Sebastian Vettel, Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton, Yas Marina, 2017

Bottas holds Hamilton off for second pole in a row

2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying

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Valtteri Bottas will start the final race of 2017 from pole position after edging his team mate in qualifying.

Bottas kept Hamilton back by 0.172 seconds after both Mercedes drivers failed to improve with their last laps of the session.


The Mercedes pair headed the times at the end of Q1, Bottas lowering the course record again. But Ferrari looked threatening, Raikkonen lapping within a tenth of a second of the two silver cars. All chose the ultra-soft tyres.

Behind them the margins were even finer between those trying to claim a place in Q2. Lance Stroll secured his progression beyond Q1 with the final lap of the session, knocking Romain Grosjean out by 13 thousandths of a second. “Oh God that was everything,” the Williams driver exclaimed after taking the flag.

The Toro Rosso drivers were rooted to the bottom of the times as the final runs began, and although Pierre Gasly was able to move ahead of the two Saubers all of them failed to progress any further. Brendon Hartley acknowledged his first lap was poor and made a mistake at turn one on his final run, ending up at the bottom of the times by almost half a second.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’39.516
17Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Renault1’39.724
18Pascal WehrleinSauber-Ferrari1’39.930
19Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’39.994
20Brendon HartleyToro Rosso-Renault1’40.471


Having held Fernando Alonso off for seventh place in his final home race, Felipe Massa vanquished his former team mate again in his final qualifying session. Alonso was unable to improve on his tenth-fastest time with his final run and Massa, his Williams 15kph quicker through the speed trap, knocked the McLaren out with his final run.

This was the only major change after the last runs. Massa left team mate Stroll behind, and only one of the Renaults went through too. Carlos Sainz Jnr ended up half a second off team mate Nico Hulkenberg and reported a problem with his power unit out of the final corner.

Kevin Magnussen, the only Haas driver to reach Q2, also progressed no further.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’38.636
12Carlos Sainz JnrRenault1’38.725
13Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Honda1’38.808
14Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’39.298
15Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’39.646


First blood went to Bottas as Q3 began. A superb run through the final sector, more than a tenth of a second quicker than his team mate, accounted for almost all of the gap between them. The Ferraris were left well behind initially, Vettel six-tenths off despite being quickest of all in sector one.

As the drivers began their final runs Bottas found himself behind Esteban Ocon. The Force India driver was urged to keep the Mercedes driver but couldn’t, Bottas slipping past on the run to turn 11. Nonetheless his preparation lap had been disturbed and Bottas was unable to improve with his final run.

That opened the door for Hamilton who looked on course to beat his team mate after setting the fastest time through the first sector. But again he couldn’t match his team mate’s flow through the final corners and also failed to improve on his final time.

Vettel was too far back to make any difference. Told he had taken third place he told his team it was the best possible. However Ferrari won’t have row two to themselves, as riccolink knocked Raikkonen down to fifth with his final run.

Nico Hulkenberg beat the two Force Indias to the ‘best of the rest’ spot, with Felipe Massa in tenth place.

Top ten in Q3

1Valtteri BottasMercedes1’36.231
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’36.403
3Sebastian VettelFerrari1’36.777
4Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’36.959
5Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’36.985
6Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’37.328
7Nico HulkenbergRenault1’38.282
8Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’38.374
9Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’38.397
10Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’38.550

2017 Abu Dhabi 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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    102 comments on “Bottas holds Hamilton off for second pole in a row”

    1. Brilliant lap from him. To be .172s ahead of Hamilton as well, given his form in the second half of the season. Hopefully he carries this form into 2018.
      Also great job from Hulkenberg, getting into 7th. Hopefully the car will hold up so they can get 6th in the Constructors (although they’d be a mile ahead if not for the failures at Singapore, Japan, USA, Mexico etc)

      1. The other think that makes Bottas’s lap more impressive is that this is the first time Hamilton has used his engine in a qualifying session. So he will be able to get the absolute maximum out of it. Where as Bottas’s is quite a few races old and that surely will cost at least a tiny margin in speed. Solid job today and I just hope he can win. to make the end of his first season look great.

