Analysis: How Fine margins swung balance Lewis Hamilton’s way in tight F1 duel
Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Jul 2018   |  6:11 pm GMT  |  339 comments

F1 is a sport where fine margins make the difference and some Grands Prix really highlight that. The German Grand Prix was one of them.

It was the tiniest of rear wheel lock ups for Sebastian Vettel on a damp track that caused him to crash out of the lead. It was a split second last minute decision by Lewis Hamilton to stay out when he’d been called into the pit lane entry that won him the race and it was a finely balanced call to fit ultra soft tyres on Hamilton’s car as a rain shower approached that set him up for the win.

How a 2 v 1 for Ferrari turned into a Mercedes 1-2 at the chequered flag

Ferrari enjoyed a 2 vs 1 situation at the front with Valtteri Bottas alone at the front against Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. Hamilton started down in 14th place.

After hitting hydraulic problems in qualifying it meant that, starting outside the top ten, Hamilton had the option to start on soft tyres wait and see what happened with the rain and then use new ultrasofts to the finish of the race.

The first noteworthy decision in the race was Lap 14, when Ferrari tried to use Raikkonen to pull Bottas into an early pit stop, which would not be the optimum in a dry race and would give Vettel more breathing space.

But Mercedes didn’t bite as they were trying to get the ultrasofts to last to the point where the rain might mean a switch to intermediates. They were also confident that Hamilton would enter the picture later in the race, if the threatened rain came – and even if it didn’t, as there was a real question mark over managing the distance on a one stop strategy starting on ultra soft tyres; blistering was a real issue on a hot, dry track.

There was another reason why Ferrari pulled Raikkonen in Lap 14, to cover Hamilton, who was advancing through the field and this move brought their man out in front of him. But as Raikkonen had a fast car on fresher tyres, he inevitably pulled away from Hamilton early in his second stint.

He managed to get within Bottas’ pit window and by not holding Hamilton up, it meant that he too was progressing quickly.

But in a dry condition, it was highly unlikely that even Raikkonen with his fantastic tyre management skills would have managed to reach the finish without stopping again. He was committed to a two stop strategy.

And that is the third reason why Ferrari pitted early; because no-one was really sure about anything: whether it would rain and if so how much, or whether in a hot, dry race with tyre blistering one stop or two would be the optimum strategy.

So by splitting strategies Ferrari thought they would put themselves in the best possible situation for winning.

Team games
Having played a team game with Raikkonen on the first stop, Ferrari then took a different approach when Vettel stopped on Lap 25. He came out behind Raikkonen, but on 11 lap fresher tyres and a different strategy.

This presented something of a conflict; with rain expected neither driver wanted to be the one running second on the road as it would mean having to wait in a queue at the pitstop for service on wet tyres, losing time and track positions.

It also meant for Vettel that he would lose the impact of the new tyres in getting a gap to the Mercedes cars and by sitting in the slipstream behind Raikkonen he took more life out of them, as we have seen many times before. “This is getting silly, ” he told the team on the radio. “Don’t you see the tyre temperatures. What are you waiting for?”

It’s worth recalling that as recently as the French GP, Vettel, on worn tyres, was instructed to let Raikkonen through on fresher tyres in the closing stages and the Finn caught and passed Ricciardo in the final laps of the race for a podium finish. It’s a team game.

This situation lasted until Lap 39 when Ferrari, under pressure from Vettel asked Raikkonen in the clear terms that he had requested, to let Vettel through.

Having started the sequence of pit stops by putting pressure on the one car Mercedes challenge at the front, Ferrari now found the tables turned on them as the now two car Mercedes challenge were able to pile the pressure on them.

By starting on soft tyres, Hamilton had much more flexibility on his strategy because he could run longer to the point where the weather situation became slightly clearer. And as he reported that there was maybe a lap or two left in his tyres, Mercedes had the information that there would be a short, intense shower, which would hit Turn 6 and probably not spread much further down the track.

This gave the team the idea that they should stick with the original plan which was to pit Hamilton for ultrasoft tyres, as they would have done in a fully dry race. The ultrasoft would have better traction on a slippery track than the worn soft tyres being used by the Ferraris, Verstappen and Bottas in the event that it was just a short shower.

Sauber, McLaren and Red Bull both went for intermediates when the shower hit, but it turned out to be the wrong call and Leclerc, Alonso and Verstappen were soon in to switch back to slick tyres, having overheated the intermediate tyres.

The rain fell in two instalments, the second more challenging than the first. The lap times drifted off, but notably Hamilton on new ultrasofts had been able to take two seconds a lap out of Vettel and Raikkonen on their worn softs.

Vettel’s accident, when it came, looked innocuous enough and it would be a stretch to suggest that he crashed because of the pressure that was being applied by Hamilton as the tables turned in the adverse conditions, as it would be to suggest that the situation had been compounded by the time – and the additional tyre damage – that sitting behind Raikkonen had caused.

But it would be accurate to say that once Hamilton had jumped onto ultrasofts on a damp track and eaten into his lead at two seconds per lap, Vettel was in a position where he could not stop again without losing the race.

And possibly, as in Singapore last year, he was aware that when the conditions change with rain, Hamilton’s threat becomes greater and that requires a response.

Mercedes was far from serene in this phase of the race as they lost time with Bottas’ second stop, due to not having the right tyres to fit and while he was sitting there, they had a miscommunication with Hamilton that ended up being reviewed by the stewards as he backed out of the pit entry at the last minute. This was all around staying out relative to Raikkonen, who pitted a lap later which put him behind Bottas.

Hamilton’s last minute jink to the left won him the race, as he would have lost time behind Bottas, even under a Safety Car and his team mate with fresher tyres and track position, would have won the race.

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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Very good article. It was a great race. Hamilton was faultless but everything went right for him also.


Why argue about CW and what they decide, it seems a waste of time. It’s been like this under his watch, and no signs it would change.

It’s important as it destroys credibility for the whole show, and it would be easy to fix. It’s been done in other sports and areas of society. But if one accepts unfair politics whenever it feels like a gift from heaven, there cant be neihter bad politics nor bad decicions to complain about, just a sport or show you voted for.


Why does everyone insist on blaming Charlie for penalties they see as too severe/lenient? He isn’t a steward and plays no part in giving out penalties or their severity.


