Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sepang International Circuit, 2015

Mercedes deal negotiations finished – Hamilton

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sepang International Circuit, 2015In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton says negotiations have been completed on his new Mercedes contract.

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Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Hamilton ready to sign on the dotted line (Reuters)

"It should be done this week. There's no reason why it shouldn't be. Honestly, it's 99.6 percent done. There's no negotiating left. It's just legal stuff."

Sebastian Vettel has lucked into Ferrari resurgence, claims Jenson Button after German's triumph at Malaysian GP (The Daily Mail)

"He has definitely lucked into a situation, I would say. I am sure he had the same information as Fernando when Fernando left the team."

Teams wary of ulterior motives over fifth engine (F1i)

"Rules are rules, and if we have to change it for a specific purpose it should be tailor made for that purpose and not hide something else."

F1 warned over approach to penalties (Autosport)

"Some time ago we looked at it from the point of view that unless it was a blatant or dangerous manoeuvre, we would try to give the benefit of the doubt to racing incidents. I just think we have to be careful we don't go back to where we were."

2014 upheaval was crucial for Ferrari future - Allison (ESPN)

"We will increasingly benefit from those changes in the months and years ahead rather than making a difference overnight."

'Ferrari win gives Renault hope' (Sky)

"Ferrari has done a great job in the last few months, it shows that Mercedes can be caught if all the ingredients are there."

Silverstone Circuit’s Wing damaged in high winds (Northampton Chronicle & Echo)

"Although it looks a bit of a mess at the moment, the damage is largely cosmetic and the structural and functional integrity of the roof remains completely intact."

Thanks to Steven Smith for the tip.

The essential... Nico Rosberg (F1)

"What is the essential corner in F1 racing? NR: Eau Rouge in Spa. Even if it is not as difficult as it used to be it is still phenomenal."

F1's plan for women cynical, patronising - but what else would you expect of Bernie Ecclestone? (Eurosport Yahoo)

"Ecclestone really would be better off improving the championship he’s already running, as teams disappear off the grid and race venues disappear off the calendar."

Why Bernie's women-only F1-style series just might work (Motorsport)

"There is no need for the series to be an alternative to F1, and Wolff or anyone who sees it as a lesser competition could pass on it and use the traditional route to try to reach the top instead."

Tweets

Comment of the day

@Alianora-La-Canta wields the rule book to win a rare second consecutive Comment of the Day:

Helmut Marko probably shouldn’t have laid that bet – or admitted to it.

Article 16 of the International Sporting Code specifically prohibits anyone employed by a team participating in FIA-sanctioned racing and connected with an FIA-sanctioned race from betting on the race(s) in which they are involved. This applies even if the individual’s involvement has nothing to do with their employment in the team.

Last I checked, Helmut Marko was in the Red Bull team. He was participating (if only in a minor way) in the Malaysian Grand Prix. He’s basically admitted to an infraction of Article 16. Oops.
@Alianora-La-Canta

From the forum

Snapshot

Roberto Merhi, Pons, Formula Renault 3.5, Motorland Aragon test, 2015

The very day after he finished 15th in the Malaysian Grand Prix for Manor, Roberto Merhi was in action at Motorland Aragon in Spain testing his Pons Formula Renault 3.5 car. He also ended the two-day test in 15th place, but having finished third in the championship last year he’ll be expecting more from the first race of the year which will take place at the same track at the end of the month.

Happy birthday!

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On this day in F1

Five years ago today Heikki Kovalainen missed out on his chance to drive in the first practice session for a Malaysian Grand Prix after losing a coin toss. Lotus had flipped a coin to decide whether Kovalainen or Jarno Trulli would step down to allow local driver Fairuz Fauzy to run in practice.

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  • 153 comments on “Mercedes deal negotiations finished – Hamilton”

    1. Re-COTD it didn’t say who he bet with, if it was a private bet between 2 private individuals, maybe someone else in the paddock, then it’s totally above board. I would guess that it would only become questionable if the bet was placed with a licensed high street/on-line bookmaker.

      1. I actually think that Marko is not RBR employee. He is Red Bull employee.

      2. Maybe he isn’t “employed” by RBR.

        1. Eddie Irvine used to place bets on other drivers in GP’s that he was actually himself racing in! Kinda makes this seem like not such a big deal lol.

      3. It would be pretty much irrelevant whom he betted with though @thebullwhipper. These kind of rules are there mostly to prevent any result rigging (probably originates from horse racing).

        And from the wording, if Marko is considered part of the team (and from his consistent attendance at events and involvement within both STR and RBR during races and practice sessions this would seem to be the case), it does not matter whether he is emplyed by RBRacing or anyone else (Wasn’t Newey also oficcially employed by Red Bull Technology, but still considered part of the team?) @celeste.

        1. The reports I have read describe it as an internal paddock bet. We have heard of other wagers between individuals in the paddock before, in fact I think I recall a wager between Marko and Lauda last year, so I don’t see why this bet should be singled out in any way.

      4. Exactly. It was mentioned in the report ‘Marko put his money on Vettel as part of an internal paddock bet’.

      5. CotD @Alianora-La-Canta It’s not an infringement.

      6. Marko isn’t a team employee, he is a RB Junior Program employee.

    2. I’m with Force India. I’ve been watching BTCC races from the 90s and those guys didn’t hesitate. If there was a gap, they’d go in as if there was not any other chance. That made racing exciting.

      I’m not saying F1 should go that route, because formula cars don’t allow as much crash and bash as touring cars, but these days, unless it’s a clean, DRS-like pass, overtakes are penalized. A touch, or not giving enough room or whatever.

      I understand that one of the two drivers battling for a position might get it worse than the other, and his race might be affected, but that’s the way it is. Unless it’s a blatant crash like Grosjean at Suzuka 2012, penalties should be relaxed.

      1. The Hülkenberg-incident saw them going three-wirde into turn 1, a fourth driver close behind. As long as nobody does something completely stupid (which certainly wasn´t the case here), such incidents should always go as racing-incidents. I do understand* Perez was punished, though 10 seconds was a bit harsh. *Understand means I kinda expect that in todays F1.

        However, I gew up with a F1 that never had such penalties, and except for the Senna-Prost-collision in 1990, nobody ever thought there should be such. Then came Schumi-Hill 94, and the stewarding begun… and on the same time, wheel-to-wheel battles, especially extended ones over several corners, became less. There were a whole lot of other variables at the same time all leading to the same (refuelling reintroduced, aerodynamics evolving, electronics aiding mechanical grip taken away), so the influence of that stewarding-mania wasn´t really clear, but even in todays F1, with far more overtaking than probably ever, it still feels like those who get overtaken often give in very fast, and someone risking a possible collision when there´s still a chance to stay besides is seldom. And DRS is further aiding in making battles short.

