Analysis: How the Australian F1 GP got away from Lewis Hamilton
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Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  27 Mar 2018   |  6:43 am GMT  |  327 comments

For the second year in a row the Australian Grand Prix was won by Ferrari on a race strategy twist and a strong opportunistic drive by Sebastian Vettel.

But whereas Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton lost the race in 2017 thanks to an earlier than ideal pit stop and Vettel’s ability to extend the first stint to take track position, this year the Virtual Safety Car intervened, which was the worst case scenario for Mercedes in the strategy that they had adopted.

Even then they would have been able to cope with the VSC, had the maths they were working to on Hamliton’s gap to Vettel, been correct.

Here we will drill down into how that played out and look at whether Red Bull’s decision to start both cars on the supersoft tyres paid off.


Pre-Race considerations
Melbourne is one of the hardest tracks on which to overtake as well as one of the toughest on fuel consumption at 307km in total. This tends to point teams towards making just one stop, as retaining track position is vital here.

Practice showed that it was possible do the race on a single stop, starting on the ultra soft tyres for around 18-20 laps and switching to the softs to the end at 58 laps. A safety car or Virtual Safety Car is always welcome for those who are tight in fuel consumption and if it falls at the right moment, can open the door to a team that has not yet pitted. This happened a few times down the years and is always in the minds of the strategists.

It’s one of the reasons why Red Bull went with the decision to race on supersoft tyres. Knowing that they could not beat Mercedes and Ferrari on pure performance, they would be on the third row of the grid – Ricciardo also had a three place penalty – so with a gap back to the next fastest cars opening in the race, they had nothing to lose by adopting this tactic, which could put them in the right place if they happen to be on track when a Safety Car or VSC is deployed when the leaders have pitted. It worked like this for Ricciardo and would have put Verstappen in contention for a podium had he not spun early in the race.

It was slightly disappointing that the new Pirelli tyres were not more marginal between one stop and two stops, as had been their target. However, there will be races, such as Bahrain in two weeks, where the drivers will need two stops.

Mercedes get their numbers wrong
Hamilton and Mercedes had a 0.3-0.4s/lap inherent pace advantage over the Ferraris. So after Hamilton won the start and got into control of the race, Ferrari’s only play was to take different approaches with their two cars car so that Hamilton physically could only cover one of them.

Ferrari pulled the trigger, pitting Kimi Raikkonen on Lap 18, the earliest he could safely do that and make the finish on the soft tyres.

Mercedes had to decide whether to cover Raikkonen’s stop or to stay out and cover Vettel. Later in the championship, they might have covered the title contender, if they were in a tight championship fight, but here their sole objective was to win the first race of the season.

Of course, if they couldn’t win, Mercedes would have preferred the other Ferrari to win the race, the one less likely to fight for the title. But by covering Raikkonen they left themselves vulnerable only to one scenario, which was that a VSC or Safety Car would come out during the laps when Vettel stayed out to build a tyre offset to Hamilton, which was the only tactic he could adopt.

That turned out to be a seven-lap period and with problems frequently occurring in the past, with cars stopping after the first pit stops of the season, it was well worth a gamble. It was the same tactic Ricciardo was adopting as well as Fernando Alonso further down the field.

Hamilton was not helped by the fact that he was fighting the Ferraris on his own, as Valtteri Bottas had taken himself out of contention by crashing in qualifying and so was down the field.

Race Strategy planning involves a complex series of ‘what ifs’ around scenarios that might arise in the race and for that you need reliable data. One of those is what effect the Virtual Safety Car will have on the time it takes to make a pit stop.

They had a problem a few years ago in Monaco when Lewis Hamilton was leading from Nico Rosberg and they believed it was possible to make an extra stop under the Safety Car only to find that he came out behind Rosberg and Vettel.

Their number of what constituted a ‘safe’ gap didn’t take into account that there is no true GPS in Monaco, so the gaps between cars are hard to measure over the last few kilometers of the track.

This one in Australia was down to a wrong lap time in the mechanism used to calculated losses under the VSC. It’s a difference of 1.8 seconds in this case, but it was the difference between Hamilton being ahead when Vettel emerged from the pits after his stop under the VSC and behind. Stopping under the VSC is advantageous as you lose less time relative to the cars still on track, around half as much in fact.

After his stop, Hamilton was balancing the pace, not pushing too much too early in the stint on the soft tyres, Mercedes working to what they believed was a ‘safe’ gap to Vettel. This was in their hands and, had they had the correct number in their strategy model, they would have pushed more in those seven laps to have Vettel inside the window for that gap and would have won the race.

There was only a lap and a half after Hamilton’s stop when he was truly outside the safe gap to Vettel and from then on, he was in what Mercedes believed was the safe gap.

This will require some work in the factory in the operations room to review the way that the reference lap times are consolidated, to avoid this mistake happening again.


Red Bull zig while others zag
Red Bull are famously aggressive in race strategy and when they are in the role of challenger, rather than the team to beat, they will always try things to see if they can get a better outcome that the models suggest.

With a big performance gap worth over a second back to the next fastest cars on the grid, they knew that they could afford to try something different in the race without much apparent downside risk of losing track position.

So they sent both cars out to qualify on super soft tyres, the only team to do so. Vettel admitted after qualifying that Ferrari had also looked at that strategy and decided against it.

That’s because there are some risks involved; one is that you lose start line grip and arguably one of the reasons why Verstappen lost position to Magnussen into Turn 1 is down to that. Then there is the question of pace in the first stint, because what you are doing is offsetting yourself against the other leaders, who are pulling a gap to you the whole of the first stint as they are faster cars on a faster tyre.

The tyres are hyper sensitive to temperature; they work on a knife edge of performance relative to track temperature. Mercedes’ dominant pole position was partly down to getting a couple of extra degrees of temperature into the tyres before Hamilton started his final run (plus another tenth of a second from an engine mode). On Friday in practice the temperature was 45 degrees, on Sunday it was 41. The supersoft was a better tyre than the ultrasoft on Friday.

Red Bull’s gamble was a hedge against the track being warmer in the race than it was, or the other scenario, where the ultrasoft grains in the colder conditions, which could also have happened. And finally, it was a hedge against a VSC or Safety Car after the leaders had pitted.

Only the final one came off, for Ricciardo, while Verstappen was unable to capitalize after his spin and even lost out to a determined Fernando Alonso, who had stayed out long enough to capitalize on the VSC in the same way as Ricciardo. He managed to hold Verstappen behind him to the flag for a very satisfying start to the season for McLaren.