” it would be a stretch to suggest that he crashed because of the pressure that was being applied by Hamilton as the tables turned in the adverse conditions”

The first time I have really disagreed with your excellent race reports, it was absolutely clear that Lewis would catch him, and almost certainly pass for the lead, as he has done way more than anyone else in the last decade.

No way Ferrari didn’t mention the fact, or that Sebastián wouldn’t ask, and be totally aware of the threat.


Sorry to poop in the party here, but it is very unlikely that Lewis would have caught Vettel, since tire degradation would have come in to place with 2 or 3 laps, therefore reducing is rate of improvement and on top of that he would have had to overtake a couple of drivers a lot faster than the ones he overtook until then.

Said that, he deserved to win, because he did the right things. Also most of the times, for crossing the pit entry line, you get only a reprimand, therefore CW decision of not punishing him was acceptable.

Yet Christmas does not come at every race and this German GP has been actually full gifts for Lewis. A lot of circumstances played on his favor on this race.

Tornillo Amarillo

Ham, if Jesus does exist, Hulk should be driving a Ferrari next year (with the rule that will equalize taller drivers) 🙂


James, why don’t You mention Mercedes team orders? I seem to remember hearing something on the radio broadcast.


#f1…what Mercedes team orders? Toto has already stated that “ hold your position” is not about guaranteeing Lewis the win rather it is about maximising points. So please before the Dean/Tim/Aveli et al PR machine get activated …let’s not go down that rabbit hole


I was just asking because in the race report it wasn’t mentioned. I think it should be, though. I’m not saying they’re wrong, though.


@! Jon…no matter how you choose to frame it, it was team orders. If not then why issue any comment at all? “hold your position’ has only one meaning. Do not challenge the No.1.


That’s right Kenneth, it means the same as ‘multi 21’. Surely the real question is, did it make any difference ‘?


#Kenneth. Of course it was team orders..but dare we upset the Hamilton PR machine by mentioning it?


Jon, if you want to talk about team orders, then go right ahead. You might have to make some points of your own though, rather than just criticising those raised by others.


@ Jon…hahaha too late mon ami. They’ve already done this topic to death in their own convoluted manner.


He just confused what colour of the pills to take, worst case mixed them))


That is a team order….for both of its drivers not to challenge each other for track position. It’s not illegal so let’s not sugar coat it.


@ Axx1….We all now that it’s not illegal however we should alos be aware that it can be construed as ‘race fixing’ IMO. Two drivers supposedly fighting for a singular WDC and one of them is told to ‘hold station’ and not challenge is basically wrong as the result is manipulated. That’s the inherent problem when you have two WC’s in the same competition, each decided with different strategies in the same teams.


we should alos be aware that it can be construed as ‘race fixing’ IMO

Out of interest kenneth, did you applaud Vettel for ignoring the multi21 instruction and therefore ensuring he wasn’t party to any sort of shenanigans like race fixing? Or were you screaming for his head? I would bet everything I own that you were screaming for his head – shall we go back and have a look at your comments to see whether I’m right? More double standards…..


After Vettel’s accident, if Kimi had pitted at the same time as Bottas (who was just in front of him), then Lewis would probably have done so as well (the “stay out” message amongst the confusion on Lewis’ radio followed Lewis’ comment that “Kimi’s staying out”). So on that logic, with Lewis stacked behind Bottas’ long stop, Kimi would have had fresh tires and come out in the lead following the safety car.

So a win thrown away by Ferrari for missing the first opportunity to pit Kimi under the safety car?


That was the second strategy blunder. First was to undercut Vettel with Raikkonen. Without Marchionne Ferrari seems headless.


At moments like that, you can clearly see how lost Ferrari are as a team, in this respect. They are so used to bild up a strategy around one driver, and the other steategy is to support that first strategy. When the first dissapears or disrupts, all confusion, no idea what to do.It hasn’t got to do so much with who the drivers are. It’s just how Ferrari operates and have since decades. They can’t seem to imagine winning in any other way. And then there is the ghost of Shumi. A new thinking is harder to achieve than one can imagine.


I think they were lost in this crucial moments after what happened to Sebastian.

Kimi should have pitted lap 43 to avoid Hamilton undercutting him, this is not understandable to me as at the time of Sebs crash he was already 3rd and Hamilton charging ion fresh US.


We can’t say for certain what Hamilton would have done but it’s definitely plausible.


These things would be generally easier to follow if the commentary was not a miserable fox news style attempt to generate controversy and so liven debate online.

Sky F1 seem to have adopted this misinformation approach now as any news is better than no news in their warped world.

So Alonso not getting in to any battles so as to preserve his tyres is because he’s depressed and unhappy.

Hamilton with his hood up saturday because it was raining is obviously on the verge of some mental breakdown.

Once sky (foxsport) have the monopoly next year I would expect it to be worse.


I realised this as well. They seem to make statements out of thin air for controversial reasons and then the rest of the world runs with it. The whole leclerc thing. Kimi bit, alonso to Renault and then the force India news and it goes on and on.


Just heard,

Love him or hate him

RIP Sergio marchionne.


Very sad news. Condolences to his family and friends.


My money is on Danny Ric to smash Qualy and win in Hungary.



Are you hoping for long odds?

Max has been “smashing” Ricardio in Quality and Race for the best part of 2 years.


I assume spell checker hijacked your post and converted quali to quality 😊 works both ways though so a happy error 😀


@ Andrew M

I agree that Lewis was putting in some hot laps which others may not have been able to match.

Incidentally the cool weather helped his cause too as he was able to make his softs last longer


James, honestly, do you ever think what a huge influence the English media has on F1 and how it can alter the championship? Before Hamilton came to F1 I wrote that Alonso would go through hell under the pressure of the English media. That was an understatement.

