Hamilton takes a big win after Vettel risks too much

2017 Singapore Grand Prix review

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If Lewis Hamilton wins his fourth world championship in two months’ time, the Singapore Grand Prix may well be seen as a decisive moment.

As the cars lined up on the grid Sebastian Vettel occupied pole position, four places ahead of Hamilton. Had they finished in that order, not an unrealistic prospect on a circuit where overtaking is formidably tough, Vettel would have re-taken the championship lead from Hamilton and headed to Malaysia with a 12 point margin over the Mercedes driver.

Instead Vettel’s race was over after a few corners and Hamilton motored on to a third straight win which gives him an imposing 28-point lead.

Ferrari pincer move wreaks havoc

The near-impossibility of overtaking another car in Singapore makes the sprint to this first corner one of the most fraught of the season. Last year Nico Hulkenberg’s race ended before the cars got that far as the drivers vied for position in the midfield.

This time the collision happened at the front of the pack. A heavy pre-race shower had left the track wet, but just clear enough for a standing start to be considered acceptable. The field was split between whether to go for full wets or shallow-grooved intermediate tyres. But the downforce advantage of the big three teams counts in these circumstances, and all their drivers opted for intermediates.

The wet start led to chaos
Kimi Raikkonen had expressed concerns about the decision not to use full wets, but when the lights went out he made a peach of a start. That shortly created a problem for his team mate, who had got away less well and was edging towards Max Verstappen, who had a chance to go down the inside.

The flying Raikkonen drew alongside both and suddenly both Ferraris were converging on the Red Bull. Contact was made, the RB13 firing Raikkonen’s car into Vettel’s. Raikkonen’s out-of-control Ferrari then skidded towards turn one where, with sickening inevitably, it smashed into Verstappen a second time. The fast-starting Fernando Alonso was now besides both of them and Verstappen almost tipped the McLaren onto its roll hoop.

Vettel had managed to slow his car for turn one and kept the lead of the race with Hamilton on his tail. But as he accelerated towards turn five his damaged car snapped sideways into the barrier, tearing the nose off. He was told to stop the car. “You sure?” he asked. “Yes,” came the dispassionate reply. “OK,” Vettel replied. “Sorry guys. I’m really sorry.”

Afterwards Ferrari tried to pin the blame on Verstappen. The stewards drew the correct conclusion that it had been nothing more than a racing incident. But as Verstappen observed, Vettel’s strong defence at the start had been an incautious approach for a driver with so much to gain and lose in the championship fight.

“Today we were on the wrong side of the track, which doesn’t help,” Vettel offered by way of explanation afterwards. “I had an average start and then I moved slightly to the left trying to defend my position from Max.”

Raikkonen reckoned “I don’t think I could have really done anything differently to avoid it, apart from doing a bad start and not being there.” In fairness to Vettel, he didn’t seem to have accounted for the possibility his team mate was where he was.

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Hulkenberg and Perez make gains

Hulkenberg briefly held a podium position
The field followed the Safety Car through the pits for three laps while the track was cleared of debris. Hamilton, who’d briefly feared Vettel’s spinning Ferrari was going to wipe him out, was being followed by Daniel Ricciardo. The Red Bulls had been very quick over a race stint in practice but Ricciardo was nursing a gearbox which his team feared would not last until the end.

Nico Hulkenberg had not lost any places at the start and was now running third. Against expectations, this presented him with a chance to avoid setting a new record for starting the most races without finishing on the podium. Renault had started both cars on the full wet weather tyres as they had found it difficult to make the intermediates work at Monza.

From 12th on the grid, Sergio Perez’s Force India was now fourth ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Jolyon Palmer. The latter swapped positions when the Safety Car came in thanks to an inspired restart by the under-fire Renault driver.

Hamilton pulls away

Hamilton edged out a five-second lead over the gearbox-troubled Ricciardo. But opportunity knocked for Red Bull on lap 11 when Daniil Kvyat, shortly after telling his engineer to let him concentrate on driving, conducted a real-world test of the expanded TecPro barrier at Memorial corner.

The Safety Car was scrambled and Mercedes opted to leave Hamilton out on his warm, worn intermediate tyres. Red Bull did the opposite, bringing Ricciardo in. When Hamilton complained about being left out on old tyres his race engineer Pete Bonnington pointed out Red Bull were always likely to do the opposite to them and had they brought Hamilton in, Ricciardo would have been left out to take track position.

Hamilton said afterwards it “was a bit of a surprise to me that [Ricciardo] could have a free stop and be behind me on brand new tyres”. But the Mercedes driver was revelling in his car’s handling on a track due to the humidity which was drying slowly.

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He likened the conditions to one of his previous wins on a wet street track. “If you remember back in 2008 in Monaco, I just nursed the tyres. We often shred our intermediate tyres and the Red Bulls are usually very, very good on them, so today was just about making sure we managed them to the maximum. I was able to keep them cool and not have any degradation.”

When the Safety Car came in on lap 14 this looked like Ricciardo’s opportunity to go on the attack. But Hamilton pulled away again and had the luxury of a ten-second lead as the track grew dry enough for the most daring drivers to consider slicks.

Kevin Magnussen can usually be relied upon to channel the spirit of Jean Alesi and be the first to risk dry-weather tyres. Sure enough on lap 24 he appeared in the pits for a set of ultra-softs, joined later that same lap by Felipe Massa’s Williams. Two laps later Lance Stroll followed them, and now the tipping point had been reached.

Ricciardo was increasingly inclined to take a shot at slicks but the gaps behind him were not working out. Eventually his team bit the bullet and brought him in, knowing he would emerge behind Palmer and that venturing off-line to pass the Renault would be fraught with risk on such a slippery track.

Palmer was soon out of the way, however, and by pitting one lap before the leader Ricciardo was able to take a big bite out of his lead. Once Hamilton’s slicks were up to temperature, however, Ricciardo’s performance was once again kept in check.

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Ericsson crashes out

Ericsson’s race ended in the wall
Hamilton’s progress to the finishing line was briefly disturbed by a third and final Safety Car period, caused by Marcus Ericsson who hit the Andersen Bridge. The Sauber took several laps to be removed from one of the narrowest sections of track on the calendar.

Meanwhile Bottas had arrived in third place with little drama. The three cars which had separated him from Ricciardo had all started on full wets which meant they pitted during the first Safety Car period.

“I was struggling in the beginning of the race in the wet just purely with the pace,” he admitted afterwards. “Have been struggling with the pace all weekend but as the track started to dry up everything was feeling actually not too bad and could keep up with the guys ahead.”

The Mercedes driver might have had to worry about Hulkenberg but the Renault power unit was suffering an oil leak. That forced Hulkenberg into the pits and eventually ended all hope he might finish at all, let alone in the top three.

As in China, Carlos Sainz Jnr had been bold with his tyre selection at the start and now came the pay-off. He inherited fourth place from his future team mate which was his as long as he kept Perez at arm’s length. Palmer was up to sixth ahead of Vandoorne, Stroll and Romain Grosjean. Hulkenberg’s final demise promoted Esteban Ocon to the final points place.

Three Safety Car periods and the reduced pace caused by the wet conditions meant the race hit the two-hour time limit three laps shy of its scheduled distance. During the final stint Mercedes initially advised Hamilton to moderate his pace in order to keep the field bunched up and make it harder for any drivers to pit in the event of a Safety Car period. But Hamilton felt more comfortable driving to his own limit, so Mercedes let him dictate the pace.

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Hamilton seizes championship advantage

Hamilton celebrated a potentially pivotal victory
Hamilton’s seventh win of 2017 was surely his least expected, at least until he rounded turn five in the lead on the first lap. While no driver won back-to-back races before the summer break he’s now taken three victories in a row.

And a 28-point lead in the championship moves him past that valuable psychological hurdle of being more than a victory ahead of the competition. Nonetheless he insisted it “won’t change anything.”

“Whatever it is with the approach that I have, there’s no reason to change it. It’s a perfect balance of being aggressive and cautious at the same time.”

It was that balance which Vettel failed to strike perfectly at the start of the race, and it could prove to be a pivotal moment for the championship outcome.

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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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182 comments on “Hamilton takes a big win after Vettel risks too much”

  1. The 1st photo, with the colliding Ferraris… says it all. Wonder if Marchionne/Arrivabene wonder the same thing as I do: was a mistake to sign VET for another 3 years (if he loses the champ by less than 30 points)?!?!? Maybe they should have fired both of the current drivers and hire Giovinazzi and Leclerc for 2018. Pocket money salaries, but fast and talented drivers in their cars. How bad could it be?

