Analysis: How the strategy led to the conflicts in Brazilian F1 Grand Prix
Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  13 Nov 2018   |  12:08 pm GMT  |  205 comments

The Brazilian F1 Grand Prix provided some great talking points this year and clashes between drivers, but the seeds of these incidents were sown as much by the race strategy as by any hot headedness by the drivers concerned.

New tyres versus old; it’s part of the strategic thinking behind the Pirelli tyre degradation concept for F1. We had it in the refuelling era as well, the days of Bridgestone tyres, but to a lesser extent than Pirelli, especially towards the end of their time in F1 when they became very conservative

With F1 cars finding it difficult to overtake on many circuits, the idea of Pirelli is to give teams choices of three tyre compounds and when they get the complex formula of the right choices for the circuit and conditions, you get a fascinating situation where there are several different ways to cover the race distance.

It depends on their circumstances; those teams near the front will want the fastest possible race, others near the back may do something that wouldn’t be the fastest route from lights to flag, but which would give them track position by staying out longer in either the first or second stints.

So, you often get a situation when one car on newer, softer tyres comes up on a car with older, harder ones. In Brazil this happened with a number of scenarios, but two of them led to controversy: Ocon on Verstappen and the intra team battle between the two Toro Rosso drivers.

Trouble at the front

With the Ocon/Verstappen situation, the Force India driver had been lapped but had pitted for new supersoft tyres. Ocon’s second stop on Lap 40 had been delayed, taking four seconds longer than the norm, the second slow stop of the day for the Frenchman. This dropped him behind the race leader Verstappen on the track. Ocon on new supersofts in a midfield car was one second a lap faster than Verstappen in the leading car on soft tyres that were nine laps old.

There were still 28 laps to go in the race and Verstappen was attempting to do what he had also done in Austin to great effect, that is to run the race in a single stop but with a softer (and faster) tyre set than either Mercedes or Ferrari could manage.

As with his victory in Mexico, the seeds of the Dutchman’s strategy and strong performance were sown in that Austin race, which gave such strong pointers to Red Bull’s challenge at the end of this season. The chassis was working well and the team focussed all their attention on race set up, to maximise the performance of the chassis and tyres for the race.

They have this luxury currently because of the gulf in performance between the top three teams and the midfield. Mercedes and Ferrari were separated by 9/100ths of a second in an intense fight for pole position. Whereas Red Bull had a comfortable margin of over half a second to play with, back to the high-performing Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc.

So, whereas Ferrari chose to start on the soft tyre in Brazil and switch to mediums for the second stint and Mercedes went supersoft, then medium, Red Bull managed to get to Lap 33 on the supersoft, which took them into the window to be able to take the soft tyre to the flag – a similar strategy to Austin.

It wasn’t easy and it required exceptional skill from Verstappen to overtake cars, progressing from fifth on the grid to second by Lap 10 and keep the pace up in the opening stint, without damaging the tyres.

Meanwhile the Mercedes cars were also showing the same signs that we saw in Austin and Mexico of blistering the tyres, which compromised their race strategy. This has been the case since Pirelli increased the minimum mandatory tyre pressures.

Ferrari’s strategy of taking the soft tyre for the start was predicated on the weather being hotter on race day – which it was – but the weakness of the plan was the lower grip off the line if both cars were to qualify on the dirty side of the grid – which they did.

In Vettel’s case this led immediately to a loss of position to Bottas into Turn 1 at the start. Raikkonen was able to hold off Verstappen initially but the decision to go with softs did not pay off for Ferrari as the supersofts performed better than they had expected.

Raikkonen again went on to be the stronger of the two Ferrari drivers; the third time in four races. Raikkonen has outscored Vettel 65-46 in that period, which is a concern for Ferrari. That never happened with Alonso and Raikkonen in their time together.

In house troubles at Toro Rosso

The question of a car on newer, softer tyres coming through on one with older harder tyres was also playing out at Toro Rosso. We have often seen this, where a team tries two different strategies and at times the lead car on the road is at a disadvantage, so the team asks them to swap, especially if there is a points-paying result to be had. We’ve seen it with Ferrari, Red Bull, even with Mercedes in the days of Hamilton and Rosberg.

But with Toro Rosso it’s different.

Go right back as far as you like in their F1 history and you will see that Toro Rosso play race strategy differently from other teams because the concept behind the team is that they are blooding young talent, looking for their next Red Bull Racing driver. So, they usually give the drivers different strategies.

In the case of Brazil, there was an outside chance that on new supersoft tyres Brendon Hartley would be able to catch Sergio Perez for the final points paying position in tenth. Gasly had stopped on Lap 22 for medium tyres, while Hartley came in for new supersofts on Lap 49. Hartley was between a second and a half and two seconds per lap faster than Gasly.

Toro Rosso asked Gasly not to hold Hartley up, but to let him through and the Frenchman refused. He got through eventually, but the situation was made worse by Sainz passing Gasly before the end so the Frenchman ended up 13th having started ninth.

Hartley’s whole race strategy was based on being quick at the end of the race, he had started on the medium tyre, which meant a very tough and long opening stint. So, he was aggrieved that after what he described as one of his best performances in an F1 car, he wasn’t given a fair chance to score a point.
All photos: Motorsport Images

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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lets put this in a nutshell. Max blew the win because he couldn’t think. Ham knows that his only competitor for the rest of his career is Max so he played a maser stroke with the mind games.