      2. Neil (@neilosjames)
        1st April 2015, 5:33

        Slightly off-topic, but BTCC in the mid-late 90s was magnificent. Have you been watching online or is there a DVD collection available?

        1. The series is still excellent racing. I can’t say for sure but it might still be shown on ITV4 in the UK.

        2. @neilosjames Duke Video (who supply prizes for the Predictions Championship) have transferred the nineties video review to DVD, I think a lot of them have the original Murray Walker commentaries on them (until he followed F1 to ITV) too so they’re very watch-able. @Ratboy may be able to tell you more I think he’s got them all!:

          http://www.dukevideo.com/Touring-Car/BTCC

      3. I think that really Kvyat probably did not notice Hulk being there, if anything he would have maybe deserved a warning. But overall it was a racing incident, which saw Kvyat lose a bit of time and drop back and Hulk also lost position. No need for Steward intervention.

        With Grosjean / Perez I would also say it was a racing incident – Grosjean made a move that depended on Perez budging. Which he didn’t. But Perez was on the racing line and should have that advantage. No need for penalties, both lost a bit in this action so they were handed their penalties “on track” already.

        1. GRO was on the track and ahead of PER. All this talk of “racing line” is nonsense. PER made contact with another car which suffered a high speed spin and was rightly punished.

          1. Michael Brown
            1st April 2015, 21:04

            I agree. That attitude basically means that anybody on the racing line does not have to move even if they are at risk of causing a collision. See Verstappen on the first lap of this race. He had the racing line in turn 4, and refused to give it up, causing the car he was side be side with to go off track. You see this constantly in F1, where the car on the racing line can push the others off.

        2. I respect your opinion @bascb but I have to agree with @roadie on this one, Grosjean had made a great move to get alongside Perez, the fact that those two corners are basically a long chicane meant that grosjean was going to have the inside line for the next corner.

          I think Grosjean had a significant enough proportion of his car alongside the other to warrant being left at least a car’s width of space. If Perez had moved over to block the move earlier, before grosjean’s car was so far alongside then I think it would have been ok, it would have give grosjean chance to back out of the move and possibly line up another move.

          I know that there is a little bit of a grey area here that is open to interpretation and subjectivity, but I think it was clear enough in this incident to warrant a penalty.

          1. Thanks for the respect guys @3dom. But its pretty immaterial who is slightly behind. Fact is that some moves just cannot work if the other guy does not want to budge (see spa 2014 with Rosberg and Hamilton).
            Yes, it was a great move by Grosjean, and sure, Perez would have been wiser to back off enough to make it work. But he didn’t and that made this a racing incident where no punishments should be given. Perez lost out even without the penalty, let that be his lesson.

            1. But surely there has to be a line drawn somewhere, whereby up to a point running into an opponent would be a racing incident, and past that point would warrant a penalty. This is the subjective part. I feel in this situation it warranted a penalty (so did the stewards).

              Your right in saying that some moves won’t work unless the other guy doesn’t want to budge, I’d go as far as to say most moves wouldn’t work. But sometimes not budging is worth a penalty (for instance when a driver has positioned the car to claim the corner, like in the situation with Perez and Grosjean, or indeed like in your Spa example between Hamilton and Rosberg). It’s a difficult situation for the rule makers, but there has to be a clear cut off point otherwise drivers could just run into each other when ever a move was made.

            2. Hm, looks like you want to see far more penalties being handed out than I do @3dom.

              I think most of these incidents are just that. Racing incidents. I thought the same of the tangle between Massa and Perez in Canada last year (afterall both lost out on a lot of points, so they penalized themselves) for example.

            3. To be fair @bascb I usually do agree with you. I think I’d probably agree with you 9 times out of 10, I certainly do about Massa and Perez in Canada last year. I don’t think if like more penalties, I wouldn’t want them to detract from the racing , I like watching people attempt overtaking moves, especially in non DRS zones. I would only want penalties where I thjnk someone unfairly spoilt someone else’s race. Part of my reasoning behind why I felt that was the case between Perez and Grosjean was clarification that the stewards gave about when you can move over and when you must leave space following the incident between Hamilton and rosberg in Bahrain 2012 (where rosberg moved to block Hamilton and Hamilton left the track during his overtaking move), that’s partly why I think Grosjean had enough of his car alongside to be left space. I think we might have to agree to disagree on whether this particular incident deserved a penalty mate. But I’m sure we both enjoyed the racing on Sunday anyway and hopefully it’ll continue

            4. Yeah @3dom, looks like we will just remain on having different views on that one incident, if we ever get together we can sit down and discuss it for hours as true fans of F1 :-)

            5. Agreed @bascb and I’m sure another thing we’ll agree on is having 4 cars fighting close to each other on track is awesome and we’d welcome more :-)

        3. That’s something only Kvyat will know. To me, these decisions showed the difference between the existing 5-second penalty and the new 10-second one. 5 seconds can be recovered (as Vergne and others did last year) but 10 will wreck your race – especially if you’re in a slow car, relying on track position.

          Hulkenberg may make a mental note to be a bit careful around Kvyat (Perez already has some history of moving over on other cars) And it’s a lesson of when not to stick your nose in, that will be useful at Le Mans!

        4. @bascb
          ‘Didn’t know he was there’
          A driver who doesn’t check his mirrors, and thus causes an accident should definitely be punished.
          His negligence had a major cost on another driver.

          1. I think he was vervently looking in his OTHER mirror at that time to make sure of not hitting his teammate who he was also passing @supremacy.

            There were at that moment 4 cars close together on track. Its not a huge surprise that 2 of them made contact to me.

      4. @fer-no65 SFI is being penalized by FOM via the FIA. They are in debt to Bernie and whilst this is okay, I’m sure they now know that in this position they can’t criticize the sport, their stand in the press is why these penalties were so harshly applied.

        1. F1 fans are some of the biggest conspiracy fanatics on the planet, I suspect.

          They’ll believe anything.

        2. @peartree I wouldn’t assume FOM and FIA operate hand-in-glove on this sort of thing. Look at their responses to Manor: the FIA has been as accommodating as they can within the rules while Ecclestone is spitting bile and billing them millions for air fares.

