How Hamilton and Bottas worked around Ferrari F1 team game with Raikkonen
Valtteri Bottas 2017
Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Jul 2017   |  6:05 pm GMT  |  131 comments

A slow burn of a Grand Prix, that built to an exciting climax in the final laps; this was a race that the winner might have lost had there been one more lap, but it was well judged by Valtteri Bottas and well driven by Sebastian Vettel in hot pursuit.

Ferrari once again used Kimi Raikkonen to try to interfere with Bottas’ race, but it didn’t work out as by that point the older Finnish driver’s tyres were well used and he couldn’t resist the overtake from Bottas on fresh tyres.

Meanwhile we had interesting strategy gambits from Force India and Williams, looking to improve their positions.

As usual we will analyse all the moves, with the help of background data and insights from F1 team race strategists who were involved in the decisions on the day.

Kimi Raikkonen
Pre race expectations

Friday practice running had shown that there wasn’t much to choose in race pace and degradation between the soft and the supersoft tyres. Mercedes was less effective than the Ferrari on the supersofts, as in Sochi, and this would come into play on race day, as Vettel was able to catch Bottas on those tyres in the closing stages.

Blistering was an issue for many on the ultrasoft tyres, which was the limiting factor when planning race strategy, meaning that the first stint length would be dictated by how badly the tyres blistered on race day.

The track temperature was 41 degrees and in fact, most drivers went far further on the ultrasoft in the race than anticipated; instead of 18 laps the front runners managed between 36 and 44 laps. Ironically it was the supersofts that presented a blistering issue for Bottas as a giant blister on the left rear tyre was created which almost cost him the race. At the time of writing Mercedes are still not sure what created this.

Not knowing clearly how long the ultrasoft would last, some teams went for an opening sting on the the supersoft or soft tyre, looking for a longer stint and because the Ultra was more long lasting than anticipated, in most cases this didn’t work out. Lewis Hamilton was one to try this from P8 on the grid, knowing that he had to serve a 5 place penalty for a gearbox change, he deliberately qualified on the supersoft for a longer first stint.

Kimi Raikkonen
Raikkonen looped into Ferrari’s attack on Bottas

Bottas soaked up the pressure that came on to him from Vettel in the closing laps and held on to win the race, but the journey that led to that point had been complicated slightly by a strategy play from Ferrari to keep Raikkonen in Bottas’s pit window, in other words fewer than 20 seconds behind him.

Ideally Mercedes was looking for a gap to be able to pit Bottas and then have him run in clear air on fresh tyres.

Kimi Raikkonen

Raikkonen was being used as a rearguard to keep Hamilton off Vettel, but
when Hamilton stopped early to undercut Raikkonen, Ferrari initially called him to pit but then changed their minds. They had this exact scenario in Singapore last year where they did not abort the stop and lost the place.

But it was somewhat strange that Ferrari did nothing to pre-empt Hamilton’s undercut. He was acting as the rearguard for Vettel to keep Hamilton at bay. Once it became clear that the position was lost to Hamilton they went the other way and left Raikkonen out there to interfere with Bottas.

This was the right thing to do as there was no other threat from behind; this was another race where the front runners were well ahead of the midfield.

Mercedes left Bottas out as long as they could to try to et a gap to Raikkonen, but then were forced to stop him and accept that he would need to overtake his fellow Finn. There is always some risk in this, especially with the history of collisions between the pair, but Raikkonen’s tyres were very worn by this stage and his heart didn’t seem to really in the fight with an unequal opponent, having been asked to sacrifice position for the good of the team.

Red Bull benefitted from Raikkonen’s role in that it kept Hamilton off Daniel Ricciardo until the closing stages. Another impressive aspect was Ricciardo’s ability to hold off Hamilton in the closing stages despite being on the slower tyre and with quite a straight line speed deficit. With DRS the Mercedes was doing over 320km/h on the straights. Without it the Red Bull was at around 295 km/h. But Ricciardo was able to build sufficient margin in the second sector, the twisty part of the track, to have enough at the end of the straights.

Felipe Massa 2017
Williams make some bold moves, improving on a poor qualifying

You have to go back to 2013 for the last time Williams had such a poor qualifying session. The team struggled to get the balance right and to switch the tyres on for the all important single lap. So they started from 17th and 18th on the grid.

Williams split the strategies with Lance Stroll starting on the supersoft tyre and Felipe Massa on the soft.

What made their race was the chaos at the start, triggered by Daniil Kvyat colliding with Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen, which forced the midfield to scatter around the incident. Massa used his experience to find a pathway through and Stroll had the presence of mind to follow him. This put both Massa and Stroll in the top ten.

The Canadian went to Lap 35 , which is as long as Vettel managed on the ultrasoft tyre, while Massa, who by now had climbed to 6th by Lap 47, setting a fastest lap at that point of the race on Lap 44. The idea was for him to have a final 23 lap blast on ultrasofts and to attack the Force India pair of Perez and Ocon, who had gone on to the slower ultrasoft tyre.

