Analysis: Winning F1 title across a major rule change the greatest achievement
Posted By: James Allen  |  01 Nov 2017   |  1:28 pm GMT  |  379 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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I think LH’s greatest achievement is dodging the £3,300,000 in tax on the purchase of his private jet. Well done LH, great achievement. (


Hahahah and for that he ‘would welcome a knighthood’. What a joke if it was so crude.


@everyone who responded about Hamilton vs. Rossberg last year with bad Starts….

I should have said terrible. I remember one terrible start by Rossberg in Germany. Someone else mentioned 3 more. Rossberg claimed that at Suzuka his smaller legs gave him a 0.04 second advantage over Hamilton’s weight and he got pole by 0.03. So that got inside Hamilton’s head and he finished 3rd. I remember that Hamilton had not just bad but terrible starts in 2016. Spain was probably one place this year where he got an OK start but not exactly good or the USA for that matter but he recovered and won those.

Last year it just a race between two guys. If someone else got ahead of both cars the only thing that matter last year was which of the two cars were ahead in turn 1 and the other car followed for the rest of the race.

I think as far as pure pace goes Hamilton is one of the best if not the best I have ever seen.

As far as working with hundreds of engineers and giving an opinion on where the car needs to go faster during development goes I don’t know how good he is at that now? So I don’t think Rossberg really beat him last year on pace. It might have been that communications thing mostly.

He is faster than Vettel on pure pace but Vettel seems to have put in the work to really turn Ferrari around. Maybe Hamilton made that Mercedes car a diva haha.

After I said lets wait and see. I saw an interview with Jenson Button that said working with your team is still pretty important. You can have all of the computer simulations and wind tunnels you like but car still has to have a driver. Hamilton worked with that in 2016 to get clutch stuff to work for him better but he didn’t get it right from the beginning. If the reliability was there he would have won in 2016 anyhow. Point being if you have to find a way maybe you can do that in another way than simply being fast.

Getting the pole and then winning the race are way more important than having the fastest lap. In fact next year it might be about winning the race as slowly as possible to save the engine.

I’m also beginning to think the worse thing in F1 is the difference between the big 3 and the rest of the field. Changing the rules usually just widens a gap somewhere. If you change the engine rules then money has to be spent on development again. The other manufacturers will catch up. The same goes for aero. The only way I see to make things fair is to have cap on spending but probably the best case is increasing the number of standard parts like the tires are already.


More dumb headed peddling from ‘ Forza Ferrari’ 😁. More peddling of the Voodoo science of how pace and technical understanding parts ways when it comes to car No 44. And giving us tales about the importance of driver and engineers communication from Button, the man who turned the fastest car of 2012 into one of the slowest. And Vettel the hard working engineering genius got his setups perfect on every track this season 😁😁.


McLaren-Honda (don’t laugh)?

Senna won in 1988.

1989 turbos were banned, Honda had to produce a new engine. McLaren had to design a new car for that engine.

They won the next 3 championships.


@whomever asked how many bad Starts Rossberg had last year. I remember 1. If Hamilton had focused on just how good Rossberg was he might have beat him anyhow. It was probably because he had won easily in 2015 and got over confident.

It is true that Mercedes switched crews which possibly caused problems with reliability. Its also true that Rossberg didn’t get great starts but Hamilton had some terrible ones.

Comparing Hamilton to people in the past is futile. I do think as of now he is the best driver of generation but to know if he is the best depends on what Vettel does in the future.

Max is probably going to be a great driver too and may end up better than either one. Alonso may be the best driver on the grid but really he is of another generation so it’s possible neither Vettel nor Hamilton will get another WDC if Red Bull or even McLaren have the best car until 2021. Who knows?

Yeah Hamilton messes with people but so did his opponents. Rossberg in 2016 when he qualified second he always mentioned getting a better start was in the cards on Sunday. Vettel does stuff too but I think it will make Hamilton not retire until it’s not possible for Vettel to out do him.

I don’t always like what Hamilton says because he wears what he thinks on his sleeve. He is character for sure. Vettel is catching up on that but hey that’s what F1 needs. It keeps things interesting when there is more than one superstar diva racing each.

