Hamilton puts Mercedes ahead by a second

2014 Bahrain Grand Prix second practice

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Mercedes gave a clear signal of their potential by dominating the second practice session. Lewis Hamilton lapped a second quicker than any of the team’s rivals.

For the second session in a row Nico Rosberg was second-fastest followed by Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari. Rosberg ended the session under investigation after getting in Sergio Perez’s way at the final corner in the opening minutes of practice.

The Red Bull pair were higher up the times sheets, Daniel Ricciardo fourth and Sebastian Vettel seventh.

Felipe Massa completed the top five after a quiet session for the two Williams drivers. They spent most of practice in the garage and only emerged late in proceedings to conduct a handful of laps.

Several drivers encountered problems during the session. Max Chilton was taken by surprise when his Marussia snapped out of control under braking for turn four, leaving him stationary in the run-off area. The car then came back to life, but he was advised to switch it off and jump clear.

Adrian Sutil experienced a loss of power in his Sauber and came to a stop soon afterwards. And Marcus Ericsson pulled up with a few minutes to go after his team noticed a sudden increase in the temperature of his MGU-K.

Both McLaren drivers featued in the top ten, as did Daniil Kvyat despite a loss of power on his Toro Rosso towards the end of the session. Perez completed the top ten for Force India having covered the most laps of any driver.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’34.32528
26Nico RosbergMercedes1’34.6900.36531
314Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’35.3601.03528
43Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault1’35.4331.10828
519Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’35.4421.11713
622Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’35.5281.20321
71Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’35.6061.28130
826Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Renault1’35.6401.31531
920Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes1’35.6621.33722
1011Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’35.8021.47740
1177Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’35.9201.5959
1225Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Renault1’35.9721.64733
137Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’36.3662.04133
1499Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari1’36.9622.63713
1521Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’36.9752.65035
1627Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’36.9982.67318
1713Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault1’37.2592.93425
188Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’37.5993.27423
1917Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari1’37.8003.47515
204Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari1’38.2473.92210
2110Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault1’38.2573.93233
229Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault1’39.1364.81130

Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei

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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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101 comments on “Hamilton puts Mercedes ahead by a second”

  1. I suspect that this race will be yet another walkover by Mercedes especially considering that there is virtually no chance of rain. The battle for 3rd place should be mighty though.

    1. knoxploration
      4th April 2014, 17:59

      Indeed. The practice session results were predictable. So predictable, in fact, that after consuming every possible second of Formula One for a quarter century, I didn’t bother to watch even though the TV is *right in front of me* and I knew the session was starting. Between homologated and life-managed or spec *everything* other than aero, and the fact that the cars now sound terrible and look even worse, I simply can’t be bothered to watch at this point.

      I may turn the TV on for qualifying. I’ll probably turn it on for the race, just one last time. And if it’s as boring, predictable, and processional as I’m expecting, that’ll probably be the last race I watch this year.

      (And I reiterate, I’ve not missed a race in about 23-24 years since I started watching F1 regularly, and have in fact attended about seven races in person despite spending the overwhelming majority of my life living at least 500 miles from the nearest race, and more than half of my life at least 4,000 miles from the nearest race.)

      Formula One has not just jumped the shark this year. It’s jumped the ocean that held the shark.

      1. If you’ve really been watching F1 for a quarter century I imagine you’ve seen your fair share of processional and predictable races before, no? Complaining about “boring” practice sessions is really pushing the boundaries of pointless whinging.

        1. knoxploration
          4th April 2014, 18:33

          It’s not so much the boring practice sessions I’m worried about as the boring races.

          And no, in a quarter-century of watching, I cannot remember a single instance of one engine manufacturer having an advantage that is most likely in the region of 1.5 to 2 seconds per lap over its rivals, and the engines being homologated so its rivals couldn’t catch up, and there was no testing to even let its rivals do proper development, and the engines were life-regulated to ensure that any on-track testing would likely result in penalties later in the season.

          This is unprecedented.

          1. The homologation date has been planned for months, it wasn’t designed to give Mercedes an advantage, they simply did a better job than anyone else. In-season testing is in place (starting next Tuesday and Wednesday I think), so I’m not really sure what your point is.

          2. School House, St Benedicts, Beetons Way

          3. Excuse my last comment, no idea why it said that…

            What I was going to say was that, if you are finding the domination of an engine manufacturer boring, then why did you continue to watch when it was just one driver between 2000-2004?