Totally agree Brian, I saw it the same way. Very smart of him to try and get in his head before they start battling. Plus it was a great bit of payback for Max talking about Lewis having nothing to lose when he passed him before. Liked it.

But honestly, Max is so headstrong (the Dutch often are) that I don’t think he’ll be rattled at all.


Updated winning percentages when starting off the front row (to BRA18):

HAM 9/97 = 9.28%
ALO 14/274 = 5.11%
RIC 6/140 = 4.29%
VET 5/124 = 4.03%⬆️2
RAI 10/249 = 4.02%
VER 3/75 = 4.00% ⬇️2
BOT 1/101 = 0.99%


Winning percentages when starting off the first two rows (to BRA18):

HAM 3/54 = 5.56%
RIC 4/112 = 3.57%
RAI 6/174 = 3.45%
ALO 6/222 = 2.70%
VER 0/54 = 0.00%
BOT 0/65 = 0.00%
VET 0/72 = 0.00%

Winning percentages when starting off the first three rows (to BRA18):

RAI 5/106 = 4.72%
HAM 1/38 = 2.63%
ALO 3/167 = 1.80%
RIC 1/78 = 1.28%
VER 0/34 = 0.00%
BOT 0/48 = 0.00%
VET 0/51 = 0.00%


When I have a moment or two I will supply Wins Out of Top 6// Total Wins and maybe also Wins Off Front Row//Total Wins. Facts are always helpful….. 🙂


Well I’m one of the few that just might like to see an end to pit stops since they are so short without refuelling or go back to refuelling.

Anyhow India is the world’s largest democracy but Hamilton was right about the races there being boring. Like Korea no one showed up. Brazil I heard might be at risk like Silverstone. I like iconic tracks too. If there shall be another in the US let it be Watkins Glen. Rock concerts make them more attractive. Something like different levels of service such as pit passes are cool. You get to see the cars up close but not in their way. I used to get those at drag races. Carey is right F1 has no promotion.


Interesting the battle between Gasly and Hartley. Poor form from Gasly to not let Hartley by when asked to do so. Hartley has done this for Gasly on numerous occasions but it wasn’t reciprocated. Could mean some fireworks if he refuses to do it for Max when asked to.

I wonder if Hartley could have caught Checo if given enough time?


verstappen doesn’t need to ask for help from his teammate to make it passed them.


Great article James,

I am only missing your take on the Ocon / Verstappen incident.



Great stuff JA!
More food for thought, discussion and heated arguments! 😉

These new-age “non-latex based” tyres are causing more grief and confusion than ever. The fact that Pirelli changes the pressures on a whim for “safety reasons” is absolutely crazy.
We buy and use billions of products in the real world every day. The manufacturers display ‘Conditions Of Use’ disclaimers on the products which waive any responsibility once we walk out the door and use that product.
If we are careless enough to use and abuse it in a manner which falls outside of the manufacturer’s parameters, it’s legally our own fault!
Can’t Pirelli simply issue a disclaimer with the tyres and allow the team’s extremely clever Engineers to ensure they use them in a manner which ensures the safety of their drivers, the race officials and the fans at the circuit?
Those brilliant engineers in F1 teams are just as qualified and highly intelligent as the Pirelli engineers.
Probably moreso, as F1 teams only seek to employ the best … the rest work in positions around the peripheries of the teams … such as tyre manufacturers, component suppliers etc.
Regardless of the material … physics, chemistry, mathematics and testing are what determines the most successful use of any consumable car component. Tyres are merely a consumable component of the car.
All Automotive Engineers leave University with a very similar skill set and they all use similar computer software, situation modelling and testing procedures to achieve their results.

Maybe changing the mandatory single tyre stop to two stops would help the problem of having to run long on one set of tyres and create much more variety in potential strategies at the same time.
Teams have to choose 3 tyre compounds anyway … and those tyres are ready for use at the track.
Why not make them use all three compounds?
That allows for more opportunities to switch strategies on the run, to suit the situation as it arises … rather than having to endure the ramifications of having to run for long periods with no chance of changing things unless they “throw away” 20 -odd secs by making a totally unscheduled stop.

As for the Max vs Esteban debacle which has two sides to it …
Can someone please clarify the Blue Flag rules for me?
The only rules I can find online state that the Blue Flag being waved is to warn the driver of a faster car approaching.
I cant find anything that categorically states it’s only for lapped cars to get out of the way.
If it’s not solely for lapped cars to get out of the way of the leaders … why wasn’t Max given the “heads-up” by the Marshalls (and his team) that a faster car was closing-in on him and he should be prepared to allow enough racing room for him to LEGALLY un-lap himself?
The flags will be waved at the lapped driver if he eventually slows down again when the leaders are closing in on him later in the race.
I know it’s a very grey area because people would say; “Well … Ricciardo was slow in Monaco so why weren’t the Blue Flags waived at him?”
I’m sure Vettel would agree with that.
I guess the rules could state that if the cars are fighting for position on the same lap, that’s when the driver behind should have to fight for the position.
They certainly need to address the situation asap because it will no doubt happen again and next time, it could well be the decider of the championship.


Interesting to watch the latest cover of the incident as seen from the cockpit camera in Ocon’s car. This certainly raise many queries for those who have defended Verstappen’s version of events. IMO not only was Ocon substantially faster than the RB but he was far enough into the corner to claim his rights to the corner. By stop framing the video he is at least 80$ past when Verstappen steers into him. It’s impossible [ IMO ] to accept that Verstappen didn’t know he was there !!!


