Vettel’s Valencia pace worries Ferrari

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In the round-up: Sebastian Vettel’s pace at the start of the European Grand Prix is a cause for concern at Ferrari.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Ferrari concerned by Vettel’s pace (BBC)

Stefano Domenicali: “They did something very good this weekend; they improved the car. We are not at the level we should be in terms of performance. Red Bull was the quickest.”

McLaren: Maldonado incident avoidable (Autosport)

When asked if he thought Hamilton should have defended so hard, Whitmarsh said: “Clearly not, but you are dragging me into the conversation. In my mind, you saw him defend with [Romain] Grosjean and with [Kimi] Raikkonen, and he didn’t do anything different with Maldonado. It was a different outcome, but he didn’t do anything different with those drivers.”

Lewis Hamilton: “You have these ups and downs” (Adam Cooper)

“I don’t really know what happened if I’m honest. I went in the corner and I didn’t come out. To be honest it happened so fast I really don’t remember what happened. All I remember is sitting in the wall with only a lap to go.”

Horner sure Alonso will stumble (Sky)

“Fernando has done a tremendous job, scoring in every single race, but statistics say he has to have one bad weekend in 20. It will hopefully balance itself out over the course of the season.”

RB8 now a good all-rounder – Horner (ESPN)

“I think that we see form fluctuate from circuit to circuit, but we’ve had three poles in the last three races and that’s encouraging. We were in a commanding position here, tyre degradation looked very low and we were able to match that of our nearest rivals this weekend, and on that side it’s been positive.”

A rush of adrenaline, an emotional moment (Ferrari)

Luca di Montezemolo: “I saw all three champions of ‘my’ Ferrari hugging each other. Thinking back to so many amazing wins in these last 15 years and to the people who have contributed to that – from Michael to Kimi, from Todt to the other drivers, from the engineers to the mechanics – I was really touched.”

Comment of the day

Another great addition to Stats and Facts from Bleu:

It was first time since 2008 Brazilian GP since the driver won his home race. The longest such streak is between 1958 (won by Peter Collins) and 1962 British GPs (won by Jim Clark). Besides these two, the other time as there has been three years between two wins, is gap between 1995 European GP (Nurburgring, won by Schumacher) and 1999 British GP (won by Coulthard).

But then, nowadays we have a lot more races with no driver having home race. Since that Brazilian race, all Malaysian, Chinese, Bahrain, Monaco, Turkish, Canadian, Hungarian, Belgian, Singapore, Korean and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix have been held without a local driver with the exception of last year’s Belgian GP where Jerome d’Ambrosio was driving (and no one was believing that he would win).

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On this day in F1

Last year’s European Grand Prix was one year ago today – Sebastian Vettel scored a straightforward win at a track which has previously struggled to produce exciting races.

F1 Fanatic readers rated it 3.8/10 which was by far the lowest score of the season – next was the Indian Grand Prix with 5.5/10.

What did you think of this year’s race? Add you rating here:

Image © Red Bull/Getty images

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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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114 comments on “Vettel’s Valencia pace worries Ferrari”

  1. I predict this year’s European GP will score better than 3.8/10.

    1. Yes, but was it the tyres that made it good or was it a case of many cars being competitive spiced up by the return of “reliability” as a factor.

      1. Clearly not one or the other, but a combination of everything you’ve mentioned.

      2. I think JEV also deserves some of the credit for bringing out the safety car!

        1. A bit of Red Bull Technologies friendly fire there!

      3. It was already good before the safety car, and before Vettel’s faliure.

        That was partly because the cars qualified out of order [because Q2 was so close], and also because Schumacher struggled for pace in the middle of the race. This left drivers like Alonso, Grosjean and Webber bottled up with wheel-to-wheel racing the inevitable result.

        It was also because of the varying strategies which left drivers at the front needing to overtake each other. Vettel aside, there was a lot of top-5 action both before and after the safety car period.

      4. I’d say Safety Cars played a bigger role than tyres at Valecia…

        1. no as like stated above the best bit of racing was when no one but alonso could get past michael.

          The DRS worked about right here. Most tracks michael would not of been able to do that and they would of just breezed past him which is boring.

          michaels defence in that middle stage has been totally overlooked. it was great skill and very important for him strategy wise later in the race. and alonso getting through was vital also.

      5. It was fun to see reliability issues return, it’s not a nice way to exit a grand prix, but it really spiced up the show.

        So, overtaking and reliability issues make for entertaining races, maybe we need another button on the steering wheel that the driver presses in a designated zone, it will ‘roll a dice’ and give them a 1 out of 100 chance of having their car forced to break down, but only if they are leading by more than some arbitrary time.

        It could be called the Reliability Determination System or RDS, it would sit well next to DRS.

    2. I think its Vettel retiring and the safety along with the tyres making the race interesting lol, better than all the other Valencia bore fests!

