Hamilton: Car went from “terrible” to “amazing”

2013 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2013Lewis Hamilton was baffled by the performance of his Mercedes which changed dramatically during the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Hamilton said he was “very happy – massively happy” to finish fifth. “Just because the race started out so bad,” he explained. “I wanted to get a good start, I got a terrible start. And then I was just so slow.”

“I was nowhere, had no speed at all. Nothing I could do, no matter what I did to the car it wouldn’t get faster and the gap was just growing in front.

“And all of a sudden something happened, after the second pit stop I think it was, all of a sudden the car started reacting differently and I was able to push, I had grip again.”

Hamilton thought the problem was related to the damage his car suffered yesterday when a delaminated tyre broke his suspension and gearbox:

“It must be something that happened to the car in qualifying, we’ve changed gearbox, perhaps something wasn’t set right and it went back to being set right. And all of a sudden the car was amazing.”

Having been left vulnerable at the start Hamilton finished the race by passing Mark Webber on the last lap: “At the beginning I wasn’t overtaking anyone, I was a sitting duck basically getting overtaken,” he said. “It was great to be able to do some overtaking here, for sure.”

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

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93 comments on “Hamilton: Car went from “terrible” to “amazing””

  1. The difference between a very good driver (Rosberg) and a great driver (hamilton) is a great driver still gets results even when he hasn’t the tools to do so.

    1. @hellotraverse that should be a sigh of relief for Ross Brawn isn’t. Now that they have a driver who can take this team forward. Mercedes are not in a better shape now compared to their position after 4 races last year

      1. Lewis came from absolutely nowhere to 5th, the best he could have hoped for. Thats all he can do at the moment, just collecting as many points as possible and staying in the fight just in case they manage to unlock the race pace in that car, because it is clearly a fast car. Rosberg on the other hand will be hoping that this season does not turn out to be another replica of the last 3 years with tyre management.

    2. pretty weird comment considering Rosberg took pole and Lewis didnt. And both were nowhere until mid-race when Hamilton’s car suddenly hooked up. He even said himself that there was nothing he could do to make the car go faster in the beginning of the race..

      1. I feel bad for NR just in the sense that I think that he is actually closer to LH in performance than the points show, but right now it looks on paper like LH is doing a better job. I acknowledge fully that LH is doing quite well as the new guy on the team, and with a car that is right now where they hoped to put in this season as they progress toward being a top 3 team…that being to finish the season in a strong 4th in the WCC, which is where they sit right now.

        NR has admitted his side of the garage put too much emphasis on quali performance in Bahrain, and that in general the car is hard on rear tires. The fact that LH was handcuffed at the start, and then later on the car somehow came to him, tells me that the tires still have way too much influence. Even Red Bull are saying that even though they are happy with their start to the season, the tires still need attention, and teams shouldn’t need to pit 4 times in a race.

        I don’t like hearing comments such as LH has made that the car suddenly came to him for some unknown reason. I don’t envision that as the pinnacle of racing when drivers don’t know how or why the car suddenly got better. If they don’t know that, then these tires are too influential, imho, and are making it a lottery. At any point in time a car can change dramatically while everyone stands around scratching their heads? Is that what Hembrey means when he says its up to the teams to adapt to the tires. I get that, but it makes it a game of tires, not gladiator vs. gladiator out on the track. which is what I would prefer to see.

        1. Unless HAM said something about the tyres that was not included here (very possible, just saying that I didn’t see it), he didn’t blame the tyres and I think you may be jumping to conclusions.

          You make a better point earlier when you highlight that ROS focused on quali and ate his rear tyres. Sounds like maybe HAM focused on race pace, given his penalty, and that the car worked better for some reason (maybe fuel load?) seems to bear that out.

          There was a lot of passing in non-DRS areas this race, I think the tyres did their job and the racing was the better for it.

          1. Hmmm…maybe I’m tiptoeing to conclusions, but jumping? Not really, given how much of the talk has been about the tires and how even Red Bull can win a race and still complain about the tires. And keep in mind LH said the car started to come about after the second pit stop. So I don’t know what would have changed for him other than tires and fuel load, and if the car works better the lighter it gets, the only other variable is still tires, so I think it is a safe bet to say that tires are very much the issue these days.

