Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

Mercedes tag team beat Vettel in hard-fought battle

2017 Spanish Grand Prix review

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By any measure, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are two of the finest drivers of their generation. Arguably, they are two of the very greatest drivers ever to be strapped into Formula One cars.

It has long been a dream of many a fan to see these two highly gifted, fiercely competitive and incredibly potent driving talents locked in battle over the most valuable prize in motorsport – the Formula One world championship. Finally, it seems like that is exactly what we will be treated to this season.

The Spanish Grand Prix showed not only that Vettel versus Hamilton is indeed the heavyweight contest that so many of us have been waiting for, but that this was just one of the early rounds in a fight that will last throughout 2017.

Three into one won’t go

The dominance of Mercedes-Benz in Formula 1’s hybrid era had been so ruthlessly efficient that it was hard not to assume that Ferrari’s competitiveness in the opening rounds would fade as the Silver Arrows introduced their first raft of major upgrades in the first European race of the season.

But with Sebastian Vettel only a lock-up away from taking a second consecutive pole from Hamilton on Saturday, Ferrari and their passionate supporters had every reason to feel confident that Mercedes were still very much beatable come Sunday.

As the lights went out, Ferrari’s ‘new start procedure’ that Hamilton had so cheekily alluded to after qualifying proved to be more effective than the one the red machines had utilised in Russia.

Vettel out-dragged his Mercedes rival on the 700 metre run to the first corner and took command of the racing line as the field swept right through the first turn. “I had a really good start,” explained Vettel after the race. “I think Lewis and myself both picked up wheelspin straight away, then I pulled the clutch in again and I could gain on him. So I was really happy with that.”

Start, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017
Raikkonen and Verstappen were first corner victims
Behind, Max Verstappen found himself with momentum and slipstream behind Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari, who had the slipstream of Valtteri Bottas’s Mercedes ahead. The three fanned out, with Verstappen sensibly laying claim to the outside line and the copious room it offered, while Bottas was forced to stay tight to the inside and hope the space afforded to him by Raikkonen would not run out. It did.

The resultant contact left both Verstappen and Raikkonen with broken steering, virtually ending their respective races on the spot. There was no blame to appoint, but that did little to ease the frustrations of the stranded Raikkonen or soothe the pain of a heart-broken young French fan in the Barcelona grandstands.

Meanwhile, a near-miss between Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso saw a significant part of the local hero’s hard work from Saturday disappear into a dust cloud while also leaving the Williams limping to the pits for a front wing change.

Vettel had taken early command of the race but, crucially, was now left to fight Ferrari’s battle against the Mercedes juggernaut alone. Mercedes would play this numbers game to their advantage later in the race, but in the early stages the sole remaining Ferrari was more than happy to take the fight to its silver rivals.

The championship leader pushed hard to build an early gap as Hamilton gave chase behind. The pair quickly began to pull away from the field, with even Bottas in third quickly losing touch with the two multiple world champions.

Bottas takes one for the team

Pre-empting an attempted undercut with Hamilton, Ferrari opted to box the leader earlier than anticipated on lap 15, fitting him with a second set of Softs. Vettel rejoined in fourth, behind Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull, but was able to quickly dispatch his former team mate without losing too much time.

Rather than mirroring Ferrari, Vettel’s early stop had turned Mercedes’s strategic focus to the end of the race and instead they asked Hamilton to push.on his older tyres. The level of effort Hamilton was exerting in attempt to make the new strategy work was audible in his breathy, laboured voice over team radio.

Hamilton eventually pitted on lap 21, but Mercedes opted for a switch to Mediums instead, banking on being able to capitalise on the pace advantage of the Softs in the final stint when Vettel would be forced to take the slower rubber.

Such was the advantage that Mercedes and Ferrari enjoyed over the remainder of the field, Mercedes realised that they could afford to keep Bottas out on track to hamper and frustrate Vettel’s progress at a time when taking advantage of the fresh Softs in clear air was at its most critical.

