No way back? Vettel reels as Hamilton caps exceptional Singapore F1 GP weekend with a win
Mercedes
Posted By: Editor   |  16 Sep 2018   |  5:22 pm GMT  |  503 comments

This should have been a Singapore GP weekend in which Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel cut the points deficit to Lewis Hamilton from 30 to 23. Instead Hamilton had an inspired weekend and Ferrari was found wanting on pace and strategy as the gap opened to a potentially insurmountable 40 points with six rounds to go.

After a pole position lap he describe as “the closest to perfect I have ever done”, Hamilton controlled the race and took his seventh victory of the year, while Red Bull’s Max Verstappen did him a favour by demoting Vettel to third place.

Despite Ferrari having the best car for much of this season and Hamilton saying that the Singapore circuit would definitely be a Ferrari track, Mercedes has chipped away at its relative weakness in traction out of low speed corners and had surprising pace all weekend. Hamilton’s fourth career victory at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, also benefitted from Ferrari choosing the incorrect tyre strategy for Vettel.

After jumping Verstappen at the start, Vettel initially looked to be in the fight, but the Ferrari man lost out to the Dutchman over the pit stop phase, being the first to stop and selecting ultra soft tyres. With no option to stop again without losing track positions, he was forced to nurse his tyres to the end of the race, settling for third place. Hamilton’s 69th Formula One victory – and his 44th from pole – means he now holds a firm grip on the drivers’ championship.

“I think overall we were not fast enough. We didn’t have the pace in the race, but also I think we tried to be aggressive in the beginning. Obviously it didn’t work out,” said a disappointed Vettel.

“After that, I think I had a different race to the other guys, on a different tyre. I wasn’t very convinced that we could make it to the end, but pitting was not an option because you would lose to much time in the pit stop, so we just focused on making it home.

“With the way we raced, we didn’t have a chance. There may be something extra in the fact that we were not quick enough…I think I said before the weekend that we can only beat ourselves, and I think this weekend we didn’t get everything out of our package.”

Valtteri Bottas fended off late pressure from the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, whilst Fernando Alonso took McLaren’s best result since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix by taking seventh ahead of compatriot Carlos Sainz and Sauber’s Charles Leclerc, who all benefited from a combative race in the midfield.

Any threat of Hamilton coming under attack from a Red Bull with nothing to lose was denied by a poor start for Verstappen, which immediately put him under pressure from a fast-starting Vettel.

With the Ferrari having to make a move around the outside of turn one, the Red Bull initially held the place, but a better drive – and a slipstream – out of turn four allowed Vettel to power into second place, moments before the safety car was deployed for a collision between the two Force Indias. Bottas held fourth ahead of Raikkonen and Ricciardo.

Sergio Perez managed to hold onto seventh in the opening corners, but team-mate Esteban Ocon was challenging around the outside of turn three. However, the two came together and Ocon went into the barrier. No other cars were collected, but Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin was forced to pit after collecting part of the Force India’s wheel rim in his front wing.

With Hamilton managing to sufficiently break away from Vettel after the safety car, the top three were covered by around two seconds as those on the hypersoft looked to preserve their tyres for as long as possible.

After the leaders had developed enough of a gap to the ultrasoft runners (led by Alonso in ninth), Vettel was the first man to get rid of the hypersoft tyres for a set of ultrasofts.

He initially managed to return to the track in clear air, but he quickly caught up to Perez, who was extending his opening stint on the hypersofts. The delay for Vettel allowed Hamilton to pit for soft tyres pressure-free.

It was a full lap before Vettel could clear Perez, which allowed Verstappen to make his pit stop, rejoin side-by-side with the Ferrari, take the inside line into turn three and marginally take the place from Vettel.

To make matters worse, Vettel was already reporting to his team that he didn’t believe the ultrasoft tyres could make it to the end of the race.

Almost in response to that information, Ferrari gave Raikkonen a set of soft tyres when the Finn pitted almost ten laps later than Vettel.

Meanwhile, Red Bull further extended Ricciardo’s hypersoft stint and kept him on track until the end of lap 27, putting him on the ultrasoft tyres, hoping that they could get the Australian to the end of the race on an aggressive one-stop strategy.

Further down the order, the midfielders who started on the hypersoft tyres were being hampered by Sirotkin. After making their stops, the likes of Perez, Hulkenberg and Grosjean were being held up by the Williams, which had already pitted for soft tyres during the early safety car phase. This was allowing the drivers who started on the ultrasoft tyre an opportunity to stay out and gain track position.

At the head of the queue behind Sirotkin, Perez eventually lost his cool.

Making a move on the inside of turn sixteen, Sirotkin fought back and the pair were side-by-side going through turn seventeen. However, Perez moved across to defend his position far to early and clattered into the side of Sirotkin, giving himself a puncture and damaging both cars, earning himself a drive-through penalty.

Sirotkin lost a further place to Hulkenberg, but was able to continue and defend against the faster cars.

The new train of cars eventually fell back towards being lapped by the leaders, and a battling Sirotkin and Grosjean backed up Hamilton into Verstappen.

The Red Bull driver was right on the tail of Hamilton as the Briton gingerly negotiated the traffic, but a brief hold-up behind Grosjean prevented him from keeping with the Mercedes. The Haas driver earned himself a time penalty for ignoring blue flags.

Profiting from the battling lower down the order, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Renault’s Carlos Sainz pitted for soft tyres to take a net seventh and eighth place, gaining four places from their start positions.

Further ahead, Hamilton managed to extend his lead to around four seconds over Verstappen, whilst Vettel had dropped to being ten seconds off the pace of Verstappen, and looked to be turning down the power unit and accepting defeat.

The battle for fourth place was starting to close up. Raikkonen had gradually reeled in Bottas and Ricciardo (the only one of the three on the ultrasoft tyres) had caught them both up, setting lap records in the process.