            In terms of the tires ‘doing their job’ I think that is a matter of personal preference. I take no joy or excitement from seeing one bloke pass another because his tires are the equivalent of banana peels. For me the racing is better when the tires do not limit the drivers from pushing their cars to the limit, and when they are not afraid of ruining their tires by defending their position.

            I think too there is something fundamentally wrong when qualifying high can mean you can be screwed in the race. Or qualifying low can be a better strategy in hopes that you make it up in the race. It’s all too much about tire conservation and everything else that gets affected by that. If we are to take a page out of NR’s book these days then, does that mean we will have a grid full of drivers trying not to achieve pole because that will only hurt them come the end of the race on Sunday? Will NR try to achieve pole next time, and if not, because he is trying for a better strategy for Sunday, then what does achieving pole mean anymore?

          2. @robbie – While I see your point on tiptoeing vs jumping to conclusions, I think that Red Bull can win and still complain shows how hellbent they are about complaining when they clearly have the tyres sorted. Merc has tyre issues, but they have been eating tyres since they took over from Brawn three years ago. So RBR is fine but still complaining, and Merc has always had tyre issues. Sounds like whining to me, but that’s just me.

            I agree that opinions of how the tyres are doing is down to personal preference, sort of circular. But comparing this year to the years where Bridgestone was the sole supplier is night and day. Passing did not occur then. The best time in recent years, in my opinion, was when there were multiple suppliers and teams could select different compounds and therefore different strategies. But that’s not coming back. So, given that it is a sole supplier situation, I like the tyres more like they have been the past few seasons rather than everlasting. Tyres aren’t the problem, not being able to follow closely due to aero is.

            I don’t think your concern in your last paragraph is correct. ROS is a bad example because the Merc eats tyres especially when setup aggressively for qualifying. As for the quali vs race trade-off, it’s always been that way and that’s how it is. You can set up the car aggressively for a single lap and burn through tyres, or be a bit slower and have longer runs. There’s no way around that.

      2. @Rambler

        pretty weird comment considering Rosberg took pole and Lewis didnt.

        Hamilton’s performance was similar to Alonso’s last year i.e managing to finish with a decent points haul despite not having the best weekend, whilst Rosberg’s showing was pretty disapointing to say the least. To start on pole and end up 9th (where your teammate started) is quite embarrassing.

        1. *Alonso’s performances throughout last year

        2. @hellotraverse Yeah for sure the team has a lot of work to do. Needing 4 stops when KR was able to do 2 is something they need to address. Looks like one thing they can do in the short term is not go for pole so much, and just try to quali somewhat decently and worry more about the race setups.

          What I do note, in case you think it is NR that should be embarassed, not the team, is that NR finished 5.9 seconds behind LH, which isn’t too darn bad considering he had to do one more stop than LH.

          1. Wow, coming from first that’s a great result… oh wait.

        3. @hobo I beg to differ and I think it is you that is jumping to a conclusion if you think Red Bull now has the tires ‘sorted.’ I’m sure they’ll be thrown a few curve balls by these tires yet. eg. last year NR had them ‘sorted’ for China, but otherwise not so much. China’s tire lottery this year had many people within and outside of F1 complaining about their extra large influence on the racing as we saw cars driving to delta times and not defending positions, in the pinnacle of racing. And resultingly Pirelli changed their minds and stepped up their tires ifor Bahrain. Some said Pirelli themselves were surprised at how quickly the softs degraded. I doubt that Red Bull complains just for the sake of hearing themselves complain, so I’m sure they would much prefer better tires, as would much of the grid, if even after winning they complain. I’m sure they’d be cunning enough to keep mum if they had found the secret to the tires, and would not be complaining and risking them getting changed, if in fact they have them ‘sorted’.

          I agree hugely with you about overdependance on aero, but I disagree vehemently with you and everyone else that argues that the choices are either these banana peels for tires, or everlasting rocks. There’s tons of room in between, and the racing could easily be between driver vs. driver rather than tire vs. tire and DRS vs. DRS if they would make the tires more stable, reduce aero largely, and get rid of DRS. That way we would know whether we just saw a good worthy pass byu two gladiators or just one driver getting by a disadvantaged one.