        1. Yeah that’s very true.

        2. @thegianthogweed, Making stuff up as usual? You must know it doesn’t work like that. Mercedes has a computer program that calculates how much laps of maximum power setting they can use. Only they know how much of that Bottas was allowd to use and it makes no sense to even suggest he couldn’t use that.

          1. I’m not making this up. A much newer engine does have a slight speed advantage over one that has had a lot of use. The commentators have said this now and before too. Even in Spain, when Bottas had to go back to an old engine, that likely will have been responsible for his slight lack of pace relative to Hamilton who had a brand new one.

            It isn’t just me who thinks this is true as I’ve heard Mercedes say a new engine can mean they can have an advantage and the comment above yours clearly agrees with me too.

            1. You are making this up. They gave Rosberg the same power mode in Monza. He had full power from that engine. The only problem was that it blew up.

              The issue is not that they have less power, but they might not be allowed to use it. Bottas had plenty races where he was just trundling along. He has plenty healthy engines with some extra wear allowance on them

          2. @patrickl
            Ofc noone knows exactly how much power Bottas has availible but is a very safe bet for anyone that knows a thing or two about F1 that a fresh raceengine has more power than an old. Why dont you tell us more about your made up computer program instead and be a little nicer…

            1. @rethla Why would I be nicer to this crazy person? He constantly keeps making stuff like this up. Every weekend again he keeps pretending Bottas is better than Hamilton.

              Read back the story on that Monza race where Rosbergs engine blew. Wolff explained in plenty detail how their power mode managament system works. In that case they ignored the program and allowed Rosberg to go above what the program suggested.

              The limit the porgram suggests is based on the wear the engine has gone through. For instance, Hamilton doing a whole race in pretty much qualy mode making up about 30 seconds on the guys up front cause a lot more wear on the engine than Bottas just crusing around. Bottas had plenty of those cruising races.

          3. Why do people get so worked up when Hamilton is beaten. For crying out loud, Valteri had a fantastic lap, probably the best quali lap he has done in the 2nd half of the season. Give the guy some credit. Its not as if Mercedes would allow him to use a high quali mode than lewis would they? And I am a Lewis Fan. Its days like this f1 fans should enjoy. Probably the best qualifier in recent f1 is beaten by his team mate, who he has had the better of since the summer break. Get over it. Lets see how the race pans out.

            1. @bonbonjai The problem here is more that Ben Rowe constantly keeps making stuff up how Bottas is in fact better than Hamilton. The guy is a complete nut

      2. @hugh11 Hulk’s Q2 lap was outstanding…he called it one of his best of the year. :)

        1. Yeah, it was fantastic. He was ahead of Verstappen until Verstappen’s second run, and who knows Hulk could’ve even kept it ahead if he wasn’t ruined at the start of the lap by Perez.

    2. lap record, fastest ever… what a time…
      somehow i imagine this whould be in the headlines if it whould be hamilton ;-)

      1. Not that impressive, it has happened in pretty much every race this season.

        1. In Qualifying yes, but race lap records have stood for more of the races. Only handful of race lap records have tumbled.

      2. @zad2 I only was “what a time” when Hamilton was a second up on the next guy and 2 seconds on his team mate. Like in Monza.

        Although there were a few other occasions where he pulled out half a second on everybody else and he might have been praised for that performance. Shocking.

        1. There was an article that hamilton beat the lap record in fp2…

          1. @zad2 That was the headline, as Hamilton was topped FP2.

            1. @godoff1
              An FP2 lap recod by hamilton was headline worthy, and a 1.5 sec faster lap record by bottas isn´t even mentioned (as a new lap record) in the article. Critisism of Hamilton-bias is about 50% of my commenting here. Hamilton is a fantastic driver and i understand that the avarage hamilton superfan isn´t even clicking on the article if his name isn´t mentioned in the headline, but hamilton is dominant because of the car, not the other way around.

            2. @zad2 The article mentions the track record from the start.

              Ferrari has an overall faster car this season. They just keep throwing races away. Especially the ones they could have walked home to a 1-2 easily, but also Spain, Canada, Baku, Silverstone, Spa and Mexico to name just a few where they under performed a lot.

