Analysis: First mover advantage swings outcome of F1 Abu Dhabi GP – or does it?
Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  28 Nov 2018   |  6:47 am GMT  |  159 comments

The final round of the 2018 F1 world championship featured a lot more overtaking than some previous races at Yas Marina Circuit. It brought a win for Lewis Hamilton, who pitted as early as Lap 7 under a Virtual Safety Car, as much to block anyone else from taking advantage of the opportunity as anything.

He wasn’t the only one to do it; Charles Leclerc and Romain Grosjean also made the move, but whereas it worked out extremely well for Hamilton at the front, it made for a tough afternoon for the other two.

Leclerc had a great start and was dicing for fifth place with Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull on the opening lap, moving ahead just before the Safety Car neutralised the race due to a spectacular accident for Nico Hulkenberg, whose Renault rolled over.

The Safety Car – and subsequent Virtual Safety Car all within the first ten laps, meant that drivers like Verstappen, who had started on the softest tyre compounds could extend the first stint.

Everyone was headed for the supersoft as the main race tyre, it was durable enough to last the whole race, if needed, but after Hamilton made the early stop, the question was whether any of his rivals like Vettel, could offset his strategy and attack him later in the race on fresher tyres?

First mover advantage

When a driver has taken pole and then a comfortable lead, it may seem odd to people on the outside why he would do something seemingly abnormal, like stop on Lap 7 of a 55 lap race under the VSC. Especially as none of his main rivals at the front did it.

But with at least ten seconds of race time saved by making the stop under VSC compared to at normal pace (11 secs vs 21 secs) and with already enough field spread that he was able to drop back out into fourth place, it was the right thing to do. He was able to pick off the cars ahead as they stopped, and nothing impeded his progress.

Had Hamilton not made that move, Vettel would have done it and would have been inside Hamilton’s pit window with fresher tyres. With the way the supersofts turned out to be so durable and low degradation, that would have cost Hamilton the win, although Mercedes would have left Bottas out to interfere with Vettel’s race as we saw him do with Raikkonen in Monza.

Hamilton questioned it initially, but then got on with driving to a pace in the early phase to look after the tyres he was going to need to the end.

Ricciardo wasn’t in the race with Hamilton, but by extending his first stint to Lap 33 he was hoping to take advantage of the fresher tyres at the end to mount a challenge on Vettel and Bottas to end his Red Bull career on the podium. There was also the spectre of rain on the radars and he had nothing to lose from staying out in case he lucked into a stop for intermediates, which would have won him the race when everyone else would be forced to do the same.

To get Vettel he would have had to be allowed through by his team mate Verstappen in third place, which was never all that likely, but in any case, he wasn’t able to get close enough to try, even though he managed to pass Bottas who really struggled in the second stint and went from second to fifth at the flag.

Leclerc vs Sainz vs Perez

Once again Charles Leclerc demonstrated why Ferrari has decided to elevate him to a race seat at the age of 21, with a fine drive to seventh place. He could arguably have finished higher but got stuck in traffic after making the early stop under the Virtual Safety Car on Lap 7, which was deployed for the retirement of the man whose Ferrari seat he is taking, Kimi Raikkonen.

This brought him out on supersoft tyres in 14th place, but behind a string of cars that had started the race on supersofts and therefore who would be running a long first stint; Stroll, Magnussen and Gasly. Leclerc managed to get through the first two and picked off Gasly when he stopped but then he came up on Alonso, who started his final F1 Grand Prix on ultrasofts and the two-time champion proved very hard to pass, which scuppered the plan.

This cost Leclerc valuable race time, more than he had gained from the stop under VSC. Meanwhile Carlos Sainz on his final run for Renault before taking Alonso’s seat at McLaren, skilfully ran a very long stint on ultrasoft tyres, that meant he was able to pit and retain track position ahead of Leclerc, after the Sauber driver had finally got past Alonso.

Perez was making up for starting down in 14th place and gained three places at the start. He ran a well-balanced strategy which took him on ultrasofts to Lap 26 before stopping. He came out into the gap between Leclerc and Alonso and chased Leclerc down on his 19 laps fresher tyres. In a normal race situation, the tyre degradation would have meant that he could pass Leclerc easily before the end.

But the fact that he couldn’t spelled out just how low degradation the supersofts were at Abu Dhabi, something Sauber had been banking on with their move to stop early.

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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When did we have an exiting season finale the last time around?


he says the objective of an f1 driver is to cross the line first on sunday so he does everything he needs to do to ensure he crosses that line first on sunday. other drivers just haven’t shown that know how to do that as well as he does.


i wonder which driver has dealt with back markers in the most intelligent way.