          I disagree with your last paragraph and also want to point out that you have told me a few times in your post that Merc eats tires and has been for 3 years, and yet you accused me of jumping to conclusions when I suggested that tires must have had something to do with LH struggling until after the 2nd pit. And I would suggest that the quali vs. race tradeoff has never been this extreme. There have been times of refuelling, not to mention times when F1 teams had special quali engines and trannies which would get swapped out after quali for race gear, so in the past there were no sacrifices at all to qualifying well.

          1. @robbie – All fair points. I think I may have been too vague in spots and so will address a few points but I think we’ll probably just have to agree to disagree.

            Regarding Red Bull, figuring out the tyres and wanting rubber that suits them better are not mutually exclusive. The car appears to perform better on harder compounds, so regardless of their dominating performances of late, sure, why not have tyres they love even more. They may very well lose out in future races due, in part, to how they are able to use the tyres but I don’t think it is this great unknown quantity that many said it was at the start of the past few seasons. I think China was the anomoly, but that’s only my opinion.

            I don’t think that it’s either these tyres or everlasting gobstoppers, but that isn’t far off. Last season is the perfect example. Start of the season was tyres that were difficult to figure out, by the end, there were one stoppers and strategies were known. The point of asking for degradation and differences between compounds was to see what we are seeing now, different strategies. We already have one supplier, for better or worse, I personally don’t want to see every car come out on the same tyres on the same stops. The mix has been interesting, to me.

            The reason I think HAM’s issue should not be written off as tyres (unless he said so) was because tyres are the easy thing to throw under the bus, especially now. If he felt it was all or mostly tyres, I think he would have just said so. No one seems to have been bashful about hating Pirelli, and the fact that he didn’t point to them makes me skeptical, that’s all.

            Regarding qualy vs race setups. I should have specified that it has been much more often the case since the ban on qualifying cars/engines, as you mention. But the concept itself is not new. The fact that there were qualifying engines/cars proves the point; one sacrifices the other. And since those opulent options have been banned, the discussion of race vs qualifying has been a regular discussion every race weekend and is in no way peculiar to these tyres. If anything it has more to do with the qualifying format.

          2. I think the issue with Red bull is that they are no longer winning as easily as they did in previous years and they have singled out the tires as the reason for the performance drop off.. Ok it’s not great having the drivers circulating at 90% but does anyone really want to go back to those days when Vettel only had to race Webber because they are the better part of 2 secs a lap faster than everyone else. Yes it is not their fault that they are aerodynamically more superior and I’m not sure anyone can dispute that but I think bunching up the cars more and having fights left right and centre like Button and Perez were having and many others did in Bahrain can only be a good thing really for the sport. Also this issue of tires, this is something the teams have to work out.. I mean look at Lotus for instance, they are doing pretty well with how they are working the tires. People should not complain about tires because every one has the same handicap because everyone is using the same equipment. I may be wrong but I think either Button or Massa explained that all the teams knew from last year what they were going to get in terms of tires so they should have designed and re-designed their cars to suit much like Lotus and Ferrari did…

          3. @chiliz00

            does anyone really want to go back to those days when Vettel only had to race Webber because they are the better part of 2 secs a lap faster than everyone else

            It is extraordinary how much Vettel’s performance advantage is exaggerated. No way has he ever enjoyed anything like a two second advantage. Red Bull have enjoyed had the kind of margin Williams had in 1992/3 or Ferrari in 2001/2/4.

            Even in Red Bull’s most dominant season, 2011, the RB7’s performance advantage over the next fastest car was 0.49%. That translates to 0.441s over a typical 90-second lap.

            And last year, when Vettel won his third title, McLaren had the fastest car.

            So let’s get Red Bull’s performance advantage in a realistic perspective instead of wildly exaggerating it to deny Vettel the credit he deserves.

          4. @keithcollantine
            Thank god someone with common sense runs this website.

      3. Indeed.

        I think Nico’s race was ruined by fierce battles at the front, particularly with McLaren duo forcing him to pit for the forth time. Lewis managed his tyres better and when his car woke up he had ammunition to mount an attack.

        Merceds must do something quickly because that car has potential, if they manage to improve their race pace until Canada without hurting their qualifying pace, Lewis will be in the fight.

