mistake in the Mercedes or Lewis in a Ferrari driving a perfect lap would have put Lewis on pole. Lewis has driven some stunning pole laps this year as has Seb. I would actually say for Alonso that qualifying is his weakest attribute compared to his ability on race days. Before everyone jumps on me I think it is of a high standard just not as good Lewis or Seb. For Lewis and Seb it is probably their strongest ability.

26

Alonso, yes, though his more conservative, low-risk approach doesn't always pay off. Vettel isn't on the same level, I'm afraid: Ricciardo made that clear the year they were racing together. His titles were down solely to the Red Bull being way ahead on two fronts, aerodynamics and the double diffuser. Even then, it was close run. Ferrari should have won this year, they had the better car. Vettel's errors put the team under pressure and they over-juiced the engine to compensate with DNF results. Verstappen, definitely could get the same results as Lewis, though his lack of caution means he could win more but also less - i.e. less predictable racing outcomes, But he's fast and a brilliant racer too. Ocon, maybe. We haven't seen enough yet.

27

Hi David,

I found Lewis' comments about his pass on Seb at Austin rather interesting, particularly in reference to your comment about Seb's errors throughout the season.

He mentioned that a few of the corners were harder on the tyres than others and could see that Seb was pushing quite hard through the whole lap....he simply followed patiently and waited to see when he knew Seb's tyres were starting to fade more than his....then he pounced! See you later!!

28

Come on , even the LH haters have to admit the way paddy Lowe and Toto tried to change what LH was doing was appalling . I will always remember Paddy,s radio message and Toto,s post race comments.
I say good on the two of them for conducting a meeting in a kitchen and thrashing it all out. Toto has been on a steep learning curve since being the boss, but in fairness he seems to have got the balance right in all area,s.
I honestly believe Nico would have struggled this season so he did do the right/easy/retreat thing.

29

Ricardo c...Yes, Wolff has certainly got the balance right. Hand over the decision making to your lead driver and let him run the show. After all he's just the team Principal. What a joke!

30

I honestly believe Nico would have struggled this season so he did do the right/easy/retreat thing.

Nice dig at Nico.

I think he was faster than most people give him credit for but he did ride his luck last year. But to suggest he would struggle is a bit rich.

31

I honestly believe Nico would have struggled this season so he did do the right/easy/retreat thing.

32

Like Ferrari. As soon as a clear number one driver is identified and supported. Results follow. Multi-21 anyone. Team game. Please smile for the team photo.

33

He should be announced as:

Se-bas-tiaaaan "The Crash Kiiiid" Vet-teelllll!!!!!

https://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2010/08/sebastian-vettel-the-rights-and-wrongs-of-the-crash-kid/

34

Maybe SV will take a look at the referenced article ? It's going to be a long winter to think about "results" and maintaining control over the issues where you may have some. Other things are out of your hands.

FWIW, am of the opinion that it took a lot more for NR to go down the path he did than try to prove anything further -- he did all he needed to do and nothing more is required -- even with the effort made to "back" him out of it on the track. That was not a class act from a sportsman.

35

@ garrettt bruce...I fully agree. That was a very low [e] act and reinforces your last sentence. Well said.

36

... on his way to become a 4 time WC, obliterating everyone in 2013.

37

Great piece James, however it was this part about Seb that caught my eye: "but it’s not hard to detect an under current of concern about Vettel’s ability to deliver for Ferrari."

i don't think Ferrari were quite ready to win this year, but I do think Alonso or Hamilton would have been able to do a better job in the circumstances. Alonso especially always delivered under pressure, despite often having a really difficult car to drive. Seb loves everything about Ferrari but he just gets involved in too many clumsy incidents (Baku, Canada, Mexico, Singapore all come to mind). I question whether he's the right man for the job.

Interestingly, there was a recent article in AMuS that stated that Mercedes had reached the end of the development curve for this long-wheelbase philosophy and would likely go down the route of Red Bull/Mclaren next year, which would be a complete shift in philosphy and could hurt them in the short term. The last time a team did that was Mclaren over the 2012-13 and if I remember correctly, it really did hurt them. Mercedes had a huge advantage at the beginning of the year over Red Bull but in race trim, they are virtually equal right now and on maximum downforce circuits the RB seems stronger.

Hopefully next season gives us a really exciting title fight. The second year under new aero regulations often provides some superb racing with a more competitive field (99, 2010). I hope we see Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull and Mclaren fighting for podiums.

38

Remember this Mercedes was a compromised design due to Ferrari getting the FRIC suspension banned just before the start of the season. It is the reason why they have such problems on high downforce and low grip surfaces and appears to have such a small setup window for the current version of Pirelli tyres. It would appear to me that after the summer they have understood the car more and Lewis’s ability to drive a car with an unstable rear end has allowed them to concentrate on being fast and not so well balanced. This has really hurt Bottas as you can see in the races, he normally become quicker as the car becomes lighter and more balanced and therefore he can trust it to push.
I agree that the long wheelbase design is finished, but with regard to the proposed regulations in 2021, it would appear to be the chassis and aero are much more of a factor than the engine. Just look at the gaps between the various works teams and their customers the exception being Red Bull. I am very disappointed in the proposed loss of the MGU-H this as many real world applications for example combined power plants, heavy industry, server farms. This all helps bring in better efficiency’s and reduces the cost of implementing the technology as it is making use of a waste product.
Pirelli I believe are developing a softer range of tyres than this year, so as per usual it is going to be about whom can optimise the tyres the best.
It should be a much closer championship next year between Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes, but remember they will only have 3 engines next year and Mercedes have shown incredible reliability this year and DNF’s really damage a drivers championship chances. Mercedes has known this year’s chassis from the beginning had issues and James Allison has traditionally designed excellent chassis, so going to be very interesting next year.
So all to play for in 2018, and hopefully a close exciting season.

39

I think they’ll be a crisis next year with the three engines. Just as the championship is getting exciting we’ll just start seeing absurd Honda type penalties for the title contenders, especially for Red Bull.

40

I think with James Allison being able to develop the car from scratch, they'll be in good hands, he is bringing knowledge of the Ferrari chassis.

41

Had Alonso been in the Ferrari this year, the title fight would be ongoing.

42

Had Alonso been in Ferrari this year, the uncompetitiveness of Ferrari would be ongoing.

43

Yeah I think Mercedes is behind in their chassis. If they don't do something on a shorter wheelbase they will be in trouble too. Their engine power and reliability probably saved them.

Of course many have said MV would have done even better in that Mercedes.

I predict the cars will all look closer to that Ferrari especially where the cooling ducts are up high to miss the suspension. Mercedes did the opposite.

I think the halo could work in favor of the Mercedes since they thought it up.

Those TV antennas are going away right? Maybe Red Bull could get around that by actually making it usable for Max when he is in the lead and gets bored÷)

44

As much as I am glad to see the back of Bernie he probably would have canned these antennas if he was still around.

Rather amusing his recent comment about his beloved F1 5 star restaurant becoming a McDonalds....perhaps if Max is bored he can pull into the pit lane for a burger and fries? To go of course! 🙂

45

While I can understand and do take my hat off to the achievement this year I do think that Mercedes were always favourites for the title. The classics has changed yes but Mercedes has a massive squad of designers paid very well to cope with that. They also have a vast budget so for me Force India's achievements in designing a car with less than half of the budget and team is even more impressive. The engines haven't changed which have played into Mercedes's hands.

The big shock of the season was Red Bull. They got the numbers wrong in the wind tunnel and played catch up all season.

46

Just goes to show throwing money at a problem is not always the solution.

47

See even what Toto said about W08 in an interview. Favorites won, plain and simple
http://www.planetf1.com/news/mercedes-issue-early-warning-for-2018-season/

48

Not a good summary at all. Did you read the article? He said that their car was a diva, that they're going to keep its traits that are good, while ironing out those that were bad.

"If we look at the qualifying statistics and the race statistics, the W08 was the quickest car with the quickest driver.

“But we had some oscillations along the way, and we had some races where we struggled.

"We understand pretty well why that was the case. Now we just have to come up with a way of optimising it for next year. In the process, we will be leaving no stone unturned."

49

Yeah I don't know how Force India does that but they may have trouble out of Renault and McLaren next year.

50

Andrew, Red Bull and Ferrari also have vast budgets and massive squads of designers. You're right about Force India though, with Roy Sahara in jail and Vijay on the run, they have still turned out a very respectable racing car and beaten Williams who have more money and the same engine. They have to be the best team in F1 poind for pound.

51

@james It’s less saying that you highlight major keys here in Hamilton 2017 success. Hope Motorsport.com will grow your audience and spread this level of analysis within the so conservative and blind partial Ferraririst f1 media microcosm.
To be honest there’s feelings that Vettel deny us a proper fierce spectacular championship battle. I still don’t understand how a 4 championship title winner has operated at a so lower level at the summer break. Ferrari may be feeling that’s Vettel didn’t deliver when the team has clearly car advantages over title rival Mercedes whereas Hamilton delivered 100% when it was the other way mainly in Belgium, Monza. Maybe we expect too much from the 4 times F1 champion and he’s not the kind of driver we think he his. Even if his titles put Vettel in a singular league where the greatest only are, maybe it’s just a smoke screen.
For the second time in a row, with Mark Verstappen alongside him Vettel did crack under pressure and caused collisions. A 4 Times world championship is supposed to avoid that kind of avoidable crash. Hits a car at the back is considered as a major fault for any common classic road car driver as you supposed to fully control your vehicle.
This poor race craft won’t calm any sceptiscm about Vettel world top class calibre driver. It’s a different story winning races from Pole, disappears at red light off as in redbull years and nowadays fight fiercely with top gun for podium.
I hoped Vettel was able to deliver the kind of world class Alonso vs Hamilton battle, times after times he proved me wrong. Vettel is a good driver, Ferrari massively need a great one.
Whatever the car failures, Vettel would be able as Hamilton did in 2014, 2016 to force the tile decision until the last races. His personal failure are in cause first, he deny the red car for shining.

52

I dunno about Vettel. He probably is great. Maybe one of those young guys gets the other red car and does better against him. To his credit I think he spent a lot of time at the factory to get a car to suit his driving style. Hamilton needs to do that to up his game. I'm sure Vettel will up his and Max will eventually up them both if he gets into a winning car. He was impressive in Brazil last year and Mexico this year. In Malaysia he passed Hamilton but he didn't put up much of a fight. In Mexico he made a fantastic move for the lead.

53

IMHO the team management by Toto and Nicki is the foundation of the team's success. They seem to balance all Mercedes assets toward consistency and success.
Very like what Todt did at Ferrari.

54

Merc didnt win because of Toto or Niki, but because of their Engine Team, and 750+ employees. To remind, Toto performed rather overwhelmingly during his tenure Williams.

