Red Bull pleased to have “rattled” Mercedes

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Red Bull believe Mercedes’ attempted to persuade the FIA to give them a three-race ban shows the championship leaders are worried about the threat they pose.


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Spy Games: China (Red Bull)

“Actually it’s quite reassuring: it means we’re getting close enough to get them rattled and sweating a bit. Back in February that looked pretty unlikely.”

Top Russian Rally Axed Due to Sochi F1 Grand Prix (Ria Novosti)

“The 2014 [Silk Way rally] was scheduled to cross Russia and Kazakhstan over 3,000km and eight days in July, but organizers said they had decided to cancel it to allow the event’s government backers to focus on promoting October’s F1 Grand Prix in Sochi.”

Lotus: Renault gains worth two seconds (Autosport)

Gerard Lopez: “We saw a clear step up from Renault’s side in China. The guys are almost talking about two seconds, which is huge.”

Rosberg expects gap to grow in Spain (ESPN)

“We want to go to Barcelona with the biggest step, that’s our ambition. Barcelona is a chance for us to extend the advantage that we have and that’s the approach that we have going to Barcelona, 100%.”

Horner: Vettel will be back (Sky)

Sebastian Vettel: “There are a lot of things in my head. Formula One got very complex and I think as a driver I think we have lost a lot of features and given a lot to the engineers. So it’s not that easy to understand and stay on top of everything.”

The First Time – with Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg (F1)

“What was the first thing you did this morning?
NR: Switched off my alarm because I woke up before it. And the next important thing that I did was weigh myself, as weight is such an important thing in F1 these days.”

Can Haas reverse the tide of history? (MotorSport)

“First of all, Haas’s California-based company Haas Automation is the USA’s largest manufacturer of CNC machine tools so that Haas enjoys tremendous manufacturing and financial resources. Haas founded his business in 1985 and started his NASCAR team in 2002. Seven years later Haas went into partnership with two-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart and Stewart went on to win his third NASCAR championship and first with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2011.”

McLaren well off the pace in Shanghai – again (The Telegraph)

“[China is] a vital Grand Prix, but not exactly what you would call charming.”


Comment of the day

Nico Hulkenberg is fourth in the drivers’ championship at the moment – is a talent the top teams have overlooked?

I am getting tired of people praising ‘his majesty’ Hulkenberg, it is still too soon to call that he is “mopping the floor” with Perez, and certainly there must be a reason why no top team (the ones with money) have not even approached him (perhaps he is not a driver aggressive enough to win races?).

I am just saying, they know better…

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On this day in F1

High drama off the track and on it at the San Marino Grand Prix 25 years ago. Gerhard Berger was incredibly fortunate to survive an inferno when his car crashed at Tamburello and caught fire.

After the race restarted the two McLaren drivers fell out over which one of them was supposed to take the lead at the start. Ayrton Senna went on to win from team mate Alain Prost, but it was a major turning point in the deterioration of their relationship.

Berger missed the next round in Monaco while he recovered from his burns, but was back in the cockpit for the following round in Mexico. Here’s what happened to him:

Image © Red Bull/Getty

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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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158 comments on “Red Bull pleased to have “rattled” Mercedes”

  1. Wholeheartedly disagree with COTD. Just because the Hulk hasn’t been selected for a top drive yet, doesn’t mean he’s not an excellent driver. Some drivers luck out early in their careers, like Lewis, but often it takes seasons of hard graft before a space opens up at one of the top teams. I mean it took Button, what, the best part of a decade before he got selected for McLaren? Doesn’t mean he’s wasn’t super talented before that.

    Anyways, the way things are looking, Hulkenburg must be thanking his lucky stars he didn’t get signed by any of the ‘top’ teams. Of all the choices he could have made, Force India was probably the best.

    1. I agree.
      He hasn’t been good this year, bot for years.
      He was doing an awesome job at Sauber and again at FI.
      And if you followed Nico before he entered F1 you would know he is very very good!

    2. I also agree. As well, I’d like to point out,

      and certainly there must be a reason why no top team have not even approeached him.

      It’s well-noted that Ferrari was in contact with him last season.

      1. Indeed, and but for a certain former WDC taking their deal because his current team was not paying him, we would have seen Hulk in that Ferrari this year. Despite him being a bit bigger and therefore heavier than many other drivers.

    3. I also also agree.

      And @beejis60 is completely right. He has negotiated, but lost to money or shorter drivers.

    4. GB (@bgp001ruled)
      23rd April 2014, 1:35

      yeah! teams make mistakes: for example not hiring him, or hiring perez…

    5. Still, how many podiums for Hulkenberg?… 4 for Perez, nill for Nico…and driving for the same teams… why hasn’t Nico gotten a podium finish yet? Is he missing something? Don’t get me wrong, he is an exceptional driver, still I think he lacks something…

      1. yeah. a top drive

      2. 4 podiums for perez in the same car ? Get your facts right !!!

        Nico was not in the sauber when Perez was . Agreed that Perez was more aggressive than hulk in Bahrain but that makes only one . He will get back ..

        I don’t know if you watched Korea 2013 . I don’t think Perez would ever do that !

        He is a very talented and quick driver .Period.

      3. macrob

        Just circumstances. Perez was in a pretty competitive Sauber in a year when results were all over the place with teams struggling to understand the tyres. The Sauber Hulkenberg was in was nowhere near as fast, although was decent by the end of the year (notably only in his hands).

        I think Hulk has a decent chance of scoring a podium this year, but if not that doesn’t mean he’s missing something. It would be a concern for him if he is regularly outscored by Perez but so far that doesn’t seem to be the trend and with one exception, he has had the measure of his teammate.

      4. @macrob
        Top teams won’t even mention his name.
        They instead preferred to gamble with the likes of Magnussen, etc……

    6. @kibblesworth +1

      There are a couple of overrated drivers out there but Hulk, IMHO, is not one of them.

      Actually, if I was LdM I’d pick Hulk over Kimi…

    7. It’s just circumstances. If you look at the car you get on your debut, it’s often about which team signed you when you were in junior series. Results wise, there is no real reason Hamilton’s junior record would command a race-winning car on his F1 debut and Hulkenberg’s wouldn’t (nor Robin Frijns, who is in a worse situation). It’s down to luck and timing as well as talent.

      I bet Hulkenberg is very glad he isn’t in a Sauber or a Lotus right now.

    8. Also, people saying Perez has 4 podiums and Hulkenberg 0 are missing the point.

      I’d like to compare the number of top 4 finishes between the Hulk and Perez, pretty sure Hulkenberg has a damn good record.

      1. In F1, Nico has only 2 top 4 finishes (since 2010) and Perez has 4 (since 2011, and all of them podiums)…yeah, a darn great record…………….regards!

      2. Hulkenburg has a pole position, how many does perez have?

        Imho they are both great drivers, I think the hulk in a straight fight comes out on top.

        Hulk almost would have won the brazilian gp in a force india but for a small error on a damp track, which had huge consequences in comparison to the size of the mistake itself.

        He’s got what it takes, he just needs the wagon to get him there.

    9. Looks like Keith’s choice of COD was a good call to stir up conversation.I disagree with it as well.All I know is if Fernando Alonso claims that Hulkenberg is one of the best on the grid then I won’t argue.I believe he has a good insight being on the track with him.

