“It’s not going to be straightforward”: Why Mexico was so tough for F1 teams
Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  31 Oct 2018   |  1:26 pm GMT  |  468 comments

“It’s not going to be straightforward to the end, Max” was the message to Max Verstappen from his engineer as he led in Mexico.

It applied to every single one of the 20 cars in the field.

A race where every car up to fifth is lapped and the world champion is crowned by finishing in fourth place 78 seconds adrift of the winner is no ordinary Grand Prix.

It showed how being patient was the order of the day in Mexico; managing the car, the tyres, brakes and temperatures. Everything is on the limit unless you are running in clear air. This generation of F1 cars really struggle around Mexico and, as with Melbourne, to get two cars to the finish is no mean feat.

It’s not very glamorous, but resisting the temptation to push was the strategy for success and not everyone followed it.

Held at altitude and on a day when only the best-balanced cars can keep the tyres from damage and still manage to run at pace, this was a result that had been coming for some time for Red Bull and Max Verstappen.

The US Grand Prix hinted at what was to come in this race; Mercedes struggling with an imbalance, the quality of the Red Bull chassis, looking after the tyres better than the other cars.

No-one had the clear road map for this race, with six different strategies in the top ten finishers and the three top teams using different strategies on each of their two cars.

In the circumstances Lewis Hamilton did well to bring the car home in fourth to win his fifth world championship, especially as team mate Bottas had to make a third stop – and was lapped – as Mercedes struggled with all three of the tyre compounds used in the race.

The local fans were denied a strong result for their hero Sergio Perez, whose every overtake was cheered and who was making great progress from 13th on the grid on a reverse strategy, starting on supersoft tyres – even getting a boost from a pit stop under a Virtual Safety Car – but was forced to retire with a brake problem.

Max Verstappen vs Ferrari

Max Verstappen’s determination to win this race, after losing out by a fraction on pole to his team mate, was evident from the way he launched his car down the longest run from a start line in F1 and insisted on his line into Turn 1 against Hamilton.

His execution was perfect, as was the way he managed the fragile ultrasoft tyres in the first stint. Around a third of the way into the race, he was told, “It’s not going to be straightforward to the end, Max”, given the unpredictability of the tyres. But if we think back to Austin a week earlier, the Red Bull had been the only front running car that could run the second stint on supersoft tyres, whereas his rivals all had to use soft, so the pointers were all there.

The Red Bull team pitted Verstappen a second time on Lap 48, the leader having the unique luxury of a new set of supersoft tyres to move onto. Ferrari had overcommitted to hypersoft tyres in their selection for this race and Mercedes didn’t have a new set of supersofts for Hamilton as he had given them back after FP1. So when they were forced to make a second stop they only had ultra soft tyres to fit, which constrained their strategy as they couldn’t switch to that tyre too early and risk them dropping off in performance before the end. So Hamilton had to wait until Lap 47 for some new tyre relief.

He had found it hard not to push and to clinch the title in a glorious way.

In contrast, when Red Bull inspected the tyres that had come off Verstappen’s car, they could see that they still had plenty of life left in them and so they decided to leave his team mate Ricciardo out on a one stop strategy, which would ultimately have bagged him a podium ahead of Raikkonen, who was on the same plan but some way behind.

Sadly, Ricciardo’s race ended prematurely with a retirement, otherwise he would have managed a 57 lap stint on supersofts.

Perez goes for glory, but Sauber have the right idea

Sergio Perez’ early long run in supersofts had indicated to teams that once the initial painful phase of graining had passed, the tyre was durable. The Mexican went 30 laps in the opening stint before pitting under a Virtual Safety Car for what was set to be a 38 lap run on ultra softs to the flag. His battle was with Charles Leclerc and Sauber for seventh place and it would have been a good duel to the end.

Pushing as hard as Perez did was not good for reliability. It was such a knife edge for the drivers to manage the tyres, the brakes and the cooling.

Force India should have been ahead of Sauber on the grid, but chose not to do Q3 so they could have an open strategy. This looked a mistake, as was scrubbing their set of ultrasoft tyres. They got stuck in the train behind Ericsson and Perez felt that in front of his home fans he needed to put on a show and he paid a price. Perez was trying to overcut Ericsson, but the Swede made him and the other midfielders pay in the early stages of the race.

Seeing what the super soft was doing on Perez’ car, several other teams went that route on the second stint including Renault with Nico Hulkenberg, who bagged an excellent sixth place and Sauber with Leclerc in seventh and Ericsson in ninth – the team’s first double points score of the season and one which eased them ahead of Toro Rosso in the Constructors’ championship.

This was built on a strong qualifying performance, with both cars starting in the Top Ten grid positions on merit, underlining how well the team has progressed this season, partly thanks to its technical partnership with Ferrari.

The team embodied the patience that was needed to do well, as did Renault.

In 2016 with a poor car Sauber was able to pit early and keep everyone behind. It pays to know your history on days like these.

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

Race History Chart

Kindly provided by Williams Martini Racing, click to enlarge

The number of laps is on the horizontal axis; the gap behind the leader is on the vertical axis.

A positive sign is an upward curve as the fuel load burns off. A negative sign is the slope declining as the tyre degradation kicks in.

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The difference between top 3 teams and the rest really hurts the eye, seeing this graph ……… is it getting worse, or is it just Mexico ?


Just Mexico and the altitude .
Probably rain in Brazil, so teams will be alot closer.
But Abu Dhabi will show more of a mixed bag in graphic terms.


BK Flamer ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

BK My Friend, I fear you may be underestimating Mr. Newey! If what I’ve seen is correct, he’s either nailed a particular problem or found a rather unique way around it. So hopefully..! If Brazil is wet/damp the Red Bull of Verstappen, could just pinch another.


Ray Clowes
I was never underestimating Newey.
I was stating exactly what you are saying, that Brazil will be closer. Yes it is going to be a wet race, so I’d say Lewis Max are the rain kings and it will be both of them ahead of the rest.
Abu Dhabi is a different kettle of fish. More of a low aero , power circuit with an abrasive climate on tyres,especially if you end up on the “run offs”.
So Mercs and Ferraris in party modes will have a head start on the Red Bulls.


Phil, it’s just Mexico, one Force India and both Renaults finished on the lead lap in Austin, all lapped twice in Mexico.


From Gazetta:


Lewis has been spotted in the Elkann family kitchen this Halloween, helping Mrs Elkann prepare a feast for 70 invited guests including Stormzy and Pope Francis.

This added fuel to rumours that Hamilton will be driving for Ferrari in 2019 in a direct swap with Sebby Vettel, who would go directly to Mercedes.

A spokesman would not confirm or deny that seat fittings have already taken place.


You really have been sniffing the vapours Phil Glass😂🤣.
Best get another litmus test done on your P Glass sample.
IF it turns green make sure the moon is fully formed and turn 360° , 3 times, then rub yourself down with an old prickly hedgehog , hop 3 times & then run through your neighbourhood, on an old witches broom completely nude with a Mars Bar wrapper in your mouth.
That should cure your visions of Gazetta fake news and free those Kodo drummer goblins bashing your Elderberries like they stole them🥁!!


No one is sparing a thought for our vanquished gladiator Seb.

He stole a win at Spa [which in truth might have been Kimi’s], but aside from that the VET/ Ferrari story has been in free fall ever since he went off into the wall at Hockenheim.

Mistakes, dodgy upgrades, the Elkanns, the announcement of Kimi’s departure…..

all these conspired together to scuttle down to the bottom of the ocean Seb’s bid to re-enact Schumacher.

He has to face up to the unbearable fact: out of all the above it was most likely his mistakes that lost for Seb a fifth title AND glory with the greatest F1 team…

Chaw Caro Vaporetto

Encore gondoliero per favory


A bit of an Aesop, but cheaper.


Its funny how whatever the article subject matter most turn into the “Hamilton is not a real champion, its just the car, multi world champion -he’s just lucky, etc.etc.” debate. James should just set up an ongoing running topic to leave all the Ham haters posting there and let the adults on the site contribute to more meaningful subject matter debates.


Well said The CAB.
No doubt Tiny David will be bludgeoning his huge key pad buttons with his tiny hands to give you both barrels from his Christmas cracker tiny blow hole.


I realise that you are obsessed with me BJ but try to tone it down to a dull roar if you can. Referring to me in almost every one of your comments is just a bit creepy


What does that even mean BJ ? It just makes no sense


I think if there was ever a word that was ever more required by you Tiny d,
it’s the second letter and tenth letter of the alphabet. Like the sergeant stated in the Lift in “Good Morning Vietnam” to his repressed by the book Army Radio Captain.


Yes, he surely needs one. Though again, doesn’t everyone? 😉 The world’s always a better place afterwards, fancy that.

If we’re doing alphabet build-a-word, david is some Spanish gold found between the 14th and 15th letters of the alphabet.


Best do your research tiny d . Maybe keep off the Sunny D and Pop Tarts and avoid leaving your mouth open like a frog on a Lily pad .
I think your obsession with 5 times World Champ is rather creepy bordering on fixated . The World keeps spinning, but you are on the Cameo cod piece tune going “🎵back and forth🎶”


Actually the funny thing is how the fanboys turn everything INTO Lewis is the greatest driver in the history of the universe past present and future”. You lot are a joke.
oh and your comment defines “meaningful subject matter debates.” lol


Or ….you could just join a Ham fan page that doesn’t welcome the views of all posters…i think there’s one on the Fox network. Make Lewis Great Again…


LKFE you really need to avoid over egging tiny david👐 & his munchkin posse👯‍♂️from the Wizard of Oz🧙‍♂️. They are so hyped up on that large lolly made of Green🤢


david/Lkfe, I think you just confirmed that theCab has a point. david, when you have left a comment on this site that isn’t exactly what cab is referring to, then you get to complain about the inverse and criticise others.

Lkfe, I don’t think theCab is suggesting that anyone shouldn’t be able to share their views, he just doesn’t see why every article should degenirate into a slanging match between the pro and anti Hamilton brigade. A read through the comments on this article shows quite clearly where all that begins.


The point is Tim…for many on here if you express an opinion that is critical of the state of play…..say on the engine disparity, the funding disparity, the lack of competition…it’s taken by the LHFC as an affront on their boy. All reasoned debate is tossed as you guys go for the jugular.I won’t name names, there are plenty of you that can put their love of the sport and competition before their blind desire (it’s kind of nationalistic -but not quite), but there are many more that will claim some sort of ownership or superiority over the discourse (as the Cab has done here).

“If you’re not with us, you’re against us” -Donald Trump


@LKFE, now see this is why you guys have such problems on here. Nowhere did I say to leave this site … I said if you want to find a site where it’s a Lewis bashfest, there are places out there. It’s not going to happen here.

Narrowed it down to just this year? I don’t follow. If like LukeC you try to argue that Vettel had no chance this year, because of the Mercedes PU, then yeah, you’re going to get resistance, because it’s a stupid argument with zero merit. It’s more like you lot try to extend the domination era to lengths where it cannot reasonably extend to.

Care to provide a line of argument that you consider watertight, that you think I will disagree with? If I think it’s wrong, I’ll let you know why, and back it up with evidence.

Again, it’s you guys that are most like the Trumpites … lazy thinking leading to lazy arguments, then a reaction of stomping your feet and holding your breath the second anyone disagrees with you. Then you whine to each other that it’s just not fair. It’s quite funny.


@KRB, and now you too!
I’d like to stay here and express my views, i don’t need you to find me another site!
However, I can see that you’ve narrowed the time frame of the “all conquering Mercedes PU debate” to being just this year, rather than the PU era.


Well said LKFE. I suppose its a pointless discussion with the fanboys as the moment someone disagrees with them they come our with guns blazing and attack with no logic. But it can be quite humorous


So if one of you claims the Merc PU is miles ahead of anyone else, when expert opinion is that they are even or the Ferrari PU is slightly ahead, the rest of us should just let that slide? Let you keep that comfort blanket you’ve created for yourself? Otherwise we’re just fanboys? Hmm. Fanboys to me are the ones that are not playing within the confines of readily accepted facts of the sport. If the experts – thru GPS analysis – put the PU’s as even (at worst, for your side), then to go off and concoct theories based on the “all conquering Mercedes PU” is simple fanboy behaviour.

If you want to go to a site where reality means nothing, and you get to talk about F1 as you’d like it to be rather than how it is, I’m sure there are plenty of places out there. Try thejudge13 for a place that tried what you want. Each article gets between 0-4 comments on it nowadays. You’ll love it.