              Apart from all those poor performances, that needless crash in Singapore and the dumb move in Baku together were already enough to cost Vettel the WDC. He gifted Hamilton 51 points there and Vettel is only 43 points behind.

              A better race driver would have walked away with the WDC in that car. Someone like Alonso, Verstappen or Ricciardo. Perhaps even Raikkonen if they focused all their development and strategy on him instead of Vettel.

            3. @patrickl

              The article mentions the beaten lap record in q1, not q3.

              I think that toto wolf may agree on ferrari being the faster car this season, but i presume neither of you is serious actually. Esspecially after the oil burning issue at ferrari before the summer break merc was clearly the better car. 14v4 poles does tell a story after all. Not to mention reliability.

              There was obviously a chance of winning the wdc, i´m not so sure about the wcc. the difference between merc-ferrari is just 7 pts less than ferrari-redbull, and red bull retired 13! times.

            4. @zad2 You’re kidding me right. If he gets the record in Q1 then the imrpoved time is obvioulsy a record also. Come on man.

              Vettel threw away 51 points with the blundes he made in Baku and Singaproe. He ended the season 47 points behind Hamilton. So even if he managed to avoid those two red mist moments he could have easily been WDC.

              Not to mention all the points he lost due to a poor Q3 or poor start. Vettel had a poor season. The car was better than the Merc on average.

            5. @patrickl

              Sry for the late reply, i was on holiday…

              Regarding the record I was dead serious. It wasn´t mentioned.

              Why do you count baku with 25 pts? Merc did throw away points that race also and vettel finished 4th (ahead of hamilton i might add) so i would take that away alltogether. Still a ~25 pts difference not to mention the other drivers. It was lost @japan and that wasn´t vettels foult. He outqualified his team-mate 15 to 4. That´s better than hamiltons 13 to 6 and you call that poor? I think i can´t take you serious at this point unfortunately.

              146 pts difference between merc and ferrari and you call that better ferrari on avarage?? Who´s kidding who my friend?

            6. @zad2, Hamilton didn’t throw points away in Baku. He had a technical issue. After that Vettel had the lead which he lost due to a temper tantrum. If he had just kept his cool he would have collected 25 points there.

              You can can keep pointing at the points total, but the reality is that both Ferrari drivers were extremely poor this season. Although also Ferrari lost both drivers some points.

              Vettel lost 51 points due to his two red mist moments. You cannot keep harping on about a single moment of technical issue for Vettel. Like you already said, Hamilton also lost points due to that. Gearbox change, head rest loose, tyre issues. That evens out.

              Where the biggest difference was is lost points due to driver errors. ie stuff that the drivers themselves actually have control over. Vettel lost lots more points due to those than Hamilton did. Not just those two incidents, but also over driving the car in several Q3 sessions ending up with a poorer result than possible (much like Hamilton had in the last few races). Also poor starts and then poor racing skills getting him into other incidents which were completely unnecessary (Canada, Silverstone)

              Vettel just didn’t extract the maximum from the car where Hamilton did.

              Either way, just those two incidents where Vettel simply lost it cost him the championship. There was no need for those. None whatsoever.

            7. @patrickl

              I didn´t say hamilton threw away ponts @ baku but merc (i mean mercedes f1 team here). winning a race and getting 25 pts isn´t the same as 25 pts difference. had vettel won the race and hamilton still finishing 5th then the points difference whould be 25-10= 15 pts differnce (that´s the one you counted with 25 pts difference because you don´t seem to be overly gifted with simple maths).

              The moment of thechnical issue for vettel was @ japan.

              bytheway don´t mind answering this post cause from my point of view there is no much fun arguing against your fantasy-season 2017, esspecially as you answer your fantasy-comments of mine.

      1. I had the same question, and i thought maybe is the link for the driver carrier stats (the blue letters) and some fail of the system don’t shows the driver wish is Ricciardo hence Riccolink, i believe this is the name Keith given to that link or something like that . Also D.Ricciardo starts 4th front of kimi!

