Dealing with disruption: Behind the scenes of the decision making in Austrian F1 GP
Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  03 Jul 2018   |  3:56 pm GMT  |  196 comments

Disruption is everywhere in the modern world, few can escape it.

It has always been true of Formula 1, where technological innovation plays such a vital part in success.

But we also find disruption in the race strategies. A race that seemed under control can be turned on its head by a Safety Car or a Virtual Safety Car and the challenge is disrupted.

F1 team race strategists have experienced most scenarios and it all comes down to calculation and appetite for risk. Teams that are used to winning, like Mercedes in the current formula, have a low appetite for risk. Whereas challenger teams like Red Bull love to take risks, especially when they don’t clearly have a fast enough car to win under normal circumstances.

A Virtual Safety Car disrupted the Austrian GP, five of the teams decided to leave a car out: Mercedes, Force India, Williams, Toro Rosso and Haas. Half the field got it right and half got it wrong.

Virtual Safety Car catches out Mercedes –

The Virtual Safety Car was introduced after the accident of Jules Bianchi at Suzuka in 2014 and has played an influential role in the outcome of a number of races since.

Whereas the Safety Car bunches the field up and race strategists know that it will be out on track for several laps, so they can plan, a Virtual Safety Car is a more fleeting thing.

The strategists have to second guess not only how long the Race Director is going to keep the VSC active for, but also whether the incident in question is severe enough to warrant a switch to a full Safety Car. We have seen a number of those in the last few years. Another famous occasion for Mercedes was Monaco 2015 when they lost track of time intervals as a Virtual Safety Car became a Safety Car and Lewis Hamilton lost the lead to his team mate in the pits.

But the challenge with the VSC is that there is no way of knowing when it will end. There is no warning from Race Control, as there is with a full Safety Car. And the worst thing you can do is find yourself coming into the pit lane just as a VSC ends. As you will lose time and many track positions.

In the case of Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes suffered a sudden loss of hydraulic pressure on Lap 14 and pulled off the race track. This brought out the VSC while the marshals cleared the car. Some strategists took the view that the VSC would be short lived, others dived on the opportunity of a cheaper pit stop, saving around 9 to 10 seconds compared to a stop at racing speeds.

There was plenty of time to react as the leader Hamilton was only approaching Turn 6 at the moment when the VSC was deployed, even more time for Verstappen, Raikkonen, Ricciardo and Vettel who were trailing in his wake, Verstappen was five seconds behind the Mercedes.

In situations like this the gamble is how long the VSC will be out, but there was a clarification from Race Director Charlie Whiting that the VSC would always be out for at least one lap.

This took away the chance that a shorter deployment could create a lottery which massively advantaged one or two teams who happened to be in the right place at the right time.

The thinking of the strategists is often to do the opposite of the car they are racing against. In this case, if Hamilton had pitted, Red Bull might have split strategies, leaving Verstappen out to gain the track position and pitting Ricciardo. Ferrari had a fast enough car to race for the win, but having lost out in qualifying with Vettel and at the start with Raikkonen, they were focussed on beating Red Bull.

The VSC came at a horrible moment in the race; it was too early to pit as the race was set to be a one stopper with the original target stop lap being between laps 20-28 to switch to soft tyres, for the Mercedes and Red Bulls using supersoft tyres for the first stint.

The limitation was tyre graining and especially the left rear, as the track’s predominantly right-hand turns give lateral stress to that particular tyre. It was much hotter than during practice, which made it more of a tyre management exercise than anticipated.

For the Sauber team that had started Marcus Ericsson on soft tyres, it guaranteed that they would score points as the soft tyre was the only tyre you could stay out on with confidence that you could push after the race went live again. When strategists with cars down the back of the field go for a reverse strategy (starting on hardest tyres) it is precisely for this scenario that they are gambling.

Fernando Alonso finished a remarkable eighth having started from the pit lane. How much further up would he have been had he started on the soft tyres on a reverse strategy, given what played out?

On the Mercedes pit wall, there was discussion on what to do. The final decision in that team lies with James Vowles, who does the strategy for both cars. Over the last five years he has had to think in stereo on many occasions, but now there was only Hamilton’s race to consider.

But in this case, the clock ran down for Mercedes and they missed the opportunity. Hamilton started a new lap and the four cars behind him all stopped. Other teams did the same thing, but the Mercedes example was the most high profile.

The calculation was whether Hamilton could pull out over eight seconds on Verstappen on worn supersoft tyres, against the new softs on Verstappen’s car.

Red Bull and Ferrari were fully committed to stopping; so much so that they pitted both cars, which cost the tail car in each case – Vettel and Ricciardo – three additional seconds of race time. To do that they had to prepare two sets of tyres in double quick time, which Mercedes would be aware of as they deliberated.

Hamilton didn’t have the pace on fading tyres to pull the gap and dropped to fourth at his stop on Lap 25. Ferrari missed a trick in not keeping Vettel safe to Hamilton, in other words getting him to speed up to maintain a pit stop gap to the Mercedes, which would have put Hamilton fifth after his stop.

They made up for it with another tactic which was to back Hamilton up into Vettel once the Mercedes caught Raikkonen, who had been overtaken by Ricciardo early in the second stint.

The higher temperatures on race day meant that the tyres were graining and the winning tactic was to look after them rather than to push, as Ricciardo did in his attack on Raikkonen. He was forced to make an extra pit stop.

It is surprising that this happened in many ways, as there was clear indication from the damage sustained by the tyres from the first stint that it was vital to look after the second set to make the finish and that would have been communicated to the drivers. Verstappen certainly heeded it and it won him the race. But Ricciardo was in a racy mood.

In clear air at the front Verstappen was able to manage his tyres, as did the Ferraris, which had the best performance on the tyres at the weekend.