    1. Are comments like that serious?

      1. I want to believe it’s just an overreaction…

    2. Are you crazy? Because of one mistake, which was a racing incident, not signing most technically gifted guy and bloody fast racer? Just watch his brazil comeback to get back his almost lost championship. I am rooting for mercedes but Seb is more gifted than Schumacher. He is a guy who didn’t lose from pole (today exception). I rate Max and Seb on top among current drivers, although they are a little hot headed

      1. then your judgement is somewhat skewed as alonso and hamilton are superior drivers to vettel. sure put him in car that is suited to his style and he looks good. ricciardo out performed him in 2014 in the same car. his titles from 2010 to 2013 were won in the best car in the field, but still hamilton, button and alonso won in inferior machinery. Seb is a very good driver when everything is swinging his way but is quick to be unsettled and childish. I would suggest that were he in the same machinery as Hamilton, Alonso, Ricciardo, Verstappen and possibly Hulkenberg he’d find himself 6th more often than not.

        1. Alonso, a 100million dollar man


        2. Well, 4WDC vs 3 & 2 says VET is the better driver.

          1. My dad’s bigger than your dad.

          2. If you play that game Hamilton has far more wins and poles. But that game is meaningless, so it doesn’t matter.

          3. Yes it would normally suggest that … But you seemed to miss the point about vettle only being able to win in superior cars.
            Plus this inside the shows how he got those WDC’s. By being a stupid hot headed bad looser

          4. “Well, 4WDC vs 3 & 2 says VET is the better driver.”
            maybe, but he screwed up big time yesterday – no need to be so aggressive – he knew Hamilton was back in fifth and it would have been difficult to pass Verstappen & Raikonnen and Ricciardo, so just had to stay out of trouble and the race was his!
            Shockingly poor judgement from a 4x WDc and driver “supposedly” better than Hamilton and Alonso

          5. says VET is the better driver.

            No. A lot of people would probably rate drivers like Stirling Moss or Gilles Villeneuve better than Rosberg(s combined) for example.

            And a lot of people also probably think Senna is better than Prost – not an opinion I’d try to oppose.

          6. Well, 4WDC vs 3 & 2 says VET is the better driver.

            Well if you just want to cherry pick arbitrary stats:

            Hamilton has:
            – More poles than Vettel
            – More wins than Vettel
            – Has won at least one race in every season he has had a race winning car F1 (Vettel hasn’t)
            – Has won championships with more than one F1 team (Vettel hasn’t)
            – Has won championships in more than one regulation era (Vettel hasn’t)
            – Has had more than one WDC teammate to compete against (Vettel hasn’t)
            – Has consistently earned less penalty points than Vettel

            I could go on but I think you get the point.

          7. well using that logic you would also infer that alain prost was a better driver than Senna, Mansell, Alonso, Hamilton and Hakkinen – which i can assert that he is not.

          8. you can assert all you want but I don’t have to agree. I reckon, however, that Senna was better than Prost strictly in the wet.

        3. @ steveetienne, oh really, which inferior car Hamilton had (Diva Merc maybe). Alonso 2005-06 Renault were awfully slow. Button Brawn was so slow that he was dead last for the first six races.

          1. @AK … Hamilton is the only driver of the current crop to win the championship in a car that didn’t win the WCC. If you check the records you will see how rare an achievment that is… and it gives the lie to the idea that Hamilton has always needed the best car. In fact he won 22 GPs in a non WCC winning car. Those who whine about Mercedes dominance forget what he had achieved even before making even better fortune with a brave career decision that was widely mocked at the time.

          2. I always find weird how everyone conveniently forgets Raikkonen on that list.. He also did the same..
            This is the type of commentary I hate from politicians.. It is true that McLaren was Disqualified in 2007, but still that doesn’t take the fact that they had far more points than Ferrari..

          3. in a car that didn’t win the WCC

            I’d say that’s more to do with KOV than McLaren though – no other team mate has been that bad against HAM since as far as I remember

          4. @Sabian My apologies for neglecting Rai and thanks for pointing that out. Agree that statistics don’t always tell the full story (particularly in ploitics) but they are generally better than the partisan emotion so often seen online. I think my point remains intact that even including Rai it is a rare achievement to win regularly enough in a non WCC winning car to take the drivers’ crown and not something to be forgotten in the measuring of things.

          5. @davidnotcoulthard An element of Kov underperformance I am sure, as there is likely to be in such achievements. Hence no single measure of achievement is a slam dunk. There is always a basket of things to consider and this is just one aspect. In Hamilton’s case I think his way weather record also counts in his favour in placing him amongst the very best.

        4. @keithcollantine I’m not into hindering freedom of speech, and everyone sharing their opinions but we really need more admins I feel…

      2. @ TurboBT: only that this Ferrari doesn’t look like the best car in wet conditions… if compared to past or present RBRs. Then, this 4-titles VET seems to be doing more mistakes than a 2-titles VET. Plus, what’s the value of a 4-titles driver if he’s throwing away champs? Zero. So, I really don’t see what’s so nuts about reconsidering VET contract if he loses 2017 by less than 30 points. That’s the amount of points he lost in Baku and Singapore… to say the least.

      3. I too think @mg1982 is overreacting but Seb “more gifted than Schumacher”? Can’t agree with that bro, I think Ayrton Senna would’ve disagree as well.

        1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
          18th September 2017, 15:10

          We can just ask HAM what Senna thinks

      4. @TurboBT: absolutely disagree, schumacher was way better than vettel, and won even in inferior cars, look at benetton, and got close to winning in far inferior car (97 and 98), plus won without the best car in the field (in these cases joint-best) in 2.000 and 2.003, not to mention he was generally stronger in the wet, which vettel lacks even in comparison to hamilton.

    3. Aggressive move by Vettel bit him, but to be fair, he couldn’t have known Kimi was there shutting down any escape route for Max. Racing

      1. This is basically it. Bad start, not enough visibility, a racer instinct, the need for split second decisions. Everybody is analyzing this afterwards in slow motion, but down in the car, it’s a whole different thing.

      2. I think Kimi is the one who triggered all that mess, he made a great start but ….

        1. No he wasn’t because he has already passed Max, before they get to the Corner Max will be beside Vettel, so Vettel wanted to make his entry into the turn 1 more tighter and uncomfortable.

      3. By the same logic, he couldn’t have known that Kimi wasn’t there, but if he’d been smarter, he’d have considered that possibility, and made sure he got to lap two.

        It’s so much easier to lose the race at the first corner than to win it, and as a 4-time WDC you’d hope that he achieved his titles by some level of skill and experience, not just luck and blind optimism.

    4. Thank God you aren’t within reach of any managerial position within an f1 team!

      1. Hardly believe that. At the moment, it looks like I am right: Ferrari is paying their drivers at least 50mil euro per year to throw out of the window their title chances in just 3 seconds with 2 rookie mistakes (Baku + Singapore). So, if they’re not going to win anything, at least keep the money and invest them in the car development. And there’s no better proof that I am right than RBR. RBR managed to win 4 titles with a rookie VET and they’re doing a great job without any champs in their cars since VET left the team. So, it’s really working. As long as the car is good enough to win, RIC, VER and some others could do the same job as VET/RAI for a lot less money. If you ask me, Ferrari spends too much for a losing team.

        1. You are missing the point i think. Ferrari is where it is due to those drivers. Also Mercedes/drivers made far more bad decisions and had more bad luck than Ferrari. RBR had a great chassis (they still do) which helped them win it easier than others give them credit for! Brown got away with WCC/WDC tittle all thanks to chassis! Before Brown’s car, Button was nowhere… So what is the point of rookie? if you dont have a great car! To win a race/champs, first you need to finish a race! Today they couldnt, end of story. Move on…

  2. Post qualifying interview HAM : “Max is right behind Vettel so anything can happen”

    Race – Max, Kimi, Vettel crash – anything happened…. sigh

    Entire blame on Vettel according to me but Hamilton got that right !

    1. @redbullf1

      I’m pretty sure he’s feeling blessed roundabout now

      1. Oh yes he is!!! Blessings on blessings on blessings!!

      2. @philipgb I’d say rightly so – which isn’t to say that he got lucky in like a lottery or something though.

