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F1 2016

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Another casualty of the current rules that don't allow refuelling. Pressure on the mechanics has been brutal ever since they banned it. Lots of incidents with wheels coming off. I get that pit stops are supposed to add some suspense but this is the wrong way.

Hard to tell who is fastest yet. Ferrari winning the qualifying was a surprise. Red Bull didn't finish, so we don't know how fast they really are. They looked good in qualifying. Verstappen must learn to avoid collisions, though. He really threw away this race. He can't afford that if he wants to be champion.

Mercedes should have won this one after Ferrari skipped the second pit stop. Not sure if it was a particularly great performance from Vettel or a subpar one from Bottas. 

I'm really curious about Toro Rosso. Looks like the Honda engine isn't that bad. Reliability might still be an issue, though. Would be sweet to see them finish the season ahead of McLaren after years of bitching about Honda. McLaren seem stronger in the race than in qualifying, at least relative to Renault.

If Honda has finally built a competitive engine we will probably see it in the Red Bulls next year. Could be an interesting season, with four competitive engines. If either Renault or McLaren can close in on the big three we could see four teams compete for the championship, with four different engines.

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While it's annoying that we were robbed of a race thanks to grid penalties it was an interesting tactical race. 

Funny how all the channel 4 pundits instantly said "yes" when asked "if it had been Hamilton instead of bottas in last few last would he have passed Vettel"

Verstappen seems to be going backwards and behaving more like a rookie than he was two years ago when we were all impressed by his decisions.

Gasly is looking like a future star already as I doubt the car is that good. Ricciardo probably can't get too comfortable holding off his new contract as Gasly is going to be cheaper to have in same seat.

Alonso 4th in championship highlights how good this guy is and still has me lamenting how he hasn't had a competitive car in years. That said I'm pleased he hasn't been in the best car as it would be dull to watch him run away with it (although him Vs Hamilton in same car would have been a joy)

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8 hours ago, red snow said:

While it's annoying that we were robbed of a race thanks to grid penalties it was an interesting tactical race. 

Funny how all the channel 4 pundits instantly said "yes" when asked "if it had been Hamilton instead of bottas in last few last would he have passed Vettel"

Verstappen seems to be going backwards and behaving more like a rookie than he was two years ago when we were all impressed by his decisions.

Gasly is looking like a future star already as I doubt the car is that good. Ricciardo probably can't get too comfortable holding off his new contract as Gasly is going to be cheaper to have in same seat.

Alonso 4th in championship highlights how good this guy is and still has me lamenting how he hasn't had a competitive car in years. That said I'm pleased he hasn't been in the best car as it would be dull to watch him run away with it (although him Vs Hamilton in same car would have been a joy)

I'm strongly thinking that Mercedes will reluctantly let Bottas go: he's a solid #2 driver and a nice guy, but he's not actually pulling in strong results consistently when Hamilton has problems, although he did in this race. To some extent Mercedes may be okay with losing the driver's championship (if it keeps Hamilton motivated for next year) but they definitely want to win the constructor's and if they feel that is in danger because Bottas isn't punchy enough and picking up the slack where possible, he will be out.

Ricciardo also makes way too much sense for Mercedes. He's a bit older and more seasoned, which they seem to prefer; he's fast; he's outdriven his car on many occasions in the Red Bull; he's punchy in the overtake but doesn't make too many stupid overreaching mistakes; and he's a PR goldmine, being charismatic and funny. He's also (presumably) going to be in the sport for 4-5 years longer than Hamilton, which Mercedes have to be looking at.

I think the most interesting fall out would be Ricciardo to Mercedes, Gasly to Red Bull and Sainz to Ferrari (or stay at Renault if they get more competitive). And one of the Williams drivers to the retirement yard and Kubica in the car stat.

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14 minutes ago, Werthead said:

I'm strongly thinking that Mercedes will reluctantly let Bottas go: he's a solid #2 driver and a nice guy, but he's not actually pulling in strong results consistently when Hamilton has problems, although he did in this race. To some extent Mercedes may be okay with losing the driver's championship (if it keeps Hamilton motivated for next year) but they definitely want to win the constructor's and if they feel that is in danger because Bottas isn't punchy enough and picking up the slack where possible, he will be out.