Vettel took just over six laps to eliminate the 11 second gap to Bottas out of the pits, latching onto the back of the Mercedes on lap 22. Despite old tyres and DRS at the Ferrari’s disposal, Bottas’s smart defensive driving meant that that Vettel was forced to spend three agonising laps staring at the rear wing of the W08, unable to pass.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017
Vettel had to take to the grass to overcome Bottas
Eventually, Vettel changed his way back into the lead thanks to a dramatically daring move along the main straight, two wheels on the grass after Bottas attempted to cover off the inside. Bottas may have been unable to keep the Ferrari at bay, but those three laps had allowed Hamilton to gain over three seconds on his rival at a time when it should’ve been the Ferrari gaining ground over the Mercedes.

It was a striking example of how serious the threat that Vettel and Ferrari now pose to the hegemony of Mercedes in Formula One. That a team which had gone to considerable lengths in recent years to allow their two drivers to race freely would compromise one of their cars to provide a strategic benefit to the other shows how Mercedes are prepared and willing to do what it must to ensure that it beats the Ferraris to the chequered flag.

Vandoorne virtually changes the race

While the battle for the lead raged, a concurrent but almost entirely separate race was taking place behind it.

Ricciardo was all alone in the Red Bull, ahead of the Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, who were showing solid pace in fifth and sixth. Pascal Wehrlein in the Sauber was adopting a similar strategy to Bottas by trying to go as long as possible on Soft tyres and had found himself in seventh, still showing respectable pace.

Renault too had made progress up the order, albeit only in the form of Nico Hulkenberg. Not for the first time this season, there was a significant gulf between Hulkenberg and his team mate, Jolyon Palmer, although the gap had been flattered somewhat by Palmer opting to ditch the Medium tyres he started on just two laps into the race.

After starting from the back of the grid following a component change penalty, Stoffel Vandoorne’s difficult weekend was about to come to an abrupt end.

Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017
Vandoorne endured a weekend to forget in Spain
Under pressure from the recovering Williams of Massa, the McLaren driver appeared to be completely unaware that the Brazilian had attempted to pass on the inside after picking up the slipstream with the help of DRS, The pair made wheel-to-wheel contact and, not for the first time in the race, the driver on the outside was left with suspension damage, instantly ending Vandoorne’s race.

The rookie could only apologise to the team over the radio as his McLaren lay stricken on the inside run-off of turn one. But it was perhaps a visual demonstration of the straight line speed deficit of the Honda power unit to its rivals that Vandoorne’s team mate Alonso has been so vocally critical of in recent seasons.

To compound the McLaren driver’s misery further, the stewards awarded him a three-place grid drop for the Monaco Grand Prix, as well as two penalty points on his super license.

The Virtual Safety Car was deployed as marshals recovered Vandoorne’s car. Perhaps the biggest instant winner from this unexpected wildcard was Wehrlein, who took the opportunity to finally pit for Soft tyres and save significant time in the process. But a late call meant the German failed to stay to the right of the pit entry bollard – earning him a five-second post-race time penalty.

Hamilton makes it stick

Back at the front, Mercedes had to make a decision whether Hamilton would be able to last the remaining 30 laps on Softs and hold off Vettel on more durable Mediums. Mercedes brought their man in just as the VSC was ending, not quite enjoying the full benefit of a stop under yellow but saving them a handful of seconds that they otherwise would not.

With Hamilton primed on fresh Softs and in clear air, Ferrari knew they had to respond to keep track position and their best chance of victory alive. Vettel pitted immediately and with Hamilton’s advantage having pitted under the VSC, the two barrelled towards the same apex at turn one as the Ferrari left the pit lane.

It was as close as the two combatants got to each other all race, with Vettel desperately holding onto his position on the inside and squeezing Hamilton as the track swept back to the left, the Mercedes having to take to the kerbs to avoid contact. It was a dramatic flashpoint in the brewing war between the two powerhouse manufacturers, but Vettel had won this battle for now.

Suddenly, Bottas was out. The Mercedes pulling off the circuit just after turn five with smoke coming from the rear. “It was unlucky with the engine,” lamented Bottas after the race, the engine having expired in its fifth weekend of use. “It could’ve done one more race, but seems like it couldn’t take anymore.”