Vettel took the championship lead by one point, but it could have been more. If Ferrari had switched the cars around, Vettel would have gained another three points. And if he had not blocked Sainz unnecessarily in qualifying, picking up a three-place grid penalty, he would have started in third place on ultrasoft tyres – ahead of Verstappen – and with Mercedes’ double technical retirement, he’d have scooped 25 points to Hamilton’s zero.

It’s easy to say in hindsight, but one of the secrets of Michael Schumacher’s success at Ferrari was never giving anything away to the opposition, especially through unforced errors, of which we have seen a number from Vettel this year.

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.

Here you can clearly see the drivers tyre managing. Look at Ricciardo in the second stint, he pushes to attack Raikkonen but pays the price with a drop off in performance, needing an extra stop before retiring.

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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

Another important aspect in this connection not mentioned once in the article is about each team’s ability to handle an efficient ‘double shuffle’ (or as some also name it: ‘double stacking’) for the process of having both cars coming in for a pitstop/tire change at the very same time, one right after the other!

It carries a much increased risk of getting it wrong and it will always be a longer pitstop than normal for the second car, as holding position to wait for the first car to leave the box.

I understood from e.g. Gunther Steiner after the race that Haas had simply refrained from double stacking their cars at the VSC, as didn’t want to put too much stress on the pit crew, keeping their AUS disaster in mind. And as result only asked Grosjean to come in and they knew thereby also they were compromising Magnussen’s race position longer term, as he would have to pit later and most probably loose positions due to that. He did actually manage to pass the two cars which he lost position, to, so ended up right behind Grosjean who had not needed to overtake any on track to end where he did. If the teams do not have the experience/confidence/the material on the ready, they will not be able to serve both their drivers in case of an opportunistic chance with a disruptive VSC episode happening.

Would be interested to hear feedback/assessment of each team’s readiness for double stacking!? The race strategist may all know very well it pays off to push the button for quick tire change when VSC is deployed, but they cant do it for both cars if their pit crew is not up to it.

Tornillo Amarillo

IMO if Grosjean has pitted and Kevin has NOT pitted under the VSC, and they got P4 and P5… so, no superstrategist is needed 🙂


Tornillo, good point. It’s not as if they had any chance of improving their position, and double stacking is risky.


@TA and TimW, Magnussen actually lost 2 places due to being pitted later than Grosjean/VSC period !

Much as Hamilton also complained to his team of not being pitted right away during the VSC and thereby loosing valuable positions. Magnussen had to go hard racing and overtake those two cars that got ahead of him due to this (and his team not ready/able to double stack). Grosjean ‘inherited’ his final race position due to the DNFs ahead of him and that Haas pitted him right at start of the VSC. Magnussen lost two positions due to not being pitted at the VSC. It was only because he was racing hard and managed to overtake those two cars ahead of him that he accomplished to end his race just behind Grosjean (which was the position just before the VSC). Haas lost two positions for Magnussen due to they didn’t do the double stacking.


Cyber, Kevin lost positions to Sainz and Occon, Sainz was easy meat due to his grained tyres and Occon wasn’t too difficult as Kmag’s tyres were 13 laps fresher. The risk of stopping early is that you run out of tyres at the end of the race and have to either stop again as Sainz did, or run out of tyres completely as Romain very nearly did. Add these risks to the inherent risk of errors that come with double stacking, and you can see why the Haas strategy team didn’t think it was worth it. Ultimately they were proven right, they had no chance of finishing ahead of the guys in front of them, so they maxxed out their possible points haul.


OK, so you say it was a walk in the park for Magnussen to overtake his enemy peers while making it a big deal then for Hamilton to do the same then on his fresh tires?

I don’t understand your reasoning to minimize the accomplishment of Magnussen overtaking Sainz in the Renault and the fast paced Ocon? Both of the FI cars did very well in Austria.


If you look at this race there also was another aspect to it. Ferrari could not be certain they would get both car to the checkered flag. And Kimi was in the best position to get the victory, it would have taken some seconds to swap, and just to show his pace, he put the lap record in, just in the closing stage of the race.


I hope that we have entered at least slightly, through the doorstep into a new ere in F1. I never believed that Ferrari would swap places in that last race, if nothing else, they learned the lesson last time around with S&B. This time around they also have two F1 champions, one of which is Ferraris last champion, since MS had his days, now long time ago, even more so than Kimi.

However one can never get the politics or rather the politicians out of the races, but if Liberty wants to reach a new audience, not to mention get recent fans to stay. The old ones all still remember that shameful day at the ring, when the crowd gave their thoughts about it, vocal enough. Guess some still think that was great, but I would say every true fan of tis sport or any for that matter, would rather forget it, as the shameful event it was. Not the brightest hour of F1, let’s just say.

Of course the politicians wants to dictate the races, but it did not go well last time around, No matter the win, it’s just stats in the end. Contrary to what many believe it’s the real heros we remember and that will go to the history books eventually, but most importantly into our hearts.

It think the younger generations will not tolerate that. We have the social media we’re these things can go really viral and hurt any team, even one that has been around for ages. That said, sure the politicians play their game, this year with strategies most and foremost, but with other means as well to achieve their goals, but as people can connect today, and you don’t need to be rocket scientist to get it , there will be a different outcome to that, to a grater extent, as the information get’s less difficult to obfuscate or hide.

If you look at this race there also was another aspect to it. Ferrari could not be certain they get both car to the checkered flag. And Kimi was in the best position to get the victory, it would hav taken some seconds to swap, and just to show his pace, he put the lap record in, just in the closing stage of the race


Here we go, right into a brave new world with this expression “disruption” used in business, and in high tech. Still we stay on the stone age when it comes to advocating a strategy, let’s call it the “Barrichello doctrine”. That strat would have led right into a PR catastrophe.


Disruption is the term wannabe hipsters and businessmen are using for destruction. Nothing to be proud of. I am a Netflix subscriber and shareholder and loving it but that doesnt mean i have to be a follower of Reed Hastings. Its just that right now Netflix offers an attractive product for a small price and has built an almost dominant brand with plenty of marketshare in the global OTT market still up for grabs.


