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Mandzipop

F1 2016

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I watched the race and have to say I wasn't that impressed. I really have to hope that with Australia being considered a "street track" in characteristics that it's just a hard one for overtaking. Otherwise we're going to get a season of tense first corners and pit stop strategy "overtaking". It might float the strategist's boat but I want to see cars racing on track. As it was Vettel had the faster car but couldn't overtake Hamilton. When Vettel passed Hamilton via pit stop Hamilton couldn't catch Vettel and the race was over. That's exactly how Vettel won three seasons with Red Bull. Thankfully the one difference is that the Mercedes/Hamilton is still the fastest in quali-lap (which suggests tyre management is harder for mercedes with a heavy fuel load?). So while it's nice to see another team win by actually having the better car on the day I'm still concerned for the sport in terms of entertainment. Fingers crossed on track overtaking will be possible at the front of the grid in china.

I did like seeing Vettel get a warm reception on the podium as I recall him being treated quite harshly by fans when he was constantly winning for Red Bull (not quite as bad as Rosberg's podium treatment - which I often think played a part in his retirement).

It was also good to see the pink panthers get both cars in the points. Occon's pass at the end was probably the highlight of the race.

A shame the Red Bulls aren't there yet and an unusually quiet race for Verstappen. Like others have said though I could see Red Bull catch up especially as there are fewer restrictions on development this season.

Mclaren are a mess but Alonso valiantly squeezes every last drop and more out of the car. The vibration issue seems like a disaster as it's causing additional problems in the car making the engine a genuine cause of all the car's problems. It bemuses me how such an issue could arise without it being picked up earlier in development. As it is the team has somehow managed to go backwards and again I'm reminded of how we've been robbed of seeing one of the best drivers be competitive. Makes me feel like F1 should insist on him being given a drive in one of the top 3 teams next season. Although I think his bridges are burned somewhat with Ferrari and knowing Alonso's luck if he moved Mclaren would improve. At the moment I wonder if Mclaren would improve simply by having an engine other than Honda in it.

I was impressed at Hamilton's behaviour post race - no sulking and accepted the situation. Part of me hopes there's a small part of him relishing the prospect of being able to race someone without the internal politics of it being his team-mate.

Same with Ricciardo - if ever there was a time a driver could be forgiven for being in a pissy mood it was after his "race" but he keeps on smiling and remaining positive. One of those drivers you can't help but want to succeed.

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22 hours ago, red snow said:

I watched the race and have to say I wasn't that impressed. I really have to hope that with Australia being considered a "street track" in characteristics that it's just a hard one for overtaking. Otherwise we're going to get a season of tense first corners and pit stop strategy "overtaking". It might float the strategist's boat but I want to see cars racing on track. As it was Vettel had the faster car but couldn't overtake Hamilton. When Vettel passed Hamilton via pit stop Hamilton couldn't catch Vettel and the race was over. That's exactly how Vettel won three seasons with Red Bull. Thankfully the one difference is that the Mercedes/Hamilton is still the fastest in quali-lap (which suggests tyre management is harder for mercedes with a heavy fuel load?). So while it's nice to see another team win by actually having the better car on the day I'm still concerned for the sport in terms of entertainment. Fingers crossed on track overtaking will be possible at the front of the grid in china.

While it was nice to see someone challenging Merecedes I agree it wasn't the most compelling of races. It can be difficult to judge just from a single race, so hopefully the following races are a bit more exciting.

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Makes me feel like F1 should insist on him being given a drive in one of the top 3 teams next season. Although I think his bridges are burned somewhat with Ferrari and knowing Alonso's luck if he moved Mclaren would improve. At the moment I wonder if Mclaren would improve simply by having an engine other than Honda in it.

 

I have a strong suspicion that Liberty Media will be pointing out to Mercedes that having Alonso and Hamilton in the same car next year would be great for their brand, great for the sport and great for the spectacle, especially if they are both racing Vettel and Raikkonen (and potentially the Red Bulls) for the championship.

Bottas would lose out unfortunately in that situation (and Massa, if he'd have to retire again to make room for Bottas going back to Williams, but hey, there'd be a space at McLaren!), but that's racing for you.

If Raikkonen retires I suspect that Ferrari will also be happy to have Alonso back. I don't think Alonso burned his bridges with them and hell, you can't get bridges any more burned than what happened between Alonso and McLaren in 2007.

