Vettel’s Singapore crash is why his title hopes are over

2017 F1 season

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On Sunday Sebastian Vettel won and Lewis Hamilton didn’t make it onto the podium. It was exactly the kind of result the Ferrari driver needed a couple of races ago when his title hopes were still alive.

The 2017 season will be remembered as the year of Ferrari’s great Asian collapse. Although Hamilton had already wrested the points lead from Vettel before the teams headed east, the following three races in Singapore, Malaysia and Japan crushed Vettel’s title hopes.

And it was in the first of those that the most damage was done, arguably by Vettel’s own hand.

Mercedes were weak in Singapore, Ferrari were strong, and Vettel lined up on pole position with his team mate and the Red Bulls between him and Hamilton. Vettel arrived in Singapore three points behind Hamilton and this should have been the moment he took that back and much more on top.

But by taking an uncompromising line on a wet track with Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen alongside him, Vettel skittled all three into retirement and handed Hamilton a race he shouldn’t have been able to win.

Guessing what might have happened had drivers not retired from races is always a subjective business. But even a conservative analysis of Vettel’s setback in Asia shows Singapore was the most damaging race for his title hopes.

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Even if we assume Vettel had finished third in Singapore after letting Raikkonen and Verstappen go, and Hamilton took fourth immediately behind him, Vettel still would have been much better off. By using the Points Calculator we can see that instead of losing 25 points to his rival Vettel would have gained three – a total swing of 28. And had Ferrari moved Raikkonen aside it could have been greater still.

The two separate power unit problems at the next races didn’t cost him as much. The failure during qualifying in Malaysia probably cost him pole position which he likely would have turned into a win. As it was he finished fourth to Hamilton’s second, losing six points to his rival. But even if he’d started at the front with Hamilton third, that would only have been a 16-point swing, less than in Singapore.

In Japan too although Vettel retired early on he had qualified second behind Hamilton. Making the reasonable assumption that Hamilton would still have converted that victory and Vettel finished second, this was an 18-point swing against Vettel. Again, Singapore was clearly more damaging.

Vettel was initially dismissive of the Singapore crash, saying “it doesn’t change much” after climbing from his car. But the passage of time appears to have changed his view.

After Hamilton clinched the title Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne said their defeat had been down to “technical issues and driver error or driver misjudgement”. Vettel said his comments were “fair enough”, adding, “I think there are always things that you could do a bit different.”

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The stewards rightly deemed the crash a racing incident. But it was Verstappen who, immediately afterwards, best spelled out the miscalculation Vettel had made. “When you’re fighting for the championship and then try to be that aggressive at the start when Lewis is behind you, quite comfortably, it’s not I think the smartest move to do.”

Video: Singapore start crash which claimed both Ferraris
Following his Brazil victory, Vettel is 43 points behind Hamilton. That 28-point Singapore swing is the reason why the championship isn’t going down to the final race in Abu Dhabi next week. Without it, Vettel would be 15 points down on Hamilton heading into the finale.

And we could be enjoying a much more exciting championship. The clash between the pair in Mexico would have been a moment of high drama which ultimately helped Vettel chip into Hamilton’s lead. And the story of Brazil would have been how Hamilton, with the title in sight, crashed his car in qualifying and allowed Vettel to grab a victory which set up a final-round title-decider.

Singapore ‘didn’t change much’? On the contrary, it changed an awful lot.

2017 F1 season

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Author information

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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163 comments on “Vettel’s Singapore crash is why his title hopes are over”

  1. if my aunt had balls, she’d be my uncle

    1. @pawelf1 I am not sure what motivates your comment: humour, cynicism or ignorance.
      Not only are we all products of probability, but we live in a stochastic world. It is a perfectly accepted scientific endeavor to conduct scenario analysis and ask ‘what if?’. Doing ‘what ifs’ gives us insights into the probabilistic world we live in. So there’s really nothing wrong with Keith’s effort. But we can disagree with his conclusions and methods.
      Going back to your own scenario: there are indeed those who may appear female (the default physique of the human beings) but who are in fact biologically male. Yes, we live in a ‘what if’ world.

    2. I’m not a fan of the what-if’s and could-have’s, but this one is different. @pawelf1
      @KeithCollantine describes an action Vettel took in Singapore which at the seemed ‘less than smart’. This scenario analysis just shows again just how costly it (most likely) was for him, and robbing us of an exciting season end.

      PS. Of course it is not clear (and unlikely IMO) that Hamilton would have made his rookie mistake in Q1 on Saturday was the WDC race still open.
      Based on Mercedes’ speed it was to be expected to be a race win for Hamilton. Still ‘game over’!

    3. If only Vettel had been born in Britain. What could have been? I guess we’ll never know, but I’m sure it’s his fault for losing that race. Ham beats him again.

  2. Totally correct. Driver error alone cost Vettel because Hamilton also had 2 races effected by reliability (Baku and Austria).

    Seb lost his cool in Baku and drove like an idiot on a wet track in Singapore. Without those driver errors, Abu Dhabi would be winner take all.

    1. After this incident, Vettel had many chances to continue fighting the title.
      The sanction in Malasya 20 places and the spark plug problem in Japan. They committed to a great extent the fight for the title.
      There were three consecutive situations, all influenced in favor of Ham. NOT only Sigapur.

      1. @prof1 and then of course you conveniently ignore the part: “Hamilton also had 2 races effected by reliability (Baku and Austria).”

    2. Briatore was right. Ferrari needs professionals. Only thing he wasn’t right is about Kimi. They should ditch Vettel instead. Raikkonen and Ricciardo would be best option for them in 2019.

  3. Vettel lost 13 points in Baku as well, by his own stupid action, so he would have been up there with Hamilton fighting for the championship to the very end.

    1. True, if you add Baku to Singapore, Vettel and Hamilton would be virtually tied, all down to who wins or finishes ahead at Abu Dhabi. Imagine that alternative scenario. I think you can also legitimately ask whether Ferrari would have ‘juiced up’ their car quite as much had Vettel been ahead after Singapore and whether, therefore, they would have had the later problems with DNFs.

      However, I’d also question whether Hamilton would have been quite so aggressive in qualifying in Brazil if Vettel was much closer or ahead in the points. The only comfort Vettel can take is that Hamilton is very clearly still prone to his own lapses when he loses concentration. (It’s reasonable to factor in the bad publicity for his tax evasion and the armed robbery of his team as possible reasons for losing some concentration or performance in qualifying.) Though Hamilton’s determined response during the race suggests he’s aware this year that he need to maintain pressure even to the end if he want to avoid passing the psychological edge to his rivals for the start of next season.

      1. Now that would have been fantastic.Winner takes all. But that is a lot of if’s.

      2. @david-br I do agree that once the “what if” can is opened, one must consider that all “what ifs” are now on the table. But I don’t think Hamilton was being all that aggressive in qualifying. Aside from a damp, cold track and dry weather tyres/tires… many other drivers slid on that same turn. I think there was some bottoming out that was unsettling cars.

        Regardless, it would have been nice to see a title-deciding final race with both drivers neck and neck. Maybe next year.

    2. seb lost 6 points in baku,lewis 15.
      lewis would have won that race.
      at no stage did vettel threaten to take the lead from lewis.

  4. “When you’re fighting for the championship and then try to be that aggressive at the start when Lewis is behind you, quite comfortably, it’s not I think the smartest move to do.”

    Verstappen hit the nail on the head. It was a racing incident, as the guy in 1st often covers across the guy in 2nd if he gets an average start, just this time the guy in 4th got a mega start and was alongside, and Vettel couldn’t see him through Verstappen which caused a crash. But if Vettel was smarter about it, he’d have let Verstappen go, and banked points, knowing the Mercedes were weak around that track.
    Also, it would likely have been a 31-point swing rather than 28, assuming Verstappen had got into 1st, as Ferrari would’ve let Vettel ahead of Raikkonen.

    1. And this is one reason why I think Bottas may have been careful when defending Vettel and the start of Brazil. Maybe something similar to what happened in Singapore could have gone wrong if he heavily defended Vettel. He didn’t defend as hard as he could, but he still got the 2nd best possible result, which is better than what Vettel got in Singapore. I honestly think the lack of risks Bottas takes pays off pretty often. But I know he also should take them a bit more than he does.