          4. Rather convenient you started watching one year after 88.

          5. I totaly agree , the time advantage(1.5-2s) of mercedes is TOO big to let any other team even dream of a win or pole . They should let the teams develop and test only for this year. As most people acknowledge, the power deficiency of renault and ferrari engines are 80hp and 60hp respectively. Thats huge and this can not change with the current rules. So everybody besides mercs are doomed.
            Some people are saying we had Red Bull dominating in the past 4 years whats wrong for having Mercedes do the same this year.
            The difference in my view is that Red Bull may dominated in results and championships but never had so massive time advantage. Most of the time when they where in front they had a 0.1-0.3s advantage.Only in 2011 they had a clearly faster car.
            In FP2 i watched the onboard video of both HAM and VET fastest lap. You could see in VETs steering moves how hard he wrestles to but a fast time. On the other side HAMs moves where so relaxed i thought he was not even trying to put a fast lap and still he was 1.3 faster. So my conclusion is that the mercs have more in hand from what they showed today. They are so much quicker that they never pushing 100%.
            In one view, its fair for mercedes to win because they did a better job than anybody else. On another view FIA should do something to close the gap so that it becomes more interesting. They did that with RB the past 4 years by changing constantly the rules to remove the advantages RB had each year. They managed to stay ahead because the had each year a new idea to bring back their advantage even if FIA tried the opposite.
            That’s how i see it , but i am a SV fan so maybe i am biased towards RB.

          6. @Cosmas, comparing hand moves as a determinant of effort can be very deceptive. Hamilton and Rosberg drive the same car and their hand movements are completely different, yet they both set very fast times. When you can anticipate a car’s handling, you use fewer hand movements. If you accelerate over the kerbing, obviously you will be traction limited hence increased steering movements. Redbull’s problem is mainly the Renault PU that isn’t yet working very well. A good comparison will be the Mercedes powered teams, and here we’ll see that, Mercedes based on their 2013 car, had a target aerodynamic performance they could aim for, but Williams, Mclaren and ForceIndia didn’t have spectacular cars in 2013 so they didn’t have a reference they could aim for.
            Coming back to Redbull, everyone says they have the best aerodynamic package, and despite their poor PU consistency, they have been on the podium twice, even ahead of Mclaren, ForceIndia and Williams.
            The season is still early and other teams can still discover performance improvements and perhaps overtake Mercedes.
            Mercedes gave up on 2013 early, and as much as I was disappointed with that, I can fully appreciate the effort they put into 2014.

          7. knoxploration
            5th April 2014, 16:26

            For some reason it’s not possible to reply to the comments above, so I’ll reply here:

            * I didn’t say the rules were crafted to give Mercedes (or any other specific team / engine manufacturer) an advantage. I said they were unsporting. You may consider allowing just three test sessions with an entirely new engine formula and then locking everything down with homologation to be sporting. I don’t. I’d consider it just as unsporting were Renault or Ferrari’s engine dominant, and Mercedes at the biggest disadvantage.

            * Why did I continue to watch in 2000 to 2004? Because there was nothing to stop another team finding and hiring another driver who was as good or better, and nothing to stop them developing a car that was as good or better, other than the team’s own resources or lack thereof. The rules didn’t say they weren’t allowed to develop their car and engine, or change their driver.

            * There’s nothing “convenient” about when I started watching F1 full-time. And note I said I hadn’t missed a race in 23-24 years; I watched quite a few races before that, but I also skipped races. Why? Because I was a teenager living with my parents at the time, and both my schedule and TV-watching habits (on the sole TV in the house, which had only two English-language channels) were largely dictated by them.

      2. I find it interesting that you could not be bothered to turn on the TV to watch, but you could be bothered enough to come here and write out this comment.

        1. knoxploration
          4th April 2014, 18:35

          I do so, to be quite honest, in the vain hope that the powers that be in Formula One will listen to the fans and do something about this. The homologation of engines needs to go away. (In fact, the homologation of *any* part that is not a spec part needs to go away.)

          There can be no such thing as sporting fairness in a situation where one team or engine manufacturer has an advantage over its rivals in a part that is homologated and cannot be changed. I have protested homologation from the very day it was first announced, and I have predicted exactly this situation.