Hamilton really has nothing to prove about being one of the best there is across 3 major differences in the formula 2 engines and 1 aero change. I don’t think from 2014 through 2016 cars suited Vettels driving style. Anyway I think Hamilton can get into just about car and get the most out of it most of the time. Alonso for sure has that quality about him.

The statistics are there but there are those intangibles. Iif Vettel manages to win a lot of races and get another WDC with the prancing horse then both are maybe just as good as Schumi because it’s really a team sport and Schumi stayed with the same guys across two teams. That may not be possible now. Imagine Toto Wolf and company going to Ferrari?

So you have to have a great team. The driver is just part of the whole thing. Mercedes is very methodical while Ferrari thought outside the box with their car. KR is a world champion yet Vettel outshines him by a wide margin.

I say as a fan that I want to see a real battle between Vettel and Hamilton with both teams giving them both a fast and reliable car and it gets decided on the track instead of grid penalties and car reliability.
A 4 way fight like 2010 but no one eliminated until the last race.


Rosberg had bad starts last year in Canada, Germany, Hungary, and USA.

Last year the teams still had some considerable contribution to the driver’s start. Now that it is all down to the driver, Hamilton hasn’t had a bad start all year.


“” some considerable contribution “” tell me.. what was this contribution?
Last year was and is the same as this year regarding the technique during starts.


Perhaps a few minutes of research would have helped you here?

Previously it was possible for an engineer to map the settings in a way that most of the movement on the steering wheel paddle would be in the ‘sweet spot’ of the clutch, meaning the starts remained straightforward for drivers.

Straightforward, or not straightforward, but out of the driver’s control.


It shows how dominant the Mercedes V6 hybrid is (kudos to them), that with a lesser chassis they can still clinch the title.


Then why are Force India & Williams not competing at the front if the Merc engine is the be all and end all?


The Mercedes engine IS the be all and end all…how many Constructors Championships have they won in this rubbish hybrid era….ALL OF THEM (and easily too)


If you don’t know the answer to that then you haven’t been doing your homework!!!


I hope this is not a serious question..


@ james B…The ‘shadow’ has once again jumped in with his normal attempt to belittle my opinions. That’s interesting, insofar as he bags my comment but doesn’t do the exact same to James, who actually stated that a customer team will never beat a factory team vis a vis engines. Obviously the “shadow’ is better informed than Dear old James, or at least he thinks so. I’ll leave it up to you to decide who’s ‘blowin smoke’.


I assume you are a subscriber to the “works engine better than customer engine” conspiracy theory? Dear old Kenneth talks about doing homework to learn about this, but the fact is there is no evidence anywhere to support the idea that Mercedes are lying when they say they supply “identical engines, and identical modes” to themselves and their customers. Here’s a serious question for you, what makes you think they don’t?


Tim, It’s a well established and admitted fact that the works team get to use more extreme mode than the customer teams.


What?! Evidence please. Who admitted it?


@ LKFE…the ‘shadow’ won’t dare call James out on this issue…why?


Lkfe. It maybe a “well established and admitted fact” amongst commenters on this and other sites, but in reality it is nothing of the sort.


Wider operating windows, better tyre loading, being able to follow in dirty air etc are all the makings of a superior F1 car. It’s not just about having a good engine. PLUS, having a driver who can exploit the car’s potential, The Ferrari was arguably the overall best car package but their drivers failed to capitalise.


Ferrari were inferior and never had a realistic chance of winning the Constructors this year.


Rubbish. Their drivers were inferior, not the car


In 2001 Pete Sampras – considered one of the greatest players in history- winning streak of 31 matches on grass ended by the hands of a 19 year old kid from a country where hardly anyone had been successful in the sport. Pistol Pete would never won a Grand Slam again, and the kid grew to be the greatest the world had ever seen.

In 2017 Lewis Hamilton – considered one of the greatest drivers in history – was beaten at a Grand Prix by a 20 year old kid from a country where hardly anyone had been successful in the sport….

We’ll see.


@ Robert…Pete Sampras was the most boring tennis champ ever to grace a court. I’ve seen more endearing housebricks!!!


Is your last name Doonbos by chance?

I do recall a 2x reigning champion in 2006 who was expected to dominate and win title upon title. Then a precocious rookie hit the scene in 2007, and the 2x champ is still a 2x champ 11 seasons later.