It meant that Mercedes had lost their rear gunner. It was now a straight fight between Hamilton and Vettel for the honours.

All too aware that he must strike while he had the advantage of fresh Softs in their prime, Hamilton piled the pressure onto the Ferrari. Vettel defended with similar tenacity that Bottas had shown him earlier in the race, providing little in the way of true opportunity for Hamilton to attempt a move.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017
Hamilton took advantage of Soft tyres to pass Vettel
Almost fittingly enough, lap 44 finally presented Hamilton with the opportunity he was looking for. A good exit out of the final corner and a freshly-extended DRS zone provided the perfect combination for Hamilton to sweep past the Ferrari on the pit straight and retake the lead.

“Nothing I could do,” Vettel told the team. “He was like a train.”

Although the actual battling between the leaders would turn out to have concluded, Vettel and Ferrari did their best not to let the Mercedes out of their sights for the remaining 20 laps of the race. For the second race in succession, Vettel would spend the final third of a race trying to maintain pressure on a leading Mercedes – and ultimately having to accept second.

With the performance advantage of the Soft tyre, Hamilton was able to manage the gap to the chasing Ferrari and duly held on until the chequered flag to claim his second win of the year. That Vettel and Ferrari will leave Spain disappointed not to have won is itself hugely promising for the many fans wishing to see this increasingly intriguing battle continue over the coming season.

In victory, Hamilton recognised the role that his team mate had played in assisting him in beating the championship leader on the day, but it was also clear how much he had relished the first major skirmish between Vettel and himself in this intensely competitive 2017 season.

“That’s how racing should be,” he said. “That’s as close as it could be.”

Any newcomers tuning into the sport for the first time could be forgiven for thinking that Formula One was a two-tier series, such was the gulf in performance between the two leaders and the rest of the field that saw all cars lapped up to fourth place at the finish.

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017
Daniel Ricciardo took his first podium of the season
Daniel Ricciardo took his first podium of the season in the Red Bull after a lonely race, while Force India consolidated fourth place in the constructors championship after yet another solid double points finish for Perez and Ocon in fifth and sixth.

Carlos Sainz inherited seventh from Pascal Wehrlein following the Sauber’s penalty, having enjoyed an eventful home race of his own. But the reward of a decent points finish early in the season will certainly override any frustrations at Sauber.

Daniil Kvyat drove well to recover from a back row start after a horror qualifying to take tenth, despite late contact with Kevin Magnussen’s Haas that left the Dane out of the points with a puncture.

With a tumultuous home grand prix behind him, Fernando Alonso can now finally forget about Formula One for a couple of weeks and enjoy what is likely to be one of the biggest challenges he’ll face as a racing driver – a guest appearance at the Indy 500.

That Felipe Massa was able to make an extra pit stop following a broken front wing on the opening lap and still catch and pass Lance Stroll before the end of the race will have done little to dissuade some of the Canadian rookie’s most vocal critics. But Williams will be disappointed to leave Barcelona with no points to show for it.

Looking past the satisfying on-track action of the weekend, the 2017 Spanish Grand Prix ultimately provided a highly promising blueprint for the future of Formula One’s Liberty-era.

With a wealth of new efforts to enhance the spectator experience for race attendees and TV audiences alike, it seems that a new, open and positive spirit is sweeping through the sport.

Perhaps no better example of this than Ferrari inviting the young fan seen to be so upset at Kimi Raikkonen’s early retirement on the world feed to come to the paddock and meet with his hero in person.

It seems like with this welcome injection of fun and optimism into the sport – and an enthralling contest developing on track – there is plenty for F1 fans to look forward to in the sport’s brave new world.

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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84 comments on “Mercedes tag team beat Vettel in hard-fought battle”

  1. We’ll never know but I got the feeling watching the race that under the previous dictator, Hamilton would not have walked out of Cataluña without a penalty for not following the alternative route around the bollard. I was so relieved when they said it was fine and the race could continue…

    It was a fantastic race. The season looks brighter than ever. I’m getting that sensation I last felt in 2010, that “boy, the next race is 2 weeks away… couldn’t it be, like in an hour or two?!”. It’s so tense to watch two different teams at the peak of their game battling for wins and a championship. I’m SO, so happy about it!