          Now we’re in it.

          And yes, after a quarter-century, I should also know that the powers that be in Formula One couldn’t give a monkeys what the fans think.

          1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
            5th April 2014, 2:01

            Mercedes only have an advantage because they did a better job. That’s what Formula 1 has always been about. Doing the best you can under the regulations.

            All the teams have known about the engine homologation for a looooong time.

            Nothing unfair at all.

          2. Knox,
            I don’t mean to be rude, but what makes you think that your view represents “fans”?
            From what I can tell, you are part of an EXTREMELY vocal minority who see each others comments and feed off each other in a closed feedback loop that has you all convinced that you represent all F1 fans and you ignore the larger volume of fans who comment positively as if it doesn’t exist or as the views of those you consider NOT REAL FANS.

            I believe you’re mistaken in your belief that you represent real fans. I think nostalgia for the good old days is making you forget the problems that always exist in F1.

          3. knoxploration
            5th April 2014, 16:31

            Again, can’t reply to the above directly for some reason, so I’ll reply here.

            * You may not consider it unfair to allow just three practice sessions after a complete ground-up redesign of the engines. I do. I’d consider it just as unfair were Ferrari or Renault dominating, and Mercedes doing the worst. Especially when the original intent of homologation was to make the engines have parity (supposedly), but now the rule has the precise *opposite* effect to the originally-stated intent.

            * Your viewpoint represents fans no more than mine. From what I can see between this site and others, there’s a roughly equal split in whether people think the cars sound good or the rules are fair (with a preponderance of Mercedes / Hamilton fans claiming them to be fair solely because their guy is at a huge advantage), most fans agree the cars look awful, and most fans agree the races are as boring as ever if not more so. And no, I don’t “forget problems that have always existed in F1” — we have never had a situation where there was a huge, homologated advantage for certain teams / engine manufacturers over others.

      3. I’ve been watching since I was in junior high in the 80s too, and I’ve learned that change is the constant and what goes around often comes around. The sound is of the same nature as the turbo era. Everyone wants the cars to sound like a Honda V-12. OK. The episodes of one-sided domination in that span of time were many and comprehensive. Today’s technical knackering of the cars is nothing like the crack-down post 93-94 when F1 cars went from being actually the state of the art to something far less. We all have challenges in our faith but stay true.

        1. knoxploration
          4th April 2014, 18:36

          Can you name a single instance where the one-sided domination was there because one team had a major advantage in a part no other team was allowed to develop and catch up on?

          1. Ferrari tyres in the early 2000’s?

          2. Quick question, what’s been the quickest car after the Mercedes??? Is that a Renault engined Redbull???

          3. McLaren Honda 1988

          4. knoxploration – I think you need to get over your engine homologation issues. I’m not a big fan of restrictions but ultimately Mercedes did the best job and homologation wasn’t a surprise to anyone so the only fair way to go is to stick with it.

            And the other inaccuracy about teams not being able to test in-season etc have been repeated by yourself and put down by a range of corrections in the last few days so I needn’t repeat them. Also often pointed out is that Mercedes engined teams are not dominating, only Mercedes are dominating which shows that the engine isn’t the only factor in the competition.

            Finally, I don’t understand how dominance because of engine differences is any worse to watch than dominance due to aero or other tricks. A dominant cars is a dominant car and there’s nothing to suggest this season’s races would be less dominated by Mercedes without homologation.

          5. knoxploration
            5th April 2014, 16:40

            Once again, can’t reply directly due to the poorly-designed chat software, so replying here instead.

            * Ferrari’s tires were not homologated in the 2000s. There was nothing to prevent their rivals from doing a better job and catching up, apart from their own resources and ability to do a better job.

            * Best of the rest is only the first loser. And you’ll note that every single Mercedes customer team is also doing radically better, having been struggling badly in previous seasons. It’s almost entirely about the engines, now; having the best car on the grid in other respects can’t even bring you up to parity if you don’t have the best engine too, let alone have you winning.

            * What part of the McLaren Honday in 1988 gave them an advantage, and their rivals were not allowed by the rules to catch up on? I’m not aware of any.