With such low degradation of the tires, and Red Bull being gentle on them anyway, do you have any idea, why Red Bull didn’t put RIC on hypersoft?
Out of the fear he might have won the race? Or they simple didn’t have any left?


Hamilton gets 101% percent support from his Team – and he delivers. Well done.
Ric just got left out there, hoping, praying for rain. 21 secs, 20, 19, 18, 17 secs pit stop difference to Max, by the end it didn’t rain. Well done Max. Thumbs up.


Updated winning percentages when starting off the front row (to ABU18):

HAM 9/97 = 9.28%
ALO 14/275 = 5.09%
RIC 6/141 = 4.26%
VET 5/125 = 4.00%
RAI 10/250 = 4.00%
VER 3/76 = 3.95%
BOT 1/101 = 0.99%


I must be reading this wrong, Lewis has only 9 wins from 97 front row starts, after 6 years of works Merc godliness?

As Sean Connery may say:

Shurely shome mishtake?


Yesh, Moneypenny … yoore reeding it hurong.


I see, “off” as in “not on” the front row… rather than “starting off” from the front row.


… and my follow up, to placate Phil: 😉

Winning percentages when starting off the first two rows (to ABU18):

HAM 3/54 = 5.56%
RIC 4/113 = 3.54%
RAI 6/174 = 3.45%
ALO 6/223 = 2.69%
VER 0/55 = 0.00%
BOT 0/65 = 0.00%
VET 0/72 = 0.00%

Winning percentages when starting off the first three rows (to ABU18):

RAI 5/106 = 4.72%
HAM 1/38 = 2.63%
ALO 3/168 = 1.79%
RIC 1/78 = 1.28%
VER 0/34 = 0.00%
BOT 0/48 = 0.00%
VET 0/51 = 0.00%


How many of the 97 in PU Era Mercedes?


He’s started off the front row 25 out of 100 GPs since 2014.

Interestingly, of his 38 total starts off the first 3 rows, 12 have been in the last 5 seasons.

Tornillo Amarillo

Bottas who really struggled in the second stint and went from second to fifth at the flag.”

We could say Bottas is not at the required level right now, so it’s a worry the team keeps him in the second car for next year, I would say the WCC in 2019 is probably already lost by Mercedes knowing Vettel-Leclerc is a sound couple of drivers.


Assumes a few things.

– That Bottas doesn’t perform as he did in the 1st half of 2018 – prior to official wingman status.

– That Ferrari internal politics don’t unsettle drivers and car development.

– That next year’s Ferrari has a strong rear end to suit Vettel.

– That Ferrari is in the hunt next year from round 1 (assuming Mercedes is the benchmark again, which it surely will be)

Time will tell if you’re right or not. If Redbull Honda can compete with Mercedes, as well as Ferrari did in terms of pure performance this year (if they can), then Gasly/Verstappen, assuming they don’t take out each other/themselves out of races, could be equally potent to Vettel/Leclerc.


The last standing rational person will now leave camp Maranello for Sauber. Rationality has been scarce for more than a decade and now it’s all but a fading memory from 2007 that can lend some relief from the red mist spreading in the area.

That memory will now only become all the more precious.

A glorious reminder for the intra-team politicians, the expertise in bad decisions that has led the way recently at the red mist fortress.


Recorded by Gazzetta at the end of season party:

Arrivo: you know Seb, the girls call me Omar Sharif. They don’t know I tear at night.

Seb: you mean cry at night

A: some folks think Ferrari is heading for a big disaster. They are wrong, it will much more badder

S: much worse

A: they will hang us up you and me like the kettles

S: like cattle

A: when Ferrari finish under Force India

S: behind Force India

A: you know Seb, you speak English real good, but after the summer break Kimi screwed your ass a good few times, let’s talk the true

S: speak the truth

A: and who’s gonna help with the engineers now? the new kid? make me a favour will you ffs

S: do me a favour

A: we are definitely at a disadvantage, Seb old mate

S: we are f*****d.


*Force India – Racing Point F1

I can’t understand how fictional Vettel would make that mistake. I know he makes a lot, but these are usually driving errors.


@Phil Glass. Probably Arrivo speaks better English than you.


Brilliant. Now do Toto Wolff and Lewis


“Had Hamilton not made that move, Vettel would have done it and would have been inside Hamilton’s pit window with fresher tyres. With the way the supersofts turned out to be so durable and low degradation, that would have cost Hamilton the win”

No, I don’t agree with that, as Hamilton’s unsuccessful attempt to overtake Verstappen demonstrated. Hamilton was just lucky to have won it, in spite of that early stop!