Ricciardo also makes way too much sense for Mercedes. He's a bit older and more seasoned, which they seem to prefer; he's fast; he's outdriven his car on many occasions in the Red Bull; he's punchy in the overtake but doesn't make too many stupid overreaching mistakes; and he's a PR goldmine, being charismatic and funny. He's also (presumably) going to be in the sport for 4-5 years longer than Hamilton, which Mercedes have to be looking at.

I think the most interesting fall out would be Ricciardo to Mercedes, Gasly to Red Bull and Sainz to Ferrari (or stay at Renault if they get more competitive). And one of the Williams drivers to the retirement yard and Kubica in the car stat.

I agree with Bottas and how mercedes won't have been impressed with his lack of killer instinct. It was something Rosberg had to step up to (after criticism) and the key thing with Rosberg is that he usually finished second when Hamilton was winning and otherwise won. To be fair Ferrari are a genuine threat (and often more competitive) than when Rosberg was driving but I think it's clear when a driver doesn't have "it" and sadly Bottas doesn't.

Ricciardo alongside Hamilton would make for good viewing as would Vettel and Sainz (unless Sainz had some watertight non-racing clause).

And we're still left hoping that Mclaren get their act together before Alonso retires. The only place i could see him going now is Renault if they start to look competitive given their history together. Fingers crossed Mclaren has the historical development clout to improve the car as the season progresses so Alonso can genuinely bite at the top three's heels.

Hamilton's 3 cars in one corner move was a joy to behold (as was Alonso's opportunistic ability to overtake while the maneouver was occurring). Yes, his car may be faster but that still takes a lot of doing.

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13 hours ago, Loge said:

Another casualty of the current rules that don't allow refuelling. Pressure on the mechanics has been brutal ever since they banned it. Lots of incidents with wheels coming off. I get that pit stops are supposed to add some suspense but this is the wrong way.

I wonder if there are more pitlane incident nowadays, I seem to remember cars trying to drive off with the refuelling rig still attached a few times back in the refuelling days. I'm sure someone has worked out the stats for it.

Hard to tell who is fastest yet. Ferrari winning the qualifying was a surprise. Red Bull didn't finish, so we don't know how fast they really are. They looked good in qualifying. Verstappen must learn to avoid collisions, though. He really threw away this race. He can't afford that if he wants to be champion.

Hopefully this will be a year where different cars have the advantage on different tracks, which I think is a lot more interesting than one car dominating every track.

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56 minutes ago, williamjm said:

I wonder if there are more pitlane incident nowadays, I seem to remember cars trying to drive off with the refuelling rig still attached a few times back in the refuelling days. I'm sure someone has worked out the stats for it.

 

 

Hopefully this will be a year where different cars have the advantage on different tracks, which I think is a lot more interesting than one car dominating every track.

Mark Webber mentioned that some of the teams now use computer software to judge safe release while Red Bull (as one example) still have a guy with lollipop. He said it's the teams with the computer system that are having more incidents even though when it works it does save time. I think he has a point that maybe there should still be a human element if there really is a strong correlation between the automated release systems and not. It also seems pretty clear that there isn't much room for improvement on time when they can change a set of wheels in 2 seconds.

I'm trying to remember which tracks mercedes were good and weak on last year and whether they are mapping to the 2018 races so far. I don't think Ferrari were fastest in Australia (it was tactics/luck that won it) so that doesn't entirely map. However Bahrain was a good track for Ferrari last year too. Hamilton ruled supreme at China last year so it'll be interesting to see whether that's the case next week. If it is I guess we could apply a rule of thumb to strengths and weaknesses being similar to last year. I think generally it's warmer tracks don't suit Mercedes in terms of tyres.

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17 hours ago, williamjm said:

I wonder if there are more pitlane incident nowadays, I seem to remember cars trying to drive off with the refuelling rig still attached a few times back in the refuelling days. I'm sure someone has worked out the stats for it.