        1. @ Keith

          Ok 2 secs was much the point was simply hat RBR were running away with it like both Williams and Ferrari did…I’m pretty sure no one wants to see that sort of action… The fact that the racing is closer is certainly better to watch…I am not at all discrediting vettel in anyway in fact I think he is a great driver…you only have to look at his achievements at STR

    3. So what do you call Rosbergs Saturday performance? What happened to Rosberg is similar to what happened to Button.

      1. @hobo That’s fair comment on your part. I think my main feeling these days is that I would actually rather everyone on the same strategies and same number of stops so that we know we are seeing driver vs. driver, not driver passing disadvantaged driver, be it by being on banana peels for tires, or by being DRS’d to death. Not saying that is going to happen, and I just think it is a shame F1 won’t reduce aero bigtime and do away with the gadgets (DRS and tires). I just see something fundamentally wrong when it takes gadgets to induce racing, or at least action in what is supposed to be the pinnacle of racing. I yearn for a time in the future of less downforce and no gadgets, but maybe I’m spending too much time in dreamland and have to either get used to this type of racing where we are usually seeing passes made on drivers who are somehow disadvantaged rather than passes made because the one doing the passing has stuck his neck out and taken a risk and outperformed his rival with hand to hand combat, or rethink my tenure of watching F1 that now extends into 5 decades. I think I’m stuck in the old school of F1 where I thought passes were supposed to be rare enough and difficult enough that we talk about them for years to come. Nowadays I don’t know until the race is over and the interviews are conducted whether the guy who did the passing was passing someone out of good hard racing or because he passed someone who was helpless to defend.

  2. It’s always better for the driver to gain positons even if the result is worse than in previous races.

  3. Last week it was some mystery stuff stuck in a slot-gap. Did anyone spot a gremlin riding on the car chewing on stuff? A pre-race appointment with the Ghost-Busters could have put them on the podium from 9th if he had his late race pace from the beginning.

  4. That’s the thing with the cars from Mercedes, they are so unpredictable. Sometimes they work great, sometimes they just don’t. At a certain weight, temperatur, etc they work wonders, and then they don’t. My guess is that Brown’s head is going to roll by the end of the season. They show they have all they need to be a successful team, and their two drivers are very good, but something in the design/construction is missing to make a robust car in most situations.

    1. Sensitive to setup change IMO. ROS seemed to get pole thanks to sacrificing race pace and Lewis sacrificed qualifying pace for race pace.

      1. I haven’t heard anything like that come out of Mercedes (and I heard Niki Lauda deny it on RTL). Isn’t that just something suggested by journalists and fans?

        1. Nico has stated that they (and I assume he means his side of the garage) concentrated too much on quali performance, but that it was not a nice feeling starting on pole only to go backwards all day, so they need to get the car much better in how it deals with, particularly, rear tire wear. I haven’t read anything that would indicate LH’s side sacrificed quali pace for race pace, and the fact that LH states he was nowhere, and mysteriously the car came good later on, tells me they have many questions to answer, and I just wonder if the tires behave in such a manner that until they are changed are going to continue to keep the team scratching their heads, such is their unpredictability even when you think you have a handle on them. Even Red Bull, who can only be happy with their start to the season, are complaining about the tires.

      2. Tbh both of them went backwards from qualifying (initially at least). They have a much weaker race car than quali car, and two fast drivers. Sounds to me like too much energy is going into the tyres, so in the early phase of the race when the track was hottest they shredded them. Later, when it cooled, they were able to moderate them much more competitively. Not really sure what happened to Rosberg later on though

      3. I think @adrianmorse is right there @joshua-mesh, if you look at what Hamilton mentions about the car, its just a bit of a mystery of unpredictable pace for them.

  5. Imagine team principles and race engineers started using ‘placebo incentives’. I was just thinking how a team could tell their driver that he can push more, as they pretended something was wrong with their car. I know it sounds stupid, it’s just something that crossed my mind… :P

    1. @patomilan Romain Grosjean’s new chassis will have been constructed to the exact specs of his old one, but he still went and had his best race of the season. ;)

      1. Who knows they might have not even changed it :D hehehe

    2. There’s that old story about mansell even marking his chassis to make sure he got the right one. Then the team just changed the Mark as well. @keith-collantine probably knows the story by heart.

