Hamilton can cruise to title after tenth win

2014 United States Grand Prix review

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For the second time in three races, Lewis Hamilton lined up behind his team mate on the front row of the grid but showed him the way home at the chequered flag.

Nico Rosberg made Hamilton work hard for this one – he took pole position in style on Saturday, and early in the United States Grand Prix he seemed to have enough pace to keep his team mate at sword’s length indefinitely.

But when Hamilton got within range on the 24th lap he forced Rosberg to relinquish his grasp on victory – and took another important step towards the championship.

Perez takes out Sutil

Once the grid was cleared of people F1’s 18-car field looked noticeably thin. Of course it didn’t help matters that Sebastian Vettel had to start from the pits, or that two cars were eliminated within moments of the start.

But unlike in Russia the race was a lively affair, aided by a more aggressive tyre selection from Pirelli and improved grip levels at the Circuit of the Americas. The latter seemed to diminish the effect of starting on the dirty side of the grid, which had been severe in the previous two races.

Hamilton wasn’t able to put Rosberg under serious pressure at the first corner, but behind them Felipe Massa got away well enough from fourth on the grid to beat team mate Valtteri Bottas to turn one.

Daniel Ricciardo lost two places off the line, falling to seventh ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. The Ferrari driver had trouble of another kind on the first lap, when he was assaulted by Sergio Perez.

The Force India driver had made an over-ambitious attempt to pass Adrian Sutil, which resulted only in both drivers being eliminated from contention and Raikkonen taking damage. Perez was later handed a stiff penalty for eliminating Sutil, an act which shattered Sauber’s hopes of finally getting some points on the board following their best-ever qualifying performance.

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Red Bull box clever

The Safety Car was summoned and McLaren sprang into action, bringing both drivers in to switch them from soft to medium tyres. Red Bull also pulled a fast one, bringing Vettel in for soft tyres and then summoning him back on the next lap to re-fit the medium compounds. This meant they had fulfilled their obligation under the rules to run the soft tyre – potentially a strategic advantage.

When the race resumed Rosberg led Hamilton and the Williams pair – followed by Ricciardo. The Red Bull driver had picked up one place from Kevin Magnussen, then brilliantly dispossessed Fernando Alonso for fifth at the restart.

Towards the end of the first stint Ricciardo turned up the heat on Bottas. He was within a second by lap 12, and two laps later he made an early dive for the pits. To preserve the order of their drivers Williams had to bring Massa in first the next time by, and when Bottas arrived on the next lap he slipped behind Ricciardo.

Alonso emerged from his first pit stop ahead of Vettel – who was unhappy with his car’s balance – and behind the out-of-sync McLarens. The Ferrari driver battled thrillingly with Button and eventually came out ahead, then went on to pass Magnussen too.

Hamilton takes the lead

By then the Mercedes pair had made their first pit stops, both switching to the medium tyres. Rosberg’s lead peaked at 2.6 seconds before he pitted, but once on the harder tyres Hamilton had a decisive advantage of a few tenths of a second.

Within two laps of getting close enough to Rosberg to be able to use his DRS, Hamilton was through. Rosberg saw the move coming too late to be able to cover the inside of turn 12. As they accelerated away it was close – almost Spa-close – but the pair left each other just enough room.

At first Hamilton only edged away, then he built his lead back up to over two seconds. But even in the final stint Rosberg never fell far behind, and as Hamilton caught traffic in the closing stages Rosberg prowled menacingly in the background.

Back in 2012, with six more cars on the grid, Hamilton exploited such an opportunity presented by a lapped car, but Rosberg had far fewer such chances this time.

Another gamble pays off for Vettel

While the battle settled down at the front, the contest behind them was heating up. A sluggish pit stop cost Massa third place to Ricciardo. Red Bull were doing well for pit stop practice – Vettel was serviced four times on his way to seventh.

His last stop with eight laps to go looked like a blunder by Red Bull as it dropped him well out of the points. It proved a masterstroke as Vettel swept past all the cars he had fallen behind thanks to his fresher tyres – and might have beaten Alonso to sixth place with one more lap.

Behind Magnussen in eighth was Pastor Maldonado, who scored his first points of the season. Team mate Grosjean had been running even higher before being elbowed off at turn one by Jean-Eric Vergne. The Toro Rosso driver was later penalised for the move, and was passed by Maldonado on the final lap, the Lotus driver also taking a five-second penalty for a pit lane speeding violation.

Hamilton has title in sight

The curious fact of Hamilton’s tenth victory of the season was how little it did for his title chances. Hamilton has now won ten races to Rosberg’s four, yet his lead in the championship is less than the number of points earned for an ordinary win.

With twice as many points available for the last race of the season, the drivers’ championship will now definitely be decided in Abu Dhabi. Hamilton’s fifth win in a row inevitably prompts claims he has the ‘momentum’ and the ‘psychological advantage’, but all that truly matters is where the cars finish, and that isn’t always just a question of how well the driver performs.

Rosberg went into the weekend saying it was still in his power to win the championship by beating Hamilton. That is no longer the case: Second place to Rosberg in the final two races will make Hamilton champion.

For Rosberg’s, his best chance is now that Hamilton will suffer some kind of mechanical misfortune in one of the final rounds. But it has seemed for some time like that was already the case anyway.

Images © Daimler/Hoch Zwei, 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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110 comments on “Hamilton can cruise to title after tenth win”

  1. @keithcollantine great review as always. I’m impressed by the hours you keep for flyaway races!

    One small correction, you say:-
    “[Ricciardo] picked up one place when Kevin Magnussen pitted”.

    He actually passed Magnussen on track on the first lap, at turn 12.