With Bottas complaining that he was being hampered by the distant backmarker of Hulkenberg, Raikkonen was able to get within the DRS zone and apply pressure to the Mercedes driver, however the Ferrari man didn’t have the pace advantage to capitalise.

Back at the front, the pressure eased on Hamilton and the Mercedes man was unchallenged as he crossed the line to take the Singapore win ahead of Verstappen – who took his first podium finish around the Marina Bay Circuit – and Vettel, who had long since turned his car down to save it for another day.

Bottas held on for fourth ahead of Raikkonen and Ricciardo, whilst Alonso was the only midfielder to finish on the lead lap.

Sainz took eighth ahead of Leclerc and Hulkenberg, who was the only midfielder to start on the hypersoft and take a points finish.

Way down the order, a late hypersoft stint for Haas’ Kevin Magnussen gave the Dane his first fastest lap accolade of his career.

SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX, Race

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 61 Laps
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 8.961s
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 39.945s
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 51.930s
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 53.001s
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 53.982s
7 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 103.011s
8 Carlos Sainz Renault 1 Lap
9 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 1 Lap
10 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1 Lap
11 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1 Lap
12 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1 Lap
13 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1 Lap
14 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1 Lap
15 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1 Lap
16 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1 Lap
17 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1 Lap
18 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1 Lap
19 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 2 Laps
20 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes DNF

By: Luke Murphy & James Allen

All images: Motorsport Images

Who was your driver of the day in Singapore? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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1

An unusually processional race for Singapore, only really livened up by the battles in the latter half of the field. If Ferrari aren’t kicking themselves, they should be. They’ve got a title-winning car and a title-winning driver, but they just aren’t a title-winning team right now. Their organisation and strategy is simply poor and it’s clearly affecting Vettel, who feels he has to try and direct trackside operations from the cockpit. Meanwhile, Mercedes are such a well-oiled machine that Lewis Hamilton is free to concentrate solely on his driving and boy, is that paying off. Any deficit in car performance is being more than overcome by a driver in the form of his life, who must now be included among the very greatest the sport has ever seen. You wouldn’t need both hands to count the drivers who might’ve been capable of pulling out that pole lap.

Driver of the day, then, was Lewis Hamilton, but running him a close second was…Derek Warwick. The stewards had a lot to do, but I thought they got it right every time.

Perez vs. Ocon
Right call. It’s an internal matter for Force India – had he pushed another driver out like that you’d say it was hard but fair racing. Perez really should’ve given his car more lock to eliminate the possibility of a collision, but that would’ve meant essentially conceding the place to Ocon, which he obviously isn’t minded to do.

Perez vs. Sirotkin
Sirotkin really impressed me this weekend. So far he’s done quite well in qualifying, but been quite anonymous in races. Not this time. In a drive I can only describe as ‘valiant’ he kept his cool under tremendous pressure and fought hard without overstepping the mark. I’m not sure what happened with Perez, here, but a drive-through was clearly merited. I can only think he was making an aggressive feint to frighten Sirotkin into backing off before the bridge, not realising the Williams was still right alongside him. Very clumsy and a bit out of character (at least in situations where the other driver is not called Esteban Ocon).

Grosjean & Sirotkin vs. Hamilton and Verstappen
Again, I thought the stewards got this spot on. The two backmarkers did clearly back Hamilton into Verstappen, but it was right that the stewards allowed them some grace to continue their battle. The reason Grosjean copped a time penalty and Sirotkin did not is that although they both got out of the way late, Sirotkin got right out of the way while Grosjean blundered in to Max’s path.

Sirotkin vs. Hartley
While it’s understandable that Sirotkin couldn’t get the car turned in due to its damage and heavily worn tyres, he clearly impeded Hartley very badly. Either team or driver (probably team, under the circumstances) should’ve called him in for new tyres before this point. Sirotkin can be proud of this performance though, in spite of finishing last on track. He’s starting to look like the driver I expected him to be based on his work at Renault – solid on pace with a mature head on young shoulders, and excellent technical understanding.

2

James considering Vettel mistakes, isn’t Ferrari decision to hire a inexperience driver going to hurt them next season? He has the fastest cars but the mistakes he had committed are costing him his dream. I feel now they should have talked to Alonso once.

3

Just to add as it hasn’t really been stated, fantastic performance by Alonso to finish 7th and comfortably ahead of 8th. The fact that he is in contention for the best of the rest this season (unlikely to be able to maintain this with McLaren’s performance) is remarkable.

4

@Harry

It was indeed a great result for the Spaniard who is always better on Sundays anyway. One of the best, some say.

What could’ve been…

I couldn’t help but think of last year’s Singapore GP when he almost came out of the first lap carnage between Kimi, Seb and Max in net 3rd and would have been 2nd after Vettel spun on his own liquid which ultimately forced him into retirement. It was going this way, even passing Ricciardo who started on the second row, until the Spaniard was collected by the Dutch man.

It would have been an incredible and the most unlikeliest podium and would have been as remarkable as Stroll’s 3rd place in Baku. Hard luck.

5

Ferrari desperately need someone capable of organising the team and deciding their strategy for them.

Perhaps they need to poach Christian Horner ?

6

It will be very difficult for the emotional Ferrari team to come back from Sunday’s comprehensive defeat.

Poor strategy calls have been their Achilles Heel this season and Vettel could be forgiven if he adopted the mindset that he simply can’t match let alone beat a motivated on-form Lewis Hamilton.

Could anyone ? Even Ayrton Senna ?

7

Ferrari just don’t have the drivers. They have the fastest car but their number 1 driver is an older version of Verstappen and his unnecessary brain snaps (Verstappen seems to have left these behind now though to his credit).

