Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Singapore, 2015

“Big surprise” if Mercedes struggle at Suzuka – Vettel

2015 Japanese Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel says it will be a “big surprise” if Mercedes struggle as much this weekend as they did in Singapore.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg qualified on the third row in Singapore, 1.4 seconds off Vettel’s pace, despite Mercedes having taken pole position at every other race this year.

Vettel told reporters in Japan he doesn’t expect Mercedes to have another difficult weekend.

“You have to remain realistic,” said Vettel. “I think in a way it was a big surprise to see Mercedes struggling which I don’t expect being the case here, again it would be a big surprise.”

“But if the chance is there we have to go for it,” he added.

“The nature of the track is completely different here. We have to wait, the weather could bring a lot of surprises as well so it could be a tough weekend.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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52 comments on ““Big surprise” if Mercedes struggle at Suzuka – Vettel”

  1. Wow he is scared. I am sure he still cant believe his (and his team’s) luck.

    1. “scared”?

      1. He and WEB have done this (dominated) to the rest for two years what HAM and ROS have done to him in this season. This win is a fresh breath of air for him too. He wouldn’t want this to just be a one time debacle for the Mercs.

        1. two years

          not two .. four

          1. Winning is not the same as dominating. Vettel won his 2010 and 2012 titles with only the slimmest of margins over Alonso. Who was, you’ll recall, driving for another team. In both years, numerous other teams also won races. This hasn’t been the case in the Mercedes years of walkovers. Not even close.

        2. Red Bull has NEVER been as dominant as Mercedes is today. Just look at the 2010-2013 standings. Alonso almost beat them twice.

          1. It doesn’t matter if your car is winning by 1 second, 10 seconds or 10 minutes, if its stronger than the other cars, if they cannot match you, they cannot catch you.

            Redbull had the strongest package through that era. As long as Vettel or Webber did their job, that car was going to be ahead.

          2. Correction: People booed Vettel because they were morons.

          3. @square-route

            Ironic comments from Lewis “Just Get Over It” Hamilton lol. Notice Vettel’s comments regarding the Merc dominance? He’s not whining about it, “wondering” how they do it, etc. He gives Merc props and says they (Ferrari) need to work harder and focus on what they can do.

          4. “He’s not whining about it, “wondering” how they do it”

            Give him another 2 years.

          5. I just read that mirror.com news drivers where incredible sour against Vettel and his dominance wasnt as strong as Mercedes this two years.

          6. @piyush Analysis indicates that Mercedes is indeed further ahead of the rest of the field than Red Bull ever was. Just because Hamikton wasn’t booed doesn’t change anything.

      2. And in addition to Kanan’s comment: “Luck”?

        1. It was no less than a huge turn of events this race. From Lewis winning the races easily in this season, to struggling the entire weekend and being a DNF after losing power mid race; Vettel certainly had his work cut out. Had the Mercs too been equally competitive, we can only speculate what would have happened. I too liked and appreciated the incredible laps put in by Vettel as the next fella but the was not the only story.

          1. Sour grapes. What you’re saying has nothing to do with luck. Look up the definition will you.

    2. Yes, this four-time world championship-winning, 42-time winner, 75-time podium visitor and holder of 46 poles and 24 fastest laps is scared like a small child.

      I think you need a different adjective, like “pessimistic”.

      1. Its resonable to expect Ferrari is 2s faster then Mercedes, whom have lost 1.5s in 3 weeks.

        But if it is a wet race… Then again tyre warming properties of Meec will help.

        Vettel is correctly trying to manage Scuderia expectations. As he should be, so when they do sn excellent job and are 15s of raceleaders on sunday someone might tske that as improvement rather than disapointment.

        But history shows this year especially… If opportunity is there Sebastien Vettelo will take it and win.

        I will be chearing him on, If nothing else he shows more spirit and sportsmanship right now than Merc boys.

        1. You don’t just lose 1.5s in three weeks; it does not and has never worked like that.

          It’s simple: Mercedes had a bad weekend in SIngapore. They’ll be back to full strength this weekend.

  2. Let’s hope Ferrari keeps them honest.

    1. true and hopefully beat them as well!!

  3. I think Vettel has been using Reverse Psychology since Singapore.

    1. who knows maybe?