      2. It’s Ricciardo’s new ride sharing service. He got the inspiration from the 1998 French film Taxi.

    3. Bottas was stellar today, all three sessions he was there. Maybe Hamilton had an off day. But, without the final corner messup by Hamilton, things would have been juicy. Mercedes is clearly even faster than this. Without both Hamilton and Bottas making mistakes, they would be around seven tenths ahead of Vettel. It isn’t shaping up to be an interesting race up front but the midfield fight will be spicy. Magnussen from P14, could score just enough if Renault’s reliability problems strike and with his aggression, he could make an overtake or two. Alonso and Vandoorne will be challenging to defend from or overtake in the twisty bits. It’ll be a great fight in the midfield. Nice one by Massa too, to be that much faster than Stroll.

    4. Up until the summer break BOT was quite competitive and a really close contender, regardless of a DNF. Suddenly after the summer break he was literally nowhere. The last few races, with the championship finished of course, he is “back” again.
      Mercedes thinks that we are a bunch of idiots.
      Most likely he was too competitive for HAM’s likes and they deliberately degraded his car. There is no other logical explanation.

      1. Rubbish. Merc would not stop Bottas beating Hamilton. That would mean them spending hundreds of millions to then not maximise their advantage because they want Hamilton to win. Makes no sense.

      2. @sakis, the problem with your theory is that Bottas’s slump in form also dropped him behind Vettel in most of those races – so that same slump in form also helped Vettel’s championship bid given he now had one less driver taking points away from him, and would have left Hamilton and Mercedes in a worse position rather than a better one.

        Furthermore, there have been a few times when he was driving for Williams where he had a bit of a slump in performance during the season, so in that sense it is consistent with his previous performances for other teams.

      3. @sakis Tin foil hat much? As abovementioned, taking Bottas out of the race would give Vettel an advantage. He simply was out of form. Bottas’ return to form can be explained by Brazil. Had Hamilton not crashed, Bottas would not have been on pole position and Vettel may have jumped him too. That Brazil pole gave him confidence and that allowed him to do so well here in Abu Dhabi.

      4. The plunge in Bottas’ performance was clearly to prevent him from snatching points of off Hamilton. But as the WDC is now settled there’s no more need to prevent Bottas having a 100% engine mode.

    5. @keithcollantine. “Riccolink” yes, a feisty new driver! Also, word “behind” missing here (I think) unless Ocon was actually being told to “keep” Bottas. “As the drivers began their final runs Bottas found himself behind Esteban Ocon. The Force India driver was urged to keep the Mercedes driver but couldn’t, Bottas slipping past on the run to turn 11.”

    6. I think there was more lap time on the table, but Hamilton was scruffy on his second run so credit to Bottas delivering a quick enough lap that it saw Hamilton overdriving in an attempt to better it.

    7. Why is Rosberg showing up in the Merc pits, looking for a drive somewhere?
      I find his presence rather creepy, you quit, go away.

      1. Or he might have a friend or two in the paddock to, you know, catch up with – but who knows…

        1. Possible. But not likely. ;)

      2. Yeah, that is very true. What is he doing there? I hate when a retired drivers shows up, Brundle, Hill, Herbert, Coulthard, Prost, Verstappen, Webber and Rosberg, what the hell are you guys doing there? Go home you are all retired! I mean, honestly!

        1. Maybe Bottas got pole because Hamilton is cracking under the presence of Rosberg being at the track he got beaten to the title at! :D

          1. Maybe rosberg had some pointers for Botttas and the result is pole ;)

        2. @budchekov @johnmilk Kick out Lauda while you are at it ;)

          1. @rethla ah! Forgot about that one, he has been there the longest, ban him!

          2. and Prost ;)

      3. @budchekov @johnmilk – From stars, they transform into hangers-on. :-)

        That said, there is a chance Liberty might have invited him to play some role in the podium ceremony on Sunday, to interview or otherwise press flesh with Hamilton (previous champion, current champion).

        Or else, he’s fulfilling his ambassadorial duties to Mercedes. After all, Abu Dhabi is where the money is, and Mercedes might have called on Rosberg (the same reason why Dieter Zetsche is there).

