Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit of the Americas, 2017

New chassis for Vettel after practice problems

2017 United States Grand Prix

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Ferrari will change Sebastian Vettel’s chassis overnight following the problems he reported at the end of second practice.

The United States Grand Prix stewards confirmed they had “received a request from Scuderia Ferrari to re-scrutineer car five which has had a change of the survival cell.”

Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, Circuit of the Americas, 2017
2017 United States GP practice in pictures
“In accordance with article 25.5 of the FIA Formula One sporting regulations, the stewards agreed that this can take place on October 21st before practice three,” they added. As Vettel’s chassis is being changed before the pre-race parc ferme period, which begins at the start of qualifying, the change will not incur a penalty.

Vettel reported a strange feeling in his car towards the end of the session. However despite the setback he said afterwards he believes the car has the potential to be competitive.

“It was a complicated afternoon and not an easy session,” said Vettel before the change of chassis was confirmed. “But the car is quick so we don’t need to worry too much about it.”

“The only lap I had was the one with the ultra-softs. Before that, I made a mistake taking too much risk and pushing too early. The track was quite slippery and I lost the rear under braking.”

“So, we lost a set of tyres, and then again, towards the end of the session, I felt that something was not right with the car. So, we checked a couple of times and now we are looking at the car to see if we can find something. I need to find the rhythm tomorrow and make sure everything’s in order.”

2017 United States Grand Prix

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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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  • 57 comments on “New chassis for Vettel after practice problems”

    1. History books will record the surprising collapse of the 2017 Ferrari. To stay competitive with Mercedes the Ferrari has been turned up to the point of fragility and its failings has all but demoralized and destroyed the Scuderia into submission. Calling for four perfect races to remain in the championship this season is nothing more than wishful thinking with little chance that they instead need it to be four races where Mercedes flounders. Ain’t gunna happen….

      1. Ain’t going to happen indeed. Surprising? No. The team responds with great statements but these showcase their humanity, and it’s weaknesses. Fake confidence is not confidence and it shows. The wave of unreliability and bad judgement comes as a result of the crushing pressure and expectation. This chassis change epitomises the state of mind in Ferrari. A mysterious, perhaps psychological chassis issue is to all intents and purposes doubt, fragility, a manifestation of what they are feeling. The team knew they had to be perfect, they had to be assertive, they had to take all their chances as they don’t have quite the top end that Mercedes has and also they cannot control how much their opponents improve, namely Hamilton. I’m sure they could’ve won this title had they made some of the decisions their opponents did take, another factor that hurts Ferrari on a title bid is RB, even if their car is slower their team functions on a higher level and we can’t forget that with overtaking being more difficult that top end advantage of Mercedes is a key to the title, their car is almost impossible to overtake.

      2. Lets not forget all the brainfarts of the “Golden Boy” that has cost dearly to the team. At this point Fernando will be really pleased to know that this team is farther away from winning championship than he ever was when driving that car.

        1. In fact I would estimate that Alonso would have still been ahead at this point. Even with the recent technical issues Ferrari had. Which potentially they wouldn’t even have had because they would not have been in such a panic.

          Without needlessly throwing away points in Baku and Singapore (and gifting Hamilton a lot of points in the process) it would have been a lot closer already. Vettel has added a potential 51 points to the gap with those two red mist incidents.

          Plus there would have been more possible in Spain, Canada, Silverstone and Spa where they had the fastest car for the race, but getting played and/or poor performance got Vettel in trouble and allowed Hamilton to win those races.

          If any of those races had not been squandered, it would be extremely close by now. And with Alonso at the wheel I would say he would be comfortably ahead even.

          1. I agree that given the Ferrari this year, Alonso would probably be level or ahead of Hamilton. There is a real question, though, whether the car would have developed to the same extent or the same direction if Alonso was still there.

            1. +1 Alonso would have won in this car this year most likely.

