Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Nurburgring, 2013

Mercedes well ahead as Alonso misses session

2013 German Grand Prix first practice

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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Nurburgring, 2013Mercedes were on top by a clear second in the first practice session for the German Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton headed the times with a 1’31.754 while team mate Nico Rosberg made a late improvement to end up just two tenths of a second slower.

The next quickest car behind the W04s was Mark Webber’s Red Bull on a 1’32.789.

Fernando Alonso’s weekend suffered a setback when his car stopped on the approach to turn five shortly after he left the pits.

His Ferrari was returned to the team’s garage and he returned to the track halfway through the session. But Alonso reported back he had the “same problem” and cruised back into the pits where he spent the rest of the session.

Team mate Felipe Massa was one of several drivers to report they were having problems with the DRS telemetry signal. They were later told to ignore conflicting messages and only use the device in the designated zones. Several drivers were reminded not to activate it too early at the exit of the last corner, which may have affected their lap times.

Massa ended up sixth fastest behind Adrian Sutil’s Force India and Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus.

Jenson Button was an encouraging seventh for McLaren, his race engineer saying they’d had a “good session” as the chequered flag came out. The second McLaren of Sergio Perez was also in the top ten behind Sebastian Vettel and Romain Grosjean.

The session passed without incident despite concerns over the tyres, which have been changed for this weekend’s race following the problems seen at Silverstone.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
110Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’31.75425
29Nico RosbergMercedes1’31.9730.21925
32Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’32.7891.03522
415Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’32.8221.06816
57Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’32.9561.20222
64Felipe MassaFerrari1’33.0651.31118
75Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’33.1391.38524
81Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’33.2131.45920
98Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’33.2601.50627
106Sergio PerezMcLaren1’33.4561.70218
1114Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’33.4931.73918
1211Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari1’33.8102.05620
1319Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’33.9012.14723
1418Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’33.9762.22226
1516Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’34.0252.27120
1617Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1’34.2002.44622
1712Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’34.4372.68324
1820Charles PicCaterham-Renault1’35.6743.92023
1923Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth1’35.9874.23319
2021Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1’36.0784.32423
2122Rodolfo GonzalezMarussia-Cosworth1’37.4595.70521
223Fernando AlonsoFerrariNo time2

2013 German Grand Prix

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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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126 comments on “Mercedes well ahead as Alonso misses session”

  1. If Mercedes keep going at this rate, they will obliterate the 2011 pole time of 1:30.079 by Mark Webber. Jenson looks quick again, but I was a bit disappointed by the pace of the Toro Rossos. Also, so far this weekend Webber is ahead of Vettel again…

    1. I would love to see Lewis win the championship this year, if only to see the pundits dining on their hats. Hope Webbo has a good race, now I must go and stick some more pins in my model of RBR1.

  2. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
    5th July 2013, 10:44

    Nice to see Mercedes progressing well. They are the only team that can beat Red Bull in my mind.

    1. Mercedes tried passive DRS in FP1

      1. I believe that was only on Rosbergs car, I don’t think they put it on Lewis, but if it works why not

  3. GuitarGraham
    5th July 2013, 10:48

    That’s quite a gap. Wonder if the new tyre limits are having an effect

  4. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    5th July 2013, 10:49

    Mercedes look brilliant. The balance? Perfect. The grip? Awesome. The deg? What deg? Has Hamilton finally got the car he needs to dominate in Formula 1?

    1. Much of it achieved courtesy the congenital cheat Ross Brawn’s plans. I hope neither he nor Merc win their respective championships….

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        5th July 2013, 11:00

        Yes, Ross Brawn the “congenital cheat” and Adrian Newey the “genius”…

        1. Of course…since Newey has never been proven to have cheated. Brawn has, even the tribunal have admitted as much, by excluding Merc from the YDT.

          1. Really? I think it was last year when they had won a race with holes in the floor (monaco) wich was deemed to be illegal. Not mentioning their flexible wing

          2. @wsrgo

            Once they will seat out, YDT should clear the black clouds over them.

            Personally I think their test helped because they gathered huge amout of data, but I doubt they tested new parts there.

          3. @jcost Maybe not new parts, but they certainly gained a better understanding of the tyres.

      2. This is absolutely shocking because no team can change fortunes in such a short span.
        The 3 days ill-legal test will have a huge impact on atleast WCC.

      3. +1 Seems cheating pays!! Cheaters cheer for cheaters. That’s the problem with our world nowadays.