Lewis is a very popular driver, and he’s the main reason why tv and track attendance figures haven’t taken a hit since the PUs had been introduced.

But when Lewis retires and let’s say verstsppen or LeClerk start winning everything in a dominant car and the performance disparity and lack of competition remain, you’ll see the crying to do something about the disparity and lack of competition really intensify. Mark my words.


That’s because lots of those criticisms aren’t either historically consistent with past racing, historically consistent with what they’ve said in the past, or based on reality.

Also, you can tell pretty easily those posters arguing in good faith and those arguing in bad faith.


Lkfe, I guess if someone tries to claim that none of the championships won since the introduction of the pus are valid, then it is an affront to ‘our boy’! I appreciate what you’re saying and the largely moderatet tone of your comments, but there is a serious amount of full on criticism of Lewis on this site, ranging from silly comments to all out falsehoods. I have had plenty of discussions on the engines that didn’t involve Hamilton, and hope to continue doing so, but as thecab said, some people it isn’t possible to talk about anything without bringing him in to it.

Remember that every fan will stick up for their favourite driver, including those so quick to call us Lewis fans out for doing the same.


Well, it’s inevitable really. The PU era, and the performance disparity that characterises it, has devalued 4 of Lewis’ 5 championships. There is no doubt about it from a purely objective and rational point of view. Better to win 1 hard-fought championship on a more or less level playing field in the last 30 seconds of the last race of the year, than 10 championships in dominant car.

Just look at Vettel. He was untouchable in the pre PU era, and since then he’s been as weak as a kitten. Isn’t it funny how he lost his abilities behind the wheel at the exact same time that PU was introduced? And at exactly this time Lewis acquired seemingly super-human skills behind the wheel. What a coincidence that was.



Says who? It’s mostly the unqualified here who are saying that.

The experts, insiders and more qualified people have already spoken and it’s definitely, thorougly and wonderfully deserved.

Ricciardo alone, despite what an unlucky season he’s had and could have come out and be bitter about Hamilton’s 5th championsip in a title winning car, said that Hamilton deserves this title 100 %. Now, that’s what you call a purely objective and rational point of view.

So nothing anyone can say here can take anything away from Hamilton’s championship winning drive. None.

It will be celebrated even more as time goes by. History is always kinder to the winners and the victors.


“The experts …have already spoken…”

The good old appeal to authority logical fallacy. Where would some people be without it?


Luke, this whole thing started because you and Kenny were moaning about people daring to disagree with you, like I said if you want to state your opinions, then go right ahead, but you should expect responses if they make no sense.



This is what the comments section is for. Relax.

You are the one taking this too seriously. Seriously enough to devalue one’s achievement in a field you are not qualified to evaluate.

You should just soak in the champagne and rejoice in the achievements of how mere mortals tame these machines, these beasts.

Every F1 driver, as long as they did not cheat or broke rules, deserves every position, pole, win or title. From Fangio to Rosberg to Prost to Vettel to Rosberg Jr. to Hamilton. Every one.

Yes, even Ricciardo’s 5 out of 6 “gift” wins according to the Kenneth Gold Standard is fully deserved.



Honestly guys, I had no idea that you would take my comment that seriously, and that we would still be arguing about this days later.

If my opinion doesn’t bring objectivity and balance into the debate then why do you care? You’ve got your opinions and I’ve got mine, and I won’t feel upset in the slightest if you don’t think that my views hold any objectivity whatsoever.



And how does what Max say devalue Hamilton’s championships? It doesn’t.

First, Max has never driven a title-winning F1 car nor has he been in an F1 championship fight nor won an F1 championship. We do not know yet if he can win in one. There are so many things involved in a championship and the car is just one part of it. It is naive of him to conclude that he’ll win an F1 title in Lewis’s car when he has never been in that position. He has never even got pole in a car that his teammate already demonstrated, could. Can Max even get pole in a pole winning car? He could say that he could until the cows come home but he has not demonstrated that he can as of this moment. So until that happens, the answer is “No”. In fact, he has already failed twice, Monaco and Mexico. In the same vein that Max thinks he could win in Hamilton’s car, there is no way to know until it happens. No way.

Vettel has been in two championship winning cars in the last two years and came up short, both times. It’s no wonder he did not devalue Hamilton’s 5th F1title. Maybe because he is chasing his own 5th title and is currently going through the experience himself and os finding that it isn’t that easy, despite having a title winning car.

And if Max did get Lewis’s car and wins the title, does that now mean that Max’s title is undervalued? Surely, he wouldn’t think so. Or his statement would just made him look foolish. In fact, he is hoping. praying, to get a Newey rocket next year because that’s one of the ways to win championships in F1. And if his car is 2 sec faster than the rest, does his title make it less valuable? No, it doesn’t because he and his team did the best job to maximize the car’s potential. That is the ultimate goal in F1 anyway. If you do that, you deserve the championship. Period. Most champions had superior cars compared to others. Who cares? That’s what F1 is all about. That is what all teams strive for, domination. Same rules apply to everyone and if some don’t get it right, that’s too bad. That’s what the next season is for. Do better next time, team or driver. Meanwhile, let the team and driver enjoy their well deserved championship.

Ricciardo also thinks that he can win in a Mercedes but yet, still declared Lewis a very worthy champion. I know it confused some, especially the simpleminded ones, but why does Ricciardo believe that he could win in Lewis’s Merc but didn’t devalue the Brit’s title one bit? Because one has nothing to do with the other. Ricciardo acknowledges that Lewis’s car was tops but it wasn’t just the car or the PU that made him a deserving champion. It was the way he was able to put everything together – the car, his team, his skills, his preparation, his self-belief, his luck, or whatever else was needed to win.

The champion is always the one who got the most points by maximizing the car’s potential, (PU and chassis combined), his team’s capabilities and his own talent, intelligence and skills, while the rest could not.

Vettel did it 4 times. Scumacher did it 7 times. Alonso did it twice and Raikkonen did it once. Now Lewis has done it five times.

As I’ve said, only the unqualified and ignorant armchair experts think that it is just the PU that won Hamilton his 5th title. The more qualified ones, don’t.

Prost, 4 time champ, and Stewart, 3 time champ, both say Hamilton is a deserving and worthy champion. I’m sorry that your opinions don’t compare to these F1 champions but that’s inevitable really, because you have no qualifications in this matter. Nor do I so I’m happy to quote them anytime. It’s more objective that way.

By the way, a second opinion is only good when you’re getting it from the proper source. If you get it from another unqualified source, it’s still as worthless as the first.


Luke, here’s a fourth opinion, Verstappen said that Vettel, Ricciardo and himself could win in the Mercedes, not ‘just about anyone’. You need to learn that Kenneth is not a reliable source of information.


FanF1, you should always seek a second opinion, sometimes even a third.

Here is your second opinion. Vetstappen reckons just about anyone could win a championship in a Mercedes.



As my Gammy used to say, “Never take medical advice from a plumber.”

Expert. Schmexperts.

By the way, Luke, your plumber called. Your prescription is ready.



Yup and still more qualified than you.


WEll to be fair, these experts have far more data, experience, knowledge than anyone on this board. Their opinions carry a lot of weight. Feel free to introduce your own expert/professional opinion to back up your arguments.


LukeC, “no doubt about it from a purely objective and rational point of view”. That’s just your opinion, so saying there’s no doubt is clearly incorrect as many people hold the opposite view (including all the experts I’ve seen talk on the subject), I would also question your ability to judge this issue objectively given your well documented dis like of Hamilton.

Are you sure the Mercedes has been as dominant this year and last year as it was in 14,15 and 16? We can argue about who had the faster car this season for as long as you like, but claiming the Merc is dominant is clearly and provably incorrect.


Thanks for chiming in Tim, I thought you would.

Obviously I’m aware that many people hold the opposite view, but that’s because they’re not approaching it from a purely objective and rational point of view. That’s why I wanted to bring a more balanced view to the matter.

Also my dislike of Ham has been well documented? Where, by whom? Just because I’ve correctly pointed out that the PU era has devalued four of his championships that suddenly means that I dislike him? In fact, I will go even further and suggest that the fact that lewis has been paired up with the mediocre Bottas has even further devalued his championships in 2017 and 2018. Does that mean that I dislike Bottas too? What about all the criticism I dished out at Vettel? Does that mean that I dislike him too?

No, my dislike is of this ridiculous situation we have in f1, and of the fact that everybody seems to be deliriously happy with it just because Lewis is winning. Well, my desire to have proper f1 back transcends any love I might have of any one particular driver, and that includes Lewis. That’s all.


Luke, yes lots of praise of Lewis, and hardly any criticism. I get that this bothers you, and you see it as your responsibility to redress the balance by bringing some negativity, but are you quite sure he deserves it? What has he done this year that was so terrible?


I’m with you Luke…
But i’m guessing we’d never make the guest panel on Fox & Friends…


Luke, you are free to think that, and express your opinion on here. You aren’t free to attempt to prevent people from disagreeing with you, or to state your opinions as proven facts. You think that Lewis’ championships are devalued, I and many others do not. He had to fight hard against Rosberg in 14 and 15 and the performance disparity you talk about simply didn’t exist in 17 and 18.



Of course any objective analysis of Lewis’ career is going to contain more positivity than negativity. After all, he achieved a tremendous amount in F1.

In fact, he could well be the best racing driver ever. Better than senna, Prost, Fangio, Clark etc. But that still doesn’t change the fact that the PU era f1, and the performance disparity combined with Mercs failure to hire someone better than Bottas, has devalued four of his five championships.

In fact, I’m much more impressed with his second place in the 2007 championship than I am by any of the four he won during the PU era. I can’t help it.


Hitler was misunderstood. Plus he was evil.


Your idea of “bringing balance” to the debate is akin to someone claiming that Hitler was just misunderstood. If your “balancing” points are plainly without merit, then expect them to receive short shrift. All as it should be.


Luke, the problem with that is any objective analysis of Hamilton’s career to date, and this year in particular is going to contain more positivity than negativity, if the opposite were true he would have been out on his ass ten years ago! Your comments on Lewis are always negative, so that doesn’t really point towards any kind of objectivity does it?


Tim, I have said several times that I wanted to bring some balance and objectivity into the debate, so of course that’s going to involve saying things that might be perceived as negative. I mean there are plenty of comments praising Lewis to high heaven, so how is my adding to all of that praise going to introduce any kind of balance into the debate?


Grow up Luke. PU disparity had nothing to do with why Vettel lost in 2018 & arguably 2017. And as for Bottas, then you’d have to apply the same logic for every champion winning with a weaker teammate. Webber was considered average, past his prime, so usuing your own logic, Vettel’s titles need to be devalued.


Luke, we would all like our opinions to be treated as facts, but some of us realise that they aren’t. You don’t start any discussion on Lewis from anything like an objective point of view, you are always looking for the negative, so lets not pretend anymore, ok?


Nah, i don’t agree. PU strength isn’t the only thing that counts. As the Ferrari boss rightly noted “It’s the package working as a whole: from the aero, mechanical, chassis and power unit.”

And let’s look at Hamilton’s 5 titles:

Won in 2008 in a car most consider marginally inferior to the F2008 against Raik & Massa (non-hybrid era).

He won in 2017, when the SF70H was on a par to the W08 -some even argue the SF70H was the better, more consistent race car-whereas the W08 had the advantage over 1 lap. (Ferrari was only 15BHP down in 2017 but had the better chassis, was easier to set-up & kinder on tyres).

After Singapore, this is how James Allen himself described the 2017 cars:
-” Ferrari have built a wonderful car this year, whereas the Mercedes is a bit tricky and temperamental. And yet Ferrari finds itself now out of control of the championship, not least due to valuable points dropped in Baku and Singapore”
Other exeperts within the field thought similar. For instance, Mark Hughes said this of 2017
“The Merc is prone to not finding that balancing point or falling off it whereas the Ferrari’s performance is much more robust. All round, Ferrari is a better car”
While Will Buxton made this assessment:
“ferrari argubaly was the best car, a car for all seasons, car suited every race and track, where as Merc had that diva with problems, wasn’t the best car, not the best with its tyres”
Even the late Marchionne thought Ferrari had thrown away the 2017 championship
“It was a combination, especially in the second half of the season, between technical issues and driver error — or driver misjudgement….We regret not having done better, but the car is there — it’s in my view the best car on the track today.””

And now onto 2018, he has thrashed Vettel when the Ferrari has the better PU & better reliability. The Ferrari overall, has been the quicker car ,more often than not.