The UBS Race Strategy Report is written by James Allen with input and data from several F1 team strategists and from Pirelli

Race History and Tyre Usage Charts – Courtesy of Williams Martini Racing- click to enlarge

Plotting each lap of each car against a zero reference point lap, which is designed to show the gaps between the cars. It’s a good indicator of relative performance.

Here you see clearly how costly Verstappen losing the start to Magnussen and then spinning in the opening stint, which lost him track position and then Alonso came into the picture by delaying his stop until the VSC and Safety Car period (pink vertical bands)

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1

“arguably one of the reasons why Verstappen lost position to Magnussen into Turn 1”

Seriously????

Verstappen’s start was clearly unaffected by the ‘super soft’ compound, as can be seen in the replays.

Verstappen is way ahead & could have jinked to the left, but stayed on the inside & was closed off by Vettel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcPzxQXsO_w

2

Pirelli will never keep up with how they set up the cars to be kind on the tyres. No tyre will ever be soft enough – unless it’s a quali tyre that lasts four laps – why would Pirelli manufacture that??? It’s time to forget about one stop races and bring in a rule that all three tyre compounds must be used during the race. Oh, and reduce pit speed by 40km/hr during SC and VSC (or more depending on the track).

3

What do we make of Ocon’s performance? Qualified 7 tenths behind Perez and finished 14 seconds behind despite restarting directly behind him for the last 25 Laps after safety car. Think Perez has improved over the years and is underrated but Ocon can’t afford too many more weekends like that

4

Reckon Toto and co are having further talks with the management of RIC prior to Bahrain.

5

My wager would’ve that both Ocon and LeClerc will have to wait at least one more round of musical chairs before they land a drive in one of the top teams.

6

@ LKFE…You may turn out to be right however this being the very first race of the season really is a poor example to try and judge the entire seasons results by. This Verstappen’s fourth season and look at how he started? Ocon will come on in leaps and bounds i think once he gets back into full stride again. Leclerc, to me, is an unknown quantity but he is supposed to be the new ‘saviour’ if you listen carefully to some promoters!. Barcelona should see just where we are headed and that will then set the tone for the rest of the season.

7

Yes, bad races for both Bottas and Ocon, but Australia can be weird sometimes. Vettel went from pole (won with a bigger margin to the next non-RBR car than Hamilton’s 2018 pole) to 3rd in 2011, but then of course went on to have a crushing season, ending with the greatest points difference to 2nd place ever (yes, aided by the current scoring system; Schumi’s 2002 whitewash was even worse).

One race shouldn’t seal any long-term decision like that. It’s a delicate act … Merc need Bottas motivated and driving the best he can. Of course he should want that for himself first and foremost, but if you don’t think the team’s with you, then that can be a mental block that unconsciously hinders you. They will be helping to assure him, and get him back on track. How long could they leave it without re-signing him, or letting him know that they’re releasing him? In 2009 Kovalainen was only told on U.S. Thanksgiving day (Nov 26th that year) that McLaren had signed Button to replace him. Whitmarsh had told him before then that he was effectively their 3rd choice though (after Kimi & Jenson).

On RIC’s side he will have to bat away Horner’s “gonna sign yet?” queries that will be increasing in frequency.

This is all getting way too ahead of things. It’s just been one race. Bottas could bounce back, and go on a run, for all we know, and then this would all be moot.

Safe to say that the off-track machinations are quite intriguing this year.

8

1. Race: I do not see conspiracy just a series of circumstances that Ferrari took advantage of very well…
2. Merc was much faster (in Ham hands at least). Great car in all aspects, including hydraulics both for suspension and transmission side.
Rear suspension: last year car I noticed was able to take impossible high speed turn loads… (yes Ham is great but high speed corners the car does not move at all no matter how much you push it). I say impossible turns because when you take such a load any mechanical controlled suspension system would balance itself back to the opposite of the load destabilizing the car. Ferrari for sure cannot dot that; RB neither; RB manages more height than roll. This year Merc does even more so, they perfected it as you could see in the first sector of HAM quali… if they follow another car of course the dirty air takes the front off and they cannot exploit that… But also there is the transmission the more I see where they are superior to Ferrari must be somehow an extra energy storage device (in my opinion the real secret of Merc PU is not just rough advantage in HP/KJ- no I do not for sure I am guessing but if you pay attention where the difference in performance from Ferrari and where that happens and particularly when you match it on other Merc powered cars you see they spring up from curves more). Anyway congratulations to Ham for 2018 WC win.
Ferrari: Vettel is not comfortable with the car (which has potential if they can fix it) and in Bahrein it will show. Also with the first round the drivers advantage is gone…. Yes they are more experienced but Kimi was pissed! He told the pit after asking if Vet pitted and no answer ” guys please do not f… me in this way” …they did use him (he is the Patrese in Williams days)… will see how it goes my hunch is he will pay them back at some point. In that advantage RB

9

high speed corners the car does not move at all no matter how much you push it

Bottas would beg to differ. Especially after his crash in Quali

10

Given where the Haas stopped on track I was surprised a VSC was called and not a full SC. So, genuine question, would things have been different if a full SC had been deployed rather than a VSC. Would Vettel have gained as much an advantage?

I do find it odd that the VSC speed restriction is lifted in the pit lane before the pit limiter. The pit lane is always referred to as part of the race track, hence why drivers sometimes go wheel to wheel there. Shouldn’t the VSC limit apply in the pits prior to the limit line?

Ferrari clearly made a good strategy call which will worry Mercedes as this hasn’t always been the Scuderia’s strong point in the past. On this occasion, the red car won and the silver one didn’t. Next time it might be the other way round. We are in for a great season!