55

Mercedes F1 team is an amazing case study on how to run a championship F1 team consistently year on year in the modern era.

On the other hand, Ferrari shows money doesn't always buy you success.

56

You contradict yourself James, first you call it a major rule change but then say "With F1 being engine dominated since 2014 ...". I suspect most people realise that the latter is the key to the Mercedes dominance that has given Hamilton the wins.

57

Translation, its just the engine, son.

58

Not a contradiction. The chassis changes were a major rule change.

59

Yes, just as the 2009 chassis changes were, even though the engine stayed the same as the previous 3 seasons.

60

The engine has been the difference and true that didn't change but still didn't have a great chassis although that long sleek cars looks great.

61

While the regulations changed in 2017, no change was made to the engines and a large portion of Mercedes success this season lies with them having the engine modes to be able to qualify on the front row and lead from the front in races.

Had Red Bull started with the car they had at the end of the season I have no doubt that Mercedes challenge would have been far greater this season.

There are no serious changes to the cars for 2018 and one would expect the status quo to remain for next season, however, both Red Bull and Ferrari have good baselines for their cars (minus the engine for RB) but Mercedes have many gremlins which have affected their performance this year which need sorting over the winter.

62

We could play the 'if' game all day long and probably end up with Force India winning the championship. The reality is redbull started off poorly and Mercedes and Lewis did a great job.

63

Reliability for Ferrari caused bigger issues than the 'diva' and the same for Red Bull. They ALL have gremlins (of a different sort!)

64

So the wider tyres, completely redesigned front and rear wings, different diffuser, wider and longer car count for nothing?

F1 isn't as simple as strapping a fast engine to a driver. If it were then Williams wouldn't be doing as badly as they are.

Maybe if Merc's suspension system wasn't banned after the Ferrari lobbying then they would have been more dominant, but there is so much more to F1 success than a good engine.

It's widely believed ignoring Honda that the Renault engine isn't much cop - Red Bull refuse to call it a Renault - apparently a Swiss watch maker have an engine department no-one knew about. Anyway due to the top drawer chassis and aero on that Red Bull they have the faster car at high down-force tracks these days.

65

It does count for nothing.....cars still cant follow each other close enough to overtake. So most races are decided on Saturday.

66

Axx, that's right, the proof of this is that all the races were won by the pole sitter last year.....

67

Had Red Bull started with the car they had at the end of the season

I'm not saying you are wrong, but it might be worth remembering that despite all the failings on the Merc they still won the WCC with 4 races to spare (so their gremlins couldn't have been all that bad) and that Red Bull are currently sitting 3rd in the constructors championship - a long way short of 2nd place and a massive 255 points behind 1st place.

68

"Ferrari had a strong car this year and failed to win the world championship through a combination of reliability issues on the power unit, especially the Version IV unit and also errors by their lead driver Sebastian Vettel, which cost points.
There is a post-mortem going on in Italy now and Vettel’s nervousness under pressure, especially at the start in Singapore and Mexico is in the spotlight, as well as his actions in Baku, where he angrily drove into Hamilton behind the Safety Car."

All the experts agree the Ferrari was equally as strong as the Mercedes car. If one breaks down all the races, Ferrari have had the edge in over Mercedes in near 50% of the races. Overall, they had a more stable, consistent car compared to the Diva. Ferrari had a car that could win both titles. But Vettel's errors under pressure cost him the WDC, while having a very weak Kimi cost them a shot at the WCC too. They had reliability issues, yes, but let's not forget Mercedes had their issues too (engine failure for Bottas, 3x gearbox penalties, headrest issue, DRS activation failure, IT/Comms failure) etc

69

I believe it's a media created myth that Ferrari "imploded" during Singapore, Malaysia and Japan.

Everyone seems to have forgotten that Vettel took his 3rd units on pretty much every PU element very early in the season and he was always due to have a back row start to introduce the 5th elements needed.

Singapore he was on pole in the wet and crashed out due to his own stupid fault because he didn't play the percentage game. It was wet, the track was lined with walls - plenty of opportunities would have come his way even if he came out of the first corner 3rd.

Malaysia - had the engine issue in P3 and couldn't get out in quali. This weekend became by default the weekend to introduce the 5th elements (ok maybe there could have been a weekend better suited but this sort of weekend was coming his way anyway).

Japan - he had the unfortunate issue with the spark plug. One mechanical retirement a year though - if you said to every driver on the grid you will have one mechanical retirement in a season they would all bite your hand off.

Kimi has arguably been a touch more unlucky with reliability. But being the de facto no2 driver and having to pull aside many times to allow the mighty Vettel through would have quelled his motivation and through better management would have performed better this year.

Ferrari should have been Champions this year.

70

Vettel only took a 3rd turbo early on. All other components were to schedule. He took his 3rd engine at Silverstone, and the 4th (and 5th) in Malaysia.

71

Think Wolf et al have done an amazing job.
With the new rules they've still done the business.
A car that's a bit of a Diva has been analysed and workes on & brought back into a competitive package. Ok the long wheel base has its bogey tracks overall it has performed admirably. Next year will be closer championship... I still reckon the Mercs will have the better car. The money and skilled staff they have do an amazing job.
As Lauda says next year's car will be less of a Diva and respond on all circuits.
Assume they'll be using a shorter wheel base.
Well done to the Anglo German team 👏
🎶Janis Joplin🎶 is definitely be played at high volume at all Mercedes F1 headquarters.

72

That would be an all new philosophy if they go for a shorter wheelbase. And that will come with challenges. It wouldn't be an evolution but a revolution and they could get it completely wrong. I think McLaren did that at some point and the result was not impressive.

73

Makes you wonder about what Bernie said last week....

Are the regulation changes intended to produce this "shift" or distribute the success around the grid to provide ROI for manufacturers, teams, suppliers of tires?

Also, was the 2017 regulation change so big? I mean the PUs were unchanged, the tire change is same for everyone, unlike the Schumacher example where the rules changed to favour the other supplier for a while, give them some ROI for participating and investing in the sport.

74

ROI is my biggest suspicion at the moment. With manufacturers like Mercedes, Ferrari, RBR and even Honda pouring so much money into the sport, I get the sense the rules are massaged to give each one a fair amount of success. Ferrari have had their era, RBR and Renault have had their spells, Mercedes currently have theirs. How long until Honda manage to pull it together to get their turn. I get the sense one other team will have a successful spell before Honda get it together.

75

Wider tyres and wider chassis meant an overhaul in pretty much every department. Suspension construction and geometries, aerodynamics including complete front and rear wing redesign, completely remodelled diffuser electrics, cooling, chassis, engine mounting, exhaust layouts and outlets, restrictions and instruction on waste gate and turbos, and so on and so on. Yes the tyre change was the same for everyone but it was still a change.
It was meant to shake the field up a bit and bring the competition closer. Which it did to an extent and if Ferrari and Vettel hadn't stuffed it up then the championships would still be within their grasp.

76

Those Bridgestone tires helped then.

77

More often than not, the changes in regulations usually mean that the "Big4" (or Big 3 in 2017 guise) maintain their advantage as they are able to spend big on R&D.

When there is stability in the regs, the smaller teams have the opportunity to catch up.

Or, at least had the opportunity to catch up. When the new PUs came in with development and homologation restrictions, it meant that Renault and Honda could not catch up quickly - and the customer teams aren't doing much better either.

That's why Mercedes continue to dominate - their advantage is locked in.

78

as far as mind games are concerned, hamilton got alonso mad in 2007 we saw him drive hamilton off the track in anger, blocked hamilton in qualifying in anger and reported his own team to the fia in anger.
we also saw rosberg throw a cap at hamilton in anger, we saw rosberg cut hamilton’s rear tyre in anger, we also saw rosberg drive hamilton off track in anger in spain. we are yet to see hamilton lose his head like the rest of them.
vettel certainly lost it in baku and mexico. hamilton is the absolute master in mind games and every part of being an f1 driver. it would be wrong for anyone to claim that rosberg beat hamilton at mind games. if he did, it’d be helpful if you can point out examples of moments at which hamilton lost his mind.

79

(1) Monaco 2015: Hamilton and his engineer got unnecessarily nervous while leading, and agreed on the wrong strategy which lost them the race. Thereafter, Lewis sulked on the podium

(2) Japan 2016: Coming off a poor race in Singapore and an engine failure that cost him the win in Malaysia , Lewis tried to shrug off the pressure and look "cool" by being totally unprofessional during the drivers' press breifings (snap chat and all). Was lost at sea the entire Japanese GP weekend, which culminates in a botched start that ruined his race.

(3) Monaco 2007: was bouncing all over the place during the race trying to keep up/catch Alonso in 1st place; thereby jeopardizing a McLaren-Mercedes 1-2. Is therefore (rightfully) told by his team to back-off and bring the car home. Responds by insinuating to the British media that McLaren favored Alonso (not helped by Ron Dennis telling Alonso to "be nice to Lewis for backing off", after which Fernando commented that he was just "cruising"). This basically started the civil war of 2007.

(4) Spain 2016: crashes into team-mate Rosberg during the 1st lap after a bad start. Rather than taking responsibility (50-50 at best), threatens to quit the team instad since they refused to take his side and throw Nico under the bus.

(5) Belgium 2012: can't quite comprehend being outqualified by team-mate Jenson Button, slams the team in social media and shared confidential data. (A couple of races later, Lewis goes off on a twitter rant assuming Jenson unfollowed him. When in reality, Jenson never followed his account in the first place!)

Lewis is a brilliant racing driver, but I wouldn't go as far and say that he's mentally infallible; since there were numerous incidences where he lost his head (and at times cost him).

My impression is this: Lewis is mentally astute when things are going his way and when he is calling the shots. But when that same sort of sh*t is thrown at him, he loses his mind. The perfect example would be Spain 2017, when Vettel shoved him wide to overtake for/keep the lead of the GP. After the race, Lewis began to say that had the incident gone any farther, then his relationship with Vettel would have soured (funny, since in the past he had no qualms shoving/punting off his team-mate Rosberg; especially at the start of races). All that despite gushing over his "friendship/rivalry" with Vettel during the first couple of races.

My point is, it showed Hamilton was happy to have Vettel fight with him since he was confident that he could pull it off in the end (and he did!). But when Vettel fought back with more intesity, he couldn't take it. Same thing at McLaren in 2007 (as Ron Dennis did say it was Lewis who started the feud), when he broke rank in Hungary 2007 and couldn't stomach Alonso's retaliation (although he did end up getting the last laugh during that race, up to this day I still believe the stewards unnecessarily got involved in an intra-team issue). And finally, there was/is his rivalry with Rosberg. They were getting along quite well in 2013 and early on in 2014, but when Nico turned up the mind games (Monaco 2014), Lewis cracked and started saying all sorts of silly things to the media.

