Five F1 2017 Talking Points: Ferrari gallops into two-horse championship race
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By:   |  18 Dec 2017   |  7:54 am GMT  |  227 comments

As we move into the festive period, it’s time to look back on some of the big talking points from F1 2017.

We have picked five and we’ll start with the renaissance of Ferrari; winners of five Grands Prix, championship leaders until September, but who ultimately lost out to Mercedes.

There is a lot of talk around at the moment about the Ferrari being the better car and that Lewis Hamilton would have won the title in either car, such was the form he was in.

It’s all conjecture of course, but the view from here is that the Mercedes was generally the better car except on occasions where it was tricky to set up to get the tyres working. This happened several times during the season, especially early on before the summer break.

Where the Mercedes was set up correctly with the tyres in the sweet spot, it was faster.

Ferrari bouncing back and taking the fight to Mercedes proved popular with fans and F1 experienced a bounce this year in crowd figures and TV ratings in some countries. Liberty Media got lucky in its first season as owners of F1, but Mercedes and Ferrari were able to point to their star quality being the cause of that bounce.


Ferrari vs Mercedes
Rules changes often bring a marginal reset to Formula 1’s pecking order, but most predicted Mercedes to continue the dominance it had sustained over the previous three years in F1, as the engine was still such a decisive factor.

Hence, Ferrari’s emergence in winter testing as a genuine challenger was something of a pleasant surprise for the swathes of naysayers.

Compared to Mercedes’ interpretation of the new-for-2017 regulations, which struggled for front-end balance – Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff famously labelled the new car “a bit of a diva” – Ferrari’s new car seemed poised and balanced in the early Barcelona tests.

Although winter testing is never the best metric of performance, Ferrari maintained its competitiveness into the actual race season, as Sebastian Vettel swept to victory in the opening round at Melbourne to win Ferrari’s first race in over a year.

Vettel kept up that form, managing to match title rival Hamilton blow-for-blow in the first half of the season. Mercedes’ greatest strength continued to be at the faster circuits, while Ferrari took advantage of their relative weakness at the slower, high-downforce circuits through wins at Monaco and the Hungaroring.

Although it was refreshing to see Ferrari taking pole positions again -something it has struggled to do for many years – Mercedes generally had the advantage on single lap pace and that again provided a head start at many venues.Before the break Mercedes had eight out of 11 poles, after the break it was seven out of nine.

Ferrari’s re-emergence as a legitimate title contender was refreshing, and Vettel’s greater consistency in the first half of the year left him with a 14-point lead atop the championship standings ahead of the summer break.

For once, the Scuderia appeared to be benefitting from a settled technical structure, with Mattia Binotto playing the conductor’s role in the engineering orchestra at Maranello. Although mechanical problems reared their ugly heads on occasion, team principal Maurizio Arrivabene was resolute in shielding his team members from the blame.

Arguably, Vettel’s hot-headedness was as much of a factor in Ferrari’s continued title drought. Feeling that he’d been brake-checked by Hamilton under the safety car at Baku, Vettel pulled up alongside the Mercedes and drove into him, earning a stop-go penalty for his efforts. This probably cost Vettel a win – Hamilton having to pit with a loose head-rest. He has described it as a real regret.

Ferrari were hammered on home soil at Monza, provoking a furious reaction from chairman Sergio Marchionne. In the aftermath, Vettel was calm and Singapore began well with pole position and Mercedes clearly struggling.

Then when rain fell on the grid, giving Hamilton a chance, Vettel came across the path of the Max Verstappen and the fast-starting Kimi Raikkonen off the line – who could not avoid the No. 5 Ferrari. Net result: elimination on the opening lap as Hamilton won on a circuit where Mercedes had been at its weakest all year and the title dream looked over.

The German’s title challenge was truly over at Suzuka, in which a spark plug ended his race after just four laps, falling 59 points behind Hamilton whose lead would become insurmountable.

“I think there are always things that you could do a bit different,” Vettel reflected.

“I think looking back Baku stands out obviously, but for the rest [of the season] I think it’s been okay.”

Regardless, it was something of a positive for F1 to have two genuinely competitive teams, and Ferrari will have plenty to digest over the winter as it seeks to win a title for the first time in a decade.

The encouraging thing is that in the wake of the title defeat Marchionne didn’t exact punishment on the staff and left everything in place. Another encouraging factor was that they were able to keep developing the car to the end of the season – pole in Mexico is testament to that. Mercedes were ominously fast in Abu Dhabi, but Ferrari will take a lot of positives from the technical path they are on and it gives them belief.

They will need to execute perfectly in 2018 to beat Mercedes – and Red Bull – but that continuity from 2017 to 2018 could provide the basis for them to do just that.

What did you think of the Ferrari vs Mercedes battle? We’ve picked five but what talking point from 2017 would you like us to discuss? Leave your comments and suggestions in the section below

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1

all those calling for active suspension should pay more attention to the sport.

https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/133648/fia-clamps-down-on-f1-suspension-tricks

2

All I can say is let’s give real racing teams like Williams McLaren ferrari the power back and let’s get back to real racing. The engine manufacturer has all the power now(how the he’ll did that happen 😰let’s get back to 2012 levels where 4 -6teams have a great shot at a podium. It must now be one of the worlds most uncompetitive sports. And this is all because engine manufacturers control the sport. All very sad. Give the power back to the real racing teams. And only then the whole show will get better. Merry Christmas. Dose any1 really care if all the cars are running around in Ford v8 engines? I don’t. Just want to see fair competative racing. Mercedes have secret modes that even the customer teams can’t use,how is that fair?

3
Tornillo Amarillo

what talking point from 2017 would you like us to discuss?

-Max rise to stardom
-Ocon rise
-Midfield : how McLaren and Renault have prepared themself to beat Force India and Williams in 2018
-Ferraris’ threat to bring other series in 2021: is that the reason to land different marques in Sauber and maybe Haas?

4
Tornillo Amarillo

There is a lot of talk around at the moment about the Ferrari being the better car and that Lewis Hamilton would have won the title in either car,

Sweet to think Hamilton won the WDC in a car that was not the best!

Jake, I really enjoy your article, congrats.

5

Dear James,

It’d be great if you could tell us in more detail about the birth and the developpement of this year’s Ferrari challenger. Is Allison the man behind it? Or Binotto? What about the engine?

6

What would have Alonso achieved in this Ferrari ? What do you say ?

7

I’ve said before that Alonso would surely have made a better fist of it, than Vettel did. I believe that Vettel is behind HAM, ALO, and both RBR drivers in average race pace. He certainly was significantly behind Ricciardo in 2014. So when I see how quick that Vettel’s Ferrari was at some tracks, I add on from that, when thinking where the others mentioned would be with it.

I mean, let’s recall that Alonso won 5 races in 2010, when there was a far bigger performance gap between the RB6 and F10 that year. Now Alonso might be in that age range where his ability is diminishing, but given a car like the SF70H, he would’ve been there ’til the end I suspect.

8

The best Mercedes driver won, in the best Mercedes car. The rest of the drivers and teams we’re a mere sideshow in the battle for wins and the championship.
The facts and stats show that to be truth no matter how other’s try and spin it.

9

The other drivers were a sideshow? Mah please! Vettel led for the first 12 rounds this season, and should have led after rounds 14 & 15 at least. Some sideshow!! *smh*

10

The truth isn’t interesting KRB, you should know that by now…..

11

We will just have to watch to find out what will happen.

12

Also worth reinterating that despite the criticism he has taken this season, on numerous occasion the Mercedes #2 driver was able to deprive the Ferraris of valuable points when his team leader was having a bad day, but I struggle to think of a situation where the reverse was true.

13

While I agree that Bottas can be cut some slack in his first year in the Mercedes, and judgment can be reserved till 2018, but I don’t think that Bottas did enough on “numerous occasions”, given the better car.

In Qualifying, SV vs. KR was 15-5 with a gap of -0.276s; LH vs. VB was 13-7 with a gap of -0.285s . Given the Mercedes’ qualifying strength, what was disappointing for me this season was his being outqualified by Vettel at tracks (like Britain, Canada, Australia, China, America) where the Mercedes was supremely fast. Kimi despite a very horrible year (did outqualify and outrace Hamilton at Russia, Monaco, Hungary, Singapore, while failing in Mexico) did ok at the tracks where the Ferrari outclassed the Mercedes.

” I struggle to think of a situation where the reverse was true.” In Hungary, Kimi shielded Vettel nursing a broken car while Hamilton chased him down.

So for me Kimi didn’t deserve to be extended at all (and this from a lifelong Kimi fan) at Ferrari. At Mercedes if DannyRic had been available or Ocon ready for the big league, I’d have gone for either in place of Bottas.

14
The Grape Unwashed

@ Vano, well said. I think Bottas had a pretty decent season all told, it’s just that Hamilton found another level after the break. If the car is easier to drive next year I expect him to be a lot more competitive. Raikkonen wasn’t quick enough to be much help to Vettel.

If Mercedes do go for Ricciardo in 2019, Bottas would make a perfect teammate for Vettel.

15

There was a lot of talk at the start of the season about the lack of engineering leadership at Ferrari (after losing James Allison). Interesting that this didn’t materialise. I wonder if it will hurt them next year?

16

The Mercedes might have been a Diva, but the PU was far superior to anything else in the field, both in terms of reliability- less stress, and extra qualifying modes and power. Combine this with the ICE that used considerably less fuel than the completion in the process, as illustrated by going to the line with less fuel in the tank, you have a sizeable advantage. Further, look at how many AMG PUs went up in smoke, including customers, only 1 for Bottas in the early part of the season, you again have a significant advantage over the season. Now compare that with the # of Ferrari PUs that self destructed, or Renault for that matter, not to mention Honda..