@kenneth, another try:

1. In the right turn, Verstappen was ahead.

2. The footage from Max’s car at this point is far more revealing, you don’t see Ocon.

3. You (guys) keep saying Ocon is allowed to race for position here quite the same way drivers in the same lap are. But unlapping should be carried out safely and with minimal delay for the front runner. Continuously poking in tight turns is not the way to do that.

4. Imagine Ricciardo in Verstappen’s place and Max in Ocon’s. So Max is trying to unlap himself against Ricci. The DRS attempt is not enough, so Max pokes/dives in in the next curve in the manner you’ve come to love so much. Can you honestly say you wouldn’t blame Max and would hold RIC responsible for the incident? Are we to believe that?


@ Lemwil…Firstly, you are just trying to cloud the issue. let’s just tackle the issue at hand and dispense with speculation with other drivers and other possibilities as they have no possible impact on the debate other than obfuscate. The fact that Ocon doesn’t appear in the frame taken from Verstappen’s camera means zip. Of course he doesn’t, the camera faces forward and the width of the angle would not feature anythin behind that!! The camera from Ocon’s car catches the proximity and distance far more accurately. Ocon, as i stated was up 80% alngside Verstappen when he chopped him off. He should’ve given him a ‘cars width’ of space. As for your ‘rules’ re unlapping well unlapping is by definition a ‘passing move’ and ALL passing moves are required to observe the same rules…AFAIK. I will ask you the same question that i have asked before and never get any responses to…Which driver was told by his team principal in Baku ‘ to keep it clean’, not once but twice. when racing his team mate ? I’ll be generous and give you a clue. It wasn’t Ricciardo…..


“firstly you are just trying to cloud the issue”

and then in almost the same breath:

“allow me to cloud the issue by waffling on about something completely unrelated…”

I’ll be generous and give you a clue… you have incredibly pompous double standards.


Regards the driver urged ‘to keep it clean’: using your own reasoning that must be considered an attempt at obfuscation as well. Unless you draw Ocon into the equation too maybe.


@Lemwil, he can’t see past the end of his nose mate. He has a major problem with seeing the wood for the trees. Your point about “what if it was Dan…” and his claim that you were clouding the issue and then going on to talk about a completely unrelated incident highlights his blinkered double standards perfectly. He can’t even see it.

Your points 1-4 were bang on. Any genuine racer would see it that way too. Of course the stewards did too. But in his sad little world, they’re all corrupt and cheating.

Nice one for trying mate!


Lemwil, so if Max fights to keep a clearly faster car behind, then Ocon has to bail out of every attempted move? Ocon was CLEARLY ahead as they turned in for turn 1. Knowing this, it’s absolutely nuts for Max to assume that he won’t be alongside as he turns into turn 2.

It’s one thing to say that a lapped car shouldn’t try to unlap themselves by dive bombing a leader clearly minding his own business, and another when the leader is oddly trying to keep a quicker lapped car behind at all costs.

This penchant of Max’s to force the other driver to stop dead to avoid a clash (just like when he passed Lewis in Bahrain), is something he’ll need to jettison, or else it will keep on costing him.


if that was the case, verstappen’s front would have made contact with ocon’s rear.



Ocon was still enough alongside before Max started to cut in.

Maybe Ocon should not of been there, but it still doesn’t excuse the fact that Max didn’t allow him some room. They were both to blame imo.


@ James K. A sensible conclusion. however i find it hard to believe that Ocon should’ve got the penalty especially after viewing the footage from his camera. Maybe they should’ve both got a penalty or it was marked down as a racing incident. My instincts tell me otherwise though.


The stewards ( whiting explained it very crearly) did not mentioned the fact it was the race leader but it was a action that he should have done without hindering the cars one lap before him.
He made a very stupid mistake and took out the raceleader .
He was punished for it.. although not so heavy as VER. Who lost the race of it.



Your right. It was an unprecedented occurrence, in as much as that it happens very rarely. But I think the stewards of course, went with the fact that Max was the race leader.

I wonder in hindsight, if they regret their actions 🤔


If max had let Ocon pass on the inside of the corner, he would have lost very little time (as he would have maintained the racing line), Ocon would have disappeared for 10 laps and Max could have focused on the gap to Hamilton.

Coming off of the racing line to defend against someone you are not racing, losing time unnecessarily, was the first rookie move. Closing the door on the the guy once you had seen him try to swoop around the outside of you, leaving him nowhere to go was just pure meathead behaviour! Regardless of the fact he was leading, he should respected the fact that Ocon was running his own race and had the intelligence to realise that defending against him was foolish. He’s not a rookie anymore so that excuse is out the window. Maybe he’s just a bit thick.


A Mercedes driver in front.. not sure if that;s a good idea.
The dirty air would have hindered VER.
Ocon could easily hinder VER ( and HAM would profit)
Ocon would lost his pace in a few rounds and received blue flags as a result. Again nothing to win for VER.

Ver made the right decision.. defend the corner his good rihgt and he did it clean. Ocon decided to t bone VER. Reasons we only can imagine..


A good post.


Is this the footage K-dog?

Maybe this link has been posted on this site before. It shows Ocons laps leading to the incident. Max was fighting a battle he didn’t need to, and it would have been more beneficial to have let Ocon go. Rookie behaviour!