    2. But he could be collected also in the first corner because of his good start.

    3. Max was not to blame but Lewis got a point, he’s usually a little bit too anxious when lights go out.

    4. I’m trying not to look at the images anymore, because each time it increases the feeling that VER would avoided the incident. I mean: yes, VET swerved greatly into VER, but, by the moment VER touched RAI, it seems that VET’s car was entirely ahead of VER’s car and the move into RAI was not necessary to avoid VET. Yes again, it is hard to expect that a driver is willing to brake in order to avoid a collision in a position dispute at the start, but VER lost the position to RAI and didn’t overtake VET. In conclusion, VER had no place between the ferraris and should have settle down into third (again, that’s very rational but hard to ask from a young driver).

      1. Vet drove to the left, forcing VES to respond. Rai just didn’t respond at all and as a result he drove against the tire of VES, not the either way around. If only Rai went left for just a couple of cm, he would have passed VES without any collision.

        1. If you see the footage frame by frame VER move to the left before VET because VER saw RAI gaining from the inside.

      2. When everyone ends up discussing the fractions of seconds and millimetres that one or other driver could have moved to avoid an accident, then the bigger picture is being missed. Yes, if Verstappen had god-like reactions, maybe he could have slowed down and steered skilfully enough to avoid colliding with either Ferrari. Only then both Ferraris would have collided! Simple physics. Vettel just had too much speed and angle, and Raikkonen was already starting to turn right.

        On the other hand, why was the situation leading to the collision created in the first place? Only one driver was responsible for that: Vettel. He went for the Schumacher chop. And what’s that about? Cutting across the path of another driver so they have to take action to avoid a collision. So ‘potential collision’ is deliberately built into the chop. It counts on the other driver taking evasive action. Fine. Or fine if the collision doesn’t happen. But when it does – and when especially the other driver doesn’t actually have any means of evasion, then it seems to me it’s a penalty situation. It’s the risk built into the tactic. And if it doesn’t come off, then it should be duly punished. It’s irrelevant that Vettel didn’t imagine Raikkonen would be there. It’s the risk he took in making that maneouvre. And it’s also irrelevant that he came out of it badly and damaged his title chances. He also ruined the race for 3 other drivers. But he drives for Ferrari and Formula 1 still can’t weed itself off giving Ferrari special favours.

        1. I would add to that, at the start of a race why would you think that another car (i.e. Raikonnen) wouldnt be on the other side of Verstappen ? Whilst Vettel had every right to move over and defend it was foolhardy to try and force Verstappen further left across the track than he already was. Vettel was almost ahead and just a little further he would have been able to head Max off. Whilst Vettel got his just dessert (thankfully no one was hurt) it ruined three other drivers races.

  3. Ferrari can’t get out of their own way – talk about bad strategy! It reminds me of 2010 when they screwed up Alonso’s WDC concentrating on Weber instead of Vettel.

    After watching the start a dozen times, it does appear Max was caught off guard with Kimi on the outside and ever so slightly squeezed him which started the havoc. Definitely a racing incident though.

    Vettel shouldn’t have been anywhere near those two – he moved over much too far. If it were the last race of the season and Vettel had to go for it to secure a championship I understand. But he most likely would have finished a couple of spots ahead of Hamilton and gotten back into the WDC.

    Ferrari isn’t exactly innocent. They surely understood the race wouldn’t be settled in the first corner and stressed for the drivers to be cautious about being overly aggressive, especially in the wet.

    It will be hard for Vettel to recover now, though he didn’t sulk like Hamilton did yesterday after qualy – he hasn’t thrown in the towel and remains upbeat. The win he threw away in Baku may come back to haunt him.

    1. You expect drivers to be happy and party accordingly after a bad day… good logic…

      Watch it as much as you want, Vettel turned to left far too much unnecessarily… He should have kept a cool head… Max/Rai clashh would/could happen but all history now, everything happened, and Ham won. Like last year, Msia, ifs shoulds coulds will not change result, it is only good for us for probability talk but life goes on…

      1. It amazes me this idocy that is written here after every race…EVERY single pole sitter that feels a threat does THE EXACT SAME MANUEVER after the start to protect their lead… it just so happens that Kimi was in a spot nobody expected him to be in and Max couldnt move left like all the challengers normally do… those are the facts…..anything else is BS to fit the posters BS agenda

        1. The only agenda that should have been on Vettel’s mind yesterday was to stay clear of any possible first corner incidents. Especially in a tight track with no run-off like Singapore. Especially at night. Especially in the rain. Especially with Verstappen behind. Extra caution might have cost him a place or two, but he’d have two hours in the best-performing car for damage control. But no, as you say, he just did the exact same maneuver as if no special circumstances were there. And here’s the result – it’s likely he lost the championship.

          1. The only agenda that should have been

            To be fair @zimkazimka if ends up finishing the race 3rd (overtaking ain’t easy in SG) and then loses the championship by a point you’d probably complain about that (no you wouldn’t have known that a bit more…perhaps “bravery” would’ve wiped him out).

            Hindsight is 20/20.

          2. You mean like last year in Malaysia where he crashed into Rosberg in turn one

        2. Mark, I’ve tried answering that above. Yes, the chop is a common tactic. But it counts on the other driver reacting to avoid colliding with you out of self-preservation. So if for any reason they can’t, then basically the driver using the chop has caused a collision. In which case, they should be penalized. I don’t see any contradiction in that argument. Do it – but know the risk if it doesn’t work (and not just that you may come out of the collision badly).

    2. Well, you’re right about that…Vettel didn’t sulk….today. He’s sulked plenty in the past, and blamed teammates for his own failings. And let’s not forget he intentionally ran into the side of Lewis and accused him of brake checking him behind the safety car when Lewis did no such thing….Vettel should have be excluded from the race for that mess, but got away with it because the FIA is a complete joke. Karma done came.

      1. Like happened before:

        Team: Sebastian has retired
        Hamilton: Karma!

        Wait it is supposed to be Alonso :)

  4. Fighting for track position at the first corner at Singapore usually does make sense. But not with rain. The number of probable safety cars and the likelihood of a difficult window as the track dried – when to go from intermediates to softs – always meant that team’s could use strategy to get past via the pits. Besides Vettel really just had the objective of finishing several places ahead of Hamilton, not risking a collision with Verstappen.

  5. There goes my prediction picks for this week. If i didnt change my first pick i would have had at least 1 driver right. If it would have played out without the crash i think i would have been pretty close. Lets hope people dont make up to much ground on my picks!

    1. Anyone who got that right @racerdude7730 must have Vol. 2 of Gray’s Sports Almanac 2015-2030 ;)

      After qualifying I was feeling smug with my prediction but it got blown out of the water. (Not that I’m anywhere near the top, in just trying to beat my wife)

      I reckon you’ll be fine

  6. Were Mercedes faster than Red Bull here today? Daniel was managing a gearbox issue, which I know from F1 2017… lol… is a big loss of pace…

    1. which I know from F1 2017… lol…

      Hahaha excellent

        1. Lol the gearbox in my career is the only one I am having trouble with among power unit parts…

  7. Vettel forgot which race he was in. His race was always and only with Hamilton. To win that race, he had to get past the first corner intact. He says, “I had an average start.” Truthful translation: “I didn’t have the start I wanted, I knew I was going to get challenged.” Once that happened, his mind should have swiftly transitioned to taking the lowest risk line into the first corner whatever the cost in places, ie overtakes by Verstappen or Raikkonen, get out of it intact, and live to fight on against Lewis. He simply forgot his mission: beating Lewis to the flag.

    Regardless of whether he had a right to the line he took or who was “at fault” for the incident, Seb has no one to blame but himself for the catastrophic outcome to his championship. Truly one of the worst mental mistakes I’ve ever seen a champion driver make.

    1. absolutely spot on.

    2. It’s hard to break the habits of a lifetime, Seb’s made a successful career out of starting on pole and pushing the number 2 car off track at the 1st. corner.

    3. Great outcome , for a moment I thought Seb was going to get away with taking out Max,and Kimi but then when he spun I thought yes there is a god.
      His comment after the crash that he moved “just slightly left” was just golden.

    4. Dead right. All VET had to do as finish in front of HAM. VETs Baku brain snap and this unnecessary start move have me wondering what’s going on with that young chap.

      1. Watching the start again Seb moves 3 car widths to his left but he wasn’t far enough ahead, Max 1 car width to the right and Kimi had a huge start and moved 1 car width to his left – so a needless although gung ho (from Seb) combination of factors neatly summed up here! To me it looks like Seb was trying to take out Max but the whole thing backfired….

        1. Yes, he was trying to do his usual overly aggressive start routine (namely that of aiming at the driver next to him and hoping that the other driver backs out). It is fine to pull across to defend your line but you can’t just force another driver to move out of the way on a straight! He really screwed up this time. If he does not win the championship this year then he only has himself to blame. He should really be around 30 odd points clear by now if it wasn’t for his own driving stupidity.