    10. I’ve questioned myself as the COTD fellow did. I think Hulk runs the risk of settling mentally to having an handicap. I fear he will soon but I hope not, Hulk certainly has loads of talent mixed with loads of deterrents. He’s poor, tall, and peaceful, he doesn’t rave himself on the press or play pity which is also a deterrent in his career because whilst he is right to be a top man, good people end up getting left on the side of the road.

  2. Don’t really agree with COTD. It is too early to say how he’s holding up against Perez (not exactly unpraised himself, although that was back in 2012), but there have been plenty of drivers over the years who found themselves outside of top teams for a variety of reasons. There’s drivers like Alesi who always managed to be at the wrong team at the wrong time, drivers like Frentzen, who nearly won the WDC in a Jordan, but looked bleak next to Villeneuve in 1997.

    Guys like Fisichella, who left Benetton which hadn’t won a race for 4 seasons for Jordan, which turned sour quickly, spent some seasons at Sauber, until he joined Renault and started doing well again. It’s not as if Renault hired Fisichella because he was the best of the rest; many believed him to be able to fight for the WDC.

    Right now, Ferrari has made a clear call to have 2 experienced guys who are (theoretically) able to win the WDC. Red Bull picked one of their own drivers to join Vettel, clearly a long term move. McLaren seem content with Button and are focusing on Magnussen and Vandoorne greatly. Mercedes have their duo figured out for the long term as well, while Lotus don’t have the resources to hire 2 guys they’d have to pay.

    If anything, Hulkenberg should be wary of not becoming the next Alesi/Trulli/Heidfeld/Fisichella/etc. Any of those guys could have probably done a lot more if they had been picked up by Ferrari, Williams, McLaren or Renault or were with them at other times. It does mean something that Hulkenberg is an ‘if’ guy for McLaren, Lotus and Ferrari as of now, but unlike a lot of other drivers, at least they’re talking to him and Alonso and Raikkonen aren’t going to be around forever.

  3. I certainly rate Hulkenburg as a talent and do wonder if his weight is a main concern to the top teams especially considering the regulation change. After all, it seems his former team have brought a heavy car to start the season.
    If a mandatory driver+seat mass combination was set would he be chosen by the top teams? To my eyes the only real top seats available to him would have been Ferrari and McLaren. Raikkonen being on the move selected one of those seats and McLaren opted to run a driver promotion system which has worked for Vettel and Hamilton in the recent past.
    As for team-mate comparison at this stage in the season we could easily say Alonso has beaten Raikkonen or Hulkenburg is better than Perez. But remember, Nico finished last season with a real flourish and some great drives and returned to a team he had spent years with. Perez on the other hand had been booted out and only just found a drive. Therefore I’d have been disappointed if Nico had found himself level or below him at the start of the year. There is plenty of time for things to change although I personally think Nico will beat him over a season and I suppose this year will define how we view Perez

  4. Yes, Red Bull has Mercedes “rattled and sweating” in much the same way that my local rabbits have the hawks “rattled and sweating.”

    1. @ztjackson +100, good one!

    2. GB (@bgp001ruled)
      23rd April 2014, 1:39

      yeah, man! that comment by rb was idiotic at best!

    3. I agree, the only team rattled at the moment is Red Bull

    4. I’m guessing you’ve never been bitten by a rabbit then? It bloody hurts! :p

      Talking of rattles and Red Bull though, it’s only a matter of time till Vettel throws his out of the pram.

      1. it’s only a matter of time till Vettel throws his out of the pram

        Probably literally, how much having a kid slows down an F1 driver? Lol

        1. Lol! About 20 seconds over a race distance it would seem ;)

    5. At this rate christian horner will get a nervous breakdown ;-) ( with his leg shaking in the pit wall )

      1. @hamilfan It will be so hard:

        with his leg shaking in the pit wall

      2. @hamilfan
        You’re right mate, it’ll be shaking more and more feverishly as the season progresses!

    6. I just started reading it, and it reminds me completely of the first post by the Ferrari Horsedungtalker. I guess bad losers start talking like this.

      Mercedes took a pot shot back at RBR for asking the FIA to be tough on them last year. Red Bull put a bone in Danies mouth that they shouldn’t have had in the first place. But at least the second half of that article is turning into normal talk about the team improving because they are not doing as good a job at the guys on top this year.

      1. Well summed @bascb Last year SV stole 7 points from MW, they were that crucial, and he that heroic for doing it, to some, yet 18 points from DR is a puppy bone. Probably because, as you said, it shouldn’t have existed anyway, so might as well call it what you will.

        What embarrassing trash from them. I’m surprised they would put such drivel on their site, and to me it shows more desperation than anything. Merc must be rattled because they suggested, once, a 3-race ban akin to BAR in 05, while last year RBR was what then, hugely rattled I guess, for incessantly pushing for more against Merc for the Pirelli test.

        If they didn’t have Merc’s penalty suggestion to fall back on as some sort of reverse ego boost, all they’d be left with is their own admission that they are a long ways away.

        And of course there’s no chance Merc will find anything more. They’ll just stagnate while everyone else catches up.

  5. Ben (@scuderia29)
    23rd April 2014, 0:31

    finding it difficult to see exactly how red bull rattled mercedes, hamilton dominated..rosberg recovered from a poor start to beat both red-bulls comfortably, and lets not forget the car closest to the mercedes pairing was a ferrari..

    1. Exactly. A Ferrari that wasn’t even meant to be anywhere near the podium came out ahead of them. If anything they have gone backwards.

      1. How was the Ferrari not meant to be anywhere near the podium? It looked to have plenty of speed in practice; good job by Fernando, but not surprising.

    2. They are, and can, only claim Merc must be rattled if they pushed for a 3 race ban. To try to make that claim based on on-track evidence would obviously be insane.

  6. Paul (@frankjaeger)
    23rd April 2014, 0:36

    In regards to COTD, I too believe that the Hulk, although impressive and deserves a top seat, he does get overly hyped for someone who has never got a podium or really done something truly magical. I believe Perez will hold his own against Hulk but will be edged on finishes.

    I disagree with the notion that ‘if he was really that good, he’d already have a drive in a top team’ Although I do have a lot of faith for the staff working within F1, I wholly believe they make some outrageous decisions sometimes and can overlook suitable drivers.

    1. @frankjaeger
      And where is Perez in the championship points again ? Did you check ? Hulkenberg will react to what happened in Bahrain and quick ! In fact Red Bull have had considerably better success in China . Hence the Force Indias where nowhere . I guess the car is not so great in the wet .

    2. I still think Hulk was denied the win at Brazil 2012, as the championship needed to be ‘tightened-up for the show’ and thus there was a debris safety car (a la NASCAR). Hulk was already home and dry ahead of Button. Even then, he still continued to lead and only lost it to a small mistake, pushing to get away from Lewis again, and was re-passing Lewis when backmarkers got in the way (and put them both out when Hulk lost it trying to suddenly turn in tighter). I would call his performance that day as something special, also considering Di Resta was nowhere near him and then spun out to end the race. He also has that pole position from 2010 in a Williams-Cosworth.

      The decisions made that seem crazy usually revolve around money. It has emerged that McLaren took Perez partly for the $5m sponsorship he could bring along with him. Considering their position in 2013, they could have almost ran Chilton with $10m and still ended up in the same position, yet with $5m more cash to pay for the Mercedes engines they suddenly had to start paying for. And it’s not as if Perez is a million miles off Hulkenberg anyway (though he will probably beaten on consistency over the season), so it made perfect sense for them to run Perez. Hulk is the last driver that can scrape his way up with barely any sponsorship… Frijns is trying to do that now and is just about getting his foot in the door, despite 3 championships in a row, on each rung of the junior ladder, from bottom to top.