Ferrari aren’t going to win a championship any time soon. They should have bought Ricciardo when they had the chance but it will all be too little too late now. Vettel is confirming what a lot of people thought – His 4 world championships were due to a far superior car rather than his talent.

8

100% agree, Vettel is proving that he is not mentally strong enough, keeps messing up. Everyone is blaming Ferrari for Vettel’s issue but it is the other way round. Vettel is responsible for Ferrari issues. He cost his team mate and team victory in the previous race and has messed up several times this season, even crashing out of the lead when under no pressure. He is their achilies heal. They should have kept the ice mand and got Riciardo.

9

It has been the Achilles heal of Ferrari since the dream team left their pitwall !

10

Yeah, I was nursing the tires! Is F1 turning into a nursing home????????

11

Tyres are being nursed, fuel and PUs are being rationed. Every year F1 is being made more and more in the image of Al Gore, who is approaching nursing home age. So it all makes sense I guess.

12

Sunday’s Indycar race was more exciting, and that’s not saying a lot.

Plus, I’ve had it with drivers complaining about slower cars holding them up. So what if they are moving chicanes, if you have a faster car and are a better driver, pass the guy ahead of you…work for it.

13

why are you not spending time on indy sites expressing how much more exciting it was?

14

What is it with people assuming that people who post here don’t spend time on indycar sites? Is there some kind of law that says you may only post on one Motorsport related forum for life?

15

Sorry, if you missed my point aveli. it’s my fault as English is my second language (my first language is American). My point was the Indycar race was less than inspiring, but still more fun than a parade of front runners complaining about people holding them up.

16

Great drives from both Hamilton and Verstappen, diabolical strategic decisions by Ferrari and terrible driving from Grosjean and the disappearing Force India. I think this will be the last hurrah of Ferrari’s championship chances where Vettel is concerned. They should try and focus now on winning the constructors championship.

17

I disagree. There are still 6 races with a possible 15 points to be earned. However, if Hamilton remains fast, fearless, and above all focused like a laser beam on the nest race ( Russia Grand Prix in Sochi), then Hamilton should and will win the Russian Grand Prix and be one step closer to securing his 5th WDC in 2018. Hamilton MUST view Vettel as a possible threat until Vettel is mathematically eliminated form he 2018 WDC title race.

Just saying !!!

18

Ferrari had to try something different. Passing is nearly impossible. I just feel if Vettel was ahead of Max, he would still been able to defend P2 with the ultrasoft tyres.

19

It was not a bad strategy. It was the only available to potentially win the race. Everyone’s a critic.

20

Well, I didn’t see that one coming. What a fantastic performance from Lewis this weekend. I’ve been watching him since he was just a kid and before most people even knew who he was. I honestly think he’s absolutely at the top of his game now. Yes the race was rather dull on track but it was interesting to see how it all panned out and an absolute joy to watch one of the all time greats in the form of his life.

The haters will have their excuses, conspiracy theories and wild conjecture but those in the know all agree he’s really on a different level.

As much as Saturday must have been a kick in the teeth for Seb, Sunday must have been even worse. And you could see it on his face post race. Things are definitely not looking good in the Ferrari camp. I can see a rather epic bun fight on the way.

Max, superb performance yet again. In a wounded car no less. He’s really starting to get it together now and it was good to see how pleased he was at the end. D.D. totally off the boil again.

Kimi and Bottas stuck behind the Hulk was a bit of a shame. Without that I think they would have both put a serious amount of pressure on Seb towards the end if he hadn’t just been able to nurse his tyres.

Perez. I think he needs a race ban. Honestly I do. From the onboard it looks for all the world like he nerfed Ocon. And from the trackside camera it looked like there was no slide that he was having to control. Seriously looks like he lost it. And given what he did to S.S. later in the race… NOT impressed at all. And I’ve always quite liked the guy.

Anyway, to wrap it up, another absolutely magic performance from the champ. Looking very good now.

Ps. What a shocking decision it was to put a marketing post in front of the race report. Deliberately I’m sure, as you know there will be lots of traffic coming here to read your thoughts on the race. First thing we see is an advert for Aston Martin. This place has really lost focus recently.

Come on guys, you’re better than that.

21

TE, to be fair to “Editor” I think the Aston Martin article is officially Monday’s post… given travel and time zones it probably made sense to post it early.

22

The moment they didn’t RE sign kimi any chance for the championship was over.

Stability in any team is crucial.

What puzzles me most is why do it half way through the season.

Surely if they are just swapping seats then just tell them at the end of the season?!

Oh Fernando……I’m not a fan but you’d have won last year and this one by now.

Perez……really?

23

I agree. I did not see how telling Kimi in the Summer 2018 ( before the season is over) that he was not going to be signed as a Ferrari driver for 2019 was beneficial for team dynamics and culture in 2018 . Not a good move !!!

24

Because they weren’t just swapping seats. Ferrari had no idea that Kimi would be going to Sauber. When Kimi found out at Monza that this would be his last year with Ferrari he went and talked with Sauber. Sauber was interested and Kimi was interested and that was how Kimi ended up at Sauber.

25

the journalists kept asking.

26

It’s actually the Ferrari team tradition to announce driver contracts at the Monza GP. This time it was delayed for some reason, but only by a few days. I know that’s not necessarily a good reason, but it’s how they roll. At least it is good for the drivers so they have time to find another seat if needed.

27

City skyline looked nice on tv. That was the highlight of theis long and boring race unfortunately.

28

And the latest from Gazzetta:

Seb missed crucial engineering meetings in Sing to fly out to New York for a medieval haircut at Mitzi Grimes salon

29

F1’s future is not enhanced by this kind of processional racing. On tracks where overtaking is difficult the main interest arises from strategy i..e. tires and pit stops. Singapore needed a minimum of 2 stops and 3 would have probably been ideal. Pirelli tire selection of hyper, medium and hard would probably have created enough speed differential between the tires for teams to be forced to maximize their time on the hyper (2-3 stints) with one stint on the medium. When the available tires allow a one-stop race on a track like Singapore Liberty Media should rate that outcome as a collective-FAIL for the sport of F1.

