Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2015

Rosberg frustrates Hamilton as Vettel gives hope to Ferrari

2015 Brazilian Grand Prix review

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After the chequered flag fell on the penultimate round of the 2015 championship, Nico Rosberg had a straightforward explanation for why he had beaten his team mate for the second weekend in a row.

“I had the pace advantage over Lewis [Hamilton] today,” said Rosberg, “so of course he’s not going to come by me because in the end of the race I was six seconds in front.”

That wasn’t how his team mate saw things. “Contrary to what Nico was saying,” Hamilton began, “there was one point where I was all over him but I just couldn’t get by, I just couldn’t get close enough in that last second and I did have the fastest lap, so I obviously had the pace today.”

Hamilton felt the key to his defeat was that he had been stuck on the same strategy as his team mate. “Of course I was looking for whatever other opportunities there may be because on the track it was not looking great,” said the runner-up, who during the race had implored his team to come up with some way of getting his car into clear air.

None was found, and so for the ninth year in a row Hamilton left the homeland of his hero facing another 12-month wait for a chance to win the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Rosberg resists Hamilton

Start, Interlagos, 2015
Rosberg got to the first corner first – just
For the fifth race in a row, Rosberg started from pole position. This inevitably prompted fresh questions as to how Hamilton has managed to go from taking seven consecutive poles to missing out on the top spot for half-a-dozen races.

“From Singapore onwards there’s been a change to the car,” he mused, not getting into specifics, “but whether or not that’s made a difference, I don’t know really.”

Rosberg still seems to have slightly more difficulty getting his Mercedes off the line than his team mate, but with Interlagos offering such a short run to turn one Hamilton couldn’t punish him for it. Rosberg held him wide on the entry to the corner before sweeping off into the lead.

During Q2 some 24 hours earlier Rosberg had been eager not to spend any longer on the soft tyres than he had to, knowing he would have to start the race on them. But it was only ever going to be a brief stint on the softs at the start of the race before the Mercedes pair switched to the more durable medium tyres.

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Mercedes respond to Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Interlagos, 2015
Mercedes took the Vettel threat seriously
As usual the lead Mercedes was first to pit: Rosberg came in on lap 13 and was stationary for 4.4 seconds, the team having to hold him in as Sebastian Vettel came past. Hamilton pitted on the next lap but wasn’t able to take full advantage, his Mercedes pulling away slightly slowly, losing 3.6 seconds.

After that Hamilton began to pay his team mate some serious attention. From laps 17 to 24 Hamilton was faster than Rosberg more often than not, even as the gap between them shrunk to less than half a second at one point.

Before the race had begun Hamilton had rejected the idea he might be able to pass Rosberg on the track during the race, but you couldn’t accuse him of not trying to get the job done. Twelve months earlier, in much hotter conditions, he had come close to jumping Rosberg by pitting later than his team mate, only to spin off. Now Hamilton believed he needed a more radical change of tack to get ahead.

He began lobbying his team on the radio to switch from a two-stop strategy to three. “Impossible to overtake,” he said. “Can you get me on a different strategy?” Race engineer Peter Bonnington was doubtful. “I think converting to Plan B would be a bad idea,” he replied. “That would drop us behind both Ferraris, they’re still doing 16.6s.”

Mercedes were willing to let Hamilton pursue Rosberg but were wary of doing anything which might jeopardise their positions at the front of the field. “Our policy is to let our drivers race and also to allow them to explore viable alternative strategies, as we have shown in the past,” said Lowe, “but we don’t let them pursue a bad alternative strategy at any cost.”

Those calculations changed when Sebastian Vettel , who was only six seconds behind Hamilton, made an early seconds pit stops. Team chief Maurizio Arrivabene said this was a “purely strategic” move to put pressure on Mercedes. Ferrari had nothing to fear from the cars behind them – Valtteri Bottas was steadily dropping away from fourth-placed Kimi Raikkonen – and as Vettel believed he could extract more pace from the soft tyre they believed a three-stop strategy had more to offer them.