    5. Yes VET to blame mostly, but….
      they all tend to do, this moving over to block into the 1st corner
      this time it didn’t work out

      I believe we just had John Watson on BBC R4 claiming it was VERs fault !
      Yes, VER could have backed off, but, really, it all happened so fast, any other result was unlikely
      Had VER got off the throttle sooner, VET would have had to concede the lead to RAI

      Oh yeah, most appear to forget ALO was also effectively taken out

      The race was a total disappointment to what was expected :(

    6. Bonehead move by Vettel because Max probably would have overlooked turn one from that angle anyway, so he could have just sat back and let Kimi and Max go through and let the team pull Kimi back behind him after Max crashed out.

    7. Paolo (@paulsteward40)
      18th September 2017, 9:23

      Agree with most comments above and I suspect that the first picture above, may become the season defining image for 2017, and a key moment in the title race. Yes I know there are races to come, but Hamilton seemingly has the momentum and unlike Singapore, the next few tracks aren’t so seemingly suited to Ferrari as this track was. If the momentum is maintained over next couple of races, Lewis could see a points gap of two race wins by the time he gets to Mexico, or before.

  8. The cover picture says a lot, a very good shot.
    Seb well ahead of Max, but caught by Kimi who was nudged by… Max. I suppose Seb should’ve predicted that when he meanly cuts off Max, the boy will send another car flying at him to have his revenge. Still, Seb did surely risk too much by considering Max a reasonable driver; he threw away the championship.

    1. It wasn’t revenge, Max simply got pushed to the side. Max had the choice of either certainly hitting the car in front, that he could see best, or hope that Kimi would slow or move over. He made the choice that gave him the best chance of survival.

      1. Or brake.

        1. He did brake, but he and kimi already had their wheels interlocked

          1. Max did brake, and admitted to trying to get out of the way, he just waited too long to do it. I don’t understand how everyone is blaming Vettel. I’m by no means a Vettel fan, far from it. But if you watch his onboard, it’s clear that he moved over quite slowly, and not even remotely aggressively, it was very much a standard front row move. Max could have backed out as soon as he saw Vettel moving over, and saved everyone a lot of grief. I don’t think it warrants a penalty, I’d call it a racing incident, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t avoidable.

          2. No, they don’t have to back out. Vettel is not allowed to ram him. Besides, Vettel moved over so fast that Verstappen never had the time to compensate for Vettel’s lack of spacial awareness.

          3. I agree with Patrickl. Max had no requirement to back out. You can’t just turn into another car on the straight. Vettel was not clear of the redbull and so if he continued to move across then he was always going to hit him if he didn’t move out of the way. Vettel has a lot of form in aggressive starts as I am sure Webber will telly you!

            Max had literally nowhere to go, his wheels were interlocked with kimis so if he braked he would have still collided with kimi. Also by breaking or slowing at that phase of the start you risk someone behind smashing in to you as they would be expecting you to be accelerating… Vettel could easily have avoided the incident by giving max more room. If he had he would likely be leading the championship today. The first corner does not lend itself to diving down the inside so as long as vettel was ahead going in to the corner then max would have had to break earlier anyway. Plus Vettels race was not with max. it was with Hamilton.

          4. Seb did not ram anyone – ramming means he would hit the other car but Seb was never going to; footage and picture show it aplenty. Did Seb risk a bad reaction from Max when he cut him off? Yes, and there lays the blame.
            I am arguing that, given Kimi took Max over the right and Seb cut him off to the front, he should’ve back off. he did not. Seb worked hard for the pole and he intended to keep his advantage, aggressively or not.
            I will continue to blame Seb on considering max mature enough to back off; but exclusively for that reason.

          5. @Makana. Verstappen had every right to be where he was. You can’t simply pull across on a straight and expect others to move. That is not the rules and never has been. The one in control of the situation was Vettel. He could have chosen not to move across so much. Max would have hit kimi anyway if he had slowed more. Max moved to the left slightly to try to avoid Vettel. If max had slowed too much he would have risked someone behind smashing into the back of him.

            Even though it has been ruled a racing incident, Vettel has to shoulder the blame as he was fully in control of the events. Kimi, Max and Alonso were all just innocent bystanders.

            At the end of the day, Vettel has to live with the fact that he has possibly thrown away the world championship through 2 really stupid driving displays.

          6. Michael Brown (@)
            18th September 2017, 16:48

            Yes, can pull across a straight. It is called defending your position. In that case the car behind has to move to make sure there is no collision. The limit is when the defending driver forces the driver behind off the track.

    2. Seb well ahead of Max

      Yeah after Max had been tagged and backed out. Seb was not well ahead of Max when he was driving across the track at him

  9. The Hulkenberg curse. A phenomenon that occurs when a driver that as yet to be on the podium edges close to a top 3 finish and gets taken out of contention from the most varied of reasons.

  10. I dont understand why vettel would be to blame. He did what drivers do at every race, covers his line at the start.
    He couldn’t see raikkonen and raikkonen couldn’t see him.
    Actually i would have thought it was raikkonen misjudgement. He rocketed past verstappen and squeezed him to the right where he knew vettel probably was. And he had a lot of space on his left to move to when verstappen was trying to avoid vettel.
    Stupid incident that’s it

    1. RAI was already close to the white line and 2meters from the (left) wall… while VET was like 8meters from the other white line and 10meters from the other (right) wall. So, who had enough space in order to let the other drivers “breath”?!

    2. As the FIA determined, it was a racing incident. Seb moved to cover Max and force him off the racing line, as happens in many races. He just didn’t know Kimi was there and that Max couldn’t move off the line. Max made a slight twitch to the left to avoid Seb and hit Kimi. Just too many drivers refusing to give up a chance at the lead.

      1. To quote Edd Straw of Autosport:

        Crucially, this was on a straight and well before the braking zone. If you make a move on a straight requiring another driver to move over, brake or vanish completely to avoid a collision, you are at fault. It doesn’t matter how many car widths there are, it is playing with fire. This was Vettel’s crucial miscalculation.

    3. Watch this and see who is moving over the whole field to left! People says it was normal and not aggressive… He only did that after realizing his mistake and Ver’s coming way closer, but he didnt see Kimi just yet! His move was aggressive, and Ver was along side him, people who says not see the pic as well!

  11. I really got to just shake my head in disappointment after renault threw away hulk’s podium chance. Sure in the end the mech problem cost him any chance but their lapse of quick thinking to pit him when ric did just was plain amateur. well on the flip side he now has the distinction of the podiumless record!

  12. “I moved slightly to the left to defend my position…” LOL. Look how wide the shot is just to get in Hamilton on the right side of the track.

    The only way people are defending this is within the norm of people slashing back and forth across the entire track on starts. But this is a relatively recent norm, it’s not safe, it’s not sporting, and in this case the results speak for themselves. There is something just wrong about the man in front saying, I’m going to drive diagonally across the track; you have to go through me to pass me. f1 has tried to clean up this behavior in other contexts, e.g., The Monza-Schumacher rule and the one-move-plus rule, but somehow on starts still anything goes. People even line up at an angle now. Or in the case of vettel not even in the start box.

    1. @dmw I agree with this comment entirely. However, a rule covering when it’s ok to change line on a start could be complex to cover all possible scenarios, since a car that is several car lengths ahead should be free to change line. A simple solution would be: the polesitter or, if the polesitter starts badly, the leading car on a start changes line at its own risk. If the squeezing car creates an incident that causes car-to-car contact, it will be penalized regardless of who else may have also erred.

    2. Having watched it again just now, have to agree. Vettel’s swerve across to ‘fend’ off Verstappen, as he himself put it, is totally bizarre racing. He moves onto completely the wrong side of the track to take the first corner and really gives whoever was behind him in P3 and P5 (including Ricciardo, poor start, and Hamilton, great start) a chance to challenge him for the corner. In fact Hamilton is level with him by then. Had the collision not happened, Vettel would have been ever further out of position and lost the corner entirely, unless he tried the same thing on whoever was there, swerving back across track equally manically. ‘Legal’ maybe, just about, but sensible racing for a title challenger depending on this race for big points? No.

    3. Michael Brown (@)
      17th September 2017, 23:54

      It’s still legal as long as you don’t force a driver off the track.

    4. Webber got a drive thru for bumping into Rubens at the start of 2009 German GP, I think because Vettel did not make initial contact he’s in the clear.

