Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015

Mercedes and Hamilton eye repeat title wins

2015 F1 season preview

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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015

Mercedes produced such a good car last year that other aspects of their performance seldom mattered. That kind of performance advantage is a rare luxury, and if it has been diminished over their winter they can expect a stiffer test of their skills.

Strategic battles, for example, were usually conducted between the two sides of the Mercedes garage. Will they be as sharp if they find themselves up against rivals outside the team?

Mercedes embark on their championship defence with many of their key players in the same positions. However they will feel the loss of performance engineer Jock Clear, a long-standing and vital member of the team, to Ferrari.

But they enjoy continuity on the driver front – for now at least.

The drivers

44: Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuito de Jerez, 2015When McLaren produced the duff MP4-24 in 2009, it quickly became obvious Lewis Hamilton was not going to be able to hold onto his first championship title for long. The W06 should have no such shortcomings, and he starts the year as favourite to lift the crown for a third time.

But his unresolved contract situation with Mercedes remains a potential distraction – one both parties would surely prefer to dispense with sooner rather than later.

6: Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015This will be the fifth year Nico Rosberg has been paired in the same team as Hamilton: two in karts, three in F1. He’s never managed to come out on top, but he’s almost always come close, and his qualifying performances last year give him reason to believe he can do it.

It’s in the races where Rosberg has the most to gain, however, as Hamilton tended to prevail in their wheel-to-wheel contests last year.

The car

Reliability was a potential area of improvement last year, and Mercedes admitted they had serious doubts over whether the W06 would be ready for its shakedown test at Silverstone shortly before testing began.

But the box-fresh W06 completed 157 laps of Jerez on the first day of testing (almost 700 kilometres) which sent a message about the team’s determination to weed out that problem. They eventually racked up over 6,100 kilometres – and they did it all with the same power unit.

Having enjoyed one of the biggest performance advantages F1 has seen in recent years, Mercedes arguably have the luxury of knowing they can make concessions to achieve greater reliability if they need to.

But the tests in Barcelona suggested Mercedes still hold a significant part of the lead they enjoyed over the rest of the grid last year. Given the starting point of the best power unit in Formula One last year, exploited by a highly efficient design, they must expect to maintain their position at the front of the pack in 2015.

The worry for the opposition is they might somehow draw even further ahead.

Over to you

Will Rosberg stop Hamilton from clinching his third world championship? Can Mercedes win even more than the 16 victories they scored last year?

Have your say in the comments.

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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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130 comments on “Mercedes and Hamilton eye repeat title wins”

  1. Can’t see Rosberg challenging Lewis on and off the track as last year. Not even close. I get the feeling that it’s going to be a 2011 Red Bull-like season, where the winner of a huge intra-team battle gets a major boost in confidence and the other guy struggles all year long.

    If Nico comes back stronger, I’ll be VERY surprised.

    1. I don’t see any reason why Nico shouldn’t be able to challenge Lewis even more than last year.
      He out-qualified him last year, showed good form in testing and will have less pressure than Lewis.
      It’s gonna be very close between the two Mercedes.

      1. Nico also showed good form in testing last year so I don’t think that will have any bearing on the outcome of the championship @srga91.

        1. The thing that is going to help Nico (and prevent a 2011/2013-esque season) is the fact that there will be no-one in between the two drivers so each weekend is effectively a 7-point shoot out. 18 points are almost guaranteed if you make the finish line, with 7 more for being the better Mercedes driver.

          Nico had weekends like Russia, Malaysia and China where other drivers would have separated the Silver Arrows were it not for Mercedes’ enormous car advantage.

          1. SIMILARLY Hamilton had moments in the middle of the season when the Mercedes was falling back in relative competitiveness, and failed therefore to fight back up to second place as Nico was able to many times

          2. @MagicSpin Hamilton had more higher finishes than Nico, in all the races that they finished, the lowest position Hamilton came was 3rd, Nico was 4th

          3. @MagicSpin What races are you talking about? Lewis started from the back of and middle of the grid multiple times in mid season, 2 of which were his own fault by spinning in Q3 at Austria where he came back from 9th to 2nd and backing off in Silverstone when it was dry at the end of the track but he came back to win, then his brakes failed in Germany he came from 20th to finish 3rd & his car set on fire during Hungary where he came from the pitlane and finished 3rd while still suffering from another fuel pressure issue at the end of the race, The lowest position Rosberg started a race last season was 4th in China, would hardly call that fighting back up to 2nd. So I’m wondering where Rosberg fought back up to 2nd many times?

            Rosberg average starting position in 2014 was 1.68 and Hamilton’s was 4.

      2. @srga91 he beat him in qualy (a territory Hamilton usually dominates), but come sunday, he’d often fall behind his team mate quite easily, actually.

        If Hamilton gets his mojo back on saturdays, it’s already game over… Nico failed to beat Hamilton after starting behind and that says a lot.

        1. @fer-no65

          Can’t see Rosberg challenging Lewis on and off the track as last year. Not even close. I get the feeling that it’s going to be a 2011 Red Bull-like season, where the winner of a huge intra-team battle gets a major boost in confidence and the other guy struggles all year long.

          I strongly doubt Rosberg is going to fail like Webber did in 2011 for one simple reason. Webber was too old, he was 11 years older than Vettel and well into his 30’s. On the other hand, Rosberg and Hamilton are the same age (Nico is actually 6 months younger).

          1. Lets not forget Nico is going to be a dad soon and that may affect him

          2. Age doesn’t mean a lot. A big blow like a championship loss can really affect people. They either come back stronger or they don’t get that edge back. I get the feeling (and this is all my opinion, obviously, how could I know?) that Rosberg isn’t going to come back stronger…

          3. Webber wasnt that old when he destroyed rosberg as teammates though. I hope for lewis’s reputation that he can do the same this year.

        2. @fer-no65 You really aren’t comparing apples with apples there. Webber was older relative to Vettel, and whilst Webber only ever really beat Vettel in 2010 when he had an issue (cracked chassis Barcelona and Monaco, puncture Silverstone and penalty Hungary), Nico beat Lewis more often than not in qualifying on raw pace, as he did on merit at Lewis-land in Canada. He knows what the issue is, his pace in the early stages of stints on the medium and hard compound tyre, and he has been focusing on that all winter. I would be surprised if his race pace doesn’t improve for this year, and if he can retain his margin in qualifying he will be a formidable challenge to Lewis.

          Also don’t apply the psychological profiles of others onto Nico either. He demonstrated his mental resilience throughout the season, with his qualifying efforts often putting the glooms on Lewis, but equally not getting brow-beaten by Lewis’ race pace. The only mental blip on Rosberg’s side came courtesy of the booing on the Belgian and Italian podiums, but imagine the effect that would have had on an individual as emotive as Hamilton? Rosberg’s psychological stoicism can allow him to park the defeat of 2014, pick out areas of improvement and systematically improve on them. Here’s a question: how would defeat in 2014 have hypothetically effected Hamilton?