@kenneth, will you give a rest.

Or rather: kenneth, will he give it a rest? I think you will actually! Correction, WE think you will – after this year. I had a word with the Dutchies (bonensoep, The1Dijk, Robert a.o.) and the Ham fans (you know them: KRB, TimW, C63, etc.) and we all think you will! The point is, your own guy has shown doodly squat for half a year now. And chances are he’ll show didgeredoo nada at Renault too if only for the fact that their sorry excuse for an engine will be littered with failures when asked to supply the performance Danny will have desperately in mind. So you’re in for continued disappointment, plus (for the time being) lack of motive to indulge in conspiracies directed against Renault. (At least now you can still target Red Bull with your conspiracies.)

In short, the guys and me think you’ll be running out of positive incentive to comment here. If praise for Ricci and scorn for Red Bull fall away you’re just left with continuous moaning about Hammy and Stappy. Despite the energy and industry you invest into doing exactly that it doesn’t cut it for a man like you we think. So they asked me to write a farewell tribute and well, it’s ready [“Well, just one more serious race to go. So, on behalf of everybody here, let me take this opportunity to thank you for all the invaluable contributions you have made to this site during all those years. They range from the very knowledgable to the completely …”]. With it comes a case of beer and some nice flowers. Just give me the word when you’re ready, OK?

PS. I had a word with some of the more measured Aussies too. They strenuously insisted on my not disclosing anything we discussed. So I won’t, but – well, enough to say that they’re worried if you carry on. Not an age thing, just flaring temper when Danny is in a lose-lose situation.

PS2. It worries me a bit how you’ll take this. If applicable, I hereby give you the same advice you once admonished me with: lighten up, mate!… What really worries me though is: will he seriously look into the possible ways I could have contacted the posters I mentioned? Could I actually have conferred with them? Clearly impossible, but not for people who see sinister schemes all around them…






Now I have had a multitude of battles with Kenneth over the last eight years but, sorry, your post is unfair.

I know our lad goes over the top on occasion but suggesting he no longer posts because he comments on the chosen one?

No not good enough particularly as the chosen ones move required Charlie to pull an unheard of rule out of his bottom to excuse said bone head move! Stupid does not cover it. Absolutely nuts and given I have lost races by such moves, I am prettty sure most impartial racers would agree, it was unnecessary. Hamilton had it right and I am sure even Kenneth would agree with that. Through gritted teeth 😃

Anyway – to the point this board has gone downhill lately, let’s not suggest people do not post just because we do not agree.

Otherwise this board I have been commenting on since it started will die.

And it’s still the one I read every day…



Just for some balance, I know a lot of people who race, some amateur, some professional. Also I know a few who actually work in the F1 pitlane. I am yet to find anyone who disagrees with the stewards. Not one.

And regarding Kenneth, this is the “man” who suggests that people electrocute themselves if they have an opinion that differs with his hate agenda…


Thanks for your post DrG. Point taken, this post was fringe. On the other hand, kenneth can perfectly fend for himself. To use a term introduced by a well-known driver, he ain’t no p***y.



Nice post👍


@ Lemwil…You’re hallucinating!! …and it shows.


Ridiculous as expected. Your hate for Max is almost as strong as your hate for Lewis. So sad. Get over it, he’s better than Dan and that’s why RB have chosen him and Dan has run off with his tail between his legs to go to a midfield team.

Who was ACTUALLY in front at the time of contact? Was it Ocon dear Ken? No. Look at the onboards, you can’t even see Ocon from Max’s yet from Ocon’s view Max is very clearly in front and taking the (fair) racing line.

If ever I needed proof you haven’t got a clue about racing this is it.

Or are the FIA and stewards all corrupt? All part of a big consipracy to help Max and hamper lovely Dan right?


As for your comment about “if Dan had a sniff he’d have been up there like a rat up a drainpipe” erm… No. Wrong Kenneth.

Who out of the two RB drivers passed all the front runners to get to the lead and who got stuck completely behind the first Ferrari he came up against? If ever you wanted a solid indication of why they went with Max, Brazil 2018 is as clear as you’re going to get. But of course you won’t see it that way…

Told anyone to electrocute themselves because they disagree with you today? Because that would be all cool and fair and the actions of a bonza bogan right?



@ Exigency….Once a ‘chav’ always a ‘chav’. have a nice day.



Hahahahahaha, I’ll tell my wife that one. She’ll love it. Cheers.

And I did indeed have a good day on Sunday thanks. Track day with the race car. Loads of fun with all the other supercar owning chavs who all aspire one day to maybe be able to drive an Audi A3, the ultimate chav chariot!


If you’re going to use the word, you should at least understand the meaning! But I guess you just can’t help yourself lashing out at the world. Must be a miserable place you live. Glad I’m not you.

Anyway, cheers as always for giving me a laugh!



I actually think There isn’t much between Dan and Max.


@JDR, I agree mate. There isn’t much in it. But it’s the little bit extra that Max has that makes all the difference. Many people can drive quickly. Some people can even push an F1 car. Hell, some folks in here might do a decent job. But it’s that final 10% that only some have. And Max does indeed have it. Lewis knows it, which is why he’s clearly thinking Max is going to be his biggest challenge. He’s never even considered DR. And to me it’s pretty clear why. He’s an excellent driver, just he doesn’t have those last little bits. In my opinion.