11

Ricciardo was penalised because he was speeding under a red flag. Even though I am a huge Dan Fan, I agree with that penalty because unless the driver is immediately given the information about exactly where the incident is, they only know which sector it’s in so they have absolutely no idea what perils or FIA officials might confront them around the next corner … that includes the pit entry, pit lane and pit exit!
Hmmmm … apparently not!
Why is it that under the current rules, a car can increase it’s speed to whatever the driver wishes after leaving the circuit proper and entering the pit entry? Sure, that speed is regulated once the car arrives at the heavy braking point linewhere the pit-limiter is engaged at the beginning of the pit lane – but that line can be hundreds of metres from where they exit the circuit proper. That’s a huge advantage when you calculate how much time a Formula 1 car make up in a very short distance.
What if the accident or incident is in the pit entry, pit lane or exit?
This is the major reason I can’t understand the way this foolish “add-on” rule is seen to be fair and concise.
If the SC is leading the field and has to go through the pits, which happens now and then, they don’t speed up as they leave the track, they actually SLOW DOWN even more because the SC can’t negotiate the pit entry as quick as the F1 cars can!
Therefore, why the hell are the cars allowed to speed-up anywhere on at all under the VSC, regardless of where it is?
It’s idiotic and unfair because it creates an advantage for cars that are out of touch with the leader of the race and it more or less gives them a free ride to gain an incredibly unfair advantage!
That totally contradicts the exact reason the VSC rule was introduced – to allow the cars to continue circulating without deploying the SC while removing the opportunity for any car to gain an advantage in a dangerous situation!
No matter how you look at it, it’s a crazy, extremely dangerous loop-hole in what should be a steadfast rule!

12

As a lewis fan I have no problem saying well done VET and Ferrari (actually, saying well done Ferrari does stick in the throat somewhat). You take the opportunities that come your way. Dissapointed for Lewis but hey… that’s racing. He has benefitted under the same circumstances before and all this nonsense about changing the rules surrounding VSC and putting are a bit daft.

Was a great performance from lewis all weekend (what a stonking pole lap) Sometimes the cards fall against you.

Was happy with his philosophical attitude afterwards too. It’s going to a be a good season.

So… Lewis driver of the weekend for me.

Wally of the weekend: has to be VER. I’ve been singing his praises for a while now but THAT performance showed his lack of racing nous. He was impatient, eratic and very niave. He was all over the place behind MAG. RIC showed him how to race this weekend. I really like VER and rate him very highly but he has to mature and realise a GP is longer than a few laps. Other than that I think it was a good race. On to the next one…

13

Good balanced post as it was a race in which, apart from back to back Haas errors, nothing unusual occurred.

14

Good post Dean +1

15

Goal: eliminate drivers gaining an advantage by pitting under VSC.

Option 1 – fiddle with the rules every time Hamilton loses / Vettle wins because of a VSC situation.

Option 2 – eliminate the VSC. Due to marshal’s’ need to be on track to attend incidents, and the VSC actually being a very effective way of bringing the field under control in a timely fashion, eliminating the VSC all together is not really an option.

Option 3 – eliminate pit stops. Surely Pirelli can construct a tire that will last all race. With refuelling gone because it’s too dangerous, tire changing should follow suit. Pit stops are dangerous, expensive, and tires which artificially degrade are not green. If pit stop were eliminated, there is no way to gain an advantage under VSC.

16

Re: Option 1 … way to go and torque it. It’s not suddenly that I’m anti-VSC because it’s hurt Lewis. I have never liked the loopholes in the VSC … I’ve commented on it many times before. I like the VSC’s intended aims … that is, to freeze the gaps in a race. It just doesn’t work that way in practice.

Many times we’ve seen races where it seemed like the SC comes out to reduce a big lead of the leader. Valencia 2012 would be such a case. Remember this from Marko & Vettel?

https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/marko-admits-safety-car-conspiracy-theory/

I’m not a fan of doing such things to aid “the show”, so the VSC is more fair in that regard, in terms of trying to preserve the state of the race, when it’s called. I think there’s an easy way to close the pit-under-VSC loophole, which is to either close the pits or have a mandatory pit box wait time before the car can be worked on. I don’t think we have to just accept how it is, like it or lump it, and not try to make it better.

Re: Option 3, don’t want to go back to that. 2005 was not best served by it … obviously the debacle at Indianapolis that year was the low-water mark for that particular set of rules.

17

And let’s eliminate the starts also. They too are certainly dangerous un-green. We should also consider eliminating the corners and probably also the drivers…

18

I am a Dan Fan so this is not about me favouring Lewis.
I find it quite unsettling that the VSC was introduced so that “no car gains an advantage while the track is deemed unsafe by race control”, yet we have seen more than one instance where that is not the case.
I know every different situation has it’s quirks, lurks and perks – but if the main aim is for the cars to remain in position until the track is clear, how can the rules allow the complete opposite.
The simple solution is to refuse entry to the pits under the VSC and SC unless a car is damaged or retiring. That way nobody gains or loses until the race is under green flag conditions again.
I’m afraid the FIA seems to enjoy allowing these quirks of fate to happen via loopholes in the rules … if only to drum up publicity, no matter whether it’s good, bad, fair, or unfair.
It is F1 after all, the series where even the most boring race can be turned on it’s head in an instant by sketchy means that were put in place by people who really have no idea.

Let’s face it though, if the regulations of the Formula weren’t so restrictive and economy-centric, this would never have happened.
I say that with the utmost confidence because without having to choose his race tyres the day before the race, save fuel, tyres, engines and drivetrain, Lewis would have driven the wheels off the Merc in the first stint.
With the option of choosing to start the race on the hardest set of tyres available as in years gone by, he would have been around 18-20 secs in front by the time of the first pitstops, which most likely would have been around lap 22-25.
Unless it was a high deg track surface and they knew they’d be doing multiple stops, that’s the way every car that’s ever enjoyed a huge speed advantage like Merc does has run in their first stint.
It’s a no-brainer to go like a cut snake and open up a gap which ensures, short of a crash or mechanical failure, no matter what happens they will be in front after the first stop. Then they control the race pace and strategy from there.
To have a car as fast as Hamilton has and not open up the greatest margin possible was a tad complacent. It was almost as though they were so supremely confident that they were comfortable enough to work with no margin for error, even if their software was working properly.
Confucius say: When 1 foot from hungry, caged Lion … do not poke Lion until absolutely certain cage is locked!!!

19

So Hamilton drives like a cut snake from the start, gets a 20 second lead and then there’s an incident, the pace car is deployed and he looses all of the 20 seconds. In doing so, having worn his tyres such that the car behind simply blasts past in the next braking zone. Not good race strategy in every situation, often the tortoise does beat the hair.

20

Reg Parnell has the distinction of being the only Brit to race for Alfa Romeo in F1. He was invited to race for the dominant Alfa’s in their 4th car at the inaugural F1 race at Silverstone.

Parnell snagged a podium, but only because Fangio retired. He finished 50 secs back of the other Alfa’s, but managed to run over a hare during the race. Surely that qualifies as a “tortoise beats the hare” example? 😉

21

@ Gary…Are you hinting that the German with the ‘weird harecut’ is a tortoise?