        1. That’s total nonesense. The fact that they have been able to figure the tyres out means they would have done it by now anyway with or without the test. They may not have won 2 races yet but they’d have figured the tyres out by now. To deny this is to deny the quality of the engineers at Brackley. Bob Bell, Aldo Costa, Geoff Willis, Andy Shovlin, Ross Brawn, Paddy Lowe etc. etc. It’s a real star studded cast they have for this year so being quick was inevitable at some stage in the season. If the test was so crucial then we should see the rest of the field pull back away from them when they have to sit out the upcoming tyre test and doubt that will happen. An eye for an eye is fair, and that is what has happened. Red Bull wanted Both eyes, Brain, Lungs, Kidneys, Liver, arms and legs for an eye because it would give them an advantage. Don’t be fooled into thinking their protests are motivated by honour and sporting ethics because they aren’t. Far from it!!

          1. No it doesn’t. On basis of he last 3 years we can claim that they’re not the stars you think they are!
            I am not fooled by anything. I don’t give a damn about RB protests. Mercedes cheated. Fact.
            They don’t deserve anything. Nor the wins nor the credit people give them.

            Cheer on.

          2. How can anyone deny that the test helped Mercedes A LOT on their tyre issues? They had the practically the same engineers since 2010 and they couldn’t solve their tyre problems in two seasons, now this year they had the same problem and magically since the test they’re one of the teams that have LESS degradation.
            I’m sorry because I like both Lewis and Rosberg a lot but any of their wins now will be tainted in my view because of this whole testgate fiasco.

          3. @coefficient

            “An eye for an eye is fair, and that is what has happened. Red Bull wanted both eyes, Brain, Lungs, Kidneys, Liver, arms and legs for an eye because it would give them an advantage”

            I haven’t laughed so hard for quite a while now :)) that was brilliant

          4. @Sheila

            Sorry but your comment doesn’t add up and its incorrect anyway.

            If the engineers at Brackley were incapable of figuring the tyres out in 2 years how could they hope to in one test?

            Well its because the Dream Team has only been assembled long enough to have an effect on W04.

        2. Wasn’t Merc’s pace quite good in quali even before the cheating accusation? Also, their two wins happened in Monaco, where they were expected to be good and in UK, where Lewis suffered a tire blowout like others, and where Seb was giving him a good chase anyway. Are you saying that this team’s performance shouldn’t have improved since Spain at all? the only aspect they had to work on is keeping the pace over long distances. Well, they had quite a lot of time to do that, test or not. By this logic, the rest of the field should fly to the moon following the YDT.

      4. I don’t suppose you noticed they were getting excellent qualifying times before the ‘testgate’? Also you should know teams are always looking for regulation loopholes, Redbull, McLaren, Lotus etc… it’s all part of the game. So in that case, you’d say all of the teams are trying to “cheat” the system. Myself, I’d call it thinking outside of the box.

        But since the sneaky test, they have seemed to make a good step in tyre performance over race day stints. So it does seem to of aided their progression in this area of their car.

        Oddly it’s not letting me login today, no idea why.

        1. It is absolute nonesense! Most of those tech guys have only been around long enough to have an impact on this years car. The previous W01, 2 and 3 were signed off well before Brawn amassed his super team. This year’s car is the first true reflection of the capability of the new engineering department at Brackley. All those names have got WCC winning history, the success of this team is now inevitable and Red Bull know it which is why they are bleating like lambs. You may consider the test cheating, as a Mclaren fan I feel the punishment handed out is representative. Alll this calling for £100 million fines and throwing out of the championship is ludicrious in the extreme. They’ve had their test early therefore they sit out the next one. Job done.

          1. @coefficient I’m not sure if you were for or against my comment, but to point out anyway I’m not calling them cheats, just a little bit sneaky and I’m all for it. Most other top flying teams would of done the same if they’d of spotted the gap in the fence.

            They’ve got a bit of a “dream team” thing going on now and that has vastly helped with their progression and if not the biggest reason for the improved performance of the car. I’m a Merc fan and I don’t believe they would of gained nothing from the Pirelli test, even if it’s only a small amount of gain it helped. But I do believe the reason for the improvements is down to the team and it’s just a bit of a coincidence that it happened around the Pirelli test. Also, going from the reports, the tyres running for this weekend are actually going to benefit Merc because of the way it works its tyres.

            Bah, I’m fed up of talking about tyres!

          2. Hi, Oh I agree entirely!! The sport encourages innovation and the the stretching of the rules in every dimension by virtue of the fact the teams are allowed to design and operate their cars within their own interpretations of the regulations. When viewed from this perspective finding loopholes in the regulations is part of the sport, an opportunity to seek/gain a competetive advantage. Red Bull are just sore that they didn’t spot it themselves because its a single use loophole which has now been shut and Merc got there first. Had Horner and chums spotted it we’d be seeing the same thing.

