The brilliance of Formula 1, what makes it so utterly addictive, are those moments which catch you unaware.
The sudden switch of camera angle. The split second of ‘is-that-who-I-think-it-is’? The television commentator, cut off mid-sentence, who cannot help but go full Murray Walker.
‘It’s Vettel’ was the cry on lap 52 of the German Grand Prix, when the home hero braked fractionally late in the Motodrom and slithered into an advertising board.
Sebastian Vettel threw away a potential victory and, with it, the championship lead. That moment of pure drama opened the door for Lewis Hamilton to take an extraordinary win and reclaim the lead of the championship race.
Vettel cruises clear
The flaw of Formula 1, at least today, is the tendency for the races to become, well, formulaic. This was certainly true of the first half of the German Grand Prix while the track was dry.
The leaders held their positions at the start, despite Max Verstappen’s best efforts to pass Kimi Raikkonen, and for the most part settled into the usual pattern.
Hamilton may have started 14th, courtesy of a hydraulic failure in qualifying, but as in Silverstone there was never any doubt he would swiftly be back among the front-runners. Sure enough, by lap 14 he had the midfield in his mirrors, few of them having bothered to put up a serious fight. It wasn’t hard to see why Romain Grosjean, one of the nine drivers Hamilton passed with ease, describes the midfield as ‘Formula 1 B’.
Once Hamilton appeared in fifth position Ferrari reacted by bringing Raikkonen into the pits. This wasn’t a crude attempt to slow Hamilton down – Raikkonen emerged a few seconds ahead of the Mercedes and was obviously going to be quicker on his fresh tyres – but it ensured Hamilton did not get into Raikkonen’s pit window. Ferrari hadn’t seen his pace in clear air and if they’d waited a lap to see how quick he could go they might have got a nasty surprise.
Mercedes and Red Bull drew the conclusion Ferrari were plan to pit Raikkonen twice. They were probably hedging their bets. Had Ferrari committed to a two-stopper they would have put Raikkonen on another set of ultra-softs, which would have been quicker. Putting him on softs gave them the option to run to the end of the race if the rubber held up. This was not entirely out of the question as the track temperatures were lower on an overcast race day than they had been on Friday when the sun was blazing.
But on Sunday the weather took a turn for the worse, and would eventually ensure the final third of the race produced high drama.
Team orders 1
Vettel was edging closer to Raikkonen and beginning to get close enough for the disturbed air from his team mate’s car to be affecting his aerodynamics and, therefore, damaging his tyres. If Raikkonen was capable of getting to the end on his softs, then waving Vettel through was a call which potentially could decide the winner of the race.
Ferrari have form for this kind of thing, including one famous example at the same track eight years ago. On that occasion Felipe Massa had to be given a coded instruction to let Fernando Alonso by because team orders were, theoretically, banned. That is no longer the case, yet Ferrari nonetheless felt the need to issue their demand to Raikkonen in the most abstruse of terms.
“You are aware we need to look after tyres,” said Jock Clear. “Both cars need to look after tyres and you two are on different strategies. Your track strategies are slightly different and we’d like you not to hold up Seb. Thank you.”
Raikkonen, not unreasonably, said he didn’t understand what he was being asked to do. The attempt at a clarification which followed didn’t help: “Losing as little time as possible, obviously, but when you can Seb is capable of going quicker but, er, he’s hurting his tyres and you are as well, we need to look after them.”
If only they’d had Alan Permane on hand to tell Raikkonen, as he did five years ago, to “get out of the ******* way”. Despite Ferrari’s best efforts, Raikkonen got the message, and made way for his team mate.
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Small mistake, big price
On lap 39 Vettel was back in the lead and it was starting to look as though Mercedes were going to have to make the same decision as Ferrari about their two drivers. Hamilton, who unlike his closest rivals had been able to start on a new set of ultra-softs, was able to extend his first stint. But his tyres were beginning to fade, Bottas was looming behind him, and Mercedes were increasingly concerned by what they saw on the radar.
A ‘cell’ of wet weather was heading for the track. Whether it would douse the circuit sufficiently for intermediate or wet weather tyres to be needed no one could tell. But Mercedes knew Hamilton would be more vulnerable on his older tyres than if he was on a new set, so on lap 41 they brought him in.
When the rain fell a couple of minutes later it seemed Mercedes had missed the chance to put him on intermediates – especially when a handful of their rivals came in to do just that. In fact they’d nailed the call. While the front-runners struggled to maintain tyre temperature in their worn rubber, Hamilton had the benefit of fresher tyres plus his undoubted wet weather skill to work with.