17

headline would more accurately read:
Mercedes thankful to Ferrari for putting together a decent car (, so they didn’t have to have an inside-team-rivalry) to maintain the perception of competition
Though in retrospect, the Mercedes championship was never in doubt.

Don’t blame Ferrari, they did a good job, especially compared with previous years.
Don’t blame Mercedes, they just did a FANTASTIC job at the start of the hybrid-era formula.

Then there was the engine development ‘token’ restriction system.

Mercedes just got too far ahead of everybody else to be caught; and they are still there.

To point to rest, if Lewis had driven a Ferrari, despite how good he is, Bottas (or the other Merc driver) would have won.
Don’t fool yourself.

The progression of the season was exactly as it could have been projected, if you understood the corporate pressures layered on top of the fact that you have an untouchable technical advantage, but that your team’s overwhelming success was disenfranchising the fan base, thus jeopardizing the ROI on your F1 project!

Wait a minute, I did exactly predict the progression of the 2017 season!
No points for getting that right….
… so far.

18

Dean Cassidy, where did you predict the progression of the 2017 season, forgive my doubting Thomas nature, but I find it better to check these things. Perhaps you would also like to make your prediction for 2018 while you’re at it.

19

Tim:
You haven’t seen ANY of them!?
Oh dear, where have you been.
I was getting embarrassed for writing the same things in pre-early season 2017, and received quite a bit of ‘challenging’ replies through the “…isn’t the Ferrari so clever, so innovative, so good… my, my, my, they’re going to give Merc a run for their money, and it looks like they can win…”.
And, in truth, Ferrari was clever, and their car was a big step over their previous years’ efforts, however, I was extremely skeptical of the true challenge to the Merc. Yet, we are aware of the fan base drop off of 2016, as people either didn’t ‘buy’ the inter-Merc ‘competition’, were just otherwise disenfranchised from it.
Merc just got too far a head start in the lead up to the hydrid-turbo ear; with the engine development controls, i.e. the infamous ‘tokens’, Merc just had the margin to go further on innovative alleys, contingency planning.
But they had to hide their true advantage, because greater fan detachments from the franchise jeopardized the ROI targets for their F1 program.
So Mercedes was always about ‘managing’ the competition, and the illusion of it.

This lead to the prediction of a neck-and-neck race to the mid-season break, with Merc, and who ever was the next fastest package, though early in the season, it look pretty highly probable that Ferr was that next best package.
I said Merc had tons of goodies ‘in-the-bag’ and if ever the ‘competition’ got too far ahead, they’d just pull enough of them out to pull a bit ahead.
That was the exact pattern of the first half of the season!
I also predicted the Red Bull pickup coming about mid-season, to challenge for the ‘contender’ status.
I also predicted a Ferr drop off, and a Merc surge to secure the championship with 2-3 races to spare.

I’ll try to find the archives, it’s not easy here, I’ve tried before (but I do sometimes save wordprocessing files, so I know what was written, it’s just finding them under articles)

2018
The trend is very, very strong here, during the hybrid turbo era, of overwhelming, at will, Mercedes dominance.
They played the ‘competition perception management’ against the next best package quite well in 2017, I bet on a continuance of that program in 2018.
If the two closest challenging teams are close themselves, I could see the next version of this system managing three-way competition.
But here is a test on evaluating my prediction, Mercedes will always get either first or second, the other ‘contenders’ will split the left-overs; so during the first half of the season, you will either see a close three way race for the lead in the championship, or Mercedes perhaps slightly behind the clear contender.
ADD inter-team ‘conflict’, maybe a toned down Nico-Lewis teen boy band spat, a more… how can I say it… manly in tone, compared to the ridiculous adolescent like tantrums, and the not.
After mid-season break 2018
The itchy shareholders and directors want to see some displays of dominance to quell their hyperactive ‘bodily risk responses’, and Toto really cannot resist in, say, rubbing Ferrari’s nose in it at Monza, if they were the pretender of the moment (predicted, incidentally, exactly, for 2017; I’ll try to find it).
the pretenders of 2018
it’s actually a bit more interesting for 2018.
Ferr – we don’t know if they’ve blown the whole load, or they can keep on coming… in development terms, of course.
RB – we can be pretty sure their aero is top-knotch, but what kind of a hit will they take for the trick lowering-turning system; I say a low, likely containable hit on that one; so it comes back to their power, can renault get into the game, at least with Ferrari? And let’s not forget, RB is leaving Renault power; you can bet Renault will only be sharing the minimum with RB, however, RB already have their own, internal development team for the motor.
Eventually we’ll get convergence on PU (especially if you exclude Merc from that equation); so I bet the get pretty close to Ferr power in 2018.
They’ll have certainly fully incorporated Ferr’s cooling pod innovation, possibly improving upon it.
Even if Ferr are moving forward here, I think we see RB pretty close at Melbourne, possibly even ahead.
Further consideration at RB, they have the most rapidly advancing driver, in the Max (no doubt about it anymore, after the last five races in 2018), and a different dynamic on the team, as the team has more or less officially displaced their top prospect/prime driver on the team.
I expect more and higher peak appearances by The Max, actually winning a race or two by sheer driving, in a clearly NOT-top car.
But internal strife at RB, as Riccardo’s team will not let it go.
Expect more mechanical failures at RB, as the two internal team sabotage the other’s car.
You can totally test that prediction by mechanical failures in 2018 v 2017.
Max got a statistically significant disadvantage on reliability in 2017, expect them to be both, at least as bad.
Nonetheless, by the break, I expect the Max to be the highest points after the top or both Merc drivers.
others 2018
Renault may or may not be challenging the ‘big boys’ in 2018, mostly likely not.
But I like the driver pairing, and the will certainly be shooting for fourth or better.
Renault could always surprise with their strategic talent acquisition, you might expect a weak introductory car, and the class of the field development over the course of 2018, certainly noticeable by the conclusion of the Spanish GP!
McLaren
Sad what they’ve been through since 2012, the last time they had a truly competitive car.
I don’t see past disappointment for them in 2018, but you never know.
However, the team principle has continued to display ‘weak’ capability, and I continue to see Fernando collapse in a bittering complainer, publicly disrespecting his team, and never a reasonable margin of suspicion that part of the problem might be in… Alonso.
I think they’ll be very lucky to beat the Pink Pirates.
Speaking of the Pink Pirates (I do despise their official name)
The other individual, I rank very similarly to The Max, in terms of upwards trajectory, is Ocon.
He certainly MUST beat his team mate this year, and I think he will from the get go, though he’s up against a very, very scrappy team mate, and very competent driver in Perez. But look to Ocon to produce a real tongue-wagging performance by the chequered flag of the Spanish GP.

2018 season outcome
Merc WCC
Merc driver WDC
Merc announces they are leaving F1 as a team constructor but staying as a PU supplier. (I have to admit, I’m still waiting on that one, predicted for the 2017 calendar year).

merry holidays

20

What a long winded response, I actually asked you where I could find your predictions for 2017, not what you now say they were. Having said tha, if they were as vague and none commital as next years, probably no point reading them.

21

I would happily give you a point for that. ;o)
Though reality is a bit sad for those of us that just enjoy the F1 racing without being attached to a team or driver…

Mercedes showing their true color at the Ferrari home race at Monza was a grand display of their supremacy.

22

James I agree that the Mercedes has a qualifying advantage but what made that advantage look as high as it was, was LH’s ability to deliver a qualifying lap.

If you look back at where the Merc was on pile when it had no right to be there or when it was raining you will know that the role LH played is being undermined in the article.

23

@ James…As an OT request that touches on the teams performances in a roundabout way how about considering an in depth interview with Andy Palmer concerning his desire to be a player in F1. Palmer has contacted the FIA with a ‘suggested ‘ way forward if Aston Martin are seriously going to make an entry as an engine builder, in the first instance. Hopefully he could outline some of the specifics he has in mind re the engine and the componetry that would give us fans an idea of where he sees himself and his Team. Perhaps we can get to see what is being discussed instead of being fed generalisations that tell us very little. It would be appreciated as we are going to run thin for the next couple of months anyway.

24

Not sure if this is the right place to ask, but any chance we would see creative designs following the introduction of the Halo? I mean, with the rules regarding the noses a few years back, we saw some creative (and ugly) designs, with Lotus’ asymmetric nose looking interesting.
Is there room for freedom regarding the shape or even position of the air box? I know there has to be a lifting point for the car, and that it should be a roll structures. It is already said that the Halo will disrupt airflow to the airbox, so teams can put aerodynamic elements on it. Is there room in the rules for other solution (e.g. split airbox to the left/right, to line up more with the Halo supports, move the airtake to the sidepods foregoing the airbox completely)? Not sure if there is any point to this, but would the rules allow it?

25

At the end of the day luck comes into it. A lot of Hamilton fans are very quick to point out that Hamilton’s lack of luck cost him in 2016. This year he did have some luck, he wasn’t troubled by much reliability issues, kept his own nose relatively clear and his rivals tripped over each other now and again. That all said, I think Hamilton would have edged it even if Vettel won Singapore and Baku, his form was imperious at the end of the year.

26

to me Mercedes have a very good car if not best, however Engine is somewhere where the clear edge was …. in 2018 reliability of the engine could help Ferrari as they have to drop performance to avoid penalty. I am a Ferrari fan so still hope that they can win the next title 😛 who knows…..

27

Unfortunately too many races were decided on the Saturday and the first few bends of the Sunday start. The Mercedes qualifying mode and Hamilton’s ability to make the most of it gave him the pole advantage where it counted. Ferrari need to up reliability and hence be able to push on Saturday.