Sure…the better he drives the luckier he gets. Go figure.
The little tussle with VER… he called off that fight as getting involved in a squabble would’ve ruined his tyres and so ended his advantage of stopping early. It was a very wise decision as I’m sure his instinct was to race it out with VER. Also the point that HAM over took VER… VER let him pass. I don’t think lewis was aggressively trying to overtake but VER lifted off so much it gave him little choice. VER did this knowing he have DRs up the next straight. Clever racing from VER but Lewis wasn’t in a fight with him. 5 years ago Ham would’ve gone Toe to toe with VER and cost himself the win as a result. Not this Lewis though. He’s moulding himself into a hybrid of Senna and prost.


“Not this Lewis though”

– yep –

Prost and Senna NEVER had it so easy over a 6 year stretch…

He doesn’t need to try and race or overtake.

He just has to wait for clean air and use his rocketship of a car, the most dominant car in F1 ever over the last 6 year stretch, to take another easy win.

That is when he is unfortunate enough not to have taken a party mode Q3 lights to flag cruise without having to interact with any other driver on the same lap as himself!

(I do know it’s not his fault he has had such domination and lack of challenge over the last 6 years (despite aveli saying he engineers the entire car) and he is doing the best with the cracking tools he has at his disposal, but it’d be nice to see him having to graft his very best racecraft and go wheel to wheel to take victories and ultimately a hard fought title)


Clark, do you know how many times Senna & Prost went wheel-to-wheel in 1988? I’m sure you have an impression of Suzuka or Estoril that year in your head, but in the races they didn’t interact that often.

If they weren’t running 1-2, it was because of reliability or a bad start.

Only 2.7% (28) of laps that year were led by a non-McLaren. Half of the races were led from start to finish by Senna (5) or Prost (3). No other season in modern F1 history even comes close to that. You’d have to go back to the Ascari/Ferrari blitz years in their F2 cars, or Clark/Lotus in his title-winning years, to see a greater percentage of races led lights to flag.


Missed Monza then? Germany too?


@Clark’s 4 Wheel Drift.

Generally the best drivers end up in and stay in the best cars. The repeated and nearly exclusive references to Senna and Prost as examples of close competition underline the fact that such rivalries have been rare.

Still, we point out others as greats in the history of the sport.

Over the decades the challenges have changed continuously, and greatness is judged by how well a driver meets the challenges of the day. That is, in the eyes of both the fans and the paddock.

Watch Hamilton drive. Watch the others. Consider the professional opinion of LH, which long has been that his car control is the best in the business, that his race craft has always been good and has matured, that his wheel to wheel abilities are unquestioned, and that his ability to both motivate and contribute to a team is admirable.

There hasn’t been anyone else around since Schu who’s consistently commanded that array of talents. As Rosberg said, “ He does so many things so well.”

All the earmarks of a “Greats” contender.

The degree of a car’s clear superiority doesn’t matter. To great drivers, who tend to be more consistent than others, a couple of 10ths generally is as good as 10s of seconds. And besides, notice that the other teams have been catching up thru the Merc career. This year was about parity. So LH just drove a little better. Rise to the challenge: that’s a hint.


@Clark’s 4Wheel Drift. “……ability to both motivate and contribute to a team…..” ?????


“There hasn’t been anyone else around since Schu who’s consistently commanded that array of talents. “


Alonso has.


From their initially conservative calls up to Austrian GP, its interesting to see how aggressive Mercedes have gone on strategy whenver a VSC/SC comes into play… asking the questions and giving their opponents a problem from another angle. Another example of how as a team they are always improving.


Abu Dhabi provided a stark contrast between the “styles” of this year’s RB team mates. Particularly when it comes to “safely” accomplishing an overtake without running into a competitor or forcing them off the road as punishment for not stopping on the entry to allow the “entitled one” past. Perhaps we’ll see it in the longer run, but skill is a welcome thing to watch in F-1 these days, eh?

Which is probably why the situation with Hulk wasn’t significantly different than the similar situation with a different pair of drivers in Brazil. Difficult to understand the differing outcome of the Steward’s review in those two cases, however. Oh well, perhaps some day it may become clearer that there is (or should be) responsibility on the part of both drivers to allow racing room in those cases — whether for position or not. Simply sayin’ . . .


Of course it was significantly different. Max was leading the race and Ocon was a lap back. That is a pretty significant difference with the situation of Hulkenberg. But you knew that as well…


Exactly the case GB! The Hulk slammed the door exactly the same as Max in Brazil. In Abu Dhabi it’s a racing incident. In Brazil Ocon gets a penalty!

Stewards suck.



Horner has only in the last couple of days proclaimed Danny Ricc as the best over-taker on the grid. Nice complement since he’s leaving.