In seven laps he almost halved his deficit to race leader Vettel, trimming it to just 12.1 seconds. At times he took over two seconds per lap out of the Ferrari. On the 51st lap Vettel dug deep and matched Hamilton’s lap time. But he ended lap 52 in the barriers at the Motodrom.
Did Vettel know how much pressure he was under? Was he being fed updates about Hamilton’s progress, catching glimpses on the video screens around the circuit or merely sensing he was losing too much time? Was this a case of him getting flustered when a race doesn’t go to plan, a weakness a former team mate of his alluded to in the days before the race?
Whatever the cause of his race-ending crash, Vettel was entirely right when he said it was a small mistake which brought a huge penalty. Had he braked too late at the Spitzkehre, a wide turn with a vast asphalt run-off, he might not even have left the track, and his time loss would have been mere seconds. Instead his race was over.
Team orders 2
The Safety Car was scrambled so the marshals could drag Vettel’s damaged Ferrari out of the barrier. Bottas reacted immediately, bringing his Mercedes into the pits. But a shambolic stop awaited him. While that was going on Hamilton was also summoned in.
He was already on road heading into the pits when the call came to stay out. Instinctively, Hamilton took to the grass to rejoin the track, even as another message told him “in in in”. This split-second decision ultimately won him the day, though not without some post-race drama.
Raikkonen had been passed by Bottas when he ran wide while lapping Kevin Magnussen. He also headed for the pits, his 39-lap-old soft tyres were 15 laps older than Bottas’s. Hamilton therefore inherited the lead from Bottas and the sole remaining Ferrari.
Bottas knew his best chance to pass Hamilton would come at the restart thanks to his tyres being 10 laps fresher than his team mates. Hamilton gunned his W09 out of the Motodrom but Bottas went with him. As the came onto the Parabolika he was in his team mate’s slipstream.
Hamilton defended superbly. He hung right approaching the Spitzkehre, obliging Bottas to use the outside line. Bottas switched to the inside at the exit but Hamilton squeezed towards his team mate who reacted, jinking left, losing precious momentum. Hamilton kept the inside line for the next significant corner and held the lead. At some point afterwards Mercedes intervened, ordering Bottas to hold position behind Hamilton.
Mercedes has generally been willing to let its drivers fight the championship out between themselves, particularly as until last year they were never realistically under threat from a rival team. But now they are under more pressure than ever, and on a weekend where Ferrari looked stronger, the temptation to bank the one-two proved irresistible. According to the team they would have done the same had they been running in the reverse order.
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Risk and reward
Hamilton’s emotional rollercoaster of a weekend wasn’t done when he took the chequered flag. He sprinted to the line at the team’s urging as they wanted to safeguard against a potential penalty for the pit entry incident, though the stewards had not announced an investigation. That came after the race, but hours after the race Hamilton was cleared and his victory confirmed.
Following their dire warnings about Ferrari’s performance and the progress they have made with their power unit, Mercedes scored a one-two which restored themselves and Hamilton to the top of their respective championships. But they have good cause for concern over their rivals’ performance, especially with two ‘power tracks’ coming up soon on the schedule.
Raikkonen’s third place means he has now stood on the podium more often than his team mate this season, though his five-year wait for a victory goes on. Behind the front-runners were many tales of risk and reward on a day where keeping a cool head on the track and the pit wall paid off.
Max Verstappen collected fourth after gambling on intermediate tyres. The move backfired, though it likely cost him nothing. He was always going to struggle to keep Hamilton behind and the only other car likely to beat him home, the one which belonged to his team mate, had broken down.
The next pair home, Nico Hulkenberg and Grosjean, also briefly gambled on intermediate tyres. Hulkenberg, who’d made an aggressively early first stop to gain track position, was able to get back on ultra-softs at the end without losing a place. Grosjean restarted the race outside the top 10 but picked off Brendon Hartley, Marcus Ericsson and both Force Indias for an excellent fifth.
It was a tribute to Force India’s strategists and drivers that the next one-stoppers home after Hamilton was the two pink cars. Sergio Perez led them in despite spinning earlier in the race, while Esteban Ocon took eighth having gone out in Q1 on Saturday.
For once it was Charles Leclerc who had a rough race for Sauber and Marcus Ericsson brought home the points, in ninth. Carlos Sainz Jnr took the chequered flag in 10th but was penalised for overtaking during the Safety Car period, which meant Brendon Hartley took his second point of the year.