22

Nice try but the tortoise beats the hare (not hair) nowhere near as often as the guy in front does, especially if he controls the race rather than watching the others and waiting until they make the first move.
The team who acts first and controls the race usually wins, that’s what happened here.
Hamilton REacted instead of ACTing first …
As for your analysis of race strategy, it would take a week to concoct and lay out the details of every different situation that MAY happen, so you can throw darts at mosquitoes if you like but reality is reality!

23

Hamilton was driving to a set time for the first 15 laps. Manage the gap, create enough separation so that there is a gap to drop back into after pitting. That was all done fairly easily. In the laps afterwards, Hamilton sped up, and eased away from Kimi. Kimi pitted, and Merc reacted. They were guarding against the undercut, but it seems like it wasn’t as big a threat this year, as in prior years. If Merc had left Hamilton out for another lap, they would have seen that Hamilton could have still matched Kimi’s pace on their ultrasoft tires. As Merc prioritises the win, they were always going to pit and make sure they had track position. There were only 5 laps where Hamilton was vulnerable to a VSC (laps 20-24), and that was him pushing to an incorrect pit window delta. If they had the correct figures, he could have made it under that window in the same amount of time.

In Bahrain the undercut is usually far more effective than most other circuits. It will be important for Merc to have both cars up at the front there.

24

Bottas will on his best behaviour at Bahrein. Any more errors and he’ll be not only toat but burnt toast! Hamilton and his ‘party mode’ will ensure that he is way out front and Mercedes will be expecting Bottas to be alongside for a front row blockout.

25

This has been the SC rules for some time. Sometime you benefit from it and sometimes you lose out, but all teams deal with it and the smart teams include planning for it in their strategy. Why is it that rules require a rethink when certain drivers are disadvantaged by them? Mercedes was completely capable of winning this race SC/VSC or not. They dropped the ball as detailed above by James and as such deserved to lose.

26

I think if you read the first line of my comment, there’s absolutely no fear of doubt that I didn’t give a tinker’s cuss about whether it was Hamilton or Johnny on the Trams. To say I want rules changed because it Hamilton is your addition to the comment. Nothing to do with my line of thinking.
It’s a stupid anomaly with a rule that was made to keep the cars in their current positions and stop what happened on the weekend.
It didn’t … so it goes against the actual rule that is in place.
As I said, typical FIA. They make rules, then they get lawyers to write things like – if so & so happens then we need to add a paragraph 2, subsection C but only if paragraph 3 subsection 42.6-D happens. It’s a nightmare and a load rubbish that’s totally unnecessary.
That is EXACTLY why F1 is where it is today .. bogged down in bullsh!t!!

27

There may be a lot of bs, but apart from an overtake by your driver, the only other reasonable racing was made possible by the red cars catching the mercs with their pants down. I enjoyed the anticipation of an incident that may enable such and my excitement at seeing the second prone Haas was (apart from my thoughts for the team members) the most exciting period of the race.

Strategy is just as, if not more important than simply driving fast to me as a motorsports fan. It may well be a sad indictment on the current state of F1, but I for one don’t want to lose one of the few things that can throw a spanner in the works for possibly the most dominant car ever.

28

They got rid of being allowed to put under SC. About 10 or so years ago. Worked even worse so reverted back to this. If a SC falls around pit stop time there will always be winners and losers. Everyone competes to the same set of regulations. This time Hamilton lost out. He’s gained in the past and I’m sure will gain again in future. It’s called sport. These things happen. Deal with it.

29

In 2008 it was still that way, that the pit lane would be closed for the first couple/few laps of a SC. If anyone pitted at that point (e.g. because they were going to run out of fuel), then would get an additional drive-through penalty. That was silly … far too harsh a punishment for an unlucky circumstance.

Now though we have other methods we can use. A 5 second wait “penalty” for any cars pitting under a SC/VSC would likely solve most of the issues. Or the FIA could determine the pit loss time under green, SC, or VSC conditions, and determine a respective wait time that way. Say that SC is 8.3 secs less loss time compared to green, and VSC is 6.5 seconds less. Make the wait time 8 and 6 seconds respectively, or make it 7 (the average), or even just 6 for both (the minimum difference).

With random factors the hope is that they all even out in the end. They rarely do, at least not within a single season. So anything that can be done to not have random man-made constructs determine races, should be done, in my opinion.

30

I agree, what comes around goes around, but this situation should only be allowed to happen under a SC as it always has. VSC is a completely different situation, an idiotic add-on to an existing rule.
If a VSC is deployed but then eventually usurped by a SC in the same incident, it creates a whole new set of parameters and regulations that have only been added only after the fact, to rules and regulations that should be simple, fair and extremely easy to police. The further they muddy the water with subsections and adding paragraphs 687-123-a,b,c and d, the less it works the way it was originally written because everything contradicts the previous rule.
No wonder the stewards get things wrong so often, by the time they’ve finished reading 20 pages of extremely confusing and highly contradictory gobbled-gook regarding all the different legal ramifications of one simple incident, they are dazed and confused and the race is almost over!
Constantly trowelling over glaringly obvious cracks with idiotic add-on regulations to cover up the fact that the original rule was idiotic and flawed is a joke. More like a fool’s flippant fix rather than astutely rewriting it properly and making it clear, concise and water-tight.
Like a few hundred million F1 fans, I am finding that side of F1 and the FIA extremely hard to DEAL WITH these days.

Until they simplify F1 and get things right, you’ll just have to DEAL WITH the millions of fair-minded people like me b!tching and moaning about the FIA and it’s team of muppets rapidly causing the ugly deterioration of F1 and turning it into a shambles.
Actually, it’s becoming a laughing stock and that is shameful to say about a sport that is supposed to be a world leader, the Pinnacle!

31

I think a lot of your criticisms should be aimed at Bernie, first and foremost, as he was the architect of the current situation. Sure, there need to be changes, but they will take time as the contracts for the privileged few have a couple of years to run yet.

32

@ Bryce…contracts can always be renegotiated….depending only on the terms and the level of outcome for all parties.

33

Bryce, you are of course correct, but you need to remember that a lot of the people who frequent this site aren’t interested in reality. They want new engines, the aero package changed so the cars can run close together, something to be done to stop Merc winning everything and all on free to air tv. When do they want this? In time for Bahrain please……

34

If a SC falls around pit stop time there will always be winners and losers. Everyone competes to the same set of regulations. This time Hamilton lost out. He’s gained in the past and I’m sure will gain again in future. It’s called sport.