      1. @thegianthogweed VB getting a better result than SV did in Singapore was likely nothing that ever entered VB’s mind. He needed to outscore SV in order to try to take second in the WDC standings. Now he needs a win and an SV dnf in the last race to do so. He had his opportunity when LH crashed in quali and he got pole. Then he did the same thing for SV that some people ridiculously claim SV should have done for Max at Singapore…let him go. And where does that get you?

      2. I missed the race but looked at the start and I didn’t see how Bottas really could have defended from Vettel even had he been aggressive. The only thing he could have done was pushed Vettel towards the wall, which since he was level very quickly would have seen him penalized (and would probably have caused a bad accident).

        1. Bottas was still ahead until quite far on the straight. He could have closed the inside door and forced Vettel to take the long way around.

    2. The other variable is Hamilton’s race pace in the lower temperature, mixed conditions of Sunday was far stronger then the Merc’s qualifying performance indicated and took everyone by surprise, Ricciardo was no way near. It would have been a heck of a what-could-have-been!

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        14th November 2017, 14:40

        @ju88sy Hamilton had a great start in Singapore, too. He was alongside Vettel in the braking zone of the first corner, though Vettel was obviously slowed by the incident.

      2. New engine, (new generation!) starting form the pits so no additional penalty, and according to james Allen he drove 25 laps in Quali mode.
        So not something to do when fighting for the WDC. And not something RIC could match.. he did great!

        1. He was talking about the Singapore race.

    3. I do think there is element of “it just happened that way”. This is also often how reporting works. If he had made it stick, everyone would be praising his toughness and willingness to win, people would have written about “sheer will” and “proving a point”, “sending a message”. How many times Lewis did something like this to Nico, I don’t know out of my head, but it was quite a few.
      I think it is fairer to say Seb was unlucky, and the whole “he threw the championship away” quite unfair, actually.

      I also say this because outside of the car, Seb does tend to stick to what he thinks really happened, rather than inventing a narrative that will put him in a better light. I have rarely seen a top driver commenting on his mistakes as openly as Seb does after qualy or racing, and never saying something went exactly how he wanted – he is a perfectionist, and doesnt measure his words. And I think people have rated him less for it. Instead of him doing a stunning lap, journalists sometimes write he almost threw away a pole or victory, feeling he could have done better – because he almost always says so. The car gets rated higher than it is. Lewis and Fernando are quite happy to have people think they made more out of a lap or race or championship campaign than their car was capeable, which of course is extremely false logic.
      Take Interlagos qualy. Vettel said he chickend out at the first corner and thats what people wrote. He says that stuff because he doesnt care much about social media or even newspaper reports, when his lap was actually very good, the the first one great. Lewis doesnt have the balls to say he made a mistake or even go into the details why. To each their own, I think thats fair game for Lewis. But the media need to try and be more balanced in the reporting.

      I feel he was unlucky this year, and that for a big part, he was at the level or even above the level of a great Lewis Hamilton. So I hope for some more next season.

      1. Agree with you fully.

      2. How many times Lewis did something like this to Nico, I don’t know out of my head, but it was quite a few.

        Difference is that Nico was Lewis’s title rival. Hamilton again did this to Vettel in USA, which is honestly completely different to doing it to some random driver who is not in the title race, while your actual title rival is expected to struggle a few cars back.

        Vettel did what any driver would do. And that’s what surprised me. I would expect him to be a bit more circumspect.

        1. Well, they’re all competitors who want to win. Hamilton had momentum in the title race and Vettel knew he had to convert Singapore into a win when he had the much better car.

      3. @magon4

        Lewis doesn’t have the balls to say he made a mistake

        Here’s a direct quote from Hamilton straight after the race:

        “I messed up yesterday and put myself in the worst possible position. I was quick enough to win the race from pole to the flag and I didn’t do that so I made the job a lot harder.

        “There’s no room for mistakes when you’re working to be the best, but of course it happens and it’s part of the growing process. It’s not what you work towards

        I think Hamilton’s matured in general. I think that of Vettel too. The way Vettel handled the engine issues in Malaysia and Japan in front of the media was very admirable. But he still has a little way to go yet. He still hasn’t directly admitted he was in the wrong with his actions in Baku. The Singapore incident can be more easily argued (Baku is indefensible imho) but he still hasn’t admitted that he took a great risk with his actions. Overall Hamilton has been cleaner this season, less messing with the cringeworthy attempts at mind games, generally did his talking on the track, and overall (mainly with Baku) holds the moral high ground this season

    4. @hugh11 How do you figure a 31 point swing? If SV just let Max go, which is to me a ridiculous notion, and LH finished the race, probably on the podium having started 5th, where’s the 31 points? Sorry but there’s no way SV was just going to let Max go. And nor were SV/Ferrari ever going to assume the Mercedes would be weak there, and that LH would start and finish 5th.

      1. @robbie Assuming this was the finished order:
        1st – Verstappen – 25
        2nd – Vettel – 18
        3rd – Raikkonen – 15
        4th – Hamilton – 12
        5th – Ricciardo – 10
        Vettel gains 6 points on Hamilton, rather than losing 25, so 25+6=31.
        And yes, Vettel wouldn’t have let Max go, and didn’t, which in the end resulted in a crash. I’m talking hypothetically here.

        1. Anything could have happened in that race. Hamilton might have just passed everyone and still won. However Vettel would have had the opportunity to score points which is something he didnt have after the crash.

          1. True, hence why I said hypothetical. Hamilton could well have passed Raikkonen, but I can’t see him having got past Vettel or Verstappen, but that’s still then a 28-point swing.

  5. Really good analysis. Somebody need to show that to Vettel… He’s still saying the Singapour wasn’t his fault and the real error was Baku

    1. He’s still saying the Singapour wasn’t his fault

      …which isn’t really something @keithcollantine pointed out to be wrong, imho

    2. Singapore wasnt sebs fault, max hit kimi from P3, max made first contact, seb was over half a metre away when first contact happened.
      Max was expecting him to just let him through, but just because seb didnt open the door dosent make it sebs fault. Max was in win or bust mode

  6. A well for me Vettel lost the championship already at GP of Baku. Losing your temper like that was for me a sign of not totally in control. Lost also a lot valuable points there.

    1. I’m sure for you he probably lost it when he did not accept multi-21 or maybe even when he almost cost Hamilton his championship in 2008. But hey … it happens.

  7. Michael Brown (@)
    14th November 2017, 12:36

    Ferrari can’t help themselves but lose the championship in Singapore.

    1. Agreed… Refuelling… ’08…

    2. Lose the championship to Hamilton in Singapore

  8. I’m just glad returning the favour to Bottas in Hungary never came back to haunt Lewis (or Lauda, for that matter)!

    1. That favor was first of all given to Hamilton, then Hamilton gave the position back to Bottas. Bottas helped Hamilton just as much as the other way round. So they have basically already done a favour each. But infact Bottas has been used 2 or 3 times to hold up the leades after they have pitted before Bottas himself has. That may have been when Bottas was clearly slower, but he certainly has been a team player towards Lewis more than the other way round I’d say.

      1. @thegianthogweed That’s why I said “returning the favour”.

        1. Yes, but I thought you were just referring to Hungary, and in that case, a favour was given by Bottas, but returned by Hamilton.

  9. I don´t want to offend anybody but my need for fantasy-racing is satisfied with gta online…

    All this whining about what could have been is so hamilton-fan level to be honest. Nico would have won in 14 if lewis had nicos car failure in abu dhabi, and HAM-fans still managed non-stop-squeaking in the last 2 years.

    For Vettel Baku was a mistake. Singapore was just unlucky.

    1. I assume if Hamilton had Nico’s failure in Abu Dhabi then Nico would have had Hamilton’s failure in Australia yeh?

      1. no. nico would be 3 times world champion by now. hamilton would have been as depressed as an unsatisfied american housewife on valium…
        it was at that point (the buildup to abu dhabi) where i began to be sick of hamilton-superfans in general and british sportjournalism in particular. (f1 fanatic being kind of an exeption… )

        1. agreed again.

          that aside, lewis was wonderful after the summer break, as good as I have ever seen him. great job and deserved champion.