Quote

I was impressed at Hamilton's behaviour post race - no sulking and accepted the situation. Part of me hopes there's a small part of him relishing the prospect of being able to race someone without the internal politics of it being his team-mate.

Definitely. Fighting another driver in another car with your whole team behind you and your whole team behind them seems to be a really great feeling in F1, allowing both hard racing but also some good respect as we saw with Massa/Hamilton in 2008, Vettel/Alonso/Hamilton (and, for part of the season, Webber/Alonso/Hamilton) in 2010 and Vettel/Alonso in 2012. Fighting your own team-mate can be interesting, but it can get really silly and bitchy really quickly.

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2 hours ago, Werthead said:

I have a strong suspicion that Liberty Media will be pointing out to Mercedes that having Alonso and Hamilton in the same car next year would be great for their brand, great for the sport and great for the spectacle, especially if they are both racing Vettel and Raikkonen (and potentially the Red Bulls) for the championship.

Bottas would lose out unfortunately in that situation (and Massa, if he'd have to retire again to make room for Bottas going back to Williams, but hey, there'd be a space at McLaren!), but that's racing for you.

If Raikkonen retires I suspect that Ferrari will also be happy to have Alonso back. I don't think Alonso burned his bridges with them and hell, you can't get bridges any more burned than what happened between Alonso and McLaren in 2007.

Definitely. Fighting another driver in another car with your whole team behind you and your whole team behind them seems to be a really great feeling in F1, allowing both hard racing but also some good respect as we saw with Massa/Hamilton in 2008, Vettel/Alonso/Hamilton (and, for part of the season, Webber/Alonso/Hamilton) in 2010 and Vettel/Alonso in 2012. Fighting your own team-mate can be interesting, but it can get really silly and bitchy really quickly.

Good point about Liberty media possibly encouraging Ferarri or Mercedes to take on Alonso for 2018. Sparks could definitely fly between Alonso and Vettel as team-mates. I'm trying to remember if the current guy in charge of Ferrari was in charge while Alonso was there? It's true that if Alonso made it back to Mclaren it should be easier to go back to Ferrari.

You raise another good point about things usually being more unpleasant between team-mates fighting for the championship than between drivers from different teams. It's more of an honest fight too as teams obviously want to maximise team-points over driver points.

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So, Hamilton wins the Chinese GP with Vettel finishing 2nd. Looks like that's this year's championship fight. Mercedes still has a slight advantage in qualifying but Ferrari are on par in the race. 

 As for Alonso, I wonder. Everybody says he's such a great driver but the two titles he won were early in his career when Flavio Briatore was his boss. After that, every team he joined suddenly performed poorly. Coincidence? I don't think so. 

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8 hours ago, Loge said:

So, Hamilton wins the Chinese GP with Vettel finishing 2nd. Looks like that's this year's championship fight. Mercedes still has a slight advantage in qualifying but Ferrari are on par in the race. 

 As for Alonso, I wonder. Everybody says he's such a great driver but the two titles he won were early in his career when Flavio Briatore was his boss. After that, every team he joined suddenly performed poorly. Coincidence? I don't think so. 

That's not really a fair analysis. He came within a hair's breadth of winning the championship in both 2010 and 2012 with a Ferrari that was nowhere near Red Bull's pace (and was arguably inferior to McLaren as well, especially in 2010). On both occasions he dragged that car into a championship-winning position and lost out both years thanks to DNFs that weren't under his control (including to Grosjean when he was having his season of Maldonados). Some of his performances for McLaren have been frankly baffling, getting the car into points finishes when it simply shouldn't be there (ahead of Toro Rosso, Williams and Force India several times in the last two seasons when all three teams are superior to McLaren at the moment).

I think Alonso still has a tremendous degree of technical skill and hunger for another title that other racers in his age category don't have any more (clearly with Raikkonen and Massa), and if you put him in a Mercedes or back in a Ferrari he'd be matching Hamilton and Vettel's achievements quite comfortably.

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I'm with Wert on the Alonso thing. The only team mate who's ever come close to him is Hamilton and he consistently gets more out of a car than he should be able to. Whenever conditions are such that the Mclaren's disadvantage is levelled off (eg rain) Alonso is there.