    5. It would have been even more brilliant if Verstappen had just been able to get out from the wheels of Raikkonen. Surely Vettel would have slammed into Raikkonen at the pace Vettel was swerving across the track.

  13. Vettel defending his possible P3…

    With Kimi going fast on the inside of T1 he’d probably would have taken either P1 or hit Vettel.
    Vettel cut both Ver and Rai in an attempt to stay ahead… the cars on the inside had the right to the corner, according to the rulebook the defender had to yield. Vettel tried to avoid being caught out in T1 and went aggressive inside.

    We’ve seen it more often this season, when 3 cars collide in front of the grid the FIA kind of backs off, in Spain Bottas clearly was to blame, in fact took the blame, but Rai had a role in the collision to as he squeezed Bot.
    In Singapore Vettel was squeezing hard, but that on itself was not an illigal move.. it wasn’t smart racing though.

    1. You are confusing the rules regarding corners with a straight. There are no rules that a car has to yield on a straight. Mainly because the car overtaking should not be cutting across the front of the other car until they are clear because to do so is dangerous. If they had been going in to the corner then yes it would be the duty of max to make sure he didn’t hit anyone. They were however nowhere near the corner entry.

  14. “slightly to the left”

    You’re not fooling anyone Sebastian.

    1. The FIA did acquit everybody involved

  15. It seemed like VET was defending a P3 for the 1st corner, but there’re big chances it would have been a Ferrari 1-2 after 1st corner. That’s because VER started to lift before the collision with RAI. But it’s also possible RAI could have slowed down VER and let VET take 1st place. So, could have been VET 1st and RAI 2nd after 1st corner.

  16. The Singapore 2017 Formula One Grand Prix was a disappointingly boring affair. I didn’t even watch until the end. Yawn!
    Once again Lewis Hamilton showed us that even a mediocre driver can win the race when he stays in front due to a good car. If it wasn’t for his incessant whining and whinging when there the slightest discomfort, we would have forgotten that he’s part of the race at all. Since he can’t seem to figure this out for himself, would someone please explain to him that the safety car is intentionally slower than the slowest Formula One car on the grid?
    I can understand that Bottas did not race. He’s up against the blue-eyed boy of Mercedes and the groomed face of the British racing establishment – he can’t be expected to compete with that.
    Riccardo is a different matter though. Where was the fantastic race-winning pace of the Red Bull, which they exhibited so nicely on Friday and Saturday? After the 5th lap he just parked his car a very polite minimum following distance of three seconds behind Hamilton – and went to sleep!
    At first, I thought it’s the wet weather conditions – everyone is careful. Then it dried and Riccardo was presented with a brand-spanking new set of ultra-soft tyres, and I thought: “Great, now we can see some racing!” Nothing! Then a safety car – cool, another chance to see the spectacular performance of the Red Bull. Nothing!
    None of the three driver’s on the podium deserved to be there for their performance! For 50 odd laps, we saw the Hamilton-Riccardo-Bottas train going round in circles without the slightest effort to challenge each other! They made no contribution to the viewing experience for the spectators. Even the commentators, who are die-hard Mercedes/Hamilton supporters, forgot about them from time to time.
    Thank goodness for the nine other drivers on the grid that were actually willing to race each other! Driver’s like Alonso and Hulkenberg showed real racing spirit and sportsmanship under extremely difficult conditions. Felipe Massa was still challenging grid position during the last laps of the race! That’s the kind of “never-give-up” attitude that makes watching sports events a real pleasure. A very special thank you for all the drivers who ended up somewhere between 4th and 12th place at the end of race. It was thrilling to watch! Very heartfelt condolences to those driver’s who could not finish the race!

    1. Well, it turns out Ric had a gearbox issue and had to treat it gently in order to finish the race. If that’s true, it’s still a great achievement to finish second. Who knows what might have happened if his gearbox was ok.

    2. I can’t see how Lewis is mediocre

    3. Once again Lewis Hamilton showed us that even a mediocre driver can win the race when he stays in front due to a good car.

      Sorry but that just signals it’s pointless reading the rest of your post.

    4. but sore somewhere in Germany?

  17. I am amazed that nobody noticed how Perez clearly cut the corner into T1 at the start.
    P12 to P4 and no investigation?

    Please check the fan footage in the article posted yesterday (especially the last video + the title pic).

  18. Singapore has been very kind to Lewis. Three times now has he been gifted championship-altering moments: 2008, 2014 and now 2017.

    2008 – Massa and Ferraris gaffe with the fuel hose. Hamilton extends his lead.

    2014 – Rosberg fails to join the formation lap, Lewis wins.

    Whether this will be a momentous as those other races, we’ll see.

    1. Max (@newadventuresinhifi)
      18th September 2017, 9:49

      It’s also where his championship hopes were effectively ended in 2010 and 2012.

      1. @newadventuresinhifi yep, retiring from the lead in 2012 in particular is what sealed his decision to go to Mercedes he explained.

        If that failure hadn’t happened, imagine if he had stayed with McLaren…Say what you want about Hamilton but he made the shrewdest career decision of modern times right there, the guy is far more intelligent than people like to give him credit for.

        1. @newadventuresinhifi @offdutyrockstar Not forgetting his power unit failure in 2015. Whilst it ultimately didn’t cost him the championship, there’s still strong evidence to suggest Singapore has been as unkind to Lewis as it has kind.

          1. @ninjenius Well it certainly hasn’t been Canada, that’s for sure

    2. Massa drove off with the fuel hose. Are you saying Rosberg will beat Lewis to Turn 1? knowing that Rosberg was on the dirty side!!!

  19. The stewards’ statement about the start accident reads a bit like Inspector Clouseau in a Shot in the Dark : piling evidence after evidence that Vettel was at fault, before reaching the conclusion that nobody was predominantly to blame. I am not sure that it has to do with protecting Ferrari or the championship, I rather think that it is an unwanted result from both the new stance of “letting them race” (which I agree with), and the stewards lacking a consistent set of rules (which is a shame).

    I am a bit tired of hearing the excuse “I didn’t know that driver #3 was there.” Suppose that Kimi indeed wasn’t there, and the same happened : Vettel tries to squeeze Max in a straight line, who is half alongside him. Max wouldn’t like to swerve to the inside because there is less grip. He would have two options :
    1) Wait for the last moment, then swerve to the inside in order to avoid an accident.
    2) Stand his ground, drive in a straight line as it is his uttermost right to do, and essentially play chicken with Vettel.

    My point is, if he chooses option 2, and they still collide, whose fault could it be ? Vettel has basically rammed into him, albeit more gently and avoidably that he did to Hamilton in Baku. How can that be correct driving ? If you want to squeeze somebody, of course he might comply, but if he doesn’t, be prepared to live with the consequences, including disciplinary ones. On a straight, every driver should be entitled to run, well, straight.

    1. Baku proves Ferrari and Vettel are untouchable. It’s nothing new, Ferrari International Assistance has a long history of dutiful service.

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        18th September 2017, 16:58

        @offdutyrockstar I disagree. After Hamilton avoided a yellow flag penalty in Silverstone, as well as how the stewards handled the Spa 2012 incident, it’s clear that championship contenders get different treatment. The head steward in Baku even said they didn’t want to influence the championship too much!

    2. Personally I prefer that they didn’t penalize Vettel to limit the complaints if Hamilton wins this year, but it definitely is still a case of Ferrari exerting pressure on FIA to protect him. He deserved a race ban for his Baku temper flare up, and a penalty for causing a collision in Singapore that took 4 drivers out. Anyone else would have been penalized.

      1. @david-br I agree with all of that comment. Although he deserves sanctions, for the sake of the championship I don’t want them. Last years WDC was tainted enough.

    3. Michael Brown (@)
      18th September 2017, 16:56

      @palindnilap I believe Vettel’s intention was to squeeze Verstappen to the white line on the left side of the track. This is allowed since you must leave space for a car at edge of the track on a straight. As long as you don’t force someone off the track, the move is not illegal.

      1. You are right in saying that it is allowed, but that is precisely why I say that there is something lacking in the ruleset. So Vettel is allowed to squeeze Verstappen to the white line on the left side of the track, while Verstappen is allowed to squeeze Vettel to the white line on the right side of the track. No wonder they sometimes meet in the middle !