Frankly Ken, I can’t even see a snippet of the viewpoint of those on the Verstappen side of the discussion -most unfortunately, including the stewards!
The only defence i have heard it that you should make way for the race leader…which exists nowhere in the F1 rules.
In watching the lead up laps from Ocon’s cockpit, including the radio broadcasts for both drivers. It was very clear that Ocon was measurably faster than Max and was given the green light to pass the leader by his pitwall. Max equally was talking about Ocon pushing and was made aware that he was on fresh faster rubber.
As Lewis said Ocon had nothing to lose and Max did…
Hopefully another lesson for him.


@ LKFE…I presume that you’ve read the post from the Exigency to mine!~ That’s the calibre of poster that’s becoming all to prevalent. My viewpoint has not changed whatsoever.. It was either penalties for both for messing up the pass or it was a racing incident..end of story. It’s ‘pointless’ trying to debate these issues. Abu Dhabi will obviously see the maintenance of these on track hostilities as the Verstappen’s are nothing if not seriously belligerent on track. Then again Verstappen might just wind his neck in a little but i very much doubt it.


Just mirroring your behaviour sweetcheeks. Not pleasant is it?

Funny how it’s all fine when you do it, and then when others reply to you in the same manner you get all butt hurt.

Maybe try being nicer to people. Stop being filled with hate. Stop behaving as if you’re the boss of this site. Stop posting as if your OPINION is the law. Stop jumping all over people who don’t share your views. Stop using xenophobic slurs. Stop asking people to electrocute themselves because their opinion is different to yours. Stop behaving like a petulant child. Stop thinking you’re always right (because you aren’t).

You think you’re something special (sadly the internet is full of people like you) and gleefully say so many utterly disgraceful things. But really you’re just a xenophobic jumped up keyboard warrior bully. Where as in reality, you’re probably the type who had his lunch money taken off him every day at school.

As for “calibre of poster” that’s hilarious. You’re talking about yourself Ken. Look around. It’s only you who gets this sort of treatment. Because you’ve been dishing it out to others for years.

Look in the mirror sunshine.


It’s not a matter or who is right or wrong. The point is that Max made a deciosios that was idiotic, harmed him self. If he wants to continue that road, and he probably wiil he will be a loser


@ Chris D…Very true…but IMO an ‘idiotic decision’ falls into the classification of being ‘wrong’. That aside i agree with your comment.



Off course max knew he was there. Ocon was actually a little in front , on the outside of T1, after Max forced him to go that way. And Ocon was well along side going into T2.

If you watch the onboard closely, you can see Ocon actually start to brake early and hard, when I presume he realizes, that Max is gonna cut over.

I’m still 50/50 on this one though Kenneth. Can’t really see anything wrong with what Ocon did. Max gave Ocon the problem. But maybe he should have waited a bit.

But Max being Max, totally ballsed this one up, and paid the price for it. I felt sorry for him, and hope he learnt something new in Brazil. And I certainly didn’t like his actions after the race. I was just starting to enjoy Max, the F1 racer, then he went to play bully boy. I like passion and flair, temperament in a driver. But that was just downright stupid. Horner and Marko should have a talking to aswell for their post race remarks aswell.


He’ll learn.


Will he? This is his fourth year in F1.


@ James K…Yes, you present a well crafted response and i find little to disagree with. Both yours and LKFE’s responses are well crafted and make a lot of sense. My only issue is still that i think Verstappen off too lightly and he will now be even further emboldened to take liberties with other driver’s races.


Absolutely agree – there is a first Ken


Dear me, just because your boy in the other Red Bull has had a bad beating since Monaco you continually attack Verstappen. Ocon was nowhere near claiming that corner, and yes I agree Verstappen should have looked and given more space considering what he had to lose – but you’ll never agree because this is what Hamilton said. Most of your posts are from the direction as to how you defend Ricciardo.

For the record I think Ricciardo is as quick and a better racer than Verstappen as of now, but he can’t match him in qualifying, which is a huge issue in current F1.


@ Paul D… I somehow miss your point re what Hamilton said. If Hamilton said that Verstappen shoud’ve given Ocon more room then Hamilton just confirms what some others have been saying, me included. I have no problem with that.


That’s exactly what Hamilton was implying Kenneth. Max shouldn’t have been racing Ocon, he should have just let him go.

“ you had more to lose”


I wouldn’t be mad at Max but Renault. Now I wonder if Dan just didn’t make a very bad decision?


@ jdr….who actually knows what Renault will come up with for next season. As i’ve said all along Renault have not produced a series winning engine for the entire PU era. Will they do it now? Based on the past 5 years you’d have to be very very skeptical. I do think that Ricciardo’s decision was very much to do with the Red Bull environment as much as anything. To continue to drive for a team that has publically stated that their preference/sole intention lies in making the other side of the garage a WDC would leave any one disillusioned. He was left with very few alternatives when Ferrari went with their own ‘academy’driver and Mercedes would’nt upset their ‘equilbrium’ [ read protection ] for Hamilton from serious competition. Only time will tell for Ricciardo and whether he made the right decision. IMO, yes he did, as if it had been me there is no way i would’ve countenanced remaining in the ‘nest of vipers’ called Red Bull Racing.


A tangential point but last weekend’s race, and this Strategy Report, has got me thinking about the fine line between impetuosity/petulance and hunger/desire to win. Does Ocon’s insistence on racing Verstappen, and Max’s stubborn decision to fight him, suggest emotional weakness or a hunger to win that separates the great from the good? And what does Gasly’s refusal to move over for Hartley say about him?