But when it came to it the pace wasn’t there; Ocon had been trying the overcut on Grosjean which didn’t work, but it did also serve to put him on similar age tyres to Massa, so although they were the slower compound, the performance difference wasn’t enough for Massa to pass.

Perez 2017

Force India also tried to undercut Grosjean with their other car, Perez.

But this went wrong because Perez came out right ahead of the race leader Bottas a lap down and then lost time dealing with the blue flags, which cost large amounts of race time, as the backmarker teams will confirm.

On the day the Haas was too fast to be caught out by either move, which was quite impressive given the way that Force India has consistently dominated the front of the midfield battle this season.

The UBS Race Strategy Report is written by James Allen with input and data from several of the leading teams’ strategists and from Pirelli.

Race History & Tyre Usage Charts – Kindly provided by Williams Martini Racing

The standout note here is the massive gap in performance between the top teams and the midfield, once again. This makes life so much easier from a strategy point of view as there is no threat from behind from those cars when teams make moves. Also it is annoying for the midfield runners as they lose time with blue flags for backmarkers.

Note the difference in relative performance between the Ferrari and Mercedes on ultra soft and supersoft tyres. See how Vettel closes on Bottas on the latter, having not been able to match the pace on the former. From Mercedes point of view that is the right way around, given than the ultra soft is often the start tyre.

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Vettle seemed to eventually shake his wheel pull to the right issue, could it have been a brake pulling problem?


It seems to me that the the team bosses control the success of the drivers.


James. I have a couple of questions. Firstly is it just me or are this years tyres lasting to long and sometimes the softer compounds are lasting longer then the harder ones, it just seems that some races could be done without changing tyres at all if it was allowed. The second question is do you think Red Bull is narrowing the gap to the front two teams, I thought that only being 8 or 9 seconds behind after a full race was the closest they have been all year on real race pace. Thanks


Yes you are right

Yes Red Bull is closing the gap up, depending on the nature of the track


You say “depending on the nature of the track”, however this track really should have been one of their worst, with those straights – yet with both Bottas and Vettel pushing as hard as they could, Ricc was only 6 seconds back. Usually the end result can flatter them if the front car/s are saving the engine, but that wasn’t the case this time. I agree with you that from quali at least they are closing the gap but it doesn’t appear to be so close as only 6 seconds after a full race distance, which is why I found it so confusing that the margin was so small.

Tornillo Amarillo

My dream finish in Silverstone:

Win: Kimi, he should be up sooner than later.
P2: Hamilton, he needs it & he is capable to catch up
P3: Bottas or Vettel, still a good finish

Rookie Stroll one of these days will qualify P6 and from there build another Podium, hopefully… Maybe at Spa?


I think for Kimi to win another F1 race, at least 5 other drivers have to have technical gremlins 🙁 Unfortunate, but that is how it is.
At the current rate, he may just about manage a podium in Spa.


Thanks JA for a site that keeps an unusualy high standard in the current F1 reporting. Ferrari are proud of the heritage, and rightly so. But having a global banking corporate behind your back seams to make all the diference for some drivers. Not even Vettel, a four time world champ gets that kind of special treatment. But everyone who’s even mildly interested in the sport or politics can easily read beteween the lines. I think peple will be less and less willing to take any car-dealer appoach to the audience. Chase Carey says he’s surprised how F1 enterprises handles things, but then again he can’t have watched F1 for long. Entertaining as it can be, like the roadrage-Vettel-Todt debacle, as bland it also can appear. Stats and graphs can show lot’s of things, without an in-depth analysis behind the decisions, politics and the meaning of it, it al remains just numbers. As far as entertaining goes, F1 already is a great show, if you dont mind too much the sporting side of it.


It’s strange that Kimi still is interested in theat Ferrari seat. He could be fighting for wins but get’s screwed up in his strategys. Fair enough if he sees it as the right place to drive until he retires, but hearing Marcionne placeing these remarks in the media it’s just awkward. He’s of course done the same to Vettel, so maybe there’s an internal agreement, not so unusual for Ferrrari. Kimi is not the driver he one’s was but i cant see him losing so much of his abilities and competence in just one season, from Lotus (or he’s entire career so far) until the last switch to Ferrari. In fact it already seemd to be trouble the first time to say the least, Kimi talking a lot about beeing tired of all the politics. Acctually when Kimi does drive a good race/quali you can be sure there will be some strategy shenanigans to screw it up in favour of their own agenda. And a few races after a verbal critisism from ferrari. The politics is not new maybe only the way it’s played/acted out.


How could kimi be fighting for wins when he is so slow. His pace hugely predates the first accussations of second rate treatment.