            2. Well, I’ll probably be one of the few in this website that thinks that making comparisons of what could have done different drivers with different cars is useless.
              Vettel has done in my opinion a fantastic season, he’s won races with a car much slower in qualifying than Mercedes (Australia and Bahréin) and he took advantage of his car potential in both Monaco and Hungary, even though he had that steering wheel issue. Ferrari SF70H is a great car, but it’s not at the same level of the W08 (that qualifying advantage is massive this year with many 1 stop races, you only have to take a look at the constructors championship, and the silver arrow also has more reliability that the Italian car).
              Vettel has also make mistakes of course, in Baku and Singapore, and he has also suffered from reliability issues in both two last grand prix.
              Fernando is an excellent driver but we won’t ever know if he would have been able to beat Sebastian this season. We have to remember that, for instance, Alonso made a similar move to what Sebastian made in Singapore in 2010 in a similar situation. If there would have been a third car it probably would have resulted in the same ending, but I said before it is pointless to think about that.

            3. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
              21st October 2017, 13:48

              @kimiraikkonen5

              Vettel has done in my opinion a fantastic season, he’s won races with a car much slower in qualifying than Mercedes (Australia and Bahréin) and he took advantage of his car potential in both Monaco and Hungary, even though he had that steering wheel issue.

              Australia was an easy win, the Mercedes couldn’t manage its tyres and Vettel just undercut at the stops. Bahrain was a gimme, a series of errors by Mercedes and Hamilton gifted the race to Vettel. Monaco and Hungary were two races which even Raikkonen could have won. How are these impressive wins?

            4. @thegrapeunwashed
              In Australia Hamilton simply panicked and pitted too early. There’s no way Vettel could have passed him on track. In Bahrain, Mercedes was the fastest car and Vettel won.

              Vettel has won 3 of his 4 races not from pole position. Hamilton has won 1 out of 8 races not from pole, and in that race he was already leading by lap 1 thanks to a first lap crash.

              Mercedes this season have had a bigger advantage (statistically) over one lap than Red Bull did in 2011.

              You’d think that Hamilton was the one fighting against the odds judging by this comments chain.

            5. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
              21st October 2017, 20:26

              @kingshark

              In Australia Hamilton simply panicked and pitted too early. There’s no way Vettel could have passed him on track.

              Here’s the verdict of two of the sport’s best journalists –
              Mark Hughes: “The real overwhelming truth that dwarfed all the minutiae was that on the day Ferrari had a faster car than Mercedes.”
              James Allen: “Unusually Mercedes ran into trouble on the tyres and would have lost the race in all likelihood even if they had stayed out, while Ferrari had similar pace on ultra soft tyres and was also fast on the softs.”

              In Bahrain, Mercedes was the fastest car and Vettel won.

              That’s pretty simplistic, Mercedes had the edge in qualifying, but Ferrari were again much better on tyres – and Bahrain is a track where overtaking is possible. It would have been an interesting fight, but it was difficult to call, perhaps Ferrari were slight favourites but it was neck-and-neck; obviously, in practice Mercedes screwed up Bottas (repeatedly), hampered Hamilton – and of course Hamilton also messed up. This was Mercedes worst cock-up of the season, but there’s no reason to believe they could have won even had they been perfect.

            6. @thegrapeunwashed

              Here’s the verdict of two of the sport’s best journalists

              Two British journalists believe that a British driver was driving an inferior car. No surprise there. Vettel said that he was driving as fast as he could in the first stint, and he was keeping up with Hamilton but not harrying him.

              It doesn’t matter if Ferrari was a bit faster on race day, Mercedes was still the car to have that weekend. It was clearly faster in qualifying and Hamilton had track position around a circuit where overtaking is difficult. All Lewis had to do was wait before he cleared Verstappen before pitting.

              but there’s no reason to believe they could have won even had they been perfect.

              Hamilton was the fastest driver in the race once he cleared Bottas on both occasions. His race pace was easily on par with Vettel. Had he qualified on pole and not got a penalty, Lewis would have very likely won in Bahrain.

              If two cars are too close to call in the race, then the car that is dominant in qualifying (and that’s exactly what Mercedes was in Bahrain) is the one that is the best car over the weekend.

              Hamilton has won all but one race this season from pole position. He’s benefited enormously of Mercedes’ advantage this season. But of course, it’s convenient to completely ignore the qualifying advantage Mercedes has (the same which also made them the best car around Spa) and instead focus solely on Ferrari’s so-called race pace (which hasn’t even been anywhere near as great as people claim).