Personally, I thought Gasly and Ocon were shown up by their actions at the weekend, and it showed a certain immaturity. Ditto with Verstappen, though I could understand his situation more. By contrast, at Monte Carlo a few seasons ago, I remember Daniil Kvyat giving up a place for Red Bull team-mate Dan Ricciardo. When the Aussie failed to get past the guy in front (Hamilton?) he gave the place back to Daniil. And I remember thinking that these were two properly mature lads with their heads firmly on their shoulders.

Yet, on the other hand, I get frustrated by the way Valtteri Bottas has allowed himself to be utterly dominated by Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes without putting up much of a fight. Whilst I had huge admiration for the way Nico Rosberg took the fight to Lewis, even though the way he unsettled Lewis to do it (changing mechanics, on-track collisions etc.) could arguably be quite immature, or petulant.

I suppose, ultimately, it’s all about choosing your battles and judging accordingly. Having an urge to win is, in F1, a good thing. Asserting yourself in the garage is absolutely fine and a useful way of channelling this. Engaging in petty point-scoring is neither (take note Pierre!). The best drivers either learn to make the distinction with experience (or are so good they don’t need to!). But sometimes the line still remains very thin.


Great post Rishi!
This is the unspoken when team principals are matching driver pairings. You can’t have two pitbulls in the same cage and it’s the reason RB misjudged the Ricciardo situation. They thought he would tow the line.
For all the talk about Merc or Ferrari making him an offer…they may have at one point been serious, but the reality is that he was just a dummy offer in case they needed leverage over their two main pitbulls.
Re Bottas, he was compliant from the get go. I too have huge admiration for the way Rosberg (who isn’t a pitbull) lifted himself and took it to Lewis.


Look at the way Bottas’s races pan out during the season. If he can manage to get to the front he makes a fist of it and seems to give it 110%. When he is in any other position he appears to lose interest and just drifts through the race. Just watch how he falls away from the leaders. He is also an easy overtake target at times from other notionally slower performing cars on the day. He doesn’t have the consistency of a real top driver and to my mind lacks concentration. Rosberg learned to up his game and chase Hamilton and vice versa in the numerous 1 / 2’s they achieved. Bottas needs to realise it’s not just a case of having a quick car, you need to compete in it to be successful.


Max had old softs on which were meant to go to the chequered flag. He had overlapped Ocon and Ham was just 4 secs down the road. He needed clean air to save his tyres because HAM was on mediums. Ocon should have waited for a DRS straight, with his new tyres,He would fly past Max. He was too ambitious,just like Max was against Seb earlier this year.
If Ocon had been behind any other leader say Lewis, he would have done nothing but because it was Max ,he wanted to do a near impossible pass to stroke his ego and compromise Max’s race.
Even if he did pass, his supers would lose grip in 6-8 laps and he would be traffic for Max.
I think Max has moved on from being too
aggressive and other drivers just want to take advantage of his crash history when they are in the wrong.


Ocon was on a DRS section (the longest on the track). Verstappen knew he was being caught by a Force India car who was gong to unlap himself. The move would have been a good one except Verstappen chose to close the door on Ocon by moving to the left side of the corner, instead of staying out to the right and just letting him go. At that point Ocon was over a second a lap faster so Verstappen would have quickly had clear air. Just plain stupid – “no one is going to pass me, even if it doesn’t really matter”!


Excellent explanation of Ocon strategy and why he had a valid reason to pass Max. It can be clearly seen that the top cars are cruising around at far less than their potential in these races.


I watched Sunday’s fantastic race again – and I noticed something: Max Verstappen (Right) and Esteban Ocon (Left) collide – both of them going off track, right and left, leaving the whole track for Lewis Hamilton. It looks as though Max & Esteban rolled out the red carpet for King Lewis!


Strategy? Not so much for me.

VER overtook the silver and red card on track. An extraordinary event in recent experience. Both leading teams must have been nursing very tired propulsion units.


Ocon: Note to self:

Pass the Dutchie on the left hand side.

Max: Note to self:

Ask Gasly how to say “yo mama” in French.


Ta mere?

Google translate is your friend! 😀


That’s very good FF1…


You know what…this whole Ocon thing is interesting on another level. I just read Ross Brawn talk about how Ocon shouldn’t have battled with the leader. What the hell is going on around here?

Suddenly the leadership of the sport supports leading cars coasting and conserving and others should just fall into place?

And why is it all on Ocon to decide not to pass? Why is Max battling Ocon in the first place? Let him go!

This whole thing stinks.

If you’re limping in the lead, others should unlap themselves – 100%.

And while we’re at it, no blue flags for you either. Enough with the handouts. Is this racing or pleasantries?


Well, on another simplistic view; Max took the bait – he couldnt resist and got aggressive racing against Ocon. Sometimes, we are our own enemy. Max’s enemy was himself perhaps, he just couldn’t let him go without a sense of combativeness, even though he didn’t have to at all. He should have given Ocon more room and just let him go.


Sebee – it’s because F1 leadership understand that stars like Verstappen and Hamilton are what’s going to drive higher fan engagement and revenue in the next few years. Max is their future and they want to protect their meal ticket.