  6. Hamilton’s comments appear to make him look a bit…out-of-depth. It is almost as if he and the car are two distinct features. I don’t think he has the same technical insight as Vettel, Alonso etc.

    1. @wsrgo lol Hamilton is driving very good so far anyone would agree the Merc is still not fast in the races, look at Rosberg on pole and tumbled down really quick so both cars were slow at the start but Hamilton got faster and faster. A lot of people said how good Alo was last year in the flyaways, and Hamilton as arguably done better than that because the Merc is just as slow as last years Ferrari if not slower. Qualifying does not mean the car is quick especially with these tyres. I think all the Ferrari fans on this site would acknowledge how well Hamilton as done so far in a slow car, because they know how tough Alo had to work in first 4 races last year.

      1. @danielc

        Merc is just as slow as last years Ferrari if not slower.

        Are you kidding me? Mercedes has not been that bad at all. Last year in the flyaway races, Ferrari had a car that was ill-handling, slow on a straight line, poor traction out of slow corners, and was hungry on tyres. Coupled with the Ferrari engine’s natural thirstiness of engine, I doubt anyone on this site will agree with what you said. The Merc has taken two dry poles. Also, they ran strongly in Australia and Malaysia. In fact the car has only two problems: rear tyre troubles and slightly dodgy reliability.
        I have never said that Hamilton is a poor driver, I never questioned his talent. He is a great driver, faster than Alonso and right up there with Vettel. But when it comes to understanding the car’s characteristics, understanding what setup and adjustments suit him best, that I feel he is slightly below Alonso and Vettel.

        1. @wrsgo sorry, but what are you expecting him to say in an interview? Do you want him to give out a load of technical details? The last time he publicly exposed some technical information, he was hanged for it (metaphorically, obviously). I’m quite sure the feedback he gives to/receives from the team in private will be much different and will allow them all to have a better understanding of the car.

          Give the guy a break.

          1. @wrsgo sorry, but what are you expecting him to say in an interview? Do you want him to give out a load of technical details?

            @iamjamm – gah! Thank you! It’s amazing the incessant petty nitpicking and relentless but unjustified criticism of the worlds best drivers by “fans” whose only enjoyment seems to come from slagging-off true titans of motorsport!

        2. Alberto Sorus
          22nd April 2013, 13:04

          I dont think Ham is any lesser than Alonso and especially Seb when setting up his car. Look at him set up the notoriously difficult McLarens throughout the years in comparison to Button’s. In many cases, he was qualifying a second quicker than his vastly experienced teammate.

          1. I don’t think that I would agree that LH seems ‘out of depth’ but rather that he is a new guy, on a non-top-3 team for a change, on tires that are a huge issue again this year, as mandated by F1.

            LH did not get ‘faster and faster’ after the start. He in fact, by his own account, was nowhere and had no pace until mysteriously, after the second stop LH opines, the car suddenly came to him, for reasons he cannot pinpoint.

            LH may or may not be better at car setup than FA and SV, but I think it is too early to judge that. LH is on a non-top-3 team for the first time in his F1 life, and these tires are a mystery, and the car is showing similar characteristics to last year with respect to the tires. So that to me is LH’s challenge…NR’s too…put your noses to the grindstone and get up there as one of the teams that has a better handle on the tires (as much as I rue the fact that this is what F1 has become…a tire game…not a driver game).

        3. @wsrgo

          You’re this close from saying it’s Vettel who designs the car, not Newey and his team os engineers!

          Hamilton was humble enought to say he did’t get wat happened to the car and you conclude that he doesn’t understand the car.

    2. If the team can’t pinpoint the problem either, then I don’t see how Hamilton should know.

    3. Hamilton’s comments appear to make him look a bit…out-of-depth

      @wsrgo – you’d have to be a tremendous cynic to come to that conclusion. Wow.

  7. I couldn’t believe that Hamilton managed to reach and pass Webber. After the first stint I thought he was going to end up outside the points.

    1. I can’t wait for all the lap time data to compare Hamilton’s final two stints with the guys in front. When he came out from his second stop I think he was about 20 seconds behind Webber.

      1. I guess also that his car didn’t work well with the medium tyres, which he took on at his first stop. Mercedes’ front wing is also prone to collecting marbles, which may or may not also have been a factor.