Ferrari will demotivate Kimi by this second-class strategy calls and lose the team WCH. They should know Kimi better after so many years. When he was young he had been flat out all the time in the McLaren, now he must sniff podium or victory to be on it or have the motivation. Besides he had some sort of electronic issues during the race as well. Ferrari are never open about these car problems (engine, gear box, electronics etc.) to protect the Ferrari image and by doing so drivers need to take the blame, mostly Kimi.
In the last two years when Kimi had had a few strange spins, it was never stated what actually the problem was, just later got it known that the engine was producing some strange and sudden peak performances. Hence Kimi took the blame. Also, Kimi is 37 (16 years in F1 ?) I really appreciate when he still manage to outqualify Vettel time to time or gets pole in Monaco. Context is important.


Motivation? Big money, a F1 exotic life, the fun of driving a milion dolar car, to quote a few. Aren’t they enough?
One can better understand Kimi listening to Grosjean’s interview about their time together. Renault changed the wheel at Kimi request many time to no avail.
There is nothing Kimi to be shamed about, he is a great driver and ultimately a good employee. One would do Kimi’s job anytime without giving a hoot about anybody.


Poor Kimi.


Poor Bottas.


Poor Alonso


An interesting observation for me was that Merc was faster than Ferrari on ultra softs. They would struggle early in the season, but this race they were by far the fastest on ultra softs. They now know how to make them work. Unless Ferrari will gain 0,3 sec with the new engine in Silverstone, it could be a walk in the park for Mercedes.


But now the struggle on Supersofts.


You said it Alex. Mercedes sorted out their issue with the tyres. Therefore, it does make them the favorites. Now if the difference is around 0.3s or less in pure pace, I believe the drivers might have the ability to make up for it. Still it will be interesting to see how equal the teams are after FP2, maybe FP3.


James, I have to disagree with something you said there. Leaving Kimi out to interfere with Bottas was not the right thing to do. Trying to help your team mate win is admirable, but it should not be done if it harms your own result. Ferrari should have gone with a strategy that allowed Kimi to get the best result possible for himself, not his team mate.

F1 is not a team sport. Sure no driver will ever win without a strong team behind him (or her), but during the race each driver competes as an individual. If you agree with one driver compromising his own race to help another driver then teams need to nominate a number 1 up front.


It is a fascinating thing how Ferrari approach it this way while Mercedes work for the best team result so they wouldn’t try this, but then they sometimes get in sniffle trying to be fair to both drivers – as happened with Rosberg and Hamilton.

That said victory is the main goal and they aren’t above moving the slower car out of the way if the lead car has a shot at winning e.g. Moving Bottas in Bahrain


It is a fascinating thing how Ferrari approach it this way while Mercedes work for the best team result so they wouldn’t try this

Respectfully disagree with this, Mercedes used this exact tactics at Catalunya using Bottas to slow Vettel down.


The difference there being that Bottas’ 3rd was never jeopardized by doing that strategy in Spain. Ferrari gave up Kimi’s 4th to try to help Vettel get the win.


This is hogwash and you know it, Kimi was not fast enough to keep Hamilton behind so he race was not jeopardised but keep at it, it’s like digging for oil, you might get lucky and find it.


Uh, I don’t think you can say that. If Kimi had pitted right as he cleared Grosjean’s window, then he would’ve stayed ahead of Hamilton. Then Hamilton would’ve had to pass him on track. Hamilton couldn’t pass Ricciardo, whose straight line speed was less than the Ferrari’s, so yeah, I think Kimi could’ve held off Lewis.

So Ferrari went for an extra 7 pts for Vettel, but lost him 2 to Lewis.


Let me ask you this question then at the back of your comment about victory being the main goal. Based on the race situation in the last race what would you have done? Wouldn’t you have used Kimi to give Vettel a better chance at winning? Different manage does different things and we know that. E.g. McLaren favoured Mika over DC, Ferrari favoured Schumi over Rubens. But at the same time, because McLaren didn’t back one driver in a tight championship in 07, they lost the WDC? I personally don’t see anything wrong or right about it. It’s up to the team. Maybe Ferrari’s philosophy made them the most successful team in the history. I’m curious from a strategic point of view to know what you would’ve done in the same situation at the time (disregarding the fact that it didn’t pay off in the end).


Hi James, thanks for the analysis. at the race history, the lines of Vettel and Ricciardo are similar, is that mean RB’s race pace is close to Ferrari now (or just the nature of this circuit?)

Tornillo Amarillo

heart didn’t seem to really in the fight with an unequal opponent, having been asked to sacrifice position for the good of the team.

I had the hope to watch Vettel earning his 5th WDC in a different team, in order to forget he just won 4 WDC “because of the car” designed by Adrian Newey. But not anymore…

Now, I feel that if Vettel wins this 2017 season, it would be because Kimi plays second fiddle, and this is very disappointing regarding Kimi, but even more so regarding Vettel.

Vettel is never asking for “equality” in the intra-team battle, as Hamilton do.
Even further, he has joined Ferrari, a team famous and infamous for benefit the driver number 1 even in ridiculous manner – just in the finish line. And not in the last race of the calendar!

What is the merit of earning a 5th WDC if you have the most famous team with unlimited budget, where one of the main contenders is automatically eliminated by a contrat or by a wrong sporting position from the Boss.