        1. @phylyp, I am not sure if Rosberg does have a commitment to Mercedes for ambassadorial duties though – even when he was racing for Mercedes, I believe that he had a clause in his contract that meant he did not have to do that much promotional work for Mercedes.

          1. He does have a contract with Merc. And it is important for him to be there, he os negotiating Kubica’s future as well.

            The only retired driver that actually annoys me, and he os there every single weekend is Marcus Ericsson

            1. @johnmilk, I wasn’t sure if he had a role as an ambassador for the team, but I stand corrected – it seems that he did agree to become an ambassador for the team, but only for this year.

              That said, if he were negotiating a possible role for Kubica, why would he need to be at Mercedes when negotiating a deal with Williams? I know Wolff used to have a stake in Williams, but he’s sold that off over the past few years: Williams have also made it fairly clear that Wehrlein’s chances of a seat there are very small, so Mercedes don’t really have a rival candidate.

              As for the comment about Ericsson, unless you were trying to make some sort of joke, I don’t understand why you’re saying that given Ericsson’s been active in F1 since 2014.

            2. He might have just popped over into the Merc garage to see some friendly faces. If he is really there to make a deal for Kubica doens’t mean he has to spent all of his time there. Plus the ambassador thing.

              Regardless I don’t think he needs an excuse to be there, it was the team he drove for and the team where he won his wdc.

              And yes, the Ericsson comment was a joke, an hilarious one if tou ask me

      4. @budchekov

        I agree about ‘creepy’, but think back to Schumacher hanging about the Ferrari garage for two long years after he retired. Now that was really CREEPY.

        1. Nico was doing some work for RTL (visible in Ted’s Notebook on Sky) and, as suggested above, will probably do the post race stuff to close out the season from old WDC to new.

    8. No Hamilton Q1 crash, guaranteed DOTW.

      1. I think the fact he crashed seemed to trigger the DOTW just because of his recovery. He got past 5 cars in the first lap incidents and then jumped Wehrlein in the pits due to the fact he had a bad stop. His first overtake was on the car in 13th. Getting from 14th to 4th in what is the 2nd or best car wasn’t that impressive in my view. The fact he did it so quickly was impressive, but it baffled me he got DOTW.

        It is likely that if Bottas had crashed in qualifying this weekend, he would recover to a minimum of 4th and would that get him DOTW? If it would then if you are wanting to get this vote, then drivers may as well try to qualify last if they are in a top car as it always will be easy to pass virtually all of them.

        I just hope people take into account what has happened today as well as tomorrow. So far this weekend, Bottas has done better than Hamilton as he beat him by 0.172.

        1. wasn’t that impressive in my view

          Or in Hamilton’s view either. He said the DRS and speed-assisted overtakes were nothing special.

          Quite why you have to push this issue with Hamilton every single time is beyond me.

          1. Because he got driver of the weekend for a weekend that was nothing like as good as it could have been? That is why I am against the performance that many said was outstanding… Isn’t that clear? I can’t say it wasn’t a good drive but every single driver on the grid did a better job than him in qualifying as they all set a time and nobody else crashed. So shouldn’t that effectively rule him out of DOTW? As Saturday is part the weekend.

            I shouldn’t be as harsh towards Hamilton as I am because I know he himself thought he didn’t do the best job. It is just others voting for him for this that is really strange. For the ability of their car, over half the drivers on the grid had a better weekend than Hamilton taking into account both qualifying and the race.

            1. I actually agree with you (and also said much the same about other drives from the back of the grid by drivers from the top 3 teams, not particularly difficult in most circumstances, and not an automatic DOTW in my view). My point is that Hamilton was just as harsh on himself as you.

            2. Maybe I missed something. On other forums, I saw people say Hamilton was really pleased with his result. But I suppose he knows it is quite likely he will have won if it wasn’t for his crash.

    9. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
      25th November 2017, 15:09

      Standard post world championship winning form from Hamilton. Cost him 2016, will it cost him in 2018?

      1. Oh come on mate, he lost pole by .172 and Brazil from pitlane to P4. I’d say there is a high chance of victory in the race for Hamilton and the 2018 championship as well.