    1. I last felt in 2010, that “boy, the next race is 2 weeks away

      I get what you mean. Although I felt the same way if not better in 2012. After 2012 though it’s just been downhill up until 2017.

    2. The rule book actually says when and when not to use the bollard. Keeping to the left of it, is mainly for those who missed their braking point and run wide. But if you are already at the apex of the turn when you go off track, there is no safety issue.

    3. hopefully, next race in Monaco will be an even closer fight with the RedBulls in the mix. Last year, they also had a big gap to Mercedes in the start of the season, but Monaco suits them and i remember that Danny Ric was fastest on pure race pace and should have won, if not for that pitstop disaster.

    4. You know that the FIA imposes rules and penalties right, not FOM?

      1. @selbbin yeap, but the FIA adapts itself to whoever is running the show.

    5. We’ll never know but I got the feeling watching the race that under the previous dictator, Hamilton would not have walked out of Cataluña without a penalty for not following the alternative route around the bollard.

      Hamilton did nothing wrong as the rules state you only had to go round the bollard if you went over the sausage curbs (which Hamilton did not do).

  2. FI was 4th and 5th not 5th and 6th.
    It was pretty good race considering the location. I was hoping Bottas will have more to say though. He really braked very very early into the first corner. He was a bit in front of Hamilton and just blew it completely in the braking zone. If he continues to be so cautious he will really become the helping hand to Lewis’s title.

    1. Bottas did nothing different than what Hamilton did the previous race. He was reacting to the car braking ahead of him, he won’t know how hard Vettel will brake so he gave more room to avoid hitting the car ahead.
      Besides, he was boxed in haven got a very good tow, he had to slow down quicker.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        15th May 2017, 11:05

        Agree here OOliver. We need to remember what happened to him in Bahrain 2016. He got criticized for his lunge in to T1 so maybe he wanted to be careful this time? In Bahrain, he went into the corner and didn’t brake early which resulted in contact. So he didn’t risk this and braked early. Bottas had no room even though he was going really slowly and nearly cutting the corner. He had no other choice. But I can’t blame Verstappen or Raikonnen either. Nobody was at fault.

      2. He also had an engine with 4 races on it and ready to die sitting still.

  3. I expect we will see an outbreak of crying children in future races.

    1. Liberty Media were going to attract new audiences so that’s a start I guess.

      1. Derek Edwards
        15th May 2017, 10:29

        I’m looking forward to pictures of Bernie crying in the stands and then being taken to watch the race with Chase Carey…

        1. Hahaha + 1. It’s funny when you actually picture it.

        2. Bernie would hang himself at the ticket turnstile before he went into the stands!

  4. Great race, good strategy, a bit of a bad call on the super early pit stop and timing of Seb’s last stop, nevertheless Mercedes made a perfect job on strategy, they forced mistakes. I’m only disappointed that what was called “tag team” wouldn’t be called tag team the other way round.

  5. I think Merc’s tag team strategy added to Ferrari’s strategic error sums it up. Considering that Vettel was just 3.5 seconds behind Hamilton at the end, Ferrari went to some lengths to lose this race.

    1. Dont forget keeping Bottas out just longer helped out as well. For the first time Silver Arrow team got their strategies spot on and maybe that will help them in future with a driver who complies to team orders and strategies rather than think of their own racing.

      1. Hopefully Mercedes will be considering FA to replace VB next year so they can have two cars up front rather than having to settle for only one ‘front gunner’ and one ‘rear gunner’.

        1. Sundar Srinivas Harish
          15th May 2017, 14:26

          Team work pays off more for the constructors. Also, if that little bump with Kimi managed to knock the dude out of the race, I’m not sure that Bottas drove away completely unscathed from that incident. Add his worn-out engine to the mix, his car simply did not have the pace to challenge Seb and Lewis this weekend.