In 2007 Hamilton Sr. was always by the side of journalists pressing for his son’s interests and Hamilton himself in Monaco did one thing that no foreign rider has ever been allowed to do: criticise his team for feeling badly treated and complain bitterly at a press conference – what did Ron Dennis do? The one who was the Englishman’s putative father changed the team’s rules because of Hamilton’s complaint. That day and the GP in which Hamilton was rescued by a crane in the race, I knew that Hamilton would indeed be, as the English media had announced, Schumacher’s succesor. Lewis’ biggest competitor obviously didn’t want to stay at McLaren and Hamilton defeated Massa and won his first World Championship with the faded complaints of those who could also talk about the number one and two drivers in the team. Was it exclusively Lewis’ merit to go to Mercedes at the best moment? Did Ecclestone intervene? He even changed Tony Scott Andrews after being permanent stewart for some decisions that were resounding for everyone but English media? We have now witnessed Whiting’s absurd reasons for breaking the rules, which if there is no danger. Danger can be an aggravating factor, but it doesn’t exempt you from serving a penalty. It’s logical that in the end everything will become like football: fans of teams or drivers, but the weight of a one nationality, England (which I don’t deny is deserved) leads to the media impact. It’s true there is foreign drivers able to reach the Olympus but it could be the toughest if there is a Englishman -promess- great media product or Schumacher succesor at the same time.


Very well written paranoia Sergio (assuming you’re Spanish?). Hamilton matched Alonso in his rookie season, and yes that changed the team dynamics. F1 is not a kids game, and people will fight their corner. Hamilton got what he wanted by luck or design, and Alonso played it badly (as he did with Ferrari).

You’re bitter about Hamilton’s success like several on here, and I find bitterness towards one driver to be a very negative emotion. So here we go again with the Hamilton/Vettel children arguing backwards and forwards, twisting facts to suit, etc 🙄


Hamilton beat Alonso, he did not “match him” he beat him.

Psychologically destroyed him, as well as beating him in the WDC.


Aka level on points.


Aka ahead in the championship standings……


Why do You bring Vettel into this, PaulD? Did Sergio even mention him? I think not. Are You only here to stir controversy?


Please stop with the rewriting of F1 history. It was Alonso who complained about his treatment at McLaren, to the point that he had a FIA official holding his hand for half of the season. Whilst I’m at it, Alonso had access to the information stolen from Ferrari and attempted to blackmail Ron Dennis when the poo hit the fan. Lewis Hamilton had no knowledge at all about the Ferrari data.

Stop looking for conspiracies when the facts are available.




‘Lewis Hamilton had no knowledge at all about the Ferrari data’



I think the investigation revealed a number of e-mails between Alonso and de la Rosa, but none from or to Hamilton. Besides, we don’t look for proof of innocence, we look for proof of guilt, and there were bucketfuls of that, in Alonso’s case.

That said, Hamilton may have *benefited from* the Ferrari data and judging from the £100 trillion fine McLaren had to pay, somebody must have thought he did. Just not quite enough to win the championship.


Schumacher was a marmite character.

Some liked him some loathed him.

I myself thought He had a screw loose. He nearly killed Barchello when he forced him against a concrete wall ?when Barrichello moved on from prancing horse and was allowed to race). Schmachers tussle with Lewis at Monza when he came out of retirement was ugly. Whiting informed Brawn . Brawn came on radio to Schmacher to give Lewis room. He tried to force him off the high speed corner. He also loved to cheat by parking his car at Monaco on track (It’s a German thing even Rosberg attempted that). Schmacher also if he couldn’t win take out his rival …like He did with Damian Hill.

Before anyone says Rosberg derated his engine that’s the main reason both ended up in the gravel. The Spain incident was all Rosberg…who had too apologise.

Never enjoyed watching Schumacher who as any Ferrari lead driver had the easy pass on his team mate every time. Even when it wasn’t necessary. Yep you can have him give me Lauda as Ferrari driver. He had the guts and is a true Legend for racing in pain with 3rd degree facial burns . Trying to force a helmet with those scars took courage.

Also loved it when Alonso beat Schumacher to 2 championships.

But we’ll done to Schumacher for so long 7 in cars that sometimes had a lot of trick parts that were well and truly hidden from the spectators and were easy to Pass under scrutiny (Ferrari International Assistance).

But to some he is God. So I’m happy for them too.


I was at a function where a wanna be F1 racer ( as in I got a few starts but now I do tv and tell everyone how good I was) laid into Mansell and praised Schumi. At the compulsory book signing ( we all got a copy to go straight in the bin) I said that at least Mansell had put everything on the line by mortgaging his house and that Schumi did not deserve at least two of his titles. He fully conceded Launch control but said that Hill should have stayed out if his way. As you say Marmite..when you love him he goes with ice cream as well as toast.



Go on who was the driver?

Ex Caterham driver? Or Super Agurri driver?

Totally agree about Mansell the man got into F1 the hard way and scrimped every penny and had a total belief and desire to succeed.

Heck even Eddie Jordan sold jeans out of his van so he could have a few starts in single seater racing and also gave Schumacher a helping hand….. wait a minute …didn’t Eddie write an Autobiography in the 90s that ended up in the 50p bargain bucket at motorway service stations 🤔….

Is it EJ

I mean was it EJ 😉


Jon, oooh I’m trying to figure out who the mystery driver could be…..a few starts means it’s none of the current sky gang or DC from ch4…….give us another clue?


Bk, My thoughts on Schumacher mirror yours. I remember Brundle saying he wished Michael had won a few less races and one fewer championship. Michael was brilliant, and didn’t need to resort to such tactics. At least Nico was doing what he had to….


Brundle is right TimW 👍


I’ve been in F1 almost 30 years and seen British influence, French influence, German influence and of course Italian influence

There have been spikes of each at various times

I can’t say that any of those is over riding, dominant

When you work in F1 unless you are UK focussed as we were for example on ITV for a while – you think internationally as I do certainly in my current role

Someone like Charlie hasn’t lived in UK for a decade or more, spends all his time surrounded by a United Nations of colleagues


@ jame… I don’t know whether you get to watch the Sky Broadcast but it is sickenly pro British. Th entire team, apart from the odd guest, are British and their comments are predominantly cringeworthy especially from the likes of Hill and Herbert. For an international sport to have such a biased and unrepresentative team of presenters is simply not good enough.


100% correct kenneth. Like you say, “cringeworthy”. Also embarrassing to watch the little excited looks on their faces when they talk about Hamilton in particular. Herbert is just the worst!


Can you give me some specific examples please kenneth. They did a feature on Danni Ric before the German GP. What exactly is the problem?



So you haven’t got any examples then?


@ C63…Being a Brit i more or less expected a comment like that from you. If you can’t see/understand and process what i’ve said then there is very little hope for you. Just to add some salve to your obviously upset ‘wa’ the Australian media are line ball with their Brit opposite numbers. They can be as cringeworthy as the Poms!!!