            * It would have been just as unfair had Mercedes been the disadvantaged team, and Renault / Ferrari leading. When the homologation rule was introduced, the engines were specifically brought up to parity with each other, or at least close to it. That shows the intent of the rule was not to regulate a huge disparity for one manufacturer over its rivals. Now the rule has the precise opposite effect. And I have said nothing inaccurate in other respects. You can test in-season, but you can’t significantly change the engine to improve performance without begging changes through as for reliability. And testing inevitably involves failure — but if you test in season and blow your engine, you cause yourself grid penalties later in the year. So effectively, testing in-race and catching up is not feasible. As for what’s different from aero or other tricks: one word. Homologation. Imagine that when Brawn dominated, that aero was homologated and no other team was allowed to develop its aero in-season. Imagine that when Ferrari once dominated, tires were homologated and Michelin were not allowed to develop their tires to catch up to Bridgestone. And so on. It’s not a complicated argument to understand.

      4. Well don’t get me wrong sir but isn’t this a bit unusual that since the announcement of double points and the domination of Mercedes, many (veteran) fans have cropped up whining about how the last race they watched would be there last.

        I don’t know if it’s an act of gaining sympathy or a genuine plea?

      5. Sorry but I simply can’t agree with your assessment of the situation at the moment. Mercedes are ahead, for sure, and nobody is denying that they have made the superior powertrain package (important distinction here between powertrain and just engine, but more in that in a minute), but to see the current speed of the Mercedes team as being a direct result of engine dominance is simply unfounded. There are a total of eight cars on the grid – nearly half! – all of which have a Mercedes powertrain in the back; all of which are identical in specification. The only differences between them being engine mapping (done in conjunction with Mercedes Engineers) and subtelties of exhaust layout. In fact I can tell you for a fact that Mercedes HPP mandated that all teams running their powertrains must run the same layout, with no variations in packaging. So we should reasonably assume that with some minor variation, every car running a Mercedes powertain has the same power and driveability then.

        If it were the case that Mercedes’ advantage was down to its superior engine, then those eight Mercedes powered cars would predictably fill the top eight spots pretty much consistently. In fact, that simply isn’t the case – the factory Mercedes team is out in front by a pretty whopping margin, and then the rest of the teams seem fairly close, with a pretty even spread of differently-engined cars from there backwards. Given this fact, I find it impossible to accept that the domination of the Mercedes cars is down to the powertain package. I don’t rule it out as a factor of course, because clearly for RBR their engine deficiency is one of the biggest differentiators between them and Mercedes AMG. But there are more factors at work. Mercedes have the best engine, but they have it bolted to an excellent chassis, with top notch aerodynamics, a fantastic gearbox, and their cars are driven by two of the best drivers in F1. All of these factors together equal the advantage which Mercedes are enjoying; it’s almost exactly the same combination of factors which allowed RBR to enjoy such a great spell of success.

        I specifically made a point of saying powertrains. Let me explain why – the engine itself is the metal bit in the middle with the cylinders, conrods, pistons, crankshaft, and other such gubbins all inside. This is what is homologated. The Powertrain consists of the engine plus all of the electronics and the energy recovery systems attached to it. And those systems which are not ‘the engine’ are not homologated. In fact, broadly speaking, because of how the rules are structured, the ‘engine’ itself will be pretty similar between all three manufacturers, and it’s worth noting that in no cases have we actually seen an engine failure. Not one block has cracked open and deposited a boiling hot soup of lubricants, coolant, and frag, across the surface of the racetrack. Instead we’ve seen multiple failures of the electronics systems, in particular the energy store (basically the battery) on the Renault cars. This part, I want to stress is not homologated. Nor is the engine mapping. What Renault are suffering from at the moment is an electronic system which is failing to get all of the various components working harmoniously and at their peak capacity. Every time in testing they tried to work to maximum power, the system failed. Generally in under a lap. The working solution they have at the moment is based on a vastly improved (though demonstrably miles behind their rivals) mapping system which seems to get the systems working fairly synchronously, but still not at peak performance. Which is why RBR are so slow down the straights; they simply don’t have access to the kind of boost levels (electronic and turbo) available to their Mercedes (and probably Ferrari) powered rivals.