Hartley was told to pit when the rain fell but persuaded his team to leave him out on slicks – a decision which paid off. His team mate followed the instruction to pit and to his astonishment was fitted with a set of full wet weather tyres. The track wasn’t wet enough for intermediates, so that call destroyed Gasly’s race.
Surprisingly, a similar fate befell a driver of Fernando Alonso’s experience. He also came in and was fitted with intermediates, despite warning his team it wasn’t wet enough. He dropped off the lead lap and out of contention for points, on a day when he might otherwise have done something special.
Hamilton back ahead
Afterwards Hamilton said his remarkable drive to victory from 14th – eight places lower than he’s ever won an F1 race from – was up there with his best. It was hard to disagree, though the imposition of team orders will always leave a sour taste.
Nonetheless, on a day which offered him a likely fourth place at best, a few drops of rain brought out the best in Hamilton. It stood in sharp contrast to his fellow four-time champion and title rival whose race ended in a barrier.
But Hamilton knows he can’t count on Vettel making many mistakes like that, and the strength of Ferrari’s package has never been more obvious. The championship lead has changed hands four times in the last four races, and with just one race left before the summer break this fight looks like it will go down to the wire.
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2018 German Grand Prix
- Vettel quickest, then spins, as Ericsson escapes huge crash
- Hamilton says the quality of his German GP drive was “missed” by TV coverage
- Sainz wants simpler Safety Car rules after penalty
- Stewards right not to give Hamilton “harsh” penalty – Ricciardo
- Alonso backs McLaren over tyre gamble he disagreed with
2018 F1 race reviews
- Untouchable Hamilton ends season with 11th victory
- Verstappen’s ruined masterpiece becomes Hamilton’s latest triumph
- Verstappen’s win, Hamilton’s title in tyre-dominated Mexican GP
- Error-free Raikkonen shows Vettel how it’s done
- Hamilton on cusp of fifth title as Vettel throws in the towel
70 comments on “Hamilton rains on Vettel’s parade”
Michael Brown (@)
23rd July 2018, 23:37
“Anything can happen in Forumla One, and it usually does.” – Murray Walker
Hamilton keeps up his streak of winning every rain-affected race in the hybrid era minus the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix.
Also, Red Bull have had a peculiar stat this year of winning every third race. The next race is round 12.
24th July 2018, 1:14
“Hamilton keeps up his streak of winning every rain-affected race in the hybrid era minus the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix.”
First I’ll acknowledging he drives the best car in this era.
Even considering that, this is an amazing record. I’m trying to decide what stats to compare it too. For me it is up there with the pole record and 4 championships.
24th July 2018, 7:13
I prefer this one to the others as a measure of talent. Nobody can argue he has achieved this because of always being in a fast car.
His detractors answers.
Winning a race in every season he’s competed in? Fastest car.
4 WDC? Fastest car.
Pole record? Fastest car.
Highest rated driver by teams, therefore paid enormously? Fastest car.
Winning every rain affected race since 2014? ……….
And no, I don’t support Lewis massively… I’m a Williams fan through and through. But I do believe him to be the most talented driver on the grid, and difficult conditions show this every time.
24th July 2018, 7:25
I think the stat of winning a race in every season he has driven a race winning car is pretty impressive since it is a stat none of the other active WDC drivers ( Alonso, Vettel or Räikkönen ) can claim.
24th July 2018, 7:36
Mmmm, when did alonso not win a race with a race-winning car? Seems pretty hard to believe.
24th July 2018, 8:28
I mean it would have been easy enough to look up but here you go 2004.
Which is why that stat of Hamilton’s is so good.
Michael Brown (@)
24th July 2018, 12:53
Because even Hamilton won a race in 2013, for comparison.
24th July 2018, 14:58
Alonso: drove a Minardi in 2001
Raikkonen: drove a Sauber in 2001
Vettel: drove a Sauber & Torro Rosso in 2007
hardly surprising they didn’t get a win in those cars. That said: they were in better teams and not scored a win as well. The best talent LH has, it choosing which teams to drive for and made the one switch he did, at the right time.
24th July 2018, 16:20
No, Hamilton has won a race in every season of F1 he’s competed in– and it’s a stat no other F1 driver in the history of the sport can claim.
That includes winning races with the 2009 MP4-24 (Worst McLaren/Mercedes), and the 2013 W04 (first season at Mercedes).