I still think he's one of the best drivers. The only thing I'd maybe criticise him about is the potential lack of feedback/development side of him. While his luck is bad it does feel like he can't drag a team up. Whereas it looks like drivers such as Vettel and Schumacher are ones who are openly interested in how the cars work and how to make them better. Although, I wouldn't put Hamilton in the "developer" category either. That said teams have test drivers for that type of thing but I do wonder if the chink in Alonso's armour is not having a team around him that can turn a team around? I think Schumacher used to bring a whole side of the garage with him when he moved teams.

I enjoyed the race in China far more than Australia. While it seemed that Hamilton had the race under control throughout it was pretty interesting from 4th to 5th. Vettel is really showing us that when the car's working (and he's not sulking) he's actually a great racer. Verstappen had an excellent race even with that one mistake (which is surprisingly rare for such a young driver). It was good to see the Red Bull's in the mix and I really hope the upgrades they have for Canada put them properly in the mix. It would be great to have a 3 way title race (although arguably 4 as i imagine Verstappen and Ricciardo would be in the mix). Bottas and Raikonnen are being shown up a bit so far - although Kimi was arguably let down with the late pit stop (despite him being the first driver asking to pit).

I also really enjoyed the atmosphere on the podium. All the drivers got a warm reception (I hate the recent trend of booing drivers) and they all seemed friendly apart from Max being a little childish with his "my name's Max, you always call me this guy". I think Hamilton was using it as a genuine "nice gesture" eg "you guys" but you can reast assured that Hamilton will be calling Max "this guy" from now on when he wants to get in Max's head.

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30 minutes ago, red snow said:

I'm with Wert on the Alonso thing. The only team mate who's ever come close to him is Hamilton and he consistently gets more out of a car than he should be able to. Whenever conditions are such that the Mclaren's disadvantage is levelled off (eg rain) Alonso is there.

I think the only year you can really criticise Alonso is for his first stint at Mclaren where his disagreements with Ron Dennis did a lot of damage to the team. Mclaren's problems in his second stint couldn't be blamed on him unless you somehow think he's sabotaging Honda's engine development.

It was a decent race today. Hamilton may have been able to win fairly comfortably but there was a good battle for the other podium positions and I think it showed that while overtaking may be a bit more difficult than last year it's still possible.

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That was a good race (as Bahrain often is, despite feeling kind of boring for not being the busiest in terms of crowd attendance). Great fighting up and down the line, excellent results for Massa and Force India, appalling results for McLaren (after Alonso did some fantastic driving against the odds), horrendous luck for Verstappen. Brilliant strategy call for Ferrari, they've really turned their strategy around after they were crap at it last year. Mercedes got the strategy really wrong this race, startlingly so, but still a monster comeback from Lewis at the end. If he'd done that five or six laps earlier and the tyres had held out, he may have won which would have been outstanding.

Raikkonen I think is gone at the end of the season. Unless he turns things around even more dramatically then he did last year, these kind of results from the best or joint-best car on the grid with a former world champion at the wheel are just dire. I think Bottas is also desperately hoping that the tyre pressure problem is borne out, otherwise that was a bit of an embarrassing performance for the second race in a row and Alonso will be looking very tempting coming contract time.

Stroll is having some horrific bad luck for a rookie. He really needs to turn that around. Sainz also had some really bad luck after two pretty decent races with that car.

Interesting analysis from Webber and Coulthard: Renault have really hugely improved from last season and the company is going to be putting more energy and effort in and will probably improve again for next year. At what point do they start focusing more time and more resources on their own engine and less on the customer engines? Red Bull really need to be thinking about a Plan B here.

McLaren...fucking hell, I don't even know what they can be thinking. That situation is just disastrous and there's no easy way out for them.

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Nice job from Bottas there, especially his little late move to put Massa between him and Vettel, preventing Vettel from closing at the last minute. Very clever.

Hamilton did that thing he does every 7-8 races where he just doesn't show up, which is weird.

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2 hours ago, Werthead said:

Nice job from Bottas there, especially his little late move to put Massa between him and Vettel, preventing Vettel from closing at the last minute. Very clever.

It was a good performance from Bottas, especially after he'd struggled to capitalise on his poll position last week. Sochi isn't the most exciting of race tracks, but Vettel's pursuit at the end did make it a reasonably interesting race. It'll be interesting to see if Bottas can repeat that kind of performance enough times to become a genuine championship contender.