        And here’s the point; while the engine itself can’t be developed, there’s nothing stopping Renault working on that giddyingly complex piece of electrickery which governs the various energy recovery systems. In fact, I’d be frankly astonished if they didn’t have test mules blasting around race circuits pretty much constantly at the moment to try and get a better solution. And rest assured they will definitely get there. They may not quite get to the same level of Mercedes, not this year at least, but they will improve considerably throughout the season. And when they do, Mercedes bettter be ready, because the car closest to them right now is only a second slower per lap, despite a massive horsepower defecit. When Renault are finally able to unlock the performance of their engine, that RB10 is going to fly. I’m just hoping they achieve takeoff before it’s too late to catch the silver arrows.

        But rest assured, the advantage which Mercedes have is by no meals locked in by homologation rules, and nor is it the result of having purely more horsepower. Their car is excellent is pretty much every way.

        1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
          4th April 2014, 22:53

          @mazdachris i dont know if everything you wrote is true, but you got me! really interesting. thanks for posting it!

        2. @mazdachris Mate you are a powerhouse of knowledge…..you pretty much explains every thing

          1. Yeah great post @mazdachris

        3. Agreed. Lots to develop that will give power. Ferrari are supposed to be installing whole new software for China which will give them more power and better use of the ERS.

          Allegedly Mercedes only gave their customer teams details of some of the engine layout design late last year so they are not as optimised on the car design as the works team.

      6. Well, I’ve been watching this season with more interest than last, as it’s only going to develop and Ferrari and Red Bull are only going to respond to Mercedes domination.

        The cars don’t sound as musical, sure, but they do sound pretty cool and multi-layered, sort of like they’re in TRON or something. For me, the fact that they’re nearly on the pace of last years’ cars but use much less fuel is very exciting.

      7. I understand your feelings. My 2009 was quite similar when Brawn was dominating the field. I like Lewis Hamilton but he needs to be pushed by the Red Bulls ASAP, otherwise I’ll have fun only when the rain shows up either if it’s during qualifying or the race day.

        On sound and the look of the cars, I think they sound different but on TV it’s almost meaningless to me and they don’t look that bad (at least not as ugly as I was expecting).

      8. GB (@bgp001ruled)
        4th April 2014, 22:42

        i’m thinking of following GP2. there is supposed to be a lot of wheel to wheel action. you should give it a try like i will!

    2. Thing whatmakes me laugh though is those who say im a hypocrite for liking F1 when 4 years of dominance was not good. What is wrong with wanting a diff driver to be champion. I can tell you now if MW and SV had been in title race all year and ended up with 2 WC each it would be great. But for this year i dont mind a dominant team the rest of race will be good behind. And i also think Ham’s best chance to get another deserved title. Man i feel for Fernando the guy has been so unjust to only be 2xWC but it his own fault lets not kid ourselves he had the jackpot if he went Rbull should have took a chance with them over Renault again.

    3. You say “yet another walkover” as if Mecedes have been at the front for ages! Can people please stop throwing words like “dominating” so recklessly too, it’s been two races for heavans sake! Yes, they have been substantial victories but seriously, half the world seems to be talking in a tone that suggests that Mercedes have been winning for longer than Red Bull even did!

      1. Well personally i’am getting a bit over “yet another walkover”. We’ve just had four years of them (mostly). I don’t mind if one driver or team win ever race but it would be nice to see them fight for it not walk away with it. It seems all too often the lead driver doesn’t even get tv coverage because they’re so far out in front. Well done to Mercedes they deserve to be dominating as did red bull but it’s a bit not again.

      2. Why would it not be dominating if it has ‘only’ been going on for two races? Can you find a word that better describes the very significant advantage enjoyed at the moment by Mercedes? It doesn’t seem there is a team capable of beating them on pure pace, so in that sense I don’t see anything wrong with using the word dominating.

        Besides, the issue is larger than that. We’ve just had endless Red Bull-Vettel walkovers. Swapping the team and driver doing the dominating doesn’t really change all that much.

        1. I’ll conceed that it is fair to say that Mercedes has dominated both of the 2014 races so far this year, but the general feeling I get when I read alot of people complaining about Mercedes dominating, is that they are trying to say Mercedes are ‘doiminating F1’ – which they’re not. All this years cars are in the early stages of development, nobody knows what the form guide will be by race 10 let alone the end of the season.

          There were even articles on this site that posed the question “Are Red Bull really dominating F1?” (to paraphrase) – and this was in 2012! To even suggest that Mercedes are “dominating” after 2 races is frankly absurd.