    1. But didn’t MAG repass him?

      1. @tdog @xtwl well, the lap charts show Magnussen cross the finish line at the end of lap 1 in front of both Alonso and Ricciardo: https://www.racefans.net/2014/11/03/2014-united-states-grand-prix-lap-charts/

        1. Neil (@neilosjames)
          3rd November 2014, 9:37

          Magnussen was in the pit lane, which I guess made him show ahead. I saw that on the lap charts too, but Ric was definitely ahead when the Safety Car came out and everyone slowed.

        2. Neil (@neilosjames)
          3rd November 2014, 9:46

          @tdog @xtwl @mattds just went and watched it back to make sure – Magnussen showed ahead due to being in the pit lane and having a shorter route. Almost got up to fourth – was only .2s behind Bottas at the timing beam.

          1. @neilosjames OK that explains it then. I didn’t recall all of it :)

  2. I was against the double points right from the start when Bernie came out with this idea dreamed in a sleepless night. From this point forward, it is possible that Hamilton may end up with 11 wins this season (win in Brazil), but if Rosberg were to win Abu Dhabi and altogether 5 races this season – he is world champion. That’s what I call pure sport. There’s little more that will drag F1 into further disrepute than if that scenario actually happens. Well done Bernie, old boy.

    1. That’s the problem with F1. They don’t bother changing rules in the middle of the season but they resisted scrapping double points before the season started despite massive disapproval from F1 fans as a number of polls demonstrated.

      F1 is looking like dictatorship. Every one knows the long standing dictator must go but those with power are afraid of him. In the end, “the people” will feel abandoned and see taking to streets as their last resort to force his resignation….

      1. The trouserless billionaires of the gulf states paid the FOM/CVC/BCE billionaires ‘an offer they can’t refuse’ in countless billions of dollars to steal the final race from Interlagos and slap on a weapons-grade-laughing-stock points allocation for the final race. F1 will next year introduce
        clown suits that all the drivers will be forced to wear and the cars will explode
        to a secret timetable throughout each race.

    2. If only the FIA had put as much effort in blocking double points as they did in making FRIC illegal or Radio ban. Only one of these has the real potential to make F1 look like a complete laughing stock on the world stage.

    3. I would not blame Bernie entirely.
      I personally feel, maybe Abu Dhabi agreed to pay more than normal to host such a race with double points. Simultaneously teams agreed to this or maybe proposed this, cause it also means increase in their revenue as well. So more relevant Abu Dhabi GP becomes more revenue gets generated and I guess.
      I don’t know if Bernie is solely responsible, but whosoever put forward this idea, all the stakeholders, from organizers to team owners to FOM had win win situation for themselves.
      Considering that Ferrari also has a theme park in Abu Dhabi.

      1. What I mean is anybody from the organizers to team owners to Bernie may have put forward this idea. Bernie is just public face of the all the rich investors/stakeholders that sit in the board rooms.

        1. Bernie said in an interview with Brundle that it was his idea & that is probably wasn’t fair, why the teams voted for it is completely beyond me but it was another one of Bernie’s stupendously stupid ideas.

    4. In fact Hamilton could win in Brazil, ROS second, and then Rosberg still win the championship in Abu Doubly coming second with a HAM DNF (11 wins to 4).

      1. I didn’t think about that. That would be pretty terrible. On Rosberg’s side, he has racked up a record number of second-places this year. That counts for someting. In fact, it counts for 18 points per go. That’s a lot of points. That’s why we are in this situation. So he has “earned” this possibility. However, one could argue that Max Chilton could have scored at least as many 2nds as that in that car.

        Going back to your scenario, if Hamilton wins in Brazil, he will have every reason to turn his PU way down and put no stress on the brakes or regen systems in the last race and to let Rosberg win. There would be no reason at all to try to win that race, given the cost of a mechanical there. As others have said, it’s basically a double DNF to go out there. Hamilton will want to remember falling out from the lead in 2009 with his brake issue. That would be a historic scandal.

        1. It is hopefully just one possible and unlikely scenario! I think Rosberg has kind of earned being close, that’s true, he’s driven well, but the Spa race especially will surely be remembered as decisive if he does win – without Rosberg taking out his title rival there and the double points lunacy of the final race, Hamilton would already have won the championship.

    5. If HAM leads by more than 25 points going into Abu Dhabi, it will be very difficult for F1 fans to accept ROS as the champion at the end.

      Even in football etc., there’s a regulation time every second is treated equal. Every goal is counted as 1. It’s only when the scores are tied at the end of regulation time (and sometimes even overtime), you get into tie-break rules.

      I know many have already said it and I will say it again to echo your sentiments here. Double points is absurd and F1 is simply controlled by people who don’t understand what the drivers and fans value about the sport.

  3. Hamilton is only 24 up, which means a DNF in Brazil could put him one down. And one is all it takes. A double DNF in the last race then gives Rosberg the title on 5 wins to 10. Hard to believe. But he would have earned it with his heap of second places, I suppose.

    As for the race what’s odd about Rosberg is how little he seems to care. He lost P1 and control of his destiny in the title and he didn’t seem outraged or much troubled. He hasnt won in months. His excuses, I didn’t get the rhythm. What? He had Hamilton on the ropes. Hamilton on his flat spotted tires and iffy brakes, he should have buried him in stint 1. But he was looking for rhythm. And when Hamilton came to get him, as he said, he just sort of moved to block and hoped Hamilton wouldn’t have a go. Because Hamilton is going to back off in light of a half-block? Hamilton is a mad man on the brakes–equal parts genius and crazy. You don’t tempt him and expect temperance.

    Rosberg lacks hunger.

    1. @dmw I don’t think it’s about hunger. Rosberg lacks speed to beat Lewis. It’s clear to everyone, including Nico, that Lewis is faster.