  4. If RBR’s blackmail bid fails and they’re out of F1 next year, I’m praying that Ferrari kick Kimi into touch and sign up Dan or Max. Seb will go down as one of the all-time greats but, for me, there’ll always be a nagging doubt that his stellar record was partly down to avoiding being partnered with a truly gifted driver at the top of his game.

    1. I’d love to see Hamilton with Ricciardo.

      1. I would like Hamilton v Vettel v Alonso in a 3 car team. The slowest drops out for Ricciardo the following year.

    2. That’s a strange standard to apply, though at this stage people making up strange standards to apply to Vettel is nothing new. Apart from 2007 has Hamilton ever been partnered with a “truly gifted driver at the top of his game”? Has Alonso ever done so? (Arguably LH was not “at the top of his game” in his rookie season alongside FA) Schumacher, Fangio and Clark were never partnered with a “truly gifted driver at the top of his game” and yet I never see anyone question their accomplishments.

      1. What about Vettel winning against LH, who has similar carrer stats to Senna, while running not fastest team?

        I cannot believe people can doubt 4 time WChampions abilities. He is close to MSC great statwise. What else would it take to get him some recognition? Apperently nothing for some people.

      2. Wow… Look SV is a gifted driver – no question but to suggest LH has somehow not been tested because only in 2007 he competed against Alonso (the two time ‘best driver ever’ champion) while in his rookie year and Won

        Get real please – did you forget JB was the current world champion when he joined? And regardless of 2011 (where points issue or not LH won nearly twice the number of races ) JB was beaten on every sensible metric. Right across the board and is quite happy to point that out.

        Can you find a single year that SV was competing with anything like similar talent in his own team during his ‘winning’ years?

        Nope – not even close. MW stands not even close to the team mates LH has had. As for this recent year. Sorry Kimi is a ghost of his former self but very useful for team results when SV has an off day. That’s been the case for 12 races or so. Not the 130 odd LH dealt with champion winning team mates. I won’t even bother with the crap reliability, poor but fast cars etc.

        The only time SV was partnered with a ‘racy team mate’ was last year. Hmmm that turned out well…. Not.

        Now I will accept he is happier, driving well and comfortable but let’s be blunt. He is de facto no 1 again and has had to deal with nothing like the issues when comparing the equality LH has dealt with during his career (I would suggest endures) and LH has, like it or not, come out on top.

        A half racy team mate was dropped into red bull, won three races and sent SV scuttling off.

        Until he deals with that issue. Questions can always be asked regardless of his performance.

        1. DRG, The power of positive thinking, you write off Weber and then claim Kimi is a shadow of his former self to prove it. Sorry, the situation this year is more likely proof that Weber was WDC quality driver but always in the wrong place at the right time, not that SV is just lucky.

        2. It’s quite convenient to cancel multiple seasons on the basis that racewinners like Raikkonen/Webber aren’t “racy”, while justifying how tough Rosberg and Button are (Alonso is indeed better than these four). In my opinion, it’s hard to justify how Webber’s performance in 2009/10/12 was worse than Button’s in 2010 or especially 2012 form. Meanwhile Raikkonen was rated amongst the elite just a matter of 2 seasons ago. Vettel’s performance against Raikkonen has been similar to Alonso’s.

          The “de facto number 1” thing you raise is nonsense also. Webber was at RBR for years before Vettel came along and beat him fair and square. Raikkonen wasn’t re-hired as a number 2 driver for either Vettel or Alonso.

          And as pointed out in an earlier post, Vettel left RBR to join a team that wasn’t alienating its power supplier and threatening to pull out every couple of races. Why should he stay just to fight with Ricciardo over 7th place? Or have his car break down a ridiculous number of times, like last year.

          And finally, there isn’t 130 races in 4 seasons. Nice try though.

    3. These “Vettel left to avoid Ricciardo” memes need to stop. If Red Bull isn’t racing next year, and that fact that they have jettisoned Renault this year, is 100% the reason why Vettel left.

      People amaze me – they think Vettel should stay to beat Ricciardo while racing for 8th place at most venues? Heck, Ricciardo wanted to bail this year. The funniest post-qualifying comment at Singapore? Ricciardo talking about how long it’s been since he was on the front row. As if he had spent years up front. What did he have last year? One front row start? Maybe two. And no poles in his career.

      Champions see issues ahead of others. Lewis made the switch to Merc when he was in a WDC level car (reliability and pit errors killed him 2012). Everyone thought it was a HUGE mistake. Now on the verge of 2 WDCs on the bounce. Now Vettel with Ferrari, on form, winning and RBR with a 50/50 chance of being out F1 next year.