      3. +1.

        After two races and he’s done, I wonder how the last 4 years felt like :)

  2. Hardbraking mike
    4th April 2014, 17:40

    I’m a lewis fan so i’m pretty chuffed about the mercs pace. Just hope the rest put up a fight for the win. Doesn’t look like that will happen though…

  3. Yawn. Another boring race seems on horizon. Kudos to Mercedes for building such a great car, but for the sake of interest, I hope other teams will catch up as soon as possible. Otherwise, Hamilton may beat Vettel’s record of 9 consecutive GP victories. You can say whatever you want, but Hamilton is destroying Rosberg and I can’t see fortunes changing anytime soon. So if nothing changes, Hamilton will have his second title in his bag before summer break.

  4. Hamilton’s 1’34.325 on softs compares as follows:

    2013 FP2 best: 1’34.153 (Raikkonen, mediums)
    2014 test best: 1’33.258 (Massa, super-softs)

    1. I suspect this years pole will be faster than last years, what with the gripper tyres and cooler temps.

      1. The tyres this year aren’t gripper. They’re slower and more durable.. This years soft will be slower than last years medium.

    2. Interesting comparison in times from the test, I think we’ll get our first real taste of real pace the 2014 cars can generate tomorrow. Bring us a pure shoot out!

    3. Going to be much much faster! This is F1 remember

    4. So Mercedes is already on par with last year?

      Great job.

  5. Shouldn’t every car with failed sensor be disqualified? I mean, why are all the other cars running it if it’s not mandatory? Plus, if it meant disqualification, you can bet Red Bull would fix theirs in a matter of days.

    1. It is mandatory per the Technical regulations. There is an approved backup system in place (the team’s fuel rails iirc) should the approved sensors fail. In fact, the sensor on the RIC’s Red Bull failed during the race in Malaysia and they worked with the FIA to use the back up system.

      My understanding is that the back up system needs to be calibrated and certified by the FIA and RB (for one) did not do that prior to AUS. But since they quarantined their fuel rail after the race and had it tested in Paris with FIA officials present, it may be considered valid to use (and used in Malaysia).

      Also, the sensors aren’t something teams can “fix”. They can’t alter it in any way. They could by 40 or so like Mercedes and pick the best of the bunch.

    2. It has been reported elsewhere, and on the Sky commentary that 96% of all sensor faults are in RBR, STR and Lotus. That the sensors in these teams have been modified and mounted differently to the other teams. They have been ordered to correct this before Barcelona. If the problem persists then the fuel will be tested, as they all use the same supplier.

      1. It is not necessarily the mounting. It could also be some “noise”created by the Renault engine that confuses the sensors as they use ultrasound.

  6. Did people complain about one team dominating in 1988 as much as they are now?

    1. knoxploration
      4th April 2014, 18:05

      Did that one team dominate in 1988 because the rules didn’t allow any of the other teams to test or even develop new parts that would have improved the reason for their poor performance, without pretending those parts were solely for reliability?

      I didn’t think so.

      1. the rules didn’t allow any of the other teams to test or even develop new parts that would have improved the reason for their poor performance, without pretending those parts were solely for reliability?

        Mercedes can’t either, it’s the same for everyone, and not Merc’s fault that the other teams failed to build a good car initially.

        Also, in 1988 the gap between McLaren and the rest was 2-3 seconds. Today the gap between Mercedes and the rest is maybe 1 second at most.

        1. knoxploration
          4th April 2014, 18:40

          Mercedes don’t *need* to develop their engine. They have a clear advantage over all of their rivals in every respect, in the engine department. They develop more power, provide it in a more driver-friendly way, have better fuel consumption, and have better reliability.

          The comparison to 1988 is utterly invalid, because there was nothing in terms of regulations that prevented the other teams catching up to McLaren. And that’s what sport is supposed to be about: fairness. If they can’t catch up because they’re not good enough, the dominant team wins fair and square. If they can’t catch up because the regulations arbitrarily draw a line in the sand and say “You’re not allowed to try and catch up after you cross this line”, the dominant team wins because of fundamentally flawed and unsporting regulations.

          And no, the gap is not one second at most. You’re naive if you think they’re not sandbagging. I would put money on the actual gap being between 1.5 and 2 seconds a lap.