His 2014 & 2015 titles were won in a dominant car, where he had a large PU advantage. If those were his only 2 titles, then you may have had a point. But the fact that he has 3 other titles won in either inferior, or equal cars to his main rivals, then this should null & void any silly talk about his titles being devalued. 2008, 2017 & 2018 all demonstrated that he can win with little or no PU/car advantage.

As for Vettel, sure he was good pre-hybrid era but these last 2 yrs, he has had the car to take the fight to Merc. He simply made too many errors & seemed unable to deal with the pressure. Hamilton has beaten him fair & square these last 2 years.



Great points!!!!


“There is no doubt about it from a purely objective and rational point of view …”

What a laugh!! Devalued my butt. Hamilton’s last two have been two of the best title victories ever! Hamilton won against a Ferrari that was even with the Merc last year, and beat an even better Ferrari this year!! You will not get a better championship victory than this year’s. He beat a 4x champion sat in a better car. Just because it didn’t go right down to the wire doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a hard fought championship.

The people in the sport that know, know what a great year Hamilton’s had.



James Hunt. Japan 1976,. Just saying…….


Just saying what? Lauda was a 1x champion in 1976, and Hunt only won because Lauda was out for two races.


@the Cab….the term ‘haters’ is overused. The fact is that there are some people who simply don’t believe all the ‘stuff’ written about him and they say so. Why not? My suggestion is that james sets aside a separate thread which is a ‘Team LH’ zone and you can all post ad infinitum about your driver. I would also add that the term ‘haters’ is wide of the mark. All it does is incite more vociferous feed back. I use the term ‘luvvies’ for the simple reason that is the direct opposite.


Responding to any criticism by labelling the critic a hater is the oldest trick in the book devised to silence the critic.

Do you remember when Red Bull were dominating and Vettel was winning everything? Do you remember the constant whining about how F1 needed to be fixed, how the aero had to be cut back etc? Do remember the FIA constantly trimming back the aero to minimise red bull’s advantage?

Have you also noticed how since Lewis has started dominating all the crying to change things have ceased? No one seems to be calling for a change to the PU regulations for example, except Sebee, and occasionally I.


david. If you are going to keep using the ‘Mercedes is a dominant car’ stick, you really have to explain why you think that’s true, when so many more highly qualified people think that it isn’t.


Exactly Lukec. Vettll was the “bad boy” who was second rate driver in a dominant car but Hamilton is a hero, despite the dominant car. That logic negates all the bias and pro Hamilton comments if not only for that reason. I can’t tell it it is puppy love, ignorance, blindness or just plain stupidity. Perhaps a little of each (or a lot)


What are you talking about kenny? More than a few of us dealt with Verstappen’s hopeful yet silly comments. So why pretend otherwise? It just makes you look silly, ‘cos the evidence is RIGHT THERE!! Lol, geezus.


Apologies Kenneth, I forgot to answer your point on Verstappen’s comments, he has his opinion, I just happen to disagree. Is that good enough for you?


Kenbeth, you may say that I’m ‘talking to the hand’ but it’s clear you read all of my comments!

You two attempting to take any kind of higher ground is ridiculous, both of you are firmly on the extreme edge of the Hamilton debate, so hearing you talk about objectivity and balance is hilarious, neither of you EVER show any when it comes to Lewis, Blinkered Kenneth? Do me a favour! Remind me how understanding and accepting you were of anyone who dared to express a different opinion to you on the crash that eliminated both Ted Bulls from this years Azerbaijan GP. As I recall the answer is ‘not at all’.

Luke, you do not get to decide that Lewis’ championships are devalued or not, it simply isn’t up to you.


@ LukeC Yes, you are quite correct in making those points. The ‘shadow’ is talking to the hand. No one, and i mean no one, is spared his unrelenting and sustained attack for daring to have an opinion that is at variance to his narrow blinkered approach. It is interesting to note that the ‘luvvies’ have been strangely silent and not commenting on Verstappen’s statement that he believes that ‘almost anyone could win a WDC in that car. Vettel. Ricciardo and even himself’. Now i recall having posted similar comments myself and i’ve been flamed terribly!! yet ATM they remain strangely silent!!! Obviously they are running scared of the Dutchies hahaha


No, Tim, we have simply taken the opportunity to call a spade a spade. There is absolutely no way that these PU championships, won in probably the most dominant cas ever, while paired with an impotent teammate (not literally, I hope) are going to be worth as much as some of the hard-fought championships in the pre-PU era.

I’ve lost count of he number of times that we had the championship between at least 2 different drivers from at least 2 different teams go to the late race of the year in the pre-PU era. How many times have we had that during the PU era? 0. A big, fat nought.


Luke, Kenneth. isn’t responding to anyone who doesn’t share your unrelentingly negataive opinion on Lewis as ‘lovers’ or ‘luvvies’ exactly the same as using the opposite term of ‘hater’? Neither of you guys have ever let an opportunity to put the boot into Lewis pass you by, every incident and every controversy is always his fault, no objective analysis of multiple occurrences would return a 100% negative result, and that’s exactly where you two are!


Maybe if Vettel didn’t throw away hatfuls of points every other race he’d be less of a kitten, that’s nothing to do with PU disparity.


Wrong. A Fiat would never get above a Benz. Those occasional hot flashes Ferrari had were not enough to win a championship.

Ferrari would never win as long as Mercedes is around with this unit. It is not hamilton, it is the car. And it is not Vettel, it is the car.


Alan. Does anyone know more about F1 than you?


Vettel was leading the championship up until Germany. He was leading the race.

Remember what happened next?

It’s happened quite a lot this year. I’ll give you the full list if you want.


Vettel’s driving, particularly in the second halves of 2017 and 2018, has been mediocre and I’ve said so on several occasions. I’ve been nothing but objective about this whole issue. But that doesn’t mean that it had nothing to do with the PU. Vettel is a proven, multiple champion in a dominant car, and he hadn’t magically forgotten how to drive in 2014 with the introduction of the PU.


It’s called pressure Luke.


And yet the Ferrari PU is reckoned to be the strongest now.

Let’s be real here. The advantage Vettel had in those Red Bulls was enormous. He even got the added benefit of an older teammate who couldn’t master the new Pirelli’s nor the driving style needed to extract the best from the EBD. Vettel just drove from the front, and managed the gaps. That’s why he only has 3-4 wins from P3, out of his total of 52. All the rest were from pole or P2.

When the cars are close, Vettel has usually fallen back. 2009, 2017, and 2018 all show this. Even 2010, when they had a great advantage, yet almost squandered it.


I’m sorry, you seem to be suggesting that the fact Vettel has been error prone in a clearly championship contending car has something to do with the PUs that were introduced some three years earlier…

I don’t think anyone is suggesting that Vettel suddenly “forgot how to drive”, just that from 2010-13 he had the best car and a teammate who by and large wasn’t able to compete, and that in 2014 he didn’t (when he was beaten comfortably by Ricciardo lest we forget).

Also, you don’t know what objective means.


“he hadn’t magically forgotten how to drive in 2014 with the introduction of the PU.”

Then how do you explain Vettel having an excellent season in 2015, when the PU disparity was large??

2017 & 2018 had nothing to do with PU disparity but more to do with Vettel’s errors and inconsistencies under pressure.

Ferrari’s PU was on a par with Merc’s in 2017, but Ferrari compensated any deficiency by having a better chassis, aero etc. That’s why you’ll see many within F1 claim the SF70H was equal or better than the W08 in 2017. Naive fans need to realise that an F1 car isn’t solely about the PU. Chassis, aero. how the car works with its tyres, having a workable operating window, reliability–are all equally as important. It’s the sum whole that goes into determining the quality of the car.

As for 2018. Ferrari outright, has the better PU, so please do not come with nonsense that Vettel lost in 2018 because of a PU disparity. He lost because he was forever spinning and crashing and losing his composure under pressure. But his car was good-arguably the best on the grid.

And why are you trying to make out that Hamilton’s 2008 title should be seen in a similar light to the dominant 2014 & 2015 cars ? Stop being so disingenuous.

Whatever next? Vettel only won his titles in the dominant Red Bull’s because of an aero disparity? Give me a feakin’ break!

The level some Hamilton detractors on here will go to diminish his achievements simply beggars belief.


Updated winning percentages when starting off the front row (to MEX18):

HAM 9/97 = 9.28%
ALO 14/273 = 5.13%
RIC 6/139 = 4.32%
VER 3/74 = 4.05% ⬆️1
RAI 10/248 = 4.03%
VET 5/124 = 4.03% ⬇️2
BOT 1/100 = 1.00%


Winning percentages when starting off the first two rows (to MEX18):

HAM 3/54 = 5.56%
RIC 4/111 = 3.60%
RAI 6/174 = 3.45%
ALO 6/221 = 2.71%
VER 0/53 = 0.00%
BOT 0/65 = 0.00%
VET 0/72 = 0.00%

Winning percentages when starting off the first three rows (to MEX18):

RAI 5/106 = 4.72%
HAM 1/38 = 2.63%
ALO 3/166 = 1.81%
RIC 1/77 = 1.30%
VER 0/34 = 0.00%
BOT 0/48 = 0.00%
VET 0/51 = 0.00%


Boy, you really like figures.

Well, as long as you don’t consider the difference the car made, race circumstances, luck, whatever… those figures empty.

Verstappen is gonna always beat Ricci, and he is a zero based on your analysis. And Raikonnen, let’s be serious. And I am a Kimi fan too.


China 2008 … Verstappen started P5, Ricciardo P6.

The race fell into Max’s lap with the SC, and he proceeded to blow it. Meanwhile Ricciardo drove smartly, and took a fine win from off the two front rows. Max could’ve and should’ve broke his duck there.

Malaysia ’16 … Verstappen started P3, Ricciardo P4 … Ricciardo won.

Monaco ’18 … a ‘mare of a weekend for Max, though not as bad as ’16.

Spain ’16 and Mexico ’18 are Max’s two victories where Ricciardo started ahead of him. He only won in Spain b/c his strategy was the right one, and in Mexico he just beat him off the line.

Maybe it’s just me, but remembering the initial impact that Alonso & Hamilton had in good cars, it was just more impressive than Max’s has been.


Verstappen is gonna always beat Ricci …

This year marks the first time, out of three years.

“Always” must mean different things for some people on here.


Trying to think of Kimi’s 5 wins outside top 6.

Obviously Suzuka 2005 and Australia 2013.

The others I presume were also in 2005 when he often went back 10 places on the grid after changing his engine?


Without looking up, Canada 2005 and Belgium 2009 I think were


Canada yes (7th), Belgium no (6th).

Belgium 2004 was though.

KRB, put us out of our misery!


The first one: 2003 Malaysia from P7
2004 Belgium from P10
2005 Canada from P7


Malaysia 2003, Spa 2004. His first 2 race wins were from outside the Top 6.


KRB, do think about building a bigger picture with wins from outside the top six places on the grid, and also these wins from total wins.


Phil, outside the top 6 is displayed above. The wins from total wins is imo a dumb stat that has zero validity. You are welcome to do it yourself though, and then defend it. It’d be an easy one to tally, so have at it.


That’s ok KRB, your latest figures give a good ’rounded’ appraisal.

Very surprised to see that VET never won from outside top two rows. There was that memorable drive to p3 from the back at AbuDhabi 2012 of course.


Vettel’s never won from outside the top 3, and only 5x from P3.

Max already has two wins from P4, and 3 from the second row.



The word here in the Netherlands (press & racetrack managment) is that F1 management has been offering a place on the Calendar for 2020 to Zandvoort.

Would be nice to have that one back on the calendar! Hope, by that time, that the cars are a bit easier to overtake.


There is a plaque in Maranello saying “Kimi the last world champion for Ferrari”

Well maybe not but it’s the time to get one. The faded spot on the wall isn’t going anywhere for this latest Champ.

When the realization of past ghosts are finalized, that Ferrari are leaving F1, Kimi will be the last F1 champion forever.

There is a plan at Maranello


Go on…

a plan that involves binning their racing history and heritage?

a plan to sell road cars without the F1 promo and marketing?

a plan to not bother with the 100 million?

leaving F1!

Ferrari are more likely to run a returning Alonso and a returning Kimi in 2020 than leave.


And as far as negotiation tactics go, that must have been one of the worst examples


It was not my idea


Mexico was tough on many teams, so was the season. Still they compete, sorry participate.