      I liked Nico’s chat with the Mercedes guy representing the constructor on the podium, just before the ceremony:

      “How did Massa all of a sudden become a problem for us?”

      1. Rosberg could have done a better job of defending the position as Dave says if he really wanted to, however after Spa I have a feeling the punishment went something like, if you take out your teammate again you’re out of this team. Hamilton probably knows this, hence the Monza2007 style lunge and pass.

        Agreed about Rosberg though, he doesn’t seem to care as much as I would (for example) about being on the cusp of a Formula One World Championship.

        1. I noticed a relaxation in Nico after spa. Before then he was fighting and winning the battle. Which goes to show he can fight against his teammate! After what happened at spa he seemed completely at ease, like a man who knew he had already won the championship. Not like a man that doesn’t care.

          there was certainly fallout from spa, and it would seem in Lewis’ favour but perhaps it was more like: Lewis gets the wins (prize money too) and you get the wdc.

          certainly, since monza he has been making “mistakes” which are uncharacteristic for him, and Lewis has benefitted directly. And mathematically he hasn’t given much ground away, hence the comments re abu Dhabi.

          conspiracy theory😊

          1. nico has been making mistakes all season.this is why ric has been able to win 3 races,only one less than nico.lewis didnt race in aus,and had to start from the back of the grid in another race nico won,so nico has only really won 2 races on merit.ppl are forgetting lewis won 4 in a row earlier in the season,but even when lewis was having car issues and dnfs,nico wasnt stringing any wins together.he hasnt strung 2 wins together all season,so obviously he hasnt been winning the battle.

          2. In regards to fighting, it is not so much about ability but about wanting to win at all costs, so Lewis could still be arguably better on track but Nico was showing that killer instinct to hunt him. Before Spa, Nico appeared more under pressure but was driving well and leading the points table (ok yes, helped by his teammate’s misfortune), but since Spa he’s been (too?) relaxed off the track and uncharacteristically slip shod on it…

        2. So his second corner Sochi antics wasn’t risky to both cars?

        3. What’s strange is, while he has Hamilton as a team-mate, Rosberg may not get a better shot at the title than he has this season as I can’t see Hamilton suffering the same amount of problems he has this year as reliability improves. It’s quite astonishing that Hamilton leads by 24 points after all the problems he’s had.

          Rosberg is reminding me of Webber in 2010. He has won just TWO more races than he did last season, in this car! He impressed me more in 2013 than he has in 2014. Psychologically, Rosberg not winning this title could have a huge affect on him in future title fights.

          1. What’s strange is he doesn’t seem concerned enough considering he may not get a better shot at the title*

    2. Then he better not retire, I guess.

    3. I don’t think this is an issue of “hunger”. Firstly, we are deluded if we ever thought Rosberg was a match for lewis in the first place. he has never been, and never will be.
      The real reason is the in team coaching ban. Since it came into effect, Rosberg has been nowhere compared to Lewis on race pace.
      The reason he is able to outqualify Lewis is simply because of he data and telemetry has available to him during qualifying. He is able to to extract data from Lewis’s telemetry more efficiently and add it to his. Though both drivers have access to each other’s data, there is no doubt it benefits Rosberg more; as he simply has more to gain from the extra data.
      He was much closer to Lewis on race pace before the in-team radio ban came into effect. Now coaching is no longer allowed, Rosberg’s achilles heel is more evident.
      The team know this, Lewis know this, and Rosberg knows this too. I remember Lewis being far more happy about the ban than Rosberg was.

      1. My thoughts exactly! After the the first stint yesterday HAM adjusted the front wing as the car was showing too much oversteer. It would be interesting to know what ROS did to improve the balance of the car througout his race.

      2. Yes. The effects of the coaching ban were/are quite evident.

      3. What seems to be forgotten is the fact that Hamilton has dominated Rosberg for their entire racing careers – even Rosberg admitted as much after the China GP when he said of Lewis holding him off for the win that it felt like they were kids again. This psychological advantage held by one driver over another cannot be underestimated; it’s the same in all person v. person sport, be it tennis, golf, track & field, or auto racing.

    4. If HAM wins Brazil and ROS does DNF, HAM will lead by 49 points.

      ROS finishes first in Abu Dhabi and HAM does a DNF, ROS will win the title by 1 point.

      What are the odds of championship being determined by DNFs?

  4. Hamilton isn’t in smooth sailing for his 2nd World Title just yet.

    Let’s say that in Brazil, the result for the Mercs are Hamilton 1st and Rosberg 2nd. That would stretch Hamilton’s points lead out to 31 points. With the controversial double points round in Abu Dhabi, if Rosberg comes 1st, Hamilton will have to finish 6th or lower for Rosberg to win the World Championship as 5th would give the World Title to Hamilton by 1 point.

    Although, if Rosberg wins in Brazil and Hamilton doesn’t score any points for some reason, that would give Rosberg the lead by just a single point. And no matter what, if Hamilton finishes ahead of Rosberg in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton will win the World Title

    If there wasn’t a double points round in Abu Dhabi and if Hamilton wins in Brazil, Hamilton would win the World Title in Brazil (regardless of where Rosberg finishes in that race).

    And that’s why I hate the whole double points idea: because Hamilton losing the World Title in Abu Dhabi to Rosberg is NOT an unlikely possibility.

    1. Also, if there wasn’t double points in Abu Dhabi, then another way (but unlikely way) for Hamilton to win the World Title by a single point is that Hamilton finishes 8th, Rosberg must finish 9th (giving Hamilton a 26 point advantage over Rosberg).

    2. You’re right, it’s not over yet but, on track, I can’t see Nico beating Lewis.

      Only mechanical issues can stop Lewis, he has that extra pace to come from the back and control the race from the front. Lewis is on a mission.