      1. I predict this year’s European GP will score better than 3.8/10.

        Well, in that case it better be no higher than a rating of 3.9

        Valencia sucks. It’s a boring circuit. Nothing ever happens at Valencia.

        And before anyone opens the reply box, note this was sarcasm.

  2. I’m kind of curious why I have seen no mention anywhere of a potential problem for Alonso for stopping on the track at the end, it makes Hamiltons complete grid penalty look very very harsh, I know Hamiltons was after qualifying but the cars surely are still in parc ferme conditions after the race too until scrutineering is done, FIA not wanting bad publicity for affecting the big home race win?

    1. Its only after quali..we’ve seen many drivers stop on their in-laps over the years, no penalties were dished out.

    2. Think about it, in qualifying you can control exactly how much fuel the car is going to have at the end of the session, which means that if you’re under-fueled it, it was on purpose to gain an advantage, on the race however it’s impossible to predict exactly the fuel you’ll use and you can gain very little and loose quite a lot if you get it wrong, that’s probably why there is no penalties.

      1. I sort of doubt it was due to low fuel that he stopped, I find it hard to believe they would be cutting it that close even after a safety car.

        1. Apart from being unusual (not sure if it ever happened) penalizing a driver for stopping at the end, I too think Fernando stopped to celebrate his unexpected win with fellow Spaniards. Their country is going through tough times and he rightly decided to share that moment with them. That was a treat.

          1. there used to be a rule that you couldnt actually stop and restart on the slow down lap. i was worried for fernando when he picked up the flag. its a silly rule and not sure if it still exists.

            Damon got a slap on the wrist for it at silverstone 94.

          2. Right on target, JCost.


    3. IIRC the rules specifically state that in Practice (Quali is part of this) the car must make it back to parc ferme under it’s own steam. The race is difference and so long as the car is brought back and passes scrutineering they are fine to stop on track and have it recovered.

      1. I remember seeing a car finish with no wheels after an accident before the line, would have been cruel to make him finish an inlap.

      2. I saw a confirmation that Alonso’s car had enough fuel for the sample in it (1kg/1l) yesterday.

    4. While I didn’t think Alonso would receive a penalty that would change the result for stopping on track I was worried the FIA might fine him or give him a warning.

      As far as I am aware nothing has happened and I am glad as it is nice to see drivers celebrating a victory like that especially when it meant so much to Alonso and the fans

    5. Aditya Banerjee (@)
      29th June 2012, 8:31

      Button stopped at least thrice last year without completing a victory lap. It isn’t mandatory…

  3. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
    26th June 2012, 2:28

    @bleu You truly are an F1 Fanatic. I salute your dedication to the sport.

  4. Perfect DRS lenght, good conditions for racing = equals amazing show, quite simple of course F1 still has the problem of pole sitters running away in clean air but a bit of misfortune fixed that last weekend.

    1. “F1 still has the problem of pole sitters running away in clean air” well that is very characteristic of F1 isn’t it? it would be interesting to see if they could reintroduce ground effect but many consider that’s a “cheap” way to produce downforce, certainly there is the danger of either making the cars too equal in performance (GP2 like) if the rules are very tight or making the cars too fast and dangerous if you leave engineers have their way. Unfortunately an opportunity to try it out was lost with the 2014 rules in my opinion.

      1. Perhaps they should test ground effect more properly to get an idea of how and what. Would be pretty simple: just take a random 2009 car and slap some skirts on it.

      2. I don’t think it is that ground effects are a “cheap” way of getting DF. It’s more that it is incredibly dangerous at high speeds if the seal of air underneath the car is broken. More safety reasons I think

  5. A welcome return to paying the penultimate price for a speed inducing modification a DNF. ?
    I was actually surprised in these days of KERS to hear that the engines are still reliant on an engine driven generator, the implication that the safety car period was causal probably means that aerodynamic packaging is so tight that the generators suffer from heat build up at slower speeds. I would be interested in an authorative analysis of this, no doubt in 2014 everything will be running of the 1 battery-pack and hybrid generator.

    1. after 2014 the electric power will still come from an “engine driven generator”. even the KERS batteries are engine driven, albeit indirectly. there is no such thing as free lunch.

  6. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
    26th June 2012, 2:56

    If Vettel hadn’t retired, he would have won with ease and the race would have been deemed average by most F1F’s.

    Regarding Maldonado, he needs to mind his step as he’s treading on thin ice. It wasn’t that long ago that he was considered a pay driver, he turned that perception on its head by consistently beating his team mate and superbly winning the Spanish GP. However, people have short memories and tend to remember you for the negative rather than the positive (just look at Massa for example). If he isn’t careful, he’ll earn himself a reputation as a reckless, dangerous and inconsiderate driver and it can be very difficult to shake that kind of rep, even if you are a talented driver.

    1. Care to expand on a pay driver thing? I think Senna, Alonso, Schumacher and many other are keen to hear about that.

      Anyway, I think all the drivers did very well in first part of the race, it was so close, many times I though we were gonna have a major incident, but they managed. I think it was tough race, and it took toll on many.