          1. @keithcollantine Bernie hasn’t expelled Manor, you are right that through the normal legal roots Manor is surviving, It would be reckless of Bernie to do what he wants to do with Manor but there are other ways around this. Where can you hurt F1 teams the most, on tv. Did anyone spot Merhi, during Saturday and Sunday? I saw Merhi on the back of the fight between the RBRs and FI. A couple years ago the SFI were avoided by FOM at 1 GP for some spat I can’t remember. Now the Manor is invisible. A couple years ago Webber had a go at Pirelli, he went past the “normal” comments, net result grid penalty for anything questionable relating Webber, blocking in qually, blocking during the race, unsafe release, until Webber stopped criticizing F1 for having Pirelli show enhancing tyres.

      5. Perez deserved to be penalized for that incident. It’s just one of those annoying things drivers do to keep the nose in when they already have lost the battle. Especially in touringcar races those things are done without danger to the car/driver themselves and penalised quite heavily.

        Just look how Ricciardo handled the situation when Verstappen pulled the exact same overtake on him. They both got through the corner perfectly fine.

        There is a reason Perez keeps getting into accidents like this. He needs to learn to quit when he lost. Same goes for Maldonado and Massa. Don’t just crash into someone claiming you had nowhere to go after you were overtaken.

        It’s exactly this type of behavior that needs to be stamped out so drivers can actually attempt an overtake knowing they wont get rammed off after they finished the overtake.

        In the nineties the gentleman’s rule was that if someone had a front wheel alongside, you wouldn’t turn in and negotiate the corner side by side. Nowadays they even turn in when the overtaking car is already ahead of them. Its absurd.

    3. 4 WDC’s “he was just lucky to have a good car”… Switches teams, wins second race “he’s just lucky to have a good car.” Coming from a driver as seasoned as Button is pretty damn disrespectful. I’m not even a fan but what does Vettel need to do honestly?

      1. He didn’t say it wasn’t a great drive, just that given the information both Vettel and Alonso had at the time, Vettel was quite lucky to have moved in when Ferrari finally came good and Red Bull went backwards.

      2. Let’s not also forget that Button has to of been one of the luckiest world champions ever

        1. Or one of the unluckiest drivers for the non-championship years of his career.

          1. Luck is probability taken personally

      3. @skipgamer
        How did you find anything disrespectful about this:

        Button said: ‘I am really happy to see Ferrari win. I thought Mercedes were going to trounce it this year, so it is great for the sport and for other teams to see another take it to Mercedes.
        ‘It is not as if the weather was funny or safety cars destroyed their race, Sebastian was just quicker. I was very impressed by him.
        ‘He did a great job which shows things can turn around over a winter, which is good to see for every team. It’s nice to see someone challenge them.’

        JB isn’t saying he was lucky to win, but that he was lucky that the team had improved quickly enough to give him the opportunity to compete for a win. Especially given the fact that at the end of last season even the most die hard Ferrari fan was thinking they’d be lucky to get a few podiums this season while the team was being rebuilt.

        1. ‘He has definitely lucked into a situation, I would say,’ added Button.
          Jenson went on to say, “I know a thing or two about luck, having a career in tatters saved by the Brawn trick diffuser. It extended my shelf life by at least six years. Why, I’m the luckiest boy in the world!”

          1. Happy 1st. Gabe.

          2. hahahaha yes

      4. The title puts a negative spin into the comment. The entired declaration made the stament a lot off less bitter.

        He did a great job which shows things can turn around over a winter, which is good to see for every team. It’s nice to see someone challenge them.
        He has definitely lucked into a situation, I would say,’ added Button. ‘I am sure he had the same information as Fernando when Fernando left the team.
        ‘It is one of those situations which sometimes works out for you, for example (Daniel) Ricciardo was overtaken by his new team-mate (Daniil Kvyat), and lapped by his ex-team-mate (Vettel) on the same lap.
        ‘Who would have thought that at the end of last year, so sometimes you do luck into a situation.’

        1. And you also don’t know the question he was asked, which could have been something like “Do you think Vettel was lucky?”. Drivers don’t make these statements spontaneously rather in response to some interview question

      5. If anyone should keep his mouth shut when talking about getting lucky with a good car there is nobody who should be more silent than button. I’m no dissing button but if his luck with his dwc car wasn’t that spectacular he would not only not be world champion. He would probably not even be in f1 anymore…

        1. One could also say Button was quite unlucky to get a championship-car so late and only once. Others with equal talent were sat into a car good enough for the title in year 1 of their career.

          1. Agree with you @crammond.

            The likes of Jenson and Fernando had to do their time before getting into a car that was capable of challenging at the front. Apart from his year at Torro Rosso, which eventually proved to be pretty good car, Seb has been in front running machinery all along. Did he luck into a winning Ferrari? Just because he won one race, in favourable conditions, it doesnt mean he’s going to keep winning.

            At this point, Seb has nothing to lose. He was 4 WDCs won with the best car and best team. Do you think he really cares about what people think about him? About his performance last year? No. He can stay at Ferrari until the end of his career. Even if he doesnt win another title (I think he will at some point), he will pick up wins and podiums and fatten his bank account as he goes along. Its a win win situation for Seb.

            1. @jaymenon10 – I think @jaymenon10 was referring to Hamilton?

              Don’t forget Vettel was mighty impressive in the Sauber too….

            2. @jaymenon10

              The likes of Jenson and Fernando had to do their time before getting into a car that was capable of challenging at the front. Apart from his year at Torro Rosso, which eventually proved to be pretty good car

              Button had to do almost a decade before Brawn, fair enough. But Fernando’s 2003 & 2004 Renaults were far more competitive than the 2007 & 2008 STRs, and then he was in the title winning Renault.

            3. @jaymenon10

              The likes of Jenson and Fernando had to do their time before getting into a car that was capable of challenging at the front.

              You’re acting like there’s some kind of merit there. Vettel (and Alonso) got promoted quickly because they impressed the top/emerging teams. Same as Hamilton, who got a top drive from the start, which he proved he deserved.
              Nothing against Button, but spending 9 years in F1 without getting any top team particularly interested is not really something to celebrate him for.

            4. Nothing against Button, but spending 9 years in F1 without getting any top team particularly interested is not really something to celebrate him for.

              Except he did. Williams were only just beginning to slip when they tried to hire him after he impressed at BAR.

            5. @matt90

              Williams were only just beginning to slip when they tried to hire him after he impressed at BAR.

              Exactly.

            6. They were beginning to slip- so close to the beginning that they were still classed as a top team and nobody realised they were about the start a decline. Highlighting part of what I said and trying to invent a situation that makes Williams sound like a had-been when they were looking at Button is disingenuous.