            As an aside, it is aburd that the sport has forced Pirelli to guess how they should make their tyres by not letting them test with contemporary machinery. It was a dangerous bubble that was always going to burst, we’re just lucky it didn’t burst a spray blood and guts all over us!

      5. What are you guys talking about?? Mercedes was dominating in practice since the third race!

        1. If it weren’t for safety cars both Mercedes would have not done nearly as well at Silverstone due to tire issues. They have consistantly practiced and qualified well this season, but races have been another story. NR was saved by safety cars, and LH only clawed his way back up as high as he did for the same reason. ie. I think the jury is still out on exactly how well Mercedes are doing on a normal race day with no safety cars, that is hot, and has high speed corners. And now that the tires will be changing, everything remains to be seen.

          I remain steadfast…Pirelli would have had no reason to assist Mercedes in their Championship run, and if Mercedes gained that much advantage from a Pirelli tire test of no data sharing then I think their penalty would have been far greater. I simply don’t believe that any team makes a leap in performance from one 3 day test, let alone one three day Pirelli tire test during which 90% of the time Pirelli engineers were trying out ideas for the next season. 100km of tire testing of no data sharing simply does not equate to the ‘huge advantage’ that so many seem so ready, willing, and able to accept.

  5. And are we still to believe that Merc gained NOTHING from the test???

    1. That’s it, it’s inevitable that the championship has been tainted with this test. FIA just ruined 2013 with the Merc-wrist slap… so frustrating.

      1. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
        5th July 2013, 10:57

        good… the FIA just saved us from another Vettel championship!

        1. By sucking up to cheats, yeah, what a precedent to set. Would you have said the same had the offending team been the Scuderia??

        2. So your saying that the FIA should make rules & decide penalty’s based on who YOU do or do not like to see win the championship?

          If Red Bull/Vettel are doing the best job (And not cheating via illegal testing) then they deserve to win the championship regardless of what the fans think of that.

          Mercedes ran an illegal test, They cheated, Gained an advantage & therefore deserve to win nothing!

          1. @ Linda1

          2. So your saying that the FIA should make rules & decide penalty’s based on who YOU do or do not like to see win the championship?

            Mercedes ran an illegal test, They cheated, Gained an advantage & therefore deserve to win nothing!

            That easily is post-of-the-year, how do you come up with such heavy sarcasm?

        3. Even i’m one of the leaders in the anti_Red Bull league but believe me i prefer a clean & a well deserved championship by Vettel rather than dirty one won by Mercedes
          I just hope that they don’t win anything this year !!!!!!!!!!

          1. Clean hey? All Vettel’s titles have been tainted by dubious tecnholgies on the Red Bull. Flexing Wings, Flexing Floors, Vented Floors, Suspected Active Ride all of which are Illegal yet Red Bull just get politely asked to remove them for the next race and get to keep all their points and result acquired when running illegal components.

          2. @coefficient
            I’m just talking about this year’s championship, until now the Red Bull apparently didn’t cheat, their actions in the past made them so unpopular you can see how the crowd everywhere are booing Vettel, i think the turn now will come to Mercedes if they win this year’s championship

          3. @tifoso
            Every move Merc made with that test was with the permission of the FIA by way of their representative Charlie Whiting. So it would be absurd to charge Merc for it’s mistakes. It was not a slap on the wrist by FIA it was let’s get this over with and get on with it.
            Remember the Tribunal charged Perelli, Merc and FIA for calling the meeting. Even Max could get them out of the mess they caused.

      2. umar (@umarbaloch)
        5th July 2013, 11:23

        Yeah!I agree This 2013 championship is gonna be tuff but ross cheated and they gain nothing from it hahaha we all can see

    2. I don’t think that the test is solely the reason for their getting on top of things. Honestly, I don’t think that the test will have gained them all that much. The drivers probably gained more than the team.

      1. It doesnt matter whether it was the sole reason. Kindly read my comment properly before rushing to the Merc’s defence….i said- are we to believe that they gained NOTHING from the test?? If it helped them even in the slightest, then it is something the F1 community should be ashamed about…

        1. And I don’t believe you can blame Merc for taking the test, when they believed it was a legal thing to do. It’s incredibly unfair to blame them for taking a chance, that at the time seemed all okay, as if they wouldn’t do it?
          And you understand that me saying that the test is not solely the reason doesn’t equate to ‘they learnt nothing.’