28

Just be lucky Hamilton let Vettel pass him off the line a few times, have us a few passes for the lead at least!

29

 “but Mercedes and Ferrari were able to point to their star quality being the cause of that bounce”.
I think someone needs to remind these guys that during the late 70s to late 90s Ferrari hadn’t produced a world champ, Merc were nowhere to be seen, and during that time F1 went through a golden era.
The competition, and liberties marketing (even if it isn’t to my taste) was the reason for the bounce. Someone needs to call there bluff!! Wouldn’t want to see them leave but they could both do with a metaphorical dry slap.

30

It’s been a tight season, the advantage at the end that Lewis has in the points table flatters the Merc somewhat. I would say that now we have the whole season to look back on, that the Merc was the slightly better car, although this wasn’t the case for the first half as the team struggled with their ‘diva’. With Abu Dhabi going their way we can see that the Merc was superior to the Ferrari in more races than it wasn’t. I believe that Lewis was the better driver out of the two protagonists this year, although obviously some will disagree….
If Ferrari continue their rate of progress into next season, it will be even closer still, although some will refuse to believe it…..

31

Tim that’s probably the most accurate and honest opinion I’ve heard from a HAM die hard! Good work.
Let’s hope next season is close enough to give us a final race showdown (preferably between 3 constructors) for the sake of the sport.

32

it was only close this season because raikkonen worked for vettel and mercedes allowed bottas to slow hamilton down in the first half of the season. after learning not to slow down their own driver with his teammate, mercedes allowed hamilton to walk it.
vettel will need two teammates to help him in 2018.

33

Why didnt Hamilton just overtake his team mate instead of letting him slow him down?
surely he is capable of that

34

just you hold on a minute while i ask him.

35

Ask him? you are him, come on Lewis, admit it, you have been caught out.

36

Jimothy, how many people have you accused of being Lewis this week?

37

I dont know, how many was it last week?

38

You tell me, it’s your imagination!

39

goodness gracious me!
do you honestly believe what you wrote?
do you honestly think it’s possible for hamilton to post on here while racing?

40

You are selling yourself short, you realize you/ham is mentally the strongest ever driver, who is capable of guiding Mercedes engineers to victory, a model, a black belt in karate, dater of supermodels, write your own music, you dont think you are capable of commenting here while racing an F1 car?
You are dissapointing me Lewis, i was just starting to think you could do it all

41

many have accused me of being hamilton, you’re not the first but i still appreciate your compliments.

42

No problem, can i ask if you mind being called HAM no that you are vegan?
Some vegans i know would find it offensive, what do you think?

43

Ha ha, you really are clinging onto this “Lewis didn’t overtake Bottas” thing aren’t you? I guess in a year when Lewis won the title, dominated his team mate, broke lots of records and had everyone saying nice things about him, people like you have to scrabble around for all you can find.

44

Not really domination when your team mate is a clear number 2 driver,and you still cant overtake without team orders, whats so good about that?
You have just scored yourself the 2017 record for exaggeration of the year, well done

45

Jimothy, if you out qualify your team mate, then you don’t need to overtake him. Are there any other basic principles of motor racing that I can try and help you understand?

46

broke lots of records

How many is lots?
You forgot he became a vegan too, which he claims won him the championship

47

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Hamilton#Records

Records achieved/broken in 2017:

Most poles all-time
Pole at most different Grands Prix
Most wins from pole
Most consecutive seasons with at least one win from debut
Most consecutive seasons with at least one pole from debut
Most consecutive race starts
Most races with a single engine manufacturer
Most Grand Chelem’s in a season
Most front-row starts all time

48

Ha ha KRB, you really aren’t making Jimothy’s quest any easier!

49

Great list, i admit i didnt realize Lewis broke so many records this year, but you would have to admit too that when Lewis has the the fastest car with a team mate that was ranked number 10 (well below Kimi, who is a weak team mate according to TimW) and benefit of team orrders, those records dont seem that special.

50

Jimothy. But then Vettel had the fastest car for a long time, and has spent the overwhelming majority of his career with worse team mates than Lewis, and yet Lewis holds all those records. Remember your favourite measure the team principals annual driver survey, ranked Rosberg consistently in the top three, and it was with Nico as team mate that Lewis made the most progress with those record totals. You love talking about team orders don’t you Jimothy? Simple question for an expert on the subject, how many of Lewis’ 57 victories came with the assistance of team orders?

51

The only way you can measure drivers is if they drive the same car.
Webber beat Rosberg when they were team mates.
Heikki Kov was not a strong team mate.
Jenson Button was not a strong team mate.
2013 Alonso beat Lewis in a slower car.
Rosberg was blown away by Hamilton every year they raced together, how good can he be?

52

“The only way you can measure drivers is if they drive the same car … 2013 Alonso beat Lewis in a slower car …”

You contradict yourself in the space of five paragraphs.

Webber scored 7 pts to rookie Rosberg’s 4 pts in 2006. An old Barrichello beat a rookie Hulkenburg. An older Ralf Schumacher beat a rookie Button. An older Perez beat a rookie Ocon. In all cases, the rookie was credited with having a decent year.

In 2007, in the same car, a rookie Hamilton finished higher in the standings than 2x reigning WDC Alonso.

Merry Christmas to all!

53

Jimothy, your comments are well known for contradiction and innacuracy, but that one really is a doozy!
1, Webber did beat Rosberg, but Webber was in his fifth year of F1 and Nico was in his first, so hardly a fair comparison is it? If you are going to use such an overly simplistic method of grading drivers, without taking into account them being in different stages of their careers, then you must admit that Nico is better than Michael Schumacher as he beat him three nil, and of course it follows that Lewis is better than the pair of them!
2, Heikki may not have been a strong team mate, but that was two seasons out of Lewis’ ten season F1 career. No getting away from the fact that Lewis’ team mayes have been of a significantly higher calibre than Seb’s. Your insistence on ignoring the team principals vote on this issue, while taking note of it when it suits you is laughable.
3, In 2013 Lewis drove for McLaren and Fernando drove for Ferrari, how does your comparison not contradict your earlier statement that “the only way you can measure drivers is if they drive the same car”? I could point out that Lewis retired from the lead of three races that year, or that the Ferrari clearly was the quicker car, but you wouldn’t be interested in the truth would you?

54

Most of the records broken take an entire career to reach. I would put Lewis’ list of teammates up against anyone’s. Only Prost has gone up against as many WDC-calibre drivers as Hamilton, and in Prost’s era he had a built-in weight advantage against all of them.

Most of those are very special records indeed, which will take some beating.

55

Jimothy, maybe you should take up veganism, it might improve your attitude and thinking process.

56

I might look into it, Lewis claims becoming vegan won him a WDC, maybe i could be an F! champ too?

57

Tim that’s probably the most accurate and honest opinion I’ve heard from a HAM die hard

Second That. Couldn’t have put it better myself.
The only other thing I can hope is that the McLaren joins and we get to see a 4 way showdown.

58

alonso is already planning races outside the 2018 f1 calendar. does that tell you he believes in his chances of victory?

59

Ashish, it would be great to have Fernando involved at the sharp end again, the Renault engine won races last year, so if McLaren can build the chassis as well as they claim, then it could happen.

60

the possibility is certainly there but we are used to the show boating mclaren..

61

Cheers spud! I have been a fan of the sport for a LOT longer than I have been a fan of Lewis.
3 way showdown sounds good to me, as long as Lewis wins it of course……

62

The points didn’t flatter it was what was meant to happen had Hamilton delivered in the first half of the season.

63

hamilton did deliver in the first half of the season. mercedes weren’t sure how to prevent teammates from holding up each other without being accused of teamorders…as soon as they learnt, hamilton was in his stride..

64

Ever get bored Rockie?

65

@rockie
But he did deliver…. do you expect him to win every race??.
Delivered enough to get the WDC🍻

66

They said the same about Rosberg JK!
Happy Christmas BTW!

67

@lkfe
True, and at the end of the day, we can never be in doubt that Nico was WDC. And shame he didn’t stay around to defend it😊.

And a merry Christmas to you to, and everyone else in OZ👍🏻. Suppose you’re all gonna enjoy the festive season on the beach, in shorts and T-shirts, enjoying a cold one😄💪🏻
And congrats with “the ashes”😡😄

68

i wish you a great 2018 f1 season..
enjoy every minute of it.

69

@aveli
And the same to you aveli😉

70

You guys showed as much class in defeat as your boy shows in his 😮
On that note James, Merry Xmas to you and I look foward to another year of engaging and insightful posts from the only unbiased Ham fan on this site.
Sars out✌

71

Sarsippious. And I would like to extend seasonal greetings to the only unbiased Ricciardo fan on this site. Happy Christmas Adrian.

72

Tim

Just caught up with your post. Yeah, I’m an unapologetic Danny Ricc fan (he comes from my home town and only 11ks away so do you expect anything else?) but I do try and take an unbiased objective view of things.

You and C63 enjoy your Christmas wrapped up against the cold and snow and think of me when I’m watching the sun dip on the horizon on the Indian Ocean while walking in pure white sand drinking a light bear on late sultry afternoons. Perfecto!!

73

Adrian, I would say that we had a crisp snow filled and picturesque Christmas day in store, but it will probably just be grey and miserable! Have a great time and wish Dan the man a happy Christmas if you bump into him on the beach!

75

There could be lots of factors behind Toto saying that. It’s clear that Toto believe that there was good in the Nico v Lewis pairing, and that there was good in the Lewis v Valtteri pairing. In the first, it was that they were both operating at a very high level. In the second, it was that Lewis and Valtteri got on well with each other, while still trying to beat each other out on track. So I think Toto wants to see if Valtteri can move up and get to that higher operating level, to fulfill the best of both worlds. If not, then Danny Ric should be able to provide that. I don’t think Danny Ric would ever go in for some of the dirty tricks or behind-the-scenes whining that Rosberg did, that then poisons the relationship between the two drivers. DRic seems to me to want to beat the other driver fair and square, on track, because he believes he can. Of course, Rosberg was fair and square when he was with Wurz, Nakajima and Schumacher, as he had them in his pocket.