80

Rafael, ypu could write a similar list for any top driver in the sport for ten years! Highly competitive people often react badly when things don't go their way, the other things on your list are simple driving and strategic errors that affect every driver. Why do these routine occurrences take on extra significance when they happen to Lewis? The truth is he has had many, many more good days than bad, which is why he is so well respected within the sport and continues to br amongst the most highly paid sportsmen on thr planet.

81

Ron Dennis never said that Lewis started the fued in 2007. His exact words were "Lewis had his role to play".

http://www.skysports.com/f1/news/12433/9601476/ron-dennis-says-lewis-hamilton-had-a-role-in-mclarens-2007-implosion

Seeing as Alonso had asked McLaren to move Hamilton aside during the USA GP, even though they were 1-2 in both the race and the championship, and had stopped sharing setup info from the Canadian GP, one could say that Hamilton - leading the championship - was simply protecting himself from being beaten off-track rather than on it.

Alonso shamelessly using his status as champion to try to beat a competitor off-track, because he couldn't do it on-track, is the real takeaway from 2007.

82

none of what you have said shows that hamilton is not mentally stronger than the opposition..

83

as impressive as your post is, it doesn’t say if any f1 drivers are mentally stronger than hamilton is. if you think there are any, can you explain why they haven’t, faily, won more races as hamilton, won more championships or pole positions than hamilton.
i know that not matter how many more hamilton wins, he will still be unccepted in many minds as the best of all time. hiding behind “the impossible argument”. if it was impossible, i wonder why the records are kept in the first place?

85

murray walker soke so warmly about verstappen, vettel. hill and mansell but finds it hard to praise hamilton. i don't understand it. he even says hamilton couldn't possibly beat schumachers record 7 championships.
murray used to say senna was the greatest of all time. as soon as hamilton burst into the scene, walker started saying schumacher was the greatest of all time and just recently he came up with a name, pre f1.
keep watching walker.

86

Could it be that you are wrong about how great Hamilton is?
Murray Walker is British too, how could that be?
Obviously Murray is a Hamilton ha**r, probably the tattoo's or his lifestyle choices.

87

Jimothy, a lot of people would have to be wrong wouldn't they?

88

if any of hamilton's teammates was mentally stronger than he is, i wonder why they haven't won more championships than he has or won more races than he has or even score more pole positions than he has.
some logic is simply underdeveloped.

89

Not losing it completely as you describe but things like missing starts, losing a few tenth in qualifying, the mindset within the team. Toto called Rosberg the vicious one. He's do things in a way that it would be impossible to tell whether it was on purpose or not. Like Monaco 2014 or Spain 2016. He couldn't be penalised. But within the team they knew he did it deliberately and that would go into Hamilton's head.
Also Hamilton was frustrated that when he was clearly ahead, Rosberg would just study his telemetry and sometimes end up beating him.

90

i see what you mean but those are minor compared to the humongous failures his teammates displayed..

91

Japan 2016. Snapchat, (whispered).

That's when the whole paddock knew for sure what Lewis is. Him posting setup data on the internet was the first time people wondered/knew what he is.

There's 2 of the most embarrassing examples from any driver. Your above post is just balls.

92

are you suggesting that any of hamilton’s teammates have been mentally stronger than him? why not name them and point out how they have gone on to achieve more with their superior mental strength.

93

Hello, here we go again! Posting something on twitter is not as embarrassing as deliberately driving into a competitors car as Seb did in Azerbijan. Throwing away pole position at one of your teams best tracks in Singapore is more embarrassing than taking a few photos in a press conference as well.....

94

Vettel's pole conversion rate in 2017: 25% (1 from 4)

He didn't even lead after lap 1 in 3 of those. You ain't gonna win a title like that!

Even for the 1 he needed Kimi to play dutiful no. 2 rear gunner in Hungary.

95

Yes Timothy it is, it worse. Ask a racing driver or engineer about posting data online. It's completely stupid but the fact that he did it in a childish tantrum after getting beat by his teammate is just arrested development.

Yeah, Vettel's not a great driver and was made King by that Rothschild of the motor racing word, Newey.

Also I would say the poster aveli is part of "Team" Hamilton and is paid to post the party line. His above post seems such a childish PR retort to Nico latest interview. People post on here and other places because they are paid to. Remember what Redbull used to do here. It's main main reason I started posting. "Brand" Hamilton has to bring in as much money as possible before he retires as I'm guessing his "Music" isn't going to bring in much.

96

Do you really believe there are people here paid to post? What was the Red Bull thing? I've been around these pages for ages, and I don't recall it.

97

He he he, we are talking relevant things like motor racing and relevant things like accomplishing the goal, winning the Tittle 😁😁😁. This devastating outcome is too much for some fragile minds that they are left seeking therapy and trying to assuage themselves with irrelevant garbage about
' Brands, music and some money they would resent Hamilton to make from it, if at all he gets involved in that arena. We hear childish tantrums and arrested development when someone throws a hissifit because the SKY TEAM dared give the Tittle winner due praise. Even a dimwit should be able to see that Hamilton is a one man promotion machine. Perhaps if some spend less time obsessing about the man they say they don't find ' relatable', they too could learn to play a guitar and piano like him😁😁

98

@GGGGGG ..I'm fastly coming to the conclusion that you're either the reincarnation of "Inshallahura' or else your 'aveli' under a transparent cloak!!!

99

Hello, I don't know any racing drivers to ask, luckily Jenson Button told us all that the data Lewis shared on twitter was of no ise to the opposition and was readily available straight line speed info, I am sure you are relieved to learn this.....

100

No Jenson said on the matter, that posting setup data online is something "that you just don't do".

101

Apparently that was just Jenson playing the game, trying to make the team his. It worked for him, but maybe not in the way he thought it would. 😀

http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/opinion/f1/button-lewis-s-tweet-it-wasn-t-even-real

Also saw this quote from Mark Hughes. It's quite illuminating:

"I also have to take seriously engineers who look at pieces of telemetry and insist he can occasionally do things that they have never seen anyone else able to do - even guys that have worked with Hakkinen and Senna. I don't ever hear that about any other driver.

"They all have their strengths and I've written extensively about them over the years. This was just a answer to a question. But I do think it significant that engineers who have worked with Senna, Hakkinen, Raikkonen, Alonso and also Hamilton say that Hamilton is the one they occasionally see do things that they have never seen anyone else able to do."

Engineers who worked with both Senna and Hamilton have seen Lewis do things that others were unable to do? Wow ... that's a VERY big statement.

102

Hello, and McLaren said "it didn't do much damage", which is presumably why they didn't discipline Lewis in any way. Continuing to bang on about it five years later is really scraping the barrel.

103

Ron did the reporting.

104

Because Alonso told him he was going to report him so Ron thought he had better get in first!

Same thing!

105

No it's not. Saying and doing are different things.

106

He was trying to head Alonso off, so that the news came from him rather than Alonso. Facts are that he wouldn't have done that without the initial threat from Alonso. Pretty simple stuff to comprehend.

107

I would agree that Vettel "lost it" in Baku, but Mexico was just some ragged driving. Contact with Verstappen, which unsettled things and set up the second contact with Hamilton. Not great car control in the moment, but not a case of "losing one's head" IMO, just a slight miscalculation during some very tight first corners battling.

108

hamilton has achieved, fairly, more than anyone has in the history of the sport because of his superior car control, defence, overtaking, wet weather driving and mental strength. he is stronger than drivers of all generations in all areas of being an f1 driver. he manages himself trains himself and is his own dietician..

109

I am really starting to think that you are Lewis Hamilton, or a relative, no sane person could possibly believe all this.

110

i am not hamilton and i am not insane. only if you’re willing to ignore the evidence, you’ll believe otherwise. the evidence is overwhelming.
you are not able to name a single driver who is mentally stronger than hamilton but make claims about me?

111

@Aveli. I think you have it here. What makes Ham’s mind games so effective is that he’s very, very successful. Competitors therefore pay too much attention to his BS and are too sensitive to it. No question that Ham probably is very good at being outrageous. You know how competitive people can be.

112

Oh dear! More eulogies if any were needed. Hamilton is the definition of calm, like if you look zen up in the dictionary you'll see rosco's pic there. Whatever, he tweeted his teams telemetry in absolute calmness, lied to the stewards in 2008 out of sheer tranquility and jeez... I really don't care, I mean well done to him and all, but can we wait for all of this till a decade or so after he retires? Our memories will be so much fuzzier it'll really all seem indisputable truthful

113

hamilton didn’t lie to the stewards, he was advised to hold back some information yet we all witnessed how he was treated compared with vettel and verstappen who insulted the stewards with the most vulgar words.
guess what he said to that? “still i rise”.

114

funny how you guys keep dredging up stuff from eight or nine years ago to try and stick it to Lewis, you really are scraping the barrel! Maybe you would like to give me the name of a driver who you think has never lied in the steward's room....

115

You've just gotta laugh at them Tim - Hamilton has won his 4th WDC with 2 races to spare and they are trying to tell us that really, deep down, he's no good. He holds so many records it's hard to keep track but still they say, deep down he's really no good.....Its just too funny.

116

C63, yep, surprising that these guys are still scrabbling around for ever smaller stones to throw at him, force of habit for most of them I guess! Amusing that their favourite drivers have all said nice things about Lewis, which they ignore, and that they are the same guys who last season all said they wanted closer competition, which they pretend hasn't happened!

117

Hamilton - F1's most difficult child. As written by the British press:
http://www.express.co.uk/sport/f1-autosport/769370/Lewis-Hamilton-acting-child-Mercedes-could-cut-him-loose-Toto-Wolff-teammates

I think everybody do recognize that Hamilton has at multiple occasions thrown the toys out of the pram.

119

Cyber, as written by the British gutter press 9 months ago! Why bother posting a link to it now?

120

Why not, its still more current than you talking about how Hamilton beat Alonso 10 years ago.

121

Jimothy, do I bring that up? Or do people like you like to talk about Lewis getting beaten by his team mates, as if their favourite driver never has.....

122

let them enjoy it while it lasts...

123

That's a good point. Nevertheless Hamilton displays different pictures of himself. His so open mind declarations show him as weak and soft. The paddock mantra about him is : he need to be fine with his mind to deliver at 100%. Hamilton show himself as a kind of sensitive driver, he need this, he need that, bla-bla-bla . On track the story telling is different, the guy is a top gun killer. His duplicity is confusing. Hamilton contributed too much to show him as a mind soul running driver. Any changes depends on him.
If you regarding articles after Vettel loosing multiple times his self control, there’s any one linking with his poor mind and his inability to deliver under pressure.

124

Um 2016. Rossberg could play those games too. It seemed to affect Hamilton's starts.

125

Jdr, how many bad starts did Nico have last year?