      Looking at championship table, I’d say it was in most interest of Hamilton not to have this incident and make it as easy as possible for Maldonado. Maldonado already got his win and smashing Senna like there is no tomorrow, hes safe.
      Said that, I dont think Maldonodo should have driven on to that kerb and launch into Hamilton. Lewis had no traction, he could have overtaken him at any exit he wanted if he was smart about it. (Kimi done exactly that after failing to do so during braking).

      It is sad to see Maldonado not to keep his cool in this situation after what happened in Australia. I guess he is not a quick learner, but he got talent to drive fast.

      Hamilton is just impressive, didn’t care for a guy before this season. But his attitude change made me think otherwise, way he handled himself post-race is just shows he is a bigger man. His immediate reaction in car is understandable, liked it too!

      Hoping for four way Championship. Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton and Kimi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. you didn’t really expected Hamilton to give his position away, did you? He held up kimi who could go and overtake Alonso…this way Alonso would get less points…but he didn’t!

        that’s racing!

      2. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
        26th June 2012, 13:11

        Maybe the term ‘pay driver’ is wrong, but that does detract from my point that many F1 fans (myself NOT included) had the perception that Maldonado was in F1 partly because of his talent, but mainly because of the financial clout that he had behind him.

        1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
          26th June 2012, 13:16

          but that does detract from my point


    2. @tmcs88

      If he isn’t careful, he’ll earn himself a reputation as a reckless, dangerous and inconsiderate driver.

      Too late. He already has this reputation. Now he needs to work really hard to reverse it, but it will be almost impossible for someone who’s unable to own up to his own mistakes.

      People have short memories and tend to remember you for the negative rather than the positive (just look at Massa for example).

      I think we all remember Massa’s good races, but sadly, he isn’t there anymore. Nowadays he’s consistently unable to challenge Alonso. He needs to change it or he’ll be replaced. Reminiscing the good times won’t help a bit with his current situation.

    3. HewisLamilton
      26th June 2012, 17:10

      Very interesting perception on Maldonado. I felt similar to you on this except you can replace Maldonado with Hamilton.

  7. Good point. Interesting to see that Martin Whitmarsh made the valid point that Lewis fought both Grosjean and Raikkonen fairly without incident, in situations not unlike the one involving Maldonado. When I first saw the crash live, it looked to me as if Maldonado lost his temper after being forced off the track and then drove into the side of Hamilton. Maldonado ‘claims’ that he lost control going over the curbing but the video evidence doesn’t show the Williams behaving in such a way.
    I can imagine, off topic, how unpopular the FIA would be if they penalised Alonso for stopping on track. For me, it was the emotion of the victory from both the crowd and Fernando that made this race memorable. Took me back to the days of Mansell at Silverstone in a way, great stuff!

    1. I’m not sure that Whitmarsh is right though. Raikkonen and Grosjean both passed Hamilton by going around the outside at turn 12 to get alongside him, which gave them the inside line into turn 13 to make the pass. Maldonado made the same move but had to go off the track because Hamilton positioned his car so there wasn’t room for him to stay on the track.

      I’m not saying Hamilton was wrong in doing that, I’ve discussed that on other articles here and the consensus seems to be that being on the racing line gave Hamilton the right to do what he did. But Hamilton can’t have done the same thing for all three passes because Grosjean and Raikkonen wouldn’t be able to fit their cars between Hamilton and the left side of the track if he had made the same move he did when Maldonado tried to pass.

      It looked like he’d been passed there twice by exactly the same move and tried something different to stop it happening a third time.

  8. Watching the first half of this Valencian GP, it strongly smells of the 2011, all covered with fingerings… Again Adrian might have found something magical in RBR8? Then it should be a big shame…

    1. Precisely.

      The race ended up being good but gave pretty ominous signs that a 2011 borefest is right around the corner after such a brilliant start to the season.

      1. I’d say the jury is still out on that. Remember how dominant McLaren appeared to be in Melbourne? People said the same thing then..

        1. Or when Vettel won Bahrein.

          1. @f1fannl I personally never for a moment thought that Vettel would return to 2011 form post Bahrain. He was hounded down relentlessly by the Loti.

        2. If past is any indication of the future, the early dominance of McLaren this season at Melbourne is at best shaky, or put it other words, very temporary, while what felt like seeing the Q3 by RBR8, one shot lap with astounding 3 tenths gap, followed by definite full dominance of the race was something invincible like last year.
          Guess is that the driver’s capability differential among the top 3-5 contenders are very very thin and ergo the gap couldn’t be more than 1 sec for the first lap unless there’s huge performance difference in the car. Dunno know and hope not, but the forms exhibited by RBR8 not only VET but WEB were quite different from what it normally is said to be so far this season.