Aren’t you fed-up with this nonsense from Ferrari’s strategies or errors that let Kimi behind? Even in the verge of his retirement? Why we have a 3 horse-battle instead of 4 ?

In the other team, Mercedes, there is equally, even the less gifted driver -Rosberg, Bottas- could win races and/or championships, as Rosberg and Bottas have demonstrated fighting Schumacher and/or Hamilton, because the car or the engine or both, in different stages, are really good.

It is what it is, but still it is and it will be always “unacceptable” for F1 and for any sport.

ps.: go Lance.


Well Hamilton is asking for equality in the media, but out on track he’s not shy of asking his team to use Bottas to help him get past Vettel.

Vettel on the other hand doesn’t talk in the media about such things and we have never heard him request any such action on the radio. In China he would have benefitted from such an arrangement.

I for one don’t listen to all the talk, I prefer to see what they really do.

It is also about time people are honest with themself and admit Vettel is punching above his weight this year. All the talk about Ferrari being the best car is pure nonsense, the Mercedes is signifficantly faster. The only reason Vettel is leading this Championship is the fact that he has been the best driver by quite a margin this year.

Tough to admit for a Raikkonen-fan for many years, but you have to give credit where credit is due..


I belive that Ferrari is the best car on tires. Mercedes has a very long wheelbase which might give them an advantage on power tracks but not street races.


Kimi is just not as fast as Vettel (or Hamilton/Bottas/Ricciardo). He will most often be behind Vettel, second fiddle by default. Stratagy can only do so much.


Alonso was at Ferrari as #1 and still couldn’t make it. If Vettel succeeds it will be well deserved.


Cry me a river, Bottas being asked to move out of the way for Hamilton twice in Bahrain, or Mercedes using the same tactics with Bottas vs Vettel at Catalunya before his engine expired springs to mind.
But let me not let facts get in the way of your hypocrisy


As James has explained elsewhere, Mercedes will move their slower car out of the way of their faster car, if the faster car has a chance of victory. If they are 1-2, they will let things play out as normal. In Bahrain Lewis was clearly quicker, so they moved Bottas out of the way. In Spain, Bottas was 3rd a long way back, but was safe from 4th … so it made sense for him to hold up Vettel in that instance. It wasn’t going to cost the team his 3rd, and could help them get 1st, which ultimately it did. Contrast that to Ferrari sacrificing Kimi’s 4th, to try to give Vettel a very slight chance of victory. It’s only 2 pts, but it’s a 4 pt swing to their main rival in the WCC.


You rock Rockie, spot on.


It’s tiring listening to folks not being objective at all!


Hamilton asked merc to slow Bottas down…


… and what did Merc say to that?


Is that Todt hugging Vettel?!? Did he hug any other drivers? Sorry, but for me this is something that the head of a serious sport should not be doing.


I believe it was at last year’s British GP when a steward in pre-race interview said he is hoping Lewis Hamilton will win. What is your take on that?


Yes, I believe that was Derek Warwick who said that to Martin Brundle during his pre-race grid walk. That is something wholly inappropriate for a steward to be saying! Stewards not only have to be fair and impartial, they need to be seen to be fair and impartial.

It’s odd also because I thought Warwick was a bit against Lewis. He was the steward who let Rosberg off the hook at Monaco ’14, and one of the things Warwick said at that time was basically that he knew Nico wasn’t dirty like that, because his dad wasn’t like that. That again was a very odd thing to say.


I thought Warwick was a bit against Lewis

Agree absolutely. Warwick never let’s a chance for a snide dig pass by where LH is concerned.


He was the steward who let Rosberg off the hook at Monaco ’14, and one of the things Warwick said at that time was basically that he knew Nico wasn’t dirty like that, because his dad wasn’t like that. That again was a very odd thing to say.

I really think the current steward ‘squad’ needs a total revamp and there should be the same officials at every race. At least then we’d get some consistency.



Yeah race steward Warwick shouldn’t be saying his favourite driver is Hamilton and he wants him to win the race and the wdc either.


See my response above to 3498.


Look to his cap, that’s Kimi, unless they exchanged the baseball caps. If Seb, definitely Todt should have been first to punch his face.




Nice report James. There is one error in the report on this line “The idea was for him to have a final 23 lap blast on ultrasofts and to attack the Force India pair of Perez and Ocon, who had gone on to the slower ultrasoft tyre.”
I think it should be slower supersoft tyre for Ocon and Perez.


Well, if it wasn’t obvious before, it is now. Kimis strategy plays second fiddle to Vettel. I’ve got nothing against this if it’s for the good of the team, but one can’t hide the fact that Vettel is Nr1 at Ferrari now, and always has been omho. You can’t say that about Merc, who ever is the fastest there, seems to win, or gets preference. That’s for sure😊 and so should it be👍


“You can’t say that about Merc, who ever is the fastest there, seems to win, or gets preference. That’s for sure😊 and so should it be👍”


With the exception of Monaco qualifying Vettel has been the faster driver. May I politely suggest you try to think before opening your mouth? Thank you.