24th July 2018, 18:02
No idea what part of the quote the No refers to but … Yes!? .. my stat is completely true and I think it is more interesting stat than the won a race in every season stat as not all drivers ( as is pointed out ) have a race winning car every season.
24th July 2018, 7:33
I agree with you mostly. But if we talk about the hybrid era the fact his car was extremely dominant can’t be denied.
But that’s F1.
24th July 2018, 16:22
And the 1996 MP4/4 was a demon, as was the 2004 F2004, but very few people have ever claimed Senna and Schumacher only won because of their cars.
24th July 2018, 16:22
… 1988 MP4/4. Need sleep.
24th July 2018, 7:44
Not to mention he’s won a race in every F1 season he’s competed in, even in the absolutely terrible 2009 McLaren
24th July 2018, 10:31
It goes even further. A pole and a win in every season he has competed.
24th July 2018, 12:50
Hamilton has yet to go more than ten consecutive races without a win. That’s after a decade in F1 and counting. No other driver’s strike rate comes close. And to think some people still think “inconsistency” is a fair & valid criticism. He’s not perfect: nobody is! But it is impossible for any sensible, rational and objective person to deny he’s one of if not the best of his generation.
John Toad (@)
23rd July 2018, 23:40
Perhaps this race justifies Bernie’s idea of sprinklers to liven up the racing but modified to only makes varying parts of the track wet.
24th July 2018, 7:16
I am not sure about that, how would it be governed? Will they pre-select which races will get the showers of blessing? Imagine the conspiracy theories to emerge should it benefit a rival in the heat of a championship
24th July 2018, 7:46
It doesn’t justify Bernie’s sprinkler idea as that is a system that’s ultimately controlled by a person whilst real weather is unpredictable.
23rd July 2018, 23:44
I think Ferrari and Mercedes switched places from last year… But the Ferrari is no diva.
24th July 2018, 0:00
Interesting tactics there by Ferrari
24th July 2018, 11:04
@theoddkiwi I see what you did there.
Aussie Rod (@aussierod)
24th July 2018, 0:58
Here’s another Murray-ism: “in Formula 1, catching is one thing, overtaking is quite another…”
I’m guessing he hasn’t seen F1 2018 style.
24th July 2018, 4:34
Some people here and on different forums are saying that Hamilton’s victory was lucky.
I find this tweet from Karun very informative. “Looking back at the times from lap 45 – 52. Seb certainly seemed to be pushing hard in the rain – pulled out 6 secs over Kimi in 7 laps. Lewis on hot ultras, which were better in the damp, closed 11.5 secs on Seb in that same time. Wonder if Ferrari were telling Seb Lewis’ times?”
Lewis after pitting for New ultra softs, the drivers ahead of Lewis had no chance other than to make a quick pitstop for ultras too. Lewis was eating into their lead at least a second per lap with 25+ laps still remaining.
The Lap before Vettel crashed, Lewis reduced his lead from 23+ seconds to just over 11 seconds and was only a second behind Bottas and Raikkonen who both were struggling even more than Vettel.
I dont think his win was lucky, it was a mixture of Good pace, strategy of using New ultra at the end and conditions suiting Hamilton where others struggled.
Another way to look at is to just look at facts. Vettel and Max were ahead of Lewis and they both took themselves out of contention by mistakes (Vettel crashing out and Max making wrong call for intermediates). Now remains two drivers ahead of Hamilton Raikkonen and Bottas which both had no chance against Hamilton on new Ultras and were only 1 second ahead before the Safety car with 25+ laps to go.
Summary is it was not a lucky win by Hamilton and even without Vettel crashing out, Lewis was on course to win. Vettel’s only chance to stay ahead would have been if he pitted too around the same time as Hamilton on Lap 40-42 to cover off Hamilton which he didnt and in the tricky conditions the gap was reducing massively.
David BR (@david-br)
24th July 2018, 5:09
@amg44 Good post. My thought just before Vettel went off was that he really needed sudden heavier rain to force everyone in for intermediates and protect his lead as the gap to Hamilton was dropping rapidly. Obviously Hamilton’s win would have been even more impressive had he passed Raikkonen, Bottas and Vettel on track, shame it didn’t materialize.