        2. The only thing FA can supply nowadays is something no team wants: problems and whinning.

      2. Dont forget keeping Bottas out just longer helped out as well.

        That’s right. Bottas has openly admitted that he held-up Vettel to help Hamilton as it was his “duty”. Read this: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/129562

    2. @loup-garou Indeed. Ferrari didn’t need to pit first. Didn’t ferrari watch last years race, considering you are leading you should only definitely pit first into the last stint. Anyway im sure Ferrari had enough of a gap to pit 1 lap after Lewis, and copy their tyre strategy, avoid traffic aswell by not pitting too early and avoid Bottas by

      1. Achieving 1 stop gap. And then there was the vsc blunder. If you were to pit again you should take advantage of the vsc, or else stay out till the end of the race however vettel was on softs so he was almost obliged to pit. Mercedes were pondering not to pit as one would expect vettel to fit his mediums, therefore they would have to stay out if they wanted to win, when they saw ferraris blunder they pitted under vsc. Even though Vsc was just ending Lewis still gained lots of time, and the benefit of softs.

  6. Bottas did nothing different than what Hamilton did the previous race. He was reacting to the car braking ahead of him, he won’t know how hard Vettel will brake so he gave more room to avoid hitting the car ahead.
    Besides, he was boxed in haven got a very good tow, he had to slow down quicker.

  7. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    15th May 2017, 9:41

    I think and still think if Bottas went to the outside of lewis and not the inside he would have come out of turn 1 in the lead. But could he have kept up with that amazing pace that Seb and Lewis set? I don’t see it.

  8. while Bottas was blocking Vettel there’s a moment there I just remembered Mexico when Max and Danny sent Vettel into meltdown! This time round he handled it well. Anyway I hope this only stimulates Kimi to pick up the pace he needs to be there with Vettel and atleast deal with one Merc, 1 in itself is such a handful I can only imagine 2 Mercs and the whole pitwall/crew all gunning for you. Kimi needs to be there just as Ocon sticks with Perez, he needs to be Vettels rear gunner

    1. Bottas knocked Kimi out this race by accident and lasted long enough to help Meec double team Vettel. All fair though and this may happen the other way round at another race.

    2. @mim5 The difference is this time it was just fair racing. Verstappen in Mexico had no right to be infront of vettel, vettel knew and verstappen knew. Yeah yeah yeah, penalty after the race yada yada yada, i think this really illustrated that there are things you can’t handle after the race because it would have been too late for vettel. And in all honesty, i think vettel’s call to charlie was something that needed to be said for quite a long time. The guy keeps/kept making weirdly out of place decisions

    3. Hopefully Seb will have been seen by a sports psychiatrist to help him channel his fury into constructive actions. So far he seems to have kept his cool. Not too many bleeps so far.

  9. Mercedes were helped by the fact Raikkonen wasn’t behind Bottas. If he was, Bottas would be forced to cover Kimi and they would never let Bottas stay out for so long to compromise Seb’s race, in danger of losing Bottas’s place to Kimi. They only had to focus on countering one strategy instead of the usual two which would force Mercedes to cover the Ferrari’s.

    It helps if you have such a huge gap to Red Bull knowing that even if Bottas stayed out for far too long, he would still come out in front of Ricciardo. Mercedes had nothing to fear from behind so they used Bottas as a way to allow Lewis to get closer to Seb.

    1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      15th May 2017, 9:51

      Ya that’s right also, the fight between Seb and Lewis will be epic all year, but it would be so much better for the sport if Kimi could keep up and if the Bulls could figure a way in.

      1. I disagree with this it’s not going to be epic, with regards strategy Ferrari have Mercedes beat hands down, outside influence helped Mercedes yesterday they were lost.
        At the end it looked like Bottas helped but the nail in the coffin for Ferrari was not the VSC but the time it came out!

        1. That’s one and the same thing

    2. I think Merc knew there was a big chance Bottas engine wouldnt last. They played with it. Bottas was too slow for him to be running an healthy car.