          1. @countrygent I’d love for you to be right, but I still can’t see it happening. For Rosberg to improve that much over the winter, with no improvement from Hamilton, seems a bit too far for me. Being realistic, (and I really would like your opinion – not being dismissive) while Rosberg will improve over the winter, is it likely he’ll improve enough to challenge Hamilton for the Championship? He was roundly beaten in races throughout the season and many of his wins came from Hamilton misfortune – Austraila the DNF, Monaco the yellow flags in qualifying, Austria Hamilton starting 9th, Germany Hamilton started 20th and Hamilton spun in Brazil. Now while Hamilton can be blamed for spins in Austria and Brazil the fact remains that in a straight fight with no mistakes, Rosberg never beat Hamilton last year.

            As for the psychological aspect while I think you’re right and that Rosberg can shrug off losing 2014, what do you think the psychological effect winning a second WDC will have on Hamilton? I think personally for a man as emotive as Hamilton he’ll take a great deal of confidence from last year, from winning 11 races to Rosberg’s 5 and having a second WDC. I’d think Hamilton would be very confident he has the measure of Rosberg and would be considering himself presumptive Champion even now.

          2. @colossal-squid You present a persuasive case, but not one that denies that Nico will be a “dangerman” or indeed a “formidable challenge” to Lewis’ title assault. As you say it is unlikely that Nico can improve sufficiently to redress the fact that he didn’t beat Lewis on equal terms once in 2014, and on that note I’d be very surprised if he won the title, but I do expect Nico to be closer to Lewis in the races this year. In terms of the winter, Rosberg managed a less than inconsiderable higher tally of laps than Lewis, and come Melbourne, a track where Hamilton’s form fluctuates heavily, that may prove crucial. Also the sheer number of longer runs Nico managed on the new Pirelli medium and hard compound tyres bodes well for his pace come Sunday.

            I completely disagree with your psychological assessments. Hamilton doesn’t have the psychological benefit of having had a cakewalk to the title in 2014, he trailed Nico in the standings for most of season (and even had to contemplate the prospect of a lost title after Spa), and his trademark, his Saturday pace, failed to match that of Rosberg. Also consider the off-track scenario: could we end up with a facsimile of 2011, with Hamilton envying the support structure of his teammate having split (again) from the girl who probably has cost him as many wins as Sebastian Vettel? Whilst Lewis may well feel he has one hand on the title already, I doubt he feels as imperious as you make out.

          3. Everyone keeps talking about Nico’s mental strength! What a load of crock. Nico is weak and he showed that many times last season. It all started with his incessant ramblings on the podium and press conferences about, “I really hate coming 2nd to Lewis.” Something which Lewis replied to on one occasion with, “yea we know, you keep saying that”

            And then again with Spa. He was still upset with what happened in Hungary, a whole month after the race, he brought that bad feeling to the race.

            Nico is all talk and no show

          4. @countrygent I think that’s a fair enough analysis of Hamilton’s psyche. I’d forgotten he’d split yet again with the girlfriend. I’d hope to think that a 30 year old man could withstand such issues but as you’ve set out, Hamilton’s history is against my thinking on that! I’m also persuaded by your analysis that rather than feeling he dominated Rosberg he may feel after being behind in the championship for so long that it was a stressful battle, won at the last. That can weigh on a guy. You have good points there.

            Thanks for your analysis of Rosberg’s testing. Very informative.
            I guess overall we’ll have to wait and see how productive Rosberg’s approach to this season has been. I still lean towards Hamilton dominance, but should Rosberg have better race pace and should Hamilton have any mental wobbles then we’re in for a great fight.

          5. If Hamilton had lost the title last season I do not think he would have been that despondent. He was demonstrably the faster driver, the only way Rosberg had any hope of beating him was due to better reliability. If he had lost the title, I think he would have shrugged his shoulders and said what more could I have done?
            In 2011 Lewis had a poor season, and he himself said his break-up with Nichole affected him. But that season he was never going to win the world title, Vettel and the Red Bull were a class above the competition. If he had had a world title battle to focus his mind on I think his performance would have been more consistent. As it was, that whole season everyone was fighting for 2nd behind Vettel anyway.
            This year Lewis will have the best car again, the opportunity to equal Ayrton Senna’s three world titles and cement his reputation as a great driver of the sport. I’m not buying that his breakup will affect his performance like it did in 2011, he has a hell of a lot more at stake this season and I don’t think he will let it affect him.

          6. “Nico beat Lewis more often than not in qualifying on raw pace”
            The Mercedes drivers were actually very closely matched on raw qualifying pace, with Hamilton having a very slight advantage. In the 57 track sectors, Hamilton’s best time was quicker in 29 and Rosberg’s was quicker in 28, with a mean advantage of 0.011 seconds to Hamilton, despite all his lock-ups and other mishaps.

            Looking at P1, P2, P3, Q1 and Q2, Hamilton topped 47 sessions while Rosberg topped 33. However, in Q3 things always seemed to unravel for Lewis and he was outqualified 12-7 (actually 10-7 because of Germany and Hungary reliability issues).

            Hamilton’s main problem was that he made lots of mistakes in Q3 (lock-ups, spins, aborting laps etc.) plus Nico got two free scores in Germany and Hungary after Lewis’ reliability problems.

          7. @CountryGent There’s no denying Rosberg is a quick driver though – though Rosberg was out-qualified by Webber in his 2006 rookie season (seriously, look up Webber’s qualifying stats before the big tyre and aero changes in 2009/before he partnered Vettel, he used to be exceptionally quick and dominated all his teammates in qualifying, including out-qualifying Coulthard 31-4. Rosberg and Nick Heidfeld were the only two who weren’t utterly dominated in qualifying), Rosberg’s qualifying performances improved after his rookie season and he had some incredible qualifying head-to-heads. He out-qualified Alex Wurz 15-1, Nakajima 27-9 and Schumacher 41-17, and is currently tied 18-18 with Hamilton (excluding Germany and Hungary 2014).

          8. @polo – Interesting analysis, I can’t say I fully agree. I’m not sure citing sector references versus the fully constructed lap is particularly helpful since sectors fluctuate in length and the value they hold within the full lap (i.e. a mediocre first sector in Abu Dhabi is less important than an unspectacular final sector because of the slow speed delta effect), and it is the full form of the lap that ultimately counts. And even if you do discount Hungary and Germany from their 2014 Saturday battle, Rosberg still leads 9-7. Against a man that has been hailed as the most remarkable one-lap specialist since Senna, that is an amazing effort.