24th July 2018, 7:21
@amg44 Excellent post
Let’s not forget the supreme tyre management Lewis had to make those soft tyres last that long. Being a HUGE Lewis and MERC fan i was actually very cheesed of when i saw Vettel crash. Would have been great to see him bin it after Lewis beat him on track :)
24th July 2018, 8:09
Supreme tyre management?! There’s no such thing in this race, not the amount you imply anyway, mostly it’s that his car simply worked better than the rest. The cooler temps fav Mercedes, not Ferrari. If you’re even remotely right, then those moments when he cried like a baby because of the tyres and when BOT dominated him…. should be inexistent. How come he did not “activate” his “supreme tyre management” skills to prevent blistering etc etc?! Did not really recall BOT being praised for great tyre management when he outperformed HAM, just that always the car was at fault for HAM’s subpar performances. Statistically speaking… it’s impossible. Plus, another thing that seems obvious to me is that Ferrari did not built a good car for wet conditions for a long time. Just last year at Monza, they had a mediocre quali in rain. VET performed better in wet while he was at RBR, not that good since he races a Ferrari.
24th July 2018, 14:25
@mg1982 I think it was very impressive to see Hamilton bang laps at the same pace as Bottas, Raikonnen, and Vettel even though he had 30 laps on those tyres.
I’m sure the strategy was for him to do a very long stint on the soft tyres in order to have a chance at the end with the ultras and he did just that.
24th July 2018, 14:50
Pirelli said the Softs would go 35 laps, and he did 42, the last 20 odd keeping the Ferraris in sight
Take the blinkers off.
PS. It wasn’t that “cool”. Track temp was around 7 degrees cooler than Silverstone at the start, and it was quite bright until the rain started (Source: I was sat at Turn 1).
24th July 2018, 7:35
I don’t really think Max’s call was wrong. He gave up one place trying to take a win.
It didn’t work out but it didn’t cost much
Euro Brun (@eurobrun)
24th July 2018, 8:16
I see your point, but I still think lucky as you refer to being 1s behind after the safety car, which would not have come without Vettel’s crash.
I can’t see how he would have got past all three of Raikkonen, Bottas and Vettel without the crash and the safety car.
He had pace at that point, but the performance advantage of fresh tyres would not have lasted until the end of the race.
Genuinely, I believe that Hamilton’s Silverstone recovery drive was better than this.
24th July 2018, 8:35
But he was 1 second behind before the safetycar @eurobrun that’s not luck, that’s a solid first stint followed by great pace on the ultras. Vettel made a mistake by pushing too hard trying to match Hamiltons pace. Hamilton took over 2.2 seconds from Vettel the lap before he crashed. He went from 10 seconds behind Kimi and Bottas to just 2 in only a couple of laps too. Vettel had a pit stop over Hamilton before the rain and within 3-5 laps that was cut in half.
He was on the right tyres but that was always his strategy. Main point is even if Vettel didn’t crash Hamilton easily had the pace to win this one.
24th July 2018, 10:09
24th July 2018, 10:44
@eurobrun Hamilton was going 2 seconds a lap faster with 16 laps to go when Vettel crashed out.
Hamilton overtaking Raikkonen and Bottas would seem very likely seeing how he was already right behind them.
Vettel might have been further up, but 12 seconds would also seem to be possible in 16 laps.
Of course Vettel has a tendency to slip up in wet conditions when he’s under some pressure. So it wasn’t that unexpected either that Vettel went off so quickly after he got spooked and tried to match Hamilton’s times.
F1 in Figures (@f1infigures)
24th July 2018, 15:12
@patrickl But to be fair, Hamilton’s pace advantage wouldn’t be as much on a dry track, as the main advantage of fresh tyres was their ability to retain heat. Vettel had the race in his bag until his crash.
25th July 2018, 12:40
@f1infigures So? That wasn’t the question.
Still, there were other drivers on the same tyres and were they 2 seconds a lap faster than other drivers in similar cars? No they were not.
And sure Vettel was doing super and then he crashed. So yeah. Again, don’t see how this matters.
I was on my way to win millions in the lottery, but then I didn’t.
mystic one (@mysticus)
25th July 2018, 22:10
“But to be fair, Hamilton’s pace advantage wouldn’t be as much on a dry track” it wasnt dry track! it rained and apart from him, noone was pacing like him on the rain! Vettel a lap before the crash (was told most likely about ham’s pace) paced up to match ham, but he was sliding around!, and he made the mistake in a slow corner without help from backmarkers (like Kimi had to endure) or anyone very close behind him… Ham closed 23/24 sec gap to 11 in 10 laps… which was more than a sec lap in average and was 2 plus a sec in the last section before the crash… so while ham was getting faster, vettel was struggling to keep up… not hard to imagine Ham catching up in the next 5-6 laps to him and ham overtaking was not out of question given vet’s tyres were worn worse already
F1 in Figures (@f1infigures)
25th July 2018, 22:42
@mysticus You’re missing the point. All I said was that the rain amplified the advantage of having fresh tyres. When the track dried up his advantage wouldn’t be as much, certainly not two seconds a lap.