How many times do you need to told ken? This is a BskyB production that your countries tv station chooses to buy. If none of you tv channels can be asset to satisfy your requirements take it up with them. This is a British feed made for British people to watch. Lobby your MP… do a charity walk to fund it yourself… I don’t care but quit belly aching about another countries tv feed not satisfying your artistic needs. Sky Italy have there own feed. Sky Germany too and boy are they jingoistic! FAR worse than BskyB


Great comment Dean, for me the problem is any kind of perfectly level, even handed and 100% bias free commentary will, from time to time include some positive words on Lewis Hamilton. Unfortunately for some that is wholly unacceptable, they want hysterical reactions to anything he might have said in a post race press conference or on twitter, for him to blamed every single time for any kind of on track incident with another car and of course for any race win to be dismissed as either lucky or easy in ‘the most dominant car in F1 history’. If these conditions aren’t met, and the experts dare to imply that Lewis might have driven well in a certain race, then they are all dismissed as being part of the ‘bias British media’.



Spot on. I like Rugby and in the internationals Sky often use the local commentary team. Australian commentary are unbelievably biased in favour of the home side , New Zealand less so but still biased . They are all the same – ‘looking after’ their home audience. Can’t really blame them and it doesn’t bother me. I can’t understand why poor old kenneth gets so worked up over it.


This year it’s beung managed by an Aussie, ex V8 supercar producer so it’s odd you’d see it that way

I’ll pass your comments on

I like a lot more f the detail changes he has brought in to the coverage


I was sure I was seeing Aussie influence in many of the new broadcast features. Aussie V8s have had the best race coverage of any series for years now.


@ James…Many thanks for that. De Resta and Davidson are quite good as they bring some excellent knowledge to the broadcast. Although i never watch Supercars these days their broadcasts and levels of expertise are right up there with the best.


I’ve always found Hamilton’s portrayal in the media interesting.

As you mention James there was a UK focus to ITV’s broadcasting (which I would say was a bit more pronounced than with BBC, C4 or even Sky). This is totally understandable and I’m sure successful but maybe slightly polarizing too?

On the one hand, I’ve no doubt that promoting Hamilton so much in his early years has helped build his profile and turn him into the most popular driver today (Max and Kimi excepted possibly). On the other hand, whilst I totally recognise Lewis is a massive talent who’s the best driver in the field and undoubtedly going to become the GOAT and beat MS’ record of wins and titles, I’ve always struggled to back LH as much as I should, possibly in an act of defiance at being told that I should be supporting him over and above everyone else…


To be fair to the Sky team, they are never going to receive universal praise, the differences in opinion between rival camps of fans are too great for that. Personally I don’t usually watch any of the race build up or analysis, so can’t really comment on the pro Ham bias shown, but I would say that if you look at the wildly different reactions to Lewis’ win on Sunday on this site, then you can see that nothing those guys said could possibly keep everyone happy.


at least he isn’t Eddie bloody Jordan…..

Lol – +1


C63, neither do I. As I said I rearely watch all the guff either side of the race, but I have always found Damon Hill to be an interesting and knowledgeable guy, and while Herbert gets on my nerves a little bit, at least he isn’t Eddie bloody Jordan…..


+1 Tim

You cannot please everyone – besides I don’t recognise the bias that kenneth says is there.


#triangle..exactly. The UK media has been on his side through thick and thin brushing his discretions under the carpet. So why the sudden outburst against Sky TV?


Great race report as usual James, thank you . However, I don’t agree with you saying that it’s a stretch to suggest that Vettel felt like he was under pressure from Hamilton, who was biting great chunks out of his lead at that point in the race. Vettel would surely have been aware that his once comfortable lead was fast evaporating and that must have weighed on his mind to some degree. IMO this resulted in him pushing too hard, over cooking it and ending up in the gravel – which was indeed a splendid sight to behold.



The stand full of orange T Shirts at Sachs Kurve also took great delight in Vettel’s off-road excursion. They had premium seats for the ‘main event’. But seriously once again Vettel has shown that he’s suspect under pressure.



I’ve always liked the Dutch fans and their orange shirts – I kinda missed them at the world cup.

As for Vettel’s ability to handle pressure – I agree, there have been too many examples of him doing something similar for it to be simple coincidence. I hope he does it again at the very earliest opportunity 🙂


Adrian, you must have noticed that precisely none of my predictions for next years driver market have come true, I wonder if this latest faux pas from Seb might push Ferrari towards a bigger ‘slap in the face’ than Leclerc…..



Just picking up on your point there – I cannot see Ferrari bringing in another driver that will challenge Vettel, unless that driver is definitely a better bet. Ricci’s problem [I assume you are thinking of him] is that he has no track record of hunting down a WDC in a closely fought battle. Sure, he has a handful of wins (mostly reliant on a bit of luck) but no proof that he is the man you want in your corner when things are really tough.



I’m sure you’re a respectful, considered and objective individual. But you still seem like you’re a bit angry to me….are you sure you’re not just pretending?



Actually mate you don’t know me and in all likelihood never will so your presumption that I’m taking some bent up anger out on you because Dan isn’t in a Merc or Ferrari is completely misplaced. Actually if it makes any difference to you my friends regard me as a pretty respectful, considered and objective individual and I would hope this is reflected in my posts.

So, to our recent communication. Your send me me a lengthy post reminding me, once again, of Dan’s situation in F1 as you perceive it, and to my response the best you can do is cry wolff and claim that I’m angry with you. Is that how it is?

Ok, whatever but let me remind you of your pleasantness last week, or was it the week before – no matter, when you rather abruptly said, the gist of which was: “The reality is that Ricciiardo is not quick or good enough to get into Merc or Ferrari, this is the reality of the situation, he’ll have to settle for RB which is coming and you better get use to it.” Now you’re a pretty bright sort of guy so let me ask you is this the sort of comment that is conjusive to a meaningful discussion.

At the end of the day for whom Dan drives is the least of my worries. It’s just started to rain so if you don’t mind I have to rush outside and get some things under cover.




I understand you are disappointed that Ric isn’t going to advance up the ladder with a more competitive drive. But please don’t take your bad temper out on me – it’s not my fault. He just isn’t quite quick enough. If he was he’d get the gig – no?