126

I have to agree. Even though I wouldn't call myself a Hamilton "fan" exactly, I really admire the way he has never resorted to low-level behaviour like ramming into other cars or trying to force other drivers into an accident. He has - as far as I can remember - been fair. Tough at times, but still fair. Unlike some other drivers. Also, regarding Rosberg, many people are now saying how "underrated" he was, but they fail to mention some of his plainly dirty racing tactics, and the fact that he rarely managed to pass Hamilton on track. He was quick over a lap, yes, but often very sloppy at wheel-to-wheel racing.

127

I'm a Lewis fan and am ecstatic that hes 4 time champion, but Lets not deny the fact that Hamilton did lose his mind on a number of occasions in 2016.

1. When they both crashed in Barcelona, Lauda sided with Rosberg. Lewis got upset and threatened to quit Mercedes.
2. When his Engine blew up in Malaysia, he came out in the media and said other forces are at working against him. Which effectively meant he thought someone in the team was deliberately sabotaging his engines
3. He got to the point where he didn't trust the team and thought they were all behind Nico instead of him.
4. His behaviour with journalists at the Japanese grand prix which effected his racing that weekend.

All of that was mind games my friend, he clearly got ruffled up by Rosberg in 16. Nico knew that would be the only way to beat him after losing out to him in 14 & 15.

128

what matters is that he is mentally stronger than all his opposition. he makes them all weak in the head..

129

Jas just listed 4 times where Hamilton was weak in the head, i will add two more.
1. Crashing into the back of Kimi in the pits.
2. Crashing on his way into the pits China 2007.
Hamilton admitted staying on worn tyres was a joint decision between himself and the team, also he was the driver, he should have realized the pit lane would be wetter than the racing line.

130

Jimothy, you could do the same for any driver, they have all made errors, it seems only Hamilton's errors are cited as examples of him being "weak in the head". Why don't you tell us who your favourite driver is, andI will dredge up and exaggerate stuff about him from ten years ago.
F1 is the most high pressure sport in the world, people who are "weak in the head" wouldn't last five minutes, let alone become the most successful guy out there.

131

jimothy is more interested in hamilton

132

He was in the wilderness in 2011 when there were some off-track issues IIRC. Not to mention the magnetism to Massa.

133

did he have locus for meals?

134

hamilton has never been mentally beaten by any of his opposition. he destroyed each one of them in ways that they behaved irrationally.

135

Dominant car before the reg changes, slightly less dominant car after. Everyone picked up massive pace due to the changes so I'm not buying the fact that this was that big of a deal.

That they hit on the engine reg changes 5 or so years ago is a far bigger achievement as far as I'm concerned.

136

Not entirely convinced that Hamilton was winding Seb up deliberately, he didn't raise the topic and he had a bang to rights example of the inconsistency of what gaining advantage was being described as - he had seen it and clearly went to research the data afterwards - and seemed to get a fudged response, which is exactly the problem the audience has - how come running very wide - which allows you to carry more speed through the previous corner as you don't have to restrain the car - maintain that speed and potentially accelerate on a straighter trajectory - well beyond track limits is not considered gaining an advantage.

Seb seemed more upset by Lewis's headphones rather than the substance of the discussion!

In BTCC they've tightened up and they have a system of warning when they see people consistently abusing track limits. I would at least have expected Vettel to have had a warning on track limits, especially as I am sure he did it more than once.

It seems to me that the FIA have a choice on general running: ignore, which leads to unsporting advantages, warn and then punish, and where there is a distinct tactical advantage in defence or attack, then having the option to penalise immediately.

Hamilton is something of an expert on this - he endured a season or two of being the focus of supposed driving infractions which ended up with new driving regulations being introduced, so it is not surprising he is still sensitive about it.

Back to the substantive point though - the "major rule change" did not address the superior aspect of the winning constructor (engine), so it is a bit of a false comparison with other events:

Brawn - diffuser, RBR, blown diffuser, Williams, active aids, Renault, lump of lead in the nose, Mercedes passive suspension management & drag reduction magic glove, dropping the turbo alternative engine formula, rev limits etc. are all changes that targeted a perceived advantage of the championship car.

In this case, the changes were not targeting the reason for Merc dominance, and aside from the hope that they might mis-step in their design (which they did to some extent), there is no reason to think that the rule changes would have lead to the lead team being specifically disadvantaged compared to the others - unless you subscribe to the theory that Newey has such an unfair advantage in aero design that the assumption was that they were trying to gift this year to Red Bull to keep them sweet and Newey's lack of involvement over winter made the conspiracy fail. Certainly, one wouldn't have thought that the rule change would play to Ferrari over Mercedes based on track record.

So well done Mercedes for not dropping the ball over the change, but there was nothing there that was going to change their dominance. Worryingly, Renault and to a lesser extent Ferrari haven't got close on engine parity especially with reliability taken into account. I think Ferrari might have a peak output that may be close, but they can't sustain it. Mercedes have got more in hand, and with reliability tweaks over winter, they'll be able to step up output to run for longer at higher performance modes and they'll have a more amenable car design for 2018. Expect to see RBR, Ferrari and Mercedes all making significant design improvements to their cars for 2018, but don't expect the other engines to get parity. My prediction is an easy no. 5 for Hamilton for 2018.

137

"Back to the substantive point though - the "major rule change" did not address the superior aspect of the winning constructor (engine), so it is a bit of a false comparison with other events:
Brawn - diffuser, RBR, blown diffuser, Williams, active aids, Renault, lump of lead in the nose, Mercedes passive suspension management & drag reduction magic glove, dropping the turbo alternative engine formula, rev limits etc. are all changes that targeted a perceived advantage of the championship car."

Well said. I agree!

138

Indeed a mayor step for mercedes. But the new regulations only made the cars more power hungry and the Merc engine is still the same ( of better) than the one form the last three years.
The power of this engine is the most important factor in the results..

139

Eeic, in F1, aero is still king.

140

It's one of the parameters.. tires, driver, engine, aero.
Some drivers can make the difference, some engiens can make the difference, some aero designs can make the difference.

141

Eric. The Manor had the Mercedes engine and was nowhere, the Red Bull has the third best engine and wins races. Of all the parameters you mention, the most important is aero.

142

I wasn't sure what the rule changes were in 2005 so I had a search, it was that a set of tyres had to last a race, how could I forget Kimi's crash. I also read that the rules were changed to allow cars to follow each other better, however the opposite happened as the teams managed to recover the lost downforce. It just shows that even 12 years later we are still discussing making cars follow each other better.

143

The conversation has been going for a lot longer than 12 years!

144

For me it has been more about the level of dominance of the engine (until recently) than nailing the new regs. HAMs new mindset has also helped him exploit it more reliably and consistently but you only need to look at the difference between his and VET's progress through the field in Mexico to see their main weakness. This is what they need to fix over the winter or another title could be elusive.

145

Mike - are you saying progress through the field illustrated the respective weakness of their cars or the respective weakness of the the drivers?

146

no one except you believes vettel can make better progress through the field that hamilton.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UlgipON2Pow

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xDgpS4kx88s

how many championships has vettel won pre f1. or how many f1 championships has vettel won without newey?

147

Hamilton had diffuser damage but he only had to get to 9th I think if Vettel got 2nd place.

148

To be fair, the rule change did not change the source of Mercedes dominance (namely its PU and associated engine modes) in the same way it did for Ferrari and Red Bull... And Mercedes was in a one-team race for both titles in the year of transition. I'm not sure i'd call this out as being anything particularly special for them.

149

I'm not sure how remarkable it is, to be honest. Yes, there was a major regulation change, but not to engines and the Mercedes advantage was so large, that ultimately they could afford to lag behind in other areas, which they did.

It is also worth mentioning that the new tires play to Hamilton's strengths, which go well with the advantage he brings himself with is breaking style through the MGU-K.

150

I have been wondering if the closing gap in the latter stages of this season indicates Mercedes had already moved on to next year's car. They had a pretty comfortable lead in the WCC and wrapped it up early. To me, it seemed like they could afford to look ahead a little (understanding that can be dangerous). Any indications behind the scenes if this may be true?

151

you could also wonder if ferrari lost their lead in the drivers championship because they directed all their attention on the 2018 car mid season, thinking they’ve got the 2017 driver’s championship in the bag?

152

Remember all the Mercedes powered cars, Kimi, Haas and Sauber are still within the engine regulations. Going to be very important for next year.

153

They are all doing that by now. It seems Red Bull are already trying stuff for 2018 like their engine. It was the only Renault engine that didn't fail.

154

2018.....james allison.....diva tammed and faults sorted.......other teams should be worried as this year they never had the fastest car all the time, if they had ros and bott this year ferrari would have won, ham saved there bacon.

155

Lewis has had two periods of very relaxed performance - 2008 when he had Kovalainen and 2017 when he had Bottas. Both are easy going Finns both were a step below him and were brought in to replace difficult relationships. Kovalainen lasted two years and if Bottas is not careful he will last two years.

This year goes to prove that what really counts in F1 is peaceful and stable relationships between driver and team. Alonso, Button, and Rosberg all pushed Lewis enough that he spent more time trying to beat them than build relationships within the team. This year he was able to expand his relationships because he knew there was no way Bottas would outperform him for the year.

Mercedes and Toto will again have to confront this problem in 2019. If Mercedes win another constructors title they may decide adding a more competitive driver is not worth the trouble, especially since I do not think Lewis will race after the hybrid era ends in 2020.

156

2021 will have V6 turbo hybrids

157

It won't end even then.

158

Sorry James but I have to disagree with your premise here. All these proves is that the 2014 engine regulations (and Mercedes domination of same) supersede the new chassis regs in terms of the overall effect on competition. In other words Merc won this year becase they still have the dominant engine and they latest regs were not enough to change that.

159

Then why are FI and Williams still light years away from Ferrari and Red Bull?

160

Hey James,

Great article on the dominance of Mercedes and how their chassis has managed to stay up to snuff. Was wondering if you could do an article on the way this season affected the legacy of Nico Rosberg especially with Bottas' performance against Hamilton?

162

May be an article about the Merc's changes/improvements in Chassis ( if possible Engine) between 2014-2017, along with the metrics, would be Magnificent.

163

I think you have to be very careful comparing Bottas's/Rosberg's performances against Hamilton's.. It needs to be remembered that Rosberg was already embedded in the team, and certainly from 2014-2016, drove a dominant Mercedes. Being dominant meant that Rosberg only needed to worry about fighting his teammate on track. Bottas has come into a new team at short notice due to Rosberg's sudden retirement, adapt, and drive a car not originally built for/around his style. Plus, the 2017 Merc isn't dominant, so he is having to fight with other teams on track. All these things need to be given full consideration.

164
The Grape Unwashed

There is a post-mortem going on in Italy now and Vettel’s nervousness under pressure, especially at the start in Singapore and Mexico is in the spotlight, as well as his actions in Baku, where he angrily drove into Hamilton behind the Safety Car.