    3. [as 5th would give the World Title to Hamilton by 1 point.]

      Gosh, feels like Brazil 2008. Deja Vu.

    4. “Although, if Rosberg wins in Brazil and Hamilton doesn’t score any points for some reason, that would give Rosberg the lead by just a single point. And no matter what, if Hamilton finishes ahead of Rosberg in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton will win the World Title”

      Not quite. They can finish 11th and 12th. :) As long as HAM finishes in points position.

  5. Does anyone know what it would take at this point for the FIA to call off this double-points madness? An extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council? Would a papal bull from Jean Todt do it? Something else?

    I know it’s not going to happen, but I am curious about what the procedures would be. I fantasise about this sometimes.

    1. The teams are never going to agree on that one now @erikkennedy

      1. Yep. That would put Mercedes in a very delicate position.

  6. If I were Hamilton, I would take a brand new engine in Brazil, start from the back of the field and work my way up to 3rd – leaves a 14 point advantage and allows him to win the championship by finishing 2nd in Abu Dhabi by virtue of him having more wins this season.

    1. And put himself at massive risk of being hit by the midfield? Absolutely no chance!

    2. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
      3rd November 2014, 10:39

      He’s never won in Brazil, has he? It’s one of the best circuits on the calendar, I think he’ll want to tick it off his ‘to do’ list.

    3. Hamilton can finish 2nd in both races and yet win, I think Brazil is last race where Hamilton will risk passing Rosberg. Last race he knows car is far superior to others to get 2nd place and seal the title.

      As far as I know from data I have real Rosberg and Hamilton are very equal on engines. But importantly for them. Rosberg uses gearbox for 6th race at Abu Dhabi while Hamilton gets new one. That should be an advantage.

  7. One thing that worries me slightly but not massively because there are two races left is that Hamilton doesn’t normally go well in Brazil. I know he won his world title there but his best result there was a third place I believe.

    1. He was leading for Mclaren in 2012 before being binned by Hulk

      1. Plus he had that gearbox derail his championship in 2007; Ham’s poor results in Brazil are not, by and large, his own making.

        1. Plus McLaren have tended to struggle there until 2012.

          1. Hmmm…this is strange…I didn’t post that line above.

    2. His best result in Suzuka was 3rd until this year. I don’t think there is a circuit he can’t win on.

    3. Hamilton probably would have won Brazil in 2012 if he wasn’t drifted into by Nico Hulkenberg, and his power cut out for 33 seconds in Brazil 2007, so his poor results are not completely his fault.

      1. I don’t think he would have won in 2007 as he was someway behind after his first lap excursion. That said he would have won the championship there if he hadn’t had the gearbox problem.

  8. In an interview with Sky after the race, when put to him that it doesn’t matter if they crash into each other now, Toto Wolff made the point that it’s guaranteed to be a Merc WDC now and then added with a wry smile ‘maybe it’s about unleashing completely ‘.

    From a neutral position it would be great to see what the Mercs really are capable of, however given that reliability is such a worry for Hamilton at Abu Dhabi I can’t help but feel that going all out would only benefit Rosberg who has nothing to lose at this point.

    1. I think from some of the language that Rosberg used in pre-race interviews that “leash” has already been let of in his mind. Having said that, he knows after the response he got from Spa and still continues to get, he can’t afford to take out Lewis again, It’s a mental game now more than anything.

      What has surprised me though, given how Hamilton has been known to have alot of haters, and while that is still true, it amazes me the level of support he has got this year, it seems everywhere he goes the crowd are behind him. Everytime he makes an overtake the crowd can be heard, Singapore was particularly loud. I think it’s this level of support for Lewis from the fans and the lack their of in comparison for Rosberg that is mentally burying Rosberg, that and that Lewis is simply a faster driver.

      1. There*

  9. Still 75 points to the winner (when same), so I wouldn’t say that Lewis has an open cruise to do…

    1. If they both finish both races in 1st and 2nd then its really 21 points to the winner.

  10. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    3rd November 2014, 9:41

    I think Hamilton is simply more versatile than Rosberg, and in race conditions where new balances arise through the combination of fuel load/tyre life/tyre compound Lewis can quickly engineer a driving solution, whilst Rosberg doesn’t appear to have that level of sensation with the car. It is also to do with Nico’s dislike of this year’s medium and hard compound tyres, and his inability to “find a rhythm” on a tyre that appears too hard for his driving style and has essentially been costing him a world championship since the summer.

    Rosberg’s below par race performance versus his sensational Saturday pole, which I would probably label “lap of the season”, puts him dangerously within range of being worthy of being dubbed a “qualifying specialist”. It is excellent that F1 still recognizes qualifying as an outlying scenario in terms of skills and ensures that compromise and versatility are essential ingredients to scoring points, in that qualifying is rewarded, but only with a better starting position rather than points ensuring the focus remains on the race. It would be a shame if we went down the “points for poles” road as GP2 and GP3 have.

    1. Rosberg has always been a good qualifier, but he is certainly not on lewis’s pace in raw terms. What benefits him is his ability to extract data from Lewis’s telemetry info more efficiently and add it to his. Though both drivers have access to each other’s data, there is no doubt it benefits Rosberg more; as he simply has more to gain from the extra data.
      If you extend the coaching ban to qualifying, you would see a very different result. Same as the one you see in the race.

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        3rd November 2014, 11:17

        @kbdavies – I disagree. I think Rosberg is simply a naturally gifted qualifier, and has been throughout his career, so whilst he lacks Lewis’ race versatility, in stable conditions, on low fuel and on new tyres he is as quick, plain and simple. Yes, he draws ideas from Lewis’ data, but so does Hamilton from Nico’s, and realistically Rosberg was ahead in qualy trim all weekend at Austin, as was also the case at Melbourne (until Lewis got an extra lap in drying conditions), Bahrain, Monaco and Suzuka. Just because Rosberg trails Lewis in practice it does not mean he is slower, I’m sure Nico has forged a culture of withholding laptime this year.