Lots of seb ha^^*s on here,not sure why. As far as I can see he and ferrari have done a wonderful job in closing the gap to the mighty Mercedes and Hamilton combination. Yes Hamilton won and is a worthy 4 time champion,but better made them work for it and made it a battle at least. Can you imagine how bad this year’s championship would have been if ferrari had an average car😣exactly. So let’s all clap and aploud everyone for making it worth watching and be greatful that true racers where there heart on there sleeve 👏👏👏


To think back in the day when Christian Horner used to work in The Fox pub in Farthinghoe when he used to tell the folk from BAR and Prodrive that Lewis and Jenson would never win the world championship still makes me choke with laughter to this very day!!!


Is Farthinghoe a place…or an old girlfriend, Jim?


@ LKFE…hahaha. well spotted.


I very much doubt that any changes introduced could’ve possibly changed the outcome. Mercedes were so far in front last season that it was unlikely that they would stumble. I personally don’t see this as any major achievement. With upwards of half a billion $’s [according to Ross Brawn] and a staff of approximately 1500 people it is simply no surprise at all.


Whats the money got to do with it.?
Ferrari spend more by all accounts and Red Bull and McLaren are up there also.
Mercedes just did a better job……….with little bit of help from Lewis. 🙂


@ Gazza…now that is just silly. What is the major beef from all the teams apart from Red Bull. Mercedes and Ferrari? Think clearly before you post.


Sorry kenneth but do you really expect one of the second tier teams to challenge for either championship.?
If you did, you should have made it clear in your original post, I’m not a mind reader.


@ Gazza clearly you have vastly compromised interpreative skils. The second tier teams have been screaming for years that they need more money in order to challenge…then you say ‘what’s money got to do with it’. ??????


@kenneth….drop the patronising comments…..totally unbecoming.

Your making a debate out of nothing…….of course the rule changes didn’t address the financial inequality between the top 4 teams and the rest.
I was only ever including Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren as having the same spending power as Mercedes as I plainly stated.

You seem to think that Mercedes has an unfair finacial advantage over them because of its 1500 staff etc, etc. …or am I wrong.?


@ gazza…now you’re more confused than before. My comments are far from patronising. The fact is, AFAIK, that Ferrari employ somewhere in the region of 800 people directly and indirectly on the F1 program. The details are sketchy as are the locations insofar as Ferrari also employ a number of people at a Milan facility as well as at Maranello. As for their total spend, no one really knows as it isn’t publically available however it may be in the future. What i do know is that Mercedes have a massive organisation and technical facilities that are probably the best in the world. I certainly wouldn’t rank McLaren in the same mold at all. Red Bull, have about the same number of people as Ferrari , AFAIK. Of course Mercedes have an advantage. To think otherwise makes no sense whatsoever. Results rather prove that point.


Kenneth. 800 people at Ferrari? In the chassis dept maybe, but you always quote the total number at Mercedes from Engine and Chassis plants. Heres a link that shows just how skint poor old Ferrari are…..



my comments are far from patronising”

Yet you start every reply with one, you just can’t help yourself. 🙂

Just one thing ……big budgets do not guarantee success…..F1 has loads of examples of teams that have spent big and got nowhere … does not confer an definative advantage.

Which is why a lot of people see Mercedes retention of of the WCC & WDC as a big achievement……not you of course. 🙂


@ Gazza…seeing as you are one making accusations here please supply samples of my ‘patronising remarks’..just to refresh my memory. Big budgets do realise WCC’s and WDC’s. Show me one team that doesn’t have a ‘BIG’ budget and has won both titles consistently and consecutively over the past 7 years. Honda and Toyota had massive budgets but their failure was not down to money but to ‘expertise’. Big money/budgets allow the acquisition ofhuge personnel power, facilities and especially the best brains on offer.


Kenneth, any news on the long awaited comparative staff and budget numbers for Red Bull and Ferrari yet? No? Didn’t think so….


As we look forward to next year, what crash clip will Sky use in the opening credits?
– Singapore start
– Ocon / Perez @ Baku
– Max / Kimi overtake @ COTA
– Baku bump fest
– Max / Seb / Ham at lap 1 in Mexico, Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez


Has to be Singapore. Season defining.