  9. RBR were obviously very strong at Valencia but I think the picture might look different in a couple of weeks. If I remember correctly, Vettel has always been strong at Valencia and last year it was one of his most dominant wins, while life wasn’t as easy in the next races at Silverstone, Nurburgring and Hungaroring. Now we are heading to Silverstone again, it’s a circuit of a different type, the temperatures are almost definitely going to be lower and there is a decent chance of rain, too. For sure, Domenicali’s attitude is right but there is a reasonable hope that the close battle we have seen so far among the top teams this year will continue.

    1. @Girts I think what was worrying them was that Vettel was achieving the same tyre life as the Lotus even despite unleashing such pace. Vettel’s first stop was the same lap as Grosjean’s first stop.

    2. Can’t relate to 2011, nobody is pushing the tires and Vettel could had the best window of them all in Valencia, Maldonado and Rosberg had it once already and no pecking order.
      I like drivers do make difference now, even rookies have a chance

  10. “Fernando has done a tremendous job, scoring in every single race, but statistics say he has to have one bad weekend in 20. It will hopefully balance itself out over the course of the season.”

    Statistics say that Sebastian Vettel has to have one bad weekend in twenty, too.

    In fact, I would argue that both Vettel and Alonso have had bad weekends. Alonso has simply made the most of them.

    1. I don’t know why but hearing a team principle say things like that is kind of off putting. Its almost as if he’s going out in public saying I want x to have bad luck so it benefits me. Doesn’t matter if it’s coming from Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren or whoever, it’s very off putting to me.

      1. @julian – I think I said this a while ago. Teams like Ferrari arrive at a circuit expecting to be competitive based on what they know about the car and the circuit. Teams like Red Bull arrive at a circuit and assume they will be competitive irrespective of what they know about the car and the circuit.

        If I didn’t know any better, I’d say these comments were made by Christian Horner’s doppelganger at The F1 Slate. The obvious implication is that Vettel is the perfect driver who will capitalise on a single mistake from Alonso and take full advantage of it, as if the championship will depend on it. The only problem with this statement is that Alonso’s lead over Vettel is so great that even if Vettel wins in Silverstone and Alonso decides to go down to the pub instead of race, Alonso will still have the championship lead when the championship moved to Hockenheim.

        1. Um. What? “The perfect driver”? Creative interpretation, there!

          Also, if Vettel’s and Alonso’s fortunes were reversed in the next GP, as you (sort of) describe, Alonso would come out of it leading Vettel by, yes, ONE point. One whole point. Which was the situation as they were going into the European GP, of course. And it would be exactly what Horner was talking about: one bad weekend for Alonso balancing everything out again.

          1. what the hell are you guys talking about…. Horner was just pointing out that a DNF for Alonso (a bad weekend) and Vettel winning as Alonso did (on Vettels bad weekend a DNF) and we’ve be back where we started.

            Nothing to do with being prefect or taking full advantage., just the law of averages.

        2. Aditya Banerjee (@)
          29th June 2012, 8:33


    2. @prisoner-monkeys Refresh my memory: how many times this season has Alonso had the kind of bad weekend Vettel just had? I can’t remember his car breaking down and stopping on track even once. But yeah, no doubt Alonso would have made the most of it if it had. Probably would have still scored points, right? ;-)

      Vettel and Alonso entered the European GP separated by ONE point, so it seems to me they had both been doing about equally well at making the most of their “bad weekends” — up until Vettel had the sort of bad weekend normal mortals really can’t do anything about.

      1. how many times this season has Alonso had the kind of bad weekend Vettel just had? I can’t remember his car breaking down and stopping on track even once.

        I seem to recall him having a car that was practically undrivable when the season started. It wasn’t until the Mugello test that Ferrari started to make serious progress in bettering the car. Nevertheless, in the first four races of the season, Alonso managed to score a fifth, a first, a ninth and a seventh.

        1. Wait — so you’re counting bad weekends BEFORE the season started? Okay, then…

          However, what you quoted in your original comment was Horner referring to misfortune like Vettel’s this weekend. If Alonso had had a DNF at some point in the season so far, he and Vettel would be a lot closer in points right now.

          1. He said “when” the season started, not “before”. The mugello testing was mid-season. Are you doing it on purpose aka_robyn?

          2. No, that was an unintentional misinterpretation of the phrase “when the season started.” (I know when Mugello testing happened.)

            However, I fail to see how that — or anything PM said in his response to me, actually — has any bearing on my overall point, which is that Alonso has not experienced the type of “bad day” Horner was referring to.

          3. @aka_robyn
            I think the point PM is trying to make is that Alonso had bad weeks, not just a bad day, in what was a dog of a car. But he made the most out of it as he possibly could. And as a result he is now leading the championship.

            Or something along those lines.

          4. @aka_robyn

            At leas until May, Alonso was operating in damage limiting mode, while Vettel l was able to challenge for victories and pole. While Alonso took every single opportunity and scored more than his car would realistically allow him to score, Vettel failed to capitalize on his car potential – which obviously until Mugello test was much greater than Alonso’s Ferrari and more often than not it allowed to fight for poles, podiums and wins. One might say he doesn’t cope very well when he doesn’t have the great performance advantage and there are other drivers with machines comparable to his. And if you want to talk about bad weekends, ask Schumacher.