It’s funny how pitting Hamilton right before it started to rain proved to be a masterstroke, even though Mercedes would have looked really bad had the track been wet enough for inters. It seems Ferrari missed a trick by not pitting Räikkönen immediately after Hamilton in order to keep him ahead indefinitely. Instead, he lost the position when he pitted much later.
mystic one (@mysticus)
27th July 2018, 1:32
“You’re missing the point.”! You are speaking hypothetically, i just corrected your ifs/buts with facts…
Everyone was gonna be in the similar situation “if” rain fall heavier, except a few who gambled, but then again, everyone were on radar screens, they would have “guessed” approximate density of rain… So you continue with your if/buts scenarios… Guess we know who is missing the point…
24th July 2018, 6:11
Hi Keith… I’m not sure I can agree with you that: “the imposition of team orders will always leave a sour taste.” Sometimes, yes, but not always.
On this occasion BOT had a good go after the safety-car, and good that he did so, although (perhaps, like Toto) my heart was in my mouth that they might both go off. However, the gap between them quickly expanded to 2+ seconds (I believe) – whether HAM went more quickly, or BOT dropped back I don’t know but, at the time of the call they were not actually fighting… although HAM might have been pushing more than was necessary, and BOT might have been preparing for another onslaught.
So… I think it was a good call, in the circumstances… and didn’t leave a sour taste with me.
Mind you, I was still lmao from Kimi’s brilliant ‘debate’… If he retires this year I will always remember him for this. lol.
And thanks again to you and Dieter for this site.
24th July 2018, 7:26
I am new to this site and loving it !!! thanks Guys!!!
@BlackJackFan – It was one of thee best moments of the race. You’ll swear Kimi was in he’s lounge chair trolling someone and not flying around in an F1 car at 300+. Classic Kimi. This is why he is called the ICEMAN!!!
Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
24th July 2018, 7:48
They played the time of the call afterwards in sync with what happened. Bottas backed off when he was told. The speed in which he backed off from being clearly within DRS range was very obvious that he couldn’t really have slipped back without not trying much any more. I’ve also heard some speculation that Mercedes were concerned about thinking Hamilton possibly getting a 5 second penalty for crossing the pit entry. So they may well have been trying to get Bottas to fall back and hold off Kimi and Hamilton to go for it and push hard to open up over a 5 second gap between hamilton and Kimi. In this case, if Hamilton had got a 5 second penalty (which did get as far as a reprimand), Mercedes still would have kept all 43 points. From what Bottas did, this would make sense. I don’t believe that Bottas wouldn’t have had the pace on newer tyres to keep challenging Hamilton. But I don’t think getting past will have been easy.
25th July 2018, 7:18
Hi Ben (and love the nickname…) – I think your view is probably more correct. I think my problem was, because of international time zones, I was reading Monday’s reports on Tuesday. And the TV delay in hearing the Merc order didn’t help.
Thanks for your addition.
David BR (@david-br)
24th July 2018, 13:49
I tend to agree with Keith on this one. I don’t think Hamilton did anything wrong at all, and I don’t think Bottas would have got past when he couldn’t in the first lap after the restart. But I do think having a team order to hold position dampens the quality of the win. Personally, if I were Hamilton, I’d be annoyed the team gave that order. On the other hand, they had multiple reasons for doing so: the chance of one of both drivers making a mistake and losing overall points was high with the track conditions, and they wanted a 5 second buffer at least between Hamilton and Raikkonen. Bottas between them obviously made that much more likely.
25th July 2018, 7:28
Hi David (do your initials, ‘DBR’, have any relevance…?)
I take your point about ‘the quality of the win’ though how annoyed you might be if you had just driven such a race might be fun to witness.
I have a feeling it all comes down to selfishness – though many people will innately object to this view.
Viewers/fans obviously want to see drivers race 100% to the end… which is selfish of us…
No.1 drivers would probably like to have their precedence upheld… which is selfish of them…
Teams would want to protect their 1-2 finish… which is also selfish.
Who wins out…?
Mostly the teams. Hardly ever the viewers. Such is life.