          2. Why was he lucky. He cam seconded in his first year and won the title on his seconded year. There is no rule that say you have to prove your talent before you can get a good car. If some one believe that you are good enough to drive in a top team from the start of your career and he proves the trust in him was right then the person has already proven what was needed to prove.

          3. @crammond

            “Unlucky”, or he simply didn’t do enough to get the attention of the top teams?

        2. Same can be said for Lewis. Starts his career off in a top car not having to struggle in a Minardi or Torro Rosso. Lucky 2008 WDC win due to Timo Glock oh and last year having the fastest car by a country mile. Yep lucky WDCs lol

          1. No luck about 2008. Timo stayed out on dry tires, hoping the time gained by other drivers going for inters would boost his result. It did give him one position in the end, but Hamilton and Vettel caught him.

          2. Lucky?

            But no one ever mentions the fact that Kimi had to get his team mate to change places the year before in order to win by a point do they?

            Nope – its always Lewis – who has never had a team mate get out of the way for him. Ordered or not.

            Grow up!

            1. You’re right to disagree about the post above, as it’s nonsense to call the WDC luck. It’s also nonsense to criticise a driver for where they began their career.

              But it’s not strictly true that no teammate ever moved over- Kovalainen did so in Germany 2008.

      6. Read the whole article first before commenting! I don’t know if you’ve already do that, but if you don’t, then I find your opinion disrespectful because you won’t see the whole thing and firmly making your opinion on that short excerpt. I find your opinion even more disrespectful if you made your opinion after reading the whole article and still came up with that.

      7. @skipgamer
        It’s just typical Daily Mail. Get people to click with controversial headline “Sebastian Vettel” & “luck”, with headline not implying Button was also “impressed”. No wonder they’re often nicknamed the Daily Fail.

        1. Not only that they normally try to squeeze in an angle that immigrants into Britain are responsible for this outrage………

          Daily Mail is on F1…..they are the BNP in disguise. They were also pro facist throughout the 1930’s. Worst of the British gutter press.

          On point Vettel deserves everything he has had as do Alonso Hamilton etc. Right place right time is as important as braking at the right point or applying throttle. Some people just pick and choose what they feel constitutes a good driver. Just admit it if you are wrong. I was wrong about Vettel. 3 times he has joined teams and won races. Torro Rosso 1st team win. RedBull not won a race despite 2 years of Newey cars he joins they win. Leaves RedBull they are as bad as have ever been Ferrari were supposed to be a shambles he wins 2nd race. Once I can put down to a one off, 2nd time coincidence, 3rd times a pattern. The guys not bad.

      8. His comment was more of saying that Vettel had no way of knowing the Ferrari was going to be as good as it is now, and it was a bit of a “lucky gamble” that put him in the position to do it. But he also mentions how good a job Sebastian did.

      9. I don’t think JB was judging Seb’s skills, he was talking about car’s competitiveness.

      10. All in all, I think Fernando has been the most unluckiest. Dragged Ferrari during its worst period giving Vettel a good fight during RBR domination days, and when Ferrari is competitive, he is out of the picture wasting time in a car which is going to take seasons to be competitive.
        I never liked Fernando, may be due to 2007, but I feel sorry for him, he truly deserves more than 2 world championship.

        1. @aks-das:

          All in all, I think Fernando has been the most unluckiest.

          I wouldn’t really call it unlucky. If he had kept his calm in 2007, he could have won 2 WDC’s on the bounce at McLaren.

          He also had the option of going to RBR, where Newey was getting settled in and where money was no issue. He chose not to. Of course this is more a hindsight thing, but I think the McLaren argument is valid – no driver that had an actual shot at becoming a 4-time WDC should be considered unlucky, surely?

          1. In 2008 2009, Ferrari would have been logical choice. They won in 2007, nearly missed 2008. In hindsight RBR went to dominate, but choosing Ferrari was natural thing to do.
            Even Vettel chose Ferrari over second placed RBR of 2014 when the opportunity came.
            2007 went too negative for both him and McLaren. In fact 2007 is the reason I started to dislike him and I felt McLaren is better off without him and only Hamilton.
            I was quite happy when Hamilton won in 2008.
            But as a driver and only as a driver I have started to appreciate his skills.

      11. I don’t think there was any intent to be disrespectful in Button’s comments.

        However, to answer your question, Vettel basically needs to sign a Manor/Marussia contract and single-handedly win WDC/WCC to convince the naysayers.

    4. Lol the coin toss

    5. if i were Hamilton, by this time, i would drive for free for the rest of my career. He already have more money that he can spend. And is the same for Alonso or any other in the top team! (let’s face it, i would drive F1 for free if they ask me now :D )

      1. @matiascasali
        Don’t be so disrespectful to these drivers mate, especially with Bianchi lying comatose in a hospital bed. These guys risk life and limb in what they do and are paid accordingly if you ask me.

        1. They do earn a lot of money. My seven generations will not earn with risking all life and limb what some of them earn in 1 year.
          They are not earning that much cause of the risk, but because people wanna see or hear them.
          If they were not publicity material, nobody would pay them that much, irrespective of how much risk they put. Soldiers put many more times risk just for doing their job yet are ridiculed as if they went to war all by themselves.

        2. @blackmamba Nothing he said was particularly disrespectful. Maybe you should read the post again.

        3. @blackmamba my dad works at an oil rig, where de inherent danger is way way waaaay bigger than F1, and he earns a lot less than any f1 driver. Look, they choose this line of work, and by doing so, the know the risk they’re facing. So, is my point of view that, they should be payed, but i find rather obscene to be paid all that money for that. And, lewis should not forget about senna offering to drive for free the 1993 williams. If you want glory, you can even resign to that big paycheck, if you’re willing to. and i’m not being disrispectful for not thinking on the comatose Jules. I feel sorry for him, but he, as any other motorsport driver, knew what risk he have.

          1. JB is not being disrespectful, nor is he denying his own luck with Brawn. He’s just saying, perhaps in a way of defending his new teammate FA, that these things can happen, and one can luck into a worse situation too.

            As to LH, there’s no need for him to drive for free. The team has money, he makes F1 more money than he is paid for being the draw that he is to the sport. He is also an investment, not a cost, to Mercedes. They will get back every penny they pay him through wins and Championships and the marketing value that creates globally.

            The only time a driver should drive for free is if he’s already got money and a worthy ride hinges on it, which is rare…usually a worthy ride comes from a team that has money and can afford top drivers. A driver may offer to drive for free nonetheless just to keep other good drivers from getting the seat.