            Interestingly though Lewis has only developed his Saturday notoriety whilst he’s been in F1. In the junior categories he often underperformed in qualifying. In his 2006 rookie charge to the GP2 title, Hamilton only took one pole position, whereas Piquet, he closest championship rival, took six. You say that Rosberg and Hamilton currently are on even footing during their partnership, but that is a stat that spans two eras in F1. Could it be that the Saturday specialism that featured so prominently in the seven years Lewis was driving a V8 F1 car has gone? Could he have reverted to type and become the master of the race once again, as he was in GP2 and F3?

            Inversely though Rosberg has always been a mighty qualifier, with his rookie triumph over Webber (in the Bridgestone era) a particularly impressive feather for his cap. Furthermore, could it be said that he has been benefited by the new formula of the sport? In 2014 he was faster relative to Lewis at most tracks than he was in 2013. Whether that trend will continue is my key point of pre-season intrigue.

          9. @countrygent i love how you think Ham would not have recoverd, yet Ros is so good mentally. Guess what after Spa, Ros crumbled. Not Hamilton, Hamilton was the one behind as you say most of the year, guess who won the WC? Oh it was Hamilton. Ros had everything going fpor him basically all year. Ham had to win 4 in a rw to pass him that is what being good mntally does. Why do people think Hamilton is bad mentally, do people forget 2012 after his horrible 2011?

          10. @Countrygent I am also very interested to see how the qualifying battle develops this year, particularly if Hamilton can avoid mishaps like his Austria spin and the Silverstone mistake. On ultimate pace they seem to be very close, it’s always a game of inches between them, so it’s very difficult to predict.

            Rosberg seems seems more consistent in qualifying though, I don’t think he made any major mistakes in qualifying last year, while Lewis made quite a few. I think Lewis was perhaps flustered by the consistently quick laptimes put in by Rosberg, and made mistakes due to the pressure that created, while Rosberg seemed better at handling that pressure. I would identify that as Rosberg’s stand-out advantage in qualifying last year, and it will be interesting to see if it’s the same situation this year.

            Your comment about the V8 F1 era is actually a very interesting point to me. It’s possible that Hamilton was better at throttle control with the V8s or something, but that seems unlikely to me because one of Hamilton’s strengths has always been his throttle control. I would identify a different area: brake-by-wire. Hamilton’s biggest strength has always been his natural feel for the brakes, hence why he is good at late braking and generally gains time in braking zones (hence why he has a good record at Canada). Now that brake-by-wire has removed some of that natural feel, he seems less comfortable on the brakes – sometimes he seemed to be having front wheel lock-ups every lap (particularly while pushing in qualifying) plus his spins (Austria qualifying and Brazil race) were caused by costly rear lock-ups. Canada and Brazil are some examples of qualifying sessions where lock-ups clearly cost him (locked-up on both runs in Canada Q3, ended up 0.079s behind Rosberg. Locked-up in the middle sector in Brazil and ended up 0.033s behind). Maybe this problem could be solved if Mercedes got the brake-by-wire more to his liking (he said he struggled with braking in 2013 as well so perhaps Mercedes still hasn’t found the sweet spot), or perhaps it is more of a fundamental issue he has with brake-by-wire.

            Of course this wouldn’t explain your mention of the junior categories, but I wouldn’t say Hamilton under-performed in qualifying in the junior categories anyway, except in GP2. F3 and GP2 were the only categories where he had more wins than poles (in Formula Renault 2000 and 2.0 he had the same or more poles). In F3 he had 14 poles and 16 wins in total – just having more wins than poles doesn’t necessarily mean you under-performed in qualifying, just perhaps that when you are dominating a category, it’s easier to lose a pole position (only needs one mistake) than a race (where you have a long time to let your advantage carry you to the win and single mistakes mean less). Think F1 2013 – Vettel was beaten by Webber twice in qualifying when he made a mistake or had a problem, but he was never beaten in races by Webber because he had a lot of time for his advantage to play out.
            As for GP2, I don’t know. But we should remember that Piquet and many other drivers were in their second year of GP2, while Hamilton was a rookie. Rosberg’s GP2 title was in the first season of GP2 ever so everyone else was a rookie anyway. I would still say Hamilton under-performed in qualifying that year, but I guess everyone is entitled to the occasional bad season of qualifying. Which will make this season interesting – was 2014 just a bad year for Hamilton in qualifying, or will Rosberg emerge with the qualifying advantage in 2015 as well? I’m very interested to find out – with the likelihood of Mercedes winning everything again it’s one of the few uncertainties about 2015!

          11. You’re living in a fantasy world. If you know what skill is required to drive a sports car, you wouldn’t mention Hamilton in the same sentence as Rosberg. Hamilton’s skill is just genius, FACT.

          12. @polo – The V8 vs V6 effect is certainly nothing to do with throttle modulation. Hamilton has always been good at imagining there’s an egg under the throttle pedal, to borrow Brundle’s analogy, and profoundly outperformed Rosberg in the wet in 2014. In fact in an opinion soundbite it typed up for the magazine I work for a year ago, I predicted that Hamilton would relish in the torquey V6s because of his athletic right foot. I wrote that forgetting Lewis’ love-hate relationship with the brake pedal, and the possible effects of the brake-by-wire system. If there is indeed a culprit behind the slightly off-colour Lewis we saw on Saturdays in 2014, it may well be BBW. Hamilton’s qualifying style (which is very different to his race style) sees him put enormous strain on the car on corner entry by braking deep into the apex and using rear slip to subtly rotate the car before the apex. This is the perfect recipe for a) an amazing qualifying lap, and b) a brake lock-up. Whilst I haven’t studied Rosberg’s style as much, his approach appears more consistent and replicable, but means he cannot answer when Lewis joins up the dots, and especially so on a braking circuit like Monza. Just a theory, but a logical one!

            My thoughts with regards Lewis’ junior qualifying form is not so much statistically-lead but derive from an ITV interview he gave after his Silverstone pole in 2007, where he said qualifying was always an area he and his dad thought he needed to improve, particularly in karting. That is to say he still represents an above-average qualifier, but it represented an area to improve versus a) his race pace and b) drivers like Piquet, Kubica and even Kovalainen.

          13. @countrygent I thought Hamilton had a healthy advantage against Kovalainen between 2008-09 (out-qualifying him 26-9). Or were they closely matched on Saturday in one of the junior categories? Sorry, I didn’t closely follow many junior categories until recently. It’s interesting how driver’s form can change a lot when they get to F1 though – like how Piquet could hold his own against Hamilton in GP2 (although Piquet did have the advantage of an extra year’s experience) but when he got to F1 he was dominated by Alonso, while the year before Hamilton had matched Alonso in points and even out-qualified him 9-8. Hamilton’s main advantage over Button was also qualifying (ahead 44-14), so it’s interesting to hear that he used to consider it his weakness. Against Rosberg, things seem to have switched again and his advantage seems to now be the races, while qualifying has again become an area he has said he wants to improve on.