      1. To say “back markers got in the way” when Hulk ended Lewis’s race at Brazil 2012 is being disingenuous. It was a silly over ambitious move in the wet that ended a potential race win for Lewis. Button and Lewis had overtaken each other prior, and no incidents happened. I have seen less incidents receive a penalty; and he was lucky not to get one.

        1. He got a drive through for it…

          1. I remember that race, Nico had done everything to impress up until that silly mistake blew everything and Lewis’s race..
            Still since then he has continued to impress and his evolution is mostly in maturity, the speed was pace was already there..
            Height and weight have become so much more relevant since his arrival on the scene, and lets not forget the weight difference between him and Perez must be significant in laptimes.
            Nico is top driver without doubt, people won’t be debating that after this season, I’m sure he will come out on top.

  7. Agree with COTD. I think that he is very lucky that we are in Pirelli era where very aggressive drivers can’t just go for it because of the tires. That’s what is missing in him for me. He’s not aggressive enough which in today’s F1 helps him getting the results. He is quick no doubts about that but he just got beaten to the first podium for Force India by Perez who is new to the team and have clear problems with the car. For me Hulkenberg is a bit boring, I prefer drivers who really go for it when they have a chance. You can argue that it didn’t always work for his teammate but at least he tried. The only time I remember seeing something exciting from Hulkenberg was Brazil 2012. Having said that I really want to see what can Force India do in Europe. I hope that Perez will be able to sort out his car and finally take a fight to Hulkenberg. Maybe he need it to show us some aggressiveness?

    1. I’ll admit I am totally confused by this assessment – is it not Perez who is renowned for his tyre saving and non-aggressive driving style? The only time I remember Perez being aggressive was at Bahrain 2013 when Whitmarsh basically told him to be so (and then at Monaco again later in the season).

      Hulk lost out at Bahrain because he was too aggressive. First, he caught and passed Perez, to make up for a rare Q mistake, to be the lead car on the road again. But then, he was mugged while trying to pass Massa, and ran out of tyres at the end of the race. Perez was more strategic if anything and sat back, pinched the lead car position from Hulk and then saw that his tyres would make it to the end – well done I have to say. Hulk will be gutted to miss the podium after having Perez comfortably cornered all year.

      The fact that Hulk is the only driver to regularly give an aggressive defence of position also shows he is going for it. If anything, I think Hulk would be even more impressive in an era where you have to be aggressive and push all the time, like Hamilton in 2007 and 2008.

      1. I do consider Pérez as the most aggressive of the pair (driving wise) but no where near as much as one year ago, I remember he crashed into Kimi in more than one race, like Magnussen does know lol.

        1. Yeah I bet Magnussen watched F1 last year so I assume he’s well aware what Perez did.

  8. That Tamburello corner gives me the shivers

  9. Not being pessimistic, but Haas is going to get a slap in the face. To think he can apply the same principles applied to Nascar, to F1 will be his undoing.
    What does he have that Toyota, Honda, or BMW did not have? What manufacturing capacity does he have that Marusia or Caterham cannot get?? I’m waiting with popcorn for this flick to begin!

    1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
      23rd April 2014, 1:44

      totally agree with you, though i must say that this article makes me think they might have a better chance than i originally thought. lots of money, but in rhe end i think they lack to things: a real understanding of F1 (he sees all too simplistic) and for the l

      1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
        23rd April 2014, 1:45

        long run, the willingness to keep throwing away money to get (i believe) little in return…

      2. Lots of money is no guarantee though. Toyota spent billions and went nowhere.

      3. Except he has the good fortune of making those aerodynamic gains at the very first attempt and at minimum cost, instead of the incremental and often wasteful exercise that is the the bane of F1 R&D.

    2. @kbdavies

      Marussia is not a big car manufacturer and Caterham ceratainly ins’t either despite their long car making tradition, business wise, Haas Automation is a bigger enterprise and in terms of engineering is bigger as well. However, being a successful businessman is not a guarantee of success (Richard Branson…) but even though F1 is a complete different beast from NASCAR, it’s better to come with motorsports experience than nothing.

      He just have to spend rightly his money. Find the right key people and partners and have some patience.

      1. You neglected to explain what he has that Toyota, Honda and BMW did not have. Haas is NOT even a car manufacturer; and no mater how big his “manufacturing” abilities are, or how much money he has, or how much intelligence and the “right” people he can garner, or how much “motorsports” experience he has, ALL the 3 organizations outlined above have far much more in every single aspect that he does, or indeed will ever have. His simplistic approach and attitude will be his undoing.
        I mean, he expects to be winning races in one season!!!!
        Mark my words, the more he gets into the business of F1, the more he will realise his current thinking will not work, he will have to change it to succeed.

        1. @kbdavies

          Toyota and BMW had high goals and left F1 amidst poor financial performance of their parent companies (many Japanese manufacturers left motor sports even those with some success: Suzuki, Honda (bar motor bikes), Subaru). In fact, both Toyota and BMW failed to win a championship but they did land some good results that would be encouraging for a guy like Gene Haas.

          I cannot assure that Haas will be successful but but we can’t either claim his project is doomed. There some good examples of non-car manufacturers outperforming big names in the game, Red Bull being the most visible and Force India to some extent is doing a respectable job. Let’s give the guy some time, he has the will, the money, some technical means and lets hope he manages to get the missing pieces.

    3. I do think that one big (enormous?) difference between Haas and the likes of Toyota, Honda and BMW is that they were corporations, and corporate structures on top of the team burdening down the operation ultimately hurt them despite all the resources thrown at it.

      Haas has both experience with running a racing team as (part) owner, and he has shown he knows how to do it in a clever way. On top of that, he is betting his own money (largely, I guess he will have others participate) and is the one able to make tough desicions, just like a Tony Fernandes can, or a Frank Williams/Patrick Head, a Ron Dennis, a Flavio Briatore, an Eddie Jordan or a Jackie Steward.

      And as Haas himself mentions, he is very well situated both to know what technology is needed as well as perfectly positioned to acquire that.

      All that said, I still think it would make far more sense for him to sound out Marussia, Tony Fernandes or even Monisha Kaltenborn or Mallya and see at what conditions their teams can be taken over. That would likely be cheaper, and give far more chance of success than starting anew. And it would be a huge leap from the downright stupid notion of wanting to base the team in the US.

  10. When it comes to Sebastian, the cynics are going to have a field day as the media are starting to lean toward “maybe it was the car all along” narrative. On the face of it, yes it looks like that, but perhaps he should be given some slack? 4 times a World Champion, surely?

    If the season so far is anything to go by, he has proven that he isnt a Hamilton or Alonso who can wring the maximum out of any car. Horner has mentioned a number of times that Seb is very sensitive to setup, so is that good or bad. For a driver, only recently touted to be in the company of greatest, is 4 races enough to judge that maybe he isnt that good afterall? Too soon to tell. Lets see how the season progresses. If Danny Ric can continue “annoying” Vettel, what more will be learn of the defending champions character? If his recent demeanour is anything to go by, he certainly doesnt seem very enthused of late.

    Afterall, the guy is only 26, this season and maybe the next could a long way to some character building.