          1. Of course they believed that it was the legal thing to do. Which is why they themselves suggested which penalty should be handed to them by the tribunal. Kindly think in a more straightforward and less convoluted fashion, even if it means that you wont be able to defend your fav team/driver.

          2. And you believe that two wins since they did the testa nd a third place in Canada are just coincidence?
            God help us!

          3. @wsrgo I can absolutely defend the team and the drivers. They, themselves, have done nothing wrong. What point do you think I’m trying to make? I think the whole situation itself is a farce and shouldn’t have happened, but you can not sit there and blame Mercedes for it, that’s incredibly unfair.

            @5150 Again, I said it’s not solely down to the test, the test helped, of course it did, but I think they’ve made bigger steps outside of the test.

          4. @philereid

            I’m on your side in this. Mercedes, Pirelli and the FIA all bare responsibility for the issue. And the slap on the wrist reflects that.

            I think in the end, all teams attempt to take advantage of loopholes, sporting or technical and a myriad of examples can be used to support that. I don’t think, based on that, that you can brandish the cheat word so hastily, given that other teams have bent and sometimes broken the rules as well. Especially since we now know roughly how things happened.

        2. Any advantage they gained in the test will be lost by not being in YDC so get over it.

  6. It really is quite amazing how much Mercedes have turned things around. At the end of last year, they were miles off the pace, now they are RAPID!

  7. This just confirms that Lotus’ and Ferrari’s seasons are over. With Mercedes to catch Red Bull. Makes life alot easier in the predictors championship

    1. @Umar
      Sadly so.

  8. If you still think Merc gained nothing from that test. Then there is something fundamentally wrong with you

    1. +1…but dont expect those with silver-tainted glasses to agree with you. They’ll still find reasons to rant….

    2. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
      5th July 2013, 10:55

      Of course they gained something!. Ross Brawn played the game and won (again) and now Red Bull might be number 2-ing their pants :-)

      1. And yet when Newsy and Horner play the game, no-one is outraged. They’re just finding clever solutions to exploit loopholes in the rules, and not really cheating.

      2. And good on him, any other team would of done the same had they found the little loophole.

    3. Paddy Lowe: ‘There was nothing to learn from that because we were just testing blindly tyres that were put in front of us, despite what some others may be saying to the media’

    4. Traverse (@)
      5th July 2013, 11:35

      When are you guys going to accept that Mercs performances are down to the pure ingenuity and class of Brawn and Hamilton. The Pirelli test was conducted only to the benefit of Pirelli., Mercedes didn’t gain anything…(LoL!) :P

      1. …. Mercedes may have gained…. and… given that… the pure ingenuity and class of Brawn has worked well for them.

        Lets be clear. They are not the only team who has ever taken advantage of loopholes in the rules.

        1. Traverse (@)
          5th July 2013, 12:16

          Lets be clear. They are not the only team who has ever taken advantage of loopholes in the rules.

          I know! I’m genuinely a big fan of Merc, Brawn and Hamilton.

    5. Mercedes were doing quite well during the preseason tests when the temperatures were quite cold. In the very first race of 2013, they were the front running team to do a very long stint on the softer tyres which cost them a better result.
      Their problem is when the temperatures are much hotter than we have now in Germany. The problems they’ve had for the past 3 seasons is not something that just goes away easily. Despite all that, they have always been very fast.

  9. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
    5th July 2013, 10:53

    Hamilton 2013 WDC, you heard it here first.

    P.S. Or maybe even Britney, to REALLY annoy Sebastian Vettel and his wonky finger :-)

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      5th July 2013, 10:55

      lol Brittany. Still get a good chuckle out of that. ahah

      1. Britney usually outperforms Lewis, and will do it again. I’m starting to see some hope for the rest of the season now that Nico is going so well. Also, he’s a very likable driver for a rich boy. Definitely more down to earth than his teammate. I would have preferred Kimi to kick Seb’s butt this season, but maybe next year…

    2. Traverse (@)
      5th July 2013, 11:38

      That’s a *cough* bold claim ;)

      1. Ha, I see what you did there @hellotraverse

  10. What an amazing photograph to accompany the article.

    1. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
      5th July 2013, 10:55

      lol +1

  11. Mclaren a few seasons broke rules. Disqualified from WCC and fined 100mil. Mercs get a reprimand AND a punishment THEY suggested themselves.

    1. Yes, because there is absolutely no difference between conducting a tyre test in good faith because the tyre supplier asked them to, and stealing the entire schematics to a rival team’s car and using them in your own design.