Maybe if he can really get on top of Max then they might have another look in a couple of years time. Not looking too hopeful right now but who knows?



1. Why have you brought this Dan getting into either Merc or Ferrari thing up again? I made it abundantly clear to you in two previous posts only last week that I never EXPECTED him to get into either team and I wouldn’t be losing any sleep over it but now that you’ve brought it up again, courtesy of Tim’s post, lets go over it, hopefully for the last time.

2. Seb is currently in the first year of a 3 year contract so please refer me to a post of mine where I’ve said that Ferrari should buy out Seb’s contract and install Dan? Find just one post mate. Second thought, don’t waste your time because you won’t find any.

3. Given the above all those comparative stats between Vettel and Dan are irrelevant. But as aside I would suggest that Dan’s stats would be considerably higher if he had a set of wheels similar to what Lewis and Seb have.

4. I have suggested (certainly not recently) that Ferrari should consider replacing Kimi with Dan and give them equal opportunity to compete for the WDC. My rationale for suggesting this is because Seb didn’t get the job done last year and as your mate Tim has suggested with Seb being error prone this year Ferrari might possibly want to try a different approach. Now I know it hasn’t been Ferrari policy to have two roosters in the same hen house but surely they can’t just keep going along with the same-old-same-old without getting the desired outcome. After China the Italian press was screaming for Dan to replace Vettel and with him failing in Germany last weekend they were at him again.

5. In relation to Dan going to Merc Wolff made it clear from the outset that in the first instance Lewis’ partner would come from within the Merc stable, ie, Bottas and Ocon and if these didn’t measure up he might look elsewhere. Actually Wolff made it clear early this year Bottas getting the gig again was dependant upon how he performed through to the first half of the season. Bottas’ form has been good enough for him to get a new contract and if it was a line ball decision he would probably still stick with him because Wolff was previously his manager. Merc didn’t pass on Dan because he wasn’t good enough but because Wolff had options within the camp that had prior consideration.

6. To your comment: “but no proof that he is the man you want in your corner when things are really tough.” Rather vague comment. In what way and why wouldn’t you want Dan in your team when things get tough? And what does things getting tough mean? I took a stab at answering it by saying that he showed in Monaco and China what he’s capable of. I could have gone on but I thought two examples would be sufficient.

7. As to your last paragraph. C’mon mate be realistic ever since Dan’s been driving for RB he hasn’t been capable of what his real potential is because of an underpowered and unreliable Renault engine. Three DNFs this year!! And please don’t start with this him being fortunate or lucky in terms of his wins because I could easily remind you that Lewis was fortunate last weekend when Vettel crashed out and Bottas was told to hold station, or I could refer you to Baku where Lewis got fortunate when Bottas got a puncture. But I won’t remind you because seemingly unlike you I believe all wins are deserved and on merit.

8. Finally, sampling ’17 and ’18 thus far its a fact that Dan doesn’t make the same unforced critical errors as Vettel. But this won’t get him a drive in Ferrari next year. At least this is something we can agree on.



If you were running the Ferrari team, would you ditch Vet in favour of Ric? I know you like him etc but would you choose a driver with a handful of wins and a couple of poles to lead what is surely the most prestigious team in F1, or a driver with 50 wins and 55 poles and 4 WDC’s…… There really isn’t any comparison is there. They can’t have them running as equals or they will just end up sharing the points – unless your car/team is very dominant then sharing points between 2 drivers doesn’t win championships. So they would have to demote Vet (or get rid of him) and put Ric in his place. Personally I cannot see that happening.

As for your second post – I am overlooking nothing . Merc had an opportunity to take Ric and they passed and it looks like Ferrari will do the same. I said it a long while ago – Rics problem is he isn’t good enough to oust the current top dogs and he’s too good to be their compliant #2.


Winning the odd race like China in what can surely be described as unusual or indeed fortunate circumstances does not begin to compare to winning a tightly fought WDC. It’s apples and oranges.


Adrian, you think they will go for Kimi again? I can’t see that happening, Leclerc is the more likely option in my view, I don’t doubt Seb would rather keep his mate, but he really is too old now.


C63, he does have experience of kicking Seb’s butt though…..


Tim, thanks for the optimism mate but I think Vettel wants a stress free life at Ferrari and 39 year old Kimi serves it up to him on a silver plate. And this is the difference between him and Lewis. Lewis has the confidence to know that he can beat anyone whereas Vettel doesn’t. Ferrari are running a protection racket and they are backing the wrong horse.



What you’re over looking is that Dan has never had the good fortune to be in a top car (eg, Merc or Ferrari) to show his true worth. I think China and Monaco he demonstrated that he was the exact type of driver you would want to deliver in those circumstances.



Strange last parragraph from you. But inrelation to it there is “no proof” that Danny Ricc makes the same type of stupid unforced errors that Vettel does. On that basis he might, just might be a better bet to bring a WDC to Maranello if he got the call up.


Agree. Vettel definitely knew of Hamilton’s pace. No way Ferrari wouldn’t have seen the danger and so warned him.


Perfectly agree with your assessment of the situation. Vettel WAS pushing on the laps before going off and seeing him in the gravel was such a sweet sight for my eyes that Sunday.


A reprimand for Hamilton’s transgression is too light. Merc’s confusion should not be an excuse made to justify the “non-penalty”. F1 is a team sport and if Merc’s confusion contributed to the infringement, it should be treated as part of the cause, not a reason to punish lightly. He should have gotten more than a reprimand.

I don’t understand the complaints about Hamilton expressing his religious beliefs before, during or after any race. Loads of sportsmen, competitors and athletes do it all the time. I’m a big fight fan and you should hear fighters after winning their fight, it’s all about their gods, whoever they may be. One should be able to express ones self without someone telling them how, when and where. That’s what the mute button is for. Or better yet, turn of your tele or monitor. No one forced you to watched Hamilton praise his deity.

That’s why I only watch the race. No press conferences, interviews or podium celebrations for me. I can’t stand most of the drivers talking.


Here speaks some who doesn’t know the rules.
Read section 38.2 (a) of the sporting regulations. Which says
“Unless it is clear to the stewards that a driver was wholly or predominantly to blame for an Incident no penalty will be imposed.”
You accept Merc’s confusion and the driver wasn’t wholly or predominantly to blame.