There have always been incidents. Things are supposed to go wrong now and then. That's how pit stops add to the suspense. The question is if the chance of somebody being hurt has increased. There probably aren't enough cases for meaningful statistics. I just don't think it's a good thing that the whole pressure to keep the stop time short is now on the guys changing the wheels. When they refuelled the mechanics were usually off the car way before refuelling was finished. And I definitely don't remember any incidents of cars leaving the pit with a loose wheel.

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And Ferrari win the China qualifying, half a second ahead of Mercedes. Weird. Mercedes were the fastest in Q2 on the "soft" tyres. The "ultrasoft" didn't seem to work for them, or they worked spectacularly well for Ferrari. Looks like Ferrari is on par with Mercedes on the engine while Renault is still behind. Good results for Haas and Force India while the Renault teams are struggling. Toro Rosso is nowhere to be seen.

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Great race! There were at least three phases where it looked like different people were going to win and then Ricciardo wins it from out of nowhere with arguably the drive of his career because even with a good set of tyres on the Red Bull is not passing a mercedes or a red bull with ease. In fact Verstappen highlighted how difficult it was to overtake.

Ricciardo definitely threw down a gauntlet to Red Bull saying "you think Max is your no.1?" along with a "I'm looking for a new contract in 2019" to the rest of the paddock.

Bottas and Raikonnen are probably both worried. Max needs to get his act together as he's somehow driving like this is his rookie year. As Vettel put it - after 2 seasons Max can't hide behind his age (although in fairness Max never makes that excuse).

Honest appraisal from Hamilton saying he was nowhere this race and needs to up his game.

I think Bottas and some general comments about it being questionable how the safety car came out in such a way that it neutered the race for the top 4. But it was an amazing double pit stop that red bull pulled off - I don't think most teams would have pulled that off. As Christian Horner had said prior to the safety car they had to try something different and it paid off.

Three races in and I think we could have a real championship on our hands between three teams. I think ferrari may have the best all round car. Mercedes are close (and thankfully can't use partymode throughout an actual race either for engine management or because tyres can't work with them). And now there's Red Bull which appear to manage tyres well and if they can have a strategy where they have the freshest tyres seem the most racy. So Red Bull just need to be crafty it seems.

Mercedes are probably thinking they are due some good luck regarding safety cars at this point.

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Excellent race. Lots of great minor moments too, like Alonso's near-contemptuous pass of Vettel which left Vettel fuming but unable to do anything about it, and Hulkenberg driving a really measured race to deliver a solid result for Renault. Force India looking racy for the first time this season as well. Verstappen needs to calm down, he's being far too aggressive, but at least he knows now when he's ballsed up and apologised for it. Measured response from Vettel as well, thankfully.

Bottas delivered the kind of drive he needed to at this moment. But I think Mercedes have to be looking hard at Ricciardo and wondering about the benefits of having him in the car versus Bottas. I can't see Vettel allowing Ricciardo to go to Ferrari or Ricciardo being happy being a #2 driver there.

Williams look totally adrift though. A completely catastrophic result, and I think at least in part due to putting two inexperienced drivers in the car.

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It was a great race. I do feel slightly sorry for Bottas who seemed to do everything right and had one of his best races only to be denied victory by bad luck with the safety car. That said, it was a great victory for Daniel Ricciardo, his pass on Bottas was particularly good. His team-mate showed that just having the right strategy wasn't enough, the driver still has to be able to execute the overtakes cleanly. Red Bull played the strategy brilliantly, but Mercedes seemed to miss an opportunity by not pitting Hamilton.

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1 hour ago, williamjm said:

It was a great race. I do feel slightly sorry for Bottas who seemed to do everything right and had one of his best races only to be denied victory by bad luck with the safety car. That said, it was a great victory for Daniel Ricciardo, his pass on Bottas was particularly good. His team-mate showed that just having the right strategy wasn't enough, the driver still has to be able to execute the overtakes cleanly. Red Bull played the strategy brilliantly, but Mercedes seemed to miss an opportunity by not pitting Hamilton.

Hamilton was slow there as well. The SC lights were up when he came into the second-to-last corner, he even got a much better look at them than normal as he had to slow to pass through the debris. He should have twigged and pitted himself. It would have been a scramble but they could have gotten it done. We've seen other drivers do the same thing before.