It’ll be Toto and his bench Neil….


Looking over Vettel’s career, it’s fairly clear that he’s not a naturally gifted racer. He’s compensated for that over the years by making use of his courage – his pass on Alonso on the outside at Monza on a wet track was breathtaking, and there are lots of other examples – and he’s become skilled at passing people 1-to-1. However put him in a mix of various drivers, under pressure, or sustained racing round various corners and his weaknesses are exposed. He lacks the instinctive sense of surrounding space and set of reflexes that someone like Hamilton, Alonso or Verstappen possesses. He was superb in qualifying – another strong point of his – at various times this year. But if you’ve mostly got the best race car, but not the best qualifying car, then it follows that you need a good racer to make up the difference and exploit the car’s potential. And that’s what Ferrari missed. It’s workable for them, if they can get Vettel on pole more often next year. But with Verstappen at a resurgent Red Bull, it’s more likely they’ll be sharing with the other two teams (and who knows what McLaren may achieve in 2018). The other Ferrari problem is Raikkonen. He just is not at the level of the other ‘second drivers’, even Bottas whose confidence was knocked for six this season. They have absolutely no chance, zero, of winning the constructors while he’s there. And the driver’s championship is jeopardized by lacking another potential race winner, taking big points off rivals when Vettel underdelivers or has a mechanical issue.


Hi James,
Thanks for the informative article, as always!
Interesting point about building concern about Vettel’s ability to deliver. Do you think that there will be a point where Ferrari’s patience simply runs out?


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

Really?! Vettel knows how to win titles as he’s proven. Ferrari hasn’t won in so long that their last champion retired, came back to racing, drove for a different team, and now is much past his prime. Their engine is subpar, their chassis just became interesting this year, reliability is in shambles, and their in season development is at best third on Grid. Vettel should be least of their issues


Vettel won when he had dominant cars. The two years (’09 & ’17) where he was in equally matched cars he made mistakes at crucial junctures, that ultimately halted his title challenge in those seasons.


I reckon if ROS was in the frame this year he would have beaten HAM to the title. He knew the tyres better last year and would have been good to see HAM squirm under the pressure rather than taking it easy with BOT as a teammate.


Gimme a break! Just look at their points-per-finish averages in races not affected by unreliability, and you’ll find that Lewis was comfortably ahead of Rosberg. I would expect that Hamilton would have widened the performance gap this year, if Rosberg had stayed on. I think he knew it too, hence why he skedaddled.


W head, but Lewis’ car didn’t break down once this year…..


He only beat him last year because of reliability problems…..normal service would have been resumed.


Thanks, James!

I still think that the 2016 title was given to Rosberg because he and Mercedes secretly agreed to let him have it, and then quit the team for good. Hamilton’s Malaysia (Petronas) engine fire could tell us something. By the way, did Hamilton get back his mechanics who Rosberg stole last season?


Not as crazy as it sounds, though people will label it a a mad conspiracy theory. However, I predict this will be in Lewis’s book when he retires. And people will label it as a mad conspiracy theory then as well.


Eventually, at some point of the year , team has to make a difficult decision to favor 1 driver to maximise their championship position. If they start equally from the beginning…

Tornillo Amarillo

No need to publish this: I found that now when I write a comment Name and Email field don’t show the autofilling (don’t show our name when we write the first letter). So it is annoying to have to write everything each time… Thanks.

Tornillo Amarillo

Wolff is exceptional as Horner as a team principal. Besides him, this year even Lauda got better!!
Nico Rosberg is just a line in the story of F1. He just chickened out.
Hamilton is a living legend, so enjoy it now. He only wanted 3 WDC, but then he raise the bar and say he want the 5th, to be better than Vettel and Prost.
Vettel was lucky in the Newey-Red Bull because he had no competition most of the time, and now he shows is not a complete Champion, maybe yes next year, he cannot fail in Ferrari…
But Max is already here…
We face a very nice period of 5 years ahead of us in Formula 1, with differents winners, Champagne and cheese…


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…


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


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.


Gazza, a sound analysis, and one which I fully support. Very well said.