  20. “Today we were on the wrong side of the track, which doesn’t help” says Vettel. It’s a good point. Shouldn’t the pole sitter be on the ‘right’ side of the track – in this case the left and inside line? It was always how it used to be. Then he would not have had to move four lanes across to take the inside line – he would have already had it. Who decides which side pole is on? Maybe it’s time for the choice to go to the guy who wins pole position in quali?
    I think Vettel made an incorrect premeditated decision in this case but he may have a point about the ‘wrong side’.

    1. @elreno it only became the wrong side of the grid when it started to rain. pole is on the racing line where all the rubber is, a good thing in the dry but more slippery in the wet. The rain started so close to race start that it wouldn’t have been possible to change it. I dint think they would have anyway. Weather is a lottery and kind of should remain so. It affected Hamilton in Japan last year because there was a massive puddle right in front of his grid starting position

      1. It only became wrong side when it rained and when vet didnt have good gateway as he normally does! where he started was the faster line in dry conditions! It is disadvantage on the rain due to more rubber laid out causes it to be more slippery (under dry conditions, more rubber laid has the best grip!)

        After first corner, Hamilton took the normally dirty side, which was better under rain (remember last year brazil and ver overtaking people left and right on the dirty outside line because thats better line in rain due to no rubber laid on surface!) and Vettel took the normal line plus possible leakage which we will not be sure caused by his impact on the wall or contact with kimi that caused the leak hence his wall contact… But we know for sure, he was not on the right line due to the conditions! not due to he was entitled to change his position bcoz of rain!

  21. I don’t know what the British commetators said on tv to cause much anger towards mr. Vettel. Even the title of this article lays the blame in the Germans court. Only in Monza, 1 race ago, a perfectly similar manouvre by a different driver did not lead to heated discussions and finger pointing. Hamiltons chop on Stroll was just as aggressive, there just was no Raikkonen to the outside of the Williams. The move is perfectly accepted racing as long as you don’t do it Schumacher-style (pushing the other guy into a wall). Vettel left ample room for Verstappen to move.

    In fact all three affected drivers did exactly as expected. Vettel moved across when he noticed his start was rather lacklustre. Verstappen tried to get alongside Vettel with a marginally better start and was probably rather surprised by Raikkonen flashing by. Raikkonen had a lighting start and went for a gap that was clearly open. If ever a collision was just a racing incident, an unfortunate coincidence, this one is.

    1. @Leo B Yours I find is the most sensible post on this topic. I think it is mostly with the luxury of hindsight that people are so negatively commenting toward SV. I think he was doing what all drivers do at the start, couldn’t have known Kim was there, and nor was he ever going to be able to be conservative…off the start of a GP race, with Max right there. What driver thinks, especially at a track like that, oh I’ll just take it easy off the start and get him (or them) back later. If one wants to use hindsight, I would say SV should have done what MS/FIA proved long ago was ‘fine’…he should have chopped across the track more quickly and cut Max right off and kept both Max and Kimi behind him. Instead he ‘moved slightly to the left’ as in, gradually. This was a racing incident ie. no one was to blame.

    2. But the subtle difference is that Hamilton made a good getaway and so his aggressive “chop” worked out superbly. Vettel chocked at the start and tried the same with 2 cars alongside and the result is clear for all to see.

      1. Sure, Verstappen was slightly closer to Vettel than Stroll to Hamilton, but that’s not very relevant. The important thing is in both cases the following driver had to move over. So if there had been a Raikkonen next to Stroll the result had been of Singapore proportions, despite Hamilton’s good getaway.

        1. That doesn’t even make sense. Stroll tucked into the slip stream after the chop- because he was behind. Verstappen, Vettel and Kimi on the other hand were all disputing the same piece of tarmac. As I said- Hamilton’s chop worked because he was clearly ahead after a good start. Vettel’s didn’t because he wasn’t clearly ahead after choking at the start.

          1. Before Stroll tucks in, he moves shortly but sharply to his right. Hamilton’s chop forces him to alter course. Now if there had been a car alongside…

            Don’t forget that Vettel and Verstappen did not make contact. Yes, Verstappen slowed (because he had nowhere to go), which is equivalent to Stroll changing course. In both cases the trailing driver had to do something to avoid contact.

            I don’t think there was anything wrong with Hamilton’s start (I only chose this race as example, because it was the previous GP), but there is very little difference between Hamilton’s chop and Vettel’s chop.

      2. @Blazzz That’s an invention. Max’s onboard shows he and SV getting quite equal starts, with Kimi getting the better one. SV is ahead when he starts to move left.

        1. @robbie
          pretty equal to me… :)

          Ver is almost half way on Vet’s side! and neck and neck with Kimi! So you guys are ignoring Vettel moving full across the lines to opposite side, in very bad visibility (you can call this a blind gamble), and hope the other guy will yield! Ver did yield but Kimi’s rear tangled due to this backing off! Vettel did gamble blindly!

          Also compare it monza all you want, Ham was in dry conditions and did a clean fast gateway and his car was already pointed to go that way. He was in clear air! Vettel here didnt do good getaway and Ver was on his side! Thats the difference, you cant push someone on your side esp on a straight!. Vettel gambled blindly and lost…

          1. FYI, Vettel is the car on the right hand side ;-)
            Obviously Verstappen is not alongside, and Vettel is already moving sideways here.

          2. thanx Leo B, i went to specsavers dont worry… Robbie saying Vettel was ahead when he started moving. Of course, he started ahead! But when he came close to left side, Ver’s good front was along side Vettel’s left, and he was neck n neck with Kimi, collision happened bcoz Ver backed off but he wouldnt be able to go either side as Kimi was on his side pod which prevented any maneuver. If Ver didnt back off, Vettel was gonna collide with him! Vettel was coming to left completely blind! He is the sole faulty part. Ver was alongside! watch it carefuly and see the pic!

      3. But the subtle difference

        Internet commentary doesn’t do subtle difference, unfortunately.

    3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      18th September 2017, 13:31

      It’s because of Vettel’s cumulative behavior. He was aggressive before but now he’s dangerously aggressive. Everyone who has been following F1 can see that Vettel isn’t racing “normally”. He’s literally hitting cars under the safety car and then goes and hits them again on purpose. Something’s wrong with him and it’s obvious anytime there’s another car around him.

      1. Spoken like a diehard LH fan. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, except for the ridiculous comments it causes about anyone that isn’t LH.

      2. Vettel’s extraordinary move in Baku was (in my opinion) on purpose, wrong and he should have been punished for that.

        But I don’t see how it is in any way cumulative to his very ordinary move in Singapore.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          18th September 2017, 15:30

          Well, here are the moments I recall with Vettel this year.

          Pass on Ocon, ended up with Ocon going off track
          Pass on Hamilton coming out of pits, Hamilton almost off track
          A push on a straight at some point

          Last year, Spa 2016 – totally unwilling to let Verstappen through and find space so that Raikonnen doesn’t smash into him. Yes not his fault but if he had backed out or gone to the left slightly, there would have been no accident.

          1. Michael Brown (@)
            18th September 2017, 17:09

            @freelittlebirds You seemed to have missed the point that those moves aren’t cumulative.

    4. Michael Brown (@)
      18th September 2017, 17:07

      I’m curious: could Vettel have known that Raikkonen was to Verstappen’s left?

      1. @mbr-9
        On Raikkonens onboard camera (that’s a bit above the driver’s p.o.v.) the other Ferrari enters the image as Raikkonen and Verstappen are exactly side-by-side. At that point Vettel should be able see his teammate. About 0.2 sec later the no. 7 nosecone harpoons the no. 5 sidepod. The race is then 4 seconds old. I guess Vettel didn’t know what hit him. :-)


  22. Some of the debates here are good fun to read, but in all seriousness: people who somehow come to the conclusion that Vettel isn’t at the same level as Alonso or Hamilton must really not follow F1 properly.
    And those who feel that his 4 WDCs with RBR somehow still put him in a second or third level of all time drivers because they feel RBR was the dominant car (which, compared to Mercedes 2014-16 or McLaren 1988-90 is simply just a complete exageration); I can only say, you have a skewed view.
    Of course Vettel has flaws, as every other driver (great or not) has. But the way some people disregard his talent and achievements after silly mistakes (and the one yesterday is more than debatable) is just incomprehensible. I mean, on Saturday everyone was rightly excited about his progress and ultimate lap, and then he becomes a second-teer driver because of a racing incident?
    Yes, Seb whines when it seems unnecessary, and he sometimes takes seeminlgy unnecessary risks (like yesterday); but that doesn’t take away from his overall performances (normally incredibly stable at a very high level) or achievements.
    I do rate Seb on the same level as Lewis and Fernando. But let’s leave that talk to after they all have retired.