    My support is firmly behind Danny Ric. I live in Perth, Western Australia, there is plenty of support for Danny out here.

    1. Totally agree. Seems like the bubble around Vettel is deflating slowly. This does not mean he is a rubbish driver, but that the degree of domination was definitely down to mastery of the EBD and the car – undue sensitivity to setup is certainly NOT the hallmark of a great driver. Now he is unable to miss apexes wily nily and still get pole, we are witnessing him driving a car that requires more precision; and he is not doing it well.
      Lewis or Fernando would not have been beaten comprehensively and consistently on quali speed and race pace by a teammate like this.

      1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
        23rd April 2014, 1:48

        who knows! we will never know!

      2. LOL, All this rubbish about Vettel not been that good again.

        when vettel has easily bested ricciardo in the points table at the end of this year what will the excuse be then?
        oh right we will be back to the people spouting nonsence about red bull giving ricciardo the rubbish car to favor vettel.

        vettel has already proven himself to be a great, you don’t win 4 championships (2 very closely fought, 1 to come from behind) & all the races he has if your not one of the greats.

        he got pole & won a race in a toro rosso (next you will be saying that was the best car & that he should have won a championship in it) in the wet, the sort of weather conditions which show the greats from the good.

        the fans sitting at home watching on tv who sit there going on about how vettel isnt good, its all because he had a good car & all that obviously know more than all the people in f1, the engineer’s, team bosses & other drivers who have access to all the data & who all talk about vettel been one of the greats.
        guess these guys dont know as much as fans who have no data but tv pictures.

        1. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
          23rd April 2014, 2:55

          I think you are missing the point people are trying to make, which is that Vettel won the championships because of the unison of car & driver, neither one was wholly responsible. The Red Bulls have been excellent cars and Vettel has been able to get them setup to exactly the style he prefers, now with the rule changes the car is a lot less precise and as such he is struggling to adapt, similar to how Schumi struggled when he came back in 2010.

          No one is saying Seb’s a rubbish driver, just that he is not adapting well enough or fast enough to the current regulation cars, whereas Dan is.

          1. @Jarred, “unison of car & driver, neither one was wholly responsible”, you just referred to every single championship. Not even the fanboy favorite Senna was wholly responsible.

          2. Glad that some people got the point.

          3. @jarred-walmsley
            Which driver has won a championship without the help of the “unison of car & driver”?

          4. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
            23rd April 2014, 19:23

            And thats exactly my point, Thats what wins championships, a good driver getting the best out of a good car.

            Vettel isn’t getting the best out of the RB10, Dan is.

            Thats all

      3. @kbdavies I think people are too quick to judge. HAM got beaten by Button in 2010 and ALO struggled to keep a rookie HAM behind him in 07. But still I regard them both as great drivers, because nobody is perfect – 1 off season or not mastering every situation perfectly is no sign of weakness or something that chips away from your achievements. Just like the bad start into 2012 didn’t make VETs WDC any less deserved.

        About the missing apexes: you should read the interview with HAM where he mentions this particular thing about VETs driving style. Bottom line it had less to do with inaccuracy and more with optimising the EBD effects.

        1. @TMF – HAM got beaten by Button in 2011, not 2010; and he got beaten mainly because he did not finish quite a few of the races – due to his own faults with incidents and various penalties.
          Button never beat HAM in 2011 based on outracing or outqualifying him. Even in this year, Lewis still matched Button on race wins, and demolished him on poles. Let’s be objective with the facts.

          1. @kbdavies

            Let’s be objective with the facts

            Being objective is taking out all factors that are personal to the drivers except for the one factor you are trying to measure. Under that basis, the fact that Hamilton always finished ahead of Button when they both finished is irrelevant. The points at the end of the season is how you determine the best driver, and Button had more points than Hamilton in 2011. If Hamilton had a bad year for whatever reason, then that shouldn’t impact on Button’s achievements..

          2. @KeelyObsessed – I do not disagree with your premise. I was simply responding to the tired “He beat him over the 3yrs they were together”.

        2. @tmf42
          You’re not being very clear-headed about this one.
          We’re not sayin ALO and HAM have never been beaten.
          We’ve just observed that they show an adaptation level and racing killer instinct that seems to be particularly lacking with Vettel. Who of course will happily take a fast car home to victory.

          Even in the past 4 years, in rear instances when the RBR car has been slightly difficult to drive Vettel would just disappear from the face of the earth.

          1. @jason12 I think that is even harder to judge. RBR had an abysmal preparation. Out of 6 days in the car I think VET got only half the laps RIC did or even less and he raced only 5 laps in Melbourne and RIC had both days in Bahrain in the car.
            Also we don’t know how the simulator time was split between the 2 so it’s entirely possible that VET is on the back foot in terms of preparation.

            I don’t know how you can make an assertion by observing only 4 race weekends as an outsider – it’s already hard enough to make an assertion for an entire season. So I think it’s simply premature to conclude things or read anything into individual performances, if you wanna at least keep the appearances of objectivity.

        3. @tmf42 absolutely correct: compromise corner entry, floor the exit. That gained you significant laptime with the EBD cars, and why Vettel simply blew Webber away towards the height of its power.

          But that very same refined style is currently his undoing I reason. That style harms the tyres and does not gain you laptime with a lack of rear downforce, and it will take Vettel time to unlearn his honed method and become re-educated on how to drive more “traditional” cars, as he was doing so brilliantly at Toro Rosso in 2008.

          1. @vettel1
            think so too. I’ve been following Vettel’s career since the ADAC days and I just think 4 race weekends aren’t enough to doubt him.
            Also another factor is that RIC was probably underestimated by most, but I also followed his career since 2007 and he has just as much potential as VET has.

          2. @tmf42 The people who are “doubting” Vettel after four race weekends never needed those four weekends to happen in the first place — they’re the same people who have been doubting him all along and would doubt him no matter what he did. He could win every race for the remainder of the season, and it wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference. He could win every championship until he retires in 10 or 15 years, and the doubting would continue!

            Best to just walk on by, in my experience. (Unless you enjoy arguing with people like that, of course!)

    2. Totally agree.

      Last year, Seb said:

      Next year I’m sharing the team with Daniel. If he wins the championship then I will look pretty stupid, but equally he then deserves to win. The year after that would mean I’d be racing with a world champion in the team

      Man, I think Seb is well aware that being beaten by “The Aussie Grit 2.0” will not look good. And it’s not looking good so far, he needs to get his act together and bounce back and he has time to beat Daniel, there lots more races to come. Gary Anderson in his track side analysis of the Chinese GP basically said Seb is missing EBC badly and must adapt his driving style to the new car.

    3. Daniel has done a great job in Red Bull, but this “Ricciardio is showing Vettel” is very narrow-minded. Bar Q3 and the second and third race stint in China, Vettel has been faster than Ricciardo every time his car was not breaking down one way or another.

      Australia: Vettel’s car doesn’t work all weekend
      Malaysia: outqualified Ricciardo and build a 13 second gap before Ricciardo’s troubles
      Bahrain: ahead in qualifying before gearbox issues, 6 seconds ahead in the race before MGU-K issues
      China: couldn’t get the mediums to work, but was comfortably faster on soft.

      That’s quite a different story than the popular narrative we hear left and right.