Yep that’s pretty much how I see it. This is not the first time it’s happened so I’m not quite sure why there’s so much hoo-ha about this particular occasion.

35

Vettel’s graph shows he never had a pit stop… he just slowed down for some time

36

I’ve struggled to understand this, so looked at the lap-by-lap and sector-by-sector times from Live Timing up until after Vettel pitted. Looking at their Last and First Sector times which cover the pits stops as well.

Hamilton lost 2 sets of time, when he pitted under green flag, and then under VSC. Vettel only lost 1 set of time, pitting under VSC.

Comparing their “normal” Last and First Sector times with their times when pitting/under VSC:

Hamilton lost a combined total of 48.4 secs (21.4 from pitting and 27 under VSC)

Vettel lost a total of 41.3 from pitting under VSC

So overall, Vettel gained 7 secs on Hamilton as a result. Hamilton closed within 0.5 secs of Vettel, so in the laps after he had pitted Hamilton needed to have found an extra 2 secs to have safely passed Vettel after he pitted.

So, Hamilton lost time twice from pitting under green and also under VSC, Vettel only lost one set of time pitting under VSC. That was the difference.

37

A simple way to look at this is , the difference between going from pit-entry to pit-exit ON THE TRACK in race conditions versus in VSC conditions.

In normal conditions in Aus, with the pit lane speed limit (26 seconds traveling in the pits) and a 2 sec stationary pit stop, you travel the pitlane in about ~28 seconds, and on normal race pace it is 7 seconds on the main straight.

In VSC conditions it takes the same 28 seconds to pit, but on track you can only cross the straight in 14 seconds (if the speed is halved).

So the difference is the time Hamilton lost to Vettel is 7 seconds [Hamitlon takes 14 seconds on main straight under VSC when Vettel pit versus Vettel takes 7 seconds on main straight under race conditions when Hamilton pits]*, which is what Hamilton had to make up.

* Pitting times are nearly identical these days. Neither of the pit stops was bad, so it is often a difference of just 0.1/0.2 seconds. You can add that delta to the above number, if one person has a bad pitstop.

This is also why the reference time is important (In your pole lap you might do the distance in 5 seconds, but in racing conditions you might do it in 7 seconds). If your reference time is 5 seconds on the main straight instead of 7 and 10 under the VSC instead of 14, you are driving to a delta of 5 seconds instead of 7, which roughly explains the 1.8 seconds error that Mercedes made.

38
thomas adelaide

Why is F1 still doing this ridiculous “drivers can un-lap themselves under SC” nonsense?

39

I guess it’s so that the back markers don’t ruin other drivers’ races.

40

Seems to stem from the 2011 Singapore GP, when Button was behind Vettel after a SC, but there were something like 2-3 lapped cars in between them. After the restart, by the time Button had cleared the backmarkers Seb was already far up the road.

41

Well… Mercedes learned 1 thing (which EVERYBODY knows and they should have known already):

Cover Vettel.

At least the VSC fiasco spiced up the race and made it worth watching til the end.

42

Ross Braun says the race was spoiled by a lack of overtaking…….Solution: Take the aero back to the days of Senna and Prost at McLaren. The car was simple and clean. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize that all those appendages are the issue. Look at the front wing…what a nightmare, it must have around twenty or more fins and winglets. All of those should be dumped, the wing should be clean and simple, then and only then will we have passing. Also all that crap on the body, get rid of it a sap. Watch the old stuff of Prost and Senna passing on the straight around 200 mph dicing with each other……very exciting stuff. Wings moving and passing zones, all nonsense. Let the drivers find the limits and the places to pass…..this nanny state nonsense is garbage. Okay, I have vented…….Ross I hope you are are reading.

43

Well said. Plus it would reduce costs and bring the teams closer together, as well as the cars. Total no brainer. I think Ross knows what needs to happen, but I don’t have much confidence, the future may be another compromise fudge.

44

[To profit from a VSC was] one of the reasons why Red Bull went with the decision to race on supersoft tyres… It worked like this for Ricciardo and would have put Verstappen in contention for a podium had he not spun early in the race.

The strategy for both was sound but I believe NEITHER of them benefitted from starting on supersofts. Verstappen struggled on them, ruined his tyres and actually managed to be one of the earliest to pit, way before the VSC. Ricciardo did profit from the SC, but this happened while there were still drivers on ultras around – notably Vettel and Alonso. All three switched to softs in lap 26, still quite early in the race. Ricciardo would just as much have profited if he’d been on ultras too. The real RED tyre scenario never got to be played out. It would have with a VSC/SC beyond lap 30-32 and everyone on ultras already switched to softs. Finally, it’s debatable whether Ricciardo’s progress BEFORE his pit stop could be ascribed to him being on supers in the rounds preceding the VSC.

45

In hindsight, I now believe Ricciardo actually profited from being on supers. Not because he was quicker on them, not because he could last until the VSC where others could not, and not because making it to the SC on ultras would have been impossible or even difficult for himself. No, actually for a negative reason and a very weird one: the trend has been with Red Bull to let their drivers box very early on compared to other front runners, often unwisely and unnecessarily so – IMO at least. Chances are that on ultras they would have boxed Ricciardo too early to benefit from the VSC!

46

We will never know one way or the other, as RIC may well have benefited from the extra pace of the the ultras and gotten past the Haas cars, particularly after VES spun. Either way, the different strategy allowed for a bit of anticipation in an otherwise stagnant early race.

47

Still can’t believe that Mercedes lost this one, but lose it they did. Kind of reminds me of Monaco when Lewis somehow “out of the jaws of victory snatched defeat” and lost to Nico. What I find hard to fathom is that Lewis will always be fighting Sebastian and not Kimi, so you would have thought that they would have kept a more closer eye on things with Sebastian, I do believe that they seriously took their eye off the ball in this instance . From what I have been reading it seems relatively easy to have done the maths on this one at the time without resorting to some fancy software programme which only gave duff information anyway.

48

Basically, a false outcome. Hamilton was clearly the fastest and finished the race. So how did he not win? Stupid rules. Not even a botched pit stop but something that essentially doesn’t exist, at least in a physical way. What next? “Oh well, he spun off on the virtual rain. His engineers didn’t tell him in time that turn 10 was the allocated soaking wet corner”.

49

So what you’re saying is that if HAM had been driving like he was in a race instead of to some “delta” time provided by the pits he would have won easily?

Methinks there is a lesson there.

50

F1 is more and more becoming like endurance racing.