      2. What cost him was Mercedes engine reliability. Rosberg had a good start in 2016, as did Bottas this year. The difference was Hamilton not being scuppered by successive engine failures.

        1. Please.. not again.
          Rosberg deserved his win and we go on .. even Lewis did that.

          1. I think Rosberg deserved his win. That’s not the same, though, as identifying what the main reasons for winning or losing the title were.

            1. Mansell would have been 5 times world champion with untold wins and poles if we’re going down that path.

            2. The discussion about the “”main reason” is the problem.
              So please stop it.. we have had all kinds of “reasons”: reliability, bad starting etc…. It is what it is..

    10. Sainz = Palmer bis
      Stroll – no point wasting the seat for him
      Ocon – some hopes there

    11. The Grim Reaper
      25th November 2017, 15:23

      If Sebastian Vettel DNF’s we are going into an interesting situation. Finishing 8th or better secures the WDC 2nd position for him, so in realistic terms only a DNF would take it away. Combined, of course, with a victory by Valteri Bottas.

      So in case Seb DNF’s we may be in for an interesting situation. Assuming that Merc wants the WDC 2nd and a certain Mr. Hamilton wants the win. They can’t have both

    12. Of course, Hamilton hasn’t learned absolutely nothing from his 2015 season ending.
      Maybe another championship defeat will teach him to be more ruthless.

      1. His best season was still 2007 and he bottled that a little bit when pressure was on, as per 2008.

      2. @liko41, You think slacking off a bit in the last few races of this season is going to cause a massive load of engine failures in the coming season? Bit far fetched itsn’t it?

        You really would have to come with some evidence that any if not all of those 4 engine failures in 2016 were related to his last few 2015 races.

        1. His last few 2015 races were related to the growth in confidence that rosberg experienced in 2016 and allowed him to pocket the absolute max he could in the first part of the championship.
          Engine failures played a big role in 2016 defeat, but they were not the sole cause.
          Hamilton should quit underestimating his rivals, no matter if the championship is already sealed.

        2. Also, his lack of attitude in the last races of 2015 has prevented him of a solid chance to chase some interesting records, Vettel’s 9 wins in a row or 13 wins in a season, for instance.

    13. Good news indeed. Thanks to this PP, BOT should start next season on a high note, at least on paper.

      Still quite some differences from time to time, Ferrari again a lot behind Mercedes. This track underlines the fact that Ferrari still has some work to do, they still cannot put up a fight consistenly. Just hope they found out where they lack most (engine, chassis, aero etc) and adress that urgently for 2018.

      If you ask me, it’s quite a miracle RAI is still around! Not a very big difference to VET, but he’s like always behind at least 0.2sec. He never bounced back convincingly, even briefly, the way Stroll did in the summer for example. It seems that his batteries are not just almost empty, but broke, without any chance to charge them and last at least few races against VET.

      Really “funny” to see the significanly faster driver (Massa) retire (or given the boot more correctly?!) and the significantly younger and slower team mate (Stroll) remain. “Weird” stuff can happen in F1 too. Hope Liberty can do something about it in the future, at least ameliorate this unwanted state of affairs for the small teams.

      Something to say about Hulk?! Only that this guy deserves a chance in a top drive. My feeling is that he’s in the same league with Rosberg, Ricciardo… maybe not top material (like HAM, VET, ALO, VER etc), but better than Massa, Button, Webber, Barrichello, Coulthard ever were.

      Perez obviously needs to reconsider his on-track way of driving. The way he impeded Hulk shows that it’s not a coincidence, bad luck etc anymore. It seems there’s not a single race where he’s mentioned for impeding others. Probably he doesn’t know he has mirrors mounted on his car OR the team is useless at helping their drivers by informing them about the on-track situation around them, more exactly let him know that Hulk is right behind and going to start a timed lap, so move aside (and not get a penalty).

      1. @mg1982 Car number 27 trying to overtake off line to the right during qualifying and the slow car evading to the right as well? haven’t seen that before…

      2. Perez should get a penalty for that, it was dangerous… So many driver had penalty for far less, it will be a joke otherwise.