          2. Implying that Hamilton coming this far ahead in the title fight is due to sheer luck and not due to his brilliant driving above his peers or his persistence and potential to make practically no mistake while on the wheels, or his stainless qualifying skill. No it is all because of Ferrari’s shortcomings that Lewes managed to get ahead.
            I think it is high time some of you lot started giving Hamilton the respect he earned as one of F1 greatest drivers of all time. Very few past or present can come near his skills.

            And No, Alonso is not on Hamilton’s level and won’t ever be. His driving is mediocre at best.

            Also, the talk of Alonso being potentially ahead of Hamilton if he were driving the current Ferrari is just ridiculous and sad. As if Hamilton is a puppet waiting to be overtaken.

            A lot of you watch F1 but are yet to figure out that the soft spoken and quiet Hamilton off race is different from the Hamilton sitting in the F1 Car. The one in the F1 Car is a beast that cannot be intimidated.

            Respect that man.

            1. Well, Ferrari has the best all-round car this year but reliabilty and Vettel’s mistakes left the door open unescesarily. Mercedes built a contending car and it is driven superbly by Hamilton. Together they pounced on VET/Ferrari’s weaknesses.

            2. Say what? I’m saying Hamilton is ahead because of his racecraft and speed.

              Yet I also notice that Ferrari actually does have a more competent car than Mercedes.

              So yes a better driver than Vettel could have used that and score more points. So a driver of Alonso’s caliber would have been able to be ahead. Only those 51 points wasted by stupid mistakes in Singapore and Baku would go a long way to bring down the gap. And performing better in any of those 4 other races would have given the lead back to Alonso.

              Hamilton is ahead because he has shown himself to be the better F1 driver compared to Vettel

          3. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
            21st October 2017, 13:39

            @patrickl

            Plus there would have been more possible in Spain, Canada, Silverstone and Spa where they had the fastest car for the race, but getting played and/or poor performance got Vettel in trouble and allowed Hamilton to win those races.

            I can’t agree with you on Canada and Silverstone where Mercedes was in a league of its own come race-day, but certainly in Spain and Spa Ferrari had the best car but failed to exploit their advantage; those were two of Hamilton’s best races this year, but he was also helped by both Ferrari and Vettel.

            1. @thegrapeunwashed It’s no different in Canada and Silverstone. Ferrari looked well ahead on race pace in the long runs.

              They also looked fast enough to fight for pole in both cases. Vettel and Raikkonen were on par with Bottas. It’s just Hamilton who was a bit ahead.

              Either way, what really did it in for Vettel was his starts and the bad way he tried to compensate for it. Ruining both races completely.

              Perhaps the result of Vettel ruining these races with the bad start and tangling with Verstappen on both cases made it less apparent how competitive the Ferrari was, but at the very least it should be obvious that the car would easily be fast enough to take P2 in the hands of say Alonso.

            2. We’ve already had the Alonso/Hamilton battle and I think the issue is resolved. Hamilton (or the team) managed to get so far under Alonso’s skin that he made much harder work of it than it should have been. Hamilton & Alonso are my favourite drivers currently but I have no doubt how a rematch would end, even in identical cars..

            3. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
              21st October 2017, 20:48

              @patrickl

              It’s no different in Canada and Silverstone. Ferrari looked well ahead on race pace in the long runs. They also looked fast enough to fight for pole in both cases.

              Canada flattered Ferrari during free practice, because Mercedes was suffering under the track conditions on Friday and Saturday morning, but the track kept getting hotter over the weekend, which brought the diva into its operating window – good enough for qualifying and great for the race. Of course at most races the car improves as the conditions get colder! But here’s Hamilton after qualifying: “I don’t know. The car just seemed to come to me”.

              Silverstone saw Mercedes with a definite tyre advantage for the first time all season. Even had Ferrari had the perfect race (and Vettel’s was a disaster!), it didn’t have the tyres to win it. Ferrari were quite competition in qualifying until it got slightly damper in Q3 – whereupon Hamilton and Raikkonen came to the fore, the two seat of the pants drivers proving their worth in changeable conditions.