          5. The main point I had been trying to make (apparently not very effectively) was a pretty narrow one: all Horner was saying was that Alonso was bound to run into bad luck at some point, which will hopefully even things out, pointswise. And if it’s bad luck like his car breaking down, even Alonso’s unparalleled super-awesome skills won’t allow him to “simply make the most of it.”

            However, if we’re changing the subject to each driver’s relative performance in their respective cars this season: if Keith decided to hold a poll today called “The Driver of the 2012 Season So Far,” Alonso would have my vote. He has done an amazing job. It STILL doesn’t mean he would be able to do a better job than Vettel with a car that’s sitting stationary on the circuit through no fault of his own!

          6. @aka_robyn you made the point perfectly, I’m not understanding why people are arguing with you.
            Horner didn’t even say or imply the points people are arguing, they seem to have something set in their minds and can’t see it from another perspective, yours, which I agree with.

          7. Vettel failed to capitalize on his car potential

            Not really, given that he would be leading if not for an alternator failure.

    3. If that car stays that dominant, vettel can afford to have a bad weekend, or 2, or 3. That last update made them instantly 3 tenths faster.

    4. You can’t ‘make the most’ of your car switching off; no driver in history could do that. And it’s a particularly bad weekend when it happens in a race you’re going to win. Regardless of how beautifully Alonso has driven this season, when his car breaks in the lead we’ll all agree he’s had a bad weekend.

  11. As for the ‘avoidable’ accident, I believe that both Hamilton and Mr. Whitmarsh are being too diplomatic here. Almost every collision is avoidable but that doesn’t mean that drivers should avoid any clashes at any cost, particularly if the rival tries to overtake aggressively as Maldonado did. There is a difference between ‘leaving the space’ and just giving in. Hamilton has every right to feel angry with Maldonado after what happened.

    1. Hamilton has every right to feel angry with Maldonado after what happened.

      But full credit to Hamilton for not going out in public and criticising Maldonado for it. By not doing so he is showing the sort of maturity people have claimed he is missing.

      1. I have no idea why that is supposed to be showing maturity!? You wouldn’t want everybody going around with their stale media-faces on all day now, would you?

  12. Aditya Banerjee (@)
    26th June 2012, 7:36

    When asked if he thought Hamilton should have defended so hard, Whitmarsh said: “Clearly not, but you are dragging me into the conversation. In my mind, you saw him defend with [Romain] Grosjean and with [Kimi] Raikkonen, and he didn’t do anything different with Maldonado. It was a different outcome, but he didn’t do anything different with those drivers.”
    Which is exactly why Hamilton should have been careful. Raikkonen and Grosjean are both safer drivers compared to Maldonado and Hamilton shouldn’t have defended so vehemently from him.
    I do not believe I have the ability of foresight, but watching the helicopter shot of Hamilton and Maldonado approaching the turn(I’ve forgotten the number, there are too many numbers on the track) at the end of the DRS straight, my instinct was saying that there would be a crash. And when there was, I did not react. Is it because the duo have clashed on multiple occasions in the past? I had a similar experience in Buddh last year between Massa and Hamilton.

    1. Still, the “Clearly not” might be honest, but it’s also a bit disappointing to see that for me @adibanf1

      Had Whitmarsh said “in hindsight” he’d be right; this comes from a team manager that couldn’t provide either drivers with a lot of faultless team efforts this year (and no updates here, while the pace seems to have dropped relatively I might add), and about a driver that didn’t even make a mistake, just didn’t take the smartest heat-of-the-moment action and lost way more than he deserves as a consequence. He who is without sin etc.

      All in all a worrying weekend for McLaren. Are pit stop and Button struggles holding back team progress?

      1. Aditya Banerjee (@)
        26th June 2012, 15:39

        They seem to be underperfoming in the updates sector with respect to Red Bull, Lotus and even Ferrari. Button is a factor too, I think he is facing a psychological barrier, which is similar to the one Massa is probably facing. This is strange, considering he seemed to carry on his performances from last year at Melbourne.

    2. Whitmarsh comment “clearly not” is in hindsight. It should be obvious to everybody now that Hamilton shouldn`t have defended as he did when we know the outcome. He might just have well have stated that Maldonado should “clearly not” have been as aggressive as he was in hindsight.

      Whitmarsh just stated the obvious, in hindsight knowing the outcome of course Hamilton should have let Maldonado go and not defended as hard as he did. But nobody knew the outcome that at the time so why bother speculating. Still i have to admit that I could see the incident coming before it happened, after all Maldonado and Hamilton fighting for position will end in tears more often than not. Maldonado will stick his nose in there every single time (10 times out of 10) and will never back down. Hamilton will also force the issue 9 times out of 10.