        But then again this utter focus on qualifying has been where Nico’s title challenge has faltered, because statistically a Rosberg pole in 2014 is more likely to result in a victory for Hamilton or Ricciardo than him such is his weakness in race trim. At Bahrain, the one race where Nico was superior in both qualy and race spec, he was humiliated by Lewis’ wheel-to-wheel prowess. To my mind Rosberg is becoming a bit more of a one-trick pony than is conducive to being world champion.

        1. I don’t disagree that Rosberg a naturally gifted qualifier; but he is not more “naturally” gifted than Lewis is, so he is not a better than Lewis in this regard. Remember, Lewis still out-qualified him last season when he was new to the team and car.
          The difference this year (as noted by many analysts) is that Rosberg is spending more time analysing telemetry, graphs, braking points and trace data; and it is working out to this advantage; and this is not even “natural” in any sense of the word.

          1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
            3rd November 2014, 13:43

            @kbdavies – True analysts don’t walk the “Rosberg the grafter vs. Hamilton the natural talent” line, because realistically nobody other than the inner circle of engineers at Mercedes know to what extent each driver uses the data, and the say one is more reliant on telemetry than the other is merely conjecture. Personally, at the races I’ve attended this year I’ve noticed that Rosberg tends to leave the paddock before Lewis.

            And what is the difference between an organically driven pole lap and one constructed via telemetry analysis? A 36.067 around Austin is a feat of phenomenal skill no matter what, and the inference being that because Nico manages it through data traces, which may not even be the case, it is somehow less of an achievement is utter rubbish. Why are results devalued, or a driver not thought of as the fantastic qualifier he is, simply because said driver has done his homework?

          2. @william-brierty I don’t think @kbdavies is “devaluing” Rosberg’s results or saying that Rosberg is not a great qualifier. All that is being said, is that Rosberg seems to take inspiration from analysing Hamilton’s data, more so than Hamilton does from Rosberg, thus making Hamilton the more “naturally” gifted. To me it’s a little like Messi vs Ronaldo. Messi is more natural, and Ronaldo is more trained. I think that now, Ronaldo is far superior to Messi, but as kids, I think Messi would have turned him inside out.

            Rosberg seems like a sponge in the way he takes and uses information – thus his amazing qualifying results. However, until he can use the information over the course of 56 laps, Hamilton will continue to have the edge in races. Hamilton fixes (drives around) problems on the fly. Rosberg needs to be told, or check data – both currently not possible during a race.

      2. I’ve noticed a trend with Lewis that maybe may explain why Nico beats him in some qualifying sessions. Lewis tends to be much faster than Nico once the prime tyre is put on. Maybe he sets his car up more for the prime tyre which may reduce some of his speed on the option tyre. This was the case in Silverstone where he was suddenly so much faster than Nico once the harder tyre went on, Monza, Austin and maybe even Bahrain (Nico was only matching him even though Lewis was on the harder tyre).

        1. Yet LH was not ‘much faster’ than NR. I’m not taking anything away from LH here…he was ‘faster enough’ to beat NR, but really they were very close all day, and once LH passed NR with the help of DRS he never pulled away by much more than a few seconds until near the end when lapped cars widened the gap a bit.

          Just saying…kudos to LH and I think like most that he is deserving of the WDC this year, but I’m certainly not convinced he would have gotten by NR without the aid of DRS. Yes LH had a bit more pace such that he was within one second and could use DRS, but having a bit more pace should not be an automatic get out of jail free card. I wouldn’t be making this argument about this race had LH run away from NR after the pass. But to say LH ‘outsmarted’ NR? No I think they were too close for that and it was more a case that LH out-DRSed him.

          1. Before he got to DRS he closed at about .5 per lap. He was about 3.5 secs after the pits and went down to .7 in a few laps. When they say outsmarted I think they mean surprised Nico, I don’t think Nico thought Lewis would attempt a pass at that moment, thats why he tried to block very late but at the time it wasn’t possible.

          2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
            3rd November 2014, 14:03

            @robbie – The fact that Lewis only got past through DRS use is no evidence against the fact that he was much faster on the prime tyre because it is an aerodynamically demanding track where the turbulence cascading off of Nico’s wing would have had profound effects. Also, once past, Lewis certainly backed off and unlike Rosberg had plenty of tyre left at the end of both prime stints (Nico was dramatically dropping back from Lewis even before they arrived on the back of the traffic in the final laps).

            And whilst the advantage diminishes over the life of the stint, initially on either the medium or harder tyre Hamilton tends to be the thick end of a second faster, as was the case at Monza and Silverstone also. The tempting conclusion is that Lewis’ acrobatic style and aggressive use of the brake pedal flares good temperature into the tyre, but things tend not to be as simple as that, and it does rather forget the silky smooth style Lewis adopts in race trim. But what it is it has been costing Rosberg a world championship since the summer, and as Reagan had a plaque on his desk saying “It’s the economy, stupid!” Nico needs the words “No prime pace, no prize” embossed onto his steering wheel. That said, Nico’s title hopes now solely rest on the Gods of reliability and Brazilian weather…

          3. lewis was cruising once he got past nico.lewis always upped his pace whenever nico started to get close,so lewis wasnt pushing,nico was.

          4. And I think LH was only ‘much’ faster briefly, and I question how it would have played out if he (any driver) didn’t have the advantage of the opening rear wing, and instead what his tires would have been like, as well as NR’s, had LH had to work more for the pass and NR work more to defend. DRS dilutes the show, and without it NR may have been able to defend to the point where LH wouldn’t have had tires with so much life in them, and perhaps same for NR but at least it would have been more of a fight.