Hamilton was asleep all weekend. I think he'd written off the weekend and was planning to cruise it home and completely missed the idea. Not his sharpest moment.

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14 hours ago, Werthead said:

Hamilton was slow there as well. The SC lights were up when he came into the second-to-last corner, he even got a much better look at them than normal as he had to slow to pass through the debris. He should have twigged and pitted himself. It would have been a scramble but they could have gotten it done. We've seen other drivers do the same thing before.

Hamilton was asleep all weekend. I think he'd written off the weekend and was planning to cruise it home and completely missed the idea. Not his sharpest moment.

Hamilton was behind Verstappen, so he even would have seen him pit. But from what Wolff was saying afterwards, they thought track position was more important because of the early phase of the race. They simply got it wrong. 

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Looks like everybody underestimated just how big an advantage new tyres are on that track with this year's tyre compounds. Ferrari blundered with Vettel's pit stop, which lost him P1. Red Bull either saw it when Mercedes and Ferrari didn't or they were just more aggressive because they were behind and had more to gain than to lose.

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Another great race - this is shaping up to be one of the best seasons in a very long time. All the races have been unpredictable and three teams are hard to separate.

I have to feel for Bottas who I think has probably lost out on more wins than anyone else so far. Credit to Vettel for his all or nothing gamble - I'd rather drivers did this than play it safe. Although he may regret this later in the season he seemed pretty philosophical about it after the race. Hamilton was a bit muted but I appreciated his answer of beign grateful for the win but not happy with his performance. He gave a great interview with Channel 4 after the race saying he'd got the whole team together and asked them what they could do about the tyres as it's the car's weakness. It seemed like he'd had to bang a few heads with engineers being stuck in their mindset of there not being anything - yet Hamilton pointed out the other teams, especially ferrari were doing something to make the tyres work better. I like it when it's clear the drivers are active in driving the team forward.

Ricciardo and Verstappen were amazingly entertaining and if they'd been in different teams there'd have been no issue but it was clear it was eventually going to end in tears. To me it seemed Ricciardo was mainly to blame although it did look like Max, yet again changed direction 2-3 times - which has to stop (even if I think the accident would have happened anyhow). I was surprised how both drivers were apologetic and not blaming each other. Then I caught the interview with Christian Horner - I don't think I've seen such cold rage from him. He openly admitted that the reason both drivers were so apologetic was because he'd just banged their heads together and told them to go out there and apologise - specifically to the team back in woking. That they can't selfishly throw away team points.

That's fair enough but I'd say part of the blame then lays with him- there were multiple close calls (and even contact) prior to the final accident so he should have told them to back off. Although maybe he did and they just ignored him which may well explain the anger. It's going to be tricky controlling those two and it's the price they pay for having two excellent drivers. Hopefully Red Bull will take into account the kudos the team get from fans of the sport for allowing them to race. Still, it makes me wonder if Ricciardo has to go? I suspect Carlos Sainz Jnr (who I assume is their reserve driver) could prove just as problematic down the line but there may be a season at least where he gets used to the team and Max can assume No1 position.

Very embarassing for Grosjean. He said he knocked a switch when turning the wheel altering the performance of the brakes/engine and that there was a gust of wind. At the end of the day he still crashed the car behind a safety car though.

Hamilton raised a very good point about extended use of the safety car over the radio which was these cars don't handle well slowly and once the heat goes out of the diva tyres there's very little grip. And when that tow truck was on track he pointed out a very nasty accident could have happened. I think he has a point - especially with Grosjean's crash and that the race really should have been stopped. Which would have cost Hamilton a lot of points - which is why I think he was genuine about pointing it out and not just seeking some advantage.

4 great races though and I really wouldn't want to stick my neck out and say who's the best team or who's going to win at this stage. A lot of it will ultimately boil down to the development race between the 3 teams. I think that will give mercedes and red bull the edge but given ferarri have the fastest race day car on average it could be the second half of the season before the other two teams start dominating. It's all going to be about each team maximising points where they can which makes Vettel's gamble understandable yet risky. I have a feeling that Max and Ricciardo will wind up repeating the Alonso, Hamilton season in the sense either one could win if it wasn't for the other taking points off them. Vettel has the perfect wingman which may prove his biggest asset through the season. Hamilton and Bottas are a good compromise on team tactics in the sense they rarely get in each others way and it seems that on the days one of them is off pace the other is at least on top form.