  10. “The three fanned out, with Verstappen sensibly laying claim to the outside line and the copious room it offered”

    Well done, Keith.

    1. The three fanned out, with Verstappen sensibly laying claim to the outside line and the copious room it offered

      The copious room he failed to make use of, resulting in the accident:


      1. Now know as Verstopp’in Caus’ he be making so many Stop’in and crash’in kid!

  11. Ahah TBH you English fans failing to enjoy and plaud your driver for being the overall best in modern F1 makes me laugh everytime.
    In a decade you will regret not having hamilton around anymore and maybe will be able to look back at his career and notice how extraordinary he really is.

    1. To be honest its the British way. Some quarters think he is not “British enough”.

      1. To be fair he is very heavily USA influenced. Reasonably normal for his generation. Does not appeal to many

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      15th May 2017, 11:37

      I don’t really get involved in the whole Nationality thing. I want the driver who does the best job to win, not just the British guy in the fastest car.

    3. Some of us very much appreciate him.

    4. F1 has never been a nationality sport!
      You like a driver you support him, where is from does not matter to you!

      1. Maybe not to you, or me for that matter, but for a lot of people nationality determines who they go for. Just look at the sudden influx of Dutch fans all going for Max, or the Spanish that love Alonso.

        1. That’s because he’s doing well, also you will have people from a country support their own, not all dutch people will support him!

  12. Bottas a.ka roscoe,hamiltons bulldog

  13. I really enjoyed the race but what made it special for me was seeing a little boy crying when Kimi retired and then to see that same little boy with Kimi later was really special … who say’s the Iceman hasn’t got a heart.

    1. It was a ‘nice’ moment. Certainly an opportunistic PR exercise by Ferrari and possibly FOM. I doubt Kimi had any say in the matter (although, that’s just my assumption based on Kimi generally being an ignoramus.)

      But, that’s what made this race special for you!?

      Crikey, F1 is doomed.

      1. Don’t misunderstand me the race between Seb and Ham was thrilling but you don’t see footage like that very often, it may have been staged but it was nice to see. Not sure I would call Kimi an ignoramus though but he sure ain’t the most endearing and approachable of people and appears to have all the charisma of a cold kipper.

    2. Fukobayashi (@)
      15th May 2017, 15:04

      I have a sneaking suspicion this kid was crying at something unrelated and the PR machine absolutely pounced on the opportunity.

      I also think Sky F1 interviewing the kid, in french afterwards was total overkill.

      I also wish Seb’s double dummy got as much replay action as aforementioned crying child!

      1. The interview with the lad was not shown here. I agree with your comments on overkill though, it was warming to see but one maybe too airings would have been enough.

  14. It may have been commented upon here already but I don’t really understand how Hamilton was so close to Vettel when he came out of the pits. I was watching the C4 highlights and it seems only a minute before Vettel had a 4.5 second lead still. It had come down from 7.8 seconds. But suddenly it seems out of nowhere they were racing on the same piece of tarmac. What happened? I know Vettel’s stop was not the fastest but it still seems odd.

    1. To clarify this was after Vettel had been held up by Bottas I recall. He still had a 4.5 second advantage according to what I was watching.

      1. An extra lap on new softs followed by a tyre advantage

    2. There are 2 factors. A pit stop under VSC would save 7-8 seconds, but VSC ended as soon as Hamilton reached his pit, which saved him about 3-4 secs, and next is the undercut on sifts vs medium which yielded another 3-4 seconds. If Mercedes had pitted a lap earlier, then he would have been ahead.

      1. OK thank you. A very useful explanation.

      2. @vishy
        Mercedes did not pit a lap earlier as that would have allowed Vettel to still respond and pit as well under the VSC (at least partially). Ferrari did not pit as they feared that Hamilton would simply stay out and finish the race on mediums. It was the wrong decision at least in hindsight.

        1. +1. Merc cornered Ferrari on strategy here and I think at that point they should have converted to a 3 stop.