At the time of the crash, HAM was just 3-4 secs behind VER, who was leading. Allowing OCO through would have put VER in dirty air and on softer tyres than HAM, his softs would not last well for 28 laps. Any driver in that position would also try to stay ahead of the lapped car.
OCO was on newer softer tyres with more straight line speed,he could have waited for a DRS Straight. He didn’t so it is 100 % Ocon’s fault


Lets ask Andrea DeCesaris whether blue flags are a good idea…


I thought the leadership of the sport had been supporting cars coasting and conserving as a matter of policy for a number of years.


I don’t usually agree with you Sebee but this I most definitely do agree with you on. I am surprised by all the condemnation Ocon is getting and little for Max. While Ocon could have choosen a better place to overtake Max was still the one that turned into him because he feels no one should challenge him and expects ocon to back off.


Kurik, Ocon should have backed off.


VER expected OCO to back off because it is not usual for a backmarker (P16!) to interfere with the leading cars. If you want to unlap do it on the straight, but OCO was to far for overtaking, then wait for the next straight, like drivers that ARE fighting for a position also have to do. If VER did this OCO move on Hammie-boy for a position everybody here was crying rivers. VER hopefully learned to not trust backmarkers and to use more caution for as they go crazy.


All cars have a right to the race track and to fight for positions, that’s exactly why there’s a rule allowing lapped cars to un-lap themselves. Theoretically Ocon could have gone on to win the race, it was for position (i.e. not a leader approaching a car that is about to be lapped, thus blue flags), and so why not challenge for the position? It is up to the car being challenged how much to defend, but in this case Max did a poor job anyway, as he simply drove into someone on his inside (quite far up as well, as we can see from where they collided!).

I side with Max from an emotional perspective, but the rules, regulations and sport should absolutely support Ocon – at least in being ABLE to challenge. The fact is they touched, so it wasn’t a clean manoeuvre from either driver.


Protecting Verstappen just like Hamilton has been protected all these years


I’m sick to death of hearing about tyres. Can we not change the record ?


Well records are black and round too ! 😀


Well, the cars would be going nowhere fast without them…





Could not agree more. This tire issue is a joy killer.
We may admit it or not, but there is serious F1 crisis as a sport.
A new generation of ballsy drivers is needed with great personalities, a new car concept and simple rules to encourage true competition.
This sport is driven too much by car performance, titles are decided by engineers.


Probably not while that are having such an effect on racing, good or bad depending on your viewpoint/favourite driver.


OK. Let’s talk about V10 and how amazing they sounded.

Nic, it was worth the price of admission just for the sound man!


Ha, Sebee

You need to go back further than that! 1977 – Flat 12 Alfa leading, Cosworth V8s bursting your ear-drums, Matra V12 wailing, plus Ferrari flat 12. Oh, Renault V6 turbo sounded like it had been switched off!


I think I may have heard the Mantra at a Silverstone heritage race.

Also wish I could hear that 1.5L BRM V16 live under full power. Apparently it’s an experience.


Standing on the bridge over Farm Straight at Silverstone as the cars roared underneath is one of the most memorable moments I have of any sport. Truly unbelievable. Smiling thinking about it again


For me?

2005. Eating chips with mayo and mustard at bottom of Eau Rouge as V10s come out of nowhere and pinned to the ground by the aero climb the hill. Dual V10 exhaust pointed right at me. First few cars honestly scared me. Then I got used to the violence. 🙂


Sebee I’m all with you here. Spa in general, nothing better around that time. Spa will always be special for me. For many reasons but I don’t think we’ll get to see (or hear) that anymore.

Maybe when the road relevance and all the other crap is gone, they go back just for the entertainment. But it was sceary for real because of the perils the drivers had to endure and live with.

Not the halo pampering day’s. But at lest we get most of the heros to survive, if we really have any real heros any more.

We have Kimi, Alonso as well although not my favo, who else Lewis is there on his first years…..well not many by any account


No, let’s talk about what’s really important in racing. Hair….

Fernando Alonso’s beard, Nigel Mansell’s moustache or Damon Hill’s eyebrows………….which is worse? Or Jacques Villeneuve peroxide blonde bleach job? Gerhard Berger’s mullet? Keke Rosberg’s girly long hair?


Bets on first driver to shave it bald?


Sebee Kimi shave his head a few times, Dennis was not happy as I recall.

Well he wouldn’t be happy about much, when it came to these matters


Arrivo news: Radio silence. Just a puff of smoke


Kimi also had a very strong middle of the season.

Adding up the points from the French Grand Prix onward:

Kimi – 183

Seb – 181

At the moment not only is Kimi Ferrari’s last champion…he is also has

Ferrari’s last pole position

Ferrari’s last win

Ferrari’s last podium


If Vettel’s form collapses maybe Kimi will end up having a third run at Ferrari. Unlikely, but I never thought he’d come back to F1 after he left in 09, never thought he would do well in the Lotus (the team scored 73 points in 2011, Kimi in 2012 scored 207 by himself), never thought Ferrari would have him back and never though he would end up in better form than Vettel.


But here we are, never discount Kimi. I’m sure Sauber will enjoy his presence tremendously nextyear.


Time for festivities, like 12 days of booze and…
( read Kimis bio for that 😉


Lucky you who read it already. I’m thinking he can’t reveal too mucj of the politivs behind the scenes, but when he handgs up his helmet I hope he does. Is’nt it titled, my story so far?