          2. @matiascasali You make it sound like it’s the risk that is the biggest factor in how much money they should receive, however it is quite clear that it’s all about the marketing worth of said driver, and what they offer to the team. If they believe Hamilton is worth £’X’ then they will pay him said much. You’d have to assume that the amount he gets paid is probably somewhere lower than the money that Mercedes are gaining by having him in the team. I don’t understand this ‘he should drive for free’ comment. Why should he drive for free? If you were offered £30 million (or 20, or 10, or even less) to drive for the team or to drive for free, you know exactly what you, and every other person on this planet would choose.

            1. Well, it wasn’t what i meant. The “he should drive for free” is just a comment, because I would drive a Mercedes for free, if the chance arrive. Anyway, as i’ve also said, it doesn’t matter how much the marketing departament thinks you’re worth in money terms for me, (because Senna offered to drive for free back in 93 because his only goal was to be champion, i guess in his mind he had plenty of money and he won’t race for anything more than to be champion again) so, if there’s a back and forward in the contract negotiations, it must be about the money. Mercedes offers 15, lewis ask for 25 and they settle for 20…

          3. He offered to drive for free because is was his only hope to get into that car with Prost there. Hamilton has no such issue, so it’s pretty irrelevant.

            1. to get in the best car, you say? so this Mercedes is not the same? why would senna want to be in that car, because he wanted to be champion, not because of money. SoHamilton could (and i say could and not should) do the same if he’s only interested in the glory

            2. @matiascasali Senna did it because he was desperate to get into the car when Prost was trying to block him. Hamilton is already in the team, is virtually guaranteed to regain a place in the team, and is just renegotiating his contract. The situations aren’t similar in the slightest, and I honestly don’t understand where you can see a similiarity.

    6. I really don’t care how much Hamilton gets paid, it’s limited by the value the Mercedes bosses place in him. The amount Bernie and CVC pay themselves is more relevant seeing as that pool is taken mostly from governments and us fans.

      1. I think you mean Hamiltons value is limited by the budget of Mercedes. The amount Bernie and Co pay themselves because they OWN F1. Big difference. No driver is worth anything near what the value of F1 is as a whole.

        1. And on the other hand, F1 is worthless without the drivers…

      2. +1

        The money involved in Hamilton’s contract is of no interest to me. Pay walls for watching the sport on TV or in person is a story worth my time.

      3. @george Hamilton could be a non-driving-pay-driver at Manor with his paycheck at Mercedes. he could effectively sponsor a driver into Manor.

      4. +1!!!! That’s the BIG and fisrt problem of F1! Many little things with be solved with just this!

        1. “would be solved”..sorry

    7. I agree with skipgamer. BUT is just disrespectful.
      What I saw in Sepang:

      1) Vettel didn’t put a foot wrong all weekend long. Having stolen P2 in qualy helped him win. Otherwise ROS could have stopped him.
      2) Mercedes messed up with the last hard tires.
      3) Vettel loves Sepang, and he did managed the tires perfectly.

      In other words…Mercedes lost the race. But F1 is also grabbing the opportunities. (Kind of what Sauber did in Australia). Kudos VET, dont even listen to BUT. And many gossip sites indicate that ALO didn’t have a clue VET had already signed by the time they were discussing his contract.

      1. I guess you never read the article then. No where in the article Jenson was disrespectful.
        In fact he says Vettel did a tremendous job.
        He simply states that nobody expected Ferrari to be this competitive, otherwise Fernando would have never left. That is what he meant. Like Hamilton, nobody expected then in 2012, that Mercedes will become this competitive.

        1. I did. I believed Brawn when he said that for this new chapter, where you want to be as a driver is with a manufacturer based team. Not only did I think all along that LH had to leave Mac and that Merc would be great for him, I also believed Brawn that the best cars would be from those doing everything in-house with this new complex chapter.

          1. Even I supported Lewis moving to Merc, but did not expect to see him as world champion within 2 years and finishing ahead in the Mercs, the very first year.
            McLaren was either creating a competitive car and then forgetting to put all 4 wheels or creating pit stop records but with a donkey of a car.
            Every year I am hopeful about them and every year, I feel disappointed.
            So I welcomed the change to see what can happen and was positively surprised with what actually happened.

      2. @mumito He didn’t say his race was lucky, just that he was a bit lucky to arrive at Ferrari when he did.

    8. Hamilton, who won the first of his two titles with McLaren in 2008, is one of the three highest paid drivers in the sport with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso reckoned to earn at least what the Briton does.

      Hmm. It’s almost as if the teams pay absolutely no attention to what fans say about drivers ability, Vettel in particular.

      1. They do listen. None of the three drivers has a speed-advantage over Hülkenberg or Vergne or a lot of other midfield-guys driving for nearly free that would justify those wages. Instead most of it is entirely about marketability. Their would surely be more speed in it investing that money into the car rather than a star-driver, however, it´s probably not even calculated within the same budget, but in a separate marketing-budget.

        1. @crammond, to pick a nit or 2 are you suggesting there are a lot of midfield drivers that are faster than Ros. ? as your post suggests.

          1. Well, Ros didn´t look to well as Webbers teammate, did he? I was quite surprised how small Hamiltons advantage was last year, didn´t look good on Hamilton. But yes, I do feel half the field or more would do the same job as Rosberg does, maybe apart from going silent so soon after Spa last year and looking like not really trying (or at least being overly careful) since.
            And furthermore, I do believe the difference between drivers, and especially star-drivers and midfielders, has always been overestimated, career-momentum, lucky choices are a very big part of every career, especially since it can gain a driver psychological momentum, which probably makes for more difference than underlying talent as well.

            1. Well there are only so many top spots, and it is indeed NR who got that seat having been a mid-fielder. Inevitably there are always going to be diamonds in the rough who never got their chance, just as there are thousands of better singers than Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift. Timing, luck, marketability…absolutely these intangibles play a role. But none of that means that NR isn’t a worthy opponent for LH and a great asset to the team, and let’s not forget he kept MS honest no less and always has LH in his sights. Fact is, how other drivers would do in that seat is moot speculation…NR earned his way there and occupies it and also had his contract extended last year. He’s gotta be doing something right.

            2. There is all the difference in the world between the top drivers and the rest @crammond. Put the midfield guys under pressure and all the hundreds of millions the team put into fielding the car goes right down the drain when Hulk (Brazil 2012) or Webber (Korea 2010) bin it from the lead, or all the other examples.