      And people still say “Vettel should have stayed.” (I’m sure he would have if he had confidence RBR would have engine parity with Mercedes).

      1. Even when you put their results side by side it’t not like Vettel has been outclassed like never seen before. Had things panned out a little different on certain occasions it could have been Vettel winning in both Hungary and Canada…

      2. I don’t think Vettel will ever win some people over. Lewis had a terrible year in 2011, crashing into Massa frequently, and no-one doubted his considerable talent or thought that his championship and all those wins were flukes. Seb had a poor 2014 and he’s apparently a complete fraud. It’s like that (admittedly rather tedious) brilliance at the end of 2013 never happened.

        1. I will take a terrible year… Where I still won more races than my World Champ team mate and out qualifies him by double.. People rewrite history in their heads. It was an off year due to some reliability and Massa doing his usual plus some off track issues.

          It is so far removed from Sebs ‘off year’ against a non champion never won a race, team mate, it’s almost untrue frankly.

          Oh by the way – Seb was driving the second best car last year… Not some back of the field dog!

          1. Vettel’s ’14 season was worse, but you’re the one rewriting history:

            I will take a terrible year… Where I still won more races than my World Champ team mate

            They won the same number of races.

            It was an off year due to some reliability and Massa doing his usual plus some off track issues.

            Reliability? Only 1 DNF (Brazil) & no other major issues. Massa was not always to blame, nor was he the only person LH had incidents with. Reliability & off track issues were more prevalent for Vettel last year actually- numerous terminal issues in qualifying & races, plus the unfortunate accident for Schumacher, and becoming a father.

          2. @drg

            “It is so far removed from Sebs ‘off year’ against a non champion never won a race, team mate, it’s almost untrue frankly.”

            Imagine Alonso in 2007, not just losing out, but mentally losing out, to a complete rookie, who not only had never won a race, but who had never even raced before.

            Folks should also stop under rating Ricciardo, who Alonso, somewhat cynically imo, rates as one of the top 3 drivers on the grid today.

            As for people rewriting history in their minds, why is it okay for you to rewrite that Hamilton was beaten by Button in 2011? That it was an “off year” for Hamilton so it really didn’t count, but 2014 somehow Vettel was at his best?

      3. + Infiniti! Especially for the quote from Ricciardo :)

      4. Ye both LH and SV made stellar carrer choices. While Alonso most famously has not. Like turning down RBR in 2008.

        1. Yep – that I do agree with.

          How many here suggested it was the end of Lewis…

          SV going to Ferrari – probably not the same kind of risk but inspired no doubt.

      5. “1

        Not to mention that Vettel needed to be lower than a certain WDC standing to break the contract with RBR last year. He’s a smart lad for sure.

          1. DRG are you serious? It is well know the SV had a get out clause in his contract with RBR. Hey don’t let the facts get in the way of you narrative.

          2. If it was Hamilton having been beaten by Button in 2011 then moving to Ferrari I have the feeling you would be trumpeting the same tune of he lost to break a performance clause. Bruv

  5. It was a big surprise last week and would be a big surprise this week. If Ferrari can hold their own in Suzuka it means Hamilton will have to start defending his title and stop cruising.

  6. Hopefully it rains and we have 1 or maybe 2 safety cars. Which would really spice up the race at the front. And we will have an outstanding race. Probably the best of the year. These would also give a good chance to Vettel
    Though Vettel’s chances of Beating Mercedes in the Dry without a Safety Car are Highly slim
    Beating Mercedes in the Wet with a Safety Car Period or 2 is Highly Possible (and could well happen.)
    so who knows, lets keep our fingers crossed

  7. Hope Vettel will give Lewis a run to the end of season. Lewis to win at the end by 1 point . A bit of sweat for Lewis, smell of blood for Vettel, good show for the fans.

  8. I dunno guys, why won’t anyone address the minimum tire pressures? Lolz. Maybe the commentators won’t even touch this subject, wouldn’t be surprised. Should not have Pirelli made the announcement about the specification of their tires by now (by regulation)?

  9. Yeah…for sure, obviously. Full stop!

  10. Why weren’t Lotus able to feed Grosjean?!

  11. I’m sure Merc will turn their engines back up a notch this weekend. Unless Bernie tells them to turn it down again.

  12. I can’t wait.

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