          14. On this article, most people’s view a pretty much on the money. However, I’m surprised that no one mentioned the Brembo brakes which Hamilton prefers which he wasn’t allowed to use as perhaps one of the major reasons Nico was able to get on top of Lewis is qualifying last year. How could everyone miss such a glaring fact? Can’t you guys see the huge impact that could have on his driving?

        3. “If Hamilton gets his mojo back on saturdays”

          Lewis didn’t lose anything.

          He openly stated he made a concious effort to focus on race setup.

      3. Hamilton had a lot more pressure on his shoulders last season than Rosberg and he dealt with it superbly. If he didn’t buckle last season I see no reason why he would this year. Most people expected Lewis to beat Nico last year before the season started, which when added to the reliability problems Hamilton had mid-season meant there was a huge amount of pressure on him at certain points last year.

        1. Exactly i find it so funny when people say Ros has an edge, people forget Ham was having issues during the year and the one who had all the bad luck early on. If that is not good mentally then i do not know what is. He had to win 4 in a row after Aus failure to just get ahead.

      4. @srga91 – Do you think Nico would have less pressure than Lewis this year though? I’d have thought Lewis would go into the season confident and calm knowing that if things go wrong (as they did last year), he has the pace to catch back up.

        Nico has never won the title and Mercedes’ dominance is only going to last so long so Nico may feel it’s now or never.

        With 2 cars fighting at the front, luck plays a much bigger part because any DNF will result in a 25 point swing to your main competition. That suits Nico because whilst he may not be as fast as Lewis, he is more reliable and makes less mistakes.

        If you have 4 cars at the front, that effect is diluted and I would expect to see Lewis beat Nico by a more comfortable margin. How many more seasons are we going to see Mercedes dominate?

        1. Lewis is the reigning world champion, so he will definately have the most pressure. Everybody expects him to out-pace Nico once again, especially in the races.
          Nico on the other hand has to prove that he can beat his teammate and be the fastest driver. If he can’t deliver this season, it could be his last chance to win the title, because from 2016 I expect Ferrari, RB and Williams to seriously challenge Mercedes. That’s also one kind of pressure for Nico, but I still think he has less to loose than Lewis and this could be his advantage.

          You’re definately right about DNFs deciding the WDC. The danger for Lewis is that he can’t afford to have bad luck or make mistakes in qualifying, because with Williams, Ferrari and RB catching up to them, it will be much more difficult for him to battle through the field and loose as little points as possible to Nico.

          1. Great points all around. I lean toward @countrygent in that LH isn’t going to be easy to beat, but then when is he? NR knows what his task is, and at it’s core I think knows he is lucky to have the equipment to answer to LH. This is what they have dreamed of all along, and it will continue to be a work in progress as the season unfolds. If LH has one hand on the trophy already that may be his undoing. Each race that goes by may affect the next race psychologically which is why they actually run the races to determine an ultimate winner rather than just hand the trophy to the on-paper winner.

            Will NR trounce LH? Few if any think so. LH trounce NR? Some think so. I think it will be closer than last year and hope (but not expect until we see more) that added closeness brings it down to the wire again, but with NR on top this time. There’s just too many other good things NR has done for me to dismiss his chances at beating LH. Too much pace and great ability to handle pressure to not have those be building blocks for this year.

  2. I think it was clear last season that Nico had no “real” win over Hamilton, his 5 victories are based on reliability problems, silly mistake or so. Lewis was evidently faster when the two are in their top form.

    But I’m cheering for Nico next season, I really don’t want to see a 4-year Hamilton domination like the Red Bull era. My dream would be for Alonso and Hamilton, two drivers that I consider best currently in F1, to be both driving for Mercedes. It can be Senna vs. Prost all over again.

    1. Nico thoroughly owned Lewis in Brazil. That for me was his best performance. His problem is that he would need to replicate that kind of form every single weekend to win the title. A tall order indeed. On the other hand Lewis performed below his optimum often enough but still managed to come up trumps. You still feel he can go another gear still, especially in quifying.

      1. Thoroughly? Hamilton’s mistake was his own fault, but he proved to have such superior pace.

      2. So thoroughly owned now means being demonstrably the slower driver during the race does it? Ridiculous statement, Lewis was much the quicker driver during the race in Interlagos. He made the mistake and spun which set him back, and Nico had the track position and used it very well. There is no need for silly hyperbole.

        1. @debaser91 beautiful comment

        2. Yes, thoroughly owned! FP1, FP2, FP3, Q1, Q2, Q3 and race. What would you call that @debaser91, @satchelcharge.

          1. I call it completely irrelevant given the only thing that counts is raceday, when Hamilton was the faster driver. He made the mistake and spun and Nico had the track position from qualifying, which he earned fair and spare, fair enough. But thoroughly owned, no chance.

          2. @blackmamba To be honest, that didn’t surprise me because Brazil has always been Lewis’ bogey track. IIRC it was the only race on the 2014 calender (excluding the new introductions) that he has never been on the podium at.

            Brazil was the only weekend where Rosberg topped all the practice sessions, but Hamilton topped all the practice sessions at multiple weekends: Bahrain, Canada, Hungary and the US.

            Plus, Hamilton’s Q3 time in Brazil was only 0.033s slower than Rosberg’s despite him locking-up in the middle sector, so it could have easily gone the other way. Rosberg did a great job that weekend, but I wouldn’t say that he “owned” Hamilton, particularly as Hamilton had better race pace and the fastest lap in the race.

          3. *that he had never been on the podium at
            (as in before the 2014 season, because after last season the Merc drivers would have had a podium at pretty much every 2014 track regardless :P)

          4. @polo – LH actually finished 3rd in 2009 in Brazil.

      3. It’s unbelievable that there’s people still thinking that Rosberg was “managing” the situation when Hamilton closed the gap from 7 seconds to nothing.

        WHO DOES THAT? I never saw anybody on any kind of racing just letting their advantage vanish like that. He WAS slower. Won that race cuz Hamilton did an unnecesary extra lap on too damaged tyres and spun.

        1. So how many times in that race did Rosberg make a move to defend? I count 2 across the entire race.

    2. Rosberg won Brazil fair and square @ducpham2708 but I don’t disagree that Hamilton looked to have better pace.

      1. You can also look at it another way, the wins that seem fair and square were on tracks that are not conducive for overtaking, so his record again looks blurred, by not outright beating Hamilton on the bigger faster tracks he was saved by smaller tighter ones.