    4. Your comments seem well balanced compared to many on the internet. It’s unbelievable to me, though, how much of a villain Vettel is for so many fans. I think Vettel was excellent at closing out championships in the right car. And I believe we can all give him that. It’s kind of like how he’s still ahead of Ricciardo in the points. That’s due to bad luck on Ricciardo’s part but also because Vettel got that one podium. This is how Vettel really wins. Raikkonen, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Alonso -they’ve all had bad luck. But not Vettel. He’s the luckiest champion alive and there is something to be said for that. It’s why he’s golden through and through. Personally I’m still hoping Vettel wins it all on the last race due to the double points. That would just be awesome.

    5. @jaymenon10

      but perhaps he should be given some slack? 4 times a World Champion, surely?

      We can’t give him slack because the signs have been there all along.
      This is not a new realisation for us.

    6. If the season so far is anything to go by, he has proven that he isnt a Hamilton or Alonso who can wring the maximum out of any car.

      That gave me lols ^^

      Where was Webber all those seasons? And when was Lewis ever competing in an uncompetitive car? He even turned a champioship into a very close one when he had a dominating car and a weak teammate, and that´s his only championship.

      Yes, Vettel seems uncomfortable at the moment (which might change), and Ricciardo was probably underestimated before the season. He was still good enough to score his 4 championships in a row with a car good enough to give his reaonable teammate 3rd to 6th places in the championship.
      So yes, one might doubt wether Vettel is all that great as he was hyped as a “legend”. But he´s good enough to be compared to fellow multiple champions, not to lucky one-timers.

      1. @crammond

        And when was Lewis ever competing in an uncompetitive car? He even turned a champioship into a very close one when he had a dominating car and a weak teammate, and that´s his only championship.

        Are you seriously implying that Hamilton had a “dominant” car in 2008? Because that’s by far the silliest thing I’ve ever heard.

        Ferrari F2008 >>> McLaren MP4-23

  11. You’ll be starving soon Kevin.

  12. Disappointed with the choice of COTD, and disagree on many levels. First of all, I find it quite negatively worded (and nobody mentioned “mopping the floor” but the author himself). Second, why would the other teams know better? ‘We’ watch every session and analyse’/discuss them endlessly. What more is there to know short of running the guy himself? Finally, as for the opinion that Hulkenberg is not as hot as some make him out to be, fair enough, though in my opinion he is that good.

    As mentioned above by others, there were reasons why other teams chose other drivers (or already had drivers under contract). If Red Bull didn’t have a junior driver programme, they might have taken a more serious look at Hulkenberg (didn’t Marko once praise him to that effect?), and personally I think Ferrari made the wrong choice in hiring Raikkonen. Easy to say now that Kimi is struggling with the F14T, but I was of that opinion last year also (I’m too lazy to look up my comments from last year, so you’ll have to take my word for it – or look them up yourselves ;-)

    1. I believe Kimi was doing very well last year up to the signing and Hulk not so well.

      1. @beejis60, Kimi was certainly impressive last year, especially in the first half, and Hulkenberg’s most eye-catching moments came after the summer break, following Raikkonen’s announcement – as in 2012, when his run of strong results came mostly after Perez’s announcement at McLaren. So it looks like Nico’s performances have been at the wrong moment.

        Still, in 2013 those 2012 performances were already in the books (as well as his 2010 Brazil pole), and his first half of 2013 was also good, if not eye-catching as the Sauber was no good until after the summer break.

        Also, Ferrari knew Kimi could be sensitive to tyre/setup struggles, as he had struggled in a Ferrari in 2008. With LDM not really keen to get Raikkonen back, I was therefore surprised they re-hired him anyway.

        1. It’s hardly surprising Ferrari would go for a ‘known quantity’ in the shape of a former World Champion with all of the regulation changes. That doesn’t mean Raikkonen would necessarily be the better option.

    2. Still, how many podiums for Hulkenberg?… 4 for Perez, nill for Nico…and driving for the same teams… why hasn’t Nico gotten a podium finish yet? Is he missing something? Don’t get me wrong, he is an exceptional driver, still I think he lacks something…

      1. Driving for the same teams… in different cars. Do you really think you can compare Perez’s Sauber with Hulkenberg’s?

    3. Aqib (@aqibqadeer)
      23rd April 2014, 6:42

      ferrari didn’t make a mistake lotus did i’m sure kimi will be back once he gets the issues sorted out

      1. Lotus couldn’t pay him. They didn’t have a say.

    4. @adrianmorse

      I wouldn’t get too wound up about the choice of COTD, often they’re chosen to promote discussion and debate (which this has done) rather than on something universally accepted. Also, the teams have masses of useful data to analyse driver performance that fans don’t have access to so i’m pretty sure they know a lot better than us. Take Ricciardo for example, must admit i didn’t rate him that highly, and never saw him being talked up on the forums, but now it looks like Redbull have made a good decision as he seems very competitive so far (early days i know).

      I think Hulkenberg is very good, and has just been unlucky with circumstances. He’s not in one of the driver programmes which teams seem keen to use to recruit from, has no major sponsorship, and this year in particular had a further penalty for his weight (maybe less of an issue in future years?…). Maybe he could do more to try and pick up sponsors, but he has no built in advantages of nationality or anything like that (there are many German drivers companies could back if they wanted).

      Hindsight is always 20-20, but the season so far makes me think Ferrari did miss a trick signing Raikkonen over Hulkenberg. That’s not purely on performance, although so far Raikkonen has been underwhelming, but also they need to plan for future years. At the moment they are very reliant on Alonso, if he moves on i’m sure they’d want to benefit from some continuity from their other driver. Raikkonen will improve his performance once he gets the car set up how he likes it i’m sure, but he’s no spring chicken so could feasibly retire within the next couple of years.

      So there could still be opportunities coming up for Hulkenberg at Ferrari within the next couple of years. McLaren seem set on their driver programme so i’d be more surprised if he ended up there (if that’s even a step up!). All he can do is keep pounding out the results and make sure when the driver market comes around, his form is enough to grab someone’s attention. I hope he manages a podium or two this year, i feel from the last 3 years he deserves it more than any other driver who hasn’t been up there before.

  13. I could only laugh at this quote from the Red Bull article:
    “The powers in Paris have decided Daniel can’t have his trophy back from Australia – which is the F1 equivalent of seeing a happy little puppy gambolling cheerfully around with a bone and then taking it away.”

  14. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    23rd April 2014, 1:44

    … it means we’re getting close enough to get them rattled and sweating a bit.

    Keep telling yourself that if it helps you sleep at night.

    The facts are these:
    – Mercedes have won every race.
    – Mercedes have had three 1-2 finishes in a row
    – Mercedes have qualified on pole at every race
    – Mercedes have lead every single lap, of every race.
    – Mercedes are more than double Red Bull in the WDC after only 4 rounds.

    But yes, I’m sure you have them “rattled”. Good work RBR, if only your performance on track was as good as your journalism is tabloid then you’ll be catching Mercedes in no time.

    1. @tophercheese21
      Yeah .. RBR could have said something on the lines of “We’re getting there guys, watch out ” but they use the word “rattled” LOL
      Really ?
      Ferrari , please get you sticks in line , you want to beat red Bull or not this season ? I’d say they are most vulnerable now before they start massive developments.
      Please bring some updates and show who is boss .
      Meanwhile , Mercedes will keep doing the rattling at the front .

  15. Red Bull pleased to have “rattled” Mercedes

    Personally I perceive it as Mercedes paying back for what Red Bull had done to them over last year secret tyre test in Barcelona.