Another item that needs to be addressed is the blue flag penalty for Grosjean. I am open to the idea that the whole concept of blue flags need to be reconsidered. If a faster car is a faster car …..SHOW ME how fast by overtaking without the blue flags. And if two faster cars have to scrap to get past a slower car why should we be afraid of that risk … or do we just want to do EVERYTHING we can to keep the procession rolling. BUT, if we are going to keep blue flags we have to ditch the idea that they should be waved at cars that are fighting for position. To be clear, I don’t like blue flags being waved at a slow car (not fighting for position) but I detest blue flags being waved at two drivers who are fighting for position. It is disrespectful to require two drivers who are fighting eachother to stop their fight for the benefit of the faster cars who are lapping them. Think about it. The faster cars and drivers already have the deck stacked in their favor. They are the bigger teams with more money/sponsorship, people, etc and have drivers who already have a great reputation. They hardly need any more help. They have the fastest cars, highest paid drivers, etc and are so far ahead of the slower cars they are LAPPING them. But with all the advantages they already have we don’t think that’s enough? So we further assist them with blue flags even when two slower cars are in a legitimate fight for position? The drivers in the slower cars are often fighting to establish themselves of retain their seat for next season. Where is the respect for them???? I fully understand that in Singapore when Lewis and Max came up behind Romain that Max could have opportunistically overtaken Lewis. But if we don’t like processions and if we want to show respect to all drivers on the grid we need to live with that risk. I believe what happened on track in Singapore was how it ought to be. Romain was fighting for his position, Lewis and Max got slowed and anything could have happened – OMG some uncertainty and excitement. Romain won his fight and then Lewis and Max got past. But if Max had somehow managed to get Lewis during this squabble, so be it! That would be the fair result of showing respect for the battle between the two slower cars and forcing the fast drivers to deal with a few more challenges. We need to be open to this kind of risk ….unless we just like to complain about processional racing and don’t really want to do anything about it.

30

I have been following F1 for well over 20 years now, but this has to be the worst period I have seen. No chance of any car winning except one of the big 3. Big surprise, Hamilton and Mercedes are winning the drivers/team championships again. Its becoming so predictable its a wonder the betting agencies still actually have odds. Have to admit I’m rapidly losing interest.

31

I’ve been following for 50 and I’m only (!) 57. This is the worst, by far. Good news (bad news?) is it’s not just F1. All motor racing is far less interesting today than it was in the 1970s.

32

I have bad news for you. It probably wont get better.

33

You’re right, before this period of dominance from the big 3 there was, er, Red Bull or McLaren; or Brawn or Red Bull; or Williams or Ferrari; or Williams or McLaren; or Ferrari or McLaren….

Don’t you just hate it when only one or two teams are much faster than all the rest?

34

then stop watching, bye bye my friend.

35

Lewis cruised to victory with 90% effort.

Poor Ferrari screwed up again by fitting wrong tyres to Seb’s car. Just have to wonder why they decided to use ultrasofts even though they had serious trouble with them in qualifying. Feels like leap of faith kind of decision.

36

Even with optimal tire choice and timing for Ferrari, at best I think their car would still be a couple if hundreds slower than Mercedes in Singapore. The wrongly set idea (and subsequent expectations) that Ferrari finally had built a WDC/WCC winning car is finally becoming obvious to be wrong and think we see an unraveling Ferrari team disintegrating more and more for every race weekend going forward. Impressive package that the Mercedes team has built! Just sad for the racing both at the front and the WC. And not many points left for the 7th-10th places to be collecting for price money conversion for the smaller teams that need it the most.

37

It is not the car package that wins for Mercedes. That is flimsy excuse. It is Hamilton that is making the difference in 2018 thus far. Give the guy his due. Wow ?!!

If you want to gauge the true capacity of the Mercedes car in 2018, look at Bottas times In the race.

38

Ferrari is going down right now, for real. hope it doesn’t last. But it lookes dire.

39

I don’t think it was a case of fitting the wrong tyres, more a case of them realising that if they did the same as Lewis they were going to finish 2nd or 3rd anyway, so why not have a crack, hope for a safety car (which Perez nearly provided). If it panned out that way, we’d all be saying “what an inspired decision”.

40

vettel pitted before hamilton and didn’t know which tyre hamilton would be on for his second stint so how did you come to such a conclusion? leave the bs out of it and enjoy the sport.

41

I tell you what Aveli… I’ll leave the bs out and you leave the attitude out.

Case in point, everyone knew that the best tyre choice for stint 2 was yellow. Everyone knows that Merc has to play safe and not take risks at the stag of the championship. Once Vettel didn’t pass Lewis on the first lap, Ferrari knew that had to take a gamble. Ok, there’s the info, we’ve seen the final strategy… so my comment was made on intelligent thought process… google it find what it means.

The context of my comment was to show that there was a rational reason for Ferrari’s strategy call and that it wasn’t just a cock-up.

42

If anything, and it already showed in qualifying, this shows the difference in teams. Within the teams (gap between team mates, especially the top 3 teams) and the title contenders. Ferrari seems to be battling themselves again, and Mercedes have the upper hand psychologically. It all seems to be smooth sailing, whereas within Ferrari you can see pressures mounting. Vettel getting involved with how the mechanics handle the car (lift it up, you’re damaging the floor) to the slipstream shenanigans in Monza to the qualifying preps in Singapore. I hope they can turn around, because otherwise Lewis will walk away with it. You have got to hand it to him though, he seems really on top of things and his driving is simply awesome. That qualifying lap (or Max’s for that matter), that’s just amazing. I do believe you can create your own ‘luck’ and that’s exactly what he is / Mercedes are doing.