  15. Calling these guys two of the very greatest is a stretch. Didn’t Hamilton lose the championship to the 3rd or 4th best German driver (depends how high you rate Wehrlein) on the grid last season in equal machinery? Before you blame Hamilton’s sole mechanical non-points finish for the season (the other non-points finish was when Hamilton made a mistake in Spain and took himself and his teammate out), I would like to point out that Hamilton butchered 7 starts, threw his toys out of the pram and gave up in Shanghai, crashed in Baku qualifying, crashed in Spain, got smoked by a Red Bull in Singapore while his teammate cruised to victory. This is why he lost the championship to the 3rd or 4th best driver on the grid.

    Vettel got blown away by Ricciardo in 2014 and was underwhelming in 2016.

    I rate Vettel higher than Hamilton because he’s done it harder and 4 championships is better than 3.

    2 of Vettel’s 4 championships were won in dominant cars, while 2 of Hamilton’s 3 were won in cars even more dominant than the cars Vettel ever had. What’s more, Hamilton blew his chance at a 4th championship in 2016 by failing to beat his journeyman teammate. That’s got to count against his legacy.

    Vettel’s had 4 opportunities to win a championship and took it everytime.

    Hamilton’s had the most dominant car of all time from 2014-16 and could only win 2 out of 3. Had opportunities to win the championship in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, but could only convert in 2008 (and that was on the final corner and against Massa of all drivers).

    1. Hows that salt for you?

    2. nelson piquet
      15th May 2017, 16:51

      exactly what i’m thinking. probably the fastest driver but not the most consistent. i rate rosberg almost as high as him because they were so close. but he’ll win this year anyways because ferrari is already on the limit with engine parts what will lead to several grid penalties from silverstone on till the end of the season.

    3. Mercedes doesn’t run a one driver team.
      And are you sure you followed F1 these past few years? Wehrlein has never raced for Mercedes in F1.

      1. You could argue Wehrlein showed better race craft than Rosberg last year therefore Rosberg was 4th best German driver on the grid.

        Ferrari has two world champions driving. 5 championships between them.

        Mercedes has a world champion that got beat in a straight fight with Rosberg and Bottas the guy who was not much faster than a Massa who should have retired 5 years ago.

        Mercedes is the one driver team. Don’t make me laugh saying it’s Ferrari.

    4. Go back to 4chan with that crap tier bait.

    5. Are you really saying that Seb did not have the best car for 3 of his 4 world titles …. get real.

      1. The fact is every time he had the best car he won the championship.

        Hamilton has failed to emulate that.

        Even this year, Hamilton has the best car, has a teammate taking points off of Vettel, has a teammate willing to move over and resort to borderline illegal blocks to help him, has the best car, yet is still trailing Vettel in the championship.

        1. And the fact is apart from RIC Seb has never had a top tier team mate. In fact I remember Webber being more than a match for Vettel in 2010 before the Pirelli era. So you can be selective all you like in how you view things via those rose tinted glasses but it works both ways.

          If Ricciardo (who was beaten by Kyvat) could beat Vettel I could also argue that Vettel would have antough time against Kyvat who is now struggling against Sainz at Toro Rosso.

          And so therefore by that logic Vettel is only good in a great car as the clear number 1. See how this cherrypicking works?

          1. Webber would be at least as quick as Rosberg (Webber beat him as teammate). Certainly had better race craft. Raikkonen is certainly better than Rosberg and Bottas.

            Bottas wasn’t much quicker than a Massa 8 years past his prime remember. And Hamilton’s not much quicker than Bottas.

    6. Hamilton lost between 40 and 80 points to Rosberg due to mechanically issues and was only 5 points behind at the end of the season. Yes he lost because of mechanical issues. Simple as that.

  16. Fukobayashi (@)
    15th May 2017, 15:06

    Hamilton pitted while Vettel still had half a sector of VSC reduced speed delta driving to do. Vettel pitted while Hamilton was running at full pelt as the VSC had ended.

    1. I think Mercedes only gained close to 4 seconds from the VSC stop, the rest came from the fresher tyres. By the time Hamilton got to his box the VSC was long over. It took Ferrari, 2 laps to react.