    2. @zad2 WRONG, what a way to deliberately distort actual facts/events of what happend in 2014, did you hope people would actually remember what happend in 2014? Your living in your little fantasy world.

      These are all the problem the Mercedes cars had before Abu dhabi 2014.
      Hamilton had:
      Engine failure in Australia – retired
      MGU-H and Brake failure in Canada – retired
      Brake failure in Quali Germany – Back of the grid
      Engine failure in Quali Hungry – Pit lane start
      Nico damaging Hamiltons car in SPA – retired

      Rosberg Had:
      Gearbox failure at Silverstone – retired
      Engine failure in Singapore – retired
      MGU-H failure Canada – finished 2nd lost 7 points

      Abu dhabi 2014, Nico needed Hamilton to finished 3rd to be champion
      Nico qualified 1st, Hamilton 2nd.
      Hamilton beat him off the line and was by the first corner the clear race winner
      Nico had his engine problem halfway through the the Abu dhabi GP, he was 3seconds behind Hamilton and not catching the championship was already lost, the only person that could have lost the championship that year through reliability is Hamilton. And the only reason Nico was in contention up to Abu Dhabi is because of Double Points.

      1. @ldg95 – Well said!

        Waiting for @zad2 to come and refute these real facts with his “alternative facts”.

        1. Like the “alternative facts” that hamilton payed all his taxes fair and square AND on time?

          Just kidding, nevertheless it is a what could have been thread ;-)

      2. Wasn’t the ‘hamilton-fan’ reference clear enough that @zad2 is just teasing you, @ldg95?
        And still you bite!

        1. Egonovi,
          lets see if he an respond constructively without ad hominem or some other form of attacks, i know what he meant with that reference but it also sounds as if like he actually believes himself.

      3. Nico damaging Hamiltons car in SPA – retired

        Haha. talking about a fantasy world ;)

        1. @seth-space

          Haha. talking about a fantasy world ;)

          Do you people even watch the races? didn’t you watch SPA 2014?
          Didn’t you see Nico take Hamiltons rear left tire??? and when he got back to the pits, Hamilton had a big chunk of his rear left floor gone too. The car was damaged, Hamilton was complaining about the car being all over the place, he was miles behind and he had to retire a few laps later.
          Whats fantasy about this??? Care to see if you can reply constructively too

          1. @ldg95 you said that as if it were intentional. I don’t see how it could’ve been.

            Though that of course doesn’t make you wrong there, but I think I get where @seth-space is coming from

          2. look at the images:

            Nico damaging Hamiltons car

            Nico did nothing wrong there!

          3. @seth-space


            Watch from 11:20 to 14:30
            and if you watch more you’ll find Hamilton retires the car later in the race.

            Pls continue trolling and basking in your own ignorance because you lack coherent thought to respond constructively.

          4. @ldg95

            and if you watch more you’ll find Hamilton retires the car later in the race.

            you’re missing @seth-space ‘s point. Completely.

          5. @LDG ,

            continue trolling

            Stop there. If your not able to discuss normally please look for another site.

      4. @ldg95

        ByTheWay: Yes, if hamilton had nicos car failure in abu dhabi and nico didn´t, nico would have won the championship. I don´t undserstand what the races befor has anything 2 do with whatever. The list you made assumes, that engine failures must be evenly mached between team mate unless it´s an advantage for hamilton. thats just not the case.

        As mentioned often before i´m commenting here when there´s nothing 2 do @ work, and i don´t think formula 1 or a formula 1 blog is worth having any personal quarrels. In terms of arguing style i value outright lies (your “wrong”) much below my “ad hominem” attacks because all i did was to mention that i see a tendency esspecially but not only from hamilton supporters tos state a lie (like you) and then a list of facts that has nothing to do with whatever.
        Best regards and good day 2 your, sir. My shift ends in 10 minutes and i won´t be going on discussing here whitout payment ;-)

        1. @zad2

          “Yes, if hamilton had nicos car failure in abu dhabi and nico didn´t, nico would have won the championship. I don´t undserstand what the races befor has anything 2 do with whatever.”
          Oh wow the lack of coherence is outstanding, you can’t pick and choose which failures you want to concentrate on, you compare them and then decided wether it benefits hamilton or the other driver. Just like how imo reliability benefited Hamilton this year.

          “The list you made assumes, that engine failures must be evenly mached between team mate unless it´s an advantage for hamilton. thats just not the case.”
          No i made a list that showed Hamilton had more problems throughout the season, so it’s a complete and utter fallacy to claim Rosberg lost the 2014 championship because his car was unreliable, espeacailly when you ignore Hamiltons failures prior to abu dhabi 2014 and that Rosberg was only in contention due to double points. I would have done the same vice versa.

          “In terms of arguing style i value outright lies (your “wrong”) much below my “ad hominem” attacks because all i did was to mention that i see a tendency esspecially but not only from hamilton supporters tos state a lie (like you)”

          Please point out my lies, i’ll be waiting.

          “and then a list of facts that has nothing to do with whatever.”

          Sorry but actually the list of (backed up) Facts have everything to do with the topic you started, because if you knew them before hand you wouldn’t have wrote this in your Original comment :- “Nico would have won in 14 if lewis had nicos car failure in abu dhabi, and HAM-fans still managed non-stop-squeaking in the last 2 years.”

          1. The only thing i stated was a “what if” abu dhabi 2014… in that particular case IF hamilton had nicos ABU DHABI failure and nico didn´t -> nico wdc 2014. THAT ISN´t WRONG. even you have to agree on that. Nevertheless you tried to put my “what if abu dhabi 2014” into an all year whatever context of engine failures, which are facts (i´ll give you that) but have nothing to do with my initial statement. I hinted, that you may have done it knowingly. To be more precise, i said you lied in your initial one word statement “WRONG”. I didn´t want to assume bad intentions (as you did with “deliberately distort actual facts/events of what happend in 2014”), but questioning mental capacities could be understood in an offensive way…

            i didn´t say nico lost it because of abu dhabi (that´s maybe a trick of your fantasy) or even that nico whould have deserved the championship. altough i say that he did deserve it in 16. What he did over a season (considering his talent which is obviously less than hamiltons) was exceptional.

            Reading my statements before copy-pasting your 2014 lists may raise my opinion on the avarage hamilton supporter.

            Good Day to you Sir.

    3. @zad2

      I think this is an important analysis. Fighting for the WDC is about balancing risk at every moment. Vettel made a giant mistake in Singapore. Framing it against an entire season has some problems, but the core point is critical.

      I think the important thing missing is the interpersonal aspect – Vettel maintaining respect from the other drivers. It is a more complicated to assign a point value to, but no driver can succeed as a predictable push over.

      1. It took you longer to read this sentence than it too vettel to be out of the singapre GP. In retrospect it was a mistake, nevertheless it is a sound strategy, to be known to be aggressive @ the start. Especially if you fight for the WDC with the 2nd best car. It is much easier to be conservative if you know that time is on your side.

        I think the title was decided @ Japan. That was when i gave up hope. Until then, it was a matter of luck (1 DNF for hamilton). Hamilton and mercedes came back strong after the summer break. Congratulations for that. Baku was a big mistake by vettel (altough the reaction on this site was commonly absurd).

        Nevertheless i really dont like these what could have been scenarios, because i heard enough of that from… Some supporters… 2014-2016. I see it in a much worse light than my lighthearted teasing which is obviously too much for the avarage person. And is censored for whatever (not exlplained) reason.

    4. Completely agree and Vettel has stated as much himself. Hamilton closed Vettel just as hard if not harder at U.S. GP (people can easily take a look on YouTube), no one complained. Had Verstappen had a great start and gotten on the inside of Vettel, they would have also crashed. Vettel’s problem wasn’t Verstappen. His problem was Kimi’s great start from third. He calculated enough space for Verstappen, not enough for Verstappen + Kimi.