And may I politely suggest you think before you write🤔

Vettel is a fantastic driver, Kimi is too. I find it strange how consistently Kimi seems to have problems on his car.
It’s been written many times that the WDC is the most important for Ferrari. Imho, Kimi deserves better. That’s my opinion, and I’m allowed to state that opinion. Thankyou.



I disagree. Kimis problem was the bad start and the fact Mercedes brought Hamilton in so early on the SS tyres. Nobody expected Mercedes to do that and when it happened Kimi had allready lost 4th place. Better to keep him out and give him the chance on fresher tyres towards the end as it was not yet clear the US tyres on Hamiltons car would go the distance. Of course 10 laps later everybody knew the US tyres would go the distance but by now it was too late for Kimi. At that stage neither Ferrari nor Kimi had anything to loose by keeping him out, he wouldn’t get fourth and there was no risk whatsoever of him losing fifth. The only strategy option left for Ferrari was to see if he could cost Bottas a little bit of time.
What did him in was not neccessarily the start in itself but a bad first lap!


Don’t get me wrong, I think Kimi is a fantastic driver, world class. But I think it’s a shame the way things seem to turn out for him all the time. I don’t think Vettel is that much better than Kimi. To me it’s obvious now that Seb is the favored son. And to me, that’s a shame🍻


James seeing as you mentioned Bottas lost time behind Perez I now believe it’s time blue flag were scrapped all together . The Vandoorne-Raikkonen situation reminded me just how sick I am of blue flags watching F1 for the last 2 decades. Kimi should have just barrelled up Stoffel’s inside instead of waiting for him to move over and putting him in a position where he might get a penalty. The penalty for Stoffel was harsh a 10 second added time penalty (Not Stop-Go) would have sufficed in my opinion-especially when you see the onboard. The following link contains the Kimi -Stoffel incident which starts at (2 minutes:00 secs)

If cars lose 2 to 3 seconds per lap by dawdling behind slower cars i say tough the should just do more to ‘bully’ their way through traffic they should not be given a divine right to get past . Also I think if a car your trying lap holds you up that adds another element of drama to the racing I think .


the blue flags exist to prevent other drivers from interfering with the races of those in the front. otherwise teams can purposefully send their second cars a lap down and interfere with their rivals. Imagine it being the last fw races and hamilton and vettel are neck to neck in the championship race. raikkonen’s been overtaken by hamilton in the race and hamilton is now chasing vettel up ahead; ferrari can then send raikkonen to the pits and delay him so that he lands up just ahead of hamilton, and a lap down. without the blue flags raikkonen will be able to hold up hamilton and ruin his race and give vettel an advantage. Which would be unfair racing since raikkonen isn’t even racing hamilton for position. the blue flags are here to fix that. Also, this is only an example, i’m not insinuating that ferrari are cheaters. i think every team in f1 will do this and take advantage of the lack of blue flag rules. and it’ll ruin racing for all of us.


blue flag were scrapped all together

I know what you mean and don’t disagree in principle. The snag with allowing backnarkers to obstruct front runners though, is junior teams would be brought into play tactically. I could foresee the likes of Sauber being used as blockers .


Nah! can’t agree with you on this. The driver being lapped shouldn’t hold up or take out the faster cars that are going for the win. Yes they’re entitled to be in the race but shouldn’t determine the results for faster cars.
The 3 blue flags penalty also stops deliberate interference from other drivers.
We don’t want another Senna/Schlesser debacle.


It would also add to more cars coming together, penalties, and driver’s points.


Pretty clear cut analysis. As far as any impact on the championship is concerned, Ferrari’s decision to leave Kimi out has put Ferrari behind in the WCC points tally.

Here’s my observation about Ferrari’s decision to use Kimi after watching the entire race the day after without much adrenaline. Kimi was in no position to win the race when Bottas pitted. It’s unfair that a driver have to put his own race at risk to help his team mate. But Ferrari’s idea was certainly the right one if Kimi managed to hold Bottas off. It might have been possible in Monaco or Singapore, not in Austria. Kimi himself hasn’t shown the ability to put his car in a winning position this season. More often than not he lost a lot of places at the start, have been unable to overtake slower cars quick enough and overtake with race moves in a consistent basis. So, do I think it’s fair on Kimi? No. But do I think the Ferrari team has the right thing for the team? Of course, just didn’t pay off. Ricciardo is the example of where to place your car on the race track, where to brake in the corners, how to use DRS in the best way possible with the 5th fastest car on the grid. For me, the race was won by Bottas because of his reaction time at the start. And Kimi losing the podium was down to Ricciardo’s brilliant moves in the first two corners. Kimi might have got the podium if Ferrari didn’t leave him out, but that’s the gamble they had to take in order to win the race, which of course didn’t pay off.


Agreed FZ, Kimi pulled on the pawn t-shirt when he lost out at the start.