I can’t see that Ferrari missed a trick, but they certainly backed Ham into Vet, which helped Vet to overtake and get his race going again. Kimi lost in that, although not too much.

Fulveo Ballabeo

“the winning tactic was to look after them (the tyres) rather than to push”

Yeah, because that’s what fans want to see. /sarc off

Let them race!


Wait a second, something is off with that race history chart. Lap times of the leaders were decreasing towards the end, yet the graphs are bending downward throughout that soft stint, compared to the steep incline at the start of that stint. That does not add up.

Forza Ferrari

James Vowels: Chief Strategist or Professional Baby Sitter

Christian Horner is right. It’s shameful that one individual has to put their hands up and take responsibility for the mistake publicly instead of dealing with it later internally.


Especially after that article recently about how Wolff handles the, I don’t remember the right words but “conflicts” could describe it very well. Is it to hang out one guy, because of something, not even a real mistake. You could see his options was not really crazy thinking. Never heard him apologize to Bottas when something goes a bit wrong. It does not matter if he did this on his own admission or not.


Yeah for once I actually agree with Horner. It’s mildly embarrassing they feel the need to do that.


They have to do it publicly because by the time the race is over it has worked itself up so much and everyone is fed up treating a 34 year old like a 10 year old,…… so it’s best this way.

“Oh no. Not another Lewis thing”,………. that was the head of the entire Merc company saying that during the off season. Imagine what it’s like within the race team during a season.

They will be glad when Ric joins the team and Lewis retires to avoid a fast teammate. Lewis’ speed is his legacy. Loosing that, he’s just a prat with a legacy of saying/doing stupid things off and around the track.

Drive Lewis, drive!


They will be glad when Ric joins the team

LOL – I’d use that one again quickly – I suspect you won’t be able to use it after this weekend 🙂



According to Christian Horner Lewis is off to pursue his singing career and Ricc is replacing him next year. Surprised you haven’t heard that!



Is that the same CH who also said he will be very surprised if DR doesn’t re-sign with Red Bull?


Takes a special case to see otherwise


Same old stuff Hello, have you ever left a comment on here that wasn’t all about how awful Lewis is? Maybe you need to get out more…..


What remarkable insights you have into the inner workings and thoughts of everone who works at Mercedes! I’m so impressed!


I think that goes with their ethos. They’re not afraid to admit when they’ve erred. Attack and fix the problem, not the person. It’s refreshing. Don’t we all just want a politician – ANY politician – to just say “I’m sorry, that one was on me”, just once?!?

Here in Ontario, Canada, we just had an election where the incumbent government had made a lot of bonehead moves. They realized early on that they would need to own up to them. The best they could muster was a “sorry, but not sorry” defiant apology. They ended up with their worst-ever electoral showing, in both seats and vote percentage. They got what they deserved.

Christian Horner is just playing games. That should be clear. All at Mercedes will pay no mind to any of it.


The whole british motorsport media is babysitting Lewis Hamilton. Ferrari made a similiar mistake in China by not reacting to Bottas undercut which cost Vettel the lead and more places as a result. Lewis Hamilton has had a lacklustre 2018 up to now and yet is only 1 point behind the leader thanks to the team he is driving for.


Team error in Australia produced a 17 pts swing against Hamilton.

Not pitting Hamilton in China with the VSC cost him a potential win, or 2nd at least (6 pts lost).

Not pitting with the VSC in Austria cost him a potential win. Who knows whether the fuel pressure issue was related to pushing hard in dirty air, or whether it would have happened regardless?

That’s a 23 pts swing at least, and potentially a 58 pts swing at worst, all team related.


Whereas Vettel has been absolutely flawless of course.


Flawless more like clueless at times .

More like Vettel Red Baron taking on the Mighty Sopwith Camel with the 20 minuters and Lord Flash Heart !!” Black Adder Goes Forth.

Bigger news McLaren have sacked/resigned Boullier finally. Now all they need to do is sack everyone every member of F1 team and bring in the guys from the Sports car division.


Do you know what it’s like to have the wind blowing through your hair?

I sometimes wonder what Lord Flashheart would make of the #metoo movement.


AndrewM, Lol. No you misunderstood. I was just highlighting the fact that this is the fourth article in a row on JAonf1 with the same central theme, which is the strategy error made by Mercedes during the VSC and that this basically resigned Hamilton to a fourth place if not for the DNF. After all he could have overtaken Raikkonen instead of being overtaken himself by Vettel, for instance. He had fresh tyres and ca. 40 laps to go.
Concerning China, i am not even sure the missing call for Vettel to pit the following lap after Bottas went for the undercut and was like 2 seconds faster on new tyres was even mentioned in the China race report. Or that anyone had to apologize, publicly or privately for that matter afterwards.


No, I didn’t misunderstand. Your post was full of stuff that I think is nonsense.

Ignoring the rather tiresome “babysitting” comments, the China example isn’t even remotely comparable. Bottas and Mercedes were aggressive on strategy and went for the undercut, Ferrari reacted the next lap (i.e. literally as soon as they were able to do) and weren’t fast enough, either on the in lap or in the pits. It was by no means perfect, but it was nowhere near the scale of the Mercedes’ blunder on Sunday.

Secondly, you said that Hamilton was only in the title race only because of his team, which I think is untrue. As KRB pointed out, Mercedes have cost Hamilton plenty this year through strategic blunders/reliability, and Vettel has hardly been flawless (although he has had his fair sure of bad luck as well).

Vettel should be leading the championship by a wider margin than he is – he may regret that come season end. He’s finished behind Kimi on merit for the last two races (and would have done in Australia as well for good measure). That’s not a great showing against a 39 year old on the downslope to retirement. I know full well who I’d rather have in my car.