      1. A) No he didn’t. Hamilton did not keep pushing like Vettel did.
        B) It wasn’t wet.

  10. I realize that the main thrust of Keith’s submission is that Vettel lost the most points to Lewis in Singapore. However, I think the headline is somewhat misleading. I tend to agree with Vettel’s own initial assessment. Hamilton’s performance throughout the year was far stronger than we all initially suspected and reversing the Singapore mishap would still have led to the same final outcome – WDC #4 for Lewis.
    Reverse the two Vettel DNFs (in Singapore give him the win and a fourth place for Lewis, and in Japan Seb retains his P2). Then also give Lewis two graces for Azerbaijan (head rest palaver) and Austria (gear box penalty). Lewis would still be leading the championship today. So in reality Lewis had never allowed Vettel and Ferrari out of his sights and would have got four straight wins between Canada and Britain (at which point he would have taken an earlier lead of the championship).

    1. You’re wrong. Just as the articles says, we’re talking about ONLY VET’s brain fade(s) and/or his rookie mistakes… which were COMPLETELY AVOIDABLE! HAM’s headrest issue, VET’s Japan tech issue etc don’t count. That’s really hard to avoid. Also, HAM crash in Brazil don’t cound either, that can happen. Off-track excursion happened to him before, spins too, happened to VET too. They normal. VET’s “mistake” from Baku (which should have ended with a black flag) and exaggerated squeeze of VER (into RAI) although everybody knew before the race of the “danger” VER presented with his very agressive and “I don’t care/All or nothing” style… were something easily avoidable tho. Here’s the shock actually, a driver of VET’s caliber doing something like that, ending his champ chances completely.

      1. @mg1982 Yes, I could be wrong with my conclusion that the Singapore GP, while a significant boost for HAM, was already overshadowed by HAM/Merc strong performance that was not immediately obvious at the time of that particular GP.
        But you are completely missing the point of Keith’s article. At no time did he say his submission was “talking about ONLY VET’s brain fade(s)”. Infact at the beginning he mentions “Singapore, Malaysia and Japan crushed Vettel’s title hopes”.
        We should all also continue to call a spade a spade when we see one. Vettel’s misjudgment in the “exaggerated squeeze of VER (into RAI)” is exactly the type of driver misjudgment HAM displayed in Brazil when he over-sped in turn 6 with off-temperature tyres.

  11. “And had Ferrari moved Raikkonen aside it could have been greater still”
    Ok, let’s imagine that happening instead of VET only losing the lead. Why?

    “The two separate power unit problems at the next races didn’t cost him as much”
    I remember last year something similar happening to Lewis just once and it was madness… in here it didn’t cost that much. What’s the difference between the two situations?

    1. That’s the big question! The difference is the same one that makes Hams ride from last to fourth in Brasil a heroic endeavor.

  12. It might be fair enough to say in hindsight that Singapore was the most damaging to SV’s WDC effort, but then hindsight is easy.

    I will never fault SV for Singapore. Going back to the days and hours ahead of that race, I consider several things. SV/RBR were never going to assume LH would start 5th and finish 5th, such that all they had to do was cruise it for the win and take back the WDC lead.

    Max was starting second, and of course not only already has the reputation of being a hard racer always, and amazing in the wet, but even said he was going for it as usual. Should SV have opened the door for Max? Lost first place right off the bat? Race starts are the most frenzied and therefore incidents are forgiven somewhat for that reason. There’s no ‘conservative’ when it comes to trying to outdrag the others into turn one. That would be a true recipe for disaster.

    Ahead of the race Martin Brundle commented that SV was going to just have to go for it, because he had Max beside him. When the incident happened suddenly he’s saying SV ‘risked too much.’ All well and good for Max to say that after the fact too, but he would have been the one right in there, potentially even contacting SV himself, as has happened and may have also been on SV’s mind.

    I will forever maintain that SV did a normal squeeze move to try to preserve his lead off the pole, against a super aggressive driver beside him, and he couldn’t possibly have known how much Kimi was squeezing Max from the other side. Not blaming Kimi at all, for he was just racing too, but without Kimi there Max would have had the room that SV had left him and/or the option to back off as well. To fault a WDC level driver for trying to stamp his authority on the race and the WDC with a normal turn 1 racing move, is again purely using the perfection of hindsight.

    1. Oops, of course not ‘SV/RBR’ but ‘SV/Ferrari.’

    2. And you will be forever wrong. He didn’t need to squeeze anyone.

      1. Of course he did. That’s what they all do. That’s how you own the corner off the start.

        1. No, you own the corner by getting there first.

          Something Vettel wasn’t doing, partly because instead of driving in a straight line, he was driving a diagonal line.

          He’s done this in the past– tried to take an angle towards 1 one that wound up slowing him down, and giving his opponent an opening into turn 1.

      2. Of course he had to squeeze Max for the first corner; in this case it just happen that Kimi got a mega start and Seb did not see that.

    3. @robbie surely you can understand the difference in opinion by so many on this though right? Ultimately sometimes it better take the “Prost approach”, other times the “Senna approach”. Look at how Hamilton played the long game when Verstappen attacked for the lead in Malaysia, there may well have been a big points swing the other way if they had clashed.

      if it were a dry race i think the point of an aggressive squeeze may be more warranted because maintaining track position has more importance in that situation, you know well enough yourself that when it’s dry the ability to overtake is limited by the aero/dirty air. But when it’s wet, if max was quicker he would have gotten by anyway and if Vettel was quicker he would have been able to attack and still be in for big points.

      Ultimately, regardless of hindsight, a big turning in the championship was brought about directly from his actions, so he has to take some responsibility. It just seemed sensible for him to be a little more “Prost”

  13. vettel could have won this championship if it wasn’t for the unreliability. he has been the better driver all year puling off the best overtakes and not just winning from pole like hamilton who had a mercedes engine in the back. vettel the more derserving driver just a shame the Mercedes is too good. taking nothing away from hamilton but the car won it more than the driver. vettel the real champ.

    1. Thank you! Yes! Those overtakes! On the FI in Canada, and again in Mexic. He started last a few times and always ended 4th.
      Somehow Ricciardo does those much often but it does not look as much on the limit; maybe that RBR is mighty under brakes.
      But, yes, SV knew he had to take those risks to get this title.

    2. Vettel did well this year, as he should, having the best all round car at least up until Spa. Maybe Vettel underperformed this year

  14. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
    14th November 2017, 14:48

    Good article. Vettel should have won Baku (he finished 4th) with Hamilton in 5th place. Add in Singapore, where Vettel would have finished at least 2nd to Verstappen, then even if Hamilton had finished 3rd (a tall order as he’d have had to have beaten both Ricciardo and Raikkonen on a circuit where Mercedes were 3rd best), the championship table would now be –

    1. HAM 335
    2. VET 333

    And that’s including Ferrari’s misfortunes in Japan and Malaysia. Poor reliability on Ferrari’s part didn’t hand the title to Hamilton, it just kept him within reach of it – it was Vettel’s mistakes which sealed the deal.

    1. Now give Hamilton the points that he threw away in Brazil (crash in qualifying) and Bahrain (opened DRS too early in qualifying and penalty in the race). That’s 20 extra points for Hamilton and 14 less for Vettel.

      1. Hamilton – 355
      2. Vettel – 319

      And Hamilton has the WDC easily again. The only way Vettel could have won the championship this year is if you expect a perfect season from him while still giving Hamilton room for his mistakes.

      1. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
        14th November 2017, 15:30

        @kingshark, you can’t count Brazil – once the championship is over Hamilton no longer has the same sort of pressure or expectation on him. But Bahrain is interesting, because both Mercedes and Hamilton screwed up repeatedly that weekend, but Ferrari had the faster car in race trim (they were way better on the supersofts). Let’s say that Hamilton might have won it, that still makes –

        1. HAM 342
        2. VET 326

        – i.e. even with the failures at Japan and Malaysia, Vettel is in the fight to the last race, albeit without much chance of winning the title. But here’s the thing, even had Hamilton driven perfectly in Bahrain, Ferrari had a large tyre advantage on supersofts on a track where overtaking is possible – it’s a big ask to say that Hamilton ought to have won there.