Maybe Horner is worried about PUHonda so is looking for an eventual switch to Renault, lol…


Horner will only say certain things when he sees the opportunity to benefit from them. How ;long did it take to acknowledge the Baku incident was down to Verstappen?


I know the article did not bring up the topic of Fernando – and I am NOT a NASCAR fan – but it would be interesting to see a NASCAR race at Abu Dhabi, to see if the race would get more viewers than the F1 event.

The Aberage person says

What’s “NASCAR”?


#cyber. The article makes intersting reading. The stats are one thing and you can play them several ways but the hard fact that FTA highlight shows get bumped into broadcasting twilight if some other prime time event is on is a dire warning of things to come


Riffraff, it hardly seems lkkely as the average Nascar race attracts around 6 million viewers and the average F1 race gets more like 80 million.

While looking into this issue I came across an interesting tidbit of information, apparently Nascar tv ratings have been declining steadily since 2009……


TimW, I am just reacting to seeing Fernando going down the straight in the car and hearing the V-8 winding out. Of course, it doesn’t have the rpm and fine sound of the F1 car, but it has that raw sound of going to the limit, that sometimes I miss. I do know the racing would be closer. That said, I am one that believes that sound in F1 is irrelevant – going to the limit is what the sport is about. I also know the NASCAR ratings are going down – I rarely watch more than a minute of a race – and it is to generic.


Little selective there TimW with the data interpretation.

NASCAR races in US only and aims to capture the US audience. So let’s look at the US market specifically.

2018 NASCAR season averaged 3.34M viewers. And while that is down over past few years, it is still 10X the US audience for Formula 1. Only the Free to air Formula 1 races capture about 20% of that NASCAR number. The rest, 10% range give or take a percent.


Sebee, nothing selective going in, Nascar is a national championship and F1 is an international one, everyone knows that.


Mexico makes much more sense.


It was quite bold of Mercedes to stop Hamilton so early. They obviously calculated that he could get to the end of the race, but I wonder if there was also another reason? Had Bottas been able to maintain a competitive pace, and run strongly in second place, then Hamilton could have slowed towards the end, and let him take victory. It would have been suitable payback, but done in such a way that Hamilton could have claimed that his tyres were going off and he couldn’t hold Bottas back. That way it would not look as if Hamilton was simply handing him the win.


Did the extra VSC play into Lewis’ hands?


Would this be the same as “undercut?”

I’m getting tired of tires.

Hear that Pirelli?


Thanks James for clarifying Hamilton’s early VSC pit stop. I had the notion it would win him the race but you’ve made the reason why perfectly clear.


To get Vettel [Ricciardo] would have had to be allowed through by his team mate Verstappen in third place, which was never all that likely, but in any case, he wasn’t able to get close enough to try

Exactly how it was. No scheming scenarios by Red Bull required to account for RIC’s failure to progress beyond 4th.


@ lemwil….where did you find that bit of intelligence? I don’t recall reading or hearing any discussion re tyres anywhere. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a factor. Ricciardo simply said that he ‘lacked pace’. What does that mean exactly? He was able to take an eight second deficit and reduce that down to 1.2 secs. I look forward to getting a direction to the comments that put his failure to pass Ver5stappen down to the tyres.


Lemwil – Daniel

By the time he reached the backmarkers his tyres had fallen off.


I agree that it is unlikely that red Bull were scheming to fabricate an outcome. However, Ricciardo was disadvantaged by the strategy. If he had pitted to cover off Max’s pitstop he would have maintained track position over Max and likely finished third. Dan had the pace as evidenced by how quickly he closed the gap to Max after he did eventually stop.


Yeah, he closed the gap up within 3 laps, with 17 then left to go. Lewis and he were tracking nicely at the front, so if they would have let it go another 5-7 laps, Ricciardo would’ve been able to close with a great enough offset to make an overtake easier.


@ lemwil…/and now you’re privy to the internal discussions within Red Bull and their drivers? You have studied the lap chart haven’t you?


I studied to lap chart and see that RIC lost time in laps 23 – 29 while the others kept their pace. That is the moment RIC lost to VER, because he did not have the pace at those laps. After those laps his pace was good again, but VER was already in his pitwindow. So not strategy but his lack of pace made RIC loose to VER.


When i last looked at the lap chart i saw Ricciardo close up…..on lap 35 and then again on lap 43…..where he then maintained a close proximity for the rest of the race. Why was that? Was it tyres? No one from the team or Ricciardo himself, to the best of my knowledge, has stated that.



Now don’t give Lemy a hard time. He can’t just be satisfied that Max had a good second half of the season but he’s got to find a reason to put Dan down as well.