    Btw: I have huge respect towards Lewis, he is incredibe when at his best. But if I were to compare him unfavorably to Sebastian now (and other comparisons put them on equal footing again), Hamilton would be less consistent, for one, and also less capeable of converting a top car into a WDC. When Seb had the material over a year, he has always delivered. One can make excuses for why Lewis hasn’t (rookie in 2007, to a certain extent reliablility/consistency in 2012 and 2015), but fact is Vettel is, so far, 4 out of 4 in terms of championships he could realistically have won, and Lewis is 3 out of 6. This years, the cars pretty level (similar to 2012, slight advantage to the Hamilton package), and the brit has matured – he will win his 4th title and pass Vettel in numbers. I still view them on equal standing, overall.

    1. Good post.

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      18th September 2017, 13:22

      @magon4 For me, Vettel’s racing behavior is really what makes him less of a champion. We saw Lewis hand over 3 points to his teammate that might have cost him the championship this year. Last year, we saw Lewis let Nico by in Spain last year and then Nico smash into him in harvest mode which ended up costing Lewis the championship (along with a dozen other Mercedes issues).

      In Malaysia with Red Bull, Seb wouldn’t let Mark win even though he was no threat to him in the championship and they had agreed to it. Even Horner had to get on the radio and explain what a silly baby Seb was. Ok, forget Mark but what about the other side of the paddock which hadn’t won a race that season? Did Seb think about them for a second?

      The other thing that Seb does is that he pushes drivers off track at extremely dangerous places – he’s done it time and time again. Sure, if a driver pushes another driver into a wall, they’ll win but that doesn’t make them a champion. That makes them a pushing madman that’s somehow allowed to do that.

      1. @freelittlebirds I get those points an can agree with some of it. But it does seem oddly unilateral to me.
        Lewis Hamilton has often been overly aggressive in his approach, and somehow been hailed for it instead of criticized. I can think of quite a few race starts and runs into the first corner where he has basically forced people off the track (something we also say with the likes of Senna and Schumacher); but Vettel isn’t allowed to do it?
        Talking about whining, if you listen to Alonso and Hamilton radios over the last decade, you will see a similar quality in them (with Alonso maybe being the worst of those three, all of them terrible complainers); and I am guessing it has always been like that, but we had no access to radio before.
        I give you the point that Seb hasn’t always been clean, but neither have Lewis or Fernando.
        That Malaysia business I do get, and it looked very bad and was terrible PR for RBR. But the racing situation as such, you can at least understand why Vettel did what he did – hey, most fans would actually be quite mad if he didn’t race his team mate, and journalists would probably criticize him for it. You sometimes have to make quick decisions, even bad ones, and live with them later – knowing that other outcomes might also be viewed negatively.
        I think Vettel has done enough to show us he is up there with Fernando and Lewis, and has been above them in some seasons. One thing is not to like certain aspects of the guy, the other is to believe, this means he is a lesser driver or champion.

      2. @freelittlebird Malaysia was the second race at that time. How could you say already assume that Mark was no threat to him in the championship. Vettel has not also won yet that season.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          18th September 2017, 15:53

          @siegfreyco Yes, you are right but that argument works both ways though. Vettel had 18 races to gain a lead. In fact, coming into Malaysia Vettel had a 7 point lead over Mark so they would have had the same points at the end of the Malaysian Gran Prix.

          But you’re right in the sense that Vettel may have been afraid of Alonso as a possible threat since they were 3 points apart in 2012.

          Whatever the case was, Vettel should not have agreed to the Multi21 clause and respected it on track. He passed Mark while Mark was defenseless. Apparently he got lawyers involved to prove that he had every right to break the agreement:-)

          1. @freelittlebirds but so many things could go wrong for the next races which is why you should bank as many points as you can early on. It’s the same reason why Porsche keep giving no. 2 the win despite having a seemingly insurmountable lead at the top of WEC.

          2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            19th September 2017, 14:12

            I don’t disagree with you about banking points but Vettel is the one who agreed to the Multi21 before the race. He should not have agreed to it. If he wanted to race Mark he should have said that clearly before he started chasing him so that Mark would be ready.

      3. Michael Brown (@)
        18th September 2017, 17:10

        @freelittlebirds How can the Spain collision cost Hamilton the championship when both he and Rosberg retired?

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          18th September 2017, 17:37

          @mbr-9 Lewis was going to pass Nico simply on speed difference (not pace or skill) and that would have given him a 7 point lead over Nico assuming he completed the race.

      4. Michael Brown (@)
        18th September 2017, 17:12

        Drivers push each other off in corners all the time. There is no rule against that, so why do you single out Vettel?

    3. When Seb had the material over a year, he has always delivered.

      Maybe. But look at the team mates Seb has had. Lewis “failed to deliver” while having a double world champion as his team mate in 2007.

      He delivered without the best car in 08 (Ferrari won the constructors).

      He failed to deliver last year partly due to his poor starts but I would say that Malaysia retirement was more damaging. Either way he “failed to deliver” against that season’s WDC.

      Vettel beat Webber by the skin of his teeth in 2010 thanks to a favourable strategy. And when he was up against a genuinely quick and all round team mate- he was defeated by RIC.

      Now I am not trying to take away anything from Vettel. But I am just illustrating how- your threshold for measuring “greatness” by conversions of WDC when having the best car is flawed in itself. Also- Vettel may yet fail to win the championship this year which will could make your threshold look rather silly.

      In regards to consistency.

      I think your assertion on Hamilton’s inconsistency is true in his earlier years. But for the past couple of years I would say he has improved greatly in that regard.

      In many regards Hamilton when he 1st entered was highly aggressive and used to take huge risks. Now he has matured alot and has learned how to live to fight another day.

      Where I will definitely agree with you is the hating on Vettel. He is definitely up there. But in my opinion- and it’s just that- I don’t think he is the best driver on the field right now. But of course that is highly subjective.

      1. Some good points, no doubt. And I would never expect a title in 2007; I think it could be expected in 2008, and that one was very close; but at that point, Kimi/Felipe ware just stronger than Lewis/Heikki, so I wouldn’t go as far and say that the Ferrari was the better car (it probably wasn’t).
        Regarding Mark, I do think he was WDC material and just couldn’t keep up with Sebastian, who only made it a close race in 2010 because of the strenght of other teams and a couple of mistakes of his own; but even then, he was quicker than Mark.
        I do believe Sebastian was better than Lewis in 2012 and deserved the championship, but even then, there was a lot of talk from Fernando and Lewis exluding Seb from “their level”, which I understood, but did bother me quite a bit. The way Fernando has been disrespectful with Sebastian is just on a whole other level, that is not the point here.
        But even when you look at some stupid things like F1Fanatic Year Rankings, you will see that the actual perception, year to year, is much closer than the public one (which basically states that Lewis is a level above Seb). Even this year, up to a couple of races ago, Sebastian was widely beeing regarded as the better driver throughout 2017 (look at the forum, ranking topics, to see him on the top of everyone’s list, of those who bothered to produce a summer ranking).
        What I am saying (and you do confirm) is that they are on the same level. But perception will always be on Hamilton’s side, for some reason.
        Btw, Mercedes lead Ferrari by over a 100 points now. Would that lead you to say that Vettel clearly has the second best car and therefore has been overperforming this whole time?

        1. perception will always be on Hamilton’s side, for some reason.

          This is because Lewis Hamilton has had far more standout and amazing races – both in the wet and dry, than Sebastian Vettel – even when he didn’t have a winning car. Of course, Seb won in a Torro Rosso with a Red Bull chassis, but that is just about the only race people can bring up about a win in an inferior car.

          Also, remember, Lewis has never gone a season in F1 without a win – car performance not withstanding. Unfortunately, Seb cannot lay claim to this – even when he had the car to win.

          Point is, when drivers are so close in performance, you begin to look at intangibles and other metrics to find out who is better. And in this regard, Lewis takes it convincingly.

          1. I’m not quite sure one can see it that way. I really don’t.
            And there are far more bad races by Lewis than by Sebastian.
            But OK. Don’t what to get into the specifics now. Let them end their careers and then compare.

        2. @magon4

          If the standings finish as they are in both the driver’s and the constructors I would then say it goes back to the old adage of F1- best car and best driver combination.

          If Vettel wins and Merc take the constructors- then my reasoning for Hamilton’s title in 08 applies.

          Its swings and round abouts. Ultimately I think there are many ways of measuring drivers and you have to look at a wide range of stats and circumstances to come to an informed conclusion.