        1. And of course it helped LH that MW’s tires were gone by the end. It’s not like LH was wrestling a dog and putting in better than expected lap times all day. He was handcuffed for pace initially, unable to do anything about it, by his own account. Nor is it that MW has suddenly become a worse driver. These guys are way too dependent on how the tires are working from one lap to the next. We aren’t watching driver vs. driver, but rather car/tires vs. car/tires. Thanks to these tires the drivers are much more passengers than they are gladiators in charge of their own destiny, imho.

  8. @wsrgo
    has it occured to you that the car may have been reacting differently to the tyre, lower fuel or a combination of both?

    1. @pking008 Yes it has. But Hamilton’s comments are markedly different from Alonso, Vettel etc. He has problem reading the car. He had that problem last year at Suzuka too..

      1. That maybe the case, but it does not mean he cannot give proper feedback. He is fast and his feedback has helped Mercedes develop a strong car and it is also something that McLaren are missing till now this season.

        1. @vishy Mercedes were quick even before they got his feedback..

          1. youre forgetting lewis is new to merc.alonso and vettel are not new to their teams.

      2. “Driver with team for 4 races doesn’t interact with team in same way as drivers with team for several years” shock

      3. Erm, i think you’ll find there was a problem with the suspension in Suzuka.

      4. Last year at Suzuka he had a damaged suspension component, which later was confirmed by the team. You have no idea what you’re on about.

    2. Exactly. Looking at lap times he was slower than others on the 2nd stint because he was on used Mediums while those in front were on new Hards. This is just Lewis being Lewis.

      The fact that he was able make those used Mediums last longer than New Hards is quite amazing. Maybe Mercedes is a little bit weird in how it deals with reusing tires that a have a few laps on. All in all a very good race by him and goes to shows, no matter how he feels the car he can drive really well.

    3. Its just as likely the temperatures played a role as well, @pking008, @wsrgo, but it does show how Hamilton (nor the team, it seems) really understand their car.

  9. Wow! what a fight he put on with Webber, best moments of the race. Lewis certainly belongs to one of the greats in F1 history.

    1. Would love to agree with you on that, but unfortunately with these lottery tires, I cannot agree that one driver whose tires are shot, being passed by one driver who was nowhere until mysteriously the car came good, adds up to LH being one of F1’s greats.

  10. Great drive Lewis, so far your driving brilliant. Last year Alo maximised his cars results and Ferrari were actually alot better than most people thought in the races. and your doing just as good imo in a car that does not have great race pace, granted in qualifying Merc are quick but that does not mean much these days.

  11. I think Mercedes car is very good on low fuel levels. Around the time of second stop, the track was quite rubbered in and together with fresh tyres, Lewis just found that little bit extra grip and pace with which he could work with.

    I think on low fuel levels Mercedes is a top 2 car (2 poles in 4 races on very different tracks) but on full tanks it is not quite there with the top 3 teams. Mercedes have a lot to work to do to improve this aspect of their car and also improve the predictability/consistent behavior of the car.

    Overall Good job by Lewis in the end. For most of the race it looked like he will finish just inside the points. Also i think 4 stops are just too much. They make it confusing who is racing who and difficult to follow the race. Pirelli also must improve the tyres.

    1. I agree. I think the performance of the Mercedes depends on the fuel load.
      Heavy fuel = slow
      Medium fuel = average
      Light fuel (qualifying) = incredibly quick

      1. Could be the suspension..

      2. Michael Brown (@)
        21st April 2013, 21:08

        Red Bull:
        High fuel – Bloody fast
        Medium fuel – Bloody fast
        Low fuel – Bloody fast

        1. Yea….
          And some try to convince themselves it’s Vettel.

          1. Yes, because Webber is always just as fast and consistent and has won almost just as much as Vettel.

          2. Webber is nog getting the same support though. He’s lucky if his car manages to stay working for more than a few laps. It’s like they’ve given him all the second rate mechanics and limited telemetry access.

            Remember Webber did compete with Vettel for the first few seasons when the whole “Not bad for a no 2 driver” sht hadn’t hit the fan yet.