F1 the pinnacle of world motorsport should give out a trophy every year to one team for “participating”

“The winner of this year is McLaren, congrats” the next year’s winner might be you lucky team, whoever you are


The customer teams trophy.


The could call it the Ayrton Senna Championship because the midfield is where the racing is still at.


The midfield might be where the action is, certainly next year.


After the competitive formula on season, we should have some formula one exhibition event.


How about a track day where all the F1 drivers get 2 laps in the Championship winning car?


Great report James, as usual.

James, the W09 & SF71H seems pretty close on pace overall. It’s ebbed & flowed, but overall. they seem a close match. Will you be doing some sort of end of term analysis of the cars?


Thanks for another comprehensive insight. For me, these always enhance my enjoyment of each race.


James are you going to shed some light on the pitwall and driver engine adjustments at Red Bull?

Happy with a simple yes or no.

Many Thanks


Maybe it’s nothing, a placebo effect, to keep Max happy.

Yes Max, we’ve turned down the engine, you’ll make it to the end, you’ll take the win, you don’t need to listen to your dad persuading you to go to Mercedes. (fingers and toes crossed)


In the circumstances Lewis did well to bring the car home in fourth to win his fifth world championship

Off topic.

I have been thinking, with Lewis having clinched his 5th title, and the fact that it’s difficult to compare champions from different eras, I think there is still a case to suggest that the original 5 times champion Fangio is indeed the greatest (or luckiest) driver to have graced the sport hence the nickname El Maestro.

I mean Fangio was a 5 times champion, a record he held for 47 years till Schumi equalled it in 2002 hence the nickname der Rote Baron.

Now, due to the fact motorsport is a dangerous sport, the biggest improvement the sport has seen in the 47 years between Fangio and Schumi has been safety hence the reason why we have another 5 times champion in Lewis not so long since Schumi >>> thanks in part to modern day safety features such as the halo, plus the fact that modern F1 tracks are now designed by Tilke hence no more gravel traps.

Still taking safety into account, I would go on to argue that Prost is the second greatest driver in F1 (which concept is different from most talented mind you)

Yes, Prost won 4 championships which was another record Fangio held for 37 years, however, Prost’s greatness was of a different kind in that he wasn’t a risk taker and believed in the philosophy jouer par les pourcentages and hence the nickname Le Professeur.


Fangio is the greatest partly because he won his 5 championships with 4 manufacturers’ cars (Alfa, Mercedes, Ferrari-Lancia, Maserati), each car being substantially, even wildly, different from the others. No one has done that sort of thing since. F1 imposes so many design rules now that all the cars are fundamentally the same, and drivers stay with teams much longer than they used to.


The problem I have with saying Fangio was the greatest is that it’s clear from plain view that he was a) old and b) pudgy. Grand prix racing at the time was still a pretty elitist sport, so it’s not hard to imagine there being a younger and fitter contemporary athlete out there, with as much car control skill, that simply had never had the chance.

For me it’s like saying Clarence DeMar was the world’s greatest endurance runner during the early part of the last century. DeMar won 7 Boston Marathons, but I would bet any money that a number of Sān tribe runners at the time could’ve beaten DeMar.

No one today would bet on a white kid from Ohio beating the best Kenyans over long distance.

Nowadays when the training regimens are so comprehensive, and the ranks of junior karters is huge in comparison to the 1950’s, it’s practically a given that the 20 racers we get in the top class of motorsport would all be streets ahead of their 1950’s equivalents.

A Lewis Hamilton would never have made it into F1 in the 1950’s, despite a great natural talent. That’s why it’s hard for me to regard the early F1 stars in the same light as the current stars. There is far more competition now, and the athletic demands are far higher. Let’s just say that we’ll never see a 46 yr old with 30% body fat becoming F1 champion ever again.


Its all relative KRB. The same can be said in any sport. You bench against the current circumstances of the times and against opposition with the same set of circumstances. So the example would be – given the situation and circumstances of the day, Fangio is the greatest of all time to date vs drives in another era where their circumstances are pertinent to their day. Its often termed “Current Reality”


Talk about a low bar…

It was an olive branch. An invitation to move up from the kiddies table, as it were.

No one is born a hopeless cause. They have to choose to be that way. The path is always open to him …

The wife told me it’s only 7 weeks ’til Christmas, so maybe that put me in a forgiving mood. I’ll blame that. 😉


First, let me just start by saying this is your best ever comment.

Talk about a low bar…


First, let me just start by saying this is your best ever comment.

I agree that you would usually judge a sportsman or a sports team only against their contemporaries. However, I do think you have to be wary when a sport’s breadth is quite small, or at a stage where it can still be considered a developing sport.

My example would be the English national football team from 1887-1919 … would we consider them one of the greatest ever football teams? They swept pretty much all before them.

I wouldn’t, because the rest of the world were still getting up to speed with football back then. I believe it was the same with F1 at the time. It was most often the playground of well-to-do playboys searching for a thrill. I wouldn’t say the competition between top tier supernaturally gifted drivers was all that crowded in the 1950’s. So then it’s not at all odd or unusual that one or two naturally gifted drivers rose far above the average of the time. It would be like Alonso driving against amateur “enthusiast” drivers today. Of course he couldn’t help but pad his stats in such a competitive environment.

I’m far more convinced today that the top drivers really are the “best of the best”, than I am about the top drivers in the 50’s or prior. I know that any driver now, even the lowly pay drivers, has progressed through a whole number of series, both in karts and cars, before finally getting to F1. That wasn’t the case back when GP racing was transitioning from a mainly amateur pursuit towards ever greater professionalism.


Does it not also work in reverse? Someone from today’s ‘athletic’ computer based team effort centred F1 may be totally out of it in Fangio’s naturally aspirated manual gearbox cars.

That’s to say it wasn’t about athleticism and body mass or lack of it in those days. It was more to do with skills needed for the cars of the time, as you yourself hint.

I don’t know, maybe we should be cautious about making comparisons, …..

Richard Mortimer

Yeah Mike

Wonderful how different those cars were! The Mercedes, Maserati and Lancia (which is what it really was) were all designed for the 2.5 litre formula. Maybe JM wanted to seal his ‘maestro’ status by winning in all 3! (A straight 8, straight 6 and a V8 note).

Hawthorn won next with the V6 Ferrari, although it should have been Moss with the straight 4 Vanwall!

By the way, while we are talking 50s, if you discount 52-3 as being an F2 stop-gap, 56 for really being a Lancia, and 58 for really being Moss’ year, Ferrari did not win (properly) until 1961! Food for thought…


You may know this great footage of a 1956 Le Mans test drive by Mike Hawthorn: https://youtu.be/IpRFagIbcPE

Stunning black and white picture quality, incomprehensible seeing pedestrians, biclyclists, scooters and cars use the same road. The pit box had been improved since the infamous disaster the previous year but was still laughable according to today’s standards. Also mixed feelings seeing Hawthorn present this with authority where he was the one triggering the 1955 tragedy by launching Leveq’s Mercedes into the crowd.

Richard Mortimer


Thanks for sharing. That is crazy! Driving one-handed round that track! Track looks awesome, though….

What about this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abAogAUyoTE

The old (proper) Nurburgring in a glorified go-kart? Madness…


These days it’s very hard to trust much that comes out of RB managements mouths. They double speak almost as much as Toto.
Was there really a lot of life left in Max’s SS’s?
Surely Max could have given them that feedback from the cockpit rather than discovering the tyres where fine after they had taken them off?
No mention of the advantage it was to Max’s lead in leaving RIC out to act as blocker to the fast charging Vettel who was on the faster US tyre.
Looking at the lap chart, Vet had a 10s gap to close to Max and 25 laps to do it.
Ric was used to block from lap 50 to 60, during which time he recorded the fastest lap of the race (at the time), albeit with the aide of some back marker DRS.
Dan was clearly having to push to keep Vettel behind him.
Was he also aided by his engine being turned up?
Was that necessarily for his benefit, or did it just fit the narrative?


Was the smoke from the engine/hydraulics actually triggered remotely from the pit wall 😉

James Bond style smoke and oil out the back of the Aston DB5…

“Max is at risk, deploy smoke slick, …well done No.2.”


To start with your assumption that DR was used to block Vettel in favour of Max:

Max was never on the limit. He was told several times to reduce speed because he was setting purple sections. The RBR was the fastest car on track and Max would have had an answer to everything Vettel could throw at him. He was in control.

Max still had pace, when pitted for his last set, so he could not yet feel how far his tyres were gone. Only closer investigation could reveal that.

For all the assumptions that RBR is throwing DR under the bus is not single shred of evidence. Only vague situation interpretations like “Horner not looking sincere” and more of that.

Such a conspiracy would have required Danny’s engineers to cooperate and I just cannot believe that, seeing the joy in their part of the garage when he got pole.

I understand, though, that it must be hard to see your driver being demoted from a potential top team title contender to a team’s 2nd driver who thinks his only shot at the title is to join the 4th team on the grid, hoping they will get their act together in the seasons ahead.

Poor Nico Hulkenberg who becomes the next “preferred” driver when he consistently beats DR.


Ric was used to block from lap 50 to 60, during which time he recorded the fastest lap of the race (at the time),

You do no “block” when you are the fastest car on the track.
There was never a situation where RIC needed a team order of team strategy. VER was easy able to match the speed of the ferrari during all stages of the race. He alraedy was in safe mode at the 10 second gap.


The gap was such that they could give him new tires without any risk, just to be sure. They put Max on new tires to cover the case that there would be another VSC, where Vet could have went for newer, faster tires and tried a last minute attack on the leader.


It was a nice narrative though, for some:)


Why Max’s curve is flat and other driver’s curves dip during VSC? Because Max is the leader?


Max is saying that if he had the Merc he would be world champion. Now as hard as this is for TimW and the rest of the Hamilton PR sqaud to believe…No Max would not be DWC. Lewis was in the fastest car ( on average) but he was also driving at his best ..AND he had a wingman and a maturity that Max fails to show.


What’s so hard to believe? Of course Max wouldn’t have beaten Hamilton this year, even if he was in the Merc. Max’s first 6 races this season were a big stinking pile! So while you can get credit for turning it around after a shaky start, when you’re not in a car fighting for the title, it’s different when you’re fighting for the title and any slip-up is punished heavily.

Lewis hasn’t made a mistake worth mention this season. Max’s first six races can be forgotten because of his situation, but they wouldn’t be if they had cost him the title. As we’ve seen with Vettel this year.

Vettel was in the quicker car at most races this year. Mark Hughes crunched the numbers:


There’s other great insights from him in that same comment section. Like the one where he says that in terms of getting closest to the theoretical “perfect” lap in qualifying, he “sees this sort of thing more often with Hamilton than any other current driver”.


Tomx, Merc the fastest car? Show your working please. What am I supposed to find hard to believe?


Its common knowledge. No amount of explaining will help you understand this


Again you aren’t serious. It takes some effort to deny what you’re seeing right in front of you. Most pundits have the Ferrari as quicker in 11 of the races this year, which I agree with.

This year’s title was a driver’s championship. The respective drivers decided the destination of the title. With equal drivers delivering equal performances, the driver in this year’s Ferrari would have wrapped it up in Mexico, instead of the other way ’round.

Hamilton’s superb driving, coupled with Vettel’s mistakes, turned that “normal” outcome upside down.


david, you don’t explain it because you can’t. Common knowledge in your house maybe, but show me any expert anywhere who thinks the same, you can’t do that either. Neither can Tomx by the look of things….


Max’s maturity has grown hand over fist this season. He’s really getting it together now. If RB give him a car next season and Honda give him an engine… he’s going to he hard to beat.


You’re right, but…

Honda give him and engine, where have I heard that before, lol…


I’m sure if Honda still don’t deliver he has performance clauses in his contract and Merc and Ferrari would come sniffing…


My bet already when the Max hype started, and that was some time ago, was that Max was destined for Ferrari. I still believe there is a huge chance for that.

But now I believe that chance have diminished, how contradictive it may sound. But there is a reason for that and it is not LeClerc


Most think Ferrari was the overall fastest car-more reliable too

Richard Mortimer


Expect you have seen the articles about Lewis being one of the greats? No disputing that, but what about Fernando?

The way I see it, each era has been dominated by one driver:

1950-57 = Fangio (8 years)
1958-61 = Moss (4 years – the shortest of any)
1962-67 = Clark (6 years)
1968-73 = Stewart (6 years)
1974-79 = Lauda (6 years)
1980-87 = Prost (8 years)
1988-93 = Senna (6 years)
1994-2004 = Scumacher (11 years)

But, then, how do we divide it?