              Ferrari has had the best car for most of this year, but when track conditions have been exactly right, the Mercedes has been amazing.

          4. @ patrickl: I think you’re exagerrating the ALO statement. The only part I agree is that ALO would have had more points than VET at this very moment of the champ. That’s because VET made 2 veeeery rare mistakes in Baku and Singapore and threw away like at least 25 points (up to 35 points if we give him the win in both GPs). But HAM is 59 points ahead, so even if we cut 42(35+7), we still have a lead of 17 points for HAM. Otherwise, VET had a pretty strong season, don’t see some other GPs where you could take points from HAM and give them to ALO. I highly doubt ALO would have won in Russia and Belgiu, then Malaysia recovery was maximum possible given the car and the way race unfolded.

            1. Rare mistakes? He makes plenty.

              He lost 25 points in Singapore and gifted Hamilton 13. So that’s 38. The road rage in Baku cost him 13 points. So that’s 51 points he blew on only those two blunders already. That’s almost the whole gap.

              Then there are Spain, Canada, Silverstone, Spa where Ferrari had the fastest car for the race but he threw it away mostly at the start (or in the case of Spa, the restart). I’m not saying he should have done better in all of those, but I think at least in some Alonso would have done better with that car. Or Ricciardo or Verstappen or Hamilton.

      3. Yes. Ferrari really open up the door to chaos just like Force India’s Szafnauer said.
        There’s already sign that Maurizio Arrivabene will be replace by Mattia Binotto.

        1. The Ferrari team are well organised, but under pressure there is a tendency to panic…add the pressure of Vettel, who is not a Schumacher who spent a lot of his time with his mechanics, and got the best out of them over the years….throw in the big boss who moves aside(sacked?) anyone who he thinks he can blame…..it is no wonder they are falling apart when it counts……
          It looks like a pressure cooker to work for…..

    2. Gina’s dirty sister?

    3. I just don’t understand the obsession to change a monocoque so eagerly when a crash hasn’t even happened and even when they’ve got plenty of time to fix a problem before the parc ferme rules kick in that isn’t even physical damage from a crash.

      1. @jerejj I dont understand the obsession to not change big parts when you got plenty of time before the parc ferme.

        “We got all the time in the world here guys lets try to bang it straight for good or for worse instead of just swapping it out and sending it back to the factory for a proper evaluation. I mean if we cant bang it straight what do we got to lose?…”

        “Worst case it breaks down in the race and gets so beat up we never get to see what the problem was in the first place and its only the WDC on the line so its no big deal”

        1. @rethla @anon ”If there is a problem that cannot be diagnosed at the track, then they can analyse the car at their leisure back in the main factory and head off any potential issues now rather than later, when it might be too late to rectify that issue.”
          “We got all the time in the world here guys lets try to bang it straight for good or for worse instead of just swapping it out and sending it back to the factory for a proper evaluation. I mean if we cant bang it straight what do we got to lose?…”

          – Yeah, but for example, when Sainz had his crash in Russia two years ago Toro Rosso didn’t change the monocoque of his car despite having only less than two hours to fix the quite a big physical damage it sustained from the shunt, and yet they still managed to do it without a change in that time even though he didn’t take part in qualifying after all. Also, Vandoorne’s crash in Monaco qualifying didn’t lead to a monocoque change despite the fact it sustained physical damage unlike Vettel’s car and having far less time to fix it before the parc ferme rules kicked in, so a bit of inconsistency there. Therefore, if damage to the extent in Sainz’s case can be fixed on the track in less than two hours, then a glitch should be fixable in almost 30 hours before the parc ferme rules come into effect as well.

          1. @jerejj
            Theres no consistensy to speak of when you mention different teams and different situations.

            Lets for the sake of the argument compare your examples. Both TR and Mclaren didnt have time to change the monocoque and Ferrari did so i dont really see your point.

            1. @rethla My point is that is a relatively significant physical damage on a car can be fixed in less than two hours without changing the monocoque then a glitch in the car should be fixable in more than 24 hours without changing it as well.