I just hope Silverstone is going to be as exciting when I'm there in July!

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Posted (edited)

That was a bananas race. It also showed that the interaction of aero, power and tyres this season is really changeable, which is giving us results that are all over the place, even in a single race. Renault had a fantastic start and were going toe-to-toe with Red Bull but then fell back, since they got the tyres working much faster than Red Bull but Red Bull's aero package was superior and allowed them to come back strong.

Then you had Haas doing reasonably okay, Sauber really coming out of nowhere and delivering a blistering result, Gasly running really well in Toro Rosso and looking set for a good points position and then fading back, and Stroll coming out of nowhere to get a solid result (not as good as last year, but okay). Then Force India, who have been awful this year compared to the last two, surged up and snatched a podium (Perez becoming the only driver to finish on the podium twice at Baku in three races, which is crazy).

He got a bit lost in the mix but Alonso had a barnstorming day. He got a double puncture, drove the car back to the pits with both wheels hanging off, got back out at the rear of the field, was told he'd wrecked the floor and the car could pretty much fail at any moment and still finished seventh, scoring yet more points. That's like one of those drives (particularly in 2012 at Ferrari) where he managed to win races or get podiums by strength of will when the car was only the fourth or fifth best on the grid. He's still got it, it's a shame McLaren haven't.

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And when that tow truck was on track he pointed out a very nasty accident could have happened. I think he has a point - especially with Grosjean's crash and that the race really should have been stopped.

I think immediately what all went through the minds of all of the drivers was Jules Bianchi's death, which was caused by a recovery vehicle being active (not right on track in that case, but close) and the weather conditions there - rain in that case - also being horrendously unpredictable. At least three drivers were furious, pointing out that the elevation of the flatbed meant that anyone who crashed into it would have been killed (halo or not). The tyres and the wind were unpredictable factors here. Afterwards they also pointed out that red flagging the race and then resuming would have given them more racing time at the end and would have allowed them to get the tyres back up to temperature.

 

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Very embarassing for Grosjean. He said he knocked a switch when turning the wheel altering the performance of the brakes/engine and that there was a gust of wind. At the end of the day he still crashed the car behind a safety car though.

 

Yeah, Grosjean is a weird one. He had that horrendous season in 2012 where, among other things, he probably cost Alonso the championship and made so many mistakes it became a joke. Then he came back roaring strong almost immediately and out-drove and out-scored Raikkonnen and since then has been a consistently strong performer (a bit like Perez, when the situation arises he can suddenly take advantage of it and get a good result). This season he's had a couple of 2012-style wobbles and been outdriven by Magnusson, who I would have previously rated as an inferior driver but has been on good form this season.

Edited by Werthead

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5 hours ago, red snow said:

I have to feel for Bottas who I think has probably lost out on more wins than anyone else so far.

He's driven pretty much the perfect race the last two grand prix and both times been denied victory by random events, the safety car just after he'd past the pit lane and now the puncture.

It was a very entertaining and unpredictable race, even if the final result was a bit odd with Hamilton winning by default despite a fairly ordinary drive by his high standards. Baku is a weird track, I don't think it's a particularly great design but it does seem to have a knack of delivering good races.

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10 hours ago, red snow said:

That's fair enough but I'd say part of the blame then lays with him- there were multiple close calls (and even contact) prior to the final accident so he should have told them to back off.

I saw Ricciardo being faster then Verstappen. For Verstappen to be holding off Ricciardo the team lost track time. That's not what the team would like to see. Verstappen virtually drove Ricciardo into the barrier earlier in the race when he had clearly got past. He just can't accept being passed and goes too far trying to defend. Last race, Ricciardo was applauded on how he came from nowhere to stick up the inside of Hamilton. He did the exact same thing here before Verstappen moved illegally and they crashed.

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