    3. I agree I saw the crash coming and it was no surprise at all.

      But I still don’t know if Hamilton should have relented. For the points, people will say yes, but ceding to Maldonado basically barging his way past without using any kind of driving skill to maximize his faster speed would have set a precedent. As it stands, Maldonado lost points and more credibility overall, rather than learning that he can just blunder past someone racing for the championship however he wants. Hamilton knows full well that his real problem is the McLaren car development and garage performance, not the immediate points loss.

    4. As said before, I think Whitmarsh (despite being right at certain point) shouldn’t have say this on the press. It sounded like critcism and I don’t remember he being critic about Button’s awful season so far. My impression is that Whitmarsh and Lewis don’t get along all that well. Didn’t Whitmarsh stated that Mclaren let the wrong driver go in 2007?
      I might be completly wrong, it’s just a thought, Mclaren sometimes, not to say always, it’s hard to read.

      1. I think you are (wrong), it sounded like defence of Hamilton to me.

    5. I’m all out to defend Maldonado that he is incredibly fast and his oil money gave him as much advantage as to other great champions.

      But by no extend is Raikkonen a safer driver than Maldonado, there is no comparison between two. Kimi is a legend, just watch all his wheel to wheel action this season – talking about smart drive and no need of DRS.

      Maldonado has raw speed, but with line up we have this season, Alonso, Vettel, Kimi, Hamilton – raw speed is not enough. And Maldonado seems to have troubles learning.

      1. Aditya Banerjee (@)
        29th June 2012, 8:37

        Your second paragraph contradicts itself.

  13. I’m worried too. But the optimist in me believes we still facing a race-specific season. Vettel could not enjoy such advantage everywhere. He was pretty handy in Bahrain too, but that dominant pace at Valencia was very much the same we witnessed last year.

  14. Well, in hindsight, every racing incident can be avoided.

    LH had every right to defend his position. He was heading for a podium finish with 2 laps to go. Just because PM is a aggressive….sorry, RECKLESS driver does not mean that LH had to let him through without much of a fight. If every driver starts doing that then in the future PM would be waved past by every driver.

    That is not RACING.

    1. Aditya Banerjee (@)
      26th June 2012, 15:43

      No it isn’t. But is Schumi had been in Lewis’s position, he would have been lambasted. And badly.

  15. I remember people always said that Mclaren are relentless development machine, but they are falling back. Hamilton even said that they didn’t have new parts since Barcelona. I know they are bringing big upgrade to Silverstone, but Red Bull brought big upgrade one or two races earlier (first part pf upgrade was mounted in Montreal).

    1. Well but that was true. McLaren have had the fastest rate of development but this year it’s a big surprise. Now when drivers have started to perform, the team itself is plagued with errors.

      In the drivers conference in Valencia, LH was hesitating in answering about the developments coming to Silverstone. I really don’t expect any major upgrades for Silverstone. The drivers will have to slug it out through pure skills.

      1. Well, last year Mclaren couldn’t overtake Red Bull, though their car was also very good (at least in race trim), though they were bringing upgrades more often than this year, which they began having fastest car, and now they’re sliping down the order.

    2. @osvaldas @neelv27
      I have never bought that McLaren was such a development machine. What exactly have they done that was of note? If you really looked at the development brought upon the MP4-24 in 2009, it wasn’t much. The MP4-24 at the start of the year had two fundamental flaws:
      a) a flawed front wing endplate design
      b) weight distribution

      Otherwise the car was a good car. It was just that the rear of the car wasn’t getting air due to the flawed front endplates. Once the front wing endplate fed air in the right places, it basically switched on the downforce generation that was already there to begin with.

      Look at what happened the next years:
      2010 – After Turkey 2010, they brought 3 updates – 3 ENTIRE updates until the end of the year. Those were an updated F-duct at Abu Dhabi, the blown diffuser which they spent Silverstone to Spa fine-tuning and finally the new front wing cascades they introduced in Singapore.
      2011 – They brought a tiny amount of updates. The most notable was basically installing new software to the SECU in Germany (for a better blown diffuser effect) and a new DRS which they brought to Silverstone, but kept on not racing it until, again – Spa.

      Other than the fairy tale story of 2009 development, not much has happened.

      1. That was @osvaldas31 rather, sorry..

  16. The way I see it, the Hamilton-Maldonado incident was just that: a racing incident. Both drivers probably could have done more to avoid contact. Maybe one driver could have done more than the other to avoid it, but that does not exonerate the other from wrongdoing. Debating over precisely how much of the blame each driver deserves – whether it’s a 51-49% split, or a 99-1% split – isn’t going to achieve anything, because neither driver got anything out of it. Lewis Hamilton ended up in the wall; Pastor Maldonado was demoted to twelfth, outside the points-scoring positions. Successfully proving that one driver was totally responsible for the contact isn’t going to change anything about the outcome.