I’m pretty sure Ferrari already had Kimi’s pawn t-shirt laid out ready for him – poor start or no. His role has been clearly defined and it appears he understands and accepts it willingly.


Raikkonen has said publicly some time ago that he would help Vettel win the WDC if he can. Don’t ask me for the source as I just remember reading it but not where. It reminds me of Lauda telling Prost that he would help him the following season after he had won the 84 title.

I don’t believe that Ferrari has used Kimi to advance the cause of Vettel too many times yet this season. In Austria they did i believe, but I am not sure it affected Kimi’s finishing position. I thought at the time that Ferrari should have stopped Kimi once Hamilton was free of Grosjean. Then Kimi might have had the chance to keep Hamilton behind after Hamilton’s own stop, therefore keeping 4th. Once that moment was gone, trying to use Kimi to slow Bottas seemed fair game.
Many F1 Fans and many pundits believe that Ferrari won’t be able to keep up with the Mercedes development program & maybe Ferrari too. Putting their eggs in one basket might be their only chance to bring a title home this year, so why risk it? 10 years without any championship , not the 20 years they experienced prior to winning with Schumi, but too long for sure.


I’ll be as brief as I can – don’t want to be too loud 🙂
I don’t disagree with the logic of backing one driver in a team and, of the two, Vettel is clearly the right choice. It makes me smile, though, when Ham is criticised when Merc do the same thing with Bottas and I’m surprised a driver of Kimi’s stature puts up with it.
I know you don’t agree about Monaco – but ask yourself whether the same thing would have been allowed to happen if the situation had been reversed? Would they really have pitted Vettel at such an inopportune moment and then just watched whilst his lead was eroded? I can’t see it myself.


Would they really have pitted Vettel at such an inopportune moment and then just watched whilst his lead was eroded? I can’t see it myself.



You will not find a critic from me about Bottas having helped Hamilton in some of the races this season. It doesn’t not bother me the least. I
Believe that teams should have the right to decide what they see fit.
Honestly l am with you that had the situation been reversed in Monaco, Ferrari would have not given Kimi the chance to win it. That said l believe that Vettel did what he had to do to get the win. You seem to think that Hamilton is judge differently than others, l don’t see it that way at least with regards to Vettel. They are both polarizing drivers that have as many unreasonable fans as detractors. Marc

Ricciardo Aficionado

I agree with these sentiments. There is undoubtedly a hunger at Ferrari that would be prepared to sacrifice a lot more than Kimi for the title.


Well said,t that’s Kimi 2017.
Bottas? It was his race to lose, doubt the start made the difference in this case, Bottas has had good starts in most of the cases. A ‘normal’ start would have given him the same advantage, Vet was not fast enough, Ricci was a bit faster than him, right on his tail at the start.

Tornillo Amarillo

Stroll had the presence of mind to follow him. This put both Massa and Stroll in the top ten.

Did I already say that Lance is scoring “regularly” now? 🙂

By the way, the “experienced Massa” was not too way far from rookie Stroll nor in qualifying nor in race day.

Lance has also to defend from Magnum and Palmer and he did very well, some upbeat lines please from time to time!


Private training before and betwen races, Lance is the only one doing it. Plenty of money pumped, is that fair? Hence the points. Luck was there too.

Tornillo Amarillo

Teams have more money pumped to prepare kids and they set up “academies” for decades with the same freaking purpose.


The difference is the selection criteria for those academies is based on performance rather than being a member of the lucky sperm club.
That said for all I have disparaged him Stroll seems to be genuinely improving. He hasn’t put the car into a wall during the race for a few weeks and he’s now keeping within a pit stop of Massa (who was roundly thrashed by Bottas last year before his retirement). Whether either of them is putting the car where it ‘should’ be on race day is one question, the other is how far Stroll can improve before he plateaus.
Maybe he has what it takes to be a top driver, we wont know until Williams puts a driver at the top of his game along side him.


“Experienced Massa” who never fully recovered from that head injury.
Go figure.


Very sad to see how Ferrari treats Kimi again. Are they going to use him to protect the finger boy for the rest of the season.


What by paying him millions a year? I would be happy to take over from Kimi and go the extra mle and polish Sebs car for what they are paying him.


go the extra mle

If you already had $100 million+ In the bank you might not be so keen though. Everything is relative.


Once Hamilton undercut him, there was no use in pitting him immediately, the 4th place was gone anyway because Hamilton was sitting in the faster car. So they left him out to take advantage in the case if there would be a safety car or if the predicted rain would eventually have materialised. Clever thing to do, don’t you think?


to protect the finger boy for the rest of the season.

It’s hard to imagine them not continuing in this vein . I’ll tell you what is really tough though, Ferrari use him in this manner (which is their right) and he accepts without apparent complaint and them Marchione slags him off and refers to him as a laggard (according to reports I’ve read). He cannot need the money – I’m surprised he puts up with it.