          1. I think maybe you need to read mazdachris’s post to see that not everything is homologated, and that there is lots of room for teams to catch up.

            I would also suggest you give it some time…the teams are still digesting massive changes.

            You speak of fairness, and in fact nothing prevented the other teams from committing to the level Mercedes have. They all had the same clean slate to work from.

            I think it is you that are being naive if after seeing RBR dominate for 4 years to the point of ratings dropping, you think they would actually want one team to dominate only now with other teams handcuffed to do anything about it. Again…read Mazdachris’s post and get past this thinking that everything is now locked in place for the season. And note that if that were the case RBR would be pointing the unfairness of it out loudly from the highest mountain.

      2. Technically, in some ways McLaren did dominate because some of their rivals were handicapped by development restrictions. There were changes in the front crash test regulations between the 1987 and 1988 seasons, but the FIA did provide a waiver for teams that allowed them to use the same chassis for 1988 that they had used in 1987.

        However, it is worth noting that same ruling also meant that the teams were effectively locked into the same chassis design for 1988 that they had used in 1987 – one of the major advantages that McLaren therefore had was that they could afford to design a brand new chassis for the 1988 season whilst outfits such as Ferrari and Lotus were much more restricted in the changes that they could make to their chassis.

      3. To add to Knox and anon, I believe the mp4/4 was also the first time for a lowline/laydown cockpit to be employed well whereas I think most if not all cars were not of this lowline concept.

        1. Brabham BT55 was the first low line F1 car and was also designed by Gordon Murray.

    2. As long as both Ham and Nico are more or less close to each other, it won’t be a problem. Problem is when you have just one driver dominating, not just one team. Webber was really just making up numbers for the last few years. Not to mention there was no technology to get excited about, nor some new challenges, or a potential for reliability to struck. That’s why last few years weren’t interesting, unless there was a fight at the front.

    3. It’s the same rules for everyone! Tough titty if Renault are behind, weren’t they the ones pushing for the V6 era???

      1. “Tough titty” – is that sort of language allowed?

        1. I don’t know, have you asked your mum?

          1. You naughty boy!

      2. I believe they,along with Mercedes, were the strongest advocates for change.

      3. Yes, the rules are the same for everybody. But the problem is that the rules outlaw a lot of in-season development. That’s why so many teams simply give up halfway through the summer, leaving us viewers – as last year – with endless wins by one team until the season is, thankfully, put out of its misery in Abu Dhabi.

  7. People scoffed, and I scoffed a bit myself, when I suggested that Hamilton could surpass Vettel in poles this year, but who is going to stop him?

    If current form of the car holds, of course. We know that things can change quickly in F1. Hamilton himself went from fighting in the lower midfield to winning races in 2009. But I don’t expect MB to fade as Brawn did then. MB have enough papiere in the bank to keep even RBR at bay, if it’s money at issue. And god knows they have enough technical directors now too. After a certain tally, multiple well-regarded eggheads must equal one Adrian Newey.

    1. Hahaha, now that is very funny.

  8. It seems the FIA and the others will increase their noise over the noise or follow up with other excuses to resort to 2011 tactics when they stopped RBR.
    Something I disliked back then and also dislike right now – imo, interference with competition is still worse than no competition at all. Unfortunately the road they took to “save” the show by saving costs with restrictive regulations is the very thing that’s killing competition right now.

  9. Am I the only one who doesn’t have a problem with Merc’s domination? (For now at least…)

    1. Me too .. ;-) . After a couple of years though ( if it happens ) , it will get boring , but still there is always Vettel’s record to go for and also Schumi’s : D

      1. I love single team domination; so glad it’s Merc. Hip Hip Hooray!

      1. Yes we all love it.
        Go Merc! Go Lewis! come second Nico!

        1. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
          4th April 2014, 19:04

          I love it! My fav team and 2 of my fav drivers!

          1. For all I care the rest of the teams can sit in the garage for the race. Let’s just watch Hewie Lewie & Nico Pico go at it for 90 minutes!
            See who comes out on top.

        2. Go Lewis! come second Nico!

          why come second Nico? That guy is leading the WDC now, Lewis is second

          1. @egorov Yeh and LH i sthe quicker driver and smashed Nico when bothfinshed OK!