          5. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
            3rd November 2014, 17:05

            @robbie – If you are staging a DRS remonstrance then I won’t disagree (albeit one way of looking at DRS is it brings the necessary margin of additional speed needed to overtake another car more in line with other forms of motorsport; say sportscars, touring cars and GT racing), but I don’t think the margin to which Hamilton has an advantage, admittedly only for a handful of laps, once the change to the medium/hard tyre has been made can be overplayed, and especially with regards its effects on the championship.

          6. I would also point out how, again, Hamilton was using less fuel than Nico in the race. I think this is a hidden, major advantage Hamilton has. By working out how to use less fuel, which may be a result of driving style, astute knob-twiddling on the wheel, or both, Hamilton probalby is starting the race a bit lighter than Rosberg. This may also explain why Rosberg is quicker often in qualifying—the cars weigh the same in Q3—but not in the race.

          7. Once in the lead Hamilton won’t run off into the distance as doing that would push the limits of the car, potentially to breaking point. His head is wise enough to do enough but not too much. Whenever Rosberg tried to close the gap to get within the 1 second mark Hamilton always had an answer. No point doing any more once the lead was obtained

        2. Hamilton’s had the problem with his brakes in qualifying – that’s all that separated the two. As his his compatriot, Jenson Button, said of Hamilton just three weeks ago, “Lewis may be the fastest driver to ever sit in an F1 cockpit.”

        3. @Ryan
          I though my comments were perfectly clear in what i was trying to say to @william-brierty; but some people just like to be obtuse for the purpose of argument. Hence i had to leave it there.

  11. Another superlative drive from Hamilton, only reliability can stop him winning the WDC. I admire the way he has conducted himself in recent interviews, he so much in the zone right now. Even went as far as stating he was ready for the outcome of the WDC whether it was good or bad. The fan appreciation for Hamilton at Austin, really proves that he is the peoples’ champion.. I just hope he can win his second title and become the F1 champion.

  12. Something worth emphasising about the double points final race is that it’s not just double *points* but also a DNF is a *double DNF* effectively. In other words, a mechanical failure will be magnified to the equivalent of two in a row. That is the particularly unfair part of it.

    It’s tragic enough for a championship contender, Ham or Ros, to have a mechanical breakdown in the final race, but for it to effectively be doubled to two simultaneous DNFs seems especially harsh.

    1. Since the rule was announced virtually everyone has been in agreement that it’s utter nonsense, and yet, here we are with it looming over us like some awful trickster. If HAM has a mechanical in Abu Dhabi Mercedes should retire the other car.

      Surely even Rosberg himself doesn’t want to win the title like that?

      1. Surely even Rosberg himself doesn’t want to win the title like that?

        I doubt that Nico would allow that.

        As one of the commentary team put it, “I’d be happy to be sat at home next season, watching the races, with the trophy on my wall”. They want to win at all costs.

        I’m absolutely certain that ROS would take the opportunity and the title. Just as I’m sure HAM, ALO, VET and any other racer on the field would in that situation. To suggest otherwise is to kid yourself.

      2. I think it’s a double egded sword. If ROS retired the car, ROS would gain back respect from some as he would not be prepared to accept a tainted championship. It would probably career limiting though also as he would be displaying a lack of killer instinct required in a champion. If Merc retired the car then they would get the book thrown at them for bringing the sport into disrepute.

  13. Well done LH!

    Can someone clarify for me if the double points apply to all top 10 finishers.

    Reason being that there is too much skepticism about lewis’ chances here, however

    If LH finishes 2nd in both remaining races, he would have 370 points with NR winning both and finishing with 367 points

    I can appreciate that reliability will be a concern, but surely that applies to both contenders. And it would be foolish to declare LH the champion already, however it looks like it’s gonna take some seriously bad mishap for him to lose it to NR

    With that in mind,

    1. Can someone clarify for me if the double points apply to all top 10 finishers.

      Is someone putting it about that it isn’t? Because this is the second time I’ve been asked this today.

      Anyway, as per the original article about it here, it does:

      Double points to be awarded for season finale

  14. @keithcollantine No, he can’t.

    Thanks, Bernard Charles Ecclestone!

    1. @davidnotcoulthard I don’t know what you mean.

      1. He means Hamilton can’t cruise to the title (thanks to Ecclestone).
        I guess Keith means he can cruise behind Rosberg, coming second in both races, which is true if risky. However, rain in Brazil could stir things up a lot. The main aim for Lewis surely has to be securing a 14+ point advantage at the very least going to Abu Dhabi so he doesn’t need to beat Rosberg. If Hamilton does need to win the final race, who knows, I can see it being the first time this year Rosberg beats Hamilton in equal conditions on track.

      2. @keithcollantine Well, if there weren’t double points(which Bernie came up with), Lewis would be pretty much able to “cruise to the title”. As it stands now, it’s a wee bit of a task – a bit (if not a lot) harder than simply cruising in my view.

  15. Double points will bite F1 and Lewis, I can feel it coming. They should’ve done a double header race rather than double points imo. Lewis could well have double the wins of Nico and lose the title, exactly what Bernie bemoaned a few years ago when he wanted gold badges.

    1. Exactly. Brain fade from F1’s rule-makers. It’s like they have muliple personality disorder; one minute it’s a new points system, next minute it’s it’s most wins, then it’s double-points. What can they conjur up next to discredit the sport?

  16. Although I am a Rosberg fan, there is no doubt that Hamilton is the deserved champion of 2014. In 7 of the races so far namely, Bahrain, Barcelona, Hungary, Monza, Japan, Russia and USA, we have witnessed a fair and clean fight between the two. Irrespective of who has been in front in these races, Hamilton is the one who has come out on top every time.