    2. The 2 offences are hardly comparable!! Theft of IP vs driving a car for 1000km are not in the same league.

    3. @um1234 Read the above replies, then consider this.
      Paul Di Resta broke the rules in qualifying on Saturday at Silverstone. He only received a disqualification. Why didn’t Force India get a DSQ from the WCC and a multi-million fine..

      The answer? Different rules. Different punishments. McLaren got their punishment because of the major failings by the team in the case, and the case even had criminal implications in Italy if I remember rightly. Meanwhile, Mercedes did everything they thought was justified in ensuring they were permitted to run the test, the FIA have acknowledged that this is a very ‘grey area’ in the rules and are looking to close that, but they cannot penalise Mercedes much more than what is fair. They had 3 days of testing. They miss out 3 days testing. It’s a shame about how the YDT has worked out, but there was little any of the parties involved could’ve done about that on June 20-21…

  12. Think its now perfectly clear that nobody can continue to say that Mercedes gained nothing from that test with a straght face.
    Seems clear to me they did gain a benefit, Especially in terms of tyre management which just makes there so called penalty look like a complete joke.

    If Mercedes win one or both championships this year then it will be a tainted win.
    Although been honest with Pirelli having such a big influence on how the season has played out, Especially with the change to the tyres from here on, I think its tainted regardless of who wins.

    1. And what about their practice programmes? Mercedes might have deliberately used softer tyres and done low-fuel runs to set a fast time straight away at the home Grand Prix to get more publicity. It happens all the time with other teams and drivers at their home races …

    2. So what Linda ?, Ferrari did two test mote than 1000km and nobody complains about that

  13. Ok they had no intention of cheating but they STILL gained an advantage. F1 and the FIA are a joke. Hate to say it about my sport but its true

  14. Never thought I would say this but I really hope Red Bull win both championships. Anyone but Mercedes

    1. Yeah, same here. Though, as a tifoso, i’d be happiest if the reds won. Seems unlikely though…

      1. Kimi fan so i want Lotus to win if not then ferrari
        however both their seasons are going down so its Red Bull for me

    2. Force India fan.. FI and Adrian Sutil for both the championship! Too much to ask?? ;p

    3. I’ve myself gone for a complete turnaround from Red Bull hater to Red Bull fan. As much as one can dislike them, it is hard to argue that they’ve done the best job over the last three seasons, and Vettel has been absolutely phenomenal behind the wheel.

      One might argue Alonso has been better as a driver (though I disagree) but that doesn’t take away from Vettel’s speed, composure and ability.

      But the British crowd whooping and jeering as Vettel retired at the last GP was the last straw for me.

  15. Just check out which drivers/ teams i support. I could say a lot to the fans of cheats such as yourself, but i wont. Kindly do not insult your intelligence( if you have any) by making irrational statements.

    1. This was intended as a reply to Lucas Wilson, who seems to have been so ashamed with his comment that he deleted it…

      1. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
        5th July 2013, 11:11

        I didn’t, just that @wsrgo , you are getting quite worked up about this situation.

    2. Traverse (@)
      5th July 2013, 11:52

      @wsrgo Appears to have selective memory loss when it comes to fair play and pushing the boundaries. Brawn didn’t invent the notion, pushing the rules to the absolute limit in order to maximise your teams potential and consequently success is an integral part of both sport and life. In the pursuit of victory, squeezing the rule book isn’t only an option, it’s a must!

      1. Brawn having gone to Charlie Whiting and gotten approval from the FIA legal dept. to accept an offer to help Pirelli makes it difficult for me to even call it bending the rules, I think Brawns offer to forgo the YDT was a gallant gesture to diffuse a difficult situation and forgo any perceived advantage gained.

        1. Traverse (@)
          5th July 2013, 14:25

          Whichever way you look at it, Brawn is a legend!

  16. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    5th July 2013, 11:14

    Why are people saying that the championship has and will be tainted if Merc win.

    You do realise that this YDT (which isn’t a YDT anymore) will give every other team the opportunity to catch back up to Mercedes and possibly even pass them in the development race because they can run new spec parts on their cars.

    Mercedes have lost out big time by not being allowed to test.
    Rest assure, after 3 days of race driver testing for the other teams, Red Bull and Ferrari will be on par, if not ahead of Mercedes.

    And Mercedes will potentially be right back at square one.

    1. @tophercheese21

      You do realise that this YDT (which isn’t a YDT anymore) will give every other team the opportunity to catch back up to Mercedes and possibly even pass them in the development race because they can run new spec parts on their cars.