76

Krb, it also seems that Toto is enjoying the harmonious atmosphere much more than he did the acrimonious vibe that came with ‘the malicious one’! Having said that if Valterri isn’t quick enough he will be out, nice guy or not, and a quicker equally nice guy will be sought out. Dan fits that bill, and the more I think about it, the more I see Ocon as Lewis’ replacement than Valterri’s.

77

Tim, I know from the local press that Dan will be relaxing in town over the Christmas period with his family and friends so ok if I see him at the beach I’ll ask how his negotiations are going with Toto! Actually, I’m not convinced that he’ll go to Merc or Ferrari. He’ll either stay where he is or possibly move to McLaren or Renault. But we’ll see.

I read where he’s been quoted as saying that RB will be competing for championships next year. Ummm……bit presumptuous me things. RB may not have any wind tunnel data correlation issues to sort out but how is Renault going to resolve the 25-30 BHP deficiency to Merc/Ferrari and engine reliability issues in just a couple of months, unless they have had things in the pipeline.

See Lauda has come out and said that RB have payed too much for Verstappen thinking that Merc might grab him but Lauda has said Merc never even made an offer to him. Shall we say sucked in!!

34 C Christmas Day here.

Enjoy!

78

DRic has to learn to just shut up about predicting the next year. His words were torqued a little, but he should’ve just said “Let’s wait and see”.

-4°C on Xmas day here (as the high; -11°C for the low). Will be a White Christmas this year!

79

KRB

Actually very pleasant here at moment. 10.30am 29 C with a light cool breeze and heading towards 33 C.

See the Raptors have beaten my 76ers (with Aussie first round pick Ben Simmons) two consecutive games now. Seem to be in a slump whereas Raptors on a roll with 10 straight home wins!! Whole bunch of NBA games to watch tomorrow; smorgasbord to choose from, heh.

Enjoy your white Christmas!

80

Tbh I haven’t been following the Raps of late. I’ll catch the highlights, but that’s about it. Over at the wife’s extended family’s Xmas gathering atm, and a couple are big into NBA, so Cavs vs Warriors is on.

Like the White Christmas, though it was snow squalls for part of the trip, which got a bit hairy there for a bit.

Wish you and yours a Merry Christmas, and some entertaining b-ball! 😃🎅

82

Adrian, I still think that Dan would be a good fit for Mercedes, but at some point they have to run someone from the young drivers programme to validate it’s existence! Ocon will be 22 at the end of next season, would that be too soon or do they go for someone like Dan and then bring Esteban in when Lewis retires? Either method makes sense, but these decisions are often taken for multiple reasons other than ‘who is quickest’? Ricciardo is clearly on Merc’s radar, I doubt that Toto would bother planting stories just to gee up the current drivers, that’s more Lauda’s style!

83

Adrian, I think Dan could well be best served staying put, Renault don’t need to claw back all of the deficit for Red Bull, Newey is still the best guy out there and he will do the rest.
Not sure if Niki is being his usual mischievous self, or he is telling the truth about Max, I guess it doesn’t matter as even if Merc didn’t make an offer, it doesn’t mean Ferrari didn’t.
34 on Christmas day just seems wrong for someone from the northern hemisphere, do your best to enjoy it anyway!!

84

LOL!

Reminds me of the Two Ronnie’s quip before a World Cup: “In other news, England have picked their team for the World Cup. It’s Holland!” 😃

85

@sars
What’s with the Pom bashing, that’s not like you🤔😂 sars.

And a Merry Xmas to you to sars! See you in 2018😄

86

And congrats with “the ashes”

What a shambles it has been from our boys.. ever since that Stokes brawl.. it’s been a disaster. I don’t think I’ll watch the last two tests!

87

Nick

Three zip mate and it won’t get any better in the remaining tests!!

88

Adrian. No I expect it will get worse..Maybe on a par with our last humiliation in Oz!

89

You watched the first three?! I don’t think Stokes would have changed things at all. You can’t give up double-centuries and have a hope of winning. Anderson & Broad couldn’t get any movement. On flat pitches you need pure, unadulterated pace, which they lack.

England had one good stretch, when they bowled out Oz for 138 in the second Test. That’s it.

90

Haha I watched snippets here and there but it starts far too late in the UK to watch them live. On the weekends it would still be on in the morning after I’d got up so I’d watch the last session.

You’re bang on tbh. Broad and Anderson are in the twilight of their careers. They’re still might effective on an English pitch where the ball’s moving around all over the place but as you say on a flat pitch they haven’t got enough pace anymore.

The problem is we haven’t produced any fast bowlers worthy of replacing them!

Add in the Aussies have three guys 90mph+ against our inexperienced batting line up..

91

@nickh
Did you watch the first 3 tests?😱.
I’m not really a cricket man nick, I just follow it a bit on the news. Same with rugby really.
And a merry Christmas to you my good man BTW

92

@James No just bits here and there, mainly highlights as it’s on so late in the UK.

I’ve watched less and less the more embarrassing it’s got!

93

Indeed, its astounding that many still try to postulate that that Ferrari was a close match (or even better) than the Mercedes this season.
Yes, Hamilton is a great driver but mid-field material like Bottas confirmed that such drivers on the track would be able to win with that dominant car/engine combo. As recent research also highlight that its pretty much 90% car and only 10% driver influence these days.

The numbers:
Pole positions:
Ferrari 5, Mercedes 15, hereof Bottas 4 which is same as Vettel’s 4.

Fastest lap:
Ferrari 7, Mercedes 9, hereof Bottas 2.

Race wins:
Ferrari 5, Mercedes 12, hereof Bottas 3.

Based on the factual numbers, its amazing that Vettel/Ferrari (or the F1 organization and the media hype by all the journos…) made it appear as Ferrari were in for a shot at the title this year. Or it least, that this illusion was kept alive until around mid season.

94
Tornillo Amarillo

It was a long fight, and Ferrari got itself knockout in Asia. Period.

95

Vettel had the most front rows (14 to HAM’s 13), and Ferrari had 1 more than Mercedes. F1 twitter feed showed laps spent in the top 3, and it was fairly surprising:

https://twitter.com/F1/status/936231360859078657

Using your method, we can look to a recent season and see its predictive power:

The numbers:
Pole positions:
Ferrari 8, McLaren 8.

Fastest laps:
Ferrari 13, McLaren 3.

Race wins:
Ferrari 8, McLaren 6.

Podiums:
Ferrari 19, McLaren 13.

Laps led:
Ferrari 541, McLaren 325.

Amazing that McLaren made it appear as though they were in for a shot at the title that year.

Except for the fact that Hamilton won in that McLaren. 😉

http://www.statsf1.com/en/2008/stats.aspx

96

With the most influential facts being:
Pole positions:
Ferrari 8, McLaren 8.

Race wins:
Ferrari 8, McLaren 6.

Then at least it looks like the two teams were within striking distance of each other for that championship.
Which also the acquired WCC points confirm: 172 vs 151.

And most important, we had 7 different race winners.
Ergo – No dominant car. So ‘my method’ still stands.

I for one wish we have such season coming in 2018 with no dominant car!

Then we can celebrate the great drivers for what they do!

97

You can have years where a car should have won more races, but the drivers have let it down. Or you can have years where the driver gets more wins out of a car than is reasonably justified.

This year’s Ferrari was definitely worth more than 5 wins. Russia, Austria, Spain, Singapore, Malaysia, Mexico were all races where Ferrari should have won this year. Even if they snagged half of those, it would’ve been more representative for the car they had.

You are gauging two cars based on the results after the fact. As I said elsewhere, you could have totally equal cars, but have one driver continually beat another … for you this would signal a completely dominant car, instead of what it actually was, which was a completely dominant driver.

98

@KRB
Naaah.. must of been the car KRB!😂😂

Merry Christmas KRB
And thanks for a fact filled 2017🍻😊

99

@cyber
I bet Ferrari are kicking themselves that they didn’t sign Lewis then😂😊👍🏻

Merry Christmas 🎄

100

There you go…. getting all “facty” again, Cyber!

101

Cyber, what would those race win totals look like if Seb hadn’t lost his head in Baku and got involved in a piintless battle with Max in Singapore? What if Seb had managed to win one or both of those super close battles in Spa and Barcelona?

102

OK @TimW, to be very generous we could of course try the exercise of granting Ferrari e.g. 2 more wins and even take the same number of 2 wins away from Mercedes:
But the score in race wins will then still be Ferrari 7 and Mercedes 10. Its closer yes than what the factual end of year result was, but still far away from a close race for the championship.

I am truly impressed by the high standards and continued dominance Mercedes have been able to produce over the past 4 years in this intense competitive sport. But for the sake of the sport I so wish it would be a closer fought battle for the championships.

103

Talking about gifts then let’s not forget Brazil where Hamilton binned it in qualifying and handed Ferrari a win they didn’t deserve on outright pace.

104

On Hamilton’s outright pace, sure. But Bottas started on pole, and lost.

105

Sarsippious, funny how Valterri didn’t think to press the magic button and blow by Seb on the straight isn’t it…..

106

To be fair though, Lewis has had a lot more practice with that power button, he would know where and how to use it better.
VB never had it in the Williams days.
Could it be possible that in the last few races VB learned how to use it and thats why he blew Ham away?