Adrian, Kenneth: Not at all! I wasn’t looking for reasons to put Dan down. It was just defusing Red Bull scheming against Dan theories revisited. Saw a lot of those conspiracies popping up so I decided to try to tackle them once more. In fact I did not mention ANY reason why Dan was slow, only indicated it happened.


@ Adrian…Yes, that’s quite obvious. I’ve noticed that it’s a common thread with most of the Netherlanders. Small minds.


There was very little degradation so surely track position was the better strategy? I don’t support either driver but it’s quite obvious Ricciardo got the worse strategy.


Bottas had a tire with a very strange wear pattern that I think had nothing to do with Max V touching his tire in racing. It seemed like he had a bare spot coming on the inside of the tire. Real strange?

Changing the subject but has Danny Ric done the right thing? It seems more risky than the move Hamilton made. Remember Braun got Hamilton to switch. I think Hartley got a bad deal. He was a 2 time WEC champion. That’s no joke but Torro Rosso people tend to come back.

All of the power units should be closer to parity than ever but why only Ferrari. I think the front wing for 2019 should be wider but maybe other teams will focus on suspension like Red Bull. If not lets see how reliable that Honda engine is. Hartley helped with that despite how many points he may have scored against Gasly even though I was one of his biggest fans when I saw him get the gp2 title at Abu Dhabi. One of those races was awesome.

Now the front wing almost covers the front tires but has little depth. Not good.


I thought Bottas (as well as being uncompetitive) drove a little slower than necessary under the VSC. I might be wrong in this assertion, but it seems that Vettel lost even more time to Hamilton’s semi-free pit stop because he had a Mercedes driving unnecessarily slowly in front of him.

Any takers?


still not sure why RIC not changed his tires when he was 20 seconds in the lead.. He had en very decent race pace and a podium was there for the grasp.


Eric, he had to change tires at least once, right? Or you mean, why did he change them when he did and not at a different point?


He had initially a gap of 20 seconds on the number two driver at that stage. Every round he lost some time and by his own choice in combination with the piwall he decided to pit very late.
Ric made it clear it was on the basis of his estimates in laptimes. He obviously was wrong in that.


He was not allowed to get too close to Verstappen.


That was unlikely to start with.. he only had the pace to compete verstappen for a few rounds.
He was no match.


Wondering what your excuse is for Brazil, Dame Edna? Who “allowed” Max to pass all those front runners? And who was it who forced golden boot drink boy to get stuck behind them all? That must have been some masterclass of race management / sabotage from Red Bull.

Oh and while you’re at it, who forced Dan to get over taken by a Sauber?




The Ex

Check your turntable buddy cos the needle is firmly stuck in a groove. Just another one who can’t be content with their guy winning the thing.

The issue on hand is whether or not Ricc was given the optimum strategy for the last race of the year and you’ve stretched it out to other things and previous races. But I suppose you have to amuse yourself some how.

Here’s my take. By leaving Ricc out he was put into a ‘no man’s land’ as far as prospects of getting on the podium were concerned and even Rosberg remarked in commentary that he had been “skrewed over” which I don’t entirely agree with, but. Regardless, given the decision to run him long perhaps they could have put him on HS from qualifying with say 15 laps to go.

With the SS he closed the gap but it’s fair to postulate that by that time the shine had gone off them and then back markers put paid to any chance of effecting an overtake on Max.

It’s not really difficult for YOU to factor in some objectivity if you really want to instead of knocking the guy regardless as to whether or not you take issue with some of his supporters on here.


Hi Adrian, sorry for the late reply, I’ve been away.

The issue was Daniel being sabotaged by his team and Max being allowed to perform well no? Which is why I mentioned Brazil, it’s very much relevant. Max passed the front runners, Daniel got stuck behind them. It was a clear indication of Max just being a better driver to me. Of course, you’re not Dame Edna so you’re fully entitled to your opinion. I’ve no problem with that.

As for what Rosberg said, he’s become a bit of a look at me – click bait – rent a quote recently. He’ll say anything that he thinks will get him the attention he so desperately craves. I wouldn’t read too much into it, he’s said some hilariously wrong things recently.

And I totally understand you standing up for your guy, again no problem with that at all. I still remain convinced that RB have backed the right guy. Even Cyril has admitted Max has been the better driver this season.

I’m not for one minute saying that Daniel is a poor driver, far from it, he’s excellent and I’ve made many posts in here giving him respect when it’s deserved. But I do think it has been shown very clearly by the races where neither of them have had issues this season that Max is the better driver and more importantly I think it’s absolutely absurd to claim sabbotage.

You’re fine, you’ve been reasonably respectful towards me even though you disagree with me. But I’d appreciate you looking at the behaviour of some of your countrymen on here as a way to understand greater why some posters here don’t get very favourable responses from others.