          2. @jerejj ‘if a relatively significant physical damage’

      2. @jerejj, I think this might be the same chassis that had been involved in his shunts in Singapore and Sepang, so although he hasn’t had an accident this weekend, it could have been damaged in an earlier shunt and the effects have only begun to appear now.

        Even then, it is not unheard of for a driver to have more than one chassis per season even when it has not been damaged on track, since over time there does tend to be a degradation in stiffness – it’s not so much of an issue these days compared to the older metal monocoques that the sport used to have (where metal fatigue was an issue over time), but it does still happen to some degree and can effect the handling of cars over time.

        In this situation, it has to be said that @rethla is right that, on balance, they might as well make that change at this point in the weekend. If there is a problem that cannot be diagnosed at the track, then they can analyse the car at their leisure back in the main factory and head off any potential issues now rather than later, when it might be too late to rectify that issue.

        If it turns out that there was no issue, then they can still revert back to that chassis at a later date without penalty – in the meantime, they will still have been able to set Vettel’s mind at ease (and the mental preparation is probably part of what they are doing here) and should still be able to secure a decent points finish this weekend.

      3. It’s not panic, it’s a failed attempt to improve by front suspension modifications. If the geometry of the suspension is so much different to another ( attachment points to the chassis ) the only way to revert it back to previous spec is to change the chassis .

      4. From what’s available in the press, on TV and locally, Vettel reported a “front end” problem. Telemetry should help, but has its limits. There are occasions where the back end or a change of rigidity between front/back can genuinely appear, through the steering wheel, as being “front.” Ferrari, after a good look decided to change the “between front/back.” This is their (design, engineering, driver and telemetry) call, they made it in time to do it, and got “permission” from the FIA to do it without penalty.
        If Ferrari/Vettel are serious about the last four races, and have the parts and time to improve their chances, I find that not just normal, but totally professional. Am I missing something?

        1. @paul-a You are obviously an tifosi in disguise talking so well about Ferrari. The team are panicing and Vettel cant drive.

          1. I’m a fan of F1 as a motor sport and have been since 1953 when I saw my first British GP. I support all teams and all drivers without discrimination. I can get critical when necessary. I do not personally know anyone that is currently employed in F1 — all my old friends and acquaintances in F1 are dead or well-retired as they were active in the 1960s or early 1970s.
            I wrote that Ferrari were “totally professional” in their decision to change a chassis. Mercedes are professional for their engines, McLaren for their chassis, Haas for their team model, Red Bull for their aero (and supporting Torro Rosso), Force India for their persistence, Williams and Renault for fighting back, plus many more attributes all the way across the grid.
            How on earth can you call me a “tifosi in disguise”???

            1. @paul-a I call you an Tifosi in sarcasm and i do agree fully with your previous post. Its rare to see someone actually putting logic and reasoning behind their posts.

    4. oh dear its all falling apart again

      shame they could have won the WDC the car was there

      1. @Andrew Purkis I guess it just goes to show…… it’s not all about the car!!

    5. What exactly happens as part of this chassis change? Does it mean that Ferrari already have a fully assembled third car, minus power unit and gearbox, and they’re going to swap Vettel’s power unit and gearbox into that?

      Whatever it is they’re going to do I’m surprised it’s not quicker to take apart the front of Vettel’s car and put it back together. Perhaps although the “strange feeling” Vettel reported manifests at the front Ferrari have concluded it’s a wider problem?

      1. @harrydymond No they dont have a fully assembled car but they probably got a worked in routine where they can get one ready fairly quickly while they strip the first car down in the meantime.

        If they had fully isolated the problem to some changable part in the front end they wouldnt swap the entire car. They are not panicing clowns like most in here seems to think.

    6. Oh dear….but Ferrari should be praised for being the 1st team to have a proper challenge to Merc in the Merc designed era of F1. Next year Rb should join the battle as well. In fact if you swapped Hamilton and Vettel I think Hamilton would still have won this year but would have been better as it would have been in a Ferrari.

      1. You know what’s funny. Probably not, but Mercedes was against these engines from the start. Probably since they were considered slightly ahead already in the V8 era.