107

More imaginitive posts Jimothy? So you have decided that Williams don’t have access to the higher Mercedes engine mode? And that Valterri isn’t capable of pressing a button?! Keep making stuff up if you like, but don’t expect people on here to fall for it.

108

You think its just a matter of pressing a button and you get a lap time?
Not sure if you have driven a fast car in real life but think before you reply please, extra power needs to be used correctly to get the maximum.
eg, if you press it early you get wheelspin.
If you hold it too long, the extra speed will increase your braking distance, etc
It is not just as simple as pressing a button, i know you might think that when you sit and watch it on TV but in real life there is more to it.

109

Jimothy, how much extra power do you think the Merc higher mode delivers? The fact that Williams clearly do have access to the same mode clearly doesn’t matter to you, but lets pretend they don’t for a minute. Valterri is a very experienced Formula one driver, of course he can handle the extra power, of course he is fully aware of how it works, your claims get more and more ridiculous as time goes on.

110

Do you have any proof that Mercedes customer teams have the same engine modes?
The word of Mercedes team bosses dosent count

111

Well I have heard both Williams and Force India managers talk about using the higher mode, and for me the total lack of outrage from those customer teams who pay millions for their supplies is evidence that Toto isn’t lying when he says they get “identical engines and identical modes”. Your turn Jimothy, let’s see what you have in the way of evidence to the contrary, Oh and the word of temporary ex Lotus bosses don’t count……

112

Higher engine modes yes, but obviously these complex PU’s can have more than two.
You would have to be naive to think that they would be the same for everybody, think about it, you dont think they could have for example engine modes that are say 20hp, 40hp, 80hp or 150hp?

113

Jimothy, I asked you for evidence and you just made up some more nonsense.

114

Yeah, but Jimothy has you beat in that he has no cognitive dissonance. Oh, there’s plenty of dissonance there, but if you feel no discomfort in sticking to multiple contradictory beliefs, then it’s no longer a burden. Strike another blow for irrationality! 😉

115

Cyber, what about Spa and Spain? These are races Seb could have won, as opposed to Baku and Singapore, which are races he should have won.

116

What “recent research?”

117

Martin, was about five years ago, load of nonsense.

118

@TimW, you shouldn’t ridicule things just because you don’t comprehend them yourself. Latest update was from May 2015, so not 5 years old. And as clearly you don’t have the full study material you better abstain from commenting with nonsense as you do.

119

Cyber, I understand those studies, and how flawed thay are. So ‘only’ two and a half years since the last update? That’s really recent……

120

If so, your comments should have substance, which they don’t.
And when doing research on large data sources, then concluding 2.5 years after last data point is recent.

121

Cyber, I have referred to my problems with these studies in a previous thread, namely the lack of repeatability and the failure to take into account reasons why one driver might finish behind another on the circuit. And no, two and a half years ago isn’t recent, however you try and dress it up.

122

Lack of repeatability? More nonsense!
The race results and facts are there for everybody to both control and repeat the analysis on. I work on large datasets for a living and 2.5 years from last data point acquisition to complete study research report out is quick. The multi-variant regression analytics they had to run took weeks for each pairing check and months to complete all combinations. As computer power gets bigger and cheaper this of course changes. Unfortunately most of the UK universities do not have up to date super computer installations, as they typically have insisted to keep it inhouse. Maybe they should consider renting like we do in my company using the Nekomata service. And still with that setup some of our work still take weeks just to compute. Just 1 year ago, the same took 1+ year just to compute!

123

Cyber. The data is there for people to control, and that’s the point I’m making, the data available has to be controlled, assumptions have to be made, and these assumptions skew the data.
Some things lend themselves to statistical analysis, and somethings don’t, F1 isn’t one of the things that do. Attempting to separate man and machine is not possible, allowing for every eventuality is also not possible, getting hold of all the data required from the teams is……you guessed it!
The lack of repeatability I talk about refers to the fact that all of these scientific studies come up with a different set of results, why is this if they all start off with the same data? Because they made different assumptions that skewed the results in a different way. This is why the study in question has Christian Fittipaldi at number eleven, while he doesn’t feature at all on any of the others.

124

Indeed, its astounding that many still try to postulate that that Ferrari was a close match (or even better) than the Mercedes this season.

Agreed!

A tribute to the mind-control of the mainstream media and the apparent cognitive weakness of participating fans.

Recommendation to all those who believed it was close:
1. get rid of your smart phone (you spend way too much time in your little virtual reality)
2. boycott google (the emerging evil empire who data mines you and knows stuff about you that you would never even suspect)
3. give MSM reports the sniff test, if it is diametrically opposite of facts and/or what it was reporting last week, be reasonably suspicious of it

125

Deancassidy, as soon as someone drops a phrase like “mind control of the mainstream media” you just know the rest of the post will be nonsense.

126

What non-sense TimW!

127

Don’t tell me you’re one of the tin foil trilby brigade LKFE!

128

Don’t tell me you’re one of the tin foul trilby brigade LKFE!

129

Yeah, but who’s in control of your mind dean? I’m of the mind that you, Sebee, and others have gladly, and wilfully separated yourselves from reality, with some of the points you try to argue.

130

Singapore 2008 is a fraud that can be undone.
Max hit Kimi.
Mercedes is managing the championship in PU era because of their advantage.
PUs are not efficient and our PU WCC 4x team is advertising 100% electric cars in F1!
V8/V12 are top selling AMG, McLaren, Ferrari engines.

You’re welcome to believe otherwise. But deep inside you know the truth KRB.

131

Oh gawd. Sebee, you keep getting proven wrong, pounded even, yet you keep coming back for more. Must love the punishment apparently.

To each his own, but I can’t rationalize it.

132

That’s a bit rich coming from you!

133
The Grape Unwashed

There is a lot of talk around at the moment about the Ferrari being the better car and that Lewis Hamilton would have won the title in either car, such was the form he was in.

It’s all conjecture of course, but the view from here is that the Mercedes was generally the better car except on occasions where it was tricky to set up to get the tyres working.

Hi James, I agree that Mercedes had higher potential performance, but not that it was *generally* better, because there were so many tracks where, even if it could get its tyres working over one lap it couldn’t make them last for a full race stint: Australia was the classic example – Hamilton put it on pole, but in the race he looked vulnerable either to the undercut or the overcut – the Ferrari was just faster over a race distance. At other races such as Bahrain, Mercedes were competitive only on one tyre compound, securing the front row, but heading for trouble on the second (supersoft) stint.

I reckon Hamilton could have won in the Ferrari, because it would have relegated Vettel to driving the Mercedes and I can’t see the German making such a good job of handling its tyre problems – especially in the second half of the season where James Allison (or James Vowles?) was raving about Lewis’ ability to drive in such a way as to balance all four corners of the car – an amazing feat given the car’s fundamental imbalance. Lewis really got on top of a very difficult car in the second half.

I think you also have to look at qualifying sessions where something disrupted Q3, e.g. Ricciardo’s crash in Baku meant all teams went into their last run a little compromised – in particular it prevented Mercedes from doing their tortuous tyre prep runs; in a situation which called for seat of the pants driving, Lewis blitzed the competition, while Seb fell back behind Kimi. It happened again at Monza, when the rain returned in Q3.

A large part of Lewis’ success this year was down to mastering a difficult car, and a small part down to pouncing on the opportunities presented by the unexpected. Had they swapped seats I can’t see Seb managing to do either to the same degree.

134

“Generally” should mean at more tracks over the season. Yes at Aus and Bahrain (Race 1 and Race 3), Mercedes were still struggling with setting-up the Diva, as the much-quoted Mark Hughes article pointed out, but as the season progressed this was hardly a contributing factor.

The Mercedes did have its bogey circuits (Russia, Monaco, Hungary, Singapore, Mexico) where it was outclassed, but it was often the faster car.
If you include the qualifying performance of the car and how difficult it was to overtake this season, the Mercedes was the better car. At Bahrain, for example, Vettel’s strategy requirement was to jump one Mercedes at the start and take another with the over/undercut for a Ferrari win.

For me a large part of Lewis’ success this year was his consistent high-performance over the season, delivering in the tight races (Spa was a highlight) and yes a small part down to pouncing on the opportunities presented by the unexpected.

While I agree with @TimW that Hamilton’s performance flattered the “good” Mercedes, it seems to be a leap of faith to say that Hamilton would have won in the Ferrari.

135
The Grape Unwashed

Yes at Aus and Bahrain (Race 1 and Race 3), Mercedes were still struggling with setting-up the Diva… but as the season progressed this was hardly a contributing factor.

@ Ashish Sharma

It was a season long problem: round 7 (Canada), Ferrari looked to have the upper hand on Friday, but Mercedes fortunes changed with the weather; round 9 (Austria), Mercedes weren’t competitive on the supersofts; round 15 (Malaysia), Mercedes was slower than both Ferrari and Red Bull; round 18 (Mexico), a repeat of Malaysia.

136

@TheGrapeUnwashed

I think Canada actually illustrates the point. While Mercedes themselves acknowledged that they lucked into the ideal setup with the changing weather, once it happened the Mercedes was the faster car.

By Austria, Mercedes were starting to understand the setup issues, and despite struggling slightly with the supersoft, it was not race-threatening, unlike Bah/Aus. Hamilton himself later said, “When I go and look at the race-pace I was actually quickest so I had the strongest race”. Without the gearbox penalty, I still think that Austria was a Hamilton win from pole, so the team lost him crucial points there.

Malaysia was bad, but it was because of the triple whammy of a big spread of corner speeds; slow corners like T15, 9 and 1-2; and very hot tarmac, so just like Ferrari at Monza, the Mercedes was badly going to struggle there. [Though on a lighter note, with both Ferrari’s failing, Mercedes was actually the ‘faster car’]

When Mercedes look back at the season, with the understanding they now have of the car, they’ll probably realize that Australia and Bahrain were missed opportunities.