@gazza, asterisk, as in footnote, as in a Ben Johnson world record or something like that, except all within the “rules”. My beef is with the “rules”, not with Lewis’ greatness.
Using your rating logic, you rate Fernando the equal of Lewis…so what was the difference in their performance in the WDC this year? Lewis is on 333 points and Fernando is on 11.
Is it the car?
Is it qualy mode? (i nearly forgot that one)..
Is it lack of in-season development?
Is it engine allocations?
Is it grid penalties?
Is it fuel and fuel flow controversies?

Or is there some other reason?


@LKFE…I’m just talking about the purely human performance.
Not easily quantifiable but still something that can be identified….hence the inclusion of Stirling Moss and Jacques Villeneuve in a lot of peoples greatest drivers of all times lists


Oops I meant Gilles Villeneuve obviously


Lkfe, Your point is that just because a driver racks up big numbers in a dominant car, this doesn’t mean he is better than other drivers in lesser machinery, my point is that, it doesn’t mean he isn’t either. In fact when you think about it, surely it’s more likely that a team capable of producing a car like that would want the best driver to drive it? You might say that it wouldn’t matter who drove it, and Merc could have had Hulkenberg or someone like that for 10% of Lewis’ retainer, but the fact remains that they chose to spend big and get a top driver, just like all the other dominant teams in the sport’s history. Lewis doesn’t have any asterisks next to his stats, neither does Seb or Michael, those stats are a function of those drivers ability to make themselves attractive to the top teams, and retain their places within those teams for ling enough to rack up those big numbers.
None of us know who the best driver of all time is, we don’t even know for sure who the best of the current crop is, we can only say that there is a group of drivers who mark themselves out as being a bit special, we see it on track and the teams see it in the data they use to make their driver selections.


TimW, a sound analysis, and one which I fully support. Very well said.


part of me will be sad

I’m tempted to ask you how’s the fishing this morning – catch any good ones? But hey, let’s leave that aside and while we’re at it let’s not dwell overly long on the inaccuracies in your post,
What I will remember though, is your claim to be sad if Danny Ric gets the gig at Merc (I don’t think he will, but that’s another story)…..every race he wins I will be reminding you of what you said 🙂



“if Danny Ric gets the gig at Merc”

A little bit off subject but if he was fortunate to get the gig at Merc at least Lewis would have a far more competitive driver on the other side of the garage than the one he has now. Wasn’t it Lewis who said it would be a “privilege” to have Dan as his team mate and Lewis doesn’t mince his words. Even you put Dan ahead of Bottas talent wise who has seemed to have gone MIA post the mid season break.

But if I understand LKFE correctly Dan might only be racing against Lewis (if they were teamed) because I don’t think Vettel can match it mentally with either of them and depending upon the PU Max has under him he may not be able to compete at the front end of the grid. Time will tell.

But all credit to your guy who has been untouchable this year even given that the car hasn’t been as dominant as in previous years.


a far more competitive driver on the other side of the garage

And with Toto busy telling the world how much better the atmosphere has been within the team this season – now that the competition between the two sides of the garage has been dulled a little – how will installing Danny Ric improve that situation? Not at all is how it will improve it.
A #1 driver who wins the WDC and a #2 who’s good enough that they win the WCC works just fine. Why rock the boat?


@ C63…conversely, how will installing Ricciardo in the opposite garage cause any disharmony especially when your man considered having Ricciardo in the opposite garage a ‘privilege’? Sounds like two things to me…firstly a chance to [not so subtly] diss on Ricciardo and maybe just a twinge of despair that Ricciardo might just take some of the glamour away from your ‘god’. No?


Ricciardo might just take some of the glamour away from your ‘god’

Lol – A 5 time winner and 1 time pole sitter taking glamour away from a 62 time winner and 72 time pole sitter with 4 WDC’s. That’s a good one 🙂 I reckon that Ric would do well to concentrate on getting on top of Max before he looks any higher up the ladder. Don’t you?
Oh, and I keep telling you; he’s Mark Webber’s God – not me, I never said that. Try and remember it kenneth – it’s not hard.