        My initial post, doesn’t contain any such ‘big asks’, it just looks at the likeliest result in the two races where Vettel screwed up. The most reasonable assumption, had Vettel shown better racecraft in Baku and Singapore, is that he’d be heading into Abu Dhabi trailing by just two points.

        1. @thegrapeunwashed

          you can’t count Brazil – once the championship is over Hamilton no longer has the same sort of pressure or expectation on him.

          In your hypothetical season where Hamilton enters the final race of the season with 342 points and Vettel enters it with 326 points, you still assume that Hamilton crashes in Brazil qualifying and finishes 4th. In other words, in this scenario, Vettel drives a virtually perfect season (no mistakes in Baku or Singapore) but Hamilton still makes a mistake in Brazil and yet he is still ahead of Vettel in the standings.

          Hamilton has been good this season but far not perfect. He made mistakes in Bahrain and Brazil, and had poor weekends in Russia and Monaco. It’s just that Ferrari is more unreliable than Mercedes so Vettel’s mistakes stand out more.

          Apart from Schumacher in 2000 and Alonso in 2006, I can barely think of any driver in a close title fight who even came close to a perfect season.

          1. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
            14th November 2017, 16:22

            @kingshark, fine I believe Hamilton ought to have won Brazil and Vettel finished second, that still equates to them heading into Abu Dhabi with the title undecided –

            1. HAM 348
            2. VET 333

            Hamilton has been good this season but far not perfect. He made mistakes in Bahrain and Brazil, and had poor weekends in Russia and Monaco.

            I’ve already said why I believe it’s a big assumption to say Hamilton would have won in Bahrain, if you’re now going to drag Russia and Monaco into it you’re really entering into the lands of the fairies; my original comment wasn’t saying what if we lived in a parallel universe, it just pointed to two races where Vettel made obvious and avoidable errors which resulted into very clear consequences.

            It’s very clear in Baku that, with Hamilton’s headrest problem, Vettel was going to cruise to victory. It’s also pretty obvious in Singapore that Vettel could have let Verstappen through and expected to finish at least in second place. There are no crystal balls required to see the most likely outcome in either race. Vettel scored two very obvious own goals this season, Hamilton only managed to do so once – and only after the championship was decided, which obviously doesn’t count.

          2. @thegrapeunwashed
            How is finishing 7th in a car capable of a podium finish, and finishing 4th in a car capable of winning not two clear own goals?

            fine I believe Hamilton ought to have won Brazil and Vettel finished second, that still equates to them heading into Abu Dhabi with the title undecided –

            1. HAM 348
            2. VET 333

            I love how you suddenly ignore Bahrain as soon as I bring up Brazil. You calculated that Hamilton would be on 335 points and Vettel on 333 point if Vettel drove a perfect season. Then Hamilton gains 20 points for Bahrain and Brazil, while Vettel loses 14 points. That mathematically puts Vettel out of contention again.

          3. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
            14th November 2017, 22:45


            I love how you suddenly ignore Bahrain as soon as I bring up Brazil.

            I haven’t ignored it, I mentioned it in my post.

            How is finishing 7th in a car capable of a podium finish, and finishing 4th in a car capable of winning not two clear own goals?

            How were Monaco and Sochi own goals for Hamilton? He tried his best to extract the maximum from the diva and fell short – by that reckoning Monza was an ‘own goal’ for Vettel. But that’s stretching the definition of ‘own goal’ to absurdity: an ‘own goal’ is an act which backfires spectacularly, e.g. Vettel at Baku, Vettel at Singapore. Vettel in Monza wasn’t an own goal by that definition, it was just a below par performance.

          4. @thegrapeunwashed

            Vettel in Monza wasn’t an own goal by that definition, it was just a below par performance.

            How can finishing 3rd in the third best car of the weekend (thank god Red Bulls had penalties) be considered an own goal? Vettel maximized his result on Sunday in Monza, there’s no way anyone was going to beat Mercedes that weekend. They were 1 second/lap quicker in the dry, it was the most dominant performance of the season by any team/car.

            Did Hamilton maximize the potential of his car in Sochi and Monaco? Objectively speaking not, since his teammate finished quite a way ahead on both occasions.

          5. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
            15th November 2017, 8:44

            How can finishing 3rd in the third best car of the weekend (thank god Red Bulls had penalties) be considered an own goal?

            As I said, it’s not an own goal – just an abuse of the English language. An own goal isn’t defined as performing below par. An own goal is a wilful act, but with unintended consequences. For Vettel to have scored an own goal in Monza he would have had to have deliberately qualified badly, which of course he didn’t.

        2. people cannot talk about IF and BUT just for one side.. if someone might start making theories about vettel wining IF X reasons happened.. that also applied to the whole grid.. if Hamilton headrest didnt get loose… if hamilton didnt crash at qualy.. if mercedes had a bigger tires operating window in the first half of the season..

          1. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
            15th November 2017, 8:46

            Javier, none of the things you mentioned were deliberate acts: unlike swiping at Hamilton in Baku, or crowding Verstappen at Singapore. That’s the difference.

    2. Well I guess that’s an opinion based on selectively re-writing history to suit an argument. Without actually re-writing history, I can safely say that LH’s dnf last year was not the only factor to him losing to Nico. It was also his poor starts earlier in the season, given the small points gap going into the final race. It was also that Nico was relentless throughout the season, Monaco being at least one exception. Yet conveniently that doesn’t stop LH fans from claiming it was just the one dnf.

      Yet when SV has more than one dnf, at a time when there were too few races left in the season to answer to those dnfs, rather it comes down to his mistakes…and he really only made one, which was Baku. Everything else was racing.

      How convenient to re-write history like it is fact.

      1. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
        14th November 2017, 15:34

        @robbie Hamilton lost 40 points to Rosberg in 2016 due to mechanical failures. With Mercedes expected to finish 1-2 that’s like giving Rosberg 6 extra wins. Sure, Hamilton had a couple of slow starts, but I think he’d have liked some of those free wins back.

        1. @thegrapeunwashed Sure but like I’ve implied, saying ‘6 extra wins’ is a bit sensationalistic and is taking license with history and ignores NR’s better but still not perfect reliability, races like Monaco where he was nowhere and considered it a team no-brainer to let LH go, races like I can’t remember which one had Nico tapped and spun at the start that had him clawing his way back up etc etc. So if LH can have some ‘free wins back’ selectively, why can’t Nico have Monaco back, or the race he got spun? Where does it end? Why does only one driver get to have his season back, only better? Answer: to suit one’s own argument.

          1. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
            14th November 2017, 15:59

            @robbie Sensationalistic? Not really, 42 points is 6 extra 1-2 finishes, that’s the minimal required to overhaul the mechanical failures Hamilton suffered.

            The race you can’t remember was Malaysia: had both drivers had perfect races they would have finished Hamilton 1st – Rosberg 2nd. As it was, it ended Hamilton DNF – Rosberg 2nd, Rosberg’s massive slice of misfortune that season was to finish in the expected position!

            Monaco? Hamilton (and 5 or 6 other cars in the queue) would have overcut Rosberg during the pitstop. It’s not like he only remembered how to drive once they fitted new rubber.

          2. @thegrapeunwashed And none of that changes anything. This is merely an excercise on your part to try to sell us that LH was the rightful winner last year (I brought up last year not you), and that due only to SV’s mistake(s) and nothing else, LH deserves it this year too, like him actually winning it hasn’t been enough, and you have to fix things so that he really really was superior to mistake prone SV, suddenly with unreliability not a factor for SV, only mistakes, whereas last year it was only about LH’s unreliability and not his mistakes off the line. Predictable skewed arguments from a diehard, in this case, LH fan. And that’s ok. It’s just also see-thru and easily debatable, when it involves a one-sided re-writing of history.