      Do you realise that there are four races between Mercedes’ illegal test and YDT? Four races, of which Mercedes has so far won two and is on its way to win third. Not to mention we don’t know yet whether it’s going to rain in YDT or not.

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        5th July 2013, 11:41


        “…and is on its way to win third”

        You actually think that because they had good pace in the first practice session of a weekend, that it’s almost a given that they’ll win this race?

        I think they’re favourites to take pole and potentially win, but I’m not going to be overly surprised if they don’t win (as much as I would like to see Hamilton lap everyone).

        1. @tophercheese21

          You actually think that because they had good pace in the first practice session of a weekend, that it’s almost a given that they’ll win this race?

          I didn’t say that, but their qualifying pace has stayed impressive while they seem to have gotten rid of their tyre degradation problems, which makes them the most likely team to win this weekend. And if you read my comment again, that was hardly the point.

          1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
            5th July 2013, 12:02


            Since they tested with their 2013 car, I do find it unlikely that they didn’t gain any knowledge of how to solve their rear degradation issues.

            However, I do not believe that they’re improved rear tyre life is solely down to this Pirelli test.
            Sure, it will have helped some, but I believe the majority of their improvement has come from a heck of a lot of hard work outside of the test.

            They’ve been working on it at an intense rate, so I’m not surprised that they’ve improved.

    2. @chris +1 My thoughts exactly.

  17. It’s beginning to look like Mercedes luck has turned doesn’t it?
    I had discounted them out of both Championships earlier in the season, but if this is the turn the championship is genuinely about to take then this may be their best chance at both championships!

  18. Ok, I do understand what people are saying about an advantage from the test, but I think you need to get real if you think it has made that big a difference. The test was effectively 100km of running on a spec of 2013 tyre that has never been used, without access to development parts or significant data about the spec of tyres being run. Do you really believe that that tiny bit of data, amounting to far far less than can be gained during one Friday practice session, would be the key to Mercedes turning around their troubles? I say again, get real.

    What you’re seeing is the result of a hell of a lot of hard work and development time. Do you people really think that it takes an illegal test for a top running team to be able to understand the problems they’re having? There are almost countless examples of teams who have started a season badly and then gone on to address the problems in the car throughout the year. This is simply a case of development. Which is not to say that the test had no advantage for them whatsoever, but I think it would be ridiculous to suggest that in 100km of running on tyres they didn’t understand would have revealed the key to unlocking the performance potential of their car. And if they could achieve such a miraculous turnaround from such limited testing, then you can only begin to imagine how much the loss of the YDT is going to set them back; a test which will be far higher in terms of mileage, and where the teams will actually know what tyres they’re running on, and be able to spend two to three days bolting development parts onto their cars.

    If Mercedes win the championship, it won’t be because they had a test. It’ll be because their designers, engineers, and aerodynamicists did a better job of developing the car than their main championship rivals. To suggest otherwise is just petty. Yes, they got off lightly, and personally I feel they should have been further disadvantaged by their punishment, but this is the situation – any advantage they gained from the test will have been tiny, and certainly be outweighed by the loss of the YDT. The net result being they will still be disadvantaged for the rest of the year, making the task of winning even harder.

    1. Couldn’t agree more.

    2. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
      5th July 2013, 11:24


    3. Are you sure it was only 100km?

    4. (small note, the test was 1000km, not 100km)

      But yeah I agree with you. As well as Brawn leading the team, Mercedes’ technical director is Bob Bell, chief designer of Renault’s championship winning 2005 and 2006 cars. Not a man you would count out in a hurry.

      1. Pirelli and Mercedes both claimed that the testing was comprised of 90% running on 2014 spec tyres, and 10% running on tweaked 2013 tyres (2013 compounds with kevlar belts). Technically neither of these spec tyres would have the same characteristics as the ones they have run on in the past three races, so the relevance of any of the test running is questionable, but I mention 100km because it was only that amount on any tyre that had relevance on this season. This was never disputed at the tribunal so there’s no particular reason for not believing it.

        So again I repeat – they had a very short amount of testing on tyres which were significantly different from the ones they’ve been running in the races where they’ve won (and the other races at the start of the season where they were still qualifying very well and getting on the podium). So it’s extremely difficult to think that they might have found the key to solving their tyre problems, when none of the tyres they ran on during the test would have suffered from those problems in the first place – they ran 2014 spec tyres which were totally different and of unknown compounds and construction, and a tweaked version of the 2013 tyre which was specifically designed to get rid of exactly the problem they’ve been having. How could you possibly find the solution to a problem when you’re running under conditions where it would be impossible to replicate that problem in the first place?