51

Off topic but I’m writing this as I’m watching the 2003 Austrailian GP and, well, it’s making me sad. Not only do the cars sound incredible but they also look amazing (I was a fan of the grooved tyres) and they genuinely look a lot faster than the current cars. Not sure whether that’s just because they weighed only 600kg back then so are less lazy or whether some of it is the screaming soundtrack to back up the visuals.

What’s also notable is the aero is so much more simple and there’s been close racing/following along with genuine non-DRS overtakes (partially through different fuel loads for different strategies) and partially through the brilliant tyre war in place at the time.

I went to the British GP last year and immediately after the first practice session I was wandering about looking for somewhere I dared buy food from when I heard the 2-seater fire up. That sound alone was enough to make my inner child return and I literally ran to the nearest view of the track. None of the 2017 cars had that effect on me.

It’s got me thinking about 2021, I know it’s a pipe dream but why don’t the rulemakers do a poll of the fans’ favourite era and go back to the regs of the majority vote? Sod road car relevance and sod what team bosses think, this is about entertainment! My vote Is 1999-2005 for what it’s worth. Can you imagine the excitement and anticipation over the winter before the re-introduction of the 3.0 V10? Come on Ross, you know it makes sense!

52

While I mostly do agree there is a slight flaw in the poll idea: The younger you are the less eras you know.

I really don’t agree with the grooved tires because in order to maintain exiting cornering speeds while getting rid of the counter-positive aero we need even wider, stickier slicks.

I am afraid even the hybrids are a dying breed and with new battery technologies I actually doubt that combustion engines will be in production at all some ten years from now.

So 3.0 V10’s would be close to caveman technology in the supposedly most hi-tech around. But perhaps jets would be more relevant? 🙂

53

I feel the Hybrid ship has sailed and there would be no going back on that. Hybrid’s are environment friendlier and over the last 8-9 years so much money has already been thrown in their development.

100+ Kg of weight will make a difference and does make the cars look very bulky too.

Also, I do not agree with the engine cap. I realize that we want to stop an Engine Development war, but the engine cap of 3 is ridiculous and has taken things too far. Drivers cannot be at the limit of what the cars can allow.

FIA can reduce the engine restrictions to say only 2-3 races. Races will be faster, since the engine is now built to last 7 races.

Tires have to be faster. A one stop Aussie GP means the tires are way too hard. Surely, the hypersoft could have made their debut in Australia (Given that the ultrasoft was lasting nearly half the race).

54

Maybe the tires are too hard because the drivers don’t drive all out any more so the wear is not what it suppose to be, if it was actually still sprint races and not 2hours of Australia endurance race. The tires get softer and softer yet the problem persist. Its all about being efficient and extracting the most MPG, laps on a tire, miles on an engine, miles per component. Soon we are going to have a rule for brakes having to last X amount of races. Sure try to maximize it but not to the detriment of sprint racing then you know you’ve gone too far.

55

Can’t disagree. One of the very first sentences David Croft uttered as P1 got under way was “I’m not sure if you’ll see much running today as the teams now have to make each engine last seven races”. Well I’m sure the paying public are thrilled about that! I can go to the local park to stand on some grass and look at some tarmac with no cars on it!

56

SimonB, except there was running in P1, I didn’t notice it was any less than previously

57

Re: Tires have to be faster.

I have to say I am quite annoyed with the degree of influence Pirelli has on the racing we are experiencing.

Their choices are made from a marketing pov – conservative and not putting the entertainment on the first place.

Pirelli should only build the tires and Recommend the “best” tire for a specific race, But teams, an none else should choose (with some time in advance, of course) what tires will they use each race. Let the team experiment, fail, win by using all the tools at their disposition.

I might ask, how the hell Pirelli decides how F1 racing is done?!

58

I might ask, how the hell Pirelli decides how F1 racing is done?!

Answer:

The BBC has learned that the FIA, which governs F1, will instruct Pirelli to design a tyre that will allow drivers to push hard for longer.

59

I also thought of a good quali idea – q1 on the softest of the three available tyres, q2 on the mid, q3 on the hardest – all q2 and q3 cars must start on the quali tyre

60

Which will no doubt mean that they will not only still be stuck behind those in front, but they are also robbed of the chance to run long or hope for a safety car etc. So basically, they are just about certainly worse off.

62

I think a minimum number of pit stops should be selected for each track depending on overtaking difficulty level and bordem viewing level. So Monaco could be a 4 stopper, Australia 2 stopper, Spain a 3 stopper, etc.

63
Craig in Manila

Certainly an interesting thought. And easily implementable too.
There is certainly enough evidence/history for F1 to be able to pre-determine which tracks have a history of “minimal overtaking” and would not be hard to create a simple calculation which would add more stops accordingly.

I reckon it’d also be good to reward Circuit Owners who own tracks that encourage/create overtaking opportunities with increased payments to the owner/whoever if their race had greater than, say, 20 valid overtakes.
Maybe then the owners of “dud” tracks would make some changes to their layouts ……

64

I would like ti see refueling become a possibility, and it looks to be fairly simple to do. Right now, the cars cannot run flat out the whole of the race – they conserve at different points in order to finish. So, allow refueling FROM HAND-HELD CANS of 20 liters or less. This kind of refueling is the rule in NASCAR, and if those folks can do it, surely F1 can manage something like that! Then, when the engine rules are discussed, there will be a slightly different view on things. Really, five different tires available at each race? Make it three tires, or even two, and carry on – just make a larger difference between the two. And kill as much of the aero as you can. Some of the tiny little vanes and other protuberances are so effective in clean air, and can do nothing about turbulence, that a nearby car throws everything off. Oh, and no tire warmers, please.

65

If we are going on boredom level – Sochi 35 stops

66

James,

if Hamilton drove through the pit lane under the VSC would he have passed Vettel in the pits?

67

No, that would be even more slower.

68

No, he would have been further behind by the time he exited.

.

Vettel’s pit stop was only ‘faster’ because Hamilton’s speed around the track was lower thanks to the VSC. If Lewis had driven into the pit lane he would have had to drive through it at 60kph, even slower than the VSC delta, so Vettel would have come out much further ahead. Vettel was already out of the pit box by the time Lewis was on the final straight, once the VSC was in place nothing Merc could have done would have helped Lewis, they had already made their mistake.

69

Actually, and maybe someone else can pitch in, we were sitting on turn 16 and pit entry and the moment Vettel ‘left the track’ he floored it back up to full race speed down the pit entry, was extraordinary – I believe there is an anomaly in the rules where pit entry is effectively exempt from the VSC time delta – Vettel and Ferrari from our viewpoint exploited this to its fullest, smartest knowledge of the rules I’ve ever witnessed! Made us think later that night with a couple of lemonades behind us that everyone should do this but simply roll through the pits??