    2. I’m fine with it too. Seeing a new team on top is always refreshing. I’m also wary that it’s only a matter of time before Red Bull get back to the top, so for now I’ll be glad to see Mercedes scoring as much as possible so there’s at least some sort of championship fight when Red Bull inevitably start steamrolling the competition again.

      1. @jackysteeg Yeah despite all the fuss about engines , there is always a creepy feeling that Red Bull trounce the final races .

    3. I don’t have a problem with one season of Mercedes victories.

    4. There are always a lot of people who draw some vicarious joy or even pride from ‘their’ team winning, even dominating. That makes nothing but sense, and has been going on since ancient times.

      It seems rather silly to me, after all, most fans have no tighter or even actual relationship with ‘their’ team than with any of the others, but to each his own.

    5. I’m OK with that.

    6. Neil (@neilosjames)
      5th April 2014, 2:57

      I’m happy with it, mostly because they have two capable drivers. If it was a Schumacher/Irvine kind of deal I’d be crying into my teacup every race, but Hamilton/Rosberg is a pairing which can to some degree have a good fight.

      That, and it’s nice to see someone else winning for a change.

  10. Poor result for RBR.

    I bet in another dull race… And I don’t say it because Merc is well ahead of the rest of the teams, but because I think Nico won’t be a competitor to Ham too, and that said, what’s left to us to watch?

    1. I think they will be closer here. Nico’s fast laps were with a few errors.

      1. So was lewis’s lap also. Atleast I saw him locking up in 2 corners during his flap on softs.

  11. F1 has always produced dull races. There is almost always a team that produces a better car than the rest and it is rare for there to be a fight for the championship between more than two or three drivers. That’s F1. We watch because, every now and again, it serves up a brilliant race, a real cracker. That’s why they’re called classics – they stand out from the crowd.

    The more we whine about the quality of “the show” (it isn’t a show – it’s a race), the more the FIA will tinker with the rules in an effort to meet our demands or what they think they are and the more they will make a pig’s ear of it. If anyone is ruining the sport, we are. Love it or leave it, that’s all there is to it.

    1. Exactly. It’s almost as if everything everyone ever does has to be “the best thing ever!”

      Where reality begins in some people’s mind is a puzzle to me.

  12. As Nicki Lauda said recently, No engine supplier is yet giving it’s customers full power. Ah well, that’s McLaren, Williams and Force India nicely tucked away as no threat to the Merc team. At least, Red Bull won all their championships with a customer engine, exactly the same, as supplied to all the other Renault engine teams.

    1. Neil (@neilosjames)
      5th April 2014, 3:17

      The works team and the customers all have the same engines. Speed traps are proof. There’d be an absolute crapstorm if they were screwing their customers like that… all Lauda’s comments (I assume you mean the ones prior to Australia) meant were that none of the Merc engine users had used the full power of the thing, including the works team.

      And RB were the Renault works team from at least late 2011. Not that engines really made a difference back then (apart from the crazy mapping, which RB benefitted most from).

  13. I’m getting a lot closer to quitting visiting F1 comment sections than quitting watching F1..

    1. I agree completely. Actually, I’m not considering quitting watching at all.

    2. Agreed. I’ve posted far less in recent months.

  14. It’s silly to believe Mercedes’s advantage comes entirely from their engine. They clearly have a very strong package overall: Great engine, great car, great drivers, great strategy, etc. If it were down entirely to the engine, you’d see all of the other customer teams in the top 8 winning by a second as well, and that just hasn’t happened. There are many things wrong with Formula 1 at the moment, but the technical specifications are not one of them.

  15. I don’t think anyone’s noticed but Massa did a lap just over a second slower than Hamilton on on a 9 lap run, could they challenge Mercedes at all??

    1. Well it will be good if Williams can challenge Mercedes and make them work even more for the pole position. Also they did few laps compared to others and said they just need to fine tune their setup as they already has lots of data from winter testing.

      We will see dry qualifying for the first time in this season and this might be the chance Williams were looking for to show that their winter testing pace was no fluke.

    2. I think it’s too late. RBR and Ferrari have moved forward. They should have maximised the first 2 races more. Hence the points desperation behind the Massa request. Not running much in free practice doesn’t say confidence to me, just that they had no upgrades to try out!

  16. Hi Keith,
    Could you please include the sector times? Very annoying Formula 1 doesn’t provide them anymore.

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