43

@ Jeroen…I’m curious to know why people use the old ‘cliche’ regards ‘luck’. By definition it is impossible. You can only ever get what you get because it is available to be gotten. Some drivers are faster than others due to a combination of factors that are infinitely variable.’ Luck’ has nothing to do with it.

44

Bit of a boring procession which we might have expected given the nature of the circuit.

LH ‘owned’ qualifying and the race and the season is fast dissapearing from Vettel and Ferrari which once again suffered from a poor strategy call, this time pitted at less than an optimum time and wrong tyres fitted.

Error free race by Max to claim 2nd but to the rest of the top 6 – track position, track position (etc) which requires a better effort in Q3.

Another race or two like for Lewis and you could just about call the championship.

45

Adrian, it wasn’t a classic was it? As a few others have said, I think the tyres were far too hard for this track, and that removed any strategic options. Dan’s off set strategy should have brought him into play, but it didn’t, Seb shouldn’t have been able to go from lap 14 to the end on his ‘ultra’ soft tyres but he did, and Lewis should have had to worry about two stoppers coming at him on fresh rubber towards the end, but he didn’t. If Pirelli could be cajoled into supplying tyres that actually are soft, rather than just having the word ‘soft’ in their description, then we might have had a two or three stop race, instead of yet another one stopper for everyone.

46

James, how long can Ferrari keep making such basic strategy errors before it becomes a crisis? Surely they are now costing Vet points opportunities by moves such as not fitting tyres to reach the end of the race effectively and losing track position to Max???

47

James don’t live here no more.

48

six months more..

49

They have got themselves in a pow here they can’t play safe anymore… they have to take chances now.

Meanwhile, Lewis HAS to play safe, he can’t afford to get caught up in any desperate moves by Max or Seb or whoever.

Interesting times, but the percentages are certainly in Hamilton’s favour now.

50

Hamilton won this race on Saturday and the WDC on Sunday. No way back for Ferrari now

Max drove a blinder in a wounded car and RBR taught Ferrari a lesson in race strategy

As for Perez.. well terrible driving but what inconsistant decisions and penalties from the stewards.

51

Hmm

Looks like Mercedes have found a solution to their overheating tyres which has been there issue at Hungary and Singapore over the last few years. Not actually pace but an inability to keep the tyres at the right temperature.

Interesting to hear Hamilton being told the tyres were too cold not too hot by Mercedes so he did not need to worry about wear on them.

Shame Ferrari threw the race away Vettel was close to hamilton till the pit stop. The tyre change made it look bad

52

@Steve

DC on CH4 actually suggested that it might have something to do with tyre pressures hence the very slow outlap in quali 3. Webber also suggested that Hamilton might have cracked the code when it comes to the optimum operating window of this year’s Pirellis. Scary thought.

53

Now that Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have won the WDC and WCC, respectively, for how many more races will the “media and entertainment brand” continue to place those silly “The Battle is On” graphics on the TV feed?

54

Nothing is won until Vettel and Ferrari is mathematically eliminated from the WDC and WCC race. That must be the Hamilton and Mercedes attitude until the last race in Abu Dhabi in 2018. Fortunately, from Hamilton’s comments post race in Singapore, Hamilton seems to be focused like a laser beam on winning all the remaining 6 races in 218 season( starting with the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi ).

55

Maybe they will be permanently replaced by the text: “HAMMERTIME” instead? ;o)

56

Good one Cyber, I’d offer up:

“GET IN THERE LEWIS”

as an alternative too.

🙂

57

And I will dare to claim that Lewis is already in there! ;o)

58

A really strong performance from HAM once again, I guess. Unfortunately 2018 is beginning to look a lot like 2017. And I I think 2019 will look very much like 2018, and 2020 will look a lot like 2019.

Let’s hope f1 hits the reset button in a major way in 2021, otherwise it’s going to be very bleak indeed.

59

I’m inclined to agree with you that it’s basically locked in for the next few years that LH and Merc will win every year. But a lot of people seem to enjoy seeing this dominance so we’re probably in the minority who don’t appreciate it so much

60

There are rumours that the Honda engine is looking very good, so Red Bull may well be properly in the hunt next year. Shame they’ve retained the wrong driver but even Max might be able to take it to Lewis.

Ferrari have the car, they don’t have the driver this year. Interesting to see what LeClerc can do next year though.

61

Well Jim, don’t you think RB actually retained the right driver? I’m a fan of both MV and DR, though it looks like MV was on another planet this weekend, and that in a wounded car mind you.

For next year i very much look forward to DR and NH fighting in the Renault team, for both the opportunity to rate themselves. Hopefully they join the big 3 on the podiums.

62

@Jim

You maybe right that Daniel is the more “complete package” at this time but the simple fact is that Daniel does not believe that himself, being beaten by Max where it comes to raw speed over and over again until Daniel lost clue of what to do to turn it around.

I cannot think of any other reason a driver from a top team would give up his position for a shady future with a team that has already proved they cannot deliver what they promise.

There is a reason Daniel signed with Renault instead of Ferrari.

I cannot think of any other reason why

63

Max has started to come good in the second half of the season, but I still think Daniel is the more complete package. Best overtaker in the field; doesn’t let his emotion get in the way of this driving (a la MV at Monza – what a baby); gives racing room; and doesn’t turn up with a feeling of entitlement.

Maybe I’m a little behind and Max is finally turning the corner from superbrat to superstar. I’ll watch the rest of the season with interest!

64

Agree that Seb has been dissapointing this year, which isn’t helping things.

I kind of began to suspect that he was overrated when he got pretty comprehensively whipped by Ric in 2014 when they were teammates at RBR.