    5. This is just a publicity stunt for Mercedes: they are a German team, racing in Germany, why not top FP1? Every team used FP1 to test the new harder tyre in long-runs, so none of the teams were going for a quick lap, hence it would be easy for a team that actually tried to top the session.

      I cannot believe the number of people thinking the 1s difference is explained solely by the Barcelona test. This is just absolutely ridiculous.

      1. Especially when Red Bull have a long history of doing very limited amount of running in the first practice session anyway, while Mercedes (and even back through the Brawn and Honda days) have a history of pushing the car harder from the very start.

        1. @mazdachris @andae23 – I agree with you guys.

    6. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      5th July 2013, 11:44

      Easily COTD.

      +1 on everything you said.

    7. @mazdachris, I agree with you. I think the most benefit Mercedes gained from the test is their drivers getting some extra running on Pirelli products, which, if these development tyres are similar to the race tyres, can be useful to them. It wouldn’t explain why Mercedes have made a step with their car.

      I think it’s sad, therefore, that this test-debate detracts from the fact that Mercedes have built an incredible car this year. If there weren’t such a discrepancy between race pace and qualifying pace, the W04 would be a classic, perhaps not in the league of the MP4/4 or the FW14B, but possibly comparable to the RB6.

      I fear, though, that this debate will continue as long as Mercedes are competitive, maybe even into 2014, as they did the majority of running on 2014 development tyres.

      1. I totally agree, and actually it’s 2014 that bothers me more about the tyre test. We’ve seen this year already that having a car that suits the tyres is of a massive advantage, but a lot of that comes from the basic design in the first place – the characteristics of the chassis are built into it from the moment it is conceived. To get such a headstart over the other teams by knowing (even roughly) what the 2014 tyres will be like, means that Mercedes have got a better chance than anyone of building a car which works well on the 2014 tyres. Everyone else’s designs will be based on educated guesses. This is why I feel the punishment was unfair – it didn’t address this very fundamental problem. In terms of this year, I see the test as being of very little, if any use whatsoever to Mercedes.

        1. The only way that could be true is of Mercedes ran their 2014 engine at the test. The torque levels of the Turbo/Ers V6 will be off the scale by comparison to the 2.4 V8. A car with next years engine would destroy this years rear tyres in seconds and a car with this years engine wouldn’t even be able to get next years rear tyres up to temperature. Mercedes won’t have learnt a thing about 2014 tyres.

    8. If Mercedes win the championship, it won’t be because they had a test. It’ll be because their designers, engineers, and aerodynamicists did a better job of developing the car than their main championship rivals.

      It will come down to the margin of victory. If Mercedes win the constructors comfortably, say a margin of 40+ points, then I don’t think it can be said that it came down to the illegal test. In that case, it can be argued that even without the test, Mercedes would have won the championship.

      But if Merc just scrape through, then fingers should be pointed out to the illegal test. It is a similar situation to 2010 where many felt that if Alonso won the drivers’ championship by less than 7 points, then it would be a tainted championship win.

      1. In your opinion perhaps. Frankly some people will never be satisfied. They spend so much time and effort looking for reasons why a win isn’t valid, why a driver can’t be considered decent, why a championship isn’t deserved, why the sport isn’t as good as it should be, and so on, that I wonder why they even bother watching in the first place. They’re certainly mot motorsport fans. How can you genuinely take any enjoyment about something when all you do is find fault?

        If Mercedes go into the final race of the season with a chance of winning the championship, whether they be ahead or behind on points, they will have done a brilliant job. Any team finding themselves in that position thoroughly deserves to be there, since beating their rivals, or even matching them, over the course of a season is a monumental effort. One little test on tyres which are fundamentally different from the ones they’re actually running in the season will have virtually no bearing whatsoever on their performance this year. Especially when the tyres they ran on were specifically designed to have none of the problems that they were experiencing in the first place.

        They were quick before it, they were quicker after it. But lots of teams were quicker after Barcelona than they were before it. It’s the nature of the beast that the cars get better as the year progresses. They were just a couple of tenths a lap off their rivals over the course of a race duration, tyre problems included, before the test, so it’s hardly unfeasible that they would have made up that gap anyway.

        Last year, Ferrari were able to add several seconds’ worth of pace to their car in the space of less than half a season. Relative pace fluctuates by more than that based on such banal elements as subtle changes in atmospheric conditions. There has been no massive step forwards for Mercedes, just what appears to be a series of incremental improvements, helped in part by going to tracks which were more in keeping with the requirements of their car.