          3. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
            14th November 2017, 16:55


            This is merely an excercise on your part to try to sell us that LH was the rightful winner last year (I brought up last year not you)

            Pardon? As you say, you brought up 2016, not me – I was responding to the article. If you want to bring 2016 into it, it’s a bit unfair to moan when I reply!

            whereas last year it was only about LH’s unreliability and not his mistakes off the line

            I’ve merely pointed out that last year reliability cost Hamilton more than his mistakes, while this year mistakes cost Vettel more than reliability.

            Predictable skewed arguments from a diehard

            Predictably you get really hot under the collar, try to read my mind and throw accusations around, rather than responding in a calm and rational manner.

            I’m not having a go at you, you know, I thought we were discussing F1 – these aren’t questions of life and death, you shouldn’t get so worked up. I’m sure you must be able to deal with dissent in real life! But if I anger you that much, just ignore my posts, this forum is meant to be a pass-time after all, i.e. fun!

          4. Actually my admission that I brought up last year not you, and my ‘And that’s ok’ were meant to show you I am taking this conversation and your standpoint very lightly, but of course through texting it is hard to pick that up. So you see it is I that have been calm and rational talking to someone who is re-writing history irrationally, and yet, as you have done before, now I am the one ‘hot under the collar’ etc etc. It would seem it is you that can’t take your points being debated, so I’m fine ending it here with points based on facts and what actually happened, rather than woulda, coulda, shoulda presented as facts by you, that when debated makes you think others just can’t take it or something. Bizzare.

          5. @thegrapeunwashed – Denigrating Lewis Hamilton is a matter of life and death for @robbie. He displays unparalleled passion towards it, and devotes large tracts of his time to writing negative spiels anytime the opportunity presents itself – which is ALL the time on F1 Fanatic.

            I have never seen someone clutch at so many straws to make another look bad. He even claimed the colour of Lewis Hamilton’s skin never once occurred to him – despite the reams he has written undermining his talents/ performance, and disparaging him as a person at every turn.

            I wonder why anyone wold make such a claim?? Hmmmnnn…

          6. Lol. With such utter nonsense as that, is it any wonder I get sucked in every once and a while to try to bring folks back to reality from the ‘LH is God’ faction?

          7. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
            14th November 2017, 17:36

            @kbdavies I’m aware of that, but he seems ineluctably drawn to my posts only to get increasingly irate as the conversion develops. I just think he’d be far happier ignoring me.

          8. @robbie – Well, as F1 gods go, Lewis Hamilton certainly amongst them. And within the current driver generation, he also qualifies as a “god”. If i had to choose a driver amongst them all, i would certainly go for him (as would most team principals).

            Not because he is perfect (none of them are), but because when you take his imperfections into account, he still comes out ahead of his closest competition (Alonso & Vettel) – when you take their imperfections into account.

            In matching cars, Lewis will beat beat either of them on qualifying pace (Alonso more than Vettel), and in an otherwise imperfect car, he would be able to drive around the problems better (Vettel more than Alonso).

          9. @kbdavies

            He even claimed the colour of Lewis Hamilton’s skin never once occurred to him

            and i can imagine that.. His skin color is totally unimportant and only some people bring that up time and time again. Foolish and irritating always the discrimination angle. Please stop doing that.

          10. @seth-pace – No one said the colour of Lewis’s skin was “important”. Please read to understand, and not to reply.

          11. @seth-space +1. @kbdavies we’ve been through this before. You keep bringing it up, you didn’t say it’s important, but it is irrelevant so why you keep bringing it up I cannot fathom. Please stop doing that.

    3. @thegrapeunwashed

      Honestly I cried after reading your post, how amazing it would have been had it been that way.

      Mentally Vettel would have been stronger going into Abu Dhabi and would clinch the championship. ;-;

      1. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
        14th November 2017, 18:08

        @redbull1 Thanks Ashwin! And actually that’s exactly the response I was hoping for from a Ferrari fan! :-D

        It’s been a great season, I wish it could have kept going until the last race. After Singapore I said Hamilton deserved the championship – Vettel could only realistically have won if Hamilton was hit by reliability issues… whereupon Vettel was dealt two hammer blows. So it ended on a whimper, rather than a bang. Next season ought to be even better, but I think the 3-engine rule might spoil it. The FIA is shooting itself in the foot again.

        1. @seth-space ‘Foolish and irritating…’ You nailed it. Pretty much sums it up.

    4. why should vettel have won baku??
      at what point did vettel look quicker than lewis when lewis was leading in that race?
      if anyone should have won,it should have been lewis,with vettel in second.

  15. Or in Vettel’s own words ‘Woulda, coulda, shoulda’ doesn’t matter. Hamilton especially post Summer break was mega and Vetel just couldn’t keep up with him. Baku incident, Singapore incident, ran into the back of not one but two cars (VES and HAM) in Mexico and getting front wing damage..etc. Vettel simply made too many mistakes.

    I firmly believe that Ferrari Overall (Engine+Chassis) is the best car on the grid and Vettel lost the championship due to his mistakes, some unreliability problems and to a quicker more consistent driver.

    1. @amg44
      It’s not like Hamilton has been perfect this season, he threw away wins in Bahrain and Brazil, and he was dead slow in Russia and Monaco. The only way Vettel could have won the WDC this season is if he was perfect and Hamilton was not.

      Also, Mercedes has been the best car this season, faster on more circuits and more reliable.

      1. @kingshark But throwing away wins in Bahrein and Brazil and being dead slow in Russia and Monaco STILL didn’t cost Hamilton as much points as Vettel’s Singapore crash alone.

        As a fan of him, Vettel has disappointed me this year. We know Lewis has his ups and downs, but the 2013 Vettel metronome I was expecting didn’t happen and that was a surprise for me.

        1. @paeschli

          But throwing away wins in Bahrein and Brazil and being dead slow in Russia and Monaco STILL didn’t cost Hamilton as much points as Vettel’s Singapore crash alone.

          Much like a math teacher, I’m going to ask you to show your work here to see how you came to your conclusion.

      2. Brazil does not count any longer; with the WDC done, the motivation is different.
        But i agree with the rest. Baku SV was horrible; and so stupid.

  16. I disagree, Mercedes is just to fast, Hamilton to good.

    Even if Vettel finished those races Vettel would struggle to win.

    1. @jureo I don’t think Vettel would have won against Lewis in a reliable Mercedes, but stretching the title battle until the last race was perfectly possible.

      Vettel needs to bebetter next year, things like Baku and Singapore just can’t happen in a title battle. Ferrari on the other hand need to improve their reliabilty and impropve the in-season development of the car.

      1. Reliability they can improve; stable rules. But the in-season development i am not counting on it; they never kept up with the others. RB is in a class of their own here.

      2. Agreed. Also look at Hamiltons point scoring streak, way more consistent than Vettel/Ferrari.

        4 dnfs this year or something like that, 2 driver induced, 2 car unreliability… Thats 20% of the points gone. Then there is the Ferrari strategy calls… Team is just not on the same level as Mercedes.

  17. I posted this a month ago but i’ll post it again.

    Last Year(2016) Hamilton had:
    An ERS failure at the start of qualifying in China, relegating him to 22nd on the grid. He finished seventh.
    An ERS failure during Q3 in Russia, restricting the Mercedes driver to 10th on the grid. He finished second.
    An engine mode issue during the European GP. He finished fifth having started in 10th following a crash in qualifying.
    Used all 5 of his season engine allocation by the mid way point Race 12 Spa, forcing him to start from 22nd on the grid, finished 3rd
    A hydraulics fault during Practice Two in Singapore which was cited as a critical factor in his defeat to Rosberg. He finished third.
    An engine blow-out in Malaysia which cost him 25 points since he was 22seconds ahead of the Red bull in 2nd
    At the end of the season the engine usage statistics were
    Hamilton: ICE: 6 TC: 8 MGU-H: 8 MGU-K: 6 ES: 5 CE: 5
    Rosberg: ICE: 5 TC: 5 MGU-H: 5 MGU-K: 5 ES: 4 CE: 4
    f1technical (.) net/news/21099
    Only Alonso had worse reliability than Hamilton.
    All Rosberg had season had was a minor gearbox issue which cost him 3 points at Silverstone after getting demoted from 2nd to 3rd for driver coaching which was banned at the time and a grid penalty for a gearbox change at Austria.
    He was effectively bullet proof all season.