    It is quite amusing to see how Christian Horner revelled in his own fantasy when Mercedes had dominated F1 2014 for four races so far and Red Bull had rattled them (unless Mercedes boys were slacking off during the 3 weeks space).

  16. Grego (@francogrego)
    23rd April 2014, 2:24

    Red Bull is the one getting rattled and sweating a bit because they lost the case and haven’t won a race. If they don’t win, Dietrich Mateschitz will pull out of F1. Hehe.

    1. Aqib (@aqibqadeer)
      23rd April 2014, 6:37

      if he pulls out of F1 it would be bad for everybody because then we would lose two teams red bull and toro rosso so I hope he doesn’t even though we are getting a new team still i want to see 24 cars on the grid next year

      1. That just opens up space for other manufacturers like BMW or Toyota to return. Hopefully.

        1. We need teams with a long term perspective on F1, and not the glory hunters. Toyota, as much as I like the company itself, just wasn’t good for F1. They wrecked a lot of drivers careers in the process. BMW did something similar and almost completely erased Sauber’s F1 legacy.

        2. There has always been one space available on the grid, and since HRT pulled out there have been two. Toyota and BMW have shown no interest whatsoever in coming back to F1, because they got utterly burned last time they were involved in the sport. Both have realised they can have a much better time racing in other series’ for a lot less money and a lot more success. I.e. Toyota’s 1-2 finish at the WEC season opener last weekend.

      2. quinnolabar
        24th April 2014, 1:47

        If he pulls out the Milton Keynes team will still exist, just as it had before. Same goes for Toro Rosso. Having the energy drink brand pull out wouldn’t be the end of the world. The teams and personnel would still exist, like Honda to Brawn to Mercedes. Don’t worry about the grid size is all I’m saying.

    2. Reallly? Why? Because the Milton Keynes team didn’t exist before Red Bull? Because Red Bull was immediately successful and have not actually been involved long before they had any success?

  17. Hulk is good but i think he needs to step up one more level, which i think he can & he will win world championship for Ferrari in 2016.

    1. If I’m not mistaken, wasn’t Perez a part of Ferrari’s junior program though? If Perez is able to challenge and beat Hulk in the same car, might Ferrari overlook him once again?

  18. mercedes pushed very hard to have red bull banned for fuel sensor-gate, its because they know red bull are catching them & will be challenging for wins pretty soon.

    mercedes know red bull have a great car again & are been held back by a poor power unit. if red bull had a mercedes engine they would be there fighting for wins already most likely.

    i am hoping red bull catch right up quickly before its too late so we get to see a proper championship battle between more than just the mercedes teammates.

    1. No. They pushed very hard because Red Bull choose to ignore the rules. Even Red Bull’s own sensor showed their car was illegal. It’s surprising that they got off scot free.

    2. No they didn’t push very hard…just made a suggestion. And I doubt they are worried that RBR is catching them. RBR had among the most catching up to do, so that makes them appear to have made bigger strides, when in fact they still lag behind, and definitely are improving, but so will Mercedes.

      Personally I’d be surprised if RBR caught up to Merc this year, but if they do that will be quite a feat and they will deserve kudos for that, but don’t forget they will have to get by TWO Mercedes that are likely going to be getting the lion’s share of the points. Ie. even if RBR catches up it will be too little too late, and even if they somehow miraculously surpassed Merc in performance, I think it will still be too late.

  19. It seems that if you don’t have Alonso or Hamilton in your car, you can never be 100% sure how fast the car is actually. You can never quite know how much trouble is down to the car and how much is down to the driver not being able to extract 100% from it because he doesn’t feel 100% comfortable with handling. Every year just gives further proof why it is those two that are considered the best drivers in F1.

    1. Every year just gives further proof why it is those two that are considered the best drivers in F1.

      Fun fact: Pkenty of people disagree with you and there is absolutly no way to prove anything. Untill the day Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel drive the same car we will never really know.

      1. Alonso and Hamilton did drive the same car. Both lost out to Raikkonnen.

        1. But that is no reason to say Kimi is the supremo of F1 is it? It it were all just reading the statistics it would be rather easy to just say Vettel is the best. However we all know there is more to it than just statistics although we should never discard them. If Alonso were to outdrive for example a Marussia scoring one point that would be one hell of a drive, although it is a stupid one point.

        2. But Raikkonnen was gifted by Massa.

      2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        23rd April 2014, 7:43

        Which will never happen, so with that in mind, this is the best we’ve got.

        1. @Sam – We definitely do know that Alonso and Lewis are the benchmarks in F1.
          Let’s look at how they have performed generally in relation to their benchmarks in 2013 (though you can take other seasons and still arrive at the same conclusion).
          If not for Lewis, Merc will have a single pole from Rosberg. We would be saying the Mercs have bad quali pace, but excellent race pace. If not for Alonso, The Ferrari would seem much worse than we currently know it to be. In fact, we would NEVER know it has podium material based on Kimi’s driving. No to RBR – If not for Ricciado, we would be basing the Red Bull car on Vettel’s driving – which is currently NOT that great.

    2. Darren Danga
      24th April 2014, 10:30

      Well put I think lh fa are simply agrade above everyone! It also makes me thonk that mw was not so great thats why sv didn’t have nuch respect for him on the track!

  20. He’s tremendously sensitive to certain aspects of the set-up, he’s not getting the feeback from the car that he wants. The compound effect of that is he’s damaging the tyre more – which is very unusual for Seb since Pirellis were introduced [in 2011]. It’s highly unusual for him to be going through the tyre life quicker than the average.

    From the sky article this quote from Horner is something to take note of. For me, I’m wondering from what changes we’ve seen from 2013 to 2014 has seen this particular symptom crop up for Seb. Is it that he is spinning up his tyres more out of corners with the amount of power pumped out by the turbo engines, or is it that he’s locking up his rears more as he enters a corner with the new fly by wire braking systems? Or is it the lack of grip in corners, that he’s throwing the car around too much, causing it to slide and use up the life of the tyres more? Possibly a combination of 2 or more of those, maybe something else?
    Or it could simply that like he’s said, he’s got too much rattling around in his brain, instead of focusing on the driving itself… Asking questions mid-race about RIC’s strategy gives us an indication that maybe he is not as focused on the track and the work inside the cockpit as he could be, however, with the recent saga of team orders in RBR, no one can blame him for asking the questions.

    1. It may well be a case of all of the above: Vettel likes a planted rear end on the car & the previous RBs had rear grip in spades. I think most here with decent memory will recall Vettel & Webber not being too far apart when there wasn’t some counterintuitive trickery going on in back that Seb had mastered, but Mark never got on with… Webber has said it several times. Most pundits agree (and anyone standing trackside or listening closely on TV could clearly hear) that there was definitely some different throttle mapping going on with Vettel’s car coming off low speed corners, & the timing sheets have repeatedly backed up the theory.
      This year’s cars have lost rear grip, added a ton of torque & gone to harder compound tires: three different deficiencies that affect one area that held a lot of his advantage. Another is the reportedly abrupt power delivery of the Renault PU. Either way(s), Vettel has lost A KEY WEAPON (IMHO) in his arsenal. Does that make him rubbish? Certainly not, but he has lost an edge. There is no guarantee that he’ll be able to regain his blistering form without a car he likes either. Drivers are sensitive with regards to their preferences: Lewis with his brakes, Kimi with his steering, Jenson likes a neutral car, & Seb/Adrian didn’t quit until they recovered that lost rear downforce last season (Mark still didn’t care for it), the drivers all have circuits they go better on… Vettel will either learn to deal with it or not (or Adrian & co might dream up a new trick… the Vettel fans will cheer & say it’s proof he’s the greatest & people like me will say he just got his preferred party trick back… Lol!), but the fact remains that just like he was well suited to the Pirelli era, other drivers seem better suited to this formula. It’s not like it’s unheard of.