    1. I too have been pulling for NR but at this point do not want to see him win the WDC because of double points. LH, obviously, has many more wins and should win the WDC.

      However, I’m not nearly as pessimistic about NR’s future as most seem to be, with suggestions that this proves NR will never best LH.

      I’m surprised that virtually nobody has pointed out how close to each other NR and LH were, and am absolutely not convinced that LH would have certainly gotten by NR without the help of DRS. In fact I predicted this very outcome…a DRS pass by LH and that would be it.

      I think NR is a nice guy who has had a big challenge competing against one of the best, and it hasn’t always been pretty. But it’s his first time having the capable equipment to compete for wins and a WDC. I think that the way it played out…his actions, their friendship that has complicated the rivalry, their closeness in performance etc., but particularly the booing NR received for his clumsiness has been an education for NR. He’s not the villainous type and I think he’s perhaps been leaning to the side of caution because he doesn’t want to be ‘that guy’ being looked upon negatively.

      My bottom line is that I see too much closeness in their performance this season to write NR off forever as many seem to have done. I think LH deserves the WDC this year, but I also think NR deserves the chance to mull over what happened this season, learn from it, and come back next season with a bit more of what it takes and a bit less being half a step behind. I certainly will not be spending the off-season thinking that NR is incapable of learning from and building on this season.

      1. “I’m surprised that virtually nobody has pointed out how close to each other NR and LH were, and am absolutely not convinced that LH would have certainly gotten by NR without the help of DRS. In fact I predicted this very outcome…a DRS pass by LH and that would be it.”

        Yes but DRS works and in the opposite direction meaning ok Lewis used it to pass him but why after that Nico didnt done the same so to me the facts are simple and crystal clear, Lewis is faster where it matters and thats it and im saying this without been a Lewis fan but i say it as i see it.

        1. Yes that’s a fair point, and as I say LH deserves the WDC and was faster enough, but I’m not sure NR nor any driver deserves to be run into the ground for being passed this way when one could have thrown a blanket over them all day such was their closeness. Ie. this does not mean NR will never beat LH, nor never be a WDC, as some people now seem to be convinced.

          NR has to get to the point of being that slight bit faster on Sunday such that he can do the same to LH that was done to him yesterday, but boy oh boy I sure wish there was no DRS at all.

          1. @robbie

            You said in Suzuka the pass was “just” because it was wet, a lottery you said so what you say now?. Ros does not overtake Hamilton, i mean it says it all to me with same tyres Ham can pass, Ros gets saftey car in Bahrain and can not overtake on softs when Lewis is prime. This is hypothetcial but i have 10 wins to back me up, if Ros does not do Spa and Ham wins Hamilton is basically 48 points clear, he could have wrapped it up by Abu Dhabi.

            This talk about Ros should go is laughable though, i mean seriously he is as fast as Hamilton in qually what more do people want. He as shown this year he as great raw speed.

      2. I think this season has been great for Rosberg’s career. He has shown that he can hang with one of the quickest (if not THE quickest) drivers on the grid. As a result, he will probably have a paid F1 drive until he decides to retire. I bet he would trade all that in for a WDC, though.

        1. he’s only won one more race the danny this season.he has 10 2nd places to lewis 10 wins.i dont think thats great for nicos career tbh.

      3. @robbie

        You said Sukuka was a lottery pass, USA was dry. Ros has drs too.

        1. @dan I think you might be talking about my opinion on rainy races and why I don’t like them. The cars are slow and in far more danger, and the fact that most people seem to like them primarily because they can shake up the usual order of things indicates they offer a lottery effect. A large contributor to the lottery is the likelihood of safety cars and the timing of them that can see a driver looking to potentially win suddenly being back further on the grid through something out of his control that has nothing to do with how his driving was and sure can ruin the rhythm he had going.

          I’m not really trying to take anything away from LH here, (but moreso from F1 itself), and have acknowledged he has bested NR and is the deserving winner of the WDC. If NR somehow can win it I think I’d end up feeling LH was robbed because at ths point NR needs LH to have unreliability and/or needs the double points to win it. If LH makes two big mistakes in the next two races and hands NR the WDC so be it, but I think that is unlikely. I’ve looked all season for NR to up his game and take the fight to LH and he hasn’t overall. But to write NR off as some people have…ths is why I remind people LH needed DRS to get by.

          So for the US GP it just really accented to me why I dislike DRS so much. Yes of course NR had it available to him and after he got passed he couldn’t get close enough to LH to return the favour. Fair enough. But what is bothering me is that unlike Senna/Prost for example, I was able to predict, and did, that LH would simply DRS NR and that would be it. And given that the biggest gap between them was 4 seconds and that was due to traffic in the end, I’m not convinced that without DRS LH would have gotten by. Yes he might have been driving conservatively and might have had pace in his pocket, but I don’t buy that he had that much extra pace because he would have given himself a greater margin of error than the 2 seconds he had for most of the race.

          But mainly, without DRS, and even if he had still passed NR, it would have been a far more enthralling fight and would have changed the tire scenario and LH might not have been able to just cruise to the end. The US GP really accented to me how DRS dilutes F1 and the great rivalry this was. I would have much preferred to see LH (any driver) have to fight for it more, and NR (any driver) be able to defend harder, especially when it is for the WDC. If the rearward driver is faster such that he gets within one second, that should be the only ingredient he needs in his toolkit. To add basically a ‘push to pass’ button on top of that dilutes the sport. It also takes away from the importance of getting pole on most tracks, and we saw it numerous times with Vettel during his run of success too. If he didn’t get pole it was only a matter of time before he would simply DRS his way to the win. Simply wait for the DRS zone to come up. Too predictable, and takes a lot away from the greatness of the achievement. That’s the other side of the coin to meddling and trying to provide a bandaid solution to the addiction to downforce.