That also tells me he had made his mind up to continue racing regardless of Ferrari

I will take the time to read it some day. 12 or 14 day bender in-between races even at teh Lotus days I hear sounds though, and still he had two stellar seasons. He basically drag that team to third in constructors I believe and as well drivers for himself.

Not to mention his back injury

I don’t recomend a lifestyle like that but what a classy driver and man he’s always been


Ferrari’s last class?


Thanks for that Jennie.

It proves that, as in 2009, Kimi is NOT being replaced because of poor results. Rather, it seems Arrivabene is too weak to cross Elkann and his shifty shenanigans behind the scenes.


Dear James,

I don’t quite understand why Ferrari decided to pit both drivers so early — they had soft tyres, so more durable, and I’m under the impression they were faster than Bottas in the medium tyres. A few more laps before pitting and they’d have jumped Bottas, right? Am i missing something?


James, why did pirelli increase the minimum tyre pressures? It seems to be hurting Mercedes more than others, any reason in particular?


Spot on question!


In this Ferrari Alonso would not beat Kimi in the same manner as he did in the ‘14T. Kimi was hopeless in that car and he’s pretty good in this one.



you flatter the 2014 Ferrari by calling it a “car”. It was actually a hotchpotch of Alonso led solutions cobbled together.

Kimi is not great at driving Jalopies, unlike Alonso [esp when they are designed for his particular preferences].

Also James does not give Kimi the courtesy he gives Alonso of allowing for the first year in the team. Kimi had a second rate engineer and sub-optimal crew who did not understand the new tech rules that well.

But hey, how many races did Marvel Boy Alonso win in 2014???

And how many titles did he bring to Ferrari???


PS I bet the hotchpotchs that Alonso helped develop can only be driven by him in any meaningful way

That man who drive a hotchpotch a bit faster than expected, but not even close to fast enough. He was blessed with reliability though when that was not required from the car industy


I think the F-14T was already a hotchpotch before Alonso even saw it for the first time. That and the F2012 will never win a Maranello beauty contest.


Proper champions don’t get beaten so consistently badly by a team mate in the same car. A great driver can adapt and get the best out of what he’s given. Raikonnen hasn’t done this, and I’d argue Vettel didn’t in his season with Ricciardo. What has Raikonnen only just woken up after 5 years at Ferrari?


Maybe ha was trying to rectify the wrongs Alo had done and get a decent car.

Not to mention Alonso without any doubt had in his contract already from the massa days that he can’t be challenged.

Now you’d say I can’t prove that. But if we look at Alonsos whole career he’s had that kind o agreements all along while Kimi never had them and Alo, he’s not shy about it. So one draw the conclusions what it was down to. And gime me one reason he wouldn’t have a clause in this one episode in his career when that’s what he’s demanded openly to many times to not notice

It’s not just sittting in a shabby car bespoken for you (Alo) himself was resposible for in part, and tha only he can drive. It is about to get the team together, develope a great car and so much mor you should know if you took the time, instead of fanboying all the way throug your F1 experience


Well Hamilton was trying to nurse his car home because of engine issues.

Max handed the victory to Hamilton. Either way the fight was with Ferrari. That’s why he just let Max by earlier.

Of course Ocon didn’t help but Max didn’t have a fight with him. That is what he needs to work on no matter who is right or wrong it doesn’t matter. He didn’t really need to fight for that position but neither did Ocon. There is known bad blood there. I just think Max should have focused on the big picture like Hamilton did.

Hamilton has won at least 3 races he shouldn’t have by keeping his head straight.


This is a joke and a vary bad and low one, and they are the ones that are hardest to resist.

Max calls Ocon a p***y. That’s the reason he want’s to hit him, it’s a tradition.

Well that was a low one. But it’s been in between the lines in many post lately. So just get it out in the air, so we don’t have to relate to that anymore. Or just say it openly


The graph looks a but different to the Mexican one doesn’t it?! What a track Interlagos is, and what a race we had there on Sunday! I loved every minute. from the two Renault boys going at it the start (Carlos was a bit rude), to wondering if Lewis and Kimi could keep their positions to the flag while under attack from the Red Bulls, great racing throughout.


Just a thought. If McLaren had signed Kimi next year as the rumours had it, and they got the RB design working. That would have been a brilliant turn of events.

First of all Kimi get’s his redemption or whatever for the two WDC that slipped away due to unreliability. And he could end his career there with glory for both him and McLaren, and championships for both Macca and Kimi

Secondly it would be perfectly aligned with Karma, the universe or just in accord with how things have unfolded through the years. Alonso quits and McLaren gets their S**t together just when that happens, and in comes the man who got into teams where the cars got better and better as soon as he arrived.

Well a dream but a beautiful one.

Alfa Romeo then, Lucky team


Max Verstappen needs to remember that he, like most of the other drivers, has no divine right to win or do as he pleases.

That right is reserved for the LH, who based on James’ report seemed to win the race because of a slow Force India pit stop meant Ocon came out behind Verstappen rather than in front. Fantastic driver is LH, probably the greatest of all time, but my how he’s consistently #blessed with good fortune as things always go his way.

I will congratulate LH now on beating Schumacher’s titles and win records, since it’s an absolute foregone conclusion now that the next few years will feature crushing LH/Merc domination. With Ferrari a spent force, RB being short of power, and a wingman who has to cede position, I’d say it’s highly possible that LH will win all 21 races next year, which would be absolutely fantastic for the sport.

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