The Ferrari was a good car (probably better at 1/3 of the circuits) no doubt, but the Mercedes was ‘generally’ faster; and with its qualifying strength and reliability the “better car” over the season.

As Verstappen said of Hamilton at Mexico “In general this year he’s been the strongest and also the car was the most reliable between the Ferrari and Mercedes and if you combine those things you can achieve great things.”

137
The Grape Unwashed

I think Canada actually illustrates the point. While Mercedes themselves acknowledged that they lucked into the ideal setup with the changing weather, once it happened the Mercedes was the
faster car.

I’m not sure what point that makes: I freely admit that the Mercedes was every bit as untouchable as 2016 on occasion; the thing about Canada is, had the weather gods not smiled, Ferrari were looking at the chance of a win – but as it turned out, come Sunday Mercedes was in a different class. That is a terribly difficult car to mount a championship challenge with, because its operating path has steep drops on either side.

I think you’re wrong about Malaysia, because the track layout had aspects which favoured both teams – before the race it was thought that both teams would be competitive, perhaps with a slight advantage to Ferrari. But because of climatic conditions Mercedes was only the third best team. Unlike Canada, the weather gods refused to smile and the result was that Mercedes weren’t competitive. They had a bit of luck, of course, but things were looking grim before the race.

I don’t take the word of drivers as authoritative – they’re doing a PR job while fending off personal flak at the same time. My gold standard is this site and Mark Hughes for Motorsport (I’m sure Autosport does a sterling job too). I also admire Michael Schmidt for AMuS. All journalists who’ve been too many times round the block to have an interest in pushing an agenda and the result is – barring human fallibility – interesting but disinterested insights into the sport, supported by a great deal of ‘unofficial’ (i.e. non PR) information from the teams themselves. What drivers say only really interests me when it is corroborated by other sources.

Thumbs up for a nice discussion Ashish 🙂

138

Thumbs up for a nice discussion, TheGrapeUnwashed 🙂

The point I was referring to was “Where the Mercedes was set up correctly with the tyres in the sweet spot, it was faster.” I think we both agree that the Mercedes had a much narrower operating window than the Ferrari.

However, where we probably disagree, is that I feel that over the season Mercedes got on top of the setup issues. This was true even on tracks where the Merc struggled , at the start of the season in Monaco and Russia Lewis was nowhere, whereas in Mexico and Malaysia he had ‘decent’ races, even outqualified Kimi. Not only did Merc get better at it, they were faster in response. After struggling in Spa, at similar sections in Monza they were on top of it and Vowles even mentioned that they had done a lot of homework to figure out why the car struggled in Spa.

James, Mark and Malaysia – I also remember reading a few reports that had said that the long straights and Silverstone-inspired sweeping corners of Malaysia would suit the Merc, but those were not the defining characteristics of the track come the race weekend. (and that seemed more like journalists pushing an agenda). Remember both Mark Hughes and James never said Malaysia would suit the Merc, and the bit about the triple whammy is actually directly lifted from Mark’s Malaysia report (https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/reports/f1/2017-malaysian-grand-prix-report)

139

Mercedes always had it in the bag.
They didn’t take it all out of the bag, instead, managed the competition to retain the fans and preserve their ROI.
When they ticked all of their profit objectives by the second half of the season, the boardroom itchiness got too much for Herr Wolfie to contain, and they pulled the necessary junk-from-the-trunk to put them out-of-touch for everybody else, including Ferrari.

If you focus just on Ferrari, you can see the now reliable trend of them being out-developed, in-season by RB. RB started the season way behind Ferr, but managed to be the better (or at least close) package at the wire, which may have been exacerbated by the evident meltdown of their designated no. 1 driver.

140

I don’t get why people who believe this, continue to watch. It’s positively loopy.

Here’s a good exchange between a dean type (Wallace), and Mark Hughes on his blog:

https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/opinion/f1/mark-hughes-top-f1-drivers-2017-10-6#comment-3644426383

Predictably, Wallace goes silent when confronted with the sheer absurdity of his theory.

141

Krb, Ouch! Hughes doesn’t mince his words does he?! A brilliant response, that as you say completely silences the hapless Wallace!

142

Well, if you feel Lewis would have won in Ferrari this year, here’s your answer from the expert we all respect.

https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/reports/f1/2017-brazilian-grand-prix-report#comment-3617902000

143

Sarang, a bery interesting article, but it doesn’t say anything at all about wether or not Lewis would have won in a Ferrari .

144
The Grape Unwashed

@ KRB, well said. I never know whether to respond to that kind of ‘conspiracy theory’ post or not. One the one hand it seems absurdly implausible, but on the other hand it gets a staggering number of upvotes! Why would anyone watch a sport they believe to be rigged?

145

Well said deancassady. Never had a doubt about Benz victory. Their car has been amazing. And that will continue in 2018.
James, add Ferrari strategy errors, and give Verstappen and Kimi credit for Singapore failure. Vettel screwed up in Baku. Appologising.

146

Alan, no way! Vettel side-swiped Verstappen not realising Kimi was there. Kimi got an awesome start and would have been in front at the first corner, were it not for his wayward team-mate! 100% Vettel’s fault! (Unless you want to blame the stupid rule that allows you to chop another car like that?)

It’s time the rule stated, very clearly, “you cannot move into the path of another car within one car length!” Certainly, you should not be able to squeeze a car that is alongside! (Too late mate….)!

That would have thrown up a better result in Singapore and also would have stopped Nico swiping Lewis in Barcellona last year!

147

100% Vettel’s fault!

The race stewards don’t agree with You on this one.

148

f1 – Thanks for confirming what I just said! Stupid rule! I’ve been racing myself for 40 years, you just do not swerve into a car that is alongside.

When you are scrimping and saving to buy your own kart, and doing all the preparation yourself, I think you have a right to say that swinging into another competitor who is alongside is a definite no, no!

149

I reckon Hamilton could have won in the Ferrari, because it would have relegated Vettel to driving the Mercedes and I can’t see the German making such a good job of handling its tyre problems – especially in the second half of the season where James Allison (or James Vowles?) was raving about Lewis’ ability to drive in such a way as to balance all four corners of the car – an amazing feat given the car’s fundamental imbalance. Lewis really got on top of a very difficult car in the second half.

Had Vettel been in the Mercedes the title would have been over in the first half of the season while Hamilton was fluffing his lines.
Bottas was a race winner in the first half of the season but people keep forgetting this.
Also Vettel was leading but Mercedes had more race wins under it’s belt in the first half

150

No question many would have become champions in Mercedes. James said it in one of his latest postings, car really matters, no matter one’s sweat, skills or sposorship. With all respect for drivers’ work and skills, F1 drivers championships and their inflated ego are over rated. No to mention the money.

151

i am certain hamilton guides his engineers into designing and developing his cars because hamilton has said so himself on several videos. he also guided another team of engineers and development for the chassis and engine of theo project one car. he said so too. not a single journalist has praised hamilton for that yet many have claimed rosberg was more intelegent than hamilton. i wonder what their motivation is.
hamilton also guided a team of engineers to build a motorbike and named it after him.
i fail to understand why anyone would claim hamilton doesn’t guide his engineers into resigning and developing his cars for him to do battle with. just like claiming he is not as good a driver as he is, with all the evidence he has provided. you can pick 3 great senna drives for example but hamilton’s exceptional drives are numerous yet many struggle with the facts..
“pointless exercise” my b… ….!

152

i am certain hamilton guides his engineers into designing and developing his cars because hamilton has said so himself on several videos.

You have no idea.

So when Mercedes were drawing up initial designs for their all conquering engine in 2010 were they consulting Hamilton?? Whilst he was still at McLaren… he was well known then for his expertise in high performance hybrid engines of course.

Honestly your imagination..

153

NickH, are we down to 2010 for Merc designing the PU now? Why stop there? 1998 sounds even more imptessive…..

154

I was of the understanding that was when the project started Tim, I’m not trying to be funny. I’m sure someone in the paddock has said as much.

And to be honest for such a masterpiece of an engine I don’t believe 4 years R&D is that outlandish.

When do you think they started? Halfway through 2013?

155

NickH, yes sorry, 2010 isn’t ridiculous thinking about it, although the start date seems to get earlier every time someone talks about it! The Merc PU ran on the dyno for the first time in 2012, the programne began in 2011, without Lewis’ involvement!

156

I wouldnt even bother nick, Aveli= cloud cuckoo land.

157

anyone remember the name of the mental disorder which give gives victims the urg to be insulting, is it dsm?

158

Tourettes maybe?? Some people can suffer from oral stalking aswell.

159

oh is that what you suffer from?

160

Aveli, your so predictable. I never ever thought you would come back with that one🤪. Have a good Xmas.

161

🙂🙂

162

christmas will be enhanced by the thought of what 2018 f1 season will bring!
i hope you enjoy it as much.

163

😉 Merry Christmas James 🍺

164

sister wendy sends her christmas wishes.

165

what are you talking about? the lies have it again!
hamilton guided the mercedes engineers the design build and develop his cars and engines. i don’t understand why that makes you feel bad. hamilton has always raced with mercedes engines so yes, he did guide them in 2010. he was their best consultant because there wasn’t anyone in f1 who knew more about racing than hamilton, and there isn’t one now.

166
Clarks4WheelDrift

Did he use his Lego for the initial car design?

167

is lego your latest choice of toy?
you have just given the mercedes team a new sponsorship target to chase..

168

car does matter, that’s why hamilton goes to great lengths to ensure his engineers are well guided to provide.