@ Adrian….Yes, i tend to agree with you on this issue. There was no way Ricciardo would be given a podium strategy. HornerMarko would see to that. To allow that to happen would fly in the face of their publically stated policy. Roll on ’19 and a new team to focus on. let’s just hope that Renault can produce a revelation in the PU dept although i very much doubt it!!! Still Brundle remarked on the succinct response given to him in regards to this subject by Prost? Bravado..speculation even? Who knows?


Spot the ‘chav’ !!!!! Too easy.


Spot the sad old bogan with nothing better to do with his life than to come on here and moan like a child because things aren’t how he likes them. FAR too easy, you’re right.



Well Renault have junked the C-Spec for a totally new design so they must have confidence in that decision in terms of what they can achieve. But the chassis needs a rethink as well. Renault seem to be stepping up to the plate with additional human and financial resources so hopefully the trend continues to go in an upwards direction.


@ kenneth…/and now you’re privy to the internal discussions within Red Bull and their drivers?


@ Garry….no i’m not. pure speculation on my part based on actuality in past events. Good enough for you? hahah


Hamilton on the radio complaining as usual until he got down to it and made it work. Pretty standard weekend..Hamilton is a class driver ( no I’ll rephrase that absolutely class driver) let down by oh so many things such as the radio whine. Perhaps if he had as much faith in the team as they have in him he would just get on with the job.

Now fully expect to get flamed by his PR machine who will miss the compliment and go straight into Project 44 mode.


I’d have questioned it too. The end of the race was a long, looong way off, and maybe it wasn’t a risk the team would have taken earlier in the season.

Hamilton has strong faith in the team that supports him. A great relationship between driver and team is critical over a challenging year and thru a successful campaign of multiple years. No matter how good the driver is.

Good thing he speaks up. He knows a bit about racing too. No crash test dummy there.


Tomx, radio whine?! You’re really scraping the barrel….


TimW Oh the joy of a prophecy coming true…if only you guys were not so predictable.


The caped crusader to the rescue again…#Project44…love it!


@LKFE…did you touch a nerve there?


Lkfe, remind me to mock you for responding the next someone invents a story about your favourite driver….


Tomx. Has anyone ever insulted Fernando without you responding? If you make stuff up, expect a reaction.


Tomx, an experienced driver will do that, none more so than the great Alonso, but obviously you don’t count that as whining…..


It was made up, as it wasn’t whining. He just asked “did you know I’d drop into this traffic?” and stated a concern that they might’ve stopped too early.

How you get whining out of that is all down to you I’m afraid.

86 you are making it up…not all drivers question their team strategy but Hamilton does as a matter of routine. That’s whining on in my ( and a lot of other peoples ) book.


Tomx, I’m not questioning wether or not Lewis discussed his strategy with his engineer, all drivers do this all the time, the bit you made up was that he said anything that could possibly be described as ‘whining’.

I get that you guys have this deep seated need to find something to slate Lewis for after every race, but like I said if all you can come up with is wildly exaggerating the significance of a routine radio discussion, then you are really scraping the barrel.


Hamilton questioned it initially, but then got on with driving to a pace in the early phase to look after the tyres he was going to need to the end.

Nothing made up here …Hamilton was on the radio whining away as usual. ..As to Alonso ..insult away , I occassionally respond when one of the Hamilton PR team try to rewrite history but other than that I leave it alone,


Hey, it’s the steward mandated weekly community service visit by Jame! Nice to see you James.

We’ve been waiting for you to come back. A bit weird for us to be left alone in your own house. TimW broke your blender. C63 plugged the upstairs bathroom. LukeC and I have been busy installing a V10 in your wife’s grocery getter. Don’t trust us like this!

Honestly, when Mercedes pitted Lewis that early, I immediately thought – they moved him out of the way for Bottas to take the win. No way those tires will last. And as you note, Lewis doubted the strategy himself.

What are some of the conclusions we can take from this situation? Little bit of critical thought, pulling back the curtain if you will.

– Lewis isn’t as clever as some believe. No driver is in this PU era. No driver can outsmart a war room of engineers and software guys and strategist looking at endless scenario calculations. More often then not, they get it right. And when they don’t, you should be suspicious. Sure, decision by consensus are harder and slower, but you know what they say, eighteen brains (plus thirty two super computers) are better than one.

– Engine modes are amazing! I noted that Friday FPs are really now for the software guys to write and tweak the engine modes fine-tuning the automated sequences around the lap for each tire type, purpose, scenario, etc. We credit the drivers with amazing tire preservation, but in the PU era it is all thanks to the engine modes software.