        It was Renault (and Red Bull) who insisted we get these new regulations. With Ecclestone trying to get VW group into the mix as well. The rest is history. So please don’t try to distort it.

        1. Mercedes and Ferrari were against the 4-cylinders engine regulations not the current V6 hybrid power units. Renault,Todt and Bernie were all pushing for a 4-cylinders engine which was actually vetoed by Ferrari and strongly opposed by Mercedes.
          The current V6 power units were some kind of a compromise to satisfy all the parties involved. Ross Brawn was actually heavily involved in the writing of the current engine specifications. Daimler the mother company of Mercedes that ensures transportation for the F1 management material through their tracks and provides the safety/medical cars… threatened to quit F1 if the current hybrid PU regs won’t be implemented.
          That decision would cause the F1 stocks to lose 17% of their values… For your information, Mercedes sent something like 30 engineers to Tesla in order to be trained in the hybrid/electric fields before even the rules were written and then they were protected by the stupid token rules which prevented other manufacturers to compete with them. That’s the unfair advantage people are talking about which gifted Mercedes 3 easy championships (2014-2016).
          Starting from 2017, Ferrari have actually closed the gap before the recent mass suicide, starting from 2018 Renault will be in the mix too and with two top clients (chassis wise) like RBR and Mclaren we should expect a better racing and we will see if Mercedes will be as dominant as they were in the last 3 years

    7. Danny Ric would have put on a cracking show if he was in the Fezza this year. Maybe 2019 will be his year to shine for the reds :D

      1. I think DR is in the crap. All eyes (and attention) will be on MV. I hope DR can rise above it.

        1. @baron Rosberg taught us thats no problem. DR is doing just fine compared to Raikkonen and Bottas as far as i can see.

    8. I think @kimiraikkonen5 has the most sensible remark on this topic. There’s a lot of drivel from others.

      1. @robbie @kimiraikkonen5
        Just remember Vettel was named as the best driver of the first half of the season. Aside from Singapore (which still wasn’t a terrible mistake by Sebastian) he hasn’t been inferior compared to Hamilton. Most of the gap is because of bad luck. 18 points lost at Suzuka and 20 points lost at Sepang weren’t Vettel’s fault. That would mean 21 point gap, a very makeable difference. So reliability had a big effect. Also, some people mention Hamilton’s headrest failure in Baku and gearbox failure in Austria and that would mean the bad luck even! Well, Vettel had a tyre failure at Silverstone and collision with Verstappen in Canada. And the SC in China which meant he had to do overtaking rather than fight for the win with Hamilton. Still, I believe Hamilton was a slightly better driver this season, but still had races like Russia, Monaco or Hungary where Bottas beat him fair and square.

        1. The difference being that Alonso had a great start and was ahead of Vettel when he moved over, while Vettel had a poor start and had Verstappen next to him. Taking an empty bit of track is much less of a risk than trying to shove a competitor off the track on a straight. Especially if you didn’t have the best of starts and it’s likely others had a (much) better one.

          So 25 lost there needlessly and easily 13 points gained for Hamilton by taking out two more cars ahead of him. Then add throwing away 13 points in Baku which makes 51 points added to the gap with those two blunders.

          Which means most of the gap is really because of those two blunders and not because of the technical issues of late.

          1. @patrickl
            There’s no chance Raikkonen would have finished ahead of Hamilton in the wet at Singapore, especially considering how Ricciardo (even before his gearbox issues) was clearly slower than Hamilton in the race. There’s no way to prove that Verstappen or Vettel would have finished ahead of Hamilton either. Ferrari was awful in the rain at Monza just a few weeks earlier. Your claim that Vettel lost 38 points to Hamilton at Singapore is a pure conjecture.

            Also, Hamilton himself has by no means been perfect this season. Lewis underachieved relative to the potential of his car in the first 6 races. He should have won in Bahrain and Russia, and got at least on the podium in Monaco. Instead he finished 2nd, 4th and 7th in these races. If Hamilton drove the first 6 races of the season as well as Vettel did, he would probably be 30 further points ahead.