      1. Very well said!

    2. OR maybe he is just normal without the EBD and exhaust trickery .Remember 2012 before development work started . Mark was beating Seb. Again they will develop around Seb this year .If they cannot , then Ricciardo will have the slightest edge over his WDC teammate. But Maybe , Ricciardo is just better . Why can’t nobody even think that . I am amazed !

      1. @hamilfan People have been thinking that RIC has been better than VET. That is clearly not my view, although, I’m not denying that is a possibility. However, given how long I’ve been following F1, I’d like think that I’ve got an idea or two about what makes a good driver vs a great driver. While I think RIC is good, I do not think he’s the next Ayrton Senna or Michael Schumacher. On the other end of the spectrum, all throughout VET’s career, I have believed that he was as good, if not better than Michael. This is given in part by how VET rose to RBR rather than solely based on his achievements while at RBR. VET had impressed in Williams as Friday test driver and then a couple of years later in Toro Rosso, and I think its these achievements that everyone has conveniently forgotten when they spruk about the “newey” factor contributing to all 4 of VET’s championships. While I do not deny that the brilliance of Newey has had an impact, however, for those following F1 in recent years have learned only in 2014 what “domination” looks like in the form of Mercedes GP, and in none of VET’s 4 championships was the RBR out and outright THE fastest car without equal. This also doesn’t take into account the fact that VET has outperformed every team mate he has been paired with.
        So forgive me when I am not quick to jump off Seb 4 races into the season. Nor would I expect any Hamilton fan to jump off HAM if he finds himself in the same situation.

        1. This also doesn’t take into account the fact that VET has outperformed every team mate he has been paired with.

          @dragoll, except for Paul Di Resta! :-)

      2. @hamilfan. EVERYONE is thinking about that. To say it after just four races is probably premature. And those who love to say it are quick enough to dispatch of any problems Vettel might have which might I remember you other greats have also had.

        If Vettel has trouble with tyre wear, that easily acounts for a massive drop in performance and lap time. Look at Hamilton and Rosberg in Spain for example.

  21. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    23rd April 2014, 3:34

    The team rattling is Williams and not Red Bull. Both Williams drivers managed to rattle Alonso and Rosberg at the first lap!

  22. Hmm, anybody else’s comments disappearing? My comment was posted, and there was absolutely nothing remotely vulgar or anything like that in it, and now it’s deleted. :/

    1. And now it’s there again. Well, mystery gone, if not solved… :)

    2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      23rd April 2014, 3:53

      Some words are normal, but you have to notice if they can mean something else. Or normal words but used to “attack”. Cheers and keep trying.

      1. @omarr-pepper
        Attack? With normal words? Am I going to beat you up with an exclamation mark?

  23. As for the COTD, I think I need to explain myself: I really think Hulkenberg is an exceptional driver, but I also believe he is way overrated, he is lacking “something” (stronger mentality? be more aggressive?…) and perhaps is one of the reason why no top team has placed a full bet on him yet (still they know better than I do…). Just a point to prove myself, how many podiums for Nico? Nill…Perez (whom many people consider rubbish next to Nico…) already has 4 btw, and driving for the same teams. Perhaps we could at least consider the possibility that the Hulk needs to learn a little bit of Perez aggressiveness to get the results?…

    And just to be crystal clear, I think the best drivers in F1 right now are Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel, in that order.

    1. I believe Hulk can better Alonso and Lewis with time . He need not do a kamikaze move to get results .

    2. But also Kobayashi has a podium. I don’t think many people rate him higher than Hülkenberg. Hülkenberg has his weight and height against him. That might even be the only reason top teams are not choosing him.

      Besides that Alonso and Hamilton have already praised Hülkenberg as one of the best drivers on the grid. Whitmarsh and Ferrari top men have said they would like Hülkenberg if he wasn’t so tall. Lotus on the other hand could not take Hülkenberg because they NEEDED the cash loaded Maldonado.

      So your arguement to say “teams know better and they haven’t chosen him, ergo he is not good enough” is a no no.

      1. Never mind drivers who have scored a podium, Maldonado has a race win to his name. Now, who here wants to say Maldonado is better than Hulkenberg? Go on, someone be brave and say it ;)

        One off results aren’t everything in F1, results over the course of a season show more in my view.

    3. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      23rd April 2014, 10:17

      As you can see from my comment lower down the page there is a perfectly rational reason in every circumstance why Hulkenberg was not selected for promotion, and none of them are do with being “not good enough”. And aggression? On-track aggression is overrated, as Maldonado appears not to have learnt yet, and as for a aggressive strong mentality? In his opening races for Sauber I think he alienated a few by being too demanding, and wanting improvements. He is the complete racing driver, and based on his peerless junior career, comparable midfield results to those of Vettel and mature, calm head, he will be a multiple champion, of that I’m sure.

  24. I’m all for positive thinking but come on Red Bull, you can’t honestly believe that you have Mercedes “rattled”. Lets look at the gaps between the first Mercedes and the first Red Bull at each race so far this season.

    Australia: 24.5 seconds (while Red Bull were breaching the fuel flow limit)
    Malaysia: 24.5 seconds
    Bahrain: 24.4 seconds (build up over the last 1/12 laps)
    China: 27.1 seconds

    That wouldn’t be giving me cause for concern if I was Mercedes.

    1. @geemac While I agree with the premise that RBR really are kidding themselves about having Merc rattled. I do however think your use of the gaps in Australia, Malaysia and China are all misleading, not because of the fuel flow issue, and if anyone thinks that RIC gained a massive “performance” enhancement from the the fuel flow issue didn’t read the report on how little over RBR had gone over the Fuel Flow limit, but I digress.
      Back on topic, I think all the gaps you’ve posted don’t tell us anything, however the telling factor is Bahrain, you are spot on, in the last 10 laps Merc showed their true colours by building up a 24 sec gap in such a short time, suggesting that Merc are sitting on a very comfortable performance margin above and beyond the other 3 races. The other staggering bit of information to take from that Bahrain gap is that ROS and HAM were battling for the lead and were still stretching out the lead, normally drivers lose time when dueling with another driver, as the person defending is not always taking the fastest line through corners, but more defensive lines to ensure that gaps are not open for attacking drivers to take advantage of.
      So for my mind if Merc were to push the boundaries like every other team are atm, they could lap the entire field, such is their margin. However, right now they are sandbagging quite a bit, not being greedy, and probably doing so to ensure that their tyres last long enough, and that the hardware/machinery can last not only the race distance, but also ensure that they can ensure their power plants last the required number of races, as well as the other components that have to last differing amounts of race as per the rules.
      Mercedes in 2014 are doing what Williams did to the field in 1993, or what McLaren did in 1988, just positively dominating in a car that is well beyond the reach of their peers. Domination like this is amazing to watch, but heart wrenching for all the teams/drivers of other teams not in the dominating car, because they poor their heart and soul into it, and realistically, the best they can hope for is a podium behind one or both of the Merc boys. This is why drivers like VET, GRO, ALO, RAI are all struggling given their fortunes in 2014.