The safest option for Mercedes was to mirror Vettel’s stop plan, albeit using the medium tyres which they were more comfortable on. This did nothing for Hamilton, however, as he remained on the same strategy as Rosberg.

The rights and wrongs of a team managing its strategies when its two drivers have a chance to win is something Mercedes have debated many times, according to Rosberg. He offered a justification for the team’s decision not to split their strategies.

“In advance you can only go by what you think the computer tells you, which strategy is best,” he said. “It wouldn’t really be fair for the guy who is running second to go for the other strategy and then for it to turn out that it was massively quicker in hindsight, after the race, and as a result he won the race just because of luck.”

New engine no help for Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2015
Ricciardo had little to show for his weekend
Ferrari, however, were content to run their drivers on significantly different strategies. Raikkonen stayed on a two-stopper and waved Vettel back into third place on lap 38. Raikkonen had been given a different engine after qualifying – an old unit, to avoid a penalty – and was being kept busy tweaking its performance. “Sorry for all the changes, we’re just trying to get this new engine set up,” said race engineer David Greenwood at one point.

At the end of lap one Bottas had leapt onto Raikkonen’s tail but there was to be no repeat of their Russia or Mexico confrontations – the Williams didn’t have the Ferrari’s pace. In the hands of Bottas, however, it had considerably more than the other car of Felipe Massa. That made Massa’s eventual disqualification due to a over-heated tyre all the more unfortunate – there is clearly no way it aided his car’s performance, as Massa noted afterwards.

Nico Hulkenberg, who is something of an Interlagos specialist, brought his car home in seventh place after pitting early to jump back in front of Daniil Kvyat. It was a badly-needed return to form for a driver who’s been put in the shade by his team mate recently, and it secured a best-ever championship position of fifth for Force India.

Kvyat did his best to regain his lost position but his Renault lacked the straight-line grunt to challenge the Force India on the straight. But at least he wasn’t running the new engine: Daniel Ricciardo was, and had to take a ten-place grid penalty for the privilege of using an engine which appeared even less powerful, leaving him 0.4kph down at the speed trap during qualifying. Making matters worse an early switch to the medium tyres backfired when the team discovered they couldn’t two-stop them, leaving him out of the points.

Sister team Toro Rosso also had the Renault blues. Carlos Sainz Jnr’s race never really started: an electrical problem halted him after he left the pits for his pre-race reconnaissance lap. Renault believed this was a recurrence of an electrical glitch which impaired his qualifying the day before. He started from the pit lane but the problem struck again just four corners into the first lap and he skidded to a halt with locked rear wheels.

Verstappen battles to ninth

Sergio Perez, Force India, Interlagos, 2015
Verstappen got creative to pass Perez
Max Verstappen was at his improvisational best as he made up for his lack of straight-line speed, squeezing past Perez in the second part of the Senna S – the Force India driver wisely not turning in on his rival as Raikkonen had done to Bottas in Mexico. Romain Grosjean also took advantage of Perez’s delay to make up another place.

Grosjean went on to demote Verstappen and Massa’s penalty gave him eighth, a fair reward for his efforts on a tough weekend for the Lotus driver following the terrorist attack in his home country two days earlier. The other Lotus of Maldonado claimed the last point for tenth.

Between them came Max Verstappen, who fumed at his car’s lack of grunt during the race. “On the straights we were slow and it’s very difficult to defend position with a Lotus or a Force India unfortunately,” he said afterwards, “but to add another point is always good. I enjoyed it out there this afternoon – I managed to do some good overtakes, especially at turn one.”

Felipe Nasr took 13th in an uneventful first race at home, while team mate Marcus Ericsson’s day was ruined when he was hit by Maldonado – an incident for which the Lotus driver received his eight penalty of the year.

Without Ericsson’s problem, the McLaren pair would have had just the two Manors behind them at the chequered flag. Fernando Alonso, who during the race was clearly displeased by his team’s strategic decisions, was also compromised by his Honda’s power delivery and, like Raikkonen, the lack of time to set up his new unit.