          One thing for sure is you don’t win 4 world titles “being average”.
          You don’t win 3 world titles by “being average”.

          There is that extra spark that is needed to be a multiple champion that defines those drivers from the rest as well as having the best car.

          That is all.

      2. thanks to a favourable strategy

        Because we are going tot otally ignore Malaysia 2016 as a factor in HAM losing WDC that year (I mean, I still think Rosberg deserve their titles, but Malaysia 2016 did play a role)

        1. Because we are going tot otally ignore Malaysia 2016 as a factor in HAM losing WDC that year (I mean, I still think Rosberg deserve their titles, but Malaysia 2016 did play a role)

          See -> “He [Hamilton] failed to deliver last year partly due to his poor starts but I would say that Malaysia retirement was more damaging.

      3. Michael Brown (@)
        18th September 2017, 17:13

        That cuts both ways since Kovalainen was definitely not a match for Hamilton in the same way Webber was for Vettel.

        1. That cuts both ways since Kimi was also poor that year. Kimi and Kovalainen’s performances equalled out the constructors.

          Kovalainen was definitely not a match for Hamilton in the same way Webber was for Vettel.

          From 2011 onwards- yes. But in 2010 Webber was more than a match for Vettel. He even went into the last race as the favourite.

          1. he did because he had more points, not because he had been the stronger driver.

    4. rookie in 2007

      @magon4 That and ALO. Neither VET nor HAM has faced that kind of opposition since IMO (and since 2007 I think VET and HAM each lost to 1 teammate, once). Also rightly justifies raising drivers’ stock when they do well against Lewis instead of the other way around imo.

      1. what about the seasons Lewis “lost” to Jenson?
        In any case, I do think they are pretty equal, even this year. And I do believe that most people would subscribe to the idea that, overall, Mercedes have had the slightly better car this season.

    5. Michael Brown (@)
      18th September 2017, 17:19

      There is some comparison with their championships.
      2010 and 2012: championship won in the final race, competing against another driver and team. In 2012 his teammate was weaker than in 2010.
      2011 and 2013: championship won before the season was over, with no competition from anyone. 2013 started closer than 2011, at least.

      2008: championship won in the final race against another driver and team. Also thrashed his teammate like Vettel in 2011 and 2013.
      2014: championship won in the final race, against his own teammate.
      2015: championship before the last race, against his own teammate.

  23. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    18th September 2017, 13:11

    I’ve been extremely critical of Vettel’s racing behavior calling him the pusher. He pushes very dangerously. Ironically yesterday was his “lighest” push that ended in the biggest accident. The main reason was that Verstappen had to back down as he was being sandwiched. Otherwise Vettel would have squeezed him into a wall or a cliff if he could have.

    I’m not sure why Vettel needs to do that cause he’s a pretty good driver and has so many wins.

    Now that we’ve seen Vettel race for many years, it’s obvious that Webber’s issues were meant to keep the 2 off track cause he (Vettel) simply can’t have another another car around him, period! When Vettel’s racing, the team only has 1 car.

    1. Tell that to Lewis. A master-squeezer in his own right. And fair enough!

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        18th September 2017, 15:41

        @magon4 yes, Lewis also squeezes but there are huge differences in the way he squeezes. He usually does it in turns very clinically and methodically, checking the mirror to make sure the other driver is aware of the situation. And of course, he did it more often with drivers he doesn’t like and he views as “track bullies” such as Maldonado and Rosberg.

        Vettel, on the other hand, sees a wall and immediately thinks that it’s a great opportunity to play chicken with the other driver with him on the outside. Of course the other driver will back out rather than die and have Vettel get a 5 second penalty (if there is a penalty at all – they’d probably call it a racing incident or blame the wall for not moving out of the way).

        1. There is really no actual basis to make that statement. What – two incidents in 200 races? Vettel is not as reckless as you make him look.

        2. Michael Brown (@)
          18th September 2017, 17:22

          @freelittlebirds My goodness, your bias is showing. There is nothing wrong with Hamilton’s and Vettel’s moves. Playing chicken with a wall? You just know that Vettel was planning on doing that, didn’t you.

          So baseless.

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            18th September 2017, 17:41

            @mbr-9 I disagree – I think Vettel’s moves are extremely dangerous. People here are wondering why others think that Vettel’s moves are dangerous and I’m simply explaining. That they are dangerous, that’s obvious.

          2. Michael Brown (@)
            18th September 2017, 20:24

            @freelittlebirds He has never tried to push anyone into a wall like you are claiming and you have no way of knowing if he would have kn this occasion. And nearly every other “dangerous” move you bring up are legal. The only dangerous moves he has committed are Baku 2017 and Japan 2011.

          3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            18th September 2017, 20:31

            @mbr-9 well, Rosberg’s moves were considered legal and Alonso thought he could have died… An unpunished move doesn’t mean it’s not extremely dangerous… It just means that the stewards are letting you do it which is why they continue to do it.

            Ferrari’s really unlucky because if Vettel had been punished before, he would not created the incident we saw yesterday or Spa 2016. If anything, they should be running to the FIA asking for a penalty when Vettel pulls a move:-)

  24. What would happen if Verstappen didn’t budge and kept his line? Would Vettel crash into him anyway?

    1. Probably, Vettel thought he was well ahead of Verstappen.

    2. More interesting is what would have happened if Verstappen had managed to back out?

      Watching the incident multiple times in slow motion it looks like Vettel’s trajectory would have taken him into the back of Raikkonen, he just seemed utterly fixated on getting across to the inside line.

  25. I am old enough to have endured Japan 1990, Jerez 1997, Japan 1998,1999, Japan 2006, Brazil 2008, Abu Dhabi 2010, and Brazil 2012. This is by no means the most heartbreaking way to lose a WDC, the honors go to Massa in 2008, but it was by far the dumbest and most anticlimactic of them all. Yes I know there is still everything to play for but just like 2006 it is a long shot. Come to think of it winning Ferrari has only won in 2000, 2003 and 2007 a championship at the end and if also count Lauda/Hunt in 1976 we can conclude that lady luck has been cruel to us.

  26. “Today we were on the wrong side of the track, which doesn’t help” is the interesting quote for me – is Seb really blaming the FIA for pole being on the “wrong” side of the grid, despite that being the racing line?

    To me, the move across the front of the pack to protect the inside line is the cause of the accident – it would be easy to argue for a penalty but being the start of the race makes me think no penalty was probably the right call – however it massively increased the risk, even more so on a wet track at a circuit that from memory has only ever had one wet session in 10 years (daytime practice from memory). Clearly Seb wasn’t expecting Kimi to rocket up into a position to make it 3 wide.

    Channel 4 talked to Jeff Gordon after the race – interesting comments from him regarding spotters and how they work (specifically that they have 2-3 on the NASCAR road courses) but as he said the time from start to crash (about 5s) and practically speaking make that pretty tricky to implement in F1 (and arguably pointless on anything other than an oval).

    Ultimately it brings me back to Turkey 2010, which sums up my opinion of Seb – similar move (and from the in-car at the time, pretty obvious) turn into Mark Webber, causing a crash – then both team and driver blamed Webber. I still haven’t forgiven Red Bull for that one.

    Both Turkey 2010 and yesterday in Singapore were, I think, avoidable and left me questioning Seb’s racecraft under pressure, of which I remain unconvinced.

    1. I guess there are enough examples of that racecraft.
      And enough examples of others making risky moves that go wrong.

      Dan Rick is a rare speciman, he almost never gets involved in crashes (by his own risk taking) and is a superb passer. Others are as mixed as Seb in that department.

  27. Califormula1fan
    19th September 2017, 18:35

    The strategy and tactics on race day should be single minded in objective: win the race. If defending or nursing a WDC points position becomes a factor on race day in a way that suggests that accepting a safe second is preferable to taking risks to gain the win, then it is not truly racing any more, it is managing.

    The current points system encourages every driver to strive for a better position in every race.

    Current down force and braking power available to the cars makes gaining a better position nearly impossible. FIA introduced DRS rules and tire designs that make gaining positions a complex matter of timing and tire degradation/pit stop strategy.

    Singapore track favors both down force and braking power, making passing nearly impossible. The frequency of safety cars almost eliminates tire strategy from the equation. All that’s left for the skilled driver in a competitive car going for the win is the start and mad dash to turn one.

    Sebastian’s start was poor relative to the other top ten at Singapore. Kimi, Max, and Fernando went down with Sebastian doing what they are supposed to do: trying to win the race, which in Singapore means getting out of turn four in P1. This is, after all, racing.

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