– Consider how much more fine control there is to deploy the ERS with the instant torque for example. Do it too rapidly in a tire saving stint, and you burn up the rubber quick. Change the engine mode and fine tune the deployment of that ERA to more gradual ramp and you’re working magic on tire life.

– The other place you eat up the rubber is under braking. This is where energy recovery comes into play. Deploy it gradually, more fine tuned to scrub the energy over a longer distance perhaps, and of course use that same variable charge pull from the energy recovery unit to fine tune the brake bias turn by turn over the lap for perfect braking balance.

– What do you end up with? Amazing tire preservation engine mode – all software controlled. You can deny it all you want but ERS deployment and Recovery are all fully software controlled, fully and completely varied (meaning it is not an on/off situation but as desired) and 100% of the utilization of these tools are controlled by the software and software geeks, not the driver.

Which brings me to a question for the gallery in spirit of would you rather have 4 legs or 4 arms. Here is the scenario…

You walk into a garage. In it is every F1 car from every F1 era and every F1 team.

“Wow. Killer garage!” you say to yourself.

You’re correct, of course.

It gets better.

A Marlboro Grid Girl comes out, and says to you:

“Pick any car you want. It’s yours!”

“Is this is a dream?” you question correctly.

But is this a time to be questioning if this is for real or a dream? Or is it time to pick your car and go? I hope you agree it’s time to pick your car. Do you waste time questioning wet dreams, or do you get on task?

So, which F1 car do you pick? From all F1 cars of all time, which single one F1 car will be yours for ever and ever till death do you part?


Sebee, Did you happen to read Alonso’s comments on another site concerning some of the reasons he is quitting. He lists similar items and more. These cars are becoming more like space ships, where whole rooms of computers and engineers actually run them – and the ‘star’ is the astronaut, in our case, the driver. Though these drivers have great skill, the cars are not matched up very well, so it remains a one or two or three team sport, however you want to count it out.


Well, its always been a one or two or three team sport. Nostalgia makes us think otherwise.


You know RiffRaff, the MOD will let a link to the piece through. Share man!


O.K., the list above isn’t all that extensive. I did not realize that even wheel camber was stipulated – I suppose a requirement of the tire manufacturer.


2018 Ferrari of course. With a right driver, the damn car could win you multi champions. It is definitely the fastest car in PU era and it is capable of breaking all records of pre PU era. A does this with way less fuel. This is a sign that technology evolves and F1 is still at the forefront.


Kay-Gee, your choice will not hold value. And it is NOT the fastest car. Mercedes clearly was the fastest, by far 2018 car.


Sebee, do you have any intention of coming up with anything at all that backs up your claim? Any facts data or evidence that points towards the Mercedes being the fastest car by far this year? The thing is Seb, if you don’t do that, then all of your comments claiming that it is the fastest are a complete waste of time.


Sebee, the Ferrari was quicker at more races this year. That’s simple fact. You don’t think they know that themselves? Of course they do.


“You have to say that this year Lewis has made the difference for us.

“He keeps putting it on pole, when it’s wet he’s always at the front, and in the races we can make mistakes and he will recover it by doing something on the track that nobody saw coming, and he spends the whole year not making a mistake.

“He is the consummate racing driver.”

I guess James Allison will be in Toto’s bad books too? How ’bout Pete Bonnington?

“It has been an awesome year and he has driven perfectly.

“It has been unreal journey and l would love for it continue.”

I see also that Di Montezemelo came out and said that Lewis would have won this year in the Merc or Ferrari. It’s not really a shocking statement … it’s simply tellin’ it like it is.

These are the guys that know.


There you go! You’ve done it!

It’s that kind of talk that will piss Toto off, along with the Mercedes board and give Bottas the modes and support.

I wonder what the odds of that are? Bottas WDC in 2019 to show that it’s the Mercedes not the Lewis? It’s definitely not 0% chance.


Sebee, it’s simple. The reason why starts with an H, ends with a ton, and has “amil” (or “ameel” if you’re Spanish) in the middle.

Without Hamilton in the car, Ferrari takes the most wins and poles. If Hamilton is in the Ferrari, he’d have won more and scored more poles.

This year should have been a double for Ferrari. Both Seb and they blew it.


KRB, can you please please stop spreading this bull$#!+?

If Ferrari was the faster can how come Mercedes team has double the poles and wins of Ferrari in 2018?

Just stop man. Stop.


Ah-ha! Sebee My Friend, you have it in a nut-shell. Just one slight correction. It isn’t brake bias turn by turn, as that’s a banned system but power bias turn by turn. It has all to do with the bit Ferrari failed to realise and fit which crashed them in Germany.