2005-2013 = Alonso (9 years)
2014-current = Hamilton (5 years and counting…)

If we don’t include Fernando, suppose we take Michael to 13 years and include 2005 & 6, then start Lewis at 2007 (which would give him 12 years and counting)!


Now try it with Chapman, Newey etc 😉

Richard Mortimer

Very good question. The problem is: that is about it…! Chapman and Newey! Who else is there?

Think about it: Chapman reigned from 1962 (when the Lotus 25 came out) to 1978 (when the Lotus 79 was a year ahead of it’s time).

Newey has reigned from (at least) 1991 when Williams first got competitive with Renault.

That leaves: 1950 to 1961 and 1979 until 1990.

First – 1950-61 – was there a stand-out designer who was the ONE all others looked up to? The problem was two-fold:

1. Changing formulas (from 1950 to 1953): first 1.5 litre supercharged (or 4.5 NA), then 2.0 litre F2 rules.

2. Manufacturers coming and going. Only Ferrari were consistent. Then, even they got knocked-down by the ‘Garagistas’ and their little mid-engined ‘bugs.’

Although the formula from 1954-60 was consistent (2.5 litre NA) there were several leading manufacturers: first Mercedes (left after 2 years); Lancia (sold to Ferrari); Maserati; Ferrari and Vanwall who all did well, came and went. Hard to pin down one stand out designer?

Help, please James?

From 1979 to 1990, maybe P Head at Williams or G Murray at McLaren?
P Head took Lotus’ ‘ground-effect’ idea and better engineered it! Williams were the stand-out team from 1979 to 1987.

Then it was McLaren, who had several designers following on from John Barnard, one of whom was G Murray. Seems his ‘lay-down’ concept tried at Brabham was perfected in the 1988 MP4, but Steve Nichols worked on that car too!

Also, Barnard’s MP4 series was a break-through with carbon-fibre, etc.

Before we leave this subject: we should state what a genius C Chapman was (although, not all his concepts worked):

1962 – first aluminium ‘tub’ to reduce weight and add stiffness.
1967 – first to use engine as ‘stressed-member.’
1969 – Lotus 63 4 wheel-drive (although others tried it too) = unsuccessful (probably because of wings adding downforce).
1970 – Lotus 72 – side radiators (3 years ahead of it’s time and still the fastest car in 1973)!
1971 – Gas-Turbine car. Complete failure and meant they did not even win a GP in 1971.
1974 – Semi-automatic gearbox. Car was a failure, but J Barnard reintroduced the technology on his 1989 Ferrari.
1976 – Fully adjustable car – wheelbase and track could be adjusted for different tracks. Car was a failure in that form. They simplified it until Andretti was on pole and won the Japanese GP.
1977 – First ground-effect car (78).
1978 – Fully ground-effect car (79) copied by everyone in 1979.
1981 – Twin chassis ground-effect car. The FIA banned it. Idea was to have a solid ground-effect body that touched the ground, with the inner chassis (with engine and driver) being conventionally sprung and therefore handling better.
1987 – Active suspension (first invented and tried years before, when Mansell was still there). Lotus won 2 x GPs with the system and Williams were forced to follow-suit. Was not perfected until 1992, and we all know what happened then!


Hi Richard,

Have you ever thought of starting your own F1 history blog? I will follow for sure! There is so much to learn from someone like you.

I really enjoy your posts. Cheers.

Richard Mortimer

Fan F1

Thank you. I have thought about it. I had the domain F1-Interest.com!

I highly recommend the Haynes GP season series. First volume is 1950 to 1965. Second one – 1966 to 73. That got me up to date on the history. In fact, I got those 2 volumes bound into one.


Alain Prost the best driver from 1980 to 1987? Possibly from about late 1984 onwards, but the crash prone Prost of the early 80s, no way!

The editor of the AUTOCOURSE annual gave Alan Jones the No.1 driver of the year status from 1979 to 1981, and Nelson Piquet in 1983, so I’d say those two were the outstanding drivers of the early 80s.

Richard Mortimer

That is to miss the point… what about the dud Lewis from 2011? When Bernie said it was Vettel and Button who were the best?

I agree, Alain is in ‘early’ due to Lauda’s early retirement.

A couple of years ago, Danny Ricc was given ‘driver of the year’ status by the pundits.

Year on year is not the point. That always changes. We are talking about the stand-out driver of the era. A Prost was ‘on it’ in 1981 (Renault came on strong too late), 1983 (nearly won), 1984 (only lost by half a point) was champion in 85 and 86. In 82 the Renault was terribly unreliable. In 1987, the Williams was way superior.

He only lost his throne to Senna in 1988 (due to the pedal arrangement). Won in 1989. Should have won in 1990. The Ferrari was useless in 91. He was out in 92, and he won in 93! (Although, I have to put Ayrton ahead during that latter period).

Alain was fast, smooth and consistent. Was kind to the car, and got the team on his side. The complete package…

Plus, who else crashed in championship years? Senna in 1988, Schumacher in 1994, Vettel in 2010….


Richard, surely Seb should deserve a mention in that list? Not his biggest fan but he was right on top of it for his four titles.


The Exigency (no idea what that means)!

Not really. We are deciding who is the stand-out driver of each period. That is the one who is consistently fast and looked up to as the ‘maestro’ of their period.

Up to and including Michael S, it’s relatively easy. But, let’s go back and look at each one:

Fangio – the acknowledged ‘maestro’ and perhaps still the greatest of all. But, a good case could be made for Alberto Ascari. He totally dominated 1952-3. True, Fangio was out for most of 1952 and was driving the inferior Maserati otherwise. The Lancia was some car, but when Ascari was killed, that program ended up being sold to Ferrari. I don’t think, between the 2, anyone would pick Alberto over Juan Manuel.

Moss – again, the definite number one of his period and cut-short by his nasty accident at Goodwood. Stirling was always fast. The others looked up to him. He was very consistent. But, he did not get the results he deserved. Lost to Hawthorn in 1958 by one point! but won more races. Yet, on results, a case could be made for Jack Brabham, who totally dominated in 1960. Don’t think anyone would pick Jack in preference to Stirling.

Clark – no competition. The closest were Graham Hill and John Surtees. Hill should have won in 1964, which would make him level on results of the time. However, but for bad reliability, Jim would have won in 1962, 64 and 67, making him a 5 time world champion. No way can anyone argue against him as the man of his era. Many would argue he was the greatest ever!

Jackie Stewart – No-one got close to him from 1968 to 1973. Maybe Rindt and Peterson were quicker. No-one was as consistent, or got the results to show for it.

Niki Lauda – who compares during his pomp and prime? He dominated 1974 in terms of poles and was leading the WC up to Britain. His campaign collapsed through no fault of his own. He dominated 1975. Was leading Hunt by a long way in 1976 up to his terrible accident. Then, he won by stealth in 1977. Super consistent and although not outright fastest (probably the car) he was always there. With Brabham, he was struggling with an over-weight Alfa in 1978 (and still won races) and an uncompetitive car in 1979. But, his reputation was already fixed.

Prost – Only started in 1980. But, there were no giants that year, only Scheckter who was about to retire. Maybe a case could be made for Villeneuve, but his career was way too short (tragically) and half the time in uncompetitve machinery. Should he have won in 1979 against Scheckter to be considered the greatest? Maybe. Maybe not! But, by 1981 Prost was already looking hot. (from France he won 3 races). Was a contender right through 1983 and 84. Finally won back-to-back titles in 85-6 (first time since Brabham in 1959 & 60). Only Senna ended his reign.

Senna – Acknowledged as one of the all-time greats. 3 titles in quick succession. Did wonders with Lotus before McLaren and won their last GPs (as Team Lotus). Would surely have been WC with Williams in 1994-7 (4 times, making him 7 times WC)!

Schumacher – don’t need to comment. Ripped up the record book! Only challengers could not mount consistent challenge – D Hill, Villeneuve, Hakkinen.

So, we are looking for the one driver who is consistently above the others (not so much in results, but in consistency, speed and class).

I asked whether Fernando should be included, or we jump straight to Lewis? The suggestion is: Seb should be considered.

The fact we have to ask that question shows Seb is outstanding. Those 4 back-to-back titles speak for themselves. Plus, he was up against Mark Webber. No slouch and a contender for the 2010 title.

Up to Prost and Senna it had been very easy to decide: Fangio retired in 1958, Moss was the natural successor. Moss was injured out, just as Jimmy Clark rose to the forefront. Jimmy was killed just as Jackie S came to the fore. He retired just before Lauda came to the fore. He retired just as Prost came in.

Alain and Ayrton crossed-over somewhat. But, I think it is clear (A Prost was The Man that Ayrton knew he had to beat. He was the greatest of his day)! The baton passed from one to the other in 1988.

They had both gone when Michael started dominating (in 1994).

Michael’s last title was in 2004. So, we are looking for his successor from then on.

My question was whether it should just be Lewis (from 2007) or Fernando from 2005 and then Lewis (2014)?

If Seb is to be included, he comes before Lewis’ reign. So, we could take Michael to 2006, then it’s Seb. Possible. That would be Seb (2007 to 2013) then Lewis from 2014.

We don’t doubt Lewis from 2014. So, the question is, “before Lewis, do we chose Alonso or Vettel?”

On results, of course, it’s Seb. However, that does not tell the full story. By 2007, Fernando was already twice WC (back-to-back). He was spoken of, then, as Michael’s successor. In 2007 he only lost the WC by one point. 2008 and 09 were right-offs due to the Renault not being a front-running car (although, forgetting Singapore, he did win in Japan in 2008 on merit)! 2010 he nearly won. As he did in 2012 in a less than front-running car (that was a stella performance)! So, 5 years challenging for the championship in the same period. Same as Seb.

I think Seb was a bit lucky to win in 2010 and 2012. Then, in 2014 he looked second-rate to Danny Ricc.

Surely, despite the results, we have to pick Fernando over Seb? I think, point-blank he is the better driver.


Agree entirely that Fernando is the better driver, but I just don’t think you can’t include a four time champ who was indeed at the top of his game for that period. And honestly, none of his titles looked lucky to me, he drove to them.

If Fernando had been at the front for longer, then certainly him over Seb the whole way through but given Seb’s dominance I think he should be included too.

So, both!


Richard. Thanks for this. I usually don’t read long comments as I get bored but the subject matter of this threat interested me. What a great review of the years gone. For the record I am going with Fernando in the modern era (2000’s on) followed by Seb (4 in a row is spectacular) and then Lewis. Beaten by Nico in 16 dropped him below Seb IMHO.



Fair play! From my perspective, at the end of 2013, we could have said that, but hindsight changes it a bit. Fernando did not have the car at Ferrari, yet still looked good! Very good….

Plus, Seb in 2014 was a big disappointment. When Lewis came in in 2007, he equalled Fernando (3 wins each and same points in the same car). When Danny Ricc came in to Red Bull for 2014, he made Seb look second rate (3 wins to 0 in the same car). Maybe that is the only time Seb has had a top-notch team mate? Also, these last 2 years have put a dent in his reputation….

OK, 4 WCs in a row is impressive… but, I still don’t give him ‘The Best’ status over Fernando.

Brabham over Moss? 1959-60 = no way!
D Hill over Schumacher in 1996? Had the best car…

etc, etc.


Best comment I’ve read on here in ages. Well done sir!


Thank you. You are welcome….

I highly recommend the Haynes GP year series. I have 1950 to 1973 which is really good. Started following in 1976 (what a year)! so had Autosport from then on. Plus, had a John Player annual of 1975 (which also gave 1974) so those 2 books helped me get the overall picture….


Wow Richard!

Very impressive 😊


Thanks James, good to hear from you!

On another note: do you remember Kevin Warner? Junior National series (Little Green Ma) champion in 1979 (against Herbert and Higgins) and British champion in 1980? (My brother and I were there. Herbert had a problem and was off the back of the A-final and finished 2nd! Kevin’s chain snapped as he crossed the line).

He got in touch with me, recently, and told me he has some historic karts, including his own BRK chassis from 1988. (I got him that drive for the Super 1 series)!


@Richard Mortimer

“Plus, he was up against Mark Webber. No slouch and a contender for the 2010 title.”

Please add that Hamilton was also teammed up with Jenson Button, the reigning champion when he joined Hamilton in 2010. We all know the confidence that comes with being champion yet Hamilton still prevailed over the underrated Button, 2 out of 3 years. Both Mclaren boys took wins and points from each other which hurt their own campaigns from 2010 to 2012.