I don’t really think Kimi gives a F what Marchione (or anyone else to be more accurate) says.

as I had mention in other threads, Kimi won the 2nd driver position a long time ago with other poor years, and looks like he is kind comfortable there, like Massa, at least Kimi has a WDC…


I believe he has well over £100m in the bank (as do Vet, Ham and Alo) and that was according to a Forbes list from a few years ago, so he’s been topping that up nicely for a few years. Suppose that will help.

He’s seems to get this wake up call around this time every year and did seem to up his game last season. If he can’t my constructors bet won’t be looking so smart.


You did Constructors, and Kimi to finish 3rd or higher, right? I think the latter is pretty much done … unless the Ferrari engine upgrade is some serious boost.


Correct. The larger stake was on the constructors at 6/1 and I still believe that’ll be close. However Kimi needs to pull his finger out. Some of his best tracks are coming up, Silverstone, Hungary and Spa, he needs to start banking big points.


my constructors bet won’t be looking so smart.

Sounds like you allowed your heart to rule your head on that bet 🙂



If this is Kimi’s last season in F1 it is indeed a rather sad end to a good career. At least he can look back on having won a WDC.

And the stuff coming out of Marchionne’s mouth isn’t exactly supportive.


C83: Bottas has protected the fancy boy a few times too. Team work. Different than Ferrari case is that when LH has a bad weekend and there have been a few, nothing can be done by Bottas. Consistency has made de differemce between title contenders and Seb has been the better driver.
There is a difference between the pairs too, while Seb has the upper hand on Kimi, performance wise, in Mercedes case the pair difference is balancing in Bottas favour sometimes, hence Valteri in title fight.


I think Lewis’ bad luck in the last two races has more to do with the current standings. After Canada, he was 12 pts back. Without the loose headrest and gearbox penalty, then he would have won in Baku, and likely would have won in Austria. Even if you say 2nd in Austria, then that’s a 26 pt swing, and Hamilton would be leading by 6 pts now.

Valtteri was better than Lewis in Russia and Monaco, when Mercedes were still getting on top of the tires.

Vettel has yet to have any seriously bad luck this season. I know many are predicting future engine penalties for him, but I’m not convinced. Unless Ferrari is lying about the extra turbo’s, which would seem a silly thing for them to do.


lying about the extra turbo’s

You know how all that stuff works – if they’ve been rotating them, rather than replacing them, as they say. Then won’t that preclude an upgrade without taking the same penalty? Or have I confused myself there?


I thought I’d made myself clear – I have absolutely no problem with Ferrari using Kimi as a blocker. As you say, it’s teamwork and, of the two, backing Vettel makes perfect sense. I just think it’s a bit much when he takes all that on the chin and then Marchionne publicly bad mouths him.
As for consistency being the difference I wouldn’t argue, but I’m not sure that you can simply hand all the credit for that to Vettel. If Hams headrest hadn’t come loose and then a new gearbox for Austria the title fight would have a very different look to it. Neither of those issues were Ham’s fault. I appreciate it’s woulda coulda shoulda but context cannot be ignored.


“Bottas has protected the fancy boy a few times too.”

Right but Bottas drives for a team based in England so it is filed under “nothing to see here, move along”.

Also, I believe proper term is Rightful Champion™ and not Fancy Boy.


They already did I think in Australia, Monaco was very suspicious; for sure they did in China/Canada….& then they say they don’t have no1/2 roles in the team……..& some newbies here will blame Kimi for costing Ferrari the WCC as if Ferrari really care about WCC with consistently sacrificing one car for the benefit of the other.


That’s true. It seems Ferrari doesn’t care about the WCC. The WDC doesn’t pay a cent.


Harshad, Monaco was very well explained here on this site. It was not suspicious at all. If you mist it go for the race report, it’s all there.


It was not suspicious at all

Lol – perhaps you still believe in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus but I don’t.


On the Strategy page


He’s had some bad luck especially Spain and Baku losing a bucket load of points through getting hit at the start (Bottas x 2).

But he has also been lacklustre in some races, Canada and Austria he lost positions at the start, he needs to get his elbows out more it’s almost like he’s too fair.

In Austria had he defended from Ricciardo more robustly at the start he most likely would have got 3rd. Agreed that once he’d lost that position the strategy for his race was poor, they should have pitted him early before Lewis had arrived and he would have kept 4th, possibly even put Ricciardo under pressure. Keeping him out on 40+ lap old tyres to try and hold up Bottas was never going to work on this track and so it proved.


out on 40+ lap old tyres to try

I agree – it had a slight air of desperation about it imo as it was never going to work with a tyre offset like that. The bottom line though, is they don’t care about Kimi other than how he can assist Vettel. I’m just slightly surprised why a driver of his calibre puts up with it. Can you imagine many other 1x WDC drivers doing so?


My sentiments to! Well put👍🏻


why thank you kind sir 🙂


I understand that it doesn’t look good. But when it was clear that Hamilton was gonna get him anyway (undercut or overcut), I think Ferrari did the smart thing by trying to use Kimi to help Vettel. Kimi didn’t lose any positions because of this. He was not on Vettel’s pace so can’t really complain.