        1. Should be noted that Interlagos is particularly conducive to overtaking, especially with the engine formula we have now

          1. I watched the Interlagos race recently, and i didn’t recall seeing similarly powered cars i.e the two Williams, RBR or even Ferrari’s being able to overtake each other, Interlagos is very hard to overtake, especially when it’s a fellow teammate that’s driving the other car.

          2. Did you watch the race? Equal cars, equal tires, KERS… there was no way Hamilton would pass him on track without a Nico Mistake. Interlagos is not conducive to overtaking as you might think.

      2. Rosberg won in Austria and Brazil fair & square.

    3. Do you really think if it was Lewis who had that 7 seconds lead, Nico would get anywhere near him that race?

  3. I think it will come down to tire management, so imo it’s a toss up between the 2. ROS has the pace over 1 lap and even in the race, but imo, it was the tire wear that skewed most of the wheel to wheel challenges towards HAM, so with the reg changes and the slightly modified compounds it can favor either one.

    1. @tmf42 was it also tyre wear in Bahrain that prevented Rosberg from winning?

      1. @blackmamba Bahrain and Spain also had the engine map thingy – but I also said most of the time not always :)

        1. To be honest with you @tmf42 I cant think of a single race that either Merc had tyre issues. Lewis is just faster and no amount of reg changes are gonna suddenly lend Nico a few tenths!

          1. It’s not pure speed that Hamilton’s got over Rosberg– Rosberg is very quick. But to go against the “conventional wisdom”, Hamilton has better tactics in a race than Rosberg. He’s better at saving his fuel and tires, and he’s better at knowing when to attack– not just in overtaking, but in terms of general strategy (Canada 2012 and Monza 2014 are two good examples).

        2. @blackmamba I’d say – Italy, Suzuka and CotA was influenced by tire wear. ROS went over peak performance too fast and was then pressured into mistakes. Pace-wise they were pretty close in these races.

          I’ve not data to back that up but from watching the races with live timing I got the impression that ROS’ tires dropped faster.

          1. Disagree.
            If Hamilton started from pole on Suzuka he would have won with 40s or more over Rosberg.

            He made the pass on lap 28 or 29 and build a gap of 15sec on just over a couple of laps. Then went longer on his stint to be with fresher tyres at the end and lost some of that advantage. Changed tyres and Bianchi crashed.

            The final difference being smaller than it should be at the end.

      2. Hamilton had the harder time in Bahrain, being on a strategy that relied on having a big enough gap to protect his lead while on the slower tyre- instead, his advantage was wiped out by a safety car, but Rosberg on the faster tyres couldn’t capitalise and probably took too much out of his tyres in failing to do so.

        1. Lets be honest, had it not been for the safety car, Lewis would have walked the win in Bahrain, remember he had built a 10+ second lead when the safety car came out. So even though it was an exciting finish to the race, Lewis had already won the race when pitted first

    2. @tmf42 surely it was superior racing that won Hamilton most of his wins… His flawless drives at the beginning of the year, a strong defence against Rosberg in Bahrain, his killer overtake at T1 at CoA and his epic start in Abu Dhabi (with or without Rosberg’s ERS issues, which didn’t manifest immediately).

      Infact, I don’t think tyre wear really factored into most of their battles – given then often run similar strategies to cover each other, there was rarely any case where one driver faced off the other with worn tyres of a different spec.

      1. Tyre wear was a factor in Suzuka and Malaysia IIRC. Rosberg is know to be harder on his tyres even as far back as Schumacher days.

        1. Hamilton was much harder on his tyres on 2013.
          Spanish GP, where Rosberg managed to lead for some laps while Hamilton quickly fell to the middle of the pack, the best example.

          Rosberg still finished 6tth, while Hamilton was overtaken by the crappiest Williams ever.

          1. “I’ve just been overtaken by a Williams?????”
            he was dismayed wasn’t he!,

          2. That car doesn’t count! haha.. We all know that the FRIC system could not work reliably until the last quarter of the season.

      2. @optimaximal on top of my head I remember Italy, Suzuka and CotA were ROS had a size-able lead and matched HAMs lap times at the beginning of each stint but dropped off significantly throughout.
        Sure it was HAMs race craft that ultimately won but if ROS could maintain lap times then it would be much harder for HAM to overtake.

  4. Last year the HAM v. ROS battle went in waves, Hamilton dominant at the start, then Monaco and a Rosberg period ending in the Spa incident and another sequence of Hamilton wins. I think Lewis prepared well for the season and found extra speed over the first few races, leaving Rosberg to copy and catch up. The season was very clearly shaped by what Rosberg did or didn’t do at Monaco qualifying and the Spa take-out. Without those events you could probably imagine a smooth curve of Hamilton dominance over the season. This year I expect to be trickier for both and very close. I also expect we’ll see four or five drivers in the championship battle until near the end, not two. It all depends on which Hamilton turns up this season. Focused and calm like last year, in which case he’ll win, bar a series of misfortunes, or sometimes distracted and mistake-prone like many another year.

    1. Certainly it will add a huge and fascinating element to the LH/NR rivalry if there are two or three other title challengers until near the end, but I think most, including myself, aren’t really expecting that. More like the two Mercs, with everyone else fighting for best of the rest but closer to the Mercs and each other than last year.

    2. If anything Rosberg was mistake prone. he has spun off more times than Hamilton both in qualifycation and during the race.

      The only reason there were minor “waves” on a few occasions was car trouble for Hamilton or Rosberg’s dirty tricks.

      1. I agree Patrick. Whether or not Rosberg span deliberately in Monaco qualifying, or crashed into Hamilton deliberately into him at Spa, he undoubtedly wanted Hamilton to think so. It worked in the first case and backfired in the second. Hence the three phases to the championship.

        I also agree last season Rosberg made the costlier mistakes, usually at high braking corners – and almost always when Hamilton was pushing him into them. Hamilton, by contrast, made a few minor mistakes that cost him pole, and a tactical mistake (Silverstone). Given the pressure for the title, I thought he had maybe his best ever year, and would have placed him ahead of Ricciardo as best driver of the season.

  5. I think it will depend on what kind of Lewis Hamilton turns up this year.

    He’s always been a fantastic driver, capable of beating anyone on his day, but I think he reached new levels of maturity as a race driver last year. His consistency throughout the season was incredible, and towards the end of the season I think we all knew he’d generally have the beating of Rosberg on race day, even when Rosberg had outshone him in qualifying.

    Nico will be stronger. I think last year will have embarrassed him; given the effort and ‘extra-curricular’ activity he put in to the season. He has a point to prove and will not be short of motivation.

    Lewis will have to be at the very top of his game. He’s very, very good, but he’s not far enough ahead to be able to take it easy and get away with it.