    But they said (you know, the ones that are saying Vettel lost by reliability) Reliability didn’t decide the championship…………

    This season 2017:
    Hamilton had:
    A grid penalty at Austria for gearbox change.
    Headrest failure in Baku.

    Vettel had:
    An electrical problem in quali at Malaysia forcing him to start 20th, he finished the race 4th.
    A spark plug/engine failure/retirement from the Japanese GP.

    Yet somehow reliability is decided this championship?

    It can’t be had both ways, by accepting Vettel lost the 2017 by championship because of unreliability, you’re accepting Nico did too and in a more so CLEAR fashion.

    1. Why post it again? Irrelevant to this article! @ldg95
      This article isn’t about ‘unreliability’, but about “damage was done, arguably by Vettel’s own hand”.

      1. Agreed, but hey.. its a moment the unreliability card can be played again and again..
        face it: Rosberg was champion last year. Next..

      2. @Egonovi

        Why post it again? hmmm… Errrm As i stated in the post, majority of those that will claim that Vettel lost because of engine unreliability are the same people that will claim Rosberg won because he was better than Hamilton in 2016 and not because of Hamiltons 1 sided quadruple engine failures, while Nico was bullet proof and only managed to win by 5 points.

        I do think reliability had a part to play in the 2017, the difference is that Hamilton made Vettel pay and it shows in the points gap between Vettel and Hamilton, Nico Rosberg on the other had needed a ridiculous amount or 4 major problems to happen to hamiltons car in 2016 and he only won by 5 points.

        It does have a bit of relevance to the article.

        1. @ LDG and lets not forget lewis still won more races and got more pole in 2016 despite the mechanical issues he had.
          this season it wasn’t reliability problems that cost vettel,it was what happened Singapore.
          why people also point to baku,i don’t know?lewis looked certain to win that race.
          until vettel crashed into him.

    2. @ldg95, Great bit of investigative work there.

      The difference this season is though that Hamilton and Vettel both have a similar amount of points lost outside of their own control. Vettel had his technical issues in Malaysia and Japan, but Hamilton had that head rest come of in Baku, a gear box change in Austria, a tyre issue in Q3 Hungary. Plus after Vettel’s implosion (and loss of WDC really) Hamilton also lost a lot of points being rammed by Vettel in Mexico.

      So this season it makes sense to focus more on driver errors/bad judgement. While in 2016 it indeed was clear there was a massive difference in technical issues.

  18. Reliability they can improve; stable rules. But the in-season development i am not counting on it; they never kept up with the others. RB is in a class of their own here.

  19. Yeah, pretty much right. On paper, he lost indeed 25 points in Singapore… that went to HAM in the end. So, if we give VET 25 points from Singapore, then cut 7 from HAM, the champ situation suddenly is a lot closer: 338 HAM – VET 327. Winning in Baku would have changed things dramatically compared to what they are now, VET leading the champ by 2 points with 1 race to go. Should have been VET 340 – 338 HAM. Thing is, he messed up in Mexico too, but he won’t mention that ’cause it affected HAM too… and worse than him. Still, there’s 1 more race to go, so things could have turned around by HAM. If you ask me, we can say for sure if VET lost the champ because of Baku and Singapore (and Mexico too) only after the last race ended.

    1. In Mexico he did the smart thing when he lost position with little chance of overtaking to gain it back and nearly stopped his rival scoring at all.

  20. To be fair it’s only because of Vettel’s talent that Ferrari were in the title race at all.

    He’s blatantly in the same league as Hamilton and Alonso. He’s still the driver of the decade (so far) judging by those lovelly stats that Hamilton fans love.
    Admittedly yes Singapore showed his weakpoint, although it worked for Schumacher like a charm and occasionally Hamilton.

    (and no I’m not a fan, but he does seem like a nice enough lad outside the circuit, as they all seem to if we’re honest)

    1. There are other drivers who could do the same and are less error prone. If they had gotten Alonso or Ricciardo then they would have had a much greater chance of getting the title.

    2. The problem with Vettel, that makes him unlikable, is that he never admits to his mistakes even when blindingly obvious. Rather like a certain Maldonado.

    3. Vettel is a very charming psychopath, I’ll give him that.

  21. We should do one on Kimi covering the whole season perhaps? I think it’s a little unfair to say it’s down to one racing incident why this isn’t coming down to the wire. I still maintain, mentally Baku is where Vettel lost his cool and a chance at the championship.

    But again, let’s focus on why Kimi didn’t win the championship this year instead a bit more.

    1. Kimi didn’t win because he’s probably at best the 12th best driver on the grid, and more likely 14th.

  22. When people bring up Sochi and Monaco, is it that they have short memories? Or are they simply looking for a blight at all costs regarding Lewis Hamilton’s 2017 campaign?

    In Sochi, His car was overheating throughout the race in Sochi, and he didn’t get into Q3 in Monaco due to Stoffel Vandoorne crashing his McLaren at the Swimming Pool. He was forced abandon his flying lap due to the double-waved yellow flags.

    Of course, he had problems with the balance of the car, due to its “diva” characteristics in getting the tires to work properly in Monaco, but to call this an “off colour” weekend as suggested by some is simply disingenuous.

    1. @kbdavies
      Of course there is always an excuse for when LH fails to deliver.

      In Sochi he was way off the pace in qualifying. In Monaco, he was terrible throughout qualifying, and only a tenth up on P10 before the final sector where Vandoorne crashed. No guarantee he’d have made it through.

      Bottas showed what the car was capable of in those weekends.

      1. True, but that’s only 2 races out of the (important) 18, and he still scored points in them. I think Hamilton has been pretty much error free this season otherwise.

  23. At the beginning of the season, I just knew that in equal cars Hamilton would come out on top of Vettel somehow. That qualifying pace is just hard to go up against.

    1. The cars arn’t equal. The teams arn’t equal. The engines arn’t equal.
      In the Merc I believe vettel would have wrapped up the title sooner than Lewis did and Vettel would have never been outqualified or outraced by Bottas.

  24. Vettel still has a chance to win,

    For this he would need to win Abu Dhabi though


    Hamilton would need to cause a 3 way intentional crash taking out two other drivers, as per article FCC 22.7 driver that causes a collision and takes two drivers out would get a 18 point penalty.

    that would keep Vettel and Hamilton level at 327 points (Vettel’s 302 + 25 = 327, Hamilton’s 345-18 = 327).

    Now a title deciding sprint race would be done (as per article FCC 94.7)
    15 lap race to decide the winner on the next weekend or on the same day If Bottas agrees to share his car to Hamitlon. 2 sets of US tyres. Minimal fuel !

    1. intentional

      I don’t expect HAM to go insane in Abu Dhabi :p

  25. The Singapore accident being averted and Vettel settling for 2nd would have seen the fight go to the last round, but I’m calling it now that Hamilton would still have won the championship.

    Vettel needed to be aggressive to hold on to the lead in Singapore. It was worth the risk because 2nd will not have proven to be enough to have won the championship.

    Now throwing Baku away is a different story. If he’d not lost those points, he could have comfortably settled for second in Singapore. That was where Vettel’s championship hopes started undoing.

    1. I absolutely agree with you, @philipgb Vettel knew the risks, he assumed Max would back down, but little did he know that his team mate was making gainz on the other side.

      The 2009 F1 season will continue to haunt Vettel, he was down by 11 points to Buttons. He lost the championship and knew that could have added his tally to 5 titles, something that he aims to achieve just like his mentor Michael who he looks up to very much, who made him feel miserable for the 2014 season.

      What was going through Vettel’s mind at the start might be three things –
      a) He was pumped up by his qualifying performance, he must have felt God at that point, nothing was going to come between him and the win.
      b) He was behind Lewis in the championship points, to win and catch that up would put Hamilton under mental pressure.
      c) Singapore was Ferrari’s best chance to win and score maximum, as all other tracks are high speed dependent which Ferrari are clearly lacking. no chance of defending against the Mercs. A significant points gain over Hamilton was what Vettel needed to put pressure on Hamilton and make a comfortable title win towards the end.