This is coming from a Kimi fan


I agree. And if there would have been a safety car or the anticipated rain had arrived at the right time Kimi would have been on the podium. It was a gamble, it didn’t pay off, but it could have.


Kimi did not lose anything actually. He was bound to end up fifth anyway and that is where he ended up


Yes they will. They’ve done it before, will do it again.


Yes. Yes they are.


James, do you think Mecedez/Hamilton regret opting to start on the super softs and not the ultra’s? Also can you explain Hamiltons stint on the Ultra’s, it was only towards the end of the race his pace really picked up?


I was very surprised by HAM being unable to catch and overtake RIC. HAM had more power, higher top speed and faster tires, I thought it was one of Lewis’s worst performances of the season and does not bode well for his chances at a fourth title.


Hamilton was too far back plus Ricardo didn’t make any mistakes. Hamilton would have passed him in a couple more laps. Vettel says he could have passed Bottas in one more lap but maybe it would have taken 2 or 3 laps. Hamilton was held up by KR because the red tires were slower than the purple ones. I don’t think KR could have undercut Hamilton with that being said Ferrari left him out way too long.


Your Race Report is my 2nd favourite thing about F1 James (only behind the actual race). Thanks for doing it!


I’m in the same boat, these strategy reports are fascinating and an indespensable reading after each GP




Does anyone have any information on what happened to Kimi’s race after he pitted. In a few laps he went from being 6-7 seconds behind Lewis to being 12 seconds behind! The expected fight back to Lewis for P4 never materialized.


He went over the marbles at turn 1 lapping stroll and went off the track.


Kimi went onto the marbles as he was passing Palmer into turn 1, going straight on, onto the runoff, and that was it for his chase.


Kimi was having some sort of issue with the car during the entire race. The pit wall was constantly telling him to mess with his switches and dials.


… try reading the menu on the steering wheel while doing 220k per hr, and also referring back to the instruction manual and also negotiate back markers who think blue lights and flags are there for decoration


Isn’t that simply part of his job description, and it’s expected of any F1 driver?


Not really, his job is to drive a car that has been set up by the crew and that is demanding enough. When you have to try setting up while driving it is obviously an added challenge which may hamper the driving a little….


Yeah the guy is old and slow


Janes, what if Ferrari had pitted Kimi earlier, wouldn’t Mercedes have Bottas pitted earlier too? In which case Bottas would have to do more laps on the problematic supersofts, would have struggled earlier in the race and Vettel would have duly attacked him with more laps to go? At least this is what I would have done if I were the Ferrari strategist.


You wouldn’t foresee Bottas problems on supersoft though would you? That’s only in hindsight


Teams do have some information from the friday long runs. Another indication would be the fact that this particular tyre performance has emerged at previous races this year as well, most notably Russia, so it could have been anticipated. Although I agree that hindsight is such a good thing, in this case all the indications were there to see for everyone.


So if Ferrari would’ve pitted Kimi sooner or Bottas would’ve had the gap over Kimi earlier, he would have pitted earlier. That would have possibly been a bad decision given the degradation of the suspersoft in comparison to Vettel’s Ferrari. If that is true it means Ferrari may shot themselves in the foot trying to interfere with the leading Mercedes. Very interesting, thanks James.


Yeah I think Ferrari didn’t do well in Austria by keeping Kimi out so long.

Sure it made Hamilton finish forth instead of third but Mercedes just keeps increasing the constructors gap.

The etc doesn’t pay the team one cent. Vettel might have less points if Ferrari let KR race instead of acting as a spoiler in every race.


Well done to Bottas, pretty much a perfect weekend. Very surprised if he doesn’t renew his Merc deal for 2018. If it ain’t broke………..

What happened to the predicted rain in Austria? Answer: It’s on it’s way to Northamptonshire………would you believe it, the UK has enjoyed some hot and sunny weather in the last week – some coastal resorts in Wales and Jenson Button’s West Country looked more like Australia, Portugal or the Balaerics with bleached countryside and baking hot temps, but as the grand prix circus rolls into Blighty, the Big Man in the Sky has sent Dark Satanic Clouds to drench Silverstone’s green and pleasant circuit…………….very likely Saturday quali will be soggy, patchy rain here and there predicted for the weekend. You have been warned……

Time to get those full wets out? Very likely.

Ricciardo Aficionado

You dispelled the Australia analogy pretty quickly. Rain clouds are heaven sent over here.


Rain clouds are heaven sent over here.

Didn’t you guys have some flooding recently – I thought Sars was having to rescue his cows from drowning?

Ricciardo Aficionado

Quite right CeeSixtyThree. But it’s a big country. From my place to Sars is like from London to Saransk. How’s the weather in Saransk lately?


You just said Australia Sirtease – nothing about your place 😉

Ricciardo Aficionado


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