70

Scott I made this comment further down to someone else. I was watching the race live on TV and I was astonished at the speed Vettel took the pit entry. I still cant believe with so many F1 journalists that none of them have spotted this.

71

Jnh, Seb only had to do 60 between the pit lane speed limit lines, on between those lines and the safety car lines he could go as fast as he wanted, this is what gained him time over Lewis.

72
Clarks4WheelDrift

But mainly:

When Lewis pitted Seb was averaging about 130mph

When Seb pitted Lewis was VSC averaging a lot less, say 90mph?

73

Paging Mr James Allen……

I hate to go off-topic but are you going to give your opinion of the Twitter rant of one Darren Heath – an associate of JAonF1 for many a year – against the “unprofessional and egotistical” begaviour of your beloved HAM44 – behaviour not witnessed in 30 years in the sport no less. What an interesting conundrum…… I eagerly await your thoughts on this state of affairs.

74

@Axx1

Who really cares?????

Do you????

And who the hell is darren heath?

75
Clarks4WheelDrift

Apparently Lewis said Heath shoots everything on his IPhone set to full auto mode.

76

Give over. Heath has been asked to expand on his rant and hasn’t. Heath needs to be reminded he makes money out of the drivers, not the other way round. No driver owes him a living.

77

Without the journos and the TV coverage, these drivers wouldn’t make a tenth as much

78

Stuff and nonsense. No racing driver sets out to make money. It’s no coincidence that the rant comes from someone who’s just published a book.

79

Whatever he did, no driver will ever approach the ego of Nelson Piquet sr, that man’s head has it’s own gravity well.

80

Darren Heath @F1Photographer · Mar 22, 2018:
“Treating professional #F1 people with disrespect. A twitter post is not long enough so hopefully some of the journalists covering #F1 will have the nerve to start telling it like it is….”

I think that Darren Heath has been in the F1 world now for almost 30 years. So quite a statement from him, as he is also one of the most respected and honored photo journalists in motorsport and in F1 in particular!

So fellow F1 Journalists with integrity, lets hear how it really is!?

81

Cyber, ask Darren Heath.

82

Sorry to double dip Tim , but it appears Mr Heath has a new book or an exhibition or some such coming up in the not too distant. No such thing as bad publicity…….

83

Lot’s of twitterers (is that a word) did ask him Tim – he wasn’t saying.

84

@C63

That’s the problem, isn’t it C. He’s thrown out some bait, and won’t give anymore! Lewis has most probably just blanked him after the race… I would think that Lewis was just not in the mood for a professional photographer after that race. Understandable really.

85

C63, so he is happy to criticise others for failing to report this incident, but then doesn’t do so himself? Interesting…..

86

Inquiring minds want to know!

87

@Axx1

What’s he supposed to have done ? Whatever it is it can’t be worse than Sebs haircut .

88

True, but then people in glass houses shouldn’t be throwing stones either. Some of HAM’s haircuts over the last few years have been “hair raising”, and no one really commented on the Emperor’s new clothes. Why pick on VET now?

It really has nothing to do with either individuals talent as a F1 pilot.

89

@luqa

It was a light hearted joke, goodness me. As for what it has to do with their talent as a driver – I’d agree. But, I guess the same goes for whatever has got Mr Heath in such a lather.

90
Clarks4WheelDrift

Lol…somebody had to say it.

Perhaps Kimi suggested he could save a couple of hundredths if he shaved off the sides 😉

91

Lewis is the greatest human to ever drive a car. He is a god amongst men.

92

I really hope there was at least some irony when you wrote that…

93

@ Twitch 6…Is that what Hamilton said?

94

So that one took less than 1/2 hour to post….some of my others recently have taken more than 12 hours to show up, and still others never make the cut.

Can we please get some info on what is up with the comments?

Are people reading and modding every one?

Is an AI modding them?

Is there specific times of the day (GMT) when comments go up?

Can we please see a return of the indents for reaponses to original posts, so we can seperste one convo from another.

Has Liberty started running this site? Wtf is going on? Appreciate all the work an all, but it’s getting really frustrating to posts here.

95
Clarks4WheelDrift

If you really hate to go off topic, on to HamLovin’ or HamBashin’, then don’t.

96

I would be interested to know too. Heath doesn’t want to say, which I find odd. I don’t really have much time for people who attract attention to something, but then go silent when asked for more detail.

From what I can glean, he might have pushed a journalist or something. Hasn’t Heath had run-in’s with Lewis before, over image acknowledgements, etc.? I seem to recall that, perhaps 2 years ago.

97

Krb, it’s a bit like when people put “I can’t believe this” or I’m so angry right now” as their facebook status, and then don’t reply to the inevitable ‘you ok hun? PM me’ responses……

98

Oh c’mon Clarky, don’t be like that – what more can be said of Ferrari’s strategy…..it was either luck or conspiracy.

A hugely respected and iconic F1 photographer slaying the F1 champ on Twitter makes much more interesting conversation…..

99
Clarks4WheelDrift

Fair enough, better than him slaying himself on twitter, I suppose if the race was a classic, he would be going on about it instead.

100

@C63 – True…no idea what VET was thinking with that haircut.

101

I reckon one of his children might have cut his hair whilst he was asleep 🙂 I cannot imagine he would have asked someone to do it!

102

I laughed when I saw his haircut, quite …ugly? In two weeks he will be ok. Anyways, tatoos and earings are worse.

103

Ok, one last attempt to post. All my previous attempts to post since Winter testing never made it.

The whole Safety car and VSC issues are luck of the draw, and part of racing. You win some, you loose some. Moaning about it won’t change the result.

Personally, I’m happy that there is at least that variable that cannot be predicted by the various algorithms, models and software. I’m sure LH could have made up the time IF he had known the information he was receiving was incorrect, but maybe at the expense of excessive fuel consumption and excessive tire wear.

The formula has become too predictable. Very little overtaking on difficult tracks, (bring on more Tilke tracks) excessive disturbed air by the following cars to mount a challenge on the leader, and tires that are too temperature sensitive to operate properly.

The fact the front end of the following car becomes unstable, besides the cooling issues, need to be addressed to have proper racing. Otherwise, as we see, the race becomes a procession, with the guys with the most $$ and resources leading the way, no matter the talent in the car.