169

This is a pointless exercise, but Aveli: Hamilton does NOT lead the engineers in any way. There are thousands of hours of modeling, simulating, building and validating and Hamilton’s input only ever comes in at the later stage and very limited in form, because testing is extremely restricted; in terms of setup he may have more of a say on Fridays but that is a very long shot from the style of leadership you award him. Anyway, I know i’m Talking in the desert here…. yup, Ham’s in Colorado right now and drawing up next years Merc off the back of his snowboard.

170

you know that mercedes engineers have known hamilton for longer than any driver in the history of f1. they have listened to his guidance for much longer and understand it’s value. what i find strange is the fact that you are argueing so strongly against it. facts are blatant and hamilton has said it himself.
learn to love it. just like you are learning to accept how good he really is as an f1 driver. the numbers are climbing!

171

Motor sport is never as simple as that…………….

What is straightforward is that this years Merc was the class of the field on front limited, understeer limited circuits. All but three of Lewis Hamilton’s victories came on “front enders” where fast corners cause the front left (or front right in Texas) to end up looking like Fernando Alonso’s beard. It suggests that the Merc’s weight distribution and aero balance is more forward orientated than it’s rivals as Hammy is able to “lean” on the fronts and carry as much momentum through Copse and Becketts with as minimal of understeer as possible. The point is, would Sebastian Vettel thrive in a car with it’s aerodynamic centre of pressure more forwards? Recent history suggests the opposite – he needs more downforce on the rear axle for him to perform at his best.

172

Gaz, great news! I have a New Years resolution for you… please stop your homo-erotic obsession with facial hair, in particular the facial hair of one person. It’s beyond weird at this stage.

173

Nothing to do with obsession, more of an observation…………..when Fernando Alonso was clean shaven and fresh faced be binged on success and was a double champ by the age of 25. Ever since his hirsute visage – success has dried up in terms of results, although he is driving as brilliant as ever. There’s an obvious correlation………..

174

I really am of two minds with this whole beard business: you could just be making a rather repetitive joke, slightly self effacing and that… or you could be dead serious which is what I truly suspect is happening and it really is weird and hilarious. Maybe the beard business reminds you of Marx and the unionists?

175
The Grape Unwashed

Had Vettel been in the Mercedes the title would have been over in the first half of the season while Hamilton was fluffing his lines.

@Rockie

In the first half of the season Mercedes were only quickest in two rounds: Canada and Britain. Ferrari was quickest in five: Australia, Russia, Spain, Monaco and Hungary. At the four remaining circuits – China, Bahrain, Baku and Austria – the teams were very evenly matched.

Hamilton won both rounds where Mercedes were quicker, a 100% conversion rate, whereas Vettel only converted three races where Ferrari was the stronger package – a 60% conversion rate.

In the four races where the teams were very evenly matched, Vettel only converted one, i.e. 25%. Hamilton converted two, 50%, and would have got three, 75%, but for the headrest problem.

It looks to me that, even with a problematic car, Lewis was performing at a higher level than Seb during the first half of the season.

176

I don’t necessarily disagree, but it is not that simple if you agree that Mercedes still have a qualifying advantage and therefore even if they did not have the fastest race car on most weekends, starting from pole gives them a tactical advantage and a more straightforward chance to claim the win.

177
The Grape Unwashed

@Vano, I agree with you about the qualifying advantage, it made it easier for Mercedes. But it didn’t matter in Australia, where Ferrari were just quicker in the race, nor in China, where the luck of the safety cars was the decisive factor. It might have been enough in Bahrain, but Mercedes had a dreadful weekend. In Russia Ferrari were simply quicker. In Spain Vettel threw away his chance at pole. In Monaco Mercedes simply weren’t in the fight.

In the first six rounds, Mercedes qualifying advantage only looked telling once – in Bahrain, a race in which they made so many mistakes they nullified it! Had they run perfectly in Bahrain, maybe the qualifying advantage would have been the decisive factor, but it’s hard to say F;errari were so much quicker on the supersofts, on a track where overtaking is possible.

178

@The Grape Unwashed
IMO..
Australia is the clear one that got away from Mercedes even though Vettel was faster. Mercedes panicked a bit (they might have thought they were driving 2016 tyres) and pitted Hamilton at precisely the wrong time which got him stuck behind Verstappen, handing the victory to Vettel. It was a clear tactical blunder.
Bahrain was also winnable imo when you saw Hamilton’s pace from the 2nd stint onwards, but he was not quite on form on the Saturday when the car was good enough for pole under Bottas.. so had the Mercedes locked out front row I think Hamilton would have led the early part of the race when you saw how compromised Bottas was and would have gone on the win.
Nice discussion. I think we both agree both packages were very closely matched on balance, but with different characteristics over the course of the season.

179

Gotta love it … Seb would have wrapped the title up by Hungary! Ha!

The Ferrari was a great, planted car in the first half. Hamilton wouldn’t be “fluffing his lines” at Russia or Monaco with that car. He wouldn’t get jumped at the start in Russia, would have beaten a pretty useless Kimi to pole in Monaco, and would have won Austria from pole. Canada would have been very different, and if Seb inherits the loose head rest then Hamilton wins there too. He wouldn’t foolishly run into the back of a car preparing for a SC restart, and would never deliberately hit another car in the way Seb did.

As such, instead of just 4 wins at the break, Hamilton would have 7-8 wins in that Ferrari.

After the break, Hamilton would have taken Seb at Spa given the same chance he had with the SC restart on better tires. In Italy he would have qualified that Ferrari higher than 7th in the wet. In Singapore another slam dunk win. Mexico as well. That’s 10-11 wins instead of the 5 they got. Of course, then the talk would be about Ferrari being the best car, but that Hamilton could have won in the Merc as well. 😉

180

Did you forget Canada 08 where HAM foolishly crashed into the back of Kimi in the pits?
Could it be that the Ferrari was more planted because Seb and Kimi know how to set up cars better than Hamilton?
Seb and Kimi work well together, and you know Hamilton does not like to share setup data.
Bottas was in a new team so he would not have been much help with setup and Lewis dosent like testing so is the Mercedes the diva or is it Ham and Bottas?
Hamilton wouldnt get jumped at the start? what really? Rosberg did it many times.
At Spa Hamilton would not have been close to Seb, you know he is not good at following other cars, out of practice, he would have destroyed his tyres for sure.
I apologize for making you look silly but facts are facts.

181

Jimothy, when you have to go back nine years into history to find your ammunition, you really have nothing….

182

Could it be that the Ferrari was more planted because Seb and Kimi know how to set up cars better than Hamilton?
Seb and Kimi work well together, and you know Hamilton does not like to share setup data.
Bottas was in a new team so he would not have been much help with setup and Lewis dosent like testing so is the Mercedes the diva or is it Ham and Bottas?
Hamilton wouldnt get jumped at the start? what really? Rosberg did it many times.
At Spa Hamilton would not have been close to Seb, you know he is not good at following other cars, out of practice, he would have destroyed his tyres for sure.

Which part of this is nine years ago?

183

Jimothy, the bit at the beginning where you mention Canada 2008, I believe that was something that happened nine years ago. The rest of your original post doesn’t count as ammunition, as its all a load of nonsense that you made up.

184

would have beaten a pretty useless Kimi to pole in Monaco

You do know the team bosses all voted Kimi higher than Bottas, the same bosses that voted for Hamilton as driver of the year that you were quoting on the other thread.

Do they know anything or not?

185

49 pts for Kimi (19.6% of max), versus 39 pts (15.6%) for Bottas, is pretty close. It is odd I grant you. Would you rate Kimi higher than Bottas this season? I wouldn’t. I think F1 Fanatic had Kimi #11 and Bottas #6. That’s more realistic, considering that Kimi was the only driver from the three race-winning teams not to win, and scored less podiums than Ricciardo, etc.

5 wins for Ferrari, when Red Bull scooped 3, shows how bad they were at taking their chances.

In the TP poll, I think the champion gets a natural bump, as do any “bright young thang’s”. That’s the only way I can rationalize Max ahead of Seb, and Ocon in the top 10 (5th!) and Perez not. The significant bit is how highly Hamilton rated, and the gap between him and 2nd. This year, it was pretty clear who the best driver was. The clearest since 2012.

186

Krb, Kimi was more consistent than Valterri, his highs were not as high, but his lows were not as low either.

187

Judging the Bottas performance is about perspective

Perspective A: Bottas was in a new car, against a great driver at the peak of his abilities and should be judged accordingly
Perspective B: Bottas was a co-lead driver in the fastest car and should have delivered strongly over the season. (Kimi was asked to safeguard Vettel in Hungary while Hamilton was not allowed past Bottas in the same race)

While I agree that Bottas can be cut some slack in his first year in the Mercedes, and judgment can be reserved till 2018, I don’t think that Bottas did enough over the season given the fastest car.

1. Qualifying: In Qualifying, SV vs. KR was 15-5 with a gap of -0.276s; LH vs. VB was 13-7 with a gap of -0.285s (Stats from F1 fanatic*) . Given the Mercedes’ qualifying strength, what was most disappointing for me this season was Bottas being outqualified by Vettel at tracks (like Britain, Canada, Australia, China, America) where the Mercedes was supremely fast. Kimi despite a very horrible year (outqualified and outraced Hamilton at Russia, Monaco, Hungary, Singapore, while failing in Mexico) did fine at the tracks where the Ferrari outclassed the Mercedes.

2. Struggles in a new car are understandable, but Bottas’ performance actually dipped post mid-season, so that isn’t a good sign for 2018. (@TheGrapeUnwashed has mentioned a James Allison interview about Lewis’ ability to drive in such a way as to balance all four corners of the car, post mid-season so that might explain Bottas’ slump, but then it shows a shortcoming too about being able to adapt)

So for me, given the number of bad weekends he had, Kimi didn’t deserve to be extended at all (and this from a lifelong Kimi fan) at Ferrari (Probably Perez as a decent No. 2). At Mercedes if DannyRic had been available or Ocon ready for the big league, I’d have gone for either in place of Bottas.