“The car was not working 100% at the beginning of the race,” he explained. “It sometimes felt strange to drive, with different power in different gears, so I was having to try to avoid the odd gear from time to time. I think the reason for that was that after qualifying we fitted a brand-new engine and we didn’t have any laps in which to set it up.

While the team mates at the front of the field held their positions from start to end, Will Stevens perhaps gave the lie to Hamilton’s insistence that it wasn’t possible to pass a similar car around the track. Having been out-qualified by Alexander Rossi, Stevens passed his team mate thanks to his more race-focused set-up.

Vettel encouraged by podium

The penultimate race of the season unfolded as much of those before it had, with the battle for victory conducted exclusively by the two Mercedes drivers.

But Sebastian Vettel took heart from being able to get close enough to them to provoke a response from the pit wall.

“We were close as we had never been before,” said Vettel afterwards, “which is a massive achievement considering that Mercedes was pushing all the way, as they had nothing to lose.”

The year’s championship is one race away from being history. After that, it’s not just Vettel who will be hoping Mercedes have some closer competition in 2016.

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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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41 comments on “Rosberg frustrates Hamilton as Vettel gives hope to Ferrari”

  1. “It wouldn’t really be fair for the guy who is running second to go for the other strategy and then for it to turn out that it was massively quicker in hindsight, after the race, and as a result he won the race just because of luck.”

    Uhm? That’s not luck, the first driver had every opportunity to choose this strategy too, and if it was faster maybe that computer needs a second look… If I was Rosberg I wouldn’t be all too defensive on this matter as he is the one who should be asking for alternative strategies to find an edge on Hamilton. Both Mexico and Brazil are tracks that have proven hard to overtake on, especially with the same car. I don’t see how it is unfair in any way for the following driver to ask for a different strategy, to try something else to get ahead. Not giving it is just saying stay behind or overtake on track which is the entire reason why the demand comes up in the first place…

    1. The following driver has a strategy advantage: he can react to whatever the first driver does. So if the first driver comes in, happens to hit traffic, then the following driver can stay out and hit the gas to make up the gap. Or go shorter and burn up the rubber. Or whatever happens to look good.

      First choice is only an advantage if your teammate is being held to the same strategy, or the weather changes.

      Of course whichever driver doesn’t win wants to complain about whatever decision, technology, rival, etc is “at fault” for not giving them the chance.

      However if roles were reversed, instead of Hamilton whining about a lack of strategic options, he’d be crowing about how great he is and how easy it was to “handle” his teammate. That’s just the way it is.

      If the following driver wants to fix the situation, then the advice handed out to Rosberg all year applies: don’t be second.

      1. …don’t be second in qualifying.

        Fixed it.

        I don’t agree the driver following should always wait to react. Let’s say the optimal time to pit was on lap 10 (for Rosberg) so lap 11 for Hamilton. Hamilton then surely could be a bit bold and say let’s pit on lap 8, go for two laps giving it all and see what happens when Rosberg pits. Yes, Rosberg could then react and pit on lap 9 but that way we at least get a little battle. Meanwhile we have Vettel who did pit on lap 10 (the optimal strategy) and suddenly in a three stop race you get three drivers fighting each other through strategy.

        1. I think you are missing the part where part of Merc’s protocol in dealing with this rivalry is to treat them equally whenever possible, and also to give the pole and/or leading guy first dibs on when to pit. In hindsight I’m sure LH can think of a hundred possibilities that he himself would have done differently…if he was thinking at the time as you suggest, a lap 8 pitstop, the team would have to agree with that, and they wouldn’t have. Besides I don’t know that by lap 8 LH knew how hard it was going to be to get by NR. I think you are being a little too liberal with hindsight, and are also forgetting that Merc at this stage has no need to poke their drivers like they are hornets nests. This is also about managing two roosters on the team after they had everything sown up but for Nico’s second place standing, which they have now also done.

          1. I think you are missing the part where part of Merc’s protocol in dealing with this rivalry is to treat them equally whenever possible, and also to give the pole and/or leading guy first dibs on when to pit.