              The fact you claim not to have noticed Rosberg’s desperate attempts to avoid being beaten in every race last year tells us why you singled out Hamilton for this invention, though.

              The fact is there’s simply no point racing at the top without a top tier driver, unless you’re sure of a double diffuser style advantage. Even then in 2009 look what happened from Silverstone on, when a very fast and experienced driver still tightened up. The pressure is massive. Or look at Wiliams with a fast car but Boutsen and Patrese, until they put Mansell in it. Or Canada last year when Williams could well have won if they’d had FA/LH instead of Massa. There’s a reason the teams fight over some drivers and not others.

      2. And why a team should listen to a mostly biased fan opinion?

        @crammond salaries are not counted into the budget for a f1 team.

        1. @celeste Exactly, and more to the point why are some people so obsessed with other people’s salaries? Like it would make a difference to me whether Lewis gets 20m or 30m

          1. Post of the day.

      3. Hmm. It’s almost as if the teams pay absolutely no attention to what fans say about drivers ability, Vettel in particular.

        Perhaps they do, and what they don’t listen is biased fantasies from people that should watch football and not F1

    9. 5th. Engine ?
      We already have tyres specifically for Friday practice/testing, so why not an extra engine for Friday use only, this would allow the engineers the opportunity to test higher/broader power outputs without the fear of ruining a race or incurring penalties, obviously there would also need to be an allowance for test engine re-builds, perhaps 1 or 2 pa.

      1. That seems to be what Kaltenborn proposes @hohum, that an extra engine be allowed but just for friday use (I guess RBR and probably McLaren would like it to be just an extra engine added to the pool).

      2. AAgree! I think this year it’s the better option because the season has already started and people could would argue about fairness. But next year they should start with 5 engines! 8 or more is just too much, but 5 for 19/20 races I think it’s the way to go.

      3. what if one fails on the friday? what happens then. why not 5 engines, and 1 for fridays or 6 engines and 2 for fridays? what is the difference? better yet, why not let the manufacturers with their endless resourse (until they dont make profit from the sport), have full engine development like the sport used to do. as far as i remember, there was more manufactuerer involvement and more competition before these stupid restrictive rules. keep the chassis development down but, that is good for smaller teams, but why engines?

        1. They are trying cost-control via technological regulations. Which fails and can’t ever work, as there will always be areas left for a resources-race. But they are doing it anyway since more than a decade.

        2. @kpcart, I wish, however due to current circumstances and mismanagement F1 is trying to find ways to limit how much it costs teams to compete in order to satisfy the greed of the asset strippers that own the right to bleed F1 dry as a result of the deal Max M did while FIA chief.cc @crammond

    10. ColdFly F1 (@)
      1st April 2015, 3:04

      Hamilton responds to the idea of him moving to Ferrari: “don’t be silly”.

      I’m not sure how silly it is.
      – I think most/all drivers want to race for the red team one day in their career (that and winning Monaco).
      – Moving to Ferrari next year might be another perfect timing decision.
      – If Hamilton wins with Mercedes this year, there is less ‘shine’ to winning another year(s).
      We all saw how little credit Vettel got after winning 4 WDC.
      – If Hamilton loses this year, he should move anyway.

      And I’m sure he is well beyond the point of opting for the team which pays most.

      1. 1) If he signs a new three year contract with Mercedes this year, he can’t move to Ferrari next year.
        2) Ferrari may not want him even if he wants to join them.

        1. Both Alonso and Vettel had contracts with Ferrari and Red Bull for 2015. They escaped through a clausule, sure Hamilton has one too.

          1. @xtwl Alonso was pushed out for Vettel, who indeed escaped via a clause in his contract. Red Bull told the world that Seb was moving to Ferrari in Japan last year while Fernando and Kimi were still on the books for 2015.

            1. I thought Fernando pushed himself out. He offered himself to Mercedes and was very vocal on Ferrari’s lack of competitiveness, showing clearly that he had no faith in them so…
              .

            2. @jcost Fernando wanted the Merc ride but there was no opening with a recently resigned Rosberg and Lewis in the seats. Fernando, despite his skills, has a reputation as a team breaker (McLaren, Renault). May I suggest, as Jarno Trulli did today, that he is difficult to work with and thus was part of last year’s Ferrari housecleaning. Exit clause, buy-out – no one has said.

          2. @xtwl From what I’ve read, Alonso and Vettel had performance clauses which said that they were free to leave if the car was not fast enough (essentially). Hamilton may have such a clause, but it wouldn’t do him much good! :-)

            1. @jimg That doesn’t mean it won’t do him any good in 2016 or 2017. You never know. We also don’t know the clausule in detail. I once read Vettel could leave if he wasn’t in the top three by Hungary in the championship.

      2. Hamilton going to Ferrari is indeed silly. Even if LH has aspirations for them, he’s got the best car now and that’s all he knows for sure. And absolutely no reason to think he won’t have another awesome car next year. After only two races Merc may crank it up and still leave Ferrari in their dust most days. Less ‘shine’ to keep winning at Merc? I don’t think when all is said and done any driver would regret staying with a team and keeping winning WDC’s even if it means he gets booed. So little credit? That won’t be a drivers concern. That’s for outsiders to carry that opinion and those within know better. Those boos for SV have long since died away and he’s got 4 trophys in his cabinet forever. And if Hamilton loses this year he’ll have a great car next year to answer to that. Right now we are only speculating that Ferrari are all that. They weren’t able to get near the Mercs in Australia. One race would never sway any driver to make a move. And…he probably feels right at home at Mercedes.

    11. Ferrari were not much keen to retain Alonso, When Alonso was with them both Massa & Kimi found difficult to drive the cars… essentially it meant that Ferrari only had one scoring car… and every year it would look like Ferrari let Alonso down. With that baggage gone & car developed for both drivers styles Ferrari have better chance of closing the gap with Merc & also Seb’s pace over one lap is probably the best along with Lewis on the current grid…. having car up helps too. Mclaren should get younger drivers, maybe they can try to get riccardio & bottas for 2016/17.

      1. I think they should have kept Magnussen in a much more active role this year, and Alonso together with Button replaced with Vandoorne/Magnussen for 2017. Surely Alonso would not sign that contract though but by the end of this year he will realise he is at the END of his career and if he wants to win Le Mans once, he should have gone this year with Porsche in their third car.

        1. Webber/Alonso/Hulkenberg – Porsche – LMP1 – Le Mans – wet dream.

      2. Dev, You seem to neglect the fact that Ferrari sacked and replaced a large chunk of their development team, from their engine team to their aerodynamicists, at about the same time.