104

You said it, you win some and you lose some. Last year Ferrari had bad luck in the safety car department and lost a couple of races because of that. This time around it was Mercedes who lost out.

I don’t think it’s a big mistake at all because Mercedes did the right thing and covered Raikkonen for the win as they should do. Nothing good would have come from Hamilton being undercut by Raikkonen.

Of course in hindsight many will say that Mercedes and Hamilton should have upped the pace early in the second stint. But it was the first race of the season with fresh tyres and 40 laps to go. If Hamilton had been hard on his tyres early in the second stint and Vettel had gone to SS tyres later on Mercedes might have been vulnerable towards the end of the race.

These things happen and has always been part of F1.

105

The whole Safety car and VSC issues are luck of the draw, and part of racing. You win some, you loose some. Moaning about it won’t change the result.

But surely if it’s quicker to come in and pit under the VSC than it is to stay out on track, then everybody will just come in and pit next time?

So what’s the solution? Perhaps halve the pit-lane speed limit when under VSC conditions?

106

Where are you people getting the idea that it is quicker to run through the pit lane from? Even under the VSC pace, if two cars were nose to tail when one pitted the other could likely stop for a practice start on the grid and still beat the car that pitted to the control line.

107

Sometimes pure luck can change things. Despite all of this computer stuff I don’t think anything would have worked for Hamilton. Who could have predicted HAAS would have screwed the nut on wrong with both cars. Vettel had to stay out longer to cover the HAAS cars. It was pure luck.

108

I believe Arrivabene could have predicted it…

109

I very much agree with this post. See, if perchance Vet had not caught the Vsc window, nobody would be talking about it. It’s just a question of perception; the fact is Vsc happen and someone will always gain an advantage with current rules.

I remember when I first go into f1 over 16 years ago, that guy who’d first introduced me to the racing, a 40 year old dane crazy about karts, shrugged off my bemusement that any lead could be jeopardised by a SF by rolling his eyes and saying “those are the rules”. It’s been going on for a long time this, so what’s with all the moaning? Get over it or switch off.

110

Don’t need more Tilke tracks, we need the ability to follow closely without such a dramatic loss in grip. Frankly, though I know this will go nowhere, I don’t like wings. The artificial traction ‘donated’ by aero is nowhere near the applicability to road cars that F1claims to want. If they want road applications, they will kill the wings – or at least simplify them to the point of appearance appendages. Another single seat series can race in Toronto and Long Beach with far better results.

111
Clarks4WheelDrift

Great report James, wonder what would have happened if the tyres had been hyper, ultra and super softs.

I see Lec and Str two stopped getting rid of the yellow tyres quickly. Pity some are still doing over 30 laps on the ultras though.

I think the Red Bull starting tyres were a big mistake for Verstappen.

Perhaps this Merc will take it to Ferrari at the next race, even in the heat. Looking forwards to Bahrain, hopefully with no grid penalties and no #2 car blocking.

With the dominant Merc pace, it seems Ferrari and Red Bull strategies need to focus on getting a car infront of the Mercs. If not then perhaps their only hope is to leave one car out to stall the lead Merc at some point, track dependent though.

Plus I know what Hass will be working on just now. Good luck to them next time out. Cracking drive in Oz from Kevin, plus Dan and Fernando.

112

That would have been better because the race would have had to be 2 stops.

113

That’s the other thing; this article implies it was Lewis’ race.

Past years I liked to watch Lewis win. Not anymore. Same reason I supported Nigel against Senna – the underdog thing and the competition. So this year, I’m a Team Haas hopeful all the way – a homer thing of course. And a Kimi hopeful. This race reinforces both of those.

114

Well said Gene, indeed, the excitment is more about Haas, Leclerc, Williams rookies stories, Honda development, RB, FI and Renault internal competitions, etc. I am really looking to that. Getting championships and records after records with no competition and a monstuous car, that it is a shame and nothing to boast about.

115

When VSC was declared, the gap from Seb to Lewis was 11.614. When Seb entered the pitlane a half a lap later the gap was 16.181. How did Mercedez let that happen?

116

Because brilliant as Merc are they are still not capable of changing the laws of Physics.

The VSC has the effect of keeping the cars the same distance apart.

Since distance = speed * time, in order to maintain the same distance at reduced speed, time must increase.

Or if you reduce average speed from 100km/hr to 50km/hr the new time difference will be double the original, simples.

117

This is what I wanted to see. Given that Seb did nothing wrong (I am assuming we would have known if Seb had gone too fast under VSC), it must be a case of Lewis driving too slowly that caused him to lose 4.5 seconds to Seb. And Lewis drove slower than needed, because the team computer miscalculated.

May be if Mercedes did their calculations relative to Kimi, given Kimi had already pitted and maintained the gap to Kimi, then the gap to Seb would have taken care of itself. Seb’s speed in the pitlane was the variable, Kimi’s speed under VSC on the track would have been predictable more accurately.

118

The time gap was bigger because……….they were going slower!

119

Re-watch Vettel driving into the pits. He took the pit entry at very high speed right up to the speed limit line. Everyone keeps talking about his pit exit but it was his entry that was quick.

120

Me thinks conspiracy, Wolf is a good friend of Vettel, they wine and dine, go skiing, neigbours, plenty of time to take digs at hamilton over a glass of good Austro-German beer. None of them like hamilton, let’s admit that, why one would like a guy like that. Hence a software glitch, that was planned. Vettel to Mercedes, he already has wasted 5 more championships, including 2018 that will go to Mercedes Car. Again.

121

Don’t encourage the children.

122

@ Alan F1…Vivid imagination….

123

That was on purpose 😉

124

Where do the dodgy wheel nuts fit into your conspiracy ? Will Tonto be presenting Haas with some gold plated replacements at the next race? Did Mercedes slip some ringers into the Haas team on Sunday?

Answers on a postcard to – Black Helicopter Dept, FOM

125
Clarks4WheelDrift

Ahh, the old digit switching bug, looks like the 1 and 6 swapped places.

Were they busy watching Kimi’s gap?

Were they trying to over manage another F1 race into Mercedes boredom?

Is it all a bit too managed and simulated and automated, would Mercedes prefer some VSC automated driving software to really drive another Mercedes nail into the heart and passion of the artist formerly known as F1 racing.

How did Lewis let it happen?

Do they need a “virtual safety car party mode” to stop Lewis throwing away races?

Will Toto branch out from the desk punch into another managed gesture to add variety? Does he have enough Diva inside to do so?

😉

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