            I agree they should be treated equally. Thus when Rosberg is behind he gets the same alternative options. The leading driver gets the first pitstop on the optimal lap, but if either of them wants to pit before that there is no reason whatsoever to deny that.

            Besides I don’t know that by lap 8 LH knew how hard it was going to be to get by NR.

            My lap 8 thingy was an example and I agree he probably only knew in his second stint when he fully went for it.

            …and are also forgetting that Merc at this stage has no need to poke their drivers like they are hornets nests. This is also about managing two roosters on the team after they had everything sown up but for Nico’s second place standing, which they have now also done.

            I’m not forgetting it, I’m just not looking at it from Mercedes their point of view but from the drivers and fans. Yes, Mercedes wants a 1-2, and so do the drivers, but for them it’s not the same whether they are 1 or 2.

          2. @robbie Maybe Interlagos is a bad example because indeed they had to keep an eye on Vettel but surely in Mexico whichever driver did not start on pole could for example have gone for something different but wasn’t allowed.

        2. @xtwl I think the problem with this approach, which Rosberg isn’t really articulating very well, is that this is a case of the same deliberately giving an advantageous strategy call to the second placed driver. That is to say, that within the team each side of the garage knows what the other will do. In fact, in the case of Mercedes, it’s the same strategist making the calls for both sides. It’s not simply a call to bring in the second placed driver a lap before the leading driver, it’s also a call to deliberately and knowingly leave the lead driver out longer, knowing that this is a strategy that will disadvantage the leader. I think that’s the point that Rosberg is trying to explain – you can’t, as a team, make a strategy call for one driver in isolation, because that call will inevitably affect the other driver. That’s why there needs to be some logic behind how they make the strategy call – in this case giving the advantageous strategy call to whichever driver is leading. Because after all, they’ve effectively earned that position by being faster in the first place.

          1. Good explanation of the point being made there @mazdachris.

            I think the fact that its clear and both drivers know it is a good one. And we have often seen how both tried to profit from this – trying to get ahead right in front of the pitstop to get that advantage.

          2. @bascb It’s interesting how the dynamic has completely changed since the days of refuelling. We take it as a given now, that pitting first is to your advantage because you can take the undercut. It’s all about the fact that following a pitstop, you’ll be immediately faster than those who haven’t taken one.

            I must admit, I kinda miss the days of refuelling in that respect, where the complete opposite logic applied – once you pit, your car is instantly a lot heavier, so you really want to be the last man to pit. It was kind of blunted a bit at the end by the Bridgestone tyres which didn’t have any degradation, allowing every driver to run to effectively the optimum strategy rather than being forced to take stops at a sub-optimal moment by virtue of tyre deg. But I do think it’s interesting how strategic decisions are taken so differently now that you have no refuelling.

          3. Maybe that is one of the reasons last year felt more interesting, because the cars were closer to their limits with fuel use, making the fuel management a factor in how a driver ran a race and we saw Hamilton using his fuel advantage a few times to make going longer work to gain spots @mazdachris

      2. what I don’t understand is that when Hamilton wins, its a non discussion, purely natural talent right? But when Hamilton loses something MUST be wrong, no way Rosberg can be quicker and control the race. it must be either 1. track is impossible to pass because of design, 2. not on the right strategy, 3. cant follow close, 4. blah blah blah!

        and him saying its impossible to pass with the same car? well max proved that wrong, a under powered Renault passing a Merc engine car. Amen.

        It seems there has to be something wrong when Hamilton loses cause he just can’t lose can he.

        1. Yeah. When Nico leads entite weekend just like Ham has done many times… Why are reactions so different?

          This just annoys me. When Ham is in second place, he goes cheat mode on engine, tries to break equal strategy agreements… Mark of a champion no doubt, but not very likeable.

          Get over it. Mercedes is trying to do equal treatment for both drivers… Imagine if Ham had a clear #1 contract and got prefered strategy, to undercut Nico?

        2. A top level athlete has an ego, truly, truly breaking news there MarkM. Really shocking.

        3. [It seems there has to be something wrong when Hamilton loses cause he just can’t lose can he.]