Christian Horner has bought in to the Mercedes strategy blunder when they failed to bring Lewis in under the VSC asking why James Vowles needed to throw himself “under the bus” when these sort of issues should be kept “in house”. Actually I thought it rather refreshing that James as chief strategist publically (via the radio communication) took “ownership” of his mistake and apologised to the person most effected, namely Lewis Hamilton. Humans do at times have a tendency to stay silent to hide their misdeeds or shy away from admitting error. Perhaps Horner should ask himself why as team principle he didn’t intervene in Baku to avoid Dan and Max crashing out.

With Hamilton, Bottas and Ricciardo retiring from the race and the (untimely) VSC it shows one again the effect that random chance events can have on the outcome of races. It really is a lottery at times. But kudos to Verstappen for putting himself in a position to take the win. He won “on merit” and I just don’t buy the proposition that he “got lucky” a claim levelled by some at Ricciardo for many of his wins. Surely all wins are on merit and needless to say that a skill of an F1 driver is to put himself (through good driving and strategy) in positions to take advantage of events occurring on track.

Interesting points James made regarding tyre management and the graining that occurred to many drivers especially as a result of the higher temperature on race day. Ok, both Ricc and Lewis were pushing hard and perhaps asking too much from their tyres after their pit stops however Dan needed to pull a gap to Kimi and Lewis needed to make up ground. What else should they have done? Any comparison with Max in the sense that he did a “better job” of managing his tyres is a rather mute-point because he was running in clear air and controlling the gap out in front, which is why he was able to preserve his tyres.

Good to see that Kimi wasn’t asked to move aside for Vettel. Seb might be wondering though if those 3 points will make any difference in his bid to win the championship.


Good comment Adrian

Ashish Sharma

What else should they have done?

It is sad thing to say, but they should have nursed their tyres.

Ricciardo was 3rd behind Verstappen and Kimi, and ruining the tyres in overtaking Kimi, and the extra stop sent him back to 6th. Same for Lewis.



At some stage Dan had to clear Kimi and decided he would do it on track and probably gambled that his tyres would stay intact. Possibly his left rear started graining well before he overtook Kimi but probably hunting him down only made the problem worse. I guess if Dan gambled it didn’t pay off.


@Adrian, The excessive tyre degradation we witnessed was due to two factors: extreme track temperatures and a couple of high-speed curves putting extra stress on the tyres. Turns 7, 8 and 10 is what I am talking about, where T8 and T10 are righthand corners. Only one driver consistently reduced speed in these turns in his second stint – Max. All others (except the Ferrari couple) payed the price by suffering heavy blistering; blistering which came far too soon to be accounted for just by being in traffic.

Ashish Sharma

At some stage Dan had to clear Kimi


With the benefit of hindsight, the answer is a clear no.

Even at the time, The “probable gamble that his tyres would stay intact” was risky because of 3 things –

1. There were still 56 laps to do on the Soft Tyre

2. He had lost ~3 seconds in the double stacking

3. “clear indication from the damage sustained by the tyres from the first stint that it was vital to look after the second set to make the finish and that would have been communicated to the drivers”

The Ferrari was the faster car, with lesser tyre deg and nursing its tyres at that time. Had Riccirado fallen a safe distance behind Kimi and preserved his tyres he might have been able to stay ahead of Vettel and surely Hamilton, so it was the “safer” thing to do.



Thanks for your comments. Yes, with the benefit of hindsight we can offer seemingly plausible reasons how differently Dan and Lewis could have approached their respective races. I haven’t read any official statement from Horner about Dan’s tyres going off and Dan’s only comment I read was speculative in that he said that he may have picked up some “debri” which caused the graining on the left rear. But it seems that other drivers also suffered, for example Carlos Sainz whereas neither Ferrari drivers experienced any graining issues that I’m aware of. It seems obvious however the tyres which were considered indestructible in the cooler temperatures earlier in the weekend were rendered suspect when the temps ramped up on race day. But I return to my original post in that it’s somewhat unfair or unrealistic to say that Max did a “better job” in managing his tyres when he was in a better position to do so – that is out front unchallenged, in fresh air and controlling his race part of which with his engine turned down.


@Adrian, re your point that Max didn’t necessarily do a better job managing tyres: seems from the race history graph that neither Lewis nor Dan had the pace to significantly gain on Max in their third stints on fresh, softer tyres in clear air, even at the start of those respective stints. Max had impressive pace throughout on those softs, especially considering RB’s deficit in qualifying and free practice with respect to Mercedes and Ferrari.


Well said and pretty much agree with everything you said.


He had to throw himself under a bus because his lead driver, while fastest out there when things are going his way, is a precious flower when things aren’t perfect. Easier to take the blame yourself on the spot than have Mr whingey pants sulk over the radio for the rest of the race. It’s a total reaction to Lewis’ fragility. His team knows it too, hence their behaviour in this case.


NickH, you can’t think of examples of emotional fragility from Vettel? Mexico, Turkey or Baku ring any bells?


Ring any bells of what? I can’t remember the team feeling the need to apologise to Vettel. I think you’ve misunderstood.


It’s a total reaction to Lewis’ fragility. His team knows it too

I appreciate that you are just fisching – But I have a question for you; if the team ‘know it’ as you say, then why does the team continue to pay him so handsomely for his services? Why don’t they just get someone who isn’t fragile? It’s an odd situation wouldn’t you say? BTW, do you have any suggestions as to which drivers would be less fragile? I’d genuinely be interested to see who you think would do a better job – I’d also be interested to know why the team, in your opinion, haven’t hired them – they could, after all, have anyone they want.


I’m not “fisching” at all. Like I said, he’s the fastest guy out there when he’s in a good headspace, his car’s working, nothing goes wrong, and he’s at the front. Mercedes do their absolute best to make this all go well, and mostly, they do a pretty damn good job of that. They know if they can minimise his distress, Hamilton will deliver. When it’s not perfect, we hear the moaning and fragility I’m talking about.