    1. Hamilton seems to feel exactly how good his chances are to decide which Hamilton he will be.
      Only this explains how the guy did excellent seasons like 10 and 12 with that horrendous ’11 in between.

      I expect him to be on top of his game again. He idolizes Senna. He can finally be a 3 times WDC like his hero. I don’t think he’ll waste this opportunity.

  6. Of course LH is going to be no less difficult to beat this season, but that is Nico’s sole task really. And I’m sure everything Nico has done since the last race of last year (or even earlier than that) is to consider, along with his crew, how to prevent that lagging race pace to LH. I certainly don’t agree with anyone that suggests LH is going to trounce Nico, and it is going to be fascinating to see if Nico can take a final step, having had only one season so far with a WDC car, and truly challenge LH when it matters most…mid-stint. Can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.

    1. @robbie Nico has been racing for over 20 years, where is this sudden burst of pace gonna vome from?

      1. @blackmamba Hmm…first off, he doesn’t need a ‘sudden burst’ but moreso a systematic analysis of what happened last year and a slight improvement relative to LH, and secondly along with his only second WDC capable car you never know what a little bit more pressure on LH might do. Let’s not forget LH needed to crank his engine to keep NR behind for at least one race after which he apologized to the team. Let’s not forget LH had the luxury of DRS to get by NR too. Ie. it wouldn’t take a ‘sudden burst’ to beat LH, just an understanding of tire management and an evening out of their mid-stint performances. Last year Nico was getting bad starts but he sorted that out. His quali pace was there. There’s no question he’s on the brink of equalling LH and therefore making it a much closer duel during the races, and that added pressure is certainly not going to help LH.

        1. @robbie

          Yeah that pace you are talking about will be easy to find…, seriously i could say the same about Hamilton being better in qualifying. You seem to think Ros is only man who can improve. What if Hamilton gets better in qually? Then Ros would have zero chance this is a guy who failed in Bahrain on much faster tyres it really was proof who was the king. Hamilton would never have lost that race. What i want to see is Ros fail in Australia and have to win 4 races in a row to get back in the WC lead lets see how he fares with that. Please stop with the DRS talk we have told you so many times yet you fail to realise. Nico has it too lol, hy cant he overtake. I never knew only Lewis got the boost of DRS.

          1. @dan Saying I think NR knows where he needs to improve does not exclude LH from also improving. But thats out of Nico’s hands. Failing in Bahrain last year does not guarantee everything is now written in stone.

            And my point about DRS is that without it some things would have been different and NR would perhaps have been able to hold LH off on a handful of occasions. LH had the race pace more often than NR so of course we all know NR didn’t do enough to DRS LH back and of course it is LH I am going to highlight as having and using that advantage. Such a shame these easy passes are a part of the game now, and I’m sure Nico is looking forward to using it on LH for a change, but I still won’t like it. And LH will have the opportunity to DRS Nico back. These passes don’t belong in the pinnacle of racing and take away from drivers’ cache as legends and gladiators.

  7. I suspect it will be close but I do wonder whether the qualifying record last season was masked by the way they set the car up as Hamilton indicated later in the season that he was setting his car up more for the race and he did seem to have the edge on tyre wear.

    Looking back at the results, before Monaco Lewis was 4-1 up on Nico and although he won a chunk of those races I think that was based on pace that he was able to extract as tyre wear was similar. Later on in the season Nico could largely match his race pace (if not close racing) but was clearly disadvantaged on tyre wear but then had the better of Lewis in qualifying.

    1. And fuel…

    2. Looking back at the results, before Monaco Lewis was 4-1 up on Nico and although he won a chunk of those races

      Three of those five qualifying sessions were wet, that makes a difference.

      1. @kingshark Indeed they were which is significant. It’s going to be interesting to see if Nico’s able to replicate the techniques Lewis used to edge him on fuel usage and tyre wear.

  8. Hamilton is one of the worst 2 time champion that I can remember. In his first year he needed a miracle to win against a highly skilled mediocre driver like Massa and last year he had a car that was 2 seconds in front of everyone else and one of the most dominant in history of f1 but Mercedes chose him to win the championship not Rosberg especially after what happened at spa.

    1. Ok champs. And if he wins this year he’ll be the worst 3 times champion you can remember, am i right?

      Go get a life.

    2. Highly skilled mediocre driver? You can’t be both!

    3. Just like Red Bull chose Vettel to win 4 WDCs, Renault chose Alonso to win 2, and Ferrari chose Schumi to win 5, right?

    4. Remind me who his team mater was in 2007?

    5. Somehow I feel that you just hate Hamilton, you must be a good drive to win 2 WDCs no matter how lucky you are.

    6. Not Hamilton big fan, but this statement made me laugh, you only look the dark side and never see the bright side of Hamilton.

    7. highly skilled mediocre

      And this is the best bad comment of the day.

      1. Haha yeah I really enjoyed that! So skilful he’s average!

    8. @equinox it must be difficult being you watching Hamilton do so well (as he’s surely proved he’s one of the greats). Let the hate go dude,it’s a much easier way to live!

    9. This comment made me laugh and it also made me want to bang my head against the wall.

  9. f1 is so unfairly equal. if we are relying on a rivarly between LH and NR to spice things up, that prooves how dire f1 is from a racing point of view.

  10. Lewis’ only enemy this year is himself. Splitting with Scherzinger always makes wobble.

    1. The Blade Runner (@)
      6th March 2015, 13:45

      She makes me wobble!

  11. The Blade Runner (@)
    6th March 2015, 13:44

    Can anyone stop Mercedes – and Lewis Hamilton – from claiming the titles for a second year in a row?

    Er, no…

  12. I have a feeling it’ll be a near action replay of last year, with Rosberg on Hamilton’s heels but not quite able to outdo him.

    1. Depends on whether Hamilton gets another 25 point handicap to start the year. ;)

  13. I can’t know for sure, but I suspect, regarding Lewis’s contract negotiation, that he is in the same spot Fernando was lat year – he does not really want a multi-year contract without a solid “get-out” clause in case another team builds a dominant car (I’m counting on you McLaren!). He may have said times and again that he is happy at Mercedes and he needed to change his surroundings when he left McL but let’s be honest – having a good working enviroment almost always is out-weight by having a WDC winning car.

    On a side note: Lewis and Fernando ina dominant McL-Honda could leed to truly epic season… one can only dream…

  14. I’m a Lewis fan, and expect this year to be another close battle. Hamilton got away with quite a few mistakes last year – That spin when pushing to jump Nico in Brazil. The spin on the first lap when he started from the pit lane (Germany I think?), and he lost part of his front wing coming through the field on one occasion too. Each of those mistakes could have cost him but he got away with it. I half expect more of the same this year but he might not be so lucky!