      1. I agree that the figures aren’t the be all and end all and I agree that the Bahrain figure is the most significant, but at the end of the day Mercedes are, as you correctly said, winning races by comfortable margins at a canter. Not exactly stuff that would give Mercedes any reason to be rattled.

        That Red Bull spy article is clearly just a wind up attempt and I’m sure more than a few people will fall for it (though query whether any of them will live/work in Brackley/Brixworth/Monaco). At the end of the day Red Bull are the world champions, they are the works team of one of the sports most decorated engine manufacturers, so if anyone is in a position to try chase down Mercedes it will be them.

    2. @geemac And there is no evidence whatsoever that Mercedes was even pushing. Considering Bahrein there is no reason to not think they could’ve lapped every car in the three other races.

  25. Aqib (@aqibqadeer)
    23rd April 2014, 6:32

    i am a red bull fan but i think they should focus on improving their car rather than politics

  26. I always thought everyone on F1Fanatic agreed on the talent that is Hülkenberg. Might have been the only thing we all agree on.

    And I agree with COTD. Teams do know best. You should look up who already said Hülkenberg is a top talent. Just to name two random guys; Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.

  27. Looks like I’m missed off the Birthday list again @keithcollantine. Think thats 4 years in a row now! Must be worth a COTD ;)

    1. @benh Happy birthday! Sorry for the miss, you were down as 23rd March. Corrected now.

      1. @keithcollantine Must have missed that last month then. Thanks :)

  28. Off topic. Just saw a random Hamilton article on another site.

    I’m sick of drivers who are fighting for the championship saying things like “I’m not thinking about the championship” and similar. Well what the hell are you thinking about? Your homies? I know what that thing used to mean when drivers would say it from time to time, but these days, it seems that every driver who has even a slimmest chance to get the title, must keep saying he’s not thinking about it.

    Ok, idea is to try and get the best possible result at every race, but when it comes to Maldonado shoveling you off the track, you better start thinking about the championship and decide which fights are worth picking.

    1. Ok, idea is to try and get the best possible result at every race, but when it comes to Maldonado shoveling you off the track, you better start thinking about the championship and decide which fights are worth picking.

      I suspect you’re referring to Valencia 2012, in which Hamilton did nothing wrong and Maldonado was entirely at fault.

    2. These kind of denials do wear after a time i admit. Must be one from the Jose Mourinho school of championship pyschology. I’m just grateful that at least the two Mercedes drivers are going into weekends saying ‘it’ll probably be between me a my teammate for the win’ rather than ‘we’ll see how the weekend goes and maybe we’ll be competitive’.

      To note one exception though, Alonso talks about the championship all the time, and how many points he is behind and how hard they have to work to close the gap. Maybe that’s because he never seems to have a realistic shot at winning it (in recent years), or at least, not on outright pace.

  29. The rattling was as strong as the evidence Red Bull provided during their appeal hearing.

    Seriously, Red Bull needs to focus more on racing rather than politics and PR war.

  30. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    23rd April 2014, 10:03

    @COTD – Yes, there is a good reason for Hulkenberg being ignored by all the big teams…

    Ferrari 2012 – Ferrari withdrew an offer to Nico after Massa’s pace picked up…and after he started sacrificing his own season for the good of Fernando’s.
    McLaren 2012 – Were wrong-footed by Perez’s podiums, and Hulkenberg was in contractual negotiations with Ferrari at the time over Massa’s seat.
    Red Bull 2013 – Were obliged to justify the millions in investment in their Young Driver Programme by promoting Ricciardo.
    Ferrari 2013 – (Mistakenly) felt it necessary to promote a more experienced driver for the technical challenges of 2014, and Raikkonen had been driving out of his skin in the first half of 2013.
    McLaren 2013 – Didn’t want to be seen to be “righting a wrong” by promoting Nico, and had to justify their investment in their programme by promoting Magnussen.
    Lotus 2013 – Not enough wonga…

    If driver promotion were purely talent based, then Hulkenberg would be in a McLaren or a Ferrari now, but unfortunately for him, they are much more multifactorial. Hulkenberg deserves every bit of praise he gets, in that he has done as good a job, if not better, in the midfield than Vettel did in 2008 (and yes, he did win in Monza, but prior to that Gerhard Berger had negotiated the sale of the very latest and best Ferrari V8s; an advantage Hulkenberg didn’t have when he so nearly won the 2012 Brazilian GP). As every race passes his ranking versus the very best in the world improves; I would personally say he is the fifth best on the grid very closely behind the awesome foursome of Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton and Raikkonen. In F1 three things are certain: Pirelli tyre degradation, the stopwatch and that Nico Hulkenberg will be world champion…

  31. Chris Brighton
    23rd April 2014, 12:20

    Yes, that’s right, Red Bull have “rattled” Mercedes. Hamilton didn’t even see a Red Bull on the Sunday and although Rosberg had a horrible start he was still a lot faster than the Red Bull’s. Yes, Red Bull are getting closer but it will be too late, Mercedes will have wrapped up the two titles by then.

  32. Merc should really have a serious chat with Rosberg.
    If Lewis has had Pole and is 20 secs ahead of Nico, Nico really has no business setting the fastest lap of the race.
    If an opportunity for a “Grand Slam” exists, I see no harm in the team ensuring that it is indeed taken.

    1. I believe he set it in running down Alonso. Which is fine. And to be honest, given that he and Hamilton dropped 24 seconds on the field in 12 laps the race before (while trading paint at all times), I don’t think his FLAP was even stressing the car one bit. Hamilton had barely used his tires or any fuel. I’m sure if he really wanted the GS, he could have dropped a mind-boggling lap at the end the race… and sent people running to the FIA to investigate the W05 for a hidden nitrous injection system.

  33. Whats up with red bull?Their skin sure is thin.They are making Ferrari look Great!Keep it up crybabies.

  34. LOL! What an idiotic comment from RBR!

    1. I think the only people they have rattled is themselves.

  35. For Haas, let’s not get vapors. They are not storming to the front in a couple years, but there are things that set them apart from failed predecessors:

    Haas is world leader in industrial design and bulding equipment. It is not a company that will be looking to Dallara or whoever and being at the mercy of their quality control and processes. They have the technical resources to support and oversee the manufacturing of the car directly and do it well.

    Haas is committed to building his brand globally, and F1 is a perfect platform for his business.

    Hass has the current commercial relationships and presence in the commercial markets to get credit, sponsorship, secure key technical partners on good terms, and draw good managers to the racing opeation. Hass is not USF1 or some other group of shadowy investors or former mechanics who want a pile of money.

    One blind spot he has shown is in basing the team in NC. NC is the hub of U.S. racing technology, but to build a Woking or Milton Keynes operation in NC will mean moving a lot of highly paid people from Europe to NC, and even recruiting the best people from top engineering schools, etc, people who have options, to go to Kannapolis. Good luck with that. It will mean going away from the intellectual and technical incubation going on in England not to mention supply chains. There is a reason industries from furniture to finance congregate in particular areas. It’s more than just access to poaching talent and logistics. He will eventually move to England, I think, because he is serious.

  36. Is the Mercedes this years Brawn? Could be

  37. “Red Bull pleased to have “rattled” Mercedes”
    Was that before or after Seb was passed by the Caterham?

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