The same could be said with the Vettel and Webber pairing. Definitely not to the same extent that Button and Hamilton did to each other, Webber took some wins and points from Vettel during their time together and almost won the title in 2010.

Compare this now to Alonso who was partnered with Felipe Massa, who came back from a horrific accident in 2009 and was never the same after. During their time together, he never posed a threat to Alonso at any point and the one time he did, he was famously asked to move over. He even had to move over even before the race started when they broke the seal on his gearbox in Austin 2012.

While Vettel had to worry about the competetive and feisty Webber and Hamilton and Button, both world champions, were taking wins, podiums and points from each other, Alonso had none of these concerns and an only unhindered route to the title.

Shouldn’t Button also be in the mix? He won the 2009 title and then went to Mclaren for the ultimate challenge in Lewis Hamilton, who took wins and points away from him. Although Hamilton beat him 2 out of 3 years, he had the higher finish in the standings between the two when he was the 2nd runner up to Vettel in 2011, a very dominant year for the German.

Don’t forget Rosberg, who was beating the great Michael Schumacher from 2010 to 2012 and immediately proved to be a worthy adversary to Hamilton, now considered an all time great. If you think about, Rosberg had the toughest teammates during that period and claimed the best scalp in Schumacher, who might have been older but I am positive still better than Massa or Webber.

It’s clear that Alonso had the weakest teammate during this period so I don’t think 2009 to 2013 is pretty clear cut for him.

I am leaning towards Vettel due to his 4 straight championships, something only Fangio and Schumacher has done, his two dominant seasons in 2011 and 2013, his come-from-behind wins in 2010 and 2012, and his slightly tougher teammate.


Fair enough. Think we would say, in that case:

Fernando – 2005-8
Seb – 2009-13
Lewis – 2014 to date.

However, it’s not about individual drivers year on year:
Ascari 1952-3
Andretti 1977-8
etc, etc.

Think year on year, matching one against the other, we have to decide one way or the other. For me, I rate Fernando over Seb, despite the results. 2012 nails it. How did Alonso get that Ferrari into contention? (until the final round). Then, there is 2014 where Seb was flattened by Danny Ricc.?


Alonso??? Vettel perhaps.



Please see above. Not in my book… Seb has the results. Fernando is the better driver, clearly.


@RM … Let me fix that for you:

“Seb has the results. Fernando is the better driver, arguably”.


You should argue for your cause, not say arguably. It’s weak. And very much common in arguing for Alonso for some reason. I have never encountered this kind of argument, and so frequently, then Alonso fans trying to get away with his.
Fans of any other would not try this cheap way of arguing, but it’s been the norm for some time


You got it!


2005-2013 = Alonso (9 years)

Did you not watch 2010-2013?


Yes, of course I did. Did you not watch 2014? (3 wins for D Ricciardo, none for Seb)! He does not match up to Fernando or Lewis in consistency, race-craft, etc. I agree he is a contender, but, despite the stellar results, it’s Alonso for me….

Look at 2010: Seb never led the WC until the final round. Up to then, Mark W, Fernando and Lewis were all contenders. Lewis would have won if his car had not broken on the last lap in Spain (second place would have given him the title). Mark W would have won had he not crashed in Korea. Going into the final race both he and Fernando were ahead of Seb. It was very close.

2012: Fernando had a dud car for the first few races. What he did with that car sealed his legend. Seb nearly lost at the final race!

Year for year, race for race, in terms of accessing one driver against another, it it Fernando that gets my vote.

Remember, Stirling was undisputed ‘maestro’ of his era, and he never won the WC!


Vettel broke down from the lead on several occasions in 2010 and 2012. Without those it really wouldn’t have been close.

Whereas Alonso had completely bulletproof reliability.


I like your article Richard. It has a lot of merit.
On the Alonso v Vettel argument, i would add that Vettels relative performance after being beaten by Ric in 2014 adds to your argument for Alo, in particular the last 2 years. Either he has lost his racing edge (possible) or his errors recently have shown that he operates in a narrower window of performance compared to the elite.


Yes, maybe he was the best in 2010-13? Button was very car sensitive. On his day, untouchable: in the Brawn, Australia & Belgium 2012. But then he was lapped by Lewis in Canada 2012! Go figure?

Some drivers do seem to have a narrower ‘window’ as you put it. Kimi and possibly Seb, although both have been pretty consistent over the last 2 years.


@RM … sorry I don’t follow your logic. You’re claiming that Vettel can’t be considered a great because he was beaten in 2014 by DR, and yet you chose to ignore that Hamilton was beaten by his un-fancied team mate in 2016…

If that doesn’t make Lewis any less great (and it absolutely doesn’t) then Seb’s off-year should surely be treated the same?


Also, what about someone like Chris Amon? The guy was brilliant. When he was driving the Ensign in 1976, an article was headed, “Chrissy makes the Ensign fly!”

Surtees and G Hill were great drivers, but, J Clark clearly was a notch higher.

Think my list is correct for the ‘overall’ top-notch driver from their period



Comments below (above)? are very helpful.

I am not saying Seb V does not deserve Great status. So does A Ascari, so does J Brabham. Maybe N Piquet too. Maybe N Mansell?

It’s just, sometimes we are blessed with 2 or 3 (or even more) stand-out drivers. Just saying, we have to decide which, and I think, overall, it’s clear.

Mark Webber would have won in 2010, had he not tried to keep up with Seb in Korea and spun the title away!


Redline, if you want a true comparison of two team mates performance in a particular season, you really need to look at races unaffected by reliability. This gives a much clearer picture of what happened between the two when it was a straight fight.

Doing this analysis for 2014 between Dan and Seb gives the same order as their championship positions, for Lewis and Nico in 2016 it does not.


Redline, there’s a clear difference between getting beaten on performance versus getting beaten by unreliability. Hamilton and Alonso have never been outperformed by a teammate to the extent that Vettel was in 2014.


The race history diagramme is astounding ! 6 cars in the front and the rest far behind, but all very close there. Appart from Hulk who was a little bit ahead.


I know this race was mostly about securing LEWIS’ 5th WDC title but the race itself was not without its own twists. I am surprised that JA forgot to mention the only other driver racing for win on the lead lap. Maybe he thinks his performance was not noteworthy or it was not important. He wasn’t the official DOtD but wasn’t far off that either.

After looking at the lap charts, I thought Ferrari pulled SEB for 2nd stop a little too early. He was taking around 0.8 off RIC and 0.3 off MAX and had reduced the gap to MAX from 14 seconds to 8 in that period. The tires still had quite a bit of performance left when he came in. If he had cleared RIC before the pit stop, he might have had a chance for the win. I know the title fight was over but Mercedes would never pit behind their direct rivals unless they had no other choice. Maybe Ferrari thought that RIC would pit as well. This should have been thought out better by them in the hindsight.


State of play with 2 rounds to go

HAM 15 podiums 9 wins 1 DNF

VET 11 podiums 5 wins 1 DNF

RAI 11 podiums 1 win 3 DNFs [none his fault]

BOT 8 podiums. 0 wins 2 DNFs

The last named was lapped by the top three in Mexico. Why does Toto refuse to swap Bottas for Ocon?



I think Ocon is a pretty dead cert for Mercedes in 2020, unless V B can up his game!

Hopefully, Williams will take VB back? Think they should help Williams out, financially, put Ocon in the other car, and swap VB and him for 2020.

What I would do….


Phil, how many front wings did Esteban get through in Mexico? And how many did Valterri use?


You haven’t clarified which DNFs are due to mechanical issues?


I agree Phil, I’d much rather see Ocon in there. I think we’ve seen enough of Bottas. He’s had more poor races than old Kimi this year.


A tough race for everyone, after all the racing last weekend, it was all about strategy this time.

1. I thought that Vettel was going to have a hard-time jumping Ricciardo for second place, given how well the Red Bull was managing it tyres, so was surprised to see that you thought that Danny would finish 3rd. – “one stop strategy, which would ultimately have bagged him a podium ahead of Raikkonen.”. With, “In 2016 with a poor car Sauber was able to pit early and keep everyone behind.”, i thought Danny would finish ahead.

2. Good to see Hamilton trying hard on a day when Mercedes was struggling so bad, he has had an amazing season. The one thing i had hoped that Liberty Media would do was get the World Championship Ceremony out to the races, but they seem not to have done so.

3. A rather sad day for FI, decent strategy, got lucky with the pit-stop under the VSC only for the local-boy’s car to fail…


Hamilton has had an amazing championship. Winning in a car that was arguably maginally inferior to the SF71H. The cars seem an overall match on pace, but Ferrari had the better reliability so was the overall better car


Merc was better all round car in varied conditions, if temps dropped a bit etc.

Plus Merc had that crucial spell where they were well ahead for a few races, biggest gap between the two teams, be that due to wheel holes or Ferraris daft mid-season downgrades.


I disagree. Ferrari struggled in only in 3 races after Monza. And since then, we have seen Merc struggle in both USA & Mexico . All the expert data conclude it was close, but Ferrari car marginally ahead overall.


Ferrari was the better car in first 2/3 of the season in dry conditions until Monza where Mercs new wheel rims made a big difference.

Mercedes was the best car in cool, wet conditions, being heavier on it’s tyres turns out to be a handy advantage, it can light them up when tyre temps are crucial. Hungary..


So? That doesn’t negate the fact that Ferrari had been quicker more often, up to that point. Pofessional ratings such AMUS conclude at the time Hamilton wrapped up the title in Mexico, Ferrari had been qicker than Merc 11 times. Merc only 7. It’s the same with all the other available data.
Ferrari had the best car this year, but blew it.


Yes but the title was basically wrapped up by USA and Mexico.


Sauber? It seems they used Ericsson as a wingman for Leclerc…
Ericsson has shown he can be beaten by Leclerc for a lesser margin 🙂
Just saying, not my, nop.


Please ..wingman?..I know that the Hanilton PR team are desperately trying to spread the load but in reality there was only one wingman this season. Only one driver gave up the win whilst Vettel and others pulled over for team orders .


Tom, have Ferrari never used Kimi to benefit Seb then?


Tomx. Ridiculous comment, you really haven’t seen any of thr others using team orders this year? Take your blinkers off.


“Take your blinkers off.” Hilarious
Like I said in a previous comment. Pot. Kettle. Black


david. Do you feel in any way embarrassed when criticising others lack of objectivity?

Seeing as your so desperate to join in a discussion on team orders, how about that long awaited explanation as to why it was completely different for Ferrari to use team orders in Cota than Mercedes?


TimW…once again read the comment in full….every team has used team orders ( mostly on both drivers) only Merc have used team orders 100% in favour of one driver to the ( unnecessary) extent of giving up a win. Only one team manager has branded his second driver as a wingman…try as you might you can not whitwash this one away with your ridiculous comments.


Tom, when have Ferrari moved Seb out of the way to benefit Kimi? I must have missed those races…


Tomx. Have Ferrari had the opportunity to move Kimi out of Seb’s way? You don’t think they would have done it in Austin if Seb had been p2? Team orders are team orders, what position is at stake is simply a function of how quick the car is. It’s part of the game Tom, always has been. Do you still hold it against Fernando that he benefitted in the past, or is it just a Lewis thing again?


Kimi played wingman plenty times this year; A couple pf examples.

China, used as a moving blockade to try get Vettel back into play. Here’s a reminder of the furore it caused :


Germany-told to move over for Seb


Mexico-kept out long, to hinder Max/Lewis, for Seb’s benefit.

Usa 2017-told to let Vettel pass

Hungary 2017, denied the chance to jump Seb in the pits, to protect Seb

Monaco 2017, pitted into traffic to allow Vettel to jump him

Get the picture now??


Did you even look at the date on the article you posted? Kimi had already announced his intention to leave Ferrari, so, no need for him to play wingman anymore


Perhaps Daniel Ricciardo shouldn’t be too hard on his car ala Lewis Hamilton, who has had only 1 retirement in the last 39 races. 39 freaking races!

Even going the whole year, 2017, without a retirement. Wow!

Impressive for a driver who was always blamed for his driving style when his car broke. “Too hard on the car!”, they chirped.

Surely, it can’t be luck? Because if luck is not the reason for Ricciardo’s reliabilty problems, as the “theorists” here claim, luck cannot be the reason for Hamilton’s iron clad reliability. If not luck, it must be driving style then.

So, my advice, “Easy on the car, Daniel. Maybe a bit more honey than badger next time and you might just finish the race.”

Will the Double Standard Mob rise please?