        To be blunt, they are the ones who dictate how a car drives, and these days the drivers have nowhere near as much influence over the direction of car development as people seem to think they do.

        1. depends on the quality of driver feedback that the development team is getting. Laptimes/sector times,cornering speed, aero efficiency detection via flo-vis etc are the technical tools at the disposal of the development team to identify issues and make the car faster.

          but ultimately drivers drive the car and usually at such a high level of sport, each has his own driving style. Alonso is an exception to this as he has always been able to find out the cars strengths which has been his USP ever since his renault days. But as we saw last year, in an equally bad car , Kimi was nowhere. He has a small “operating window” as you may call it. But if he can give necessary feedback regarding car behaviour and how he wants it to behave, then it can definitely help.

          1. Kaustav, there have been a number of instances in recent years where the engineers have overridden the feedback of the drivers and proven to be correct to do so in the longer term.

            Vettel, for example, is one such driver – back in 2012, Vettel disliked the handling traits associated with the Melbourne spec Coanda exhaust configuration that the car had and insisted that the team went back to the configuration they used in pre-season testing (which is why he used the old layout in China), even though Webber had demonstrated it was a superior package.

            Whilst they did let Vettel run the old exhaust configuration in China, they chose to override his objections and stuck to the new exhaust configuration after that. If they had not done so, the car would not have been competitive in the closing races of that season – it was one area where the team acknowledged they’d made a lot of performance gains in over the season and gave them a performance advantage – and Vettel almost certainly would have lost the championship in 2012 as a result.

        2. Fact is Alonso lost control over car development at Ferrari last year when Domenicali was fired. In came Mattiacci and Allison was given full control. Allison knew that something had to change, had a great working relationship with Raikkonen and thus decided to rely on Raikkonens feedback instead of Alonsos. That’s why the relationship broke down, I understood what was going on last summer.
          A very sensible decition by Ferrari by the way. When you have a driver that is very sensitive to car behavior and has a track record of improving cars for every team he had ever driven for you better take advantage of that.
          I suspect many of you have forgotten that Raikkonen is up there with the very best in F1 history when it comes to telling a team what he needs from a car. Last year it took him no time at all to figure out the car was no good. This year it took him no time to figure out the car was good. Alonso on the other hand didn’t know whether the car was good or bad before they were way off the pace in 2 or 3 Grand Prix. And even then he couldn’t pinpoint what was wrong. Contrary to what many seem to believe it’s a great advantage for a team to have drivers that are sensitive to car behavior. That’s the foundation for getting the best car and thus win Championships.

          1. HamiltonNumber1
            2nd April 2015, 2:50

            Yeah it is the key and Alo has 2 Kimi has 1. Kimi is lucky Alo is not his teammate, i love the fact we talk about Kimi is back he was bad last year and he was getting done by Gro in the second half of Lotus. He is 34 years old, he is not consistent atall, look at him vs Eri in Mal qualifying. Hamilton should have been held up too, but know he was not.

            1. he was getting done by Gro in the second half of Lotus.

              Grosjean beat Kimi in only 4 races in 2013.

    12. The problem for McLaren / Honda, is that even if their package does come good by the end of the season, they’ll be crippled by penalties due to the additional engines.

      1. true…but i guess McHonda are already in testing mode, preparing for 2016 using the 2015 season. Buttons radio comment “we are catching cars” highlights how much they have written themselves off for 2015 .

        So, if u look at it that way, i guess they will be glad if they are able to close up to the mighty mercs by the end of this season.

    13. I think that the best drivers usually make the best career moves, it is not just about luck. Vettel is one of the greatest drivers of all time, has great work ethic and motivates the people around him, why would a revived top team not want him? Juan Manuel Fangio also changed teams several times anda almost always ended up with the best car. When Lewis Hamilton went to Mercedes, several pundits and fans said he was crazy to do that but it turned out to be his best decision ever. I am sure that there are a lot of similar examples in the history of F1.

      I also do not think that world champions change teams only because they want to try something new and just hope that it might somehow work. Vettel was not forced to leave Red Bull but Ferrari obviously managed to convince him that they were on the right path.

      Do some drivers really have more luck than the other ones? Perhaps some drivers simply deserve their luck more than the other ones.

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        1st April 2015, 13:13

        I dont think Ferrari would have needed to do ANY convincing. Even if he knew for certain the 2015 car was going to be a dog, he would have had to move anyway.

        He couldnt afford to risk Ricciardo beating him again and further devaluing his stock, and when the oppurtunity came up to make the switch to Ferrari, it was a no-brainer, regardless of the cars potential.

        I think Vettel would have expected at least 1 or 2 rebuilding years at Ferrari following the massive shake-up, and the pace in Malaysia would have came as as much of a shock to him as the rest of us.

        1. I dont think Ferrari would have needed to do ANY convincing.

          And yet they did. They offered him 50 million dollars his first season to get him to switch teams.

          He couldnt afford to risk Ricciardo beating him again and further devaluing his stock

          Heh, then I can only imagine what his paycheck would look like if not for “Ricciardo beating him”! No matter how obvious it is, some fans never seem to notice that the people running the teams and making hiring decisions do not share their views of the drivers.

          1. HamiltonNumber1
            2nd April 2015, 2:58

            One season is fine, Ham beat by Button, Vet beat by Ric, Alo edged by a rookie. But do not talk silly, another year of Vet getting beat hurts him big time, are you for real?. We will never know what would of happen’d but do not tell me his stock would be high getting beat 2 years in a row. Some will rightly say he ran i do not feel that way, 3 wins in 3 diff cars his place in history is sealed. Imo we are lucky to have Hamilton Vet and Alo battling it out for supremacy. Vet and Ham are probably going to have 3/4 WC and 5/6 in Vet case. They will both be legends, but Vet was embarassing last year. His teammate won 3 races that is bad for Vet not to win 1. A 4xWC being beaten by a man who never won a race is not good. So the fact he did not stay is a win win for Vet 2 defeats and he would be laughed at.

    14. seb knew EXACTLY what he was doing switching teams and a lot of the ‘building’ process with Ferrari involves his hands-on approach. No blind ‘luck’ there Jenson. VET/Ferrari were in talks very early in the 2014 season and this was a calculated move on his part. Ferrari was done with Fernando and couldn’t wait to have the perfect fit in SV behind the wheel -and in the shop.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        1st April 2015, 9:46

        I am glad that we finally get the inside story. :s

    15. I think what Jenson is getting at is that he lucked into them improving so much so soon.

      As he said Vettel and Alonso will have known the same details at the time of the deal, Alonso had no faith in them after 5 years of hearing the same story, Vettel had nothing to lose as he will have sensed Red Bull were on a downturn.