All F1 cars have for many years been toting around with them a device called a ‘moog’ valve. This brilliant little devil is able to handle massive amounts of hydraulic pressure with absolute aplomb. There’ll no doubt be one of these sitting amidships on the merc rear axle, being controlled by software, measuring steering column inputs dictated to it by the driver. Differential settings for the driver are now a thing of the past as this system adequately supersedes such guff and has become, as you say concerning other areas, software automated. Either way, with the steering set to dead straight ahead the system is and remains idle, including each device (you now appear to understand) mounted either side the differential. However should the driver make a left hand turn the inside wheel is electronically slowed whereupon hydraulic power is instantaneously transmitted to the device governing right hand wheel speed, which in turn is forced to speed up. The delight of this system is that the power needed arrives as per normal via torque from the engine. Ferrari failed to recognise all this and relied far too much on their star racer and as such only have themselves to blame for ruining his chances, as well as their own.

As I’ve stated previously Bottas is and remains a good solid racer! That fact will become more than apparent next year because they are desperately going to need his input in a far more important way. Namely to earn points and not take grid hits to bed in and shelve engines for his colleague, not to mention test drive, developed and refine what’s written about just above! Seems to me the team he drives for are not under enough racing pressure! So let’s see if more pressure than they know how to deal with, can be applied..!


f1 should consider limiting the total number of employees each team can have. this would further level the playing field.


rayclowes…..that all makes a lot of sense.
such is only developed from close consultation with their star driver.
the most intelligent one.


Informative Ray.

So like that Honda Super Handling AWD, but just on the rear wheel and with hydraulics?

And how is brake bias turn by turn banned? The energy recovery is not binary (on/off only). As such the fact the engine mode software can decide what level of energy is recovered from it, and thus variable resistance is applied to the energy recovery piece on the rear axle. Also, it can decide when it is applied and when it isn’t. Such variable resistance level and select application of recover at some turns but perhaps not others will allow for different front to rear braking characteristics changes, thus basically tweaking brake bias turn by turn with the automated lap sequence the engine modes are designed for. Would it not?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, these cars are easier to drive than anything else before it because of these software engine modes. Software has replaced driver skill in the car. Software displaced driver brain power contribution. No wonder analysis has put PU Era drivers in the lowest % of contribution to package performance in the entire history of Formula 1. No wonder Alonso was irritated when the engine mode would override his inputs. Put another way driver counts toward the contribution of performance of car package fielded on the grid least ever in history of F1. Or yet another way, these cars decrease reliance on driver skill to lowest level ever seen in Formula 1. Perhaps that’s a good thing as it lowers the bar for skill requirements to be an F1 driver.

They are the biggest driver aid in history of F1. At no other time was software responsible for acceleration, braking and lap by lap repetitive sequences of resource deployment.


Sebee. A very informative post my friend, very informative indeed!

The reason for my initial response is I suppose, down to ambiguity. The term ‘brake bias turn by turn’ reminded me of the McLaren car of quite some years back that actually used a system very similar and was banned, mainly because of its effectiveness. I am not going to bother about any similarities as it’s obviously going to be wasted effort. There now… everything between your opening word Informative and onwards, all the way down to F1 driver, is adequately covered just above.

I will just leave you with a tip. Urrm… what I actually meant was a ‘good idea’.

Keep the heck away from Roboracing. As those fool things will always suffer greatly from ambiguity.


Nice… occasion to pay back. I guess.

You should start your own blog, serious.

Amazing how much energy you have.

I could not agree more about engineers’ contribution.

The real heros in F1, especially nowadays.


could we have some of these graphs or charts about driver, team, teammate.


I don’t think I’ve seen a graph which demonstrate the performance difference between the leading three teams and the rest, so clearly.


Agree. This speed graph also shows it…10mph Mercedes to McLaren!


That’s because of the ‘yawning chasm’ between the haves and the have nots. It really shows, crystal clear, the farce in F1.


12.52pm and no updates?🦇


Hey, the F1 steward mandated community service requires a weekly visit. It doesn’t stipulate any schedule on comment updates nor does it require James to reply to any comment. Especially yours, pointing out how slow comments are. I mean what is this? Some F1 chat forum? Twitter? We’re holdouts who squat here. This house has been sold, and normally new owners tend to evict previous tenants.

In fact, should we see James Allen reply to a comment, consider ourselves lucky. And if he replies to your comment, feel exactly as if you just caught a t-shirt trackside shot out of one of those launchers! Everyone in the grandstand will feel a bit of envy towards you, like everyone here will feel envy toward your magical comment that got the reply!

My conspiracy theory is, no James Allen replies on this piece. Let’s see if I’m finally wrong about something. 🙂


Should Verstappen have pitted under VSC to attack Vettel for 2nd?

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