Have a look at the Sporting Regs on how long after a race a can be told he has to stay at circuit to visit the stewards. That rule was breached (the Stewards were able to issue Sainz a penalty for overtaking under the SC before the race ended, but they couldn’t announce Hamilton was being investigated for two hours ? That says they were nobled)

And finally read this Maurice Hamilton piece
Which explains why the event notes when Kimi got penalized in Baku in 2016 said you must not cross the line from the pits side to the racing side, but in Germany this week they only said if the driver is entering the puts he must keep to the right of the bollard. If he had been the other side and come in that would have been an infringement, but the notes never foresaw a driver going down the pit lane and bailing out.

[mod] why let the rules get in the way ?


“I don’t understand the complaints about Hamilton”………”One should be able to express ones self without someone telling them how, when and where.”

Oh the irony………


Context. Look it up.


I did and verified that you didnt apply any.


I think it a British thing. Most of the country is non religious and we not used to openly religious British sportsmen. The media would talk about Jonathan Edwards (Triple jumper) having faith constantly, because he was about the only openly relgious British athelete for years.

Richard Mortimer

I remember very vividly (many years ago) Bernhard Langer saying, on the day he won the Masters (which was Easter Sunday) how much it meant to him winning on the day his Lord rose from the dead!

Not sure that would be allowed today… we are being gagged! Fair play to Lewis….


James, the ever mysterious “hydraulic failure” seems to be a regular occurrence these days. Multiple cars over the course of race weekend are reported to have suffered from this mysterious ailment. It appears to be very serious, with engineers often screaming at drivers to shut down the engine, immediately. We all know that F1 is an extreme test of any/every thing but in general use hydraulics are extremely reliable, self lubricating and self cooling. So what is it in F1 that makes it firstly so important and secondly so unreliable?

I’m sure that there is quite a few of us who would like to know a bit more about what “hydraulic failure” actually means, what causes it and why it is so prevalent. Some investigative journalism please James.

Tornillo Amarillo

Overtakes with DRS and different tyre compounds are boring now. Example Grosjean in this Germany GP going from P10 to P6.

Comebacks of Formula 1-A-cars through the pack of Formula 1-B-cars are boring now. Example Hamilton and Ricciardo in this German GP.

But they cannot ruin the RAIN, it’s always working beautifully. Wait…

Maybe they should ban now the WEATHER RADAR!!


Tornilllo, banning rain radar isn’t a bad idea, it must cost a fortune, and would bring back a bit of uncertainty. I guess the problem would be policing it, how would the fia prevent the teams having a radar system just outside the circuit?

Richard Mortimer

Yes, and have a sprinkler system that sprays randomly after a ‘chosen’ fan pushes the button! 10 x fans each GP, with a 1 in 100 chance of the system firing!

On the marbles

Didn’t bonkers Bernie suggest this a few years back,? it was nuts then too…..


One thing I took from it all was that that guy on the radio at Mercedes Benz ,talking to the drivers,and the guys feeding him his information;

They need to zip it more often

This was another race losing decision by them that didn’t quite work out,how many more races are they going to lose for Lewis & MB.

It was very graphically demonstrated in this last race.”Box box box,Stay out,Box box

As to with Brendon Hartley.

The pit wall sitters are always out thinking themselves…give the bloody drivers some respect guys.Many of them raced in cars where there was no pit radio

Zip it


Ok, but then take it to the limit and ban all team radio. Back to pit boards!


here is hamilton’s first wet race in this karting series

hamilton wins karting in the wet

and here is his first wet f1 race.

this evidence cannot be changed by any adjective nor matter how powerful it is.


this is an incredible explanation of the race results. no mention of over half the field, riakkonen heavily praised for tyre management while he didn’t make his tyres last the longest .’fantastic tyre management’were the chosen words.

‘it was the tiniest of rear wheel lock ups for vettel on a damp track that caused him to crash out of the lead. it was a split second last minutedecision by hamilton to stay out when he’d been called into thr pit lane entry that won him the race and it was a finely balanced call to fit ultra soft tyres on hamilton’s car as rain shower approached that set him up for the win’.

what a disgrace! hamilton won that race because he drove brilliantly, was at one stage over 3s per lap faster than the front runners. he managed his tyres for longer than the entire field and yet raikkonen was described as having excellent tyre management while hamilton’s pace ans skill through the treacherous track was explained away by strategy calls..

hamilton writes the script and as he correctly said, facts are he drove from 14th to victory. drove at 3s per lap faster than vettel and didn;t once lose control of his car while vettel drove at 3s per lap slower and still managed to be the only driver who crashed out of the race. facts cannot be changed only adjectives can be changed but they change nothing.

hamilton is the best driver to have stepped foot in the history of the sport and no written word can change that.


I was taking your comment seriously until I read this:

‘hamilton is the best driver to have stepped foot in the history of the sport and no written word can change that.’


Me too and I am a Ham supporter. Ham is arguably the best of this generation no doubt but we know how these things become subjective across generation.


The best driver who has never ever been in mediocre car in his career? That is the stretch. And we will never know would he won at Monza in Toro Rosso or a single race in F310. That’s the fact.


Are you forgetting the 2009 McLraen? Or perhaps your factual mind didn’t catch that one?


Totally agree. Hamilton has a point when he losing his rag about the lack of acknowledgment of what he achieves.

It was a superb performance from Hamilton and for the most part, the strategy.

No mention of Hamilton’s consistent pace in the first sting.

I’ve seen enough to form my view of what some of the press think of him.


Hamilton drove an excellent race. However he did lose control of his car at least once, diving to deep in the corner when it rained into the runoff area?

Also, the ‘x seconds faster per lap’ has lost a lot of meaning in these days of tire management.


Running deep is NOT losing control. Jees some of you guys. Just suck it up and accept that was a superb drive by lewis.


Hmmm, maybe add some sugar to those Grapes


jj_0, When you say “he did lose control of his car”, what you mean is he pushed as hard as he dared on those corners where he knew there was run off. He also kept his car on the track on corners where he knew he’d be in the wall or the gravel if he over-cooked it. That’s how he managed to gain up to 3 seconds a lap on his rivals in the most crucial part of the race. He knew exactly what he was doing and had the skill to bring the car home in 1st place in conditions that defeated other drivers.


interesting thoughts but i can assure you that x seconds per lap faster than the field will never lose it’s meaning because they are all trying to complete the laps as fast as they can, so long as it is a race, speed differential will remain significant.

i didn’t see hamilton going too deep into any turn off areas but i did see vettel crash his red ferrari into the dhl wall. the only car to have done so for that matter.

enjoy hungary.