Personally, I think most drivers out there are less psychologically fragile than him, including most of the top 6 – but none of them have his natural speed and ability, which comes to the fore when everything’s to his liking.



Fragility – it’s a common trait amongst multi world champs isn’t it!


Not fisching – yeah right.

Try reading some of the interviews with the people who have actually worked with Lewis – funnily enough they have reached almost the exact opposite conclusion to you. Who’d of thunk it!


Personally, I think most drivers out there are less psychologically fragile than him, including most of the top 6 – but none of them have his natural speed and ability, which comes to the fore when everything’s to his liking.

I’d agree with that. And most of the time he is in the right zone so over a season he comes out on top.


C63, a good point, lots of talk on this thread about what a nightmare Lewis is to have on staff, with all the radio tirades, meltdowns and whatnot. It can’t have escaped your notice that a certain two time world champion is a free agent at the end of the season, and all of the top three teams have at least one seat available…..


a certain two time world champion is a free agent at the end of the season……

It’s strange isn’t it Tim – all the top teams continually deny themselves access to the best drivers available – according to the bashbois that is – and will continue to do so. How odd, if only they consulted the many F1 forums they cound avail themselves of all this ‘expert ‘ advice for fee



Seen a lot of similar posts from a few 1-stars of late. I’m not sure why anyone would want to make their initial contributions here in the vein of @ozoner’s post. Not the best way to set out one’s stall.


KRB…qty of stars mean less than nothing. I am with immediate effect withdrawing from commenting for some time due the embarrassment of having gained 4 stars recently. Ive been commenting on here long before many of you 5 starers but basked in the glory of only having 3 since the stupid damn things were introduced. James…can you remove stars? What do I need to do to get my hallowed 3 star status back?


What absolute arrogance.


What absolute arrogance

Well you should know kenneth. The level of arrogance in many of your posts [and those whom you support] is unparalleled on this forum.


Everyone is entitled to their opinion whether one star or not. That is where everyone starts out and what these forums are for.


I started on six and got demoted.


That is where everyone starts out

Actually that’s not true. I started on 5 stars 🙂



“initial contributions” Well, they have to cut their collective teeth on something I suppose. I mean why say something positive when the first thought that comes to mind is a negative one!!!!


KRB – Yeah sorry about that, I now realise I should be singing the praises of the untouchable Saint Lewis regardless of the truth. Thank you for setting me straight. My apologies.


Not at all. No one has to like Lewis. I’m saying to comment instead on something you like about F1.

Or just carry on with the negative stuff, and see where it gets ya.


regardless of the truth.

Are you sure you’re not confusing truth and opinion? Personally I couldn’t give two hoots what your opinion of Ham is but when you claim your opinion is the truth – well, now, that’s a different matter 🙂


Ozoner, you need to look the word ‘truth’ up in a dictionary. Quick hint, it won’t say ‘something you have decided is correct based on nothing but your own opinion’

Ashish Sharma

But Ricciardo was in a racy mood.

It was an unusually grumpy weekend for the Smiling Assassin… The qualifying gamesmanship had shades of Hamilton/Alonso – 2007.

With the Mercedes/Ferrari doors now shut, is DannyRic not getting an “equal” deal from RedBull?


Fun race, although it hinged on strategy and reliability.

What is sad though, is that “being racy” cost Ricciardo a better result.

Isn’t that why we tune in, or spend $$$ to to races – to watch racing drivers being racy? I hope that somewhere in the Liberty master-plan, they address the tyres, which IMO are the elephant in the room.


Don’t you think that tyres (finally!) not lasting the whole race distance add to the show? Do you prefer processional one-stoppers, like Canada this year?


@andrew – its a fine line, isn’t it? I understand that tyre management is now a skill that racing drivers need in order to be successful, but it shouldn’t be to the extent that it becomes more important than a drivers pace…

As a fan, you’re hardly going to gush about driver XYZ, because “he’s great at managing his tyres”, right?

Craig in Manila

“The VSC came at a horrible moment in the race”

I sortof agree as I was thinking of going to bed.
When I saw the VSC and then HAM not pitting, I suddenly realised that I was not going to bed after all and that I’d better turn-on the kettle.
Let’s have more VSCs appearing at so-called “horrible moments” please.


Did Kimi run out of laps because he was cleared by the team too late as he suggested? The slope suggests he could catch Ver, but passing him?


Yes I believe he would or both would have crashed out, the pace Kimi still had was great. But without the rear gunning of Ric for Max, or the slowing down phase where Kimi had to slow down Lewis, already put him in a difficult position.


Did Kimi run out of laps because he was cleared by the team too late as he suggested? The slope suggests he could catch Ver, but passing him?


i have watched enough f1 to know that on a dry track, you put on dry tyres and on a wet track you put on wet tyres just like you pit when the safety car comes out after ten laps. nothing to do with what the others might do. you do not put on a set of wet tyres hoping for rain. those indecision are made by losers. that guy out on the radio saying we believe in you and all that rubbish should have just shut up and explained himself later. his time and effort was required to think about ways of improving the decisions of the team. hamilton didn’t need to be told that nonsense to be able to drive the car fast. he has proved it time and time again that he can. has that guy proved it time and time again that he can make decisions to cost hamilton victories?


Aveli, I think HAM did need JV to come over the radio and talk him off the cliff. If JV hadn’t, HAM would have spent the rest of the race whining about it. We’ve heard him do that in the past. This brought closure to the incident and allowed everyone to love on figuratively.

For the record, I think HAM was perfectly entitled to feel let down by the strategy.


i respect your post but we all know that hamilton is known for digging deep to get those results. he has never been known not to be able to fight because of team errors. fact of the matter is none of those errors seem to apply to the other car as much as his. he drives his car perfectly and deserves the right to be allowed to drive it the way he knows best. all those words from that guy made zero difference to the race outcome. if anything, those words got hamilton even more angry that he no longer cared how he stressed the tyres at the start of the stint. telling him who made the mistake made him even more angry. it was the wrong move to tell him that. they could’ve just left it as the team’s error and given him the details afterwards.