Hi James, I've already done this analysis for them, I submit this without expectation of recompense from the Scuderia 😉

These are the tracks were they had a performance advantage but failed to win...

Russia - wong set-up
Set-up problems (and a lightning start) left Ferrari defenceless against Bottas. There were no overtaking moves throughout the field for the remainder of the race! The circuit is flat-out for 1km to T2, Ferrari were slipstreamed and passed before the braking point. Ferrari chose the wrong set-up here: the run to T2 was the most important part of the race, they had a big advantage at this circuit, they should have sacrificed lap time for top speed - qualifying 3rd put Bottas in the ideal position to win the race. Ferrari compounded its problems by running too small radiator vents, leaving Bottas unmolested up to the first pitstop.

Spain - wrong strategy
Pole was very close. A small mistake from Vettel probably cost him, but he got into the lead after a good start. Mercedes teamplay and strategy - and the opportunity provided by a VSC - allowed them to squeak past Vettel for the win. Vettel called for a pit-stop at the start of the VSC period, but the team were slow to react.

Belgium - wrong set-up
Raikkonen might have had pole but for a mistake in Q3. Vettel was quicker than Hamilton in the race but bided his time. A late safety car saved Hamilton whose tyres had begun to blister badly. Once again, as at Sochi, Ferrari chose a poor set-up which compromised their pace along the straights. Mercedes chose a set-up which maximised straightline speed, giving them an advantage in the race.

Singapore - driver error
A crazy move by Vettel took both Ferraris and Verstappen out on a track where Mercedes had only the third fastest car.

Malaysia - engine failure
An engine problem forced Vettel to start from the back and saw Raikkonen wheeled from the front row back into the pits.

Mexico - driver error
After Verstappen muscled past Vettel at the start, Vettel sliced Hamilton's rear tyre with his damaged front wing in what looked like an entirely avoidable accident. This ruined both drivers' races. Whether this was a cynical attempt to keep his championship alive (Vettel would finish 4th in the end, he had needed 2nd), or more likely another episode of red mist, is hard to say.

I'm not counting Baku, because Vettel's chance of winning came through a problem on Hamilton's car, although arguably he should have been on pole.

165

I would absolutely count Baku. Vettel should have won that race and taken advantage of the head rest problem but couldn't because of his drive through.

166
The Grape Unwashed

@aezy_doc I agree that it needs to be factored into a wider review of what went wrong this year, but as I said at the start of my comment, my post just concentrated on races where Ferrari was faster than Mercedes but failed to capitalise.

Baku was such a messy weekend (practice, qualifying and race) that it's hard to gauge which team had the upper hand.

167

I think he needed 1st when Hamilton got 9th but not sure?

168

If Vet got 1st Ham needed 5th or better and if Vet was 2nd Ham needed 9th or better.

169
The Grape Unwashed

@jdr, yes that's right - I stand corrected!

170

In certain respects Lewis Hamilton isn't my kind of driver ... it's hard for me to work out what I mean but I'm a bigger fan of Kimi and Fernando. BUT I think I ought to come out and say that I believe Hamilton is probably the most brilliant driver in the sport today.

171
Rob in Victoria BC

Kind of a funny question/comment l know but: l saw Hamilton's Mom was in Mexico but didn't see anything of his father. Anyone know how their relationship is these days?

172

Nevermind "fake news"... F1 is a "fake sport".

Since the start of this Hybrid era of F1, Hamilton has been in a "one-team championship"...his only REAL competition has been the other guy in the other Mercedes car...(Rosberg or Bottas).

The 3 championships won in this Hybrid era are of low quality as Hamilton had no genuine competition from any other F1 teams....and no, Ferrari were never genuine contenders in 2017 - they were slaughtered at Silverstone and that is the reference point for comparison. Alonso and Bernie have also opened a window on the truth about Hamilton's "achievements" and Mercedes dominance in this hybrid era.

At the end of the day, Hamilton got less votes than that fat, idiot Gypsie of a boxer Tyson Fury in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year last year...(the 'smoke & mirrors' of clever F1 marketing isn't fooling the British public)

173

I am surprised moderation allowed this racist comment i.e. "Idiot Gypsie boxer". Come on James, allowing offensive comments like this serves no purpose

174

Buffy...playing the race card has no place here. A nonsense PC comment.

175

So you're ok with the OP using (sic) Gypsie? The fat & idiot bit I think is all fine, but no need for the Gypsie tag on.

176

Kenneth, didn't you complain to James about gazboy using some derogatory terms about Aussies the other week?

177

Ah, but that was different....err, um, wasn’t it ?

178

Shane, why is Silverstone the reference point for comparison and not Monaco, Hungary, Bahrain, Australia, Singapore, or Mexico?

179

TimW...I don't want to get hung-up on the specifics of tracks - Australia is an odd track...and Ferrari only won at Bahrain because Lewis made an error and he apologised to his team.

Ferrari had a much better car this year...(thanks to help from Mercedes engineers in 2016 on the Ferrari Engine)...but Mercedes still has a good margin of performance over Ferrari and the rest of the field.

Next year will be closer for sure - but Mercedes will still win the constructors in 2018...and I'll be putting another Five fig bet on it...(see my screenshot below to "aezy_doc" on this thread.

180

I’m curious- how do you arrive at a stake of £2704 (seems an odd sort of number)? Also isn’t that a 4 figure bet?

181

There are essentially two main types of 'bets'..."Back" and "Lay".

When you "Back" something - you're betting on something to WIN

When you "Lay" something - you're betting on something to LOSE and become the Bookmaker for that bet.

My Lay bet done back in March this year was to bet on Ferrari to LOSE the Constructors...[the odds on "Backing" Mercedes to win were even shorter (i.e., worse) than on betting Ferrari to lose and I would have won less money had I "backed" Mercedes to win the constructors because they were such hot favourites].

For example, you can 'back' a horse (as in the Grand National)...if your horse is 10-1 odds and your betting stake is £10 you win £110 in total (£100 winnings and also your original £10 stake money back).

If you were doing a "Lay-bet" (also known as "laying" the horse) using the same odds of 10-1 for the same horse, then you're essentially doing a "negative bet"...you're essentially betting against the horse and betting that it won't win the race - (you become the Bookmaker - just like Ladbrokes for example) and hence, to secure £10 'winnings' I'd have to bet (liability) of £100...to win £100 my liability (stake money) would be £1000...and so on....(I have to cover the cost of me being wrong in my bet).

It's actually much easier to understand if you place a bet - (but I'm not encouraging you to gamble - especially if you're under-age).

I also owe James Allen a BIG THANK YOU - I won £66,000 back in 2009 because of an article in the Telegraph when he was trackside and reporting on Winter Testing when Button had done his first laps in the BRAWN-Mercedes car....in his article he stated that you could get 66-1 on Brawn winning the constructors - so I 'backed' them with £1,000....(JAMES - thanks for helping to pay for my first house!!)

182

Thanks for the explanation - it makes sense. I'm not against gambling a such,I'm just not one to make bets like you do, on things I have no control over. I prefer cards - I know I have no control over cards and it's an illusion - but I like the idea that I am part of what is happening other than simply an onlooker.

184

You've obviously never done a "lay bet" on Betfair....look again at my screenshot....£12,113.92...that's my liability...the money i had to put down...yes, i gambled £12K to win only £2.7K....that's how confident i was and the bet was done back in March.

185

You've obviously never done a "lay bet" on Betfair

You're not wrong there - no idea what that is. I think because it says the stake was £2704 I assumed the the stake was £2704! Confusing things these online bookies 🙂

186

Shane. My money is staying in my pocket, good luck though....

187

Ferrari only dominated or won on the Micky Mouse, Go-kart tracks such as Monaco, Hungary etc...they're not "High Performance" tracks.

188

Shane, Bahrain and Australia are "go kart tracks"?!

189

Ferrari were fastest in Malaysia, that noted go kart track.

190

Why is Silverstone the reference point? Ferrari absolutely were contenders and would have won were it not for operational and driver errors.

191

See my comments above to TimW. Ferrari were never genuine contenders...Australia is an odd track that isn't an indicator of a cars overall performance...Monaco and Hungary are small twisty-turny tracks which suit Ferrari's short-wheelbase car...(The Merc's have the longest wheelbase car which suits high-speed tracks and fast corners)...the real game in F1 is how much of one's true performance can be hidden to give the impression that the racing is close or the competition is close...Toto Wolff is good at this game. See also my screenshot pic attached showing that I had £12,000 bet this season on Ferrari NOT TO WIN the constructors - that's how sure I was!

192

Please don't post offensive comments here, it's disgraceful

193

"no, Ferrari were never genuine contenders in 2017 - "

Another excuse to try and hide the fact that the Ferrari team and their drivers cracked under the pressure and failed to deliver, despite having the equipment to do so

Vettel was leading the championship up until a handful of races ago. Had it not been for his silly mistakes and cracking under pressure, he stood a very good chance of winning the title. The Ferrari car has been quicker than the Mercedes in over 50% of the races and slaughtered Mercedes on tracks like Hungary

"The car has made enourmous steps forward. Ferrari is on a par if not superior to Mercedes" (Sergio Marchionne)

"I believe we have the best car in terms of overall package." (Vettel)

The Ferrari managers/drivers all recognise that they had a strong, championship capable car. It's about time some of their fans accept this and stop with the delusional excuses.

194

Not trying to hide anything - I agree, Vettell always cracks under genuine pressure. I'm not a Ferrari fan either. Vettel had no real chance of winning the title this year as he didn't have a good enough car...see my comment to aezy_doc above and also the photo in that message.

195

"Vettel had no real chance of winning the title this year as he didn't have a good enough car"

Absolute NONSENSE. Vettel led the championship for most of the season! He had every chance but blew it. It had nothing to do with the strength of his car. Had he not crashed in Singapore, he would have been LEADING the title race again with only a handful of races left. The Ferrari has been the quicker car in over half the races. Tracks like Australia,either car could have won. Had Vettel not crashed in Baku, Singapore, Mexico etc--this title fight would still be undecided. It's a very poor excuse you are putting forward. As for your picture card, i also put a bet on that Ferrari wouldn't win the constructor's --and it's not because they had a car inferior to Mercedes(because they don't) but because they have a very weak 2nd driver in Kimi. To win the WCC, a team needs 2 relatively consistent drivers and Kimi has been poor for years now. He is way past his prime/best-plus the Ferrari philosophy is to usually throw all their eggs in 1 basket. They usually throw their full support behind their number 1 driver, not really bothering to look at maximising their 2nd driver's results. :

After Vettel's brain farts, throwing away points in Singapore etc this is what Maurizio Arrivabene said- ""We would have won in a normal race. We had the fastest cars in the field. But we will not be discouraged"

James Allen sums it up:
-" Ferrari have built a wonderful car this year, whereas the Mercedes is a bit tricky and temperamental. And yet Ferrari finds itself now out of control of the championship, not least due to valuable points dropped in Baku and Singapore"

Please, stop with this delusional nonsense of yours that the Ferrari car wasn't good enough to challenge. The car was good enough, but the drivers were not.