I’m just about old enough to remember when, if a No.1 driver broke down, a No.2 or No.3 driver would be pitted, and have to hand his car over to the No.1 driver… That’s REAL team orders… lol.
Thanks guys for your replies.
24th July 2018, 6:52
Im still steaming about the last pit stop of Bottas, he could have easily won.
On the other hand even if Vettel did not crash, he could not have won because of the tires. He definitely needed another stop.
24th July 2018, 7:32
He couldn’t have. There are 2 options
1) He didn’t pit a second time: He would have been a sitting duck like Silverstone and everyone would have complained that Merc didn’t pit him
2) He pitted and he got a normal 2msecond pit stop: He still would have been behind Hamilton at the safety car restart and the race would have played out the same.
24th July 2018, 8:22
Neah, BOT only chance to win would have been not to tell him to hold position and let him race HAM. Other than that, the win seemed to go to HAM with every passing lap. All guys in front of HAM had (much) older and slower tyres with 15 laps to go. VET actually had the best chance to do something against HAM, more exactly to pit again in 1 of those laps before crashing while he still had that 10-11sec advantage over HAM, equip Ultras and pray he’ll be faster than HAM.
24th July 2018, 8:44
I don’t even think Vettel could have won this one @mg1982
Hamilton was closing the gap to Vettel very quickly and his tyres were only around 5 -8 laps old at that stage. I don’t think Vettel would have much advantage on the new tyres. We also saw that overtaking a faster car was quite hard ( he couldn’t get past Kimi ) so even if he closed the gap he’d still need to make a great overtake.
In the end though I just can’t see Ferrari pitting Vettel when he had a 10 second lead. There’s no doubt it was the right thing to do, but it’s a risk to give up track position. Unless there was a VSC or Safety car I think they’d have just left him out.
24th July 2018, 9:54
Agree. That’s why I said “chances” and “pray”, to underline the probability. As you said, but did not mention it myself, I have some doubts too VET would have managed to catch and pass HAM on the same tyre, not being able to overtake RAI earlier in the race being the perfect example to doubt it.
24th July 2018, 14:01
Bottas did a really bad pit stop at lap 52. Hadn’t he lost 13 secs he should be first.
24th July 2018, 18:57
No he would have been first. Even with a normal pitstop he would have come out behind Hamilton
John H (@john-h)
24th July 2018, 9:23
Agreed. Looked like they were going to double stack Hamilton after Bottas, then when the pit stop went wrong they ‘informed’ Hamilton to stay out.
David BR (@david-br)
24th July 2018, 14:46
@john-h The only possible motive for doing so would be to keep Bottas ahead, Hamilton didn’t need any new tyres. He didn’t want to pit. Mercedes got it right with deciding against intermediate tyres at his pit stop, but almost called it wrong (for him and the team overall, though not Bottas) under the SC.
F1 in Figures (@f1infigures)
24th July 2018, 15:16
@david-br True. Had Hamilton pitted, he would have been behind Bottas and Räikkönen on similar tyres. That Austria pit blunder still seems to haunt Mercedes.
24th July 2018, 8:35
The only thing that concerned me a little was the ease at which Lewis was able to carve his way through the field until he got to the Red Bull/Ferraris. Romain Grosjean is completely correct about there being A and B teams.
The difference now though is that the competition between the B teams is so close that every single driver just gets out of the way to make sure that they lose no time against the remainder of the B Team cars behind them. Its disappointing that not one of them can measure themselves against Lewis (or Max, Daniel, Seb, Kimi or Bottas when they too have come back through the field) but you can imagine the radio messages that they’d be getting if they fought on for a while.
Good common sense by the drivers but frankly makes a mockery of starting from 14th if the car in 14th can make it up to the front pack in just a few laps.
One wonders if at least one team elects to take more engine penalties given that they can probably expect to still make it to the podium even if starting last.
24th July 2018, 10:09
As some other guys mentioned, the DRS was a little too strong. Also, HAM seemed to have an easier life against the Ferrari powered cars than the rest, overtaking them completely before the braking zone. Kinda “weird” given they’re supposed to be 0.5sec faster on the straights…
24th July 2018, 10:58
@dbradock It’s weird people are suddenly making such a big deal of this. As far as I remember there always was a similar gap between top and midfield teams.
In fact the gap to Magnussen was “only” a second. We have often enough seen a gap like that between the pole sitter and the next fastest car from a big budget team.