I’m sure Daniel is eagerly awaiting your valuable and insightful advice



Better from me than you. You only care about Hamilton.

Did you charge him rent yet?


You must be a new F1fan who has no understanding of how the racing has changed with delta times on degrading Pirelli’s compared with who can do the most qualifying laps on bulletproof Bridgestone’s.



Tongue in cheek unless you think there really is an organization called the Double Standard Mob.

Maybe you are card-carrying member? Are you?


One retirement which cost him the championship.


That was 2016, non?


You still have to loose points somewhere along the way. And a lot of very bad starts ..


Double standard in your statement actually. You are literally saying….. When Dan’s car breaks its Dan. When Lewis’s car brakes it is anyone elses fault. When Lewis’s car doesn’t break, its Lewis. You are doing to Dan what you say you detest people did to Lewis. Erm ok.



Precisely what I was trying to achieve. I was just highlighting how different posters use different standards when talking about their fave driver or ones they dislike.

Look at my last sentence. Do you really believe there is a mob called the Double Standard Mob. It was all tongue in cheek.


To be fair, there’s a distinct possibility that this time Dan did indeed break his own car…


@The Exigiency

To be fair to Daniel, it should also apply to all drivers whose car broke.


Based on exactly what?


Do your research.


im not sure this argument is compelling. you are looking at a small snapshot of history, comparing two different teams etc.



Tongue in cheek, my friend. Just highlighting how different posters use different standards when talking about their fave driver or ones they dislike.

Look at my last sentence.


Time to move on sport.


“Yawn” yet you read on .

And even replied!

Have a bit of self respect and some self control next time, sport.



Using all my 11 fingers to type to you (as all us deformed Brits have right?)

See the post I made to your chum Ken below please, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on it too…


@ fanF1…how do you cope with Verstappen’s latest shout out. ‘anyone, Vettel, Ricciardo, even i ,could win the WDC in that car’>?


How? Easy …

Max? First 6 races would have been terminal to any title bid with the cars as close on performance this year.

Ricciardo? I think Bottas has qualified ahead of Hamilton more times this year than Dan’s been ahead of Max. I don’t believe Max is as quick as Lewis over one lap (backed up by observations by Mark Hughes), so I don’t see how you get from that to Dan winning.

Vettel? Vettel had a BETTER car, and still lost this year. So yeah, better luck next time!

Max was just indulging in a bit of the “if only’s” there. Classic F1 driver defense mechanism, though usually it’s Grosjean or the Hulk doing it. Let’s see how Max does whenever he’s in a close title fight. I hope it’s next year. We can then see how long the excuses list is at the end.


It’s pointless even responding to such stupidity.
Tiny d aka tiny trump, has a sanctimonious superiority complex, super-amplified by a under active level of growth hormone.
Commonly known as a Benjiman Button Complex. The poor little s#@s, are suffering from an issue, that has blighted toddlers for years. The medical terminology used by learned Paediatric Consultants is “The Terrible Twos”.
You see this in any SuperMarket any time of day, as they little rug rats scream and shout when they go past the Toy section or the Confectionery section.
Similarly here you see the same response from the tiny hand confectionery loving little urchins😂
I just feel sorry for their parents, who look like they are flat lining from a lack of sleep.


“Vettel had a BETTER car”


Krb, the pesky biased media strikes again!


Umm, yeah david. It’s not a British pundit thing either:



“The fifth world that makes him reach Fangio could not be trivial, and in fact Lewis has painted a masterpiece. It was not the Mercedes championship, 2018 is signed by Hamilton. The Englishman did not have the best car, throughout the first part of the championship he had to play in defense, against a red who seemed difficult to contain. The Cavallino managed to put on the track a powerful, agile car, a dangerous weapon. But he did not lose heart, he dragged his team, exploited the mistakes that Sebastian Vettel has served him, and when Maranello wavered, he accelerated relentlessly, placing the decisive blow to Monza.”

You want to keep tryin’ your line david? It’s Speed Bag Central (population you bro!), but hey, it’s not like you’ve much cred left to lose at this point.


Little david, you seem to be attemting to put words in my mouth. At what point have I said that Lewis is the only top driver to drive for Mercedes? Wild conjecture on your part as usual.

Why is it ok for Ferrari to use team orders and not Mercedes?
Why will you continue to support RB when Daniel leaves and not transfer your support to Renault?


david, I have tried explaining to you before that simply repeating something over and over isn’t enough to make it true. Why not share the results of your in depth analysis that shows the Merc was faster this year? While you’re at it you can explain to the group why your analysis has reached a different conclusion to all the experts…


That’s just what F1 drivers do. I remember in the 2005 season review, Coulthard saying that he could have overtaken Schumacher in 130R a la Alonso in that Renault!


Andrew, Ha ha, he did say that! In truth of course DC would have still being weighing up the risk and reward variables when the flag fell….



Max is entitled to his opinion and he could be right. But until it happens, it is still just an opinion.

But that’s a moot point. All drivers think that they could win a title if they were just given championship winning cars. Hamilton and Alonso said the same about Vettel and I’m sure other drivers have said the same about Schumacher.

I’m sure when Max wins a title in a Newey rocket one day, other drivers will make the same claims. But who cares. That’s always been the case. Landing a top drive is actually one of the best parts of the lores told about these legends.

One of the best examples are Lewis’s own signing at Mclaren and eventual move to Mercedes. Both are now part of F1 folklore. Especially the one about him asking Ron Dennis for his phone number while he was still a wee one racing karts. Or how Brawn went to have tea with Lewis and his mom. The rest, as they say, is history.

Some drivers, like the guy on the other side of the garage, do find out that it’s not as easy or as straightforward as they think. A championship campaign, after all, depends on other things besides the car. Only the naive thinks it’s just the car. Max hasn’t had a title winning car nor has he won a title in F1 yet so I will forgive him for his ignorance.

It’s never just the car. There’s speel, skill, talent, racecraft, intellegence, politics and lots of luck. Only a handful of drivers have managed to put all of these characteristics and factors together while their teammates couldn’t. Mark Webber was an example of driving for a championship winning team but couldn’t put all these things together. Vettel always outmanouvered him, on and off the track. That’s how you run a season long championship campaign. It’s long and ardous from what I’ve seen and read, with lost of ups and downs.

One who succeded in having all these factors finally grace his side of the garage after two years of failure was Rosberg, who admitted that it took everything in him to beat the champion in the same car. Very difficult, I would imagine.

Will Max or Ricciardo be able to do the same with a championship winning car? Who knows? They have yet to prove it. Everything else is chest thumping, wild guesses and speculation.

Meanwhile, Hamilton just bagged his fifth.


Outstanding post! Bang on in my opinion. There’s always a reason why top drivers get top cars.


Was Mercedes a top car in 2012? When he signed with them?

Luck is also a big part of it, ask Alonso and many more.

Hadn’t Mercedes built the engine they did, history would have looked a lot different.

Chicken and the egg 😉


So you are conceding that Valterri and Nico are top drivers? That appears inconsistent with your view that in the Mercedes camp only Hamilton is a top driver


@ Fan F1…You make some good points for discussion. Firstly, we all know that various drivers bring various skills to the track however in the words of Alain Prost he seems to think, conservatively, that the car represents 80% of the final package…others have given higher rates! The question that has been asked before is this…Could Hamilton win the WDC if he was driving the Red Bull as an offset to what Verstappen says? Secondly, your comparison with Mark Webber fails to acknowledge the fact that he was discriminated by Marko/Horner and was known by Marko as ‘that Australian’. It’s difficult to operate at the best of times with all the pressures of driving an F1 car but to take that level of distaste from your own team is hardly conducive to best performances.

Red Bull are now proclaiming that they will mount a challenge for the title next year!! Given what little i or many other posters know, that claim is ‘out there’. Maybe yes, maybe no.



Imagine that! It’s already 80% car and still, some drivers can’t even muster that 20% left they need to beat their teammates in the same car. Meanwhile, their teammates either land the top drives or win championships.

It’s not that easy, after all, but the ones who come up with that 20 % are the ones who become legends, all time greats or the greatest of their generation, like Hamilton is being called now by none other than Prost.


Hi Kennyboy,

Just wondering what your thoughts are on this:

I think he’s been pretty awesome at being able to do what he’s done continuously on track for the best part of a decade but also done his own thing away from the track… for him to live the life he’s living but stil keep up such a performance, all credit to him.

For much of the year, Ferrari was believed to have the stronger race car. Mercedes appears to have the performance edge again but Ricciardo believes the consistent level Hamilton has performed at all year has been the key difference maker.

This year people realise that you can have the fastest car but you have to be able to perform week in, week out. Seb, for the most part, has had a fast car all year. But when you’re fighting for the title it’s those little one percenters that Lewis has got on top of more often than him and that’s really what’s dictated the pace of the championship now.

I give Lewis full respect — the talent’s always been there, the speed’s always been there, everyone knows that, but for him to maintain this level of intensity, this level of speed and commitment is pretty strong. I certainly have no problem with applauding him on that, he deserves it. He deserves that this year 100 percent.

Daniel Ricciardo, October 2018.

Any thoughts my little cherub? Suggested anyone should go and kill themselves yet today? Is today my day?


The Exigency – ‘Any thoughts my little cherub?’
So that’s what it was, little Kennyboy has been drinking far too many Red Bulls which has given him wings.


Hahahahaha, brilliant KJ. I think you’re probably right. He needs to stay off the kids drinks!



What a cool post….


What a childish response. Ricciardo is entitled to his opinion and observations…like we all are. I have no problem at all with that. I have never resiled from my position that Hamilton is a good driver and that he’s a fast driver with loads of experience. What i will not do is bow to the fact that according to vast number of posters on this site, who even tag their posts with #team LH, that he somehow is the GOAT. IMO he is not and that’s simply my position. If you want to believe otherwise then that’s your prerogative. Just stay away from the silly taunts…they add zip to your credibility.


In what way was that a silly taunt? Your boy makes comments about Lewis that shows he holds him in a SIGNIFICANTLY higher regard than you do. I simply wanted your thoughts on it.

Not the best car.
Been great for years even before he was winning everything.
Giving credit for leading his own life away from the track.

All things you’ve fought so long and hard to convince others of. All things you’ve used as a stick to beat his fans with. All things that have made you have soooooo many public and embarassing tantrums.

So now Daniel is wrong. Ok, cool, I get it. Expected.

Personally I thought it was priceless.


Ken, they need your response to be black or white…there can be shades of grey or room for debate, or heaven forbid…a different opinion.



Yes, but Ricciardo’s opinions are more credible than yours and he has the qualifications to judge someone’s F1 career, while you, on the other hand, do not.

The fact that Ricciardo, one of the top F1 drivers today and someone who actually participated in this year’s championship who knew what went on throughout the season, team orders and all, is saying that Hamilton deserves this year’s championship 100% and essentially and immediately contradicts your opinion that he doesn’t, is relevant to the discussion of how worthy Hamilton is to his 5th title.

The answer is pretty clear and confirmed, not just by Ricciardo, but by most people who are more qualified than you, Hamilton is indeed a worthy 5 time world champion.

Sorry, Kenneth, their opinion will always trump yours, regardless if you care or not.

Reality sucks, I know.


Ricciardo’s latest shout out was better “Vettel showing having the fastest car means nothing if you fail to perform week in week out”

Max is a child. He doesn’t have the awareness that Ricciardo does


But still a faster child crushing RIC on all counts..


🙂 Good post mate.

Bogan meltdown in 3… 2… 1…


“Bogan meltdown in 3… 2… 1…”
it takes one to know one.


All class…


‘Bogan’…trolling the urban dictionary i see. What an internationalist you are!


Kennykins, sadly for you, yet again your wild conjecture is way off the mark, of course that won’t stop you for the future.

I have some very good Australian friends so I know a few of your words. Given your conduct on here that word seems to fit you very well indeed. Also, I know lots of other good and bad Australian words. There are some for the indigenous people of your country that (especially given your gleeful use of your slur against the British) although not favourable at all it wouldn’t surprise me to learn you use on a regular basis.


There’s no such thing as luck when it comes to reliability. There is always a root cause, and the “holes in the cheese” lining up across domains that lead to a failure.

I’m quite sure that RB / Renault establish the cause and pathway of a failure, and address this. The driver being hard on the machinery would not IMO be a root cause, as the components should have been designed around a operating conditions that take into account normal driving behaviours. However If DR is somehow going beyond those parameters, his engineers would presumably have instructed him to be “easier on the car” – which may be the quickest path to resolving the issues.