65

Seb reminds me a little of Damon Hill. Given the best car and pole position he can dominate a race from the front; build up a lead then control the race.

But under pressure or coming through a difficult field…. there’s just something missing sometimes.

66

If Vettel were in the Mercedes, and Hammy in the Ferrari, Vettel would have beat Hammy by 30 seconds.

The only reason Vettel was able to lead the championship was because of Mercedes blunders early in the year. Then you had Vettel’s stupid error in Germany.

But on balance the Mercedes has had a definitive edge over Ferrari apart from a few circuits.

– Mercedes quickest in Melbourne but Vettel won because of the virtual safety car.

– Bahrain the Mercedes was quickest with Bottas simply unable to pass Vettel due to his brilliant defending.

– Mercedes quickest in Shanghai. RBR got them on strategy. Vettel’s race destroyed by Verstappen error.

– Mercedes dominant in Spain.

– Ferrari quickest in Baku. Vettel made error.

– RBR fastest in Monaco.

– Canada was very close. Hamilton was poor in qualifying, Bottas was only a tenth behind Vettel and 7 seconds behind in the race. Hard to say who had the better car.

– France Mercedes qualified 1-2, finished 1-2. Mercedes quickest.

– Austria is tough to call because Mercedes were managing a fuel pressure problem in Hammy’s car and messed up his strategy.

– Britain was tough to call. Hamilton and Kimi tangled at the start. I think Mercedes was quickest although this is debatable. Hamilton had a slow start and then got caught up with Kimi (should have been more cautious and left more room given what he had at stake).

– Germany, Ferrari quickest Vettel made stupid mistake.

– Hungary Mercedes quickest in qualifying conditions. I’m not sure Ferrari was quickest in the race. Mercedes sacrificed Bottas to use him as a reargunner for Hammy. Vettel on fresh tyres couldn’t pass Bottas on older tyres.

– Spa, Ferrari quickest but not by as much as Mercedes will tell you.

– Monza – Mercedes showed they were quickest in the race.

– Singapore Mercedes quickest.

67

Complete nonsense. Mercedes the team have been faster than Ferrari the team. Ferrari the car has been quicker than Mercedes the team this year and last.

Vettel the driver can’t hold a candle to Lewis the driver. A combination of superior driving skill and superior team operations have led to the the slower car leading the faster one at the top of the table.

To conjecture that Vettel is faster than Hamilton is to go against every expert opinion… and the evidence.

By the way, who is “Hammy?” He’s not a family pet, FFS.

68

The Hamilton Haters like Anon try to demean Hamilton by calling him pet names like Hammy or girl names like Lulu. It reflects poorly on them that they cannot say or write his name respectfully. Just saying !!!

69

a lot of words but ifs don;t happen. never!

70

A stronger showing from Bottas this year (yes and some better “luck” for him too I suppose) and Ferrari would already be buried.

71

I don’t think we have to worry about a strong showing from Bottas this year. He was in a car capable of winning pole and winning the race. Yet he qualified 0.6 seconds off his teammate’s pace. Then he spent much of the latter part of the race unable to catch Hulkenberg in a Renault that was nearly 2 seconds/lap slower than Bottas in his Mercedes.

72

B … oring

b O …ring

bo R … ing

bor I … ng

bori N … g

borin G !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anybody notice the obvious pattern in Hybrid V6 Turbo F1 “racing” over the past 5 years?

Sorry, let me correct that … it’s anything BUT racing!

Onto the race … sorry … procession!

After the very boring lineastern start, I thought I’d be better off watching something else or going to bed. (It was night time here in the land of Aus)

BUT WAIT!!! Here we go … just as I reached for the remote … some action … Perez has had a brain fart and punted Ocon into the wall. Otmar will be rabid!!!

Then … just before I could drop the remote …

WOW … MORE ACTION … Charlie’s Alzheimer’s has made him hesitate just long enough to allow Vettel to chuck it down the outside and get a wheel in front of Max … then he pushed the safety car button 10 secs late … for the second time in two races!!!

Hmmmm …. my mind suddenly went into overdrive …. Is this the lads upstairs in the FIAs Race Control centre acting like the Ferrari Invested Assistance brigade again??? (Grab the tin hat Jack!!! They’re at it again!)

So much action in just half a lap!!! It’s all set for a cracker of a race … I’ve gotta keep watching now, to see if Seb can get the jump on Lewis at the restart!

SAFETY CAR IN … LEWIS IS HOLDING THEM …. ANTICIPATION … THEY’RE OFF AGAIN … NUP!!! Boring … again!

Oh well … maybe the pit stops will bring a surprise with an under or overcut!

Time for a steaming hot short black or two!

Back to the procession!

Suddenly … out of nowhere … WTF is Ferrari doing pitting Vettel early???

NOOOOOOOO … this is daft at best! It simply can’t work without a safety car! Surely they’ve stuffed up royally … AGAIN!!!

Oh well … better keep watching now to see how it all transpires when Max and Lewis pit.

Lewis in next lap to cover off Seb … boring!

Max comes in a bit later. Interesting! Where’s Seb?

WOW … another 5 secs of action … here we g……. NUP!!!

Even with a stutter and bump as he left his pit box, Max still jumped Seb on the overcut!

YEP … FERRARI STUFFED UP AGAIN!!!

Back to the way Quali finished yesterday with the top 6 all neatly in place! Damn! Boring!!! Should have gone to bed!

The last 40 laps remained boring with the top six still lineastern … with everything turned down as far as possible on their cars – without stopping altogether that is.

Sitting there deflated I thought, are we EVER going to see a real race between the top 6 again?

Without the two very strong short blacks I sculled to keep me from slumber – or Sirotkin being a rolling chicane for 20 odd laps – and Perez playing smash up derbys like a daft rookie … I would have been snoring like a brewery Draught Horse after sculling a bucket of 3 month old Guinness leftovers from the bottom of a brewing vat!