If you want truly absurd gaps go back to when Mansell won his championship. They would easily have a 3 second gap to the P5 car in qualifying.
We haven’t heard about the 107% rule in ages too.
24th July 2018, 11:08
You’re right about the gap between the top teams and the midfield.
However, it’s not the gap, it’s the ease at which they’re being allowed to pass (DRS possibly) that’s the issue. Drivers , even in the midfield used to fight for position even if it was Senna or Mansell coming up behind them as it was considered to be a failing (and for a couple of well known mobile chicanes a curse) to not at least try to keep your track position. Even the best drivers in the best cars make mistakes in overtaking – why not test them out a little and make them work for that 5th 6th 7th 8th spot etc instead of just letting them by and losing the place you worked to get?
The gap at the end of the race was artificially close because of the safety car so I wouldn’t put too much stock in that.
24th July 2018, 14:00
Its nothing to do with a gap in pace, as others have mentioned the pace gap is less pronounced this year than previously.
It’s this damn endurance formula where these guys will destroy their tyres or use too much fuel trying to defend against a faster car and be solidly screwed on strategy for the rest of the race.
Solution is no more cheese tyres mainly!
25th July 2018, 12:45
@dbradock How is this relevant? The point is that Hamilton started way back and finished in front of all the fast cars too.
Sure it’s like a mid field driver starting in P14 or P10 for that matter and finishing in P5, but which mid-field driver did that?
Also, Hamilton was already right behind them BEFORE the safety car. So no, the gap wasn’t closed because of the safety car, Hamilton would have taken Raikkonen and Bottas without the safety car too. Vettel would have crashed most likely at some point too.
In fact it’s exactly why Vettel spun off. He got spooked by Hamilton racing up to them. Vettel tried to pick up the pace to stay ahead of Hamilton, couldn’t deal with it and crashed after already 2 laps of trying to go faster. Hamilton did a whole race of that kind of pressure.
David BR (@david-br)
24th July 2018, 14:49
@patrickl +1 It’s been like this for some time. A few drivers in the top 2-3 teams have been applauded for driving from last to 6th-4th place in the race, but it’s actually the minimum expected, save maybe at Monaco. What was impressive, though, is that Hamilton did all that overtaking while keeping the tyres competitive with the race leaders by the end of the stint.
F1 in Figures (@f1infigures)
24th July 2018, 15:26
@dbradock @patrickl It seems the difference between the A and B teams is larger in race conditions than in qualifying. In qualifying, it’s usually a second or so, but in the race it’s in the tune of two seconds per lap. That pace difference, in combination with a lot of DRS zones and drivers that are unwilling to fight too hard, creates a lot of easy overtakes. I’m surprised people are usually complaining about overtaking being too hard, when in fact it’s usually the other way around, as it’s quite easy for the top teams to bypass the 3-engines-per-year regulations.
mystic one (@mysticus)
27th July 2018, 1:46
It is track and weather/temp depended… Mercs are not doing too well in too hot conditions, where as in cooler, they are nearly unstoppable, and in rain esp, Ham is untouchable… Ham in 28 laps old tyres was only 1-2 tenth slower then vet/rai on brand new tyres, and over 14 laps, vet only made 4 secs lead… Overtaking is not easy in every circuit… But without DRS i m sure many birds like yourself would be singing sigh songs and repeating what a boring race without overtaking at all tune every 5 mins during race commentary and everyday after each race until next race!
Thomas Bennett (@felipemassadobrasil)
24th July 2018, 8:43
My first ever comment on any internet form. Let’s make it good.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget my reaction when wets were put on Gasly’s car though. Sort of a mixture between humour and disgust at the strategists.
24th July 2018, 10:21
@thomas bennett martin brundle comment said it all
24th July 2018, 10:44
Any info on whether Lawrence Stroll has brought Force India? (rumored on reddit)
Thomas Bennett (@felipemassadobrasil)
24th July 2018, 11:22
Well, he can take his son with him.
(A Williams fan)
24th July 2018, 13:07
LOL! I can’t blame you. I’m seriously conflicted about this one: of all the teams on the grid, Force India have done the most with the least. It would be nice to see what they’d be capable of with a better budget & more stable financial outlook. However, if that’s conditional on being bundled with Junior Stroll as defacto numero uno driver (which, let’s not kid ourselves, he would be) then I don’t really see them being any better off for it, tbh.
Michael Brown (@)
24th July 2018, 12:58
Not content with bringing down just one F1 team, eh?
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