        They were never going to have serious tyre issues at Monaco or Canada, because of the conditions at those tracks. So it’s really only since Silverstone that we can say their tyre problems are definitely ‘fixed’ (despite tyre failures on both their cars) so is it that hard to believe that the team were, in the space of three races, able to address a 2-3 tenth per lap defecit to their nearest rivals purely on their own merit and not thanks to some kind of unfair advantage? Only if you’re determined to find a reason not to be impressed by the brilliant work by the team.

  19. I just watched an onboard of ferrari, and I am convinced that there chances this year are gone. That car has SO MUCH understeer, I dont know if its fundamental or just the tyres not being up to temperature but you cant win with a car with so much understeer.

    1. That car has SO MUCH understeer

      The Ferrari has had understeer built into it since Alonso joined, Its how he liked the car to feel (Go watch OnBoards from his Renault days).

      The Ferrari also runs a slow steering rack which encourages a bit of extra understeer in order to help protect the rear tyres.

  20. So, Mercedes domination? As long as it isn’t a Red Bull one I’ve got no absolute problem with it!

    1. Why not? Is it irrational hatred of the Red Bulls? One team dominating makes for boring races, whether their colour is silver or purple.

  21. Lots of mixed reactions on Mercedes form. But Red Bull have been known to keep their cards close to their chest on a Friday. Even this could be gamesmanship.

  22. Looks like Ferrari try as hard as they can to lose the WDC and WCC.

  23. Vettel has never won in July.
    Vettel has never won in Germany.
    Vettel hasn’t won in Europe for the last 22 months.

    And it doesn’t look like he is going to erase any of these stats day after tomorrow. But you never know.

  24. Ok so because Mercedes have dominated a practice session, suddenly the championship’s “over” and has been won by “cheats”? Firstly, it’s only July, the season ends in November. Anything can happen. Also, please remind me where Rosberg and Hamilton are in the championship? in 4th and 6th, the best part of two whole race wins behind Vettel. If either of those drivers win they would have had to have done something pretty special to catch him, so if they did win I would have said they’ve brought the championship alive to be honest, from one that was a Vettel Domination, to one where several drivers can win.

    And yes, they did do an “illegal” test, but seeing as they’re going to miss one of the same length, which is likely to be more beneficial to the teams that attend, I’d say they’ve had their punishment.

  25. Lot’s of people panicking so early in the championship?….

    Guess most people are just too afraid to see Lewis having an edge, even if it’s for a short duration.

  26. All these comments about Mercedes cheating are naiive. Since when was F1 so black and white? This isn’t tiddlywinks!! This sort of thing goes on year in year out and every team participates in this sort of loophole exploitation be it technical or sporting. Brawn just saw a loophole that he could exploit and had a cast iron defence if the FIA decided they didn’t like it.

    That said, I would prefer to see technical innovations on the very cusp of legality rather than “flexi” sporting regs to use a term used in connection with Red Bull endlessly.

    Unfortunately this is a symptom of the ever more restrictive rules governing the design of the cars and as long as we don’t let out Adrian Neweys go at the job of race car design with some elbow room we will inevitably see teams looking elsewhere for advantages. Sometimes this won’t taste too good but apparently these are the regulations we the fans wanted.

    Hard cheese!!

  27. Mercedes’ defence was totally plausible in that case. They thought they had permission amd that is why the FIA agreed to share the legal costs and they receiveved the small penalty they did. There is no doubt they gained from it, but there is also no doubt in my mind that Ferrari gained from testing their 2011 car too, they will have still learned almost as much about the tyres.

    When are you guys going to move on? It’s over and done with. Mercedes have had a good car all season, but it has eaten it’s tyres in the races. There is a degree of learning just from the races, but yes they would have learned something from the test. They kept data and evidence from the test to show exactly what they did and showed it was in good faith. There was no “cheating” about it. Cheating is a deliberate act that is done with the intention to take an advantage and Mercedes have proven this wasn’t done with the intention of cheating which is why they got a wristslap and the FIA are having to modify/clarify the rules.

    this whole thing has now got totally boring…. even the other team personnel have got bored of being asked about it. MOVE ON!

    1. But like Horner they need clarity! LOL!!

  28. Which of course means Horner would like to know if Red Bull can get away with it too!!

  29. So will Sebastian Vettel be able to stop the Mercedes juggernaut in qualifying.

  30. I am very disappointed with Alonso’s performance…. Its been ages he has not done well in qualifying ….always crying about his cars performance….

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