  17. Lewis Hamilton is far superior than Nico Rosberg. Nico Rosberg chances all year been the same, get maximum points when Hamilton crashes or has realibility problems. In equal conditions Rosberg has 0 chances of winning. Yesterday was another big example of lack of level to be world champion. Hamilton lost in the pitstop like 5 seconds and still Rosberg couldnt mantain the gap. In monza he cracked under pressure easily. He doesnt got the level to be world champion, and the problem with Rosberg/Webber types, is they wont have too much chances to be world champions because they need a far superior car, and if they lose their main opportunity most sure, its that u wont see them again fighting for the championship. Rosberg will follow Webber steps, after losing title with Vettel, he cracked and not even win races. Rosberg to my point of view looks the same, if he doesnt win this year. Next year he will win few races, or nearly 0, and Hamilton will win all.

    1. I agree, and was thinking the same thing for some time. I see a comparison this season with Vettel/Webber 2010 when they raced very close Webber could and should have won the drivers championship that year. He never got close again because Webber ran away with it. I also see this happening with LH if he wins this year, Nico will be out of it! As for this being close to Senna/Prost, I don’t believe that for a minute, Senna and Prost were much closer, eg 1988 Senna won 8 to Prost 7.

      1. Sorry “Vettel ran away with it”!

  18. There have been numerous comparisons this year to Senna/Prost rivalry. I would just like to remind everyone how the ’89 and ’90 seasons were resolved, and that there may be a situation for both drivers where a similar event could benefit either of them. Is it clear what the FIA would do in this situation?

    1. I would imagine if they crahed the culprit would be docked points.

      1. But is there a mechanism for docking points? And to what level would you have to prove that it’s deliberate? And how many points should be docked – 25 for the win? 50 for the double win? What do the rules actually say? Anyone know if there’s a precedent?

        (I know Senna lost his points in ’89, but they were for that race.)

  19. Much talk about the possibility of a ‘mechanical’ settling the title for either driver, does anyone know how many races the two current Mercedes’ drivetrains have done to date? I’m presuming that both Nico and Lewis are on their last allotted units..

  20. Keisoglou Alexandros (@)
    3rd November 2014, 15:57

    Goofy Championship Scenario:
    Hamilton wins in Brazil while Rosberg takes no points, possibly from a Mechanical Failure. Hamilton would lead the championship by 49 points. Then, Rosberg wins at Abu Dhabi and Hamilton has same fate with Rosberg in Brazil, so Rosberg takes the Title by 1 Point, thanks to Double Points Rule! If that happens, i can already hear voices crying and cursing Ecclestone and 2x Points..

  21. When comparing performances of Nico and Lewis in Brazil and using 2013 points rules, Ham gets 45 points
    while Nico gets 36.

    The fact remains that Lewis has never won at Interlagos.

    While at Abu Dhabi, the tally is 49 LH to 37 NR. And Lewis has a victory there.

    So at this point, the WDC can go either way, but….

  22. “His last stop with eight laps to go looked like a blunder by Red Bull as it dropped him well out of the points. It proved a masterstroke as Vettel swept past all the cars he had fallen behind thanks to his fresher tyres – and might have beaten Alonso to sixth place with one more lap.”
    Strategy wise, Red Bull makes pretty good calls IMHO; better than other ‘more experienced’ teams like Ferrari or McLaren.

  23. I don’t agree this time, Keith:
    “The Force India driver had made an over-ambitious attempt to pass Adrian Sutil, which resulted only in both drivers being eliminated from contention and Raikkonen taking damage. ”
    If You look at this video Perez was fully alongside Sutil long time before the turn. Perez error was that he clipped the Ferrari, because he braked a little too late, and this caused – I think – the subsequent collisions with Sutil. The harsh punishment he received was probably partly because of the damage inflicted and the need for a safety car.
    And I don’t defend Perez just to defend him, personally I don’t care much if he is in or out of F1, but in this case I think the punishment was a bit harsh.
    Also because I think that the term “over ambitious attempt to pass” is very fitting of Vergne’s clash with Grosjean: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJLgpZFlzKQ
    I suspect that the only reason Vergne didn’t get a more fitting punishment was that it didn’t cause a DNF for neither of them, even if Grosjean’s car got pretty smashed up. Vergne has impressed me lately, but he didn’t do nicely in this case.

  24. I wonder how many drivers will choose to change some engine parts, or even a whole engine, in Brazil this weekend just to make sure they’re in good shape for Abu Dhabi? Sergio Pérez has little to lose, as he’s going to be starting near the back anyway. Lotus and Sauber will be looking at each other: if you’re in charge at Lotus and your drivers qualify, let’s say, 15th and 16th, with the Sauber drivers in 17th and 18th then both fitting new engines, wouldn’t you want new engines too? At the other end of the spectrum, Lewis Hamilton must feel like he could score a decent amount of points even starting from the pitlane, which could give him the best chance of avoiding a DNF in Abu Dhabi. Nico Rosberg could also take the gamble if Hamilton decides not to: if he knows he’s unlikely to win in a straight fight, he might as well put all his eggs in one basket and hope for a 50-point swing in the final round.

    The whole situation is ridiculous, of course – I’ll have a very bitter taste in my mouth if Hamilton loses the title with 11 wins to 4 or 5 – but it does make things at least artificially interesting.

  25. This is so true for Hamilton to cruise to the title….until you see that it’s Interlagos next weekend, with heavy rain expected throughout the weekend. Nothing like a GP at Interlagos to turn everything upside down .

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