          OF COURSE NOT!
          Hamilton should take lessons from Kimi if you know what I mean.

    2. The fact is, they went with the strategy for both drivers that the computer (and their other knowledge no doubt), told them would be the best. There was no better strategy for LH in Brazil. And they obviously felt no need earlier in the weekend to start each driver off on a different strategy. There’s no harm in LH asking, but then when the team says that everything says a different strategy would not work out, then that is it. Not giving a different strategy is not just saying stay behind, or overtake on track, it is also saying let’s ensure the second place finish and not hand that to SV.

      1. @robbie I’m not really interested in hearing either Rosberg or Hamilton being happy with second place. If given the opportunity I’m pretty sure both would grasp the chance to go for an alternative strategy that has a chance of winning the race. Sure I agree nothing impossible or only with the slimmest of chance to succeed, but I’m pretty sure had Hamilton known a two stop might work he would’ve tried it had he been allowed.

        1. Yup you’re using hindsight wonderfully, and are forgetting that this isn’t race one with everything still to play for. If LH was so sure a two stop was the way to go beforehand, but couldn’t convince his team, then that’s one thing, and I’m sure he would have made sure we were all very clear that he wanted that all along and that the team was wrong. Fact is, a two stop was never on apparently, and a mid-race switch to that was not by the teams own estimation going to help him either, but might have helped SV.

          1. @robbie I’m not using anything that I didn’t knew before the race.

            1) Hamilton qualified behind Rosberg
            2) Hamilton himself said his chances of overtaking Rosberg on track were next to none existent.

            This means they could have a plan A which is the optimal strategy in case he passed Rosberg at the start, or B an alternative strategy (not necessarily a two stop) in case he didn’t. It’s the fact they are not allowed to use B at any time unless the leading driver also switches because of the ‘unfair’ part that is wrong to me.

            Everything is decided on lap one, the only option for Hamilton to win the race was to overtake him on track whilst without a doubt there were other viable options.

          2. @xtwl Yet it seems like there weren’t viable options. At least none that would have made enough sense. What would be their end game to try to help LH over NR?

            Answer: Hard feelings on the team with still a 1-2 anyway. The possibility of SV coming second and making NR and the team’s life harder for achieving 2nd in the WDC standings.

            They might have played things a little differently if there was looking to be a clear advantage for LH to change strategies, and this was near the beginning of the season. But…a change on strategy didn’t seem to offer anything clearly better, and, again…to what end?

            Merc is already providing us a season long show…a great rivalry. In Brazil it was not their duty to throw caution to the wind just to spice up the show…in hindsight…for the audience.

    3. I totally agree with you @xtwl. Lately the definition of Mercedes free to race policy is “win it at qualy or first corner”. The first driver can have dibs on the stops, which theoretically is the fastest way to win the race, but 2nd driver should be allowed to pick the stop at anytime he want as long as it’s not same as the 1st one, which theoretically will be less optimal way. When 2nd driver forced to pit 1 lap after the 1st driver, they virtually eliminated any chance for 2nd driver to fight the 1st driver, especially on tracks where passing is really hard.

      1. @sonicslv I think the strategy Merc has been using is one that has been used for years between teammates. I can recall it back to Gilles Villeneuve and Jody Scheckter. A gentleman’s agreement if you will. You get pole and you lead clearly after the first few corners amd maintains it, it’s fair game, the race is on, and the leader gets first choice of pit time because he has earned it. Should he be punished for doing such a good job just because at some tracks passing is harder than at others for the guy in second?

        Let’s also remember that Merc is thankfully taking the tougher road of trying to deal with two roosters fairly while providing the audience with a great rivalry. Would any of us be happier if NR was under contract to be LH’s bootlicker? This is not always easy, nor is every race going to fall into some ABC method of managing said rivalry. Sometimes they have to make it up as they go along and still try to finish the day with the best results for the team and the best atmosphere amongst teammates possible.