Time for a stiff 4 fingers of 20 year old whisky to counteract the coffee and off to bed with this thought rolling over and over in my head …

Hmmmm … Hybrid V6 Turbo F1 … ya gotta luv it … or you’d go nuts waiting for it change!!!

73

I felt all of this, in my guts I’m saying… “This race, I can’t put my finger on it but it’s dull.” Then after i read that Max tried to avoid attacking Hamilton because he wanted to avoid a crash. Well, good on ya, but crap?!? Where’s the racing in that? And Perez, what the… Did he just slightly push Ocon to the wall? I felt sorry for my wife, watching a long with me. I had to thank her for lasting all the way to the end of the race. Hey, at least Max didn’t crash.

74

So apart from the exciting bits that kept you watching it was boring. Understood.

75

That’s right Jack, all the races since 2014 have been boring and they were all edge of the seat humdingers before that…..

76

and you couldn’t take your eye off either screen, tv and laptop?

77

To anyone who claims that “Today’s race was the most boring ever” “Hybrid cars have ruined F1” etc I challenge you to watch the 2004 Hungarian grand prix and tell me that with a straight face.

78

@Andrew

Ah, but don’t forget that the cars sounded better and they didn’t have a halo and they were lighter so they looked more twitchy and the rubber on the tyres was just a bit more rubbery and, and, and….oh yes it’s all Mercedes fault. I forgot to mention that.

79

Don’t forget that every race had 17 teams all competing for the win and the title, and you never had dominant cars or teams, unlike today when Mercedes are always ten seconds a lap clear of the field.

80

Hope it’s not a hybrid whiskey !!

Wouldn’t say Monza was boring

But Singapore will always be boring but Baku was spectacular. Any wet race will always be interesting and no don’t Russia may end up a procession. But that’s F1 you can’t have every race to be entertaining. L9ok at any motor racing format and you’ll get the same. It’s always a lottery.

81

Sorry to break it to you but the engines aren’t changing for 2021

We’ll have to hope the 80% better to pass bodywork does the job

82

The targets apparently set for 2021 engines are :

– The power unit must be less expensive to develop and produce

– The power unit must be simpler

– It must be road-relevant and it must be hybrid

– F1 must be a power-to-weight related formula

– It must have a better sound

– It must use some standard parts

– It must be used by a driver at its full potential 100% of the time.

Are these the guiding principles still in place with the possible exception of “must be simpler” James?

Performance between Ferrari and Merc is similar, Honda have another upgrade coming in next few races, but Renault continue to under deliver. Convergence is happening to a degree. I would go for normally aspirated screamers myself, but F1 has got so reliant on car manufacturers it won’t happen now.

I’d like to point out normally aspirated screamers are engines, and not women. ☺️- The power unit must be less expensive to develop and produce

– The power unit must be simpler

– It must be road-relevant and it must be hybrid

– F1 must be a power-to-weight related formula

– It must have a better sound

– It must use some standard parts

– It must be used by a driver at its full potential 100% of the time.

83

James

I missed that one! Does that mean no Porsche? no Aston Martin? Please could you do an article on that?

That is so important and very disappointing….

To be honest, though, the engines are not the biggest issue – #1 is the 1 second gap between Red Bull and Renault / F India / Haas!

That can’t be engines. The FIA have to get rid of that gap as top priority.

I admit, the racing has been really good this year… plus, there is a chance even better next year: 1. If Honda deliver. 2. If Renault deliver.

One thing that should be done is ‘engine parity.’ The ‘frozen’ formula did not work, the ‘token’ system did not work. What is needed is in between:

So, the fastest engine is ‘frozen’ (probably both Ferrari and Mercedes at the moment). The others are given ‘development tokens’ according to their relative performance.

84

f1 is a competition and the best driver will always win. they all train to win from childhood. none of them train to let others win in turn. it has always been like that and nothing will change it. they may try as much as they like.

85

Thanks for the reply James.

Unfortunately … it’s obvious the FIA and the manufacturers have used the road car relevance card to bully Liberty into submission on this issue.

Continuing on this path doesn’t do anything for improving the ”spectacle” or invest in the “entertainment” factor for the future.

The big manufacturers have had their 15 minutes (5 years) of fame on a grand platform to R&D their Hybrid concepts and show the world they can build cars with a 30% better fuel economy and carbon output.

It’s was only ever an interim concept and now it’s over … full electric is just around the corner. The FIA already have FE to sell it … it’s now time for F1 to boldly stand alone and become “The Greatest Show On Earth”!

F1 now needs to exist on a different stage seperated from the motor industry, which is only interested in selling boring road cars to mums, dads, teenagers and sales reps.

Most cashed up young guys buy SUVs now, not GT or Touring Cars! That market is tiny! Carbon shaming, new road laws and modern policing methods have changed the old ‘revhead’ mindset forever!

What we are witnessing in F1 now is the clowns continuing to run the circus instead of the ringmaster calling the shots for the proprietor who paid 9-odd Billion $ for it … this passive negotiation by Liberty seems weak at best and shameful at worst! They have shown themselves to be too sensitive and totally bereft of guts and determination.

I sincerely hoped and believed Liberty were big enough and powerful enough to boldly make the rules, build it, invite all comers who wish to play by their new raft of fair and equitable rules – and then wish a fond but sad farewell to those who decide it’s no longer for them.

As it stands now and is touted to remain … F1 will never attract more new teams, sponsors, partners, engine manufacturers or cashed up billionaires. The people and companies that want to heavily invest in F1 to market their businesses while R&D-ing their various concepts and amazing future products on this wonderfully powerful, glittering, global stage that Bernie built.

The all-new contract era, post 2020, was the perfect opportunity for wholesale changes and a bright, spectacular future for F1.