C, you’re not really reflecting your boy in a very good light here? Even Lewis has said he welcomes the competition from any driver and it would be a privilege to race against Dan.
But you are arguing that they shouldn’t rock the boat and instead retain some mediocrity on the other side of the garage? Is that just to keep Lewis happy?
Given what went on when Rosberg got ahead of him, and the things he said etc…you might be right…
Best off keeping him happy on his way to another 4 hey?
Then he’ll truly be the greatest ever!!


not really reflecting your boy in a very good light here

Remind me L, which of Hamiltons team mates bested him overall during their time together. Oh that’s right, none! Hamilton has got absolutely nothing more to prove. All I’m doing is repeating what Toto is saying – namely that team harmony and therefore the job of management has been made easier since Rosberg walked. Mercedes have still secured both championships and Wolff et al didn’t have a nervous breakdown. If you were in his shoes what would you do? Win the championships with the least aggro possible or would you choose to make it harder for yourself? It’s a no brainer…..



I think you missed the point of my post which was that if Dan joined Merc Lewis would have a more competitive team mate not that Dan should replace Bottas.


if Dan joined Merc

Sorry Adrian, I don’t think I missed your point at all – his competitiveness is exactly the problem Dan has imo. He’s too good to be a compliant #2 but not quite good enough to oust the current occupiers of the #1 slots at the sharp end of the grid. If they install him alongside Ham or Vet do the pros outweigh the cons? I would imagine that’s the question the teams will be asking themselves. Merc won’t be any better off as they are already winning both championships and Ferrari will likely pick up a few more constructors points but at what price? Open warfare between the two sides of the garage? Two drivers taking points off each other for the WDC? I may well be wrong – it wouldn’t be the first time – but if it was down to me I’d leave well alone.



I understand what you’re saying but perhaps I should have said that DR would be a more competitive team mate for Lewis than Bottas if Dan and Lewis had equal standing to compete for race wins and championships. Don’t know if this clarifies what I meant.


I wouldn’t argue that Dan is quicker than Bot (although earlier in the season I’m not sure anyone was saying how slow Bot was). But that is surely not to Dan’s advantage in this situation – Dan has got to the stage in his career where he needs to be seen as the de facto #1 and personally I don’t think either Merc or Ferrari will view him in that light. Maybe Renault, but I doubt McLaren would either. The big teams, as a general rule, like their #1 drivers to have a WDC in their pocket. I said to you (I think it was you) a while back that Dan’s best bet was to stick at Red Bull — but even that avenue is looking shaky for him. Dan’s next move is going to be both crucial and extremely tricky.


Adrian, Danny Ric to Merc was a strong rumour mid season, but I sense the momentum is swinging towards Occon getting that seat and Ricciardo staying put. Could still happen though.


Tim, is your sense just based on what you’ve read in the media, or on this blog?
My sense is that what the media think, and we think will have no bearing on it at all!



I think a lot of this was/is media driven and in reality only the Team Principles would know what their forward planning in terms of driver pairings might be. Both Mark Hughes and Martin Brundle put out articles not that long ago saying in their opinion DR would probably finish up with Merc in 2019 but who knows what they think now. It doesn’t really matter because it’s only speculation anyway.

Personally I think how the Merc and Ferrari junior drivers (Ocon and Leclerc) go next year will determine how quickly they get into those respective teams. Then there is Bottas.

What is interesting is that DR hasn’t signed on yet with RBR and Horner has given him 6 months to make a decision. I find this interesting. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s looking at possibilities at Renault and McLaren. Didn’t Renault try to recruit him for next year. One thing is for sure and that is that he doesn’t seem to be in a hurry.


Adrian, of course it’s all wild speculation, but that’s part of the fun isn’t it? Looking at it from Merc’s point of view, Dan would be a good fit, quick, popular and apolitical, but since the mid season point when these rumours started flying about, Occon has been very impressive, and he has had a significant amount of Merc’s money invested in his career, and so maybe they will want to recoup some of that?Looking at it from Dan’s point of view, Merc are the best team, race wins, lots of cash and maybe even a title would follow a decision to go to that team, but since that mid point, Max has resigned for Red Bull, ok he is at a different point of his career, but clearly he has been told something that made him want to stay, maybe engine related? Perhaps Dan would be better off staying where he is, the senior team management may focus more on Max, but I bet the day to day guys all love Dan, and I doubt Marko and Horner would go out of their way to disadvantage either driver. We will see what happens, but things have changed, and no doubt will continue to do so.