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21 hours ago, Werthead said:

Nice job from Bottas there, especially his little late move to put Massa between him and Vettel, preventing Vettel from closing at the last minute. Very clever.

Hamilton did that thing he does every 7-8 races where he just doesn't show up, which is weird.

I felt it was more a move by Massa, letting his old team mate past and then delibearately being a dick with Vettel. I don't think it would have affected the race but it did rob us of an even closer finish.

Good to see Bottas win - it's not often these days that drivers win a race so late in their careers (as the talent tends to get into winning cars much sooner) but I hope it gives him the confidence to move forward from here.

It does sound as if the overheating meant Hamilton's car simply wasn't competitive enough. Whether that resulted in him settling for fourth, I'm not sure but it was a very quiet weekend for him. I guess an unimpressive fourth is better than a retirement from pushing a sick car is what wins championships though. It was a quiet race for Verstappen too.

Vettel is looking the most promising out of the top four so far. Still hoping the Red Bulls will make a leap forward soon and mix things up even further.

Weird how Ecclestone keeps loitering around the race paddock. He's clearly up to something and I like how it makes the new guy look awkward.

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128 races and nine years between pole positions. That's a record which seems unlikely will ever be broken. Nice job Kimi.

Only six races in, so too early to call it, but Hamilton is looking less likely for the championship this year by the minute.

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

128 races and nine years between pole positions. That's a record which seems unlikely will ever be broken. Nice job Kimi.

Only six races in, so too early to call it, but Hamilton is looking less likely for the championship this year by the minute.

Hamilton's problems were very weird, although he does occasionally have these races where nothing seems to go right. Bottas got within 0.05 of a second of poll, so it's clearly not a fundamental problem with the Mercedes.

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6 minutes ago, williamjm said:

Hamilton's problems were very weird, although he does occasionally have these races where nothing seems to go right. Bottas got within 0.05 of a second of poll, so it's clearly not a fundamental problem with the Mercedes.

He's had two in three weeks, which is a bit concerning, and Monaco is a track he knows very well (although he's only won it twice, and Vettel only once).

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I'd imagine Alonso isn't feeling too bad about his decision to skip Monaco after Button gets hit with a 15-place engine penalty. While I understand the theory behind the engine penalties, they do sometimes seem needlessly punitive when they punish teams that are already struggling really badly and denying us the opportunity to see whether Button could get a decent points finish from a top-10 start isn't good for the sport.

I'm not sure I'd necessarily count Hamilton out of the title back yet, he's bounced back from bigger deficits in the past and while Vettel might be the favourite now I would really say he's dominating the season yet.

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Good qualifying session nice to see kimi come out on top for once.

Hamilton looks like the season is getting to him already which is worrying.

Coulthard was also very critical of the engine penalties. It does feel like it needs to be updated or given a maximum of 5 places. Like Williamjm says it doens't necessarily help the smaller teams out if they qualify well and then get moved down the grid either. I wonder what's worth more to the smaller teams, a chance at points or having to buy more engines?

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I think Button might have wished he'd stayed retired, not sure what he was thinking with that move on Wehrlein. I did like his pre-race chat with Alonso.

Good win for Vettel, it's a pity Kimi didn't seem to have the pace to hold off his team-mate today. Hamilton probably did about as much damage limitation as was possible, the perennial problem of overtaking around Monaco probably meant he couldn't have done anything more.

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Solid race for Monaco. Wehrlein's crash looked much nastier than it was, thankfully. Ericsson gets "most embarrassing crash of the year" but he did point out the tyres were screwed by the operating temperatures and quite a few other drivers backed him up (including Vandoorne, who had the same problem), so that didn't end up as bad as it could have been.

Excellent strategy from Red Bull, who really maximised their chances there.

First of the summer driver swap-around rumours coming in. Ferrari are considering keeping Kimi and this weekend helped with that, but apparently are strongly considering either Perez or Carlos Sainz Jr. No word yet on the Mercedes free seat. My guess is that Alonso will see how he does in the Indy 500 and if McLaren are going to pick up a Merc engine for next year before he commits a strategy. Mercedes probably want a more consistent performer than Bottas, but Bottas did win a race, he's far easier to manage and his problems seem to be also affected Lewis at other races, so it's hard to tell if he's underperforming relative to the equipment or not.

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These american commentators for the 500 just cant believe how well alonso is going. Also that was a massive crash!

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