What began two years ago as a bastion of hope and an intriguing future is rapidly dwindling backwards into a boring, pale future with nothing but the same old-same old.

My biggest “worry” going forwards is that if F1’s demeanour does fall into an even deeper rut than it currently sits in, the clowns who now run the circus will pull down their grandiose Big Top tents, pack up their hypocritical fleet of carbon-belching trucks and move on to the next town!

What then?

86

Really? Was there an offical announcement somewhere, because I totally missed it.

With regard to bodywork, getting rid of a few flaps and turning vanes here and there isn’t going to do it. Only a complete overhaul can possibly improve things. And I mean they will really need to think big and come up with some really clever underbody Venturi thing with little reliance on wings. And even then nothing will really change much if the performance disparity between PUs remains.

87

@! Luke C…..There was time not so far back when this outcome was predicted. I posted many times that, IMO, the Manu’s were too strong and that Liberty wouldn’t have the ‘cojones’ to take the bold step and change the PU parameters. This is now proving to be correct. Brawn huffed and puffed but the house [of Ferrari/Mercedes/Renault] are still standing firmly on their foundations.ATPIT i am of the belief that Liberty are all ‘belly button fluff’. They have delayed and delayed and are only in the last few weeks letting some ‘hints’ appear, publically, aided and abetted by a compliant media. Of course the media would have some background knowledge but they too are playing the Liberty game. With the conclusion of the Concorde agreement in 2020, a mere 27 months away, one would’ve thought that the media would’ve been all over it but very little is being said. In my opinion, given what has been floated, there will be all kind of promotional razzamatazz put out but in reality it will still allow the existing PU hegemony to exist well into the future. Hopefully i’m wrong but i see and hear nothing to shake that basic opinion.

88

Quite right Luke

Although the racing has been good this year, in these days of ‘high-tech’ and much better reliability, things never get mixed up, and we have that constant 1 second gap between class A & B!

That, to me, gives us a clue in what to do: You can always ‘peg’ performance relative to other cars. There are many ways to do it, for example: when the 2.4 V8 formula started, Torro Rosso ran 3.0 V10s with a restrictor. There’s many ways to do it – turbo boost, more or less downforce, etc.

I think the time has come to have several ‘packages’ of regulations, and a team can choose which they run too. Each package is ‘pegged’ relative to the others depending on who is running each one.

So, we have 3 manufacturer teams: Ferrari, Mercedes & Renault.

We have 2 teams with an manufacturer engine contract (next year): Red Bull & Torro Rosso.

We have 4 teams with customer engines: McLaren, Williams, F India & Sauber (is that right?)

One team with a complete customer package: Haas.

Another ‘package’ could be created running one year old cars – this idea is to help with the ‘junior’ driver problem Mercedes has, etc. They could either run them as Mercedes (same name) and not get WCC points, or, re-name them (for example Tyrrell – which Mercedes is underneath) and get WCC points for that name.

The point is – this would end the downforce / budget war. There are 2 sides. So, you can run unrestricted budget with very tight downforce regulations (no barge boards, slots, etc.) or, run to a budget and have more open downforce regs.!

What do you think?

89

Luke (C) You are quite right in what you say (below):

The thing that needs to be emphasised is: the main problem is not the PUs. Ferrari and Mercedes are pretty evenly matched. So, if there was no other factor coming into play, you would have 12 cars really competitive (6 teams).

I do not like these engines. I think they should move this PU ‘package’ across to the WEC. If Mercedes, Ferrari et al, want to go there, so be it.

Christian Horner is right, F1 should be high-revving NA engines. The future is Tesla (total electric) as it looks now. But, is Formula E going to take over from F1? I can’t see it.

Also, the Tesla set-up is actually quite crude: 2 or 3 electric motors and a big battery pack! Nothing like F1!

This ‘road-car relevance’ argument is complete hog wash!

But, the point is: it’s this aero escalation war that is totally ridiculous. That is where so much money is going (being wasted). That is the 1 second gap between Red Bull and Renault is. Same engine / 1 second gap! That is crazy….!

That’s why I say, forget budget caps – restrict the aero massively.

But then, you will still get a ‘GAP’ as the bigger funded teams work around the restrictions and develop that formula.

How do you stop the gap growing again? Have a different ‘package.’ OK, so you don’t have the budget to compete? You agree to a budget cap = £50M. You can have more open aero.

Peg those cars to Red Bull (currently). Now, things are much more competitive.

I don’t think saying “We should not artificially close the grid up,” is any good. You will end up with an Indy car scenario with a one-make championship!

F1 is primarily a drivers championship. That’s it’s historical basis. It must remain that way.

In a sense, Fernando was being ‘artificially’ held back these last few years…. not acceptable.

90

I’m always in favour of organic solutions that are not too heavily and apparently contrived. Towards the end of the v8 era we had a really good thing going with the engines being frozen and nobody really enjoying a massive power adavatage. That’s why it become all about aero, but even that got toned down somewhat towards the end.

F1 painted itself massively into a very tight corner with the Pus as it provided an almost perfect platform for one manufacture to obtain a massive advantage over another. And now there doesn’t seem to be anywhere to go as going back to v8 is seen by some to be a retrograde step, as is binning the Mguh.

On the downforce side, in contrast, there seems to be a complete lack of innovation. It seems that the best they can come up with is removing a few turning Vanes and changing the size of the wings back and forth. For some mysterious reason they won’t touch the underbody, and the plank designed to reduce underbody downforce remains sacred and cannot be touched.

Ultimately the biggest underlying issue in f1 has been the fact that too much has been implemented without being properly tested, and too many things have been implemented for reasons that have nothing to do with motor racing ie pseudo enviro nonsense.

At the end of the day there are limits to what you can figure out through merely thinking about it and the only way to know something for sure is to test it

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