      3. Hulk was beaten by Barrichello if I remember it right, I don’t think that now, with more experience, putting him at the same level than Button/Webber/Barrichello is a bad thing to say. I don’t see Rosberg far ahead this group also. Riccardo for me is a very special case of being between the very best and the above average. But if Verstapen go to a team alongside Hamilton and can beat him that will put Riccardo among the very best for sure.

        1. @miani, Hulkenberg was indeed beaten by Rubens in 2010 – Rubens scored 47 points that season compared to 22 for Hulkenberg, with Rubens’s average qualifying and average finishing position both being two places better than that of Hulkenberg. Furthermore, as others have noted, Hulkenberg has also been beaten twice by Perez when they raced together at Force India, and initially in 2012 was also being beaten by di Resta as well.

          I guess that 2018 will be a test of whether Hulkenberg really is quite as good as people say he is if Renault do deliver a more competitive car, and whether he is also able to deal with the potential competition from Sainz Jr over a full season as well.

      4. @mg1982
        I have to say that RAI has maybe the stongest team-mate of them all. Loosing against ALO or VET isn´t remotely comparable to Stroll or Massa…

        Putting Hülk in the same league as Ros or Ricc is a big exaggeration in my opinion. His record of most GP-s without a podium tells something about his potential. I´d put him behind HAM, VET, ALO, VER, RIC, VER, OCO @ the moment. On par with PER. The potential on VAN can´t be evalued cause he is driving a sad joke these days.

        1. @ Miani and Zad: Yeah, Barrichello dominated him in 2010, but it was his 1st season in F1, while for Barrichello was 18th season in F1! Lots of experience for Barrichello. But, unlike other newcomers, he still managed to beat BAR like 6-7 times in Quali, not to mention that he got a Pole Position too. Perez has no wins and no PPs so far! What do you say about that? Then, in the 2nd FI tenure, he outqualified Perez in both years spent there, although Perez gathered more points I reckon. He’s no Verstappen, but he seems to be quite unlucky too, only this season he retired multiple times due to tech issues, when he was ahead of his team mate (be it Palmer or Sainz) and while he was in a quite good position for Renault. Last time he retired he was in P4-5. Lots of points lost. Plus, let’s be honest, he never had a better car than a midfield car. VJM10 is one of the best FIs car ever built, they were consistenly like the 4th force from the grid this year, thanks to the backwards steps took by Williams, Sauber and Toro Rosso. Those FI he raced were worse compared to the opposition than FI VJM10, he got better results in the Sauber years than FI years. Hope Renault will give him a better car in 2018.

    14. Once again Hamilton shows he cant race when he doesnt have any championship motivation. Just an article ago he said he wanted to be on top the entire season next year and not just the fighting half, what a great timing to drop the focus the first race after that quote.

      1. Also surprisingly good by Ricciardo!

      2. Well he literally has nothing to prove, whereas almost all the other drivers still have. Four times world champion, out in the front among British drivers as the most successful ever, a season that saw him take the pole position record from Schumacher. I think he really does or did want to win the last races. But I think it does go to show that psychological motivation is necessary for those final tenths of speed, and obtaining that motivation, or the right mindset generally, isn’t at all easy. I guess he could be ruthlessly grinding every other driver into the dust even when it doesn’t actually matter any more in terms of the championship. Somehow I prefer that he hasn’t got that cold-blooded attitude though. In fact it’s difficult to pick out any current driver who has or would have, thankfully.

        1. I think he owes the team that gave him all that to show he can drive for anything else than money and personal glory. He always properly thanks the team like hes told to do but when he race for anything but himself he never show up.

          It might be to much to ask for and you may be right but thats what i think.

          1. I tried to explain why even if he really is trying 100% to win the races, it’s not the same as having that real motivation. But if you really want to accuse him of not trying, I think these qualifying performances (Brazil and Abu Dhabi) aren’t good evidence. Much better may be the way he responded half-heartedly to being clouted by Vettel at the start in Mexico. That may have been down to car damage. But it may also perhaps have been partly because he didn’t want to win the championship in such a lack-lustre way, moving up the field during the race to a minor points position, rather than becoming champion with a win, and was basically fuming about being struck, perhaps on purpose he thought, by Vettel.