196

The Ferrari wasn't good enough to challenge this season - it was never going to win the Constructors. The END

197

DELUSIONAL

Speaking today:

“It was a combination of, especially in the second half of the season, technical issues and driver error, or driver misjudgement.....We regret not having done better, but the car is there. It is in my view probably the best car on the track today.” Sergio Marchionne
http://www.planetf1.com/news/ferrari-driver-error-played-a-role-in-title-d

THE END

198

I doubt you had a £12,000 bet like I did at the beginning of the season that Ferrari WOULDN'T Win the Constructors...please see screenshot above on this thread....(When you put you own money where your mouth is, then come and see me - until then you're opinions are just hot-air with no credibility)

199

No, my opinions reflects the F1 experts' view and therefore has credibility. James Allen has said it. Ferrari have said it. ANYONE WHO KNOWS ANYTHING ABOUT F1 HAS SAID IT. You are the one in complete and utter denial. [mod]

200

Ferrari never had a chance this year...sadly, you're a victim of F1's clever marketing.

201

https://twitter.com/autosport/status/927649511735951362

Whereas Mercedes always had at least a 0.7% advantage over their rivals during 2014-16, in 2017 that figure was down to 0.16%.

It's too much to say that Ferrari "never had a chance" this year ... they did. With better drivers they could have won the WDC at least. Having Kimi in the 2nd car is always going to hurt them in the WCC.

202

Sadly, every F1 expert disagrees with you. Sadly, you don't seem to know what you are talking about, Sadly, you seem to be in denial. Maybe you should find another sport that you can actually understand.

End of.

203

Wonderful to hear from the bosses view, which is closest to the truth that Lewis overperformed this year, while Sebastian dealt poorly with the pressure. Of course, this could change next year...

204

Put Alonso in that Ferrari and he would have run Hamilton closer. Vettel cracked big time, and failed to capitalise on the strong car he had.

205

The real headline for "Greatest of All Time" should be for Mercedes. No argument on that front.

206

Cheesypoof, I think you commented on the wrong article....

207

This season has been one of Hamilton’s best. He and Mercedes are fully deserving champions.

Interesting JA to hear you talk of murmuring's within Ferrari's walls about Vettel and his tendency to crack in anything other than a completely dominant car. It was the same in 2009.

Seriously, only 4 wins for THAT car, when Red Bull has pulled off 3, is an extremely poor return.

Does that mean that they'll fast track Leclerc into the 2nd seat for 2019? The saying is "if you can't beat them, join them", so why don't they try everything to get Hamilton in their car?

208

Hamilton racing for my arch-nemesis team would be very confusing indeed...

209

Hamilton racing for my arch-nemesis team

You get used to it after a bit 🙂 I was always a Williams fan and it felt a bit odd cheering McLaren on when Hamilton started to drive for them.

210

The question is when Italian press will start to trash talk Vettel?

211

Do you think there are employee appraisals for drivers in F1? Where the employee gets praised, but always has to get a little negative comment near the end?

Lewis - Gold star, but we expect you to perform every weekend, not just 18 out of 21 You are not getting to choose the post podium music again after Mexico's farce this year, when some loud pointy youngster was playing some modern stuff really loud.

Valtteri - After a very promising start you faded badly. Must get a grip (get it?). You must learn from Sebastian, do not admit errors in public, either ignore the question or rant on the radio to deflect blame. The FIA will turn a blind eye to it if you use these methods.

Sebastian - Cracking first semester. Came back from break distracted, and lacked spatial awareness. Must work on temper. Comment back from Sebastian, post appraisal "F*ck you Sergio, I mean really f*ck you".

Kimi - Kimi, Kimi, where are you Kimi? Oh, I see you, your were under Sebastian's thumb there. Your assessment this year is "laggard". Post appraisal comment from Kimi "Leave me alone, I'm having a sh*t".

Daniel - Always have positive outlook, and forever smiling. Good points haul. Starting to show lack of performance vs younger team mate. Comment back after appraisal from Daniel "How do I get to Brackley from Milton Keynes?".

Max - Doing well with that terrible engine young man. Did we mention the Renault engine is not good? Could do better, if the engine was not so bad. The engine is bad. We want a Mercedes engine to put an Aston Martin badge on pretty please. Its not a TAG, it's a Renault, and it's bad.

Sergio - I thought you were really good in Minority Report. Your team mate is starting to beat you Señor. Before we issue final team orders, how much money do your sponsors bring again?

Esteban - Showing continuous improvement. Soon we will not have tell Sergio to stay behind you. If Daniel goes missing we will know it was you, we're watching you.

Carlos - You have only just joined our team, so too early to say. Sorry we have the same terrible engine as your last team, the plan to badge a Mercedes engine as a Renault is still in its early stages.

Lance - Cheers for the cash. I wish we hadn't said you could have it back if you beat super fast driving god Felipe. At last we have a successor to our list of greats : Jones, Rosberg, Mansell, Piquet, Prost, Senna..... Maldonado, and now.... Stroll.

Felipe - What is the retirement age in Brazil Felipe? Post appraisal comment from Felipe "I bring more to the team than Kubica, De Resta, Wehrlein, Mansell, Fangio, Nuvolari".

Nico - After your graduation to a works team we note that you have not matched the results of the team you have left. That must suck. Normally you are compared to your team mate to calculate your bonus. For this year we have decided to retain your bonus as we feel a meaningful comparisons to your former team mate are not possible (how you say in eeenglish "He was sheet?").

Romain - We have been looking into your accident repair bills, can you avoid the drain covers please as Joyce in Accounts is concerned by the repair overspend this year. Also, why are you named after a lettuce?

Kevin - Is your first name really Kevin, and you are actually Danish? To be honest we don't know how you're doing, we haven't been looking.

Stoffel - Another name issue. Are you not a German Christmas cake? * This appraisal was carried out by mobile phone as Stoffel was walking in the back of the circuit after an engine surprisingly let go. We are giving you top marks and full bonus as you are ahead on points of self professed "Sublime Fernando". Could you post more on social media please - no one knows what you look like at the moment.

Fernando - You are truly sublime, as a reward we are entering you in 2018 for the Daytona 24 hours, Scottish Mini Coopers at Knockhill, the 24 hour Citroen 2CV race at Mondello, and the Red Bull Soap Box challenge (subject to no date clashes). We have sourced the race winning engine from the recent Mexican GP, you will be happy to see a reliable Renault engine behind you next year. Should any engine expire during a GP we will have a private plane standing by to whisk you to any of the before mentioned race series, or if you just want to go to a local indoor karting track to work on your triple crown.

Jo, Joly, John, Jack. No damn it's Jolyon isn't it? - Since we have not seen you for several weeks we assume you have left the company. We will post your P45 to you in due course. Good luck with your job search.

Pascal - After injuring yourself before season start you've done OK. Appraisal abandoned temporarily as Toto arrived. Revised appraisal. Pascal, you're better than Lewis and Fernando, I'm recommending you to Grove.

Daniil - Appraisal carried out in full public view by Helmut Marko. Daniil you have been sh*t for several years now, we have better drivers including ones we cast off five years ago. Your threats to get Vladimir involved do not scare me. Do not prang the hire car on the way to the airport, or I'll deduct it from your final payslip.

Marcus - We are not sure what to say. We know you get in the car, but after that we're struggling. Can you do joint social media posts with Stoffel please - just make sure there are labels telling people who is who.

Antonio - You have outstanding crash repair bills to be paid. Please see to this as soon as possible.

Pierre - Too early to assess, but we'll fly in a top notch team mate for you following The Torpedo's departure. The good news is that we have a works engine deal next year, and its one used by a two time former world champion who says it's like a GP2 engine, which must be better than a GP1 engine for sure.

Brendon - Too early to say. You've been dropped in at the deep end. Initial we thought your 24 hour endurance experience would be good for the stamina required for F1. However, we've subsequently agreed the works Honda engine deal for 2018. Please revise your training and physical preparation to optimise on 20 minute race sessions, followed by 35 minutes walking. Ensure your helmet is suitable for wearing as a pillion on scooters at GPs in all countries as we have a duty of care to you.

212

James

PaulD seems to only have 1 star......after this post I think he deserves 5!!!!!!

213

Utterly brilliant, nearly choked on my tea at one point!!!!!!! Funniest post I have ever read on this site or others re F1.

214

What on earth did I just read...

215

As JA once said, Mercedes "massively outspent and out-thought" the competition. No surprises here!

216

Without sounding picky, but in regarding chassis regulation changes, didn't Williams won the constructors cup in 1994, despite the banning of "electronic aids" such as TC, AS and ABS which had enabled them to win in 1992/93? That was quite a substantial change in regulations!

Also, didn't the Scuderia win the WCC in 1983 a year on from their constructors cup championship - despite a major rule change over the winter of 1982 banning ground effect skirts and venturi tunnels, and mandating flat bottom floors? That was also a huge change in chassis regulations that required a huge amount of burning the midnight oil..........

217

'burning midnight oil' OMG! how long has this oil burning shenanigans been going on?

218

Gaz Boy, you are asking for too much. Most posters on this forum were not even born back in 1994. That is why we just also had an article about 'the all time greatest' which only centered around Hamilton, Vettel, Button, Rosberg and Alonso. ;o)

219

It certainly is a very fine achievement from Mercedes. I’ve said befor that every year since taking over Brawn they have improved and raised the bar to unimaginable heights. All periods of domination eventually end, but by the time this current one does I expect that a lot more records and notable achievements will have also fallen.

220

This is one of the highlights I have been telling ppl that makes what Merc and Hamilton did exceptional as no one else has done it until now. Have to give respect where respect is due. I am still anticipating an epic battle next year with Honda in the mix.

221

but it’s not hard to detect an under current of concern about Vettel’s ability to deliver for Ferrari

Vettel has done many silly mistakes this season. However when will Ferrari wake up and realize that Kimi has been under performing for years now and its costing them constructor points. Surely the constructors is the biggest prize they want.

They should have gotten Sainz/Hulkenberg or enticed Rosberg out of retirement. It will be the same outcome for them next year.

222

Ferrari don't want the constructore, they want the kudos of the WDC - they get plenty of prize money from heritage payments.

223

I have heard time and again that Ferrari puts more value in the driver championship than the constructors as they already get lots of dosh for just being in the sport. They want that driver championship badly but not going too get it with kimi there. As much as I like the bloke he is underperforming. The best of kimi recently was the last half if the last year with lotus. Drove like a champion.

224

Vettel did make some mistakes this season, but he also won them a lot of points with great driving.