    1. Rosberg made a lot more mistakes than Hamilton did.

      Not in the case of driving out of the pitlane with cold tyres on a damp track like in Hungary, but on perfectly fine dry tracks like Monza (twice in one race), Canada, Sochi and Spa.

      1. And don’t forget Monaco– If Rosberg wasn’t being an Evil Genius, then he lost the car in a spot where he really ought to have known better.

        Monza and Russia both suggested that perhaps the overshoot at Monaco might have been an actual screw-up– But Hamilton, who saw the telemetry, seemed more in favor of Evil Genius than pulling a Maldonado.

  15. Perhaps the most interesting study of the Hamilton-Rosberg relationship came in their 2004 fight in Euro Series F3. Whilst Nico came out on top in the standing by a mere two point margin, the fact that the deficit was only two points to his then good friend was a feather in Hamilton’s cap, since Nico had a extra year of F3 experience and was driving for a team that even carried his name. This performance from Lewis also previewed his cakewalk to the 2005 Euro Series title.

    And yet whilst Hamilton had complete control over his friend through karting and the junior series, Rosberg has perhaps been closest to Lewis during their F1 partnership.

    To my eye, Rosberg is a real dangerman for Lewis in 2015. He is in his prime, and is putting together his remarkable one-lap pace, work ethic and technical knowledge to extract his maximum potential on a consistent basis. Certainly, even if Nico is fully optimized, he will not be able to beat Lewis at his best, but Lewis’ setup demands tend to be quite specific (I would say we only saw Hamilton at 100% capacity at Sepang, China, Monza and Russia last year), so Lewis can often find himself driving around an uncomfortable balance.

    Also, because even I’ve worked out that his pace relative to Lewis at the start of stints on the medium and hard tyre was his main issue, you can bet the kid who turned down an unconditional offer from UCL to study aeronautical engineering (so he could go and race in GP2) has also worked it out. I wonder what Nico was focusing on during those many long runs on the medium and hard compound tyre he did in testing? Be warned, Lewis…

    1. I am not trying to start an argument or anything, but here’s what I think…

      First of all, I am pretty sure that all drivers demand their set-up to be specific to their liking. Who likes driving a car that they can’t handle a hundred percent? But, there are drivers that can work with imperfect set-ups (e.g. Fernando Alonso) and drivers who struggle a little more with imperfect set-ups (e.g. Jenson Button). I think Lewis is one who can work with imperfect set-ups. I look at it this way: If Lewis does not set his car up to the best of his liking, he is just fast (not crazily fast). But, if he gets his set-up bang on, he is uncatchable, ala Sepang, China and Russia. Despite being out-qualified by Nico, Lewis is able to out-pace Nico during races, so I believe set-up is not much of a problem for him because some say that he sets up his car for races instead of qualifying.

      Second of all, Nico focusing on medium and hard compound tyre runs during testing may or may not necessarily mean that he will gain an advantage with those tyres during the upcoming races. This might a biased source, but Lewis says that the tyres this year are ‘so hard’. In other words, the compounds are different than last year’s, which means that both Nico and Lewis have to new things to learn about the tyres this year. Who’s to say that Lewis has learned more than Nico before Australia or vice-versa? But, if anything, I believe that Lewis is able to feel and utilize the tyres better than Nico will. Before you point me out as a fan boy, yes I am one, but if people can say that Nico is a smart kid (who turned down a study offer) who can work things out off-track for performance on-track, then I would say that Lewis has the natural instincts of a racer that allow him to bring out that extra peformance.

      Just my opinion, haha.

      1. @hanney Allow me to develop some of the logic behind those perfectly reasonable assertions.

        In your initial point you correctly surmise the perceived wisdom of the F1 community with regards the highly personal setup directions drivers take, and the identity of those that are better equipped at tackling a car that is less than perfect. However the reason behind Hamilton’s margin in race pace becomes clear if you consider this versatility. Cars change as tyre life diminishes and fuel loads are lifted, and a degree of versatility is required to create driving solutions (i.e. new lines, short-shifting, entry/exit management, brake bias) to tackle new balances as they arise. This has not always been a strength of Lewis, he struggled with the understeer that resulted from 2011 Pirellis that wore the fronts faster than the rears, but has been increasingly been masterful in races since 2012.

        In that regard, I would say Alonso and Hamilton are the grid’s “fastest” drivers since they are sufficiently versatile so they able to aggregate their speed across all conditions. Inversely, Rosberg fits my definition of a qualifying specialist.

        In terms of your second point, if we accept that Nico’s issues with the mediums and hards were almost certainly warm-up, then the prospect of harder Pirellis could theoretically exacerbate his problem. However a) we knows Nico tellingly did a vast number of longer runs on the medium and hard tyres, and b) it is virtually impossible to predict Nico’s form versus 2014 with a new powerunit, chassis and tyres for 2015.

        1. Lewis was not wanting for pace or tyre wear in 2011… stop letting the media paint you an unbiased view. Pit stop for pitstop he was closely matched with button on stint length and race pace. In 2011 Lewis’ problem was his head!

    2. Apart from being a rookie, in that F3 Euroseries season Hamilton was using an older car than Rosberg too.

      Rosberg’s lack of pace on hard tyres is because he sets up his car more for running soft tyres in qualy. If he tries to fix that problem he will stop getting pole positions. That will put him in even more trouble because he cannot overtake.

  16. Matthew Coyne
    6th March 2015, 14:47

    Rosberg beat Hamilton in qualifying in terms of pole positions gained. But is that the full story? No.

    Monaco, we know what happened there so it is unfair to count that.
    Germany, Lewis had brake failure so its unfair to count that.
    Hungary, Lewis had a car on fire so its unfair to count that.

    Suddenly what on paper looks to be a solid 11/7 split in Rosbergs favour suddenly turns into a 8/7 split in Rosbergs favour when you take out ones where a fair fight for pole was not possible.

    The qualifying domination people talk about in reality is a slight advantage based on the information we have, Rosberg may well have got those 3 poles regardless but we’ll never know that for sure so it cannot be looked at as a reliable piece of data.

    Then lets look at of those pole positions, how many he actually converted into a race win? The answer is 3, of 11 pole positions he converted just 3 into a race win – one of which was Monaco which everyone knows is almost a guarantee if you make it to the end of the race. So that gives him a pole – win rating of around 27%

    Lets look at Hamilton who converted 6 out of 7, the only one not converted was Australia where he broke down within the first few laps so a conversion rate of approximately 85% or more than 3 times Nico’s.

    Then lets look at the race, Rosberg throughout the entire season did not make ONE successful pass on Hamilton for race position. Not one.