    1. Sorry PM, as per Keith its unequivocally Maldanado’s fault and anyone believing otherwise is wrong

    2. @prisoner-monkeys What a surprise, PM arguing the opposite to 99% of people’s views. Yawn. For the record, it was so obvious that it was Maldonado’s fault it’s not funny. Whether Hamilton should have just waived him past given Maldonado’s prior history IS a valid point of debate, however. My own view is that with just under 2 laps to go, Hamilton was right to put up a firm but fair defence. I would have been disappointed with anything less (and much more disappointed than a few lost WC points – I want to see a racer doing just that – racing). Far too many people are looking at the incident with the benefit of hindsight and passing judgement.

      1. You seem to find the post “surprising” based on a majority view (“99%”) and a personal opinion (“it was so obvious that it was Maldonado’s fault.”) But whatever the merits and demerits of the incident were, two facts remain: Hamilton’s tyres were not as fresh as Maldonado’s, and Hamilton is by far the more experienced driver. When I saw them tangle, my first and only reaction was “why did Hamilton not leave a bit more room?” My point of view seems to be held by Whitmarsh — and also perhaps by the stewards who only gave a drive-through (20 secs.) which can be seen as adding to Maldonado’s career experience.
        With more than sixty years of watching F1 behind me, I don’t play the “blame game” and I believe that less experienced drivers are more dangerous than more mature world champions. But your mileage might vary …

        1. The question really is, did Maldanardo drive into Hamilton from outside the track while experinecing a Spa/Monaco red mist, and did Hamililton fall into to a `not having it` negative feed back loop?

          1. could all go back to the no one overtakes on the outside Hungary 2008.

        2. @paul-a I don’t understand you’re point. What i said was that it was clearly Maldonado’s fault – which 99% of people agree with because, well it was that obvious. Where i think it’s valid for views to differ is whether Hamilton should have known better and given him more room (though he was perfectly entitled not to). My PERSONAL view is that Hamilton was correct. If you give in to a bully then they’ll just come back for me. So while yes in the short term he’s lost points, in the many races Hamilton will have in the future he won’t have Maldonado or other like-minded thugs sending it down the inside of him knowing he’ll jump out of the way. In my “many” years of racing, it’s an important aspect to establish with your competitors.

          1. You think because of what happened Maldonado wont be attempting to overtake Hamilton in the future? 99% people? Is that 99% of people in your mind? You think Hamilton was correct yet he walked away with 0 points because of this incident where he played his part in this incident where he potentially could have picked up a handy 4th or 5th had he yielded room? You dont sound as if your happy with this outcome, actually you sound quite cheesed off. I certainly wouldnt like to meet you on a race track :). ‘There’s a time to give absolutely everything you have. Then there are times you must hold everything you have’. Wise words

          2. “To finish first, first you must finish.” Hamilton blew away any possible points in Valencia — not just my opinion, but also that of his team boss, Martin Whitmarsh. Maldonado is not a “thug”, he’s one of the world’s 23 F1 drivers racing on Sunday; less experienced than Hamilton but also a very competitive super-licensed driver (and unless I’m mistaken, they both have the same number of race wins this year, so not exactly a slouch.)
            As I said earlier, I don’t play the blame game, but in this incident there was enough competitiveness, testosterone and stupidity to complicate the stewards job. They ended up deciding on a drive through rather than a 10 place penalty for Silverstone, so maybe they didn’t see things quite as “obvious” as you did. But you are of course perfectly entitled to your opinion.

      2. @davidwhite

        What a surprise, PM arguing the opposite to 99% of people’s views. Yawn.

        I might be arguing against 99% of peoples’ views, but that does not automatically make me wrong. My belief is that the rule that allows a defending driver to force an attacking driver off the circuit is a bad rule.

        For the record, it was so obvious that it was Maldonado’s fault it’s not funny.

        The rules state that a defending driver is entitled to force an attacking driver beyond the confines of the circuit when defending his position. With such a rule in place, incidents like the Maldonado-Hamilton one were an inevitability.

        My own view is that with just under 2 laps to go, Hamilton was right to put up a firm but fair defence.

        Forcing another driver off the circuit might be firm, but it is never fair – regarldess of who does it.

        1. @prisoner monkeys
          My point is you just look to pick arguments. It’s a little tedious.

          In terms of forcing off the road – it’s simple really – two cars don’t go into one racing line. It’s not forcing a car off the track….it’s call defending your line. Pretty basic really which is why i don’t get why people are apportioning blame to Hamilton. May i be so bold as to suggest those that don’t get this concept stop typing on the internet, jump in a kart and try racing – maybe you’ll then get it.

    3. @prisoner-monkeys I’m tempted to agree with you though I still believe that most of the blame lies with Maldonado. Hamilton may have been able to defend from previous laps but his tyres were going when Maldonado caught him. Although many will argue my point, defending when your tyres are going is almost futile. However, Maldonado could have left it a couple of corners more than anything, he seemed to be in a rush and he didn’t need to be.