225

Seriously well written piece

226

“…it’s not hard to detect an under current of concern about Vettel’s ability to deliver for Ferrari.”

Vettel gets a competitive Ferrari for the first time, fails to win the WDC and you claim there are under currents about Vettel’s ability to deliver? You must also believe that Singapore, Malaysia and Japan were all solely Vettel’s failures? If anything Ferrari have failed to give him a consistent/reliable car. Ask Alonso, he agrees.

227

I think Marchionne is a corporate guy, and is far enough removed from the "lets make sure Seb is happy team" to critically assess the season. He will surmise that the greatest contributing factor to losing the WDC was driver #1 error, and the greatest contributing factor to losing the WCC was driver #2 performance, combined with driver #1 error.
It's not like they don't have options...a small add in the paper will see at least 100% of the field apply, and it's not like they don't have the $ to buy out anyones contract.
Just do it Sergio!!!

228

I couldn't agree more LKFE. Good comment.

229

As everyone knows, car failures are 100% the result of the driver pushing the equipment too hard, like Hamilton in 2016 and Verstappen this year. Vettel only has himself to blame for those failures.

230

They have done a remarkable job, Ferrari ran them close this year, but they still triumphed.

231

...in the second most dominant car in history?

232

Lkfe, not even second LKFE, not rven top ten. If we use win percentage to gauge dominance this years Merc on 61% races won, finishes behind the 14,15 and 16 Mercs obviously, but also behind the;
2013 Red Bull 68%
2011 Red Bull 63%
2004 Ferrari 83%
2002 Ferrari 88%
1993 Williams 62.5%
1992 Williams 62.5%
1988 McLaren 93%!

There may well be others, but I couldn't be bothered to go any further back! Also worth remembering that 61% does flatter the Merc somewhat, looking at races lost that they should have won, there is only Baku, and pinching Singapore from under Ferrari's nose made up for that. In contrast Ferrari failed to win from pole in Singapore, Russia and Mexico, had the fastest car in Malaysia and should have been the ones to punish Merc for their error in Azerbijan.

233

http://www.statsf1.com/en/statistiques/constructeur/victoire/annee.aspx

Sort on the percentage column. At 61%, this year's Mercedes would slot in at the 19th spot.

234

Krb, good site, thanks.

235

What about poll %, or better still front row %? This "qualy mode" is the equivalent to a vial of human growth hormone before a race.

236

LKFE, it's an easy site to navigate.

Constructor pole percentage:

http://www.statsf1.com/en/statistiques/constructeur/pole/annee.aspx

Sort on the percentage column.

This year's Mercedes would be #23 all-time.

I've led you to water. If you want to do front row percentage, you can find it there.

237

Lkfe, Lewis' poles this year puts him 23rd on the 'most poles in a season list'. Front row starts, 13 for Mercedes, and erm 13 for Ferrari, front row lockouts? 2 for Mercedes and three for Ferrari......this isn't going well for you is it?

238

Indeed, it was a remarkable achievement for Mercedes to win titles across different regulations which just points to the fact that perhaps Ferrari lost the titles rather than Mercedes winning them

Ironically, it was Lewis' unreliability woes in 2016 that won him the titles in 2017 because this meant the team put in a lot of effort in making the cars reliable because Wolff had said that the championship will be decided by reliability.

Therefore to beat Mercedes in the future, the rivals have to have a reliable car in addition to cars that can qualify on pole because track position is still important

As for the kitchen table meeting, I think this helped put Lewis in a peaceful place as it helped him see that with Rosberg retired, he no longer had to fear a conspiracy from Stuttgart

Overall, because Lewis was in a happy place in 2017 e.g. thanks to good reliability and team backing, he was able to perform better than ever especially with good mental strength brought about by being happy e.g.

a) After finishing 7th in Monaco with Vettel getting a big lead, he told the team, the fight is not over

b) Through snear mental determination, displayed a you_shall_not_pass move at Spa after the safety car re-start

c) Despite Singapore not suiting the team, went into the weekend with positive energy of wanting to win the race

239

Hi James, great site been a follower for years. What I've really noticed over the last 5 years is how petite the drivers are becoming. An averaged sized person just won't cut it in 2017 - guys like Mansell or Jones would be at the back of the pack in anything less that the very best machinery.

Why dont we look at a minimum weight limit for the driver and seat....say 80 kgs. With any short fall having to be taken up in the seat tub. Webber gave Vettel a 12 kilo start every race for 4 seasons.....at probably a good o.5 sec per lap. This puts greater strain on the car as heavier drivers have to make up the differences by going harder.

I think Hulkenberg is a far better driver than his results suggest but he's consistently giving up 10 kgs per race.

Certainly would level the playing field in a very non technical way and would open the potential drivers field up dramatically.

Brad

240

Be afraid, very afraid. Hopefully the w09 rectifies this years shortcomings and builds on its strengths. Redbull will be strong and maybe mclaren. The 5th wont be easy, just the way we like it.

241

I would like to make a comment which I think has been lost in the past few months and now that the title is Hamilton.

The race that Hamilton asked for the team to issue team orders on Bottas for him to have an attack and if he was not successful that he would give back that place.

At the time it seems madness, giving points away, but hindsight being so wonderful, meant that he didn't really need those points in the end, but wow. GOOD on you for giving back that place.

That is the one moment I will remember about 4 times Hamilton winning year.

No wonder that there is great spirit within the team.

Good for you Lewis, hats off for that moment.

242

This has been a fantastic period for Mercedes, from the management through to the engineers and the drivers. I hope this is not lost on Michael who must in some part be responsible for the early days breakthrough.

I think after the dust settles Ferrari will realised they produced a fantastically quick car, a huge step over 2016 and had a golden opportunity to take at least the WDC. I think Vettel himself has not had his best season and question marks must hang over his temperament and ability to lead the biggest team of them all.

243

Major regulation change yes, but this is a very much engine dominated F1 at the moment and that clearly did not change this year and probably was the main reason Mercedes still came out on top

244

Mercedes managing to win either side of a major regulation change is, as the article says, unprecedented. It's an astonishing achievement, but who gets the credit? The drivers do their bit (the cars don't drive themselves) and the engineers theirs but I also think a great deal of the credit must come down to the leadership of Wolff. Successful Teams like that don't run themselves and it all starts with the person at the top - he comes across on TV as a genial sort of character but there must be a core of steel to have achieved what he has - rich beyond the dreams of avarice, director at Williams and then Mercedes plus he's in charge of all Mercedes Benz motorsport activities (quite a CV). An iron fist in a velvet glove perhaps.
If possible James I'd be interested to get your insight on his character.

245

@ C63...How much were you paid for the infomercial? I bet they don't know of your defection from the ranks of ownership!!!!

246

Out of interest, which part of my comment was inaccurate kenneth?

Do you know, I'm so looking forward to seeing how you manage things if Ric get's the drive at Merc in 2019 (personally I don't think he will, but that's neither here nor there really). How will you manage to be pleased for the opportunity it presents to Ric and at the same time remain true to yourself? You'll surely be obliged to dismiss any success that Ric has there as nothing more than the consequence of being lucky enough to land the seat. Any wins will be nothing more than any competent driver could manage given the same chance. You will have to elevate the art of running with the hare and the hounds to new heights - exceeding your previous performances with the stewards decisions by some margin. I can hardly wait 🙂

247

@ C63..you are becoming one confused dude. My post was TIC and you get all snide and snippy! I usually don't get too carried away with hypotheticals but i doubt that anyone can accurately foresee where Ricciardo will finish up in '19. Some say Merc and some say Ferrari but then again he may remain at RB?. As for the possibility of DR getting 'lucky' if he lands a Merc drive and my subsequent attitude? Well let's just say that until that happens i will keep my powder dry. Conversely, what will you say if DR does get a drive with Merc and he takes a few wins...how would you react to him beating your four time WDC champ? Was it the car, was it the driver? Hamilton is good, and he is fast but is he one of the greatest, no, not in my book. Put Hamilton in in a '17 Red Bull and and would he be WDC? Your call.

248

Hmm, well let's see. On one side we have this:

"Hamilton one of the all-time greats" ~ Ross Brawn

"Hamilton one of the greatest ever" ~ Damon Hill

"Lewis definitely one of the best drivers in the history of F1" ~ Felipe Massa

"He's probably the most gifted driver that's ever driven a F1 car" ~ Jenson Button

"Lewis is the best driver on the grid. Lewis is something special" ~ Sergio Perez

"He’s a champion of our generation. He won races when the car was dominant, when it was good & when it was not good." ~ Fernando Alonso

"Lewis has driven like a god this season. He has proved he is the best on the grid and deserves his success. He is possibly the best ever — he is certainly up there with the best we’ve ever seen." ~ Niki Lauda

"Lewis Hamilton is an F1 great, a global icon - even those who have been reluctant to support him should see that now." ~ David Coulthard

"I would like to say there is a group of people who were outstanding — and Lewis is on that list." ~ Jackie Stewart

... then on the other side:

"One of the greatest? No, not in my book" ~ kenneth

Geez, I dunno ...

249

ROFL! That put Kenneth's nose out of joint!

Add to that list of quotes, Daniel Ricciardo- he thinks Lewis is F1's current benchmark. But what do they all know? Kenneth is the fountain of wisdom! LOL!

250

@ Buffy....Not at all. The biggest problem is that there are too many clowns and only one circus! hahaha

251

Krb, Ha ha, it certainly is tough when the experts can't agree.....

252

I agree with your final comment.

253

Geez, I dunno ...

On the one hand we have a list of some of F1's greatest luminaries and on the other, kenneth.......wak wak oops.

254

Webber told me he considers Hamilton the best since Senna - so that includes Schumacher and Alonso

255

@ James, as Sir Jackie said to Sky/Hill said when presented with the full on gushing act post race, that Hamilton [over the past three years] had a 'massive advantage'.

256

had a 'massive advantage'.

You cannot reasonably only pick out part of what JYS said. He then went on to say that Hamilton put himself in that position by choosing to go to Mercedes when he did. JYS also had the grace to admit that he was wrong when he had publicly said Hamilton was making a mistake leaving McLaren.

257

@ C63...I didn't see you put that same point across to "shadow #2' in his comments either?

258

@ C63...so why did 'shadow#2' fail to mention both other components of SJS's comments? Selective reasoning to suit ones own agenda. The cigar remains firmly locked in the box.

259

shadow#2 ??? I'm afraid you've lost me kenneth - maybe you've lost yourself as well 🙂

260

Webber also called Hamilton a God after qualifying at Austin 🙂

261

Did he? So what? Webber has his opinion and i have mine. Nice try though.

262

Nice try though.

What was a nice try? I wasn't trying anything.

263

C63, it seems dodging the question and changing the subject will be the preferred method......