The point is, even if DR is somehow causing the failures, his team would figure it out, and address it.


@ Redline…all F1 parts are stress tested and dependent on function given a level of ‘fail factor’ to cover any possible failures. When so many failures occur on one car, despite them not all being the same, surely questions would be demanded for solutions to be provided. The fact that they are continuing raises much speculation and rightly so.


@kenneth… I think we’re saying the same thing here. I’m sure that the questions are being answered, its just that we are not privy to them. The fact that Ricciardo has never as much as insinuated that he is being hobbled is quite telling. I suppose he is getting satisfactory answers regarding the cause of the failures.

Of course the bigger question is not the cause of the failures, but the uneven distribution across the two cars…


@ Redline….You may well be right..Sometime back i threw in the comment re usage of parts etc etc and the relative ages of said parts. As you are aware Ricciardo has had a massive total of grid place drops to contend with as well. The fact that when a driver sustains a PU/DNF not only does he suffer a race loss but then he’s whacked again with grid penalties in the following race!!! The full enchilada. It’s the same for all drivers and i’m not saying that it’s aimed at any particular driver, What i am saying is that if there is any chance of discriminating between drivers then it’s obvious who is going to wear it not once but twice as outlined above. That fact ghives the chosen driver a second bite at the points available.



My post was written with tongue firmly in cheek. See my last sentence.

It was neither about Lewis’s or Daniel’s driving style or reliability. It’s about the double standards employed by posters when it comes to discussing their favourite drivers or the ones they do not favour that much.

Your post was reasonable and unbiased. A perfectly logical explanation to most reliabilty issues. Unfortunately, it is of no use to the Double Standard Mob.


James, thanks for the report.

I was gutted for Perez, who made surprisingly great progress in front of his hometown fans. I was actually cheering for him after seeing his pass on Ericsson and his improved position after the virtual safety car. A points paying position, considering where he started, would have sent his Mexican compatriots, loco. It is ironic then, that this aggressive push for position, might have actually contributed to his brakes’s demise and ultimately, his retirement from the race.

It’s always sad to see a driver retire in their home race. At least, it wasn’t as bad as the French GP, where 2/3 of the French contingent, Ocon and Gasly, collected each other on the 1st lap.

With regards to Ricciardo’s 8th date with the unreliability fairy, it’s not inconceivable that his hydraulics failure was the result of needing to push more than required because of the position he lost to Hamilton at the start. Much like Perez’s aggressive pursuit of the Sauber to make up places they lost through qualifying, Ricciardo had to get that place back, pronto. Backmarkers certainly didn’t help and so was defending hard against a hard charging Vettel to protect 2nd place at the time his car failed.

Ricciardo was inconsoleable at the post race interviews. I’m sure his suggestion that he will not drive for RB in the last two grands prix was brought on by frustration and grief. It was disconcerting, nonetheless. Is this really the Honey Badger, speaking? Honey Badger’s are known to fight to the death. Where is Natalie Pinkham when you need her?

Also, any comment from you write on the Max/Pitwall radio controversy.

Aside from the tyre issue, which you already touched upon above, “Remotecontrolgate”, is the other that has gathered the most attention in here.

Did Redbull really turn Max’s engine down from the pitwall? I have yet to find an article addressing this controversy.

Thanks again.


Waar hou hear on board radio are niet snippets.they can not control car remotely


@Fan F1… It’s interesting that when some people, and I’m one of them, questioned Ricciardo’s [ 8th ] disastrous day in Mexico and went so far as to throw up the possibility that something may be happening other that ‘coincidence’ we were flamed and told in no certain manner that it is ‘delusional’. How could it possibly happen as Renault embedded engineers would have to be involved blah blah blah. Some digging around was fruitful insofar as i learned some interesting facts.

Horner, totally out of character, paid compliments to Renault for providing RB with a race winning engine!!! Wow, where did that come from. I like most people expected him to dish out his normal dose of disgust aimed at Renault and arising out of Ricciardo’s problems. The fault, as Horner now claims, was in the clutch. He also said that he knew about this on lap 6 and Marko said it was only discovered on lap 10!!!. Obviously they aren’t on the same page. However i digress. Red Bull Racing were, in the past, using AP Racing clutches that hang off the Renault crank with RBR hydraulic software. Not so any more. They apparently now source their clutches from ZF, Sachs Racing Engineering AG and RBR handle the installation with their own control hardware and software. That then to my mind opens up further options for possible software anomalies to occur. I am not saying that that has occurred but this is RB not Renault in control. IMCO there needs to be more questions asked in order to try and get to the bottom of Ricciardo’s 8 DNF’s. If it can be totally whitewashed then so be it, fair enough, but to date i haven’t seen anything that would bring that result to a conclusion.



Ricciardo is a big boy and I’m sure he has demanded answers from his team on the debriefs.

Since this is an internal matter, Redbull has no obligation to provide an explanation or a reason to the public.

And Daniel already said in public that he doesn’t blame the team so I am assuming he believes the team’s explanations everytime he retires due to unreliability.

The fact that Daniel says that he doesn’t blame the team leads me to believe that he acknowledges and accepts that he is just having a rough patch in his career right now. Enough to throw his hands up and quit because he knows he did everything he could, his mechanics and engineers did everything they could, and the team did everything they could and he still can’t catch a break. He just wants the nightmare season to end today.

This wasn’t Daniel giving up because he suspects sabotage. This was Daniel just giving up because he can’t a catch a break.

A lot of people say that there is no such thing as luck. Some even say that luck is for losers. But I guarantee you, everyone of these drivers, in one time of their careers or another, have spoken about it, acknowledged it, have asked for it, hoped for it and some have even prayed for it. Even Daniel. The “lucky burger” as he calls it and wishes that he could get at least a bite out of it.

Maybe Renault already has one waiting for one of my favourite drivers on the grid.


Ooh Kenny, I seem to be asking a lot of you today, but…

I’d also be interested in your thoughts about the suggestion that it’s possible that Daniel caused his own retirement by killing his clutch with his fluffed start?


@ Exigency…you certainly stalk my every post? I have absolutely no idea as to what the start effect would have on the clutch. Best you direct your enquiory to the relevant people involved. What i am aware of is that Ricciardo stated post race. He said that over the entire weekend all his starts were right on the money up until parc ferme. then on race day he had problems. Your obvious insinuation that Ricciardo may have caused his own problems is clearly designed to rankle with me by casting your own brand of cheap supercilious comments in what was serious debate on the race results. Classless.


Hey Kenneth. I’ve got one (actually 2) of those stalker types on this site as well. I think they sit waiting for comments and then pounce in defence. Its really quite fun


@ Lemwil…I;m sure that Ricciardo is well aware of what he means when he mentions starts.


Oh dear Kennykins, delusions of grandeur. Hardly surprising.

I have indeed done some research, there is very definitely the possibility he cooked his own clutch, Max did exactly the same earlier in the season.

Not designed to rankle you at all, Lewis does a more than good enough job of that, no need for me to add anything. I was merely interested in your thoughts.

I’ve seen and heard comments from people who are much more knowledgable than your good self who think it’s a possibility too. And Horner sad something along similar lines that Dan just fluffed his own start.

And once again, “class” from a bogan?

Have you asked anyone to kill themselves today?
Have you asked James to ban someone because they didn’t agree with you?


all his starts were right on the money. then on race day he had problems.

@kenneth, We’ve seen that happen to other drivers too, e.g. Max in 2016. Race start is just not the same, what with the formation lap and the very long wait standing still, in particular for the cars on the front row.


I haven’t looked int o this seriously, but by the looks of it the #2 drivers in the teams these days get’s a disproportional amount of DNF’s out of their control. At least at the top teams.


Mechanical DNF’s this season:

No. 1 – No. 2



That was this year and more or less what i expected. Renault we can leave aside I believe.

Ferrari and RB I believe should not have that difference. I that is a trend, I mean looking back a few years, I’d see a red flag.

But one must look at more details


@FanF1, there’s nothing to say about “remotecontrolgate” (like that!) because it’s simply a none story. Unless you’re one of the conspiracy nutcases. If there was wrong doing, it was all very much out in public and they’d be taken to task about it.

Of course the nutcases will now say that the FIA and stewards are in on the conspiracy no doubt!


Great report James👏
Max drove a blinder. Deserved to win.
Ferrari came back well.
Mercedes need to get the full okay from FIA before Brazil so they can finally get those new rims on there car. Though in Mexico it wasn’t just the rears but the front left also that started to unravel .
Still unsure about this Renault engine management remote hardware. Was it a royal “we” or an actual ermmm is Red Bull or Renault remotely controlling engine modes?
Stoffel did well . I’m hoping Alonso gets at least one of next 2 races completed, without an engine fail or the crazy paid drivers crashing into the McLaren.
Alonso needs a great send off and not a deflated farewell.


@BKF, did you see the wing camera on the Ferrari? How flexible is that wing? Surely if that’s ok then the Merc wheels should be allowed too?

As for the Stoff, it was good to see him finally get something back for all the turmoil he’s been through. Hope he has a great time in FE next season.


Hmmmm…. not sure that’s an apples to apples comparison.

There is a specific test for wing flexibility. If it complies, its within the rules. Of course the teams are smarter than the rule writers, so they design the wings to meet the test, but still give the aero-elastic benefits that the rules are supposed to stop.

The blown wheels are a different case. The rules state that movable aerodynamic devices are not allowed. The wheel is movable, and the air flows through the holes. Ergo by the letter of the rules, the wheels are a movable aerodynamic device. The FIA however judge that the effect on the vehicles aerodynamic performance (Lift and Drag) is incidental (primary purpose is to control tyre temp) negligible, so they have allowed it. In my opinion they may be technically right, but the issue is that its not a black or white measure of what is allowed and what is not. The message is that unless there is a measurable threshold, you can “bend the rule” if the performance gain is incidental and negligible.

The clever engineers are going to love this, and Charlie is going to get a few more grey hairs next year….



Replying here because of the comment thread restrictions.

Yet another good post that I fully agree with. Again, I’m all for it, I find the whole thing fascinating. I’ve been watching some geeky stuff on youtube where they explain fully what has been going on with the wheels. I’m hoping very much they let it go as the aero effect is so nominal. They’ve found a really amazing development and it’s so impressive how it all works. Simple yet incredibly effective.

Again, I’d much rather no rules (within reason) and just a budget cap so these impressively intelligent folk can work their magic unhindered.


@Redline, good post as always. Totally agree. I’m sure they’re going to get all the clarification they need and then it will open up areas of developement.

But… taking the rules as they stand, the wings are very much movable aero, it’s just that they have parameters for it. Same should go for the blown wheels and I’m sure it will soon.

Will be interesting to see how it all pans out.


@TheExigency … Aeroelasticity is a particularly problematic field, because it can be argued that nothing on the vehicle is infinitely stiff – so there will always be a deflection if the load is high enough. By that logic, all the body-work and appendages are “moveable” and difficult to police. Particularly as it seems that some teams have gone beyond aeroelastic effects on alpha and ground-to-footplate sealing, and are actively exploiting its effect flutter to influence overall aerodynamic characteristics…!

Although I’m usually quite dismissive of the FIA technical people (recent recruits sub judice) its actually not easy to write effective rules within the existing framework…! And it will always be an asymmetric “contest” when you have thousands of very clever engineers on the other side…


Those front wing flaps are ridiculous. They need a better test, one that applies pressure front to back, rather than measuring horizontal flex.

As for the wheels, any aerodynamic effect is incidental to their main purpose which is tire temperature management. Seeing that they only run them on the rear wheels, there is very little aero benefit in comparison.

I don’t understand the FIA’s process to get this cleared. The Mexican race stewards ruled on it, at Mercedes’ request. So why does it drag on? They need a better, clearer system.

I suspect once Mercedes wraps up the WCC, that they’ll get one of their customer teams to protest the use of the wheels in Abu Dhabi, and get a final ruling on it.


KRB, FIA and decision making… their “track” record is not too great here huh?



I thought that too.
But when you think about it, in thin air maybe it just acts different even with a full aero set up.
Then again It did look rather flimsy, for it to move so easily.


I’m all for it mate. I’d prefer no rules and a budget cap in all honesty. Love seeing these crazy developments.

But fair is fair, if Merc are being pulled up for what is essentially a non-moving element that happens to be on the wheels, it seems a bit of a stretch to use the “moveable aero” reason when we can clearly see a glaring example of exactly that on the Ferrari live on TV.

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