        1. @robbie If there is gentleman agreement then I wouldn’t be this disappointed. However, both the team and the drivers themselves never hinted at anything towards it, in contrary they always said they’re “free to race” (as long as there’s no contact and bring the car home safely which is fair enough).

  2. “Those calculations changed when Sebastian Vettel , who was only six seconds behind Hamilton, made an early seconds pit stops. ”

    “… early second pit stop.”

  3. Is this Lewis just doing his talking on the track again?

    He was beaten in qualifying, beaten to turn one and beaten in the race absolutely fair and square.

    What strategy could the team have given him other than purposefully hurting Rosbergs own ideal strategy, which as the lead driver he had won the right to?

    They told him his option was to make his tyre last longer and have a shorter final stint meaning he could attack more, that was all they could offer him.

    1. What strategy could the team have given him other than purposefully hurting Rosbergs own ideal strategy, which as the lead driver he had won the right to?

      @philipgb Undercut the pit stop for example. Since they knew what optimal time to pit for Rosberg, Lewis could try to undercut him as long as not as the same lap predetermined for Rosberg. He’d be at risk having more tire wear at the end but I t doesn’t hurt Rosberg ideal strategy. Or, convert to 2 stop. He’d risk having really worn tire at the end, but again doesn’t hurt Rosberg strategy.

      Actually the only reason Vettel was ever viewed as a threat is because he can ask to switch strategies. If he forced to run same strategy as Mercedes (only pit 1 lap after the car in front pit) he won’t be viewed as threat at all.

      1. @sonicslv

        But you can’t undercut against your own team. If stopping on that lap gives you track position then that’s the ideal lap to pit and the person in first is entitled to it.

        The only time Mercedes have ever come close to giving the driver behind priority was a race where Hamilton was leading and said his tyres were fine, they told him if you want to stay out then we need to bring Nico in and he made a beeline for the pit because he didn’t want to lose to the undercut. If Hamilton had insisted on coming in on a lap to attempt an undercut, then it would be the teams duty to tell Rosberg which would then give him the choice to block it and pit that lap himself.

        The data had already shown, and confirmed by Kimi and Vettels race that a 3 stop was faster to the flag than a 2 stop. But a 2 stop would have given Hamilton track position forcing Rosberg to have to fight past him, which considering how close Vettel got would have been jeopardising a victory they didn’t need to.

        Hamilton had the chance to win by either qualifying better, getting to the first corner first, using his extra pace to pass on track or pulling some hammer time magic laps during the pit stops but he didn’t and got beaten fair and square. It makes no sense for the team to try and beat them self when best case it gives them the same result, or worse case throws away a straightforward 1-2 finish.

        Hamilton has stated in the past it’s not his job to help Nico and much the same it isn’t the teams strategists job to try and beat himself.

        1. @philipgb If the simulation already determined pitting lap X is optimal strategy and that’s the 1st driver right to pit on that lap, 2nd driver choice to pit on lap X-1 or X-5 is not magically makes it better one. The 1st driver still can opt to pit on lap X and stay on the optimal plan. After all, pitting early gives you risk of exposure at the end of the race. The 1st driver could be told when 2nd driver opt to change strategy, but I don’t like when 2nd driver outright told you can’t have different strategy than the 1st one. The problem here is Mercedes not giving option for their drivers to pursue different strategy, because we know Hamilton request to stay out is denied and he “forced” to pit right after Rosberg pitted.

          Also even though you having a hindsight that 2 pitstop is actually worse than 3 pitstop (where team simulations said 2 pit is faster) is not that much different. Hamilton won’t have much trouble keeping in front of Vettel.

  4. Yet last year I seem to recall that on at least 2 occasions Nico was given an alternative strategy so that he could have a ‘second bite of the cherry’, I think the quote was. I am sure Mercedes are trying to be fair to both drivers, but they have made other calls in the past.

    1. The extent of which was usually swapping the order of the tyre changes round so they would be on different tyres at the end of the race.

      Both drivers would still use the same tyres in the race, just the order they would use them would be different. This was what gave us the thrilling end to Bahrain, with Rosberg being on the soft tyre. Hamilton had managed to stretch a huge gap by using the soft tyre for his second stint which was destroyed by the safety car.