188

I would agree with the team bosses here, i think Kimi is faster than Bottas, if they had equal cars Kimi would destroy him, just shows how quick that Merc really is, especially in Q3

189

Jimothy, do you also agree with the team bosses that Max is faster than than Dan, and that Lewis is the fastest of them all?

190

They are the experts i guess they would know better than me.
Sure Max is faster than Dan but Dan is better at clean overtaking.
Imagine Max was Lewis’s team mate this year, Max would easily have half a second or more on Bottas and Bottas beat Lewis many times this year.
Lewis would still beat max in the WDC though because Max has trouble passing without crashing but once he sorts that out, he will be the best.
Nobody can know who is fastest of them all but last race Lewis was blown away by Bottas

191

Jimothy, did Valterri beat Lewis “many” times? I seem to remember Lewis being by far the superior driver, worth remembering that the team principals list is not their rankings of who is fastest, but who is best. If they rank Max higher than Dan and Seb, it is because they think he is better than them, and obviously they think Lewis is better than all of them, but hey if you want to

192

“… if they had equal cars Kimi would destroy him …”

I guess that’s why Ferrari just issued him a ‘shape up or ship out’ warning, eh?

https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/133604/ferrari-2018-last-chance-to-find-raikkonen-form

Too easy yo … 😂

193

Kimi is still better than Bottas though, and Hamilton still needed team orders to win against a number 10 driver, this just makes HAM look worse.

194

More trolling Jimothy, so now you have decided that Hamilton needed team orders to beat Bottas? Lets not let boring old facts get in the way of a good attention seeking post shall we?

195

Of course you would Jimothy.

196

Maybe it is a bit odd, granted Bottas won races and he was good in the first half.

I would actually say it was fairly even but Kimi had a lot more go against him, Monaco and Hungary of course he could easily have won those with fair strategy like Mercedes use for both their drivers.

And when Bottas was underperforming in the 2nd half of the season he still got the rub of the green and bagged decent results when the Ferraris / RBs were braking down or crashing.

Agreed on Hamilton I can’t argue with his score.

197

Great great post

198

The Ferrari was a great, planted car in the first half. Hamilton wouldn’t be “fluffing his lines” at Russia or Monaco with that car. He wouldn’t get jumped at the start in Russia, would have beaten a pretty useless Kimi to pole in Monaco, and would have won Austria from pole.

Russia Bottas won the race it was the mighty effort of Vettel that got him on pole to start with, Monaco Vettel won that with the overcut something surprise surprise Hamilton could not manage in a two horse race in Abu-dhabi.
Next?

199

raikkonen was on pole in monaco. vettel didn’t win monaco, that victory was handed to him.

200

Like Lewis in Monaco 2016 right? Hamilton can thank team orders and Red bull for their slow pitstop.

201

Monaco ’16 is one of Hamilton’s greatest wins. Any team would’ve ordered a swap given how slow Rosberg was. That was a perfect last Monaco race for “King of Monaco” Nico, to expose his lack of wet weather driving ability, an essential requirement of any great driver.

Hamilton skipping the inters phase was great F1 television.

A great, great win.

202

Krb, isn’t Lewis the only driver to go straight from the full wet to slicks since the introduction of intermediates?

203

I honestly don’t know TimW. Did they mention that at the time?

204

Krb, i’m sure it was mentioned in commentary, can’t say for certain though.

205

@KRB
Totally agree. A shame for DR, but a world class drive from Lewis. He was meant to win that day.

206

Jimothy, you mean he can thank his team mate for driving so slowly…..

207

But obviously not slow enough for Hamilton to overtake on merit.
True or False?

208

Around Monaco? If your Mum let you watch the races on telly a bit more often, you would know that overtaking around there is extremely risky.

209

overtaking around there is extremely risky.

Risky sure, but not impossible, it F1 the whole sport is risky but thats what we love about it.
Maybe next year when Lewis gets the halo he can also cover himself with bubble wrap?
It could give him more confidence, you never know.

210

Letting Lewis make his own way past Nico would have been an idiotic decision for any team to take, the fact that you seem to think Merc should have taken such a ridiculous decision tells me that you really don’t understand motor racing at all.

211

jimothy, monaco 2016 was an exceptional drive by hamilton who decided his race strategy from his cockpit, against the decision of his team of strategists with all their computer hardware and software. he drove a spirit filled race, in temporary isolation from his team, to put the entire redbull team of strategists with their piles of hardware and software and driver, under so much pressure that they ground to a halt while he took that historic victory in spectacular style.
there were no team orders. hamilton was stuck behind rosberg for 10 laps because the team was planning to get rosberg more points than hamilton and hamilton knew it. they only asked rosberg to let hamilton by to save themselfs from the embarrassment of the world finding out about their plot.
while hamilton was racing with the intent to win, they were racing for a podium position. the mercedes team kept hamilton behind rosberg for enough laps to ensure he was outside the victory window on their computer simulations software. hamilton kept his intentions hidden from them until the pit stop window where he refused to put after several calls by the team to pit, to which he responded, “my tyres are good man, my tyres still feel good. although he was “out of the victory window” for the mercedes team and their hardware and software, hamilton operated at a new dimension to switch the team’s objectives to his, for victory. hamilton did put on a spectacular show throughout that 2016 season only to be let down by the team’s insistence on going racing with two champions instead of one.

212

Russia was a Ferrari front row lockout. Some mighty effort.

No one passed anyone in Russia, remember? It was all down to the start, and Seb flubbed it.

As I said, Lewis would’ve beaten Kimi to pole, and would have been seconds up the road, as he was with Rosberg in 2015. No need for the team to bring Kimi in early for him.

NEXT!! 😃

213

Am I correct in saying that Lewis Hamilton overtook Sebastian Vettel on the circuit at Barcelona and Texas for victory, but the German never repaid the favour out on the track? Vettel had a good go in Spa and he still couldn’t pass the Ham Man on merit!

214

you are very correct. it is a regular occurance for hamilton to overtake vettel for victory while vettel learns how to do it. he had a chance to do just that in spa but hamilton explain to him how to do it in a spectacular display of his slipstreaming skills..which vettel described at an extremely high level of driving. i don’t think i’m a good driver but i overtake by speeding up behind the car in front to pull out with that speed advantage, to pass safely. yet vettel calls that “driving at a very high level”. it’ll be a special day to witness vettel achieve passing hamilton for victory.

215

You are correct, 100%.

Also, pole conversions:

HAM 8/11 (AUS, BAK, MAL the misses)
VET 1/4 (RUS, SIN & MEX the misses)

If it wasn’t for Kimi guarding his back in Hungary, he would’ve had an 0-for.

216
The Grape Unwashed

Russia Bottas won the race it was the mighty effort of Vettel that got him on pole to start with

@Rockie

Well this is nonsense to start with, any time Ferrari scored managed a 1-2 in qualifying you knew they had a large car advantage: whenever the cars were evenly matched the tardy Raikkonen would languish in fourth place. In FP2 Vettel was nearly 7/10ths ahead of the first Mercedes driver, in FP3 he was nearly 4/10ths ahead. Ferrari had a sizeable advantage in Sochi, as confirmed by Raikkonen’s P2 in qualifying.

217

The tardy Raikkonen, who was in fact quicker in qualifying in relation to his team mate than Bottas.

In Qualifying, SV vs. KR was 15-5 with a gap of -0.276s; LH vs. VB was 13-7 with a gap of -0.285s (Stats from F1 fanatic*)

218

So Raikkonen out qualified his team mate five times, and this is better than Bottas who out qualified his team mate seven times? Okaaaaay……

219

Does that includes Monza where Bottas was 2.279 secs back? That would certainly throw off the average.

220

I don’t really understand your logic if we are just picking and choosing which races count. Did he have a car problem at Monza?

221

No car problem, but in no way a usual result.

Bottas had the highest average grid slot this season, of all the drivers. Should we call him the best qualifier this year, or might other factors be behind that?

222

I think ‘gallops’ is a bit of an overstatement. They were ‘the least crap team that wasnt Mercedes’.

223

No way Adam! Did you read Gary Anderson’s report from Barcellona testing? He said, “The Ferrari is planted to the road!” You can’t say that Ferrari were, “the least crap team that wasn’t Mercedes!”

The Ferrari was a good car. Quicker in the race at Spa, for example, according to Lewis (even allowing for a bit of ‘blag’ from Lewis there.

The Red Bull was not a crap car, either.

What we need now is for the Renault engine to match Mercedes. We could have 5 teams competing for wins: Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, and Renault! Ha

224

Wouldn’t it be nice if Renault produced something special with just a little more boost. Something that just stretched the elastic of the rules not quite punishable but open to interpretation and even later banned but not until well into the season.

225

It would!

226

This year saw the top 3 drivers in the championship each score over 60% of the total available points possible. The only other time when that has happened was 2007, which was a similarly close fought championship between two teams.

Even with Kimi in tow, Ferrari scored 60.7% of the total constructor’s points available. McLaren scored 60.8% of the total points available in 2011. Ferrari in 2006 scored 62.0%.

227

On preseason testing: I still wonder how much of a difference that suspension protest Ferrari put out (which hindered Mercedes and very likely Red Bull as well) made. It certainly didn’t have a negative effect on Ferrari’s first few races. Other than that, the mighty qualifying laps Mercedes but mainly Hamilton can put in also made a massive difference. It’s much easier to lead from the front vs to make up places.

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