      Whatever the reason might be , the racing mentality in F1 drivers are to never back down.

      Kimi’s (another racer who Vettel looks up to very much) 2005 Nurburgring suspension failure in the final lap comes to mind, when he was leading the race. Kimi could have opted to go to the pits change his tyres but he never did, he knew a pit stop would only give him a chance at a podium and totally take away his victory yet he risked it all and went for it. Too bad it didn’t work out. Final lap first corner he lost it, the suspension gave way and he spun and crashed out.

      So yeah blaming an over aggressive move for a title drop – hmm not in my books.

      1. Exactly. Lost title for being to aggressive, entertaining… Not to bad. Wish there were 23 more drivers like that.

  26. Given Hamilton’s dominance in the wet (won the last 7 wet races I beleive) I think most likely he would have won in Singapore regardless of whether Vettel had made the mistake or not (Hamilton got the best start and was right with Seb and Riccardo couldn’t get anywhere near him in the race despite having a red bull car that was clearly faster than the mercs in the dry practice sessions). So to say it’s a no brainer that Seb would have won is just plain wrong.

  27. It doesn’t seem right for Vettel to have 4 let alone 5 world championships.

  28. Singapore did the most damage but as we all know, a championship takes place over a whole year. I’m not a fan of the what-ifs and should haves, could haves, would haves. This is what happened and it took 18 races for the championship to unfold

  29. I find it amusing that the British press blame Vettel’s crash in Singapore for him not winning the championship, instead of all the mechanical issues, yet when Hamilton’s engine goes pop and he loses the championship it’s this that is to blame and not all the other mistakes he made during the season.

    1. British racer, British press that is funded by British buyers… Nothing out of reason there.

  30. If there’s anyone for whom it was stupid to be so aggressive at the start of Singapore, it was Raikkonen. If he hadn’t been diving down the inside of both of the others then most likely there would have been no crash.

    Max placing his car where he did and caused Raikkonen to tip into Vettel. Taking out both Ferraris was a good result for Red Bull who netted a nice gain in constructors points. I originally thought Max did it on purpose but mainly I think Raikkonen is kind of an idiot.

    Now Baku was clearly a case of Vettel losing his head and I agree with those saying his championship unraveled there.

    The Ferrari engine failure can’t be completely overlooked either. And in general Mercedes seems to have had the upper hand on pace over the year.

  31. The moment Vettel crashed in Singapore was the worst championship destruction ever. I knew it right there it’s over.
    He most definitely would’ve won as Ferrari was far quicker than anyone else.
    Combined with the Baku insanity, makes it very clear Vettel took away his chances by himself.

    1. Just watched the start of the 2010 Singapore race. Alonso on pole and Vettel in 2nd. Vettel gets a slightly better start and Alonso veers across to cover Vettel just as aggressively as Vettel did with Verstappen. No contact, no accident and no condemnation from any commentators that I can recall. The championship was in the balance just like this year’s was so was Alonso out of line , too aggressive ? Seems like Vettel gets a lot of flak for doing exactly what he is paid to do and Alonso didn’t because nothing happened that either of them could control. Rosberg made mention that the move is exactly what he would have done and so has Hamilton. Vettel could not have possibly seen Kimi until it was too late, Riciardo made mention in Japan how low the drivers are in these cars and that there are more blind spots to deal with. To me, racing incident.
      Just my thoughts.

      1. Vettel has done nothing wrong .Yes he made a bad start and the rest is bad luck.Hamilton does the same thing in Monza to Stroll and all that’s missing is the bad visibility and third car for a crash to happen.
        To say that oh it’s just because of that crash he lost the title this year is ridiculous.There are many things that went wrong : reliability , a clearly slower car in q mode than the mercedes, some mistakes, yes clearly and i would say a slower car in most races also.Than there is the lack of a home race that Hamilton had.The start incident involving Verstappen in Canada.

        Than if you change history and vettel doesn’t crash in Singapore Hamilton might also not crashed in Brazil ,he would have been more carefull as the title fight was not over i would say.

  32. Last I checked the point swing in Singapore and Japan were the same. 25-0 for both. He may have lost the lead after Singapore, but point wise if you switch one for the other it didn’t change.

    1. You’re assuming that the manner of Vettel’s retirement in Singapore had no bearing on Hamilton’s eventual finishing position, which I think is unrealistic, for the reasons given in the article.

  33. The incident at Baku for me did so much damage to Vettel’s season in the sense that it was so senseless. Sepang and Suzuka were moments that no driver can control, but Sebastian screwed up at Baku by simply letting his emotions get to him. We saw him come apart in Mexico last year over the radio, telling Charlie Whiting to go #### off, and he reacted the same in Baku.
    Singapore he had the pressure of knowing that he had to make it work, he had to seriously take the fight to Hamilton. Verstappen had a good start, Vettel defended because he had to, not knowing where Raikkonen was on the circuit. We all know the result.
    But for me, Baku was a turning point. It showed that Vettel could be gotten to, that he wasn’t without flaws, that he could break if put under pressure.

  34. califormula1fan
    16th November 2017, 12:33

    I’m a big fan of Monte Carlo simulations of future probabilities, and spend much of my employed hours in understanding how various random events may influence risk vs. reward calculations, but, there is little value in applying variations of circumstances to the logical couple: “If circumstances had been different, outcomes would have been different.”

    There is a fundamental premise to many discussions on this site that I find to be not supported by the facts. That premise is that the primary goal of the F1 driver at any moment up to the decisive race, is to win the WDC. Given the observed behavior in all circumstances over many years, it seems that the primary objective of every F1 team and particularly the driver, from FP1 on Friday morning through to the end of the race is simple: WIN THE RACE. Formula 1 is notoriously difficult to execute passes, and as such the priority in tactics is quite simple:

    Priority 1: Win the starting pole. It should be no surprise, in this age of limited passing, that Lewis Hamilton has emerged as the preeminent pole winner. Hamilton is one of the quickest to ever race, and has had a car that qualifies well. On average, pole winners win the races.

    Priority 2: Beat the pole sitter (and competition) off the line, and beat them to the first definitive corner. If you can’t start on pole, by hook or crook, get out in front early. The most reliable correlation for race winner is Leader after lap one. Verstappen and Ricciardo are both great starters and have done very well at getting places in the first run-down to corner 1 in race after race. Hamilton gets away quick usually, but Vettel seems to be the quickest off the line sometimes, but is inconsistent, and often ends up jamming other racers into the first corners.

    Priority 3: Run the fastest tire strategy. I think Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have dominated this phase of the race in recent years. Only occasionally does Hamilton get into tire trouble. Sergio Perez is a master at tire management, but the Force Indias have not proven themselves to be the quickest of cars.

    Priority 4: run to the end (you can’t win it if you don’t finish). That’s all that needs to be said.

    Teams are incentivized to win the race, and almost certainly, the drivers income is maximized by winning races. The days of Alain Prost who one two of his WDC’s with only four outright race wins, but managed his way through the WDC rankings are well in the past. That type of racing was quite boring, and fans were not paying to come watch the middle phase of a chess match: they pay to see who is going to win on that weekend. Since race day fans come to see who wins, the sport should give the paying customer what they came to see.

    I predicted after Mexico that Hamilton would give it his all to win in Brazil: his accident in Q1 frustrated his effort, but without a doubt, even with the WDC in his pocket, he raced to win the race. It’s what makes the race exciting. The broadcasters want repeat viewers and so try to weave a tale of the season, and make it sound like the WDC is the prize that the drivers are seeking. Repeat viewership helps fuel ad sales, so I can’t blame them. The premise of their storyline, though is flawed: the teams want to win every race, that’s why it’s not a “best of 21” series, but a 21 race calendar.

    1. califormula1fan I like the prioritized goals! Very well thought out.
      However the conclusion “there is little value in applying variations of circumstances to the logical couple” fails to see the wood for the trees.
      Discussing scenarios here has the same value for (non-betting) fans as the real GP: entertainment!
      What ifs are not only of value in hardcore science and operations research but also in social interactions.

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