That “loser” you’re talking about is Merc’s chief strategist and Lewis and Toto would disagree with everything you’ve said about him.


i do not look for anyone wolff or no wolff to agree with what i have to say. the guy lost hamilton at least three victories this season. last season he let bottas hold up hamilton so much that hamilton lost a race. that guy has lost enough races by his indecision to be called a loser.



You might want to re-consider referring to James Vowles as a “loser” considering that he has been Lewis’ chief strategist for the 3 WDC he has won with Merc.


i don’t even want to know his name.



The equation is simple: “You win and lose as a team.” Put aside your constant pro Lewis bias and Lewis can do no wrong mantra. Only recently HE acknowledged that HE can do a better job.


hamilton is the best at what he does, the best f1 has ever seen and needs every member of his team operating at a similar level.


The graph shows clearly how far behind the other teams are compared with Mer/Fer and RB. I wonder if we will see any midfield team catch up before 2021. I seriously doubt it.


None of the midfielder teams will catch up any time soon. I even doubt that RedBull will be a serious title contender before 2021, so Ricciardo will need to get a seat at either Ferrari or Mercedes for a shot at the WDC!


Yep,I feel McLaren have a decent shot now they have had change of management. Seem to be building a team of racers not politicians 😁


The laws of diminishing returns eventually work in favour of the mid-field, but with next years re-set on the front wing aero, it may be an opportunity for the leading teams to eke out further advantage.


While the VSC can certainly shake up the race sometimes, I think they need to plug this pit lane advantage for VSC by either closing the pit lane for routine tyre stops, reducing the pit lane max speed, or adding a stop-go of a length which neutralises the advantage.


All good points… Expect procession though

Unfair, but you get a spicy racing. Otherwise, first corner, then you can go swimming, more entertaining than watching the best car controlling the race and getting on the top of the podium.


I’ve been saying this for ages, and people generally tell me stop stop moaning, safety cars are a part of motorsport, it’s Hamilton’s own fault etc

Ashish Sharma

Ferrari missed a trick in not keeping Vettel safe to Hamilton


there was clear indication from the damage sustained by the tyres from the first stint that it was vital to look after the second set to make the finish

@James: Did Ferrari think that they could push and still keep the tyre alive till the end of the race after looking at the condition of their first set, or is this based on how long the second tyre lasted?


I think Ferrari were economizing also on their tyres, as it wasn’t until like 10-12 laps before the end when they radioed Kimi and told him he was free to race to the end.

Ashish Sharma

Thanks. Missed that bit on the radio.


Yes” Vettel keeps making errors.

Mercedes are on trend, they had the fastest car over the weekend, and comfortably so.

But… well, double DNF.

As predicted three races ago, when … many pundits were raining criticism down upon the Max, I said he’d make it happen, and DR had better look out, because if he gets momentum, Ricciardo will be beaten by the Max in 2018; and he got the win after two previous races building momentum.

Not that I am a big fan, just a bigger fan of the driver than the media and aforementioned “pundits“.

Nonetheless, another win before the break and the Max will have to be considered as an outside contender for the title.

But the third place driver, currently, is Kimi!

And he has come back from a larger deficit, with many fewer races to win the WDC.

I noted an article at Motorsport, which off-handedly dismissed him from the championship race.

Nonetheless, Mercedes are on track, … if they … keep it together?!

… and Vettel keeps making unforced mistakes. (but I respect him for not having any social media’ that’s cool and sets him above the rest, in some respects; stop making mistakes and win the championship, or move over for your team mate.)


Kimi should have won the race. He overcooked his attack on Hamilton. Max could close in on him and then Kimi went wide again in the fast right hander. As usual, Max dove straight in and it turned out to be a race winning (losing) move.


Jeroen: you could be right, but so many variables….

I agree that the move by The Max was good, but it might not have worked with less ethically-bound adversaries; but they didn’t differ much on their post-race assessments.

Kimi made the move; he is often criticized for “not going for it” these days; I’m happy to see him going for it, and I hope it pays off.

It would be great if he finally won one, perhaps Britain!? and Ham and Vet crash out, then we’d really have an interesting championship (though probably too interesting for some).



You do have this strange fascination with Ricciardo about why he gets so much “underserving press” and now how your “The Max” is on-track to have more points than Dan by the mid season break.

Perhaps you’d like to remind yourself how many points Dan lost in Bahrain and last weekend due to mechanical failure whereas Max’s lost points have been due to his own failure. And lets not talk about Baku shall we?

The outside chance of either Max or Dan winning the WDC this year is really very, very outside to the point of not worth considering. Merc will get their act together and Ferrari will be right there with them.


on DR

no fascination beyond the 3+ standard deviations of the media reports on him, dissonant with his actual record.

A decent, well-deserving driver in the top category; some say one of the better overtakers, could be true.

But so much favorable media!

Like…. Alonso.

Completely ridiculous.

He’ll be lucky to keep his RB seat, otherwise he’ll be off to McBrown, or could luck out with a Renault swap for Sainz.

In summary, I don;t have too much of a problem with DR, it’s the media, and the ridiculous reporting inequities, which I chiefly have a problem with.

(oh, and all of the single-minded, die-hard fans and shill, supporting the dream-world – ridiculous).

party on!


Dean, spot on. Ricci is a fabulous guy, I like a lot his personality and skills, but he is not faster than many in quali and that is a killer for his career. The best cars will always atract a faster driver than him and that will doom his hopes to be a champion. He is kind of Alonso. He needs the best car and a bit of luck to get the right mate for the title.


I think the answer lies within Deano…

He attract media attention because he is the only guy outside of MB or Ferrari that has won a race in the past 4 years. (Sure Max has come along recently and won 4 races -but i don’t hear you complaining about his media coverage -even though it dwarfs all!)