          3. @palle Don’t waste your breath. People like @patrickl & @lite992 (amongst many others) just won’t accept the skill and talent that The Vet possesses. *SIGH* What is the world coming to… @_@

          4. @patrickl – Yeah, Webber could compete with Vettel when 21-year old Vettel was new to the team in 2009, and when Vettel had all the mechanical issues in 2010.

          5. Michael Brown (@)
            23rd April 2013, 0:04

            @hellotraverse Quite the contrary, I’m a Vettel fan. I was joking about the speed he has at the start. Vettel has proven in 2012 that he’s got incredible talent.

        2. Indeed.

          Merc works well when light, but Red Bull is super balanced. That design department is impressive.

    2. @palle keeps Marko happy dosent it?

  12. The Mercedes car is really confusing ! Apart from being appalling at heavy fuel loads , if one stretches the car to its limit , there is a fuel conservation problem or a tyre problem or both, take what happened to Nico here and Lewis in Malaysia . I think they need to sort this out by barca otherwise they are going to be blitzed. Maybe a 1 -2 in qualifying can help them to effectively counter initial threats from fast starters . But, still there is the DRS.

  13. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    21st April 2013, 19:24

    Rosberg: Car went from “amazing” to “terrible”

    1. The gospel truth!

    2. “Amazing” in qualifying to “Bad” at the start and “What am I driving?” after lap 5.

  14. I wonder if the advantage the MERC gains with FRIC suspension system is nullified at high fuels levels ?

  15. Emm…Lewis i think you will find that “something” is round and black and has dark orange lines on it.

    1. Yeah, because Rosberg was awesome on the hards too. No, wait…

  16. These tyres have a life of their own.
    Pirelli really needs to do something.
    I wonder if Redbull now understand these tyres, or they just don’t know why they performed so well in Bahrain.

    1. they seemed as shocked as everyone else at how dominant they were

      1. I would say the Lotus was dominant, but Vettel was starting further at the front and driving superbly today. Had he had a bit of bad luck, like the Ferrari’s, it would have become a Lotus 1-2. Webbers day indicated that RBR wasn’t exactly dominant. And the Merc should start the races with only half a tank – then they would surely be dominant until about half distance, :-) But over the season I think it will be a battle between Vettel and Alonso, because Lotus will struggle to keep up with the development. But if Lotus can keep up this level all season, Kimi will win it.

  17. Maybe the Mercedes just hates being heavy on fuel, and when they are light (and have fresh rubber), they are quick.

  18. Sounds like massive inconsistency between sets of tires, regardless of compound. Same problem as last year, where it didn’t matter how you set up your car, you just hopped you got the lottery winning set of tires that day.

    1. @alebelly74: It seemed as if Massa drew the worst of straws twice. Tthe sport is not about who can develop and produce the best tyres, so it is very unfair with that kind of seemingly random tyre failures. Apart from the obvious tyre failures, what indications and how many do we have that the tyres generally are inconsistent? Looking forward to some kind of explanation from Pirelli.

  19. Great Drive from Lewis in the Last stint. Hope Mercedes can bring in some very good upgrades for him for Barcelona.

  20. When you think about it, this is exactly the same symptoms we saw from the Mercedes last year. Remember Schumi’s stunning qualy result, late in the year, and then for him to have exactly the same problems, he dropped back steadily and then the car came back to him towards the end of the race….

    Merc really do need to work out whats going on with that.

  21. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    22nd April 2013, 14:23

    It was obvious in the race – Hamilton couldn’t hold off anyone at the start but later on his car became competitive. Probably the same issue that stopped from qualifying well – he was a half second off pace which really made no sense.

    There was some great racing at the end between Hamilton and Webber.

    It’s pretty funny that in the case of Hamilton when he is slow that the car is more likely to be the problem than his driving. It’s like Messi striking a ball and it goes wide by 2 goal lengths and then people are grabbing the ball to see if there’s anything wrong with it:-)

  22. Mysterious performance improvement eh? Maybe someone was playing the old “banana in the tailpipe” trick on him (like in Beverly Hills Cop). It finally fell out after that second pitstop.

  23. And I quote Lewis “And I had grip again” thus inferring that at one point . . . . . . . . wait for it . . . . . . . he had no grip . . . . shock horror . . . . LMAO

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