      1. Wow. People really do seem to have it in for poor Hamilton. I guess it’s just tall poppy syndrome. No other driver could create such a response – which tells you a lot. Remember this “racing incident” with Button and Alonso last year in Cananda:
        Were people jumping up and down and saying Alonso should have let Button go? Were people saying Button was overly aggressive in trying the pass? Not a bit of it.
        I can’t believe some of the people that read this website actually think Hamilton was at fault but i guess that’s the GP for you. If you’ve ever raced in any form of motor sport you’d appreciate that he had the line, had defended very nicely, and was pushing on expecting Maldonado to back off and no doubt attack later in the lap. As for those actually defending Maldonado, he’s not a top F1 pilot, and IMO is going to do someone some serious damage one of these days. TRy reading his bio and here’s a little clip of his work.
        The sad fact for me is that people are actually suggesting Hamilton (or other drivers) stop defending their positions against Maldonado because he’s “Loco”. On the contrary, get rid of Maldonado and we can have wheel to wheel action without people being punted into the wall and lives being risked.

        1. @ paul-a “Maldonado is not a “thug””. Ha, ha, ha – LMAO! He seriously injured a marshal in Monaco during F3000 under yellow flags and received a 4 race ban (from memory i think it was originally a life ban from racing at Monaco as well), he nearly killed someone by not slowing down for yellow flags a year later – see post above – he deliberately crashed into Hamilton in Spa last year and Perez in Monaco, the list goes on. Please tell me again what a smashing chappie he is again…..! His mum must be so proud of him.

          1. You have the right to laugh your **** off at reasonable comments. I disagreed with your assessment that Maldonado was a “thug.” You now add that he “deliberately” crashed into other cars at Spa and Monaco last year yet offer no justification — Spa led to a five-place grid drop for Maldonado and a reprimand for Hamilton, the earlier Monaco GP included two incidents including Hamilton getting a 20-second penalty for what looked very similar to this latest Valencia incident but the other way round. As to his four race ban, the BBC reported: “I feel very bad … but a penalty under such circumstances is justified,” [Maldonado] said.
            I try and look at drivers dispassionately and analyze facts. It’s relatively clear that Hamilton and Maldonado have magnetic attraction that has tended towards some rather over-competitive, perhaps unsportsmanlike, behaviour. But, as Keith wrote a little while back: “Maldonado’s calm resistance to Fernando Alonso’s pressure on his way to victory in Spain was a further sign he’s put his ‘wild man’ days behind him.”
            None of this adds up to labeling an F1 driver as a “thug.” And as far as I’m concerned, this thread has now run its course.

          2. @paul-a I did write that about Maldonado after Spain and I’m not sure I’ve ever come to regret my owns words more quickly.

            His swerve into Perez in Monaco – which to me looked just as deliberate as his collision with Hamilton at Spa last year – and that silly incident with Hamilton in Valencia all pointed to Maldonado not having his temperament under control yet.

            He needs to get his head sorted, because he’s thrown away a ton of points for himself and Williams this year.

      2. Hamilton has made leaps and bounds in the ‘keep it cool’ stakes compared to his nearly weekly on track fracas with Massa last year. But there is work yet to do – take Alonso in Canada as an example. I get a feeling Hamilton dislikes Maldo? He lets both Lotuses thru no worries but dosent grant Maldo an inch laps later with his tyres further deteriorated. Then there’s Monaco 2011 where he punted him off from 5th place. Yet there he was cool as cat for sixty laps at Monza tryin to find a way thru Schumi…

  17. That is an absolutely cracking CotD, love our stats at this site.

  18. The last thing we want is the repeat of 2011. But i think Webber may outshine Vettel in few races and this year may end like 2010..btw How come Rosberg is ahead of Raikkonen in points? Raikkonen has 3 podiums with some points finishes as well.

    1. Despite all the talk of consistency wins still matter. Thanks to the points system we have a win makes a big difference… Webber has only had 1 podium so far but seeing as it was a win he’s running 2nd at the moment. (Obviously consistency still plays a big part in driver standings).

      1. Yes wins does make a huge difference. But because of one win Rosberg is ahead of Raikkonen in points..But if we compare their performance over the 9 races. Raikkonen has done a better job…I am not blaming the points system.But it can be improved. maybe 25 20 15..According to that, Raikkonen by now had 77 points. which somehow shows the true picture.

    2. DNFs, thats what matter this season :)

    3. How come Rosberg is ahead of Raikkonen in points?

      Because Rosberg has 75 points to Raikkonen’s 73.

      1. LOL cotd

  19. I was at the GP in Valencia at the turn off just before the bridge..(Stand M7).. I don’t know if it was as obvious on TV but the sound of the EBD on Vettel’s car (not on both RB8s) was very similar to the awful rasping we last heard in 2011..
    Newey may have found a way to get around the engine mapping regulations and create a 2011 type car that suits vettel..
    Anyone else heard this??

    1. New EBD Newey got it from lotus but seem made it better and lotus also keep developing it, but then if abused burns out
      : )

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