On top of that, he is by far the biggest driver personality in the sport…lets face it the competition isn’t that fierce.

Ask any of the media contingent who they would rather get a comment out of and it’s him.

In fact i would say that most other drivers media interest is nationalistic…ie the Finnish press are the only media really interested what Bottas has to say.

It seems however that all the press have an interest in RIC’s on track feats as well as his personality out of the car as well. On top of that all the other drivers like him.

Hard to swallow for some…i can understand.



So, you are now saying he is the star of the show but at the same is not marketable enough and he is also the quickest driver but the top teams don’t want a quick driver. Oh, and I’ve got to be more honest with myself…..Is that right?



Yes, you get my point…he is the star, despite not being European!

Secondly, if he doesn’t get a MB or Ferrari seat, i hope you’ll be honest enough with yourself to admit that it will be exactly contrary to what you say…he will have been too quick.

(I know you’re taking the p*ss)! 🙂


It seems however that all the press have an interest in RIC’s on track feats as well as his personality out of the car as well.

Ask any of the media contingent who they would rather get a comment out of and it’s him.

Weren’t you telling me a while back that DR wasn’t as marketable as the European drivers and that was why he wouldn’t get a leg up the competitive ladder with a seat in a quicker car? Still, at least that’s settled the argument and you have now accepted the reality of the situation – if DR re-signs at Red Bull and neither Ferrari or Merc offer him a seat it will be because he isn’t quick enough.





I also re-note that during their time together Ricc outscored Kvyat 128 to 116 and out qualified him 16 to 7. Kvyat was sent back to Torro Roso to get his confidence back because he was too accident prone and couldn’t compete with Ricciardo. And where is Kvyat now deano? So your reach back to 2015 proves zilch!!



Inconvenient facts, eh?



…just that trolls are a waste of time.

I also re-note that Kvyat beat DR, and was ahead on points for races completed, when he was let go.


“Yes” Vettel keeps making errors.

I don’t count this “Unnecessary” Sainz blocking an error on SEB’s account. This is purely down to team for not informing him. He was not on a straight where he could have watched a faster car coming through in his mirrors. He had crossed the corner and couldn’t possibly have expected when someone might arrive there. As for hogging the racing line while driving slow- why on earth he would go on collecting marbles on his racing set. This was the set of tyres he was going to start the race on. Who would like to trundle around off racing line on those? This was an “unnecessary” steward intervention just to make their point of how fair they are. Sainz was not affected by the block anyway and even he defended SEB at the stewards office. Penalty was just stupid.


I don’t disagree with you, but this comes at the end of a long trend (this season) of Vettel making little errors, and typically not paying the price for them.

This penalty was next to pathetic, but in the context of the trend, … it is what it is.

I have noticed that Sainz seems to target Vettel with his whinging; I don’t know why, and I don’t even know if I have it right.

So, agree, penalty was stupid. (what was the real reason for it?!)


I don’t know about Sainz issue, heard from you for the first time. Anyway, he actually defended SEB infront of stewards and media as well. So that was all good.

As for penalties, FIA has specifically mentioned that previous incidences or offenses will not be taken into consideration while giving out penalties. It will be considered as single event all the time.



thank you for the information

I could be mistaken about the Sainz whinging, and your point about Sainz protesting action against Vettel is relevant.

btw: I think Sainz is a potential WDC, same category as The Max, IMO.

While I don’t recant my position on Vettel making all too regular errors, I go back to my last snippet from my previous post, “what was the real reason for it?!” (“it” being the penalty?!?)


verstappen and ricciardo are not in the same class.


Yes, Riccardo finshed school before Verstappen even began…


who is above whom?

in your opinion.


do i need to tell you?

if you want to know, have a look at their number of laps leading their teammate and you will understand what i mean.

are you australian?






And Lewis is in another class again, right? Surprised you omitted to mention that.


just like you adrian, i post what i feel like posting.



Thing is buddy at least I try to be objective whereas you live in a pro Hamilton echo chamber.


Dean, what would have to happen for you to say “actually my predictions were wrong”. It seems to me that whatever happens you say “see, I told you so”…..


it is what it is

btw: I do admit when I get them wrong.


Dean, Really?! When did that happen?!!


Would Alonso have finished 14th, had not those lead cars retired?

You never know, in racing.

søren christensen

Great for once with a race, where it was not the army of Computer wizards behind the screens in the factory teams that controlled all the track actions.

I would like disruption to happen at every race, so we can see, the real race drivers, that are able to control their car. Also when everything is not programmed in advance, and the tyres are disintegrating… Sunday, we got to see, the natural skilled drivers scoring points. The pack led by a superb Max V – who was “in full control” – when several others were crying about blistering tyres, and the engineers in the pit were left helpless…


This race report while as always interesting, seems to come from a different author? As it is “signed” by Mr. Allen himself, it is not so, but it somehow does not read like him.

Schumi was “a” if not “the” master of them all, but even he made mistakes at time and saying Vettel made a booboo that Mickael would not have made is surprising.

Now saying that if Vettel had started the race as he qualifyed he would have won the race is no big hindsight, but does it matter? He made the mistake and suffered the consequences. Who is to say it would not have happened to Schumi? l don’t why but l find this approach bellow the belt. I am possibly being over sensitive. Marc


Even I was wondering the same. Why JA would make this report sound so biased and more of Mercedes team debrief rather than a neutral race analysis.


yep jame’s f1 presence is diminishing. he has been away from here and even from the fia interviews. i wonder what he’s up to,


Maybe he has already cashed in, therefore retired and living happy on that offshore heaven island he always dreamt about, far far away from the Piranha club and all the politics and fanbases as possible? ;o)


JA would NOT retire without a huge send off with food, all night bar, grid girls, and a personal invitation to each one of us to drop in for a stay on his island any time we like


OK, who’s going to tell Phil about the June long-weekend we had?

JA, can you drop my flip-flops off when you get a chance?