      They both went soft-medium-medium in Brazil, no differing strategy was available. Both used the soft tyre in Q3 so had no extra set to save for the race.

  5. http://www.skysports.com/f1/news/22058/9255824/keeping-order-at-mercedes-what-lowes-message-meant-and-mercs-clever-strategy

    ‘However, in order not for the race to be essentially over at this point the driver who was behind would be given a set of the slower prime tyres for the middle stint, putting him on the faster option tyres for the final stint when the leading driver would be on the primes. It was a strategy designed to give whoever was running behind another bite at the cherry – and to not have the competition between them switched off as early as the first stops.’

    1. A bit like Vettel tried @lass321 – though he didn’t have the speed to make it count. I think Mercedes should allow both their drivers to do this more often, but, with the soft having a much shorter stint length, I bet Mercedes will say that was a sub-optimal strategy anyway.

      1. Hamilton only got 15 laps out of the soft and about 20 from the mediums I think. They told him if he could go longer so he’d have fresher rubber for the end he was free to but he couldn’t. They also didn’t have a new set of softs available to use for one of the stops either as they used them all in qualifying saving the medium for the race. But that wouldn’t matter because no matter how you juggle the stint lengths using soft again would need 4 stops. Ferrari only got away with trying it because they are kinder to the tyres and it still proved no faster.

        There wasn’t any strategy that could give him track position because Rosberg was nailing the in an out laps. Anything they could have done that would make Hamiltons race faster they had no reason to not also do for Rosberg.

        1. As @philipgb mentions, there really was’t any good alternative option unless either of the driver could make their tyres last significantly better, or one of them messed up at some point on track. In fact Hamilton did the worse job of it, using most of their potential at the start of the stint pushing (i.e. trying to force Rosberg into making an error, something that has worked often enough, but not in the last 2 races) instead of trying to keep them going for longer.

  6. Nico Hulkenberg, who is something of an Interlagos specialist …..

    Umm, why is he an Interlagos specialist? Can someone please enlighten?

    1. @square-route I think because the only memorable drive he have in F1 is 2012 Brazilian GP. He lead the race on tricky conditions when only him and JB have the correct tire. Although in the end he ruin his own race by colliding with Hamilton and only finish 5th

  7. Don’t worry Hamilton fans, Nikki will make sure Lewis gets the advantage in 2016.
    Nikki has some investment behind Lewis if I’m not wrong as he seems to be gunning for him, I could be wrong though.
    But if Nico has the advantage next year no matter what set up, be prepared for cry gate, cheat gate and whatever whinging that will come from Lewis. But I would certainly prefer Nico to take the trophy next year. At least we’ll have some fun slugging.

  8. I think the nose regs need revisiting, it would be good if when cars have similar performance that the guy behind can challenge. Hamilton looked faster than Rosberg but could even get close to attempting a move. This wasn’t the case last season, as Brundle alluded earlier in the season, it could easily be the noses. I think the balance was a bit better last season, the guy in front had chance to defend but the guy behind could challenge more easily. Qualifying should be important, but not more than the race. I don’t really want to see the weekend essentially decided on a Saturday. If passing remains this difficult, then even if Ferrari do start to challenge more next season, if Mercedes remain faster over one lap then it’ll sterilise the competition.

    1. “Hamilton looked faster than Rosberg”

      Looked is the right word. Rosberg was busy saving tyres for the planned 2 stop race, whereas Hamilton didn’t and went on the all out attack, destroying his tyres and effectively forcing the 3 stop for them both.

      The different tactics were so noticable that punters (and most others) thought Rosberg had a tech issue, not that Hamilton was really that much faster.

      In the end, Hamilton’s tyres were shot (as he pointed out on the radio), and were the main reason he couldn’t overtake. Rosberg’s engineer told him not to drive on a similar pace or he too would have the same type of degradation.

      1. Yes. Thank you for putting it out there so straight-forward. Summed up very nicely.

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