      And to be honest we still don’t know Alonso’s decision is a bad one. A single race win isn’t a championship.

      1. Based on the accounts I’ve read of what went down at Ferrari, it made no difference what Alonso knew about the 2015 car. He was forced out as part of the wholesale team rebuilding they were conducting.

        I agree it’s much too early to conclude that joining McLaren was a bad decision.

    16. It maybe a bit out of place, but im surprised to see so many people think that ferrari didnt have a good car for the past 4 years, whereas they have now. Remember 2013, when ferrari pace was blitzing the field in the first 6 races until pirelli went conservative with their tyres… aka… a certain vettel went on a “i cant lose anymore come what may”.. 9-win streak.

      I feel its too early to judge whether ferrari can truly be competetitive all year round. Despite the analysis showing almost equivalent pace on all four cars, lets not forget that mercedes still are extremely quick over a single lap. Both Kimi and Seb and even James Allison have alluded to that fact. So lets just wait and see how they stand when we are midway around the Hungarian Grand Prix.

      As for the topic in discussion, its kinda “lol scenario” to try and understand what button meant. I dont think even Seb bothers…

      1. Agree with what you have said, and even if Seb heard/read what JB said he would probably agree. I don’t think anybody expected this leap in performance, but we have to wait and see exactly what kind of leap it was with more races. Not one person was saying FA was making a bad decision leaving Ferrari. They were in upheaval and FA had already paid his dues there and doesn’t have a crystal ball. And there is a great possibility they still won’t win the WDC nor WCC this year, so unless you are in a Merc you are on a team that has a lot of work ahead of it still, including Ferrari. And Merc’s work isn’t done either.

    17. Jensons just backing his teammate, something he’s always done, which is why he’s well liked. As for Vettel, a Newey driven WDC carrys less weight for me, I would bet Vettel wouldn’t have more then one WDC had he been anywhere else since 2009.

      1. I would bet Vettel wouldn’t have more then one WDC had he been anywhere else since 2009.

        @maxthecat Could be said about any champion if they weren’t driving the car that won the championship.

        1. Well you could look at how good the car was by looking at the constructors championship.

          For instance in 2008 Ferrari won the constructors championship. Indicating that the Ferrari was in fact the quickest car although Hamilton won the drivers title. But yeah, that’s probably one of the few exceptions.

          1. Or indicating that Kovalainen was a very poor driver, something further suggested by his subsequent brief and unsuccessful stint in F1. It’s rare to see a driver come into F1 at the top (Renault were defending champs when he started with them) and quickly work his way down to the worst teams on the grid and then out of the game entirely.

      2. As for Vettel, a Newey driven WDC carrys less weight for me

        Yeah, Mansell, Prost and Hakkinen….some lightweights there!

    18. Perhaps having female only races is the way to get more women in racing. It’s not like tennis or soccer makes women compete directly to male players.

      Although I always found it rather odd that women demanded (and received) the same price money for their tournaments though. If they wanted the male prizes they could simply compete for those I’m sure.

      1. @patrickl I don’t profess to know much about what goes on in those strange sports that don’t involve engines, but aren’t women specifically barred from competing against men in, for example, tennis tournaments, which is one sport where there has been calls for prize money equalisation?

        1. I have to admit that I don’t really know much about “manual sports” either, but I do think women are allowed to participate in male events. In motorsports, bowling, golf.

          Not sure if tennis allows it, but there is just no use for them to try. The Williams sisters (in their early years ) tried to beat a low ranked guy and got annihilated.

          I know girls playing in a soccer team with the boys. Of course this usually ends when the boys go through puberty and the girl is no match anymore.

          The argument probably is that it’s mostly the entertainment value that counts in the end. If you put a bunch of not so good players together you can still have an exciting competition. Much like F1 is often a lot less exciting than an F3 race I guess. Or like having a duo of moaning girls in skimpy outfits chase a tennis ball rather than two blokes.

      2. If you look at that example of Tennis again (not sure in any other big sport where there is much of a discussion about who gets how much), I think its fair that the women get about as much when they put in the same amount of effort, and on top of that pull in more or less equal crowds, and in times even bigger ones @patrickl.
        But I am pretty sure that a woman is not allowed to go and participate in the men’s tournament (nor is the man allowed into the women’s tournament), just as in athletics.

    19. There’s a great article on Sky Sports by Mark Hughes, I would recommend giving it a read: Why Mercedes’ advantage isn’t as big as we thought

      1. Interesting points he brought up, but I think can be countered a bit, although I understand that would distract from the point of his piece.

        If you are going to ‘forget about the timing of the safety car’ for one driver, then do so for the others involved too. LH and NR did in fact get sent back and had to pass cars to get back up. If one is going to claim SV got held up by Massa in Oz, then claim the Mercs did too in Malaysia rather than conveniently forgetting about them. NR particularly was held up behind LH in the pit. Wouldn’t have been if you are going to remove the safety car from the equation.

        SV was gentler on his tires, but without the safety car he would have had that many more hot laps on them. Perhaps allow some time against Ferrari for that, if one is to remove the safety car. Even if it’s just a few secs. of degradation. Was SV able to conserve his tires intentionally by pushing less with such a lead? Would they have lasted as well if there was an actual physical battle going on for the lead with either Merc, without the safety car?

        And both Ferrari’s made serious errors at Oz’s quali, in tricky conditions, true…and the Mercs did not. Does that speak to the handling of the Ferrari when conditions were not what they were in Malaysia, and won’t be again?

        I think the Ferrari’s could and likely will be closer at some races, but I can also see them 30 secs back again too.

        1. LH and NR did in fact get sent back and had to pass cars to get back up.

          A move which saved them time, compared to making a regular pit stop. Or at least it saved Lewis time – arguably it cost Nico time.

          If you are going to ‘forget about the timing of the safety car’ for one driver, then do so for the others involved too.

          That’s exactly what Hughes is doing. Regardless of the safety car, Vettel was very close to Hamilton in ultimate pace and was able to make one less pit stop, hence the victory.

          1. I still don’t see it that way. LH comes out 5th and NR 9th and that saved them time? Maybe literally for the pit itself, but not overall. And without the safety car, LH and NR would have always been much closer to SV and been able to challenge him more which would have affected the race and for example SV’s tires.

    20. Lewis should negotiate a deal for 44mil pounds in line with his number :D

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