  17. It’s funny that I keep reading about how Ferrari have a strict 1-2 policy for their drivers and Mercedes allows their drivers to race, when through the first five races it’s been Mercedes which has consistently employed Bottas in the Number 2 role. That’s a criticism of the media – I don’t have a problem with teams employing whatever strategies they deem best.

    1. I agree fireblade Mercedes has constantly ben using team orders, with bottas and last yaer in monaco, but the media giggles (crofty) when vettel is about to overtake raikkonen on fresh tyres but ferrari actually chooses to get raikkonen to pit which is far more sportsmanlike, in russia ferrari could have used rai as a blocker but they sent him in.

  18. Tbh I blame kimi for the crash. Bottas had the inside and never obstructed kimis line. Kimi turned into bottas path, not the other way round.

    I always hated the fact that the fia rarely investigate first lap collisions just because “its chaotic” or whatever

    1. @roundtheoutside your tag is ironic. The guys round the outside are most definitely not at fault, similar to palmer in Russia. Bottas hit Raikkonens rear, Valtteri braked too early and then took the inside line with no space and 2 cars on the outside, it might have worked if Max had not taken the huge risk of going to the outside. One thing is certain the man in the middle is not at fault.

  19. An open comment to Toto Wolf : “Toto, please be a sportsman, let Bottas race “.
    You said that you want the competition and you said you will let your two drivers race against each other. That was the talk now walk the walk . You used Bottas to block Vettel , that helped Hamilton but, hurt Vettel ( which was your plan ) and hurt Bottas ( which you were obviously willing to do ) . Neither was illegal and both made sense but, neither was ” sporting”.
    If you really invite competition than let the racers race, don’t sacrifice one of your drivers to interfere with the competition . What you did in Spain certainly helped Hamilton and the results ( and any repetition’s ) will get Hamilton another driver’s title but, that strategy does not help your constructor’s bid as what you gain for Hamilton you lose for Bottas and more important : you ruin the race for the fans .
    We all want to see a true battle for the top spot. Let Vettel and Hamilton (and even Bottas and Raikonnen fight it out ). The two Ferraris and two Mercedes are close enough in pace and the four drivers are close enough in skill that any one of them ( especially Vettel and Hamilton ) can win any race .
    This is what all F1 fan want to see ( especially after the last 3 seasons of watching ” follow the leader”).
    So Toto ,please be a man about this , that is a Sportsman , and stop with the team orders . Bottas does not deserve it ( he is a potential world champion so let him try for it ) . Hamilton does not deserve it ( because by using Bottas to block Vettel you are in effect saying to Hamilton that you don’t think that Hamilton can ,on his own, beat Vettel . Vettel does not deserve it ( because as great as he is you can’t expect him to take on two Silver Arrows) and most important -WE the fans don’t deserve it . We deserve to see what will prove to be some of F1’s all-time great racing : four super-cars and four great drivers ( 3 are world champs and the 4th is not far behind) all fighting for the win .
    Aren’t you a true race fan ? Don’t you want to see this ? How can you interfere with it ?
    Toto please , let them all race .

    1. Bottas’ first stint pace was poor which forced a conservative strategy on him.

    2. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      15th May 2017, 22:03

      Are u kidding? It’s part of Formula One strategy to do what was done with Bottas holding Vettel up. It wasn’t dirty, they didn’t break any rules and Vettel made the overtake. You sound high or something.

  20. In wheel to wheel battles for the win Hamilton usually comes out on top, even with a car disadvantage.

    1. What was his car disadvantage on Sunday being on the faster tyres?

      1. No kidding. Faster car, much faster in a straight line.

        Vettel on new softs was struggling to pass Bottas on 30 lap old tyres such is the advantage of the Mercedes.

        Mercedes is so fast that even their number two driver can get a pole and race win. I can’t imagine Kimi doing that in a Ferrari.

        1. It wasn’t Mercedes being faster it was Vettel not being as good in sector 3 as Bottas and Hamilton which meant he had more DRS assisted work to do on the main straight.
          Face facts Ferrari have a car just as good, if not better than Mercedes this year.

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