I really wish seb never crashed as the last part if the race would have been epic….i think lewis would have won regardless he was fast

I know people like criticise what lewis says in the media and race weekends , but lets start criticising his driving……you cant can you as theres nothing to criticise ( driving is what we watch f1 for, if not i suggest you watch a soap on tv) 🙂

Ahmed of Sydney

For all the people praising Hamilton’s wet weather driving. He is good in the rain as is any of the top drivers in F1. He was on a reverse tyre strategy, and happened to be on the right tire at the right time. He was the only front runner to be on hypersofts, which was the perfect type for the conditions as it got back up to the correct temp the quickest.

Do you seriously think Hamilton would have won had he been on softs like everyone else? Would Vettel have slid off the track with the increased temps or the grip of hypersofts?

It was a good drive from Hamilton, he took chances that came his way and was on the right tire. Any of the top 5 would’ve won if they were on the hypersofts…


But. …they didn’t. If and buts. If you can’t see what a great wet wrather driver lewis is then horse racing may be more your thing.


Good post. I agree.


Since his childhood with Radio controlled cars, the karts and all the way to F1, Hamilton’s number one skill has been an instinctive understanding of grip. This is what makes him so good in the wet, and especially in transitional conditions using slicks on a track which is not fully wet.

Vettel is good in the wet – remember he announced himself to F1 at a wet Monza giving Torro Rosso an unlikely victory. But he went a fraction too fast for the grip he had. As he said it was a stupid little mistake, which at other corners on other days wouldn’t have had any effect. He could have made the mistake that on any tyre. Hamilton is less likely to do that.

Listening to autosport’s Podcast they were trying to work out the last time a driver threw the car off the track while leading – Vettel in Canada when Button was hunting him down was the last one I remember.

Hamilton had got up to 5th, and was gaining on Verstappen, perhaps with the aid of ultras he would have got 4th. But it needed something more to get him to first. Rain, Vettel’s error and the ensuing SC gave that to him.

There is a sort of irony here, if he had got into Q3, started on the same tyre as the rest it would have been easier to contain him.


If we’re counting Canada 2011 as losing a race from the lead, then Rosberg did that in both Monza 2014 and Austin 2015.


Yeah Vettel has shown himself to really be Regenmeister Mark 2 these last few wet races.

How fortunate Hamilton has been able to take advantage of fortunate contra strategies nine wet races in a row, as well as qualifying in Monza last year.



The rest of your argument is rubbish


Then how would you describe your counter argument?


people love to call Hamilton the favored, some even suggesting he has a say over who gets to do interviews over a race weekend… but i doubt he gets a tyre that nobody else has access to.

lets give credit where its due, his win doesnt make anyone else a ‘worse’ pilot. unless we talking about grosjean, hes always the worst pilot 🙂


Nothing stopping any of the top 5 from qualifying outside the top 10 and taking the soft tyre, making it last for 43 laps while overtaking the mid field, getting on to the hyper just at the opportune moment, not sliding off the track while lapping 2+ seconds quicker than anybody else. Yes anybody could have done that… Question, why didn’t they?


Because it was not the optimal strategy for a dry race and it was too much of a risk to assume a wet race. Did HAM choose to qualify outside the top 10?


Ahmed, they all had the option of fitting the ultrasofts. The problem with your theory is Lewis has demonstrated time and time again that he is the quickest in the wet, no matter what tyre is fitted.


The rule is to use at least two different tyres in the race. That’s the problem.


Did he race in the wet with different tyres at the German GP…..I could have sworn he only used a fresh set of ultras. I must go check the race report again.


Axx, that comment doesn’t make sense.


Axx, yes I get all that, just not sure what point you are trying to make,


My point is that if this was a totally dry race HAM would have still pitted around lap 40-42 and fitted ultras to race to the finish. So the changing weather benefited his existing dry strategy. It didn’t suit VET, RAI and BOT strategy as they had pitted for softs earlier in the race. Their failure to pit again for ultras immediately when it rained to cover HAM cost them the race. To their defence it was unknown what the severity of the rain would be so it was also a bit of bad luck especially for BOT

Ahmed of Sydney

@TimW. No the top 10 did not have the option of having ultrasofts, as they qualified on ultras, therefore their first stint was on ultras and had to change to softs or mediums as their 2nd tire choice.

Hamilton was out of top 10 so started on softs in first stint and went had a brand new set of ultras for 2nd stint! No other top driver had this option.

So Hamilton had the best tire for the conditions, period.


Ahmed, yes they did have the option of running ultras! They could have fitted them whenever they liked!!


Technically they didn’t HAVE to switch to softs. They could have gone with ultrasofts again, bargaining that they would need to switch to inters or wets later on.

As Andrew M has shown though, Vettel, Kimi and Bottas were all a pitstop ahead of Hamilton when he pitted, so if the ultras were the best tire for then, they all could have switched to them without losing out to Hamilton.


Nobody forced them to qualify on ultra soft tyres. They chose them as the best option. They could have used the softs to run in Q2, pretty sure Ferrari would have made it to Q3 on softs.


But when Hamilton pitted they had already used both sets of tyres, so if ultras were faster they could have taken the pit stop advantage they had over Hamilton and beaten him. If the chart above is to be believed, each of Hamilton, Bottas and Raikkonen had a fresh set of ultras if they wanted them, I presume Vettel did as well.


Yes they all had one new US. Only Max didn’t … he had 4 used US’s but surely one of those was only lightly used.


“Hamilton was out of top 10 so started on softs in first stint and went had a brand new set of ultras for 2nd stint! No other top driver had this option. “

yes and no; all the drivers in front of him (when he pitted for the ultras) had the opportunity to make the same change and retain a lead (over HAM).

Seems none of them felt it would be an improvement over their existing strategy though.


why do you refer to hamilton by name and the rest of them as other drivers?


Ahmed, if they had wanted to pit for fresh tyres, they could have. Lewis was lapping over 2 seconds faster than Vettel, so Seb would have made up the stop in ten laps. Obviously this assumes he could have turned in similar lap times to Lewis….