All the What-ifs after the fact, combined with general “whinging” of mistakes made do not have any influence on the fact both Bottas and Hamilton had mechanical failures. In Hamilton’s case he was riding a 33 race points scoring streak. I’m sure any other F1 driver would take that in a heart beat.

Ham’s fans, together with Lewis himself making such a huge fuss over this need to get over it and accept it as fait accompli, and grow up. The mistake in strategy had zero effect on the mechanical failure. So anyone trying to link the two is being disingenuous.

Instead of standing up for the team and discussing any issues behind closed doors forgets the obvious that there is no “I” in team. Alonso learnt this lesson the hard way over the years and has change this tune somewhat. Drivers live and die with their team and shouldn’t be putting them down in public.

Does each time a driver makes a mistake, missing an apex for example, also have the right to castigate the Driver in public, or should this also be discussed loudly in public over days and analyzed to death ?


Alonso still criticises the car on team radio, he hasn’t learned the lesson at all.


Compared to the past FA has toned down his criticism considerably.


Compared to the past

You reckon ?


Nope. But it possibly triggered Boulliers exit…


I also think though that the ‘semi-public’ notion that there was a revolt back at the factory with a majority of the workers there no longer having confidence in his leadership and reaching out to the owners demand a swift change ‘or else’ drove them to conclusion that he had to go. Look forward to seeing a proper JA-style article about this very subject ASAP !


@Cyber – fascinating isn’t it? I’ll admit that lately I thought Boullier was one of the key problems at McL – particularly after choco-gate – but the article by Joe Saward today made me re-think.

But I think you are right – if the staff lose confidence in their leader, then a drastic change is needed, and its usually at the top, regardless of the merits (or not) of the leader in question.


Agree. Well said. Also, I did not expect a reputed team under the banner of Mercedes would throw their chief race strategist under the bus just to keep their ace driver from whining and losing focus. We didn’t want to know who was to be blamed in post race debrief live during the surgery. They could have done it more maturely. Very shameful…


Agreed – though…

What did you want the team to do then?

Remotely switch off Hamilton’s radio to end his tirade???



if an example would help – have a listen to what Vet said to CW a while back when he was backed into DR by Max – now that was a tirade.


@ Cyber…A team principal with ‘muscle’ would’ve told him to ‘shut up and drive’ but we all know that Wolff,for all his bluster and ‘team psychology’, is deficient in these driver management areas.


@Tim – the board at Mercedes must be kicking themselves, just imagine how successful they could have been had they only listened to kenneth and not wasted their time by handing the job to Toto….


Kenneth, you mean the most successful team principle in the sport?


Cyber did you actually listen to Lewis’ radio transmissions? ‘Tirade’ is a massive exaggeration.


It’s always tricky to handle star drivers, specially when you don’t know how they will react to the situation. It can get embarrassing sometimes like SEB cursing CW. I don’t know the answer to that quite frankly.


to end his tirade

You might want to look up the definition of tirade.


Cyber ‘tirade’? Are you sure you aren’t exaggerating just a little bit?


C63, will bring the script issue up at the next meeting.

Cyber, hows that dictionary session coming along?


that’s because we are the same person…..

LOL – I assumed that the Merc PR people (you know, the ones who pay us to comment) had mistakenly issued two identical scripts 🙂


Just come clean TimW and C63, we all know that you are Siamese twins! ;o)


C63, that’s because we are the same person…..


Blimey Tim – that’s twice we’ve said almost the exact same thing. 🤣


if hamilton didn’t make a fuss about not winning, he’d be driving around at the back like alonso, celebrating scoring points.


There’s no “I” in Team, but there is a “me” if you look hard enough.


And if you look really hard there is a Kimi in Ice creaM faKtory


that’ll learn him!


The VSC came at a horrible moment in the race

It depends on which glasses you are wearing. Obviously, you are wearing MB glasses, maybe RB as well. For Ferrari, VSC came at the most desirable moment. They were better at tyre management than others and this was big advantage to them to have early VSC. Unfortunately, they attacked MAX few laps too late and let the victory slip.

I am happy to see Ferrari being fair with KIMI and did not issue team orders. Big thumbs up to them. This shows that the team is quietly confident about their own potential and would not resort to controversial tactics to gain any possible advantage. If they happen to win this years WDC, his success should not be watered down by these incidences.


The VSC came at a horrible moment in the race

It depends on which glasses you are wearing. Obviously, you are wearing MB glasses, maybe RB as well.

Depends on the RB car I guess. I don’t think the #33 car was complaining about the VSC timing..


Also, so stupid of me to ask but, WHAT IS THE IDEAL / BEST MOMENT FOR VSC TO COME DURING A RACE?

Ashish Sharma

From a Sporting Perspective : The best time for a VSC is when it is in everyone’s (or at least the Top 10) Pit Window, because it least affects the race.

From an “induced racing” this was really good, as people were forced to think/react, Mercedes made a blunder, Danny/Lewis burnt through their tyres too quickly to make the strategy work.


You say it on paper but when has SC/VSC made no difference to the race? With diverging tyre strategies all over the grid, there is no correct window. SC/VSC will always throw someone’s race away.


Like 100 meters before you had planned and enter into the pit anyway according to your own tire strategy? ;o)

(if it was from the driver’s perspective you asked that question)


“I am happy to see Ferrari being fair with KIMI and did not issue team orders” … and yet some of the media are saying that its only because it was Austria, and Ferrari have an unfortunate precedent with swapping drivers there.


lack of team orders means raikkonen has been told he wouldn’t be driving a red car come 2019.


If that’s the case, they would issue it without even bothering about KIMI.


They were doing it to Massa they year he left so that makes no sense. Wild speculation at best.


Not at all saying the above poster is right, but didn’t Massa start disobeying team orders in his last season?


If a driver is leaving a team – and in Kimi’s case, almost certainly the sport as well – how does a team control them?


bring me some cash when the announcements are made.

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