Thanks for your response. Appreciated. Here’s a couple of things which is of course speculation on my part but as you said it’s fun to speculate.

Firstly, in relation to Ferrari. Next year will be Vettel’s 4th year with the team and with Lewis still on the grid it will be, in my opinion, 4 years without a WDC. Vettel is quick, no question, but he just doesn’t have the mental ability to match it with Lewis and as JA wrote the hierarchy at Maranello will probably be aware of this and watching next year closely. My prediction is that Marchionne will not renew Kimi’s contract and replace him with a competent driver and given equal status to Vettel. This will be contrary to Ferrari’s usual approach and Vettel won’t like it but Marchionne will have run out of patience. ‘Baby Schumi’ will have failed to deliver and Marchionne will have to try something different. At the end of the day he’s a businessman and want’s results. So who gets to fill the spare seat? Leclerc at 20 years of age and with only one year’s (yet to be proven) experience in F1 or someone like DR who will be available?

Secondly, in relation to Mercedes. I tend to agree with your mate C63 that with Lewis winning next year (according to my scenario above) and if Bottas helps to secure the WCC for Merc why would Toto replace him? Toto may, however, do just that if Bottas starts to get regularly beaten by the RB boys and his confidence takes a hit (one thing that DR and Max have got are ‘balls’). So who would replace Bottas? Occon comes into frame because he’s part of Merc’s junior program and as you said a significant amount of money has been invested in him so they will want to see a return. But if Occon fails to continue to impress his stocks will fall and Toto will look elsewhere and DR will be available.

But there’s another factor and that is with both Lewis and Vettel coming to the end of their careers both teams may view DR as part of a succession plan that will see him replace Lewis and Vettel for a couple of years and then Occon and Leclerc coming on board and eventually becoming number one drivers in their own right.

Of course its speculation skewed to favour DR but you’ll appreciate this coming from a fan.


I hadn’t heard of the 6 mos ultimatum from Horner. That’s May 2018. When do RBR have to submit their engine supply plans for 2019? I think it might be around that time too.

Ricciardo should ignore that deadline, and take it into September.



It wasn’t a deadline as such, just an ad hoc comment Horner made to the media.

“So of course I’m sure he’s going to take the time to make sure the decision is right for him. But he knows the intent very clearly, and I’ve discussed it with him, is that we want him in the team. If that takes another six months, then so be it.”

Here’s a link:


From what I have seen Ocon has a higher potential than Bottas

But it’s early days and having got ahead of Perez lately he needs to remain ahead in 2018 to prove he’s in target


I like Bottas but would prefer Ocon in that Merc seat with Lewis against Max v RIC and VETv LeClerc. Ocon beat Max in F3 and could give him a run for his money in F1. After Lewis moves on , then George R to fly the flag at Merc 🇬🇧 with Lando N at McL …. tasty !



Spot on.


C’mon…indulge me with your inaccuracies…i’m here to dwell….the championship is over!
I’m sure if Danny gets to drive the Millenium Falcon (including the hyperdrive), i will be excited by his first few wins (in his first few races), but I can’t suppress my damn empathetic streak, and i’m sure i will begin to feel sorry for everyone else, (eventually, including his teammate).
Will i start rejoicing in his greatness, with every milestone…with every Crofty stat? Could I be the Aussie Crofty?
….I bloody hope not!


I can’t say I’ve noticed your empathetic streak….are you sure you’ve got one? I think you might be confusing it with your clearly apparent optimistic (similar sounding word so understandable you being confused) streak – wins in his first few races – ROFLMAO.


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.


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


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 🙂


@ 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.


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 …


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!


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


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


I agree with your final comment.


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.


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


@ 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’.


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.


@ C63…I didn’t see you put that same point across to “shadow #2′ in his comments either?


@ 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.


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


Webber also called Hamilton a God after qualifying at Austin 🙂


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


Nice try though.

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


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


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.


@ 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.


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 🙂


@ 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.


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?


Rosberg obviously.


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


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.


@ 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.


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….


@ 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?


@ 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,



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 🙂


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….


“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.


@ 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.


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


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.


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


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.


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


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.


then he backs off, totally weak.

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


@ 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?


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.


@ 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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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… 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.


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