    How many times did Hamilton successfully pass Rosberg for race position? Bahrain (more than once), Italy, Japan, USA, Abu Dhabi.

    Rosberg has no demonstrated ability to RACE and beat Hamilton on track, if he is going to win the championship this year then he is going to have to learn how to beat him on track – and I don’t personally believe he can. Last year reliability played a huge part in the championship being taken down to the wire as it did, that is not likely to be the case this year with reliability likely to improve significantly.

    I am happy to be proven wrong, but I personally think Hamilton will walk away with the championship this year.

    1. The Blade Runner (@)
      6th March 2015, 14:51

      Completely agree.

      The only person who can beat Lewis this year is Lewis himself.

  17. Well for me… Rosberg became stronger last year but all of his defence to Hamilton failed. So that gives him a double time world champion to claim it last year. So I hope there isn’t tempers flare on F1 just like NASCAR. Because if Hamilton wins Rosberg was absolutely frustrated in Bahrain while they shove each other. And I guess this year, in Melbourne, Hamilton looks to be favourites and Rosberg too. If they screw each other, then Ferrari, Williams and Red Bull will claim the chance for a win in Melbourne. It would be pretty fantastic.

    This year, I’ll just put Rosberg to be a champion, but I also want Hamilton to be putted in the list of champions. So I’ve looking for two guys to battle for that championship. May the best man win.

    Ferrari looked very optimistic on Jerez test, but Barcelona was so difficult for them. Mercedes warned Ferrari is their number 1 rival enemy to catch. I also noticed Ferrari could make some competitive cars for them to close the gap to Mercedes, even Renault is joining the party to close the gap. For me it will be a three-way fight to Melbourne. But we’ll see what it’ll come from this scene as we approach next Friday for a practice session of Melbourne. Hopefully it will make a different way.

  18. As much as my heart is all excited about the start of the F1 2015 Season and look forward to the races with great anxiety, my head says that it is going to be a wash. Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes will run away with the title. As far as 16 victories are concerned, I believe they will be stuck with the same number neither more nor less. I hope I will be wrong with my predictions but it does not seem to look that way.

    1. The Only hope being Nicole Scherzinger. History says that wherever Lewis broke up with the singer he had a tough year in F1 although I might not be fully correct with the statistics.

      Nicole you are the only Hope for F1 !!!! Bernie Ecclestone is looking forward to you in improving F1 viewership !!!

      1. One breakup doesn’t count as a “trend” so history cannot be used in this instance.

        1. One….. Seriously….

          Few would be an understatement. Many would be the Apt word !!!!

          1. Well like you said, you might not be fully correct with the statistics. besides 2011, there haven’t been any drop in form….from the “many” breakup’s you’re alluding to.

  19. I think this year might be a mess for Mercedes. Ok, they will win the championships but I get the feeling that Rosberg is not going to be pushed around quite so much and it will result in 1 or 2 collisions.

    As the article mentions, I wouldn’t underestimate the Hamilton contract situation. As an emotional driver he is affected by things off track and with personal issues much like 2011. This is far from in the bag as many predict – will be more interesting than that.

  20. I think McLaren are the only team with the potential to take the fight to Mercedes this year (in terms of race wins, I doubt very much they’ll be in the championship fight), at this point their pace is pretty much a mystery because the car was never running well in testing.

    Whether it will materialise or not I couldn’t say, but it seems more likely than any other team managing to catch them with evolutions of last year’s cars.

  21. I think that even with a drastically improved Rosberg, Hamilton will still walk all over him. Hamilton came into a team Rosberg joined in 2010 and after finding his feet in 2013 utterly obliterated Rosberg in 2014. A lot of the reason I didn’t rate last year as highly as many others was that for all the on track battles between the Mercedes pair, there looked to me to be a false sense of drama. The pattern was established fairly early on that if Rosberg was in front Hamilton would chase him down and muscle past. I never thought Rosberg could stand against Hamilton. It was a foregone conclusion. I can’t remember a single time Rosberg passed Hamilton on merit. I expect the same in 2015.

    Hamilton’s confidence in himself and the car will only have grown since winning the WDC in 2014 and I think we’re in for a championship defence of the likes of 2001, 2002, 2011 and 2013. I can only see Hamilton dominance for 2015.

  22. That Rosberg pic is perfect :D

  23. My read of 2014 is that by Monaco Lewis had beaten Nico to the point of desperation – won every race he’d been able to run, even when safety cars and tyres meant Nico ought to have won.

    After Monaco Lewis got too aggressive (which has always been a tendency) and over-drove qualifying. In general he made mistakes of entering in a corner too fast. I don’t think that will be the case this year, so if Nico qualifies ahead it’ll be by sacrificing race pace.

    Of course some weekends go better than others, with setups and luck. I think Nico is on to win maybe 3 races, Lewis the rest. I don’t think Nico can learn any more pace than Lewis can. JB tried and look at 2012.

    I really hope Lewis hooks up with someone new, even though I think people vastly underestimate his consistency just because he displays emotion. Someone who can travel with him. Someone controversial, ideally :) But I don’t think the Nicole thing will affect him. 2011 was about stewards, not his love life.

  24. Zero pressure on Hamilton in my opinion. He’s got the second WDC monkey off his back so he’s stronger than ever.

  25. to answer the question as succinctly as I can …. I certainly hope anyone wins the Driver’s champion but LH!! Thanks, Norris

  26. LEWIS is the better DRIVER and RACER between he and NICO.ROSBERGS qualifying pace was directly related to the use of LEWIS’S telemetry.When LEWIS realized this and sacrificed qualifying pace to destroy ROSBERG on race day..thats exactly what happened.I do have a question where in the heck were all these ROSBERG fans when mercedes struggled with him and Schumacher?..I guess for every champion there must be a “Great Hope”

  27. For me Rosberg need to strengthen his mentality because it was so fragile last year, his two questionable actions are after Hamilton getting upper hand from him.

  28. I’m sure Rosso will come out harder than ever but equally I believe Hamilton will have an answer to anything Nico throws up. At the end of the day qualifying isn’t were the points are attained so who comes out on top really is over rated. What’s a imperative is ones ability to be uncompromising, totally ruthless and have that exceptional race craft come race day which Hamilton has demonstrated more often than his teammate.

  29. If Lewis had not had the qualy reliability problems, the season would have been even more lopsided than it was. Lewis SHOULD have at least won 13 races last year. 2015 is the MOST important year of Lewis’ career.

    1. True story

  30. Hamilton is a better driver. End of story

  31. Mercedes will be in a class of one this season because their fundamental advantages from 2014 remain intact this year. Plus, I expect Hamilton to beat Rosberg again because I doubt that Rosberg will have learnt to out-race Hamilton.

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