            As for the team, I think you may be also missing the point that they’ll be much more interested in Bottas performing well than bothered about Hamilton coming second.

            1. @david-br You are right there are better examples of Hamilton dropping the ball but this was just so well timed with his interview the other day. It was more about his hollow words rather than his performance which was to be expected.

              Everyone at Mercedes is probably praying that Bottas will bloom out sooner than later but thats not really the same thing. I doubt Bottas performance is down to bad motivation, if anything hes at the toughest point in his career right now and if that cant motivate him nothing can.

          2. @rethla, and yet you support Kimi Raikkonen, a man who has previously admitted that he, in previous seasons, there were times when he didn’t bother racing that hard and just gave up (for example, he told Turun Sanomat that, in the 2008 season, when he fell out of contention after a few poor results in the latter part of the year, he got bored and couldn’t really be bothered to try and compete that hard)?

            1. @anon
              When have i ever supported Kimi?
              I think hes at the very bottom of the current field and has been for many years now.

      3. Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill. How about just giving Bottas some credit?

        Mexico – Hamilton had a great start and looked prime for a great race until his tires were punctured by Vettel.

        Brazil – He went off in quali. Happens but if you want to blame it focus, go ahead since you obviously have insight into his psyche.

        Abu Dhabi – The race hasn’t even happened but you’re already accusing him of not being focused because he had a bad third sector in Q3. If he turns around and wins the race, then what?

        1. @trublu
          Bottas and Stroll will get their credit when they produce some solid results at a time when it matters and isnt a fluke. Until then all the pats on their heads from the teams pr departments will do.

      4. He’s just won the world championship FGS, let him have an extra pancake, Merc don’t care so long as they get a 1-2.

        1. @hohum but he’s vegan!

      5. @rethla Hyperbole much? Hamilton made a mistake and lost a few tenths. Big deal.

        If anything it’s staggering that it didn’t happen more often during the season. Bottas and Vettel sure had plenty of poor Q3 performances over the season. And then I don’t mean Bottas (or Hamilton) having issues with the “diva” W07 Merc, but making a mistake in a corner here and there losing a few tenths and therefore places on the grid.

    15. Good stuff from Bottas. Hopefully he can carry this into the race and next year. Mercedes (and Hamilton I think) need that.

      1. Agree.
        I’ve been somewhat critical of Bottas lately; but he really brought this one home (both Q3 runs were the fastest of the field).

    16. Very good lap from Bottas. Surprised everyone. He really had a solid lap. Expected a smaller gap between Mercs and Ferrari, but we saw that the qualy gap was around a 5 tenths advantage for Mercedes. Although, is this the last qualifying of the F1 we all know? Next year seems to be a pity. Seeing things like HALO being implemented is just sad for the sport. F1 cars should have an open cockpit no matter what. A new logo (which seems to be horrible) will be implemented… How can one replace such a simple but timeless logo? The current logo is fine and despite it’s age has it’s charm. The race will be interesting. If Bottas wins and Vettel retires (or finishes lower than 6th? have to check), Bottas will pass Vettel in the drivers championship.

    17. So he’s not like Senna at all.

      1. Senna also blew a qualifying when he was busy negotiating a deal with Williams. He got beaten by Hakkinen and it was even hist first race for McLaren.

        Hamilton just messed up a little in a corner. Just as Bottas did on his second run actually.

    18. HAHAHAHA

      What a comedy from Merc
      Bottas after half a year out of the blue he finds that 0.7 seconds again not just to close that gap to Lewis, no, but to be faster again, like in the first 7,8 races of the season.

    19. Vandoorne less than two tenths down on Alonso. Stroll over a second down on Massa. I’m all for giving the new guys a fair chance what with the lack of testing, but for the love of Spock.

    20. Good solid lap from Bottas around a diamond-studded crap track. Although… having Yawn Marina as the last race of the season makes the F1 season break something to look forward to – always leave them asking for less.

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