            1. So there is no way that Vettel would have won in Singapore anyway. Is that what you want to say? Ah well who cares that he crashed then.

              Sure Hamilton could have picked up a few more points here and there, but it’s not even close to what Vettel has been thowing away. Especially since Ferrari isn’t the outright fastest car anymore after their oil burning system was banned. He and the team apparently don’t really deal well with pressure and start making mistakes all over.

              Besides I don’t think mystery setup issues with the car (which also affected Bottas in races like China and Japan) is something that can be attributed to the driver. Just like a spark plug issue is not Vettel’s fault. Neither is being caught out by an inconvenient safety car in Bahrain.

              I wonder if the bad starts that Vettel keeps having are car related, but when you see the great starts that Raikkonen usually has then it looks driver related. It’s not like in 2016 with Mercedes that both drivers had issues starting. Like Rosberg in Germany and Hungary as well as Hamilton had on a few occasions. They (Mercedes) blamed Germany on a wet starting line, but still. Rosberg did also lose out several times too because the start system didn’t work properly. With Raikkonen it’s less easy to see though because he generally doesn’t start from pole or P2.

              So yes Hamilton could have had perhaps 15 points more if he had finished on P2 in russia and P3 in Monaco, but you can’t expect a driver to score 100% everywhere. Besides he didn’t have the fastest car in those races either so he didn’t gift Vettel any points either.

              I’m not saying Vettel should perform 100% in every race, but he thoroughly underperformed in at least 6 races. Costing him 70 points in total and gifting Hamilton 27 points. That’s almost 100 points extra he could have had against Hamilton. So even if he had gotten only 50% of those he would be fine right now.

            2. @patrickl
              Bottas won in Russia and should have finished on the podium in Monaco. If Hamilton won in Russia and finished on the podium in Monaco, he gains 22 points and Vettel loses 3 points, so that’s a net gain of 25 points. He pressed his DRS button too early in Bahrain, then held Ricciardo up in the pits. That’s another 7 points he lost and 7 points Vettel gained. In other words, Hamilton threw away 39 points relative to his maximum potential in the first 6 races alone.

              but you can’t expect a driver to score 100% everywhere.

              Vettel arguably did in 2013, zero mistakes and beat his teammate everywhere. Hamilton has never had a season of that level in his career, despite driving several cars (2014-16) more dominant than the RB9.

            3. @kingshark
              You cant tell whos doing zero mistakes at their level. Sure not pressing the DRS button is an obvious one to spot back home in the couch but i very much doubt Vettel would have beaten Hamilton 100% of the races 2013 if they where in equal cars. Likewise theres no telling that Vettel in his 2013 mode would beat Hamilton in 2017 or even if Vettel 2013 would have beaten Vettel 2017.

              Vettel is a complete package and you can never have Vettels brilliant drives without his over agressive eagerness to be first into turn one at Singapore.

            4. @kingshark In 2013 Vettel had the team completely organized around him. They made Webber a #2 driver after he kept coming too close to Vettel in 2009 and 2010. Red Bull clearly felt that that was a hindrance to the team so they stopped it and threw everything behind Vettel.

              The car was developed with only Vettel in mind up to the point where they couldn’t even fit a working KERS system in Webber’s car. Strategy was always around Vettel too. Much like Raikkonen barely gets any support at Ferrari now.

              So no, those stats mean nothing since Hamilton actually has a competent team mate and they get equal treatment.

              2014 showed what happens when Vettel is put in that position. He got comprehensively beaten by Ricciardo.

              Vettel is hardly a complete package. He’s only good if he has the fastest car by some margin and can start from pole with no threat during the race at all. Throw in some opposition somewhere along the race and he usually falters. Similar to Massa.

              This season shows that more than ever. When he doesn’t have enough margin to get pole he overdrives the car and tends to fluff his Q3. When the pressure is on his start, he doesn’t perform well at those either. When he has some opposition at (or before) turn one he usually has run ins with his competitors.

              His overtaking skills are pretty much nonexistent too which was what gave the title to Button in 2009 since Button was able to overtake when he needed to. While Vettel crashing/spinning out of 3 or so races didn’t help either of course.

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