264

dodging the question

It will be amusing to watch. We've had several years of 'it's all the car" "Mercedes juggernaut' , 'qualifying modes only available to them' etc from kenneth, LKFE and others. I for one shall be watching with interest to see how they change tune if Ric stumbles into the second seat at Merc.

265

@ C63....So, continuing with the hypotheticals, if DR manages to take wins off Hamilton, in the unlikely event that he drives for Mercedes in '19 what will it be? Will he be better than this 'all time F1 god that you prattle on about incessantly?' Now that would be a take down eh? Or would you suggest that it was the car? Conversely, consider this,
Hamilton driving Red Bull = No WDC
Hamilton driving Mercedes= 3WDC's equals what?
A dominant race car.
Ricciardo driving red Bull = no WDC
Ricciardo driving Mercedes = possible race wins, possible WDC

What value the car then? Now what tune would we change. I would think, but i don't really know, that i would simply a good driver in a great car. That's the same thing that i say now in regards to Hamilton.

266

What value the car then?

Really kenneth - this has been done to death but once more for your benefit. Top teams hire top drivers and top teams retain top drivers services for as long as they deliver. Mercedes (a top team) hired Hamilton and have retained his services - QED....Hamilton is a top driver.
Look at it another way - Danny Ric stays at Toro Rosso or even worse, HRT. No wins. What value the car?
One thing I need to correct you on though - it was Mark webber who called Hamilton a God, not me (I thought it a bit OTT). No matter though, now I know how it annoys you I will be sure to mention it more frequently 🙂

267

@ C63....yes, this debate is going absolutely nowhere, why? You raised a hypothetical concerning Ricciardo going to Mercedes and i responded. You chose to obfuscate and reply to my question? I am more than happy to move on safe in the knowledge that you are very much like a 'one trick pony' when it comes to front up to point in question.

268

If Ricciardo took wins in a Mercedes, how would that prove that he's better than Hamilton? Bottas has taken 2 wins this year, and no one would say he's been better than Hamilton this year. I would expect Ricciardo to take wins if he was in the W08 this year ... it's whether he could beat Lewis over a season that would matter. I don't think he would've been able to. Ricciardo, despite leading Max on points this season, is being outperformed to a higher degree than he's ever been, in his F1 career. There's no reason to believe that he would be outperforming Hamilton this year, given how he's faring against Max.

To win championships, any driver needs a good car. That's always been the case in F1. However, the top teams with the best cars usually also have the best drivers driving them. As with this year, when the cars between two teams are close, having the best drivers in the car can make the difference between winning and losing.

I recall what Paddy Lowe said in the Friday Press Conference at Japan this year:

"Yeah, we’re always ambitious to move forwards as all teams are and I think we recognise that the driver or drivers are a very key element in the team. Clearly you need a quick car as well, but the driver is probably the single most important factor in the end to take the package forward and score the points and indeed win races. I’ve seen that in the past, what a difference drivers can make to the race proposition, so it’s a very important decision."

Hmm, I wonder what drivers he's thinking about there?

269

Rosberg obviously.

270

LOL! See kenneth, you can be haha funny at times too! Cheers! 😃

271

Put Hamilton in in a '17 Red Bull and and would he be WDC?

I'm not sure what your point is - would any of the drivers champions of the past have taken the title in that car? A resounding no would be my answer. It's been far to unreliable apart from anything else. How do you see it then? Do you think any of them would?

As for Danny Ric, if he gets the drive I'd be surprised if he didn't take a few wins but I doubt that he'd beat Ham over the course of a season. Danny Ric isn't quick enough in quali and that would give him too steep a mountain to climb in the races. Of course unreliability can skew the results (Ros 2016) and you sometimes get odd outcomes but all things being equal I don't think he's quite quick enough.

272

@ C63 As usual, fudging the inevitable. Forget the Red Bull unreliability. The fact is that Hamilton has had the best car on the grid and that has been established over the past four seasons. Put him, the greatest since Senna and Shumacher et al, in the Red Bull and he'd do no better than the Red Bull drivers. As for 'any WDC's from the past , that is a non starter. We are talking about Hamilton here despite your attempt to differentiate.So let's just simplify this. You suggest that Hamilton wouldn't have taken the WDC in the Red Bull. Yet put him, the very same driver, into a Mercedes and he does win!! So what's the differentiation...the car. The driver's the same or isn't he?. My contention is that Ricciardo in a Mercedes would, after initial familiarisation, would be a serious challenge to the almighty great one. Maybe DR would get trashed, pity that it's unlikely to ever know.

273

that has been established over the past four seasons.

Three seasons yes, but four? I think there is some debate to be had over that. But either way, yes, Hamilton has had access to some good equipment. But we've been over this point many, many times - top teams choose top drivers (only after the most intense scrutiny of their performance). They always have and they always will - why - because they deliver the results.
I'm not fudging the issue - you are the one who introduced the comparison with the all time greats. Perhaps you could remind which of the all time greats did their winning in sub standard equipment. Over to you....

274

@ C63....Dodging the issue. The others names were not referential in performances related to out debate. What a sneaky fellow you are...Just tackle the point in post 253...what's the differentiation?

275

@ C63...I have justread your latest ramble. As i sai d more than once...just answer my hypothetical i[n reponse to yours.] You won't because the net result is that it's the 'car'. I have no appetite to keep arguing with you. It's like talking to brick wall. You keep throwing up diversions that are without merit. Have a nice day,

276

@kenneth

You have no appetite because you know you are wrong. You know it and I know it. I will indeed have a good day, thank you - secure in the knowledge that you capitulated 🙂

277

@kenneth
Dodging the issue - coming from you. That's a laugh 🙂
You know very well that your logic is flawed but despite this very obvious fact you continue to flog an already dead horse. F1, as you know, is a meritocracy where the best talent is hired by the best teams - drivers earn the right to gain access to the best equipment, engineers, tacticians etc. Danny Ric started in an HRT and was good enough to be promoted to Toro Rosso and then Red Bull. Whether he is good enough to be considered for a seat at the very top table is currently being decided by those with the power to make it so. Hamilton, on the other hand, was considered good enough by Ron Dennis (now there's someone who knows a thing or two with 50 odd years at the sharp end of racing) to be put straight into a race winning capable car and from there on he earned the right for promotion to Mercedes where he has continued to earn the right to remain in that seat. If he wasn't up to the job Mercedes, as you know, would move him on and get someone else who was. If you disagree with my assessment perhaps you would be kind enough to point out the flaws in my argument. Over to you....

278

"The fact is that Hamilton has had the best car on the grid and that has been established over the past four seasons."

3 seasons, but not this year....there are very good arguments to be made that the Ferrari has been this year's best car----certainly the likes of Marchionne and many within the paddock agrees.

279

@ Buffy....So what does the Mercedes winning the WCC mean to you? Did you see the margins? Surely you must be blind if you don't understand the results.

280

Just goes to show how good that Merc engine is. Hell, take all the aero off and it would still win !

281

take all the aero off

I realise your comment is somewhat tongue in cheek, but aero along with tyre management (intertwined factors) are the most important performance differentiators. Tyre temperature can make a difference of seconds/lap - PU accounts for tenths.

282

Unlike anyone I have met in that role before

Clearly entrepreneurial but with understanding of how to push buttons at a corporate level with Daimler

283

If there is ever a book written by Toto, I'll be first in line to buy. The way he got to where he is, is truly inspirational. Just knowing what choices to make at a given time and sticking by your choices.

284

Thanks James - entrepreneurial and yet able to satisfy corporate requirements. Quite the skill set!

285

No doubt Wolff is a competent operator but he lost my support when he rolled over to Hamilton after Hamilton defied team orders. "there'll be no anarchy in my team' then he backs off, totally weak.

286

then he backs off, totally weak.

Or maybe he was strong enough to admit he was wrong.

287

@ C63...No he wasn't strong at all. He was as weak as dishwater. Wolff panicked when Rosberg cashed in and Wolff went at the knees in order to satisfy Hamilton. That is, IMO,an indication that he's spineless. Wolff was the team principal and he put Lowe in an untenable position. That is poor management. To think that Wolff would be happy to see his top driver push his other Mercedes driver, on the very brink of a WDC, into being beaten by a Ferrari, who are the arch enemy, is, in my book, unthinkable. "A core of steel, rich beyond the dreams of avarice' then he folds like a cheap origami flamingo. Are you joking?

288

Yet despite all your ranting - Wolff is still in charge at Mercedes F1, he is still in charge of all Mercedes Motorsport activity and he is still richer than Croesus.
Maybe - and I'm just putting this out there - you are wrong and all those others are right.

289

@ C63....Whether Wolff can control Hamilton is a moot point and after his cringeworthy Abu Dhabi 'climbdown' i would question your analysis but i do agree that he has a substantial amount of $$$ which i would readily like to claim ownership of.

290

Whether Wolff can control Hamilton

I think it was Flavio who likened a young F1 driver to being similar to owning a lion cub - they grow up to be Lions! (he was talking about MSC). The point being that all truly talented drivers can be a handful to manage - they know their worth and they use that to get what they want. Look at how the likes of Fangio, Senna, Prost, MSC have all operated. Hamilton is no different and, as you will soon see, Max will not be either.

291

Sure there's been a major change in chassis and aero, but this turbo hybrid era has proved to be dominated by the engine regs, and they haven't really changed, so i think this is false praise.
Merc are to be congratulated for completely gapping the field in 2014, but everything since then has been a blight on the sport. The FIA's refusal to allow in season development, engine allocations, grid penalties and fuel and fuel flow controversies have all only strengthened the hand of the most well resourced team in the competition, and it's been road block after road block for everybody else.

Lewis' season was his greatest since 2008 (if not better), but unfortunately for him the inequity of performance in the cars will remain an asterisk on his personal achievements. The LHFC will say that one team has always dominated, and that's F1. That's true to an extent (Schumacher years at Ferarri would have a similar asterisk), but the numbers don't embellish the facts....
Since 2014
77 Races
69 Polls (89.6%)
62 Wins (80.5%) -of the opposition 15 wins, IMO 10 were on merit, the other 5 were self inflicted/mechanical (Can'14, Bel'14, Spn'16, Mal'16, Azb'17)...add those back and the win rate is 87%.
I really hope Danny Ric gets to drive this thing, but part of me will be sad that he will probably be only racing one other guy...

292

@ LKFE...a sound analysis and one which i fully support. very well said.

293

Why would the dominance of the car be an asterisk on his personal achievements.? All WDC,s have been won in a mostly dominant car....the best drivers gravitate towards the best cars...... Alonso excepted. I think its just an excuse to try and belittle Hamilton.
Lewis has won a race in every one of his seasons in F1 even in 2009 & 2011 when the car was not very good.
I rate drivers on there performance not on statistics which is why I still consider Fernando to be only driver equal to Lewis in the current era .....with Max potentially joining them.