The really impressive drive from Hamilton was that he made his softs last so long while coming up the field and still maintaining pace with Ferrari’s (although a little slower) towards the end of the stint while they were on new softs. Fact is LH did do more than expected this race. He has shown time and time again he is one of the best in the wet. Only driver who seems to be there with him in the wet at the moment is Vers (while people rightly say Vers Brazil drive was amazing, I actually thought Hamilton’s was better as he had zero mistakes and a WDC at stake).


“The really impressive drive from Hamilton was that he made his softs last so long while coming up the field and still maintaining pace with Ferrari’s”

A detail omitted from the reporting…….


Regarding Vettel: in the post-race comments I posted a query as to why the Ferrari driver didn’t even try reverse gear “just in case”. Having now seen the onboard camera footage from the stricken Ferrari, it turns out he did try to reverse out – 26 seconds after hitting the tyre barrier. (YouTube Best onboards, impact at 4:17, rear wheels spin backwards at 4:43).
Admittedly it looked like he had to cycle through a lot of functions on the steering wheel Nintendo to find a backwards gear, as if Ferrari’s unhelpfully buried reverse in a sub-menu, but to me it’s telling that the punching and swearing got priority, and the rational response to being in the gravel – “is there any chance at all I can get out?” – had to wait until later.


Pretty sure his steering was broken, he’s moving the steering wheel and the front wheels aren’t responding at all.


Well it did get a bit of abuse, physical and verbal. He may also have got it wet..



It did seem strange he wasn’t trying to back out from the onset…..maybe banging on the wheel took him deep into one of the menu options and he’d accidentally ordered a cappuccino rather than being able to select reverse straight away. 🙂


The Ferrari engine boost. The engines are limited to max fuel flow, which gives a soft rev limit around 12k. Are Ferrari fuelling fewer cylinders, but with more fuel for a power boost?

I have NO inside info so if that’s right, I am AMAZING. If it’s wrong, meh


Its not the ICE that makes the Ferrari faster.. Its the battery with about 20hp more than Mercedes. I would like to see the reason for this but the atomic bomb is probably not as secret.


It’s the turbo. You can hear it constantly spooling in the fezza rather than a top end feature in the mercs (to simplify it dramatically). Nico Rosberg did a small piece on it on his youtube channel…didn’t like him at the time, but the dude is growing on me with his insider F1 info. But watch the onboards and listen out for the turbo, Ferrari sounds like it has a private jet engine constantly whirring whereas everyone else has a classic rev up


as Lewis’s engineer said, miracles do happen.

It’s one of those races where if you make the right call, you can’t (and Merc didn’t) say it was skill. A bit of a crap shoot, great for the championship, great for the show. Driver of the day was really ‘unpredicted partial rain’.

Ferrari still have the quickest car, something weird in the PU boost, and $5M more per race than the rest, courtesy of F1

Level(er) playing field please. Oh, and can my favourite team win? (JOKING, we all have our prejudices, it’s just a nod to that)

Tornillo Amarillo

ALONSO DNF: What is the advantage of retiring the car in the last lap (and saying something is broken…) instead of finishing at the checkered flag?

Can you repair/replace engine-gearbox parts without penalties?

Is there a loophole?

James, please advise 🙂


The guy is still working on hos CV. Finishing last or thereabouts wont look as good. He’s cut’n’pasting a lot, but he’s used to it


I know that there used to be a loophole that BAR exploited in Australia in 2005 – I remember sitting in the grandstand opposite and watching them pit with a lap to go. I think they closed it shortly afterwards?


New gearbox is all. As I said in another post, it helps Alonso to retire from races late, as pretty much every “best F1 driver in history” study uses points-per-finish as the basic building blocks for their models. It would only hurt Alonso’s ranking if he finished 14th-16th, which is where he was running after the restart, compared to Vandoorne’s 13th. If he retires, then it’s as though the race never happened, as far as Alonso’s ranking is concerned.

Retiring late on in races, within the last 10% of a race, will result in a classified result, with no finish. When you look at a racer’s wiki page, you’ll see these shown (usually) as a non-points finish with a cross denoting that the driver failed to finish, but completed over 90% of the race.

Taking just a cursory look at Alonso’s F1 racing record, it shows that he had only 2 such classified finishes in his first 13 seasons (2001, 2003-14), including the leaner years with Minardi and his second stint at Renault.

In his 3.5 seasons since rejoining McLaren, he’s had 7 such classified finishes. What are the odds of that?

It would also be interesting to see how many of his recent DNF’s occurred in the last 10-15% of races. Belgium ’17 would be one such instance of this.

Tornillo Amarillo

Cool, thanks.


At the very least, it Alonso padding his statistics. Make no mistake, this is a man who has put geniun thought into his legacy in motorsport.

If he retires the car in every race he’s outside the points (which shows up as a DNF), a casual look at the statistics would indicate he’s scoring points in every race he finishes.

Combine that with the legacy that will be left behind by McLaren’s hybrid era antics – boiling down the team was a mess and the car was a dog, and unreliable – and suddenly, you have future history telling the story that Alonso was able to drag a dog of a car into the points every time the car held itself together.

Maybe I’m reading into it too much, but at the same time, I wouldn’t put it past a guy who started a museum about himself before he retired 😛


I have no problem with a driver’s museum. If I’d be near I’d visit.


I’d visit it too.

Tornillo Amarillo

Tks a lot.


If I recall correctly, you can change the gearbox for free if you don’t finish a race. If you finish, then you incur a 5 place grid penalty unless you’ve completed 7 (?) races on that gearbox.

Tornillo Amarillo

Tks, it looks like a loophole.


It means he ranks higher in the F1Metrics end of season rankings!

Tornillo Amarillo

OK tks.

Tornillo Amarillo

The irony is Ericsson’s basic 1 stop-strategy (Soft-Ultrasoft) worked perfectly in tricky conditions for a less than an average car & driver, getting P9.


Then what do we say about the only driver that crashed into the barrier. Even stroll and sirotkin with amply less experience managed to avoid the barriers.

Tsk tsk.


Thus providing the old adage for a mid-field/bottom team strategist:


Tornillo Amarillo

Nop, Ericsson stopped in lap 38 for Ultras before Hamilton, who did it in lap 42.

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