Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Albert Park, 2018

Hamilton: Ferrari’s straight-line speed will make them strong in Bahrain

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton is concerned how competitive Ferrari will be at the next round in Bahrain.

RaceFans’ coverage of the 2018 Australian Grand Prix

Albert Park, 2018
F1 is back
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What they’re saying

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2018
“Ferrari are really quick on the straights”
Hamilton was asked for his view on how the championship will unfold based on the first race weekend of the year:

From my experience, I never know how it’s going to pan out. You don’t get a good understanding until after four races. Right now it’s just the first race, I have no idea.

We might go to Bahrain and there’s going to be ups and downs. Ferrari are really quick on the straights, they’re going to be rapid in the next race. They’re always good when it comes to hot circuits. Bahrain, even though it’s a night race, is still tough on the tyres.

I really have no idea. I can tell you it’s not going to be easy, that’s for sure.

Social media

Notable posts from Twitter, Instagram and more:

Comment of the day

ESPN’s coverage was widely criticised yesterday. Here’s an excerpt of what Joe had today:

All in all, this was exactly what we expected when we learned that ESPN was going to simply re-air the Sky feed. For some reason ESPN they think they can plug in the Sky feed and all go out for beers and burgers and come back two hours later and see if there is anything to do.

ESPN’s coverage was amateurish, unprofessional and one of the many clear indications as to why ESPN as a network is in serious financial trouble and clamoring for viewable and significant revenue producing content.

If ESPN thinks it can fill their networks with cheap to run third party feeds, presented in a choppy, poorly directed broadcast, all the while expecting viewers to tune in, then it will continue to circle the bowl until the network disappears down the drain of bankruptcy and either contracts significantly or signs off completely.

If this was a high school media and communications project, the people running this “broadcast” would be given an “F” and told to repeat the course.

At NBC, announcers Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett genuinely cared about what they were doing and tried to make the broadcast coverage interesting and appropriate for everyone from the first time viewer to the seasoned F1 enthusiast.

NBC as a network had the a professional approach that understood that to have entertaining, viewable and sport appropriate coverage requires a little investment of time, money and effort.

Sadly, it appears it will be a very long and largely unenjoyable few years of F1 until the ESPN contract runs out.
Joe Harvey

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51 comments on “Hamilton: Ferrari’s straight-line speed will make them strong in Bahrain”

  1. Mark in Florida
    26th March 2018, 0:56

    I totally agree Joe, horrible coverage. Martin and Crofty are so deadpan in their delivery it almost numbed me out. No obvious excitement, seemingly no enthusiasm for the race. I recorded the race and at one point I got so bored I skipped forward to get to the end of the race. I know that Steve, Hobbs and Diffey had their quirks but at least they made a huge effort to make the audience understand what was going on and what strategies were at play. This sorry excuse for a broadcast is going to make for a long boring listening experience. Excruciatingly Sorry Performance Network. ESPN.

  2. Typical whine from Marko, F1 and Formula Libre before it have always been about who can build the best motor (it’s motorsport after all, just ask Enzo) because a better motor makes for a better motorcar, all else being equal. Perhaps FOM could pay RBR to build a 1 design aero-pack and RBR could use the money to build a better motor, would you be happy with that Marko?
    I wouldn’t, the only concession I’d make would be for a stable engine rule and any team being able to buy any motor (PU) at a price fixed by FIA, much as we had in the Ford-Cosworth era.

    1. Yes and no. Mercedes really is toying with us. Lewis saying that Ferrari’s straight line speed is going to be a threat in Bahrain is rather cute.

      1. This comparison of straight line speed on Q3 by C4 may perhaps be more accurate !

        1. Mercedes got more downforce though.

    2. Marko remarks are ridiculous but far from new. People love to paint F1s past as a “dominance free” sport when it’s not true. I watch this sport since early 1990s and having two teams fighting for championship has always been a blessing because having a dominant one has always been the rule, and people throwing rocks to the leading team is quite common, not long ago Red Bull was the recipient of those rocks.

      It’s early, but I’m expecting 2018 to be a walk in the park for Mercedes.

      1. It is easy for Red Bull to say.

        Two can play at that game: we need aerodynamics (drag and downforce) parity.
        There were many who thought this in 2011.

        But why? It’s a competition to build the best car & driver combination, and such
        equalisation arguments only ever come from the weak.

        The only equalisation argument I would accept is a financial parity.

        Red Bull are just focusing on the part they buy and incorrectly
        think they have a right to expect that all the “value” should be in the
        part of their car they make themselves.

        They could make their own engine. Even sell it to other teams to cover the costs.

        But perhaps the effort would make their aerodynamics department, where they
        currently choose to place all their custom engineering effort, suffer.

  3. PLEASE ESPN … fix this terrible coverage situation. This coverage isn’t doing you, formula one in the US, or liberty media any good.

  4. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    26th March 2018, 3:18

    The problem wasn’t Sky Sports itself. Yea, the Sky announcers don’t really gel well with the bulk of the American audience. But the bigger issues were the technical bits of the ESPN broadcast. No pre-race, no post-race, poor coverage (practices only available on streaming service) and the worst of all, cutting to commercials during the action. Unfortunately for the US folks, Sky doesn’t have many commercials, if at all. That means that while they’re presenting something, or some action is happening on the track, we’re cutaway to a commercial, whether that’s full screen or even side-by-side commercials. I STILL have no idea what happened to Sirotkin or Ericsson. Both incidents happened during a commercial break, and the American broadcast cut back in well after Sky had moved past both incidents.

    When it was announced ESPN was taking over, opinions seemed to be split 50-50 for and against. I was part of the against, knowing a rebroadcast doesn’t work. Lots of people were for, because they didn’t like Diffey, Hobbs & Machete, which is understandable. But I think the tide has quickly receded, and it’s 95-5 against ESPN at the moment.

    1. 100% agreement.

      I was one of those that didn’t really enjoy the NBC announcers, not that they were terrible, they just weren’t my cup of tea. I always preferred the SKY broadcast when I could find it, usually resorting to pirate streams and race replays from various sites. So of course I was quite excited that I could get the SKY stream in America, legally this time. Unfortunately, it looks like I’m back to pirating after that god awful debacle of a broadcast.

      ESPN, you lost a pair of eyes for your all important ads. Hope it was worth shoehorning them in there at the worst times.

    2. And, when Vettel pitted and emerged out of the pit in front of Hamilton, the definite “moment of the race,” ESPN was on commercial break. Sure, a screen was on side-by-side with commercial, but not hearing the commentators creates this confusion on what truly is going on, especially if you’re new to the sports.

      And, when the safety car was going on and the race restarted, potentially creating interesting actions, ESPN was also on commercial break.

      But here’s the worst thing about both of these incidents, the people at ESPN could see that it was coming, but chose not to cut short the commercial break. The moment VSC is announced, if you’re any good a broadcaster at all, you have to know Ferrari is going to try something to flip the lead to Vettel, yet they kept the commercial on until Vettel is ahead of Hamilton already. The moment “Safety Car in this lap” appeared on the screen, I remembered expecting ESPN to cut back to the feed fairly quickly, but they let 2-3 more commercials go on and only went back when most of the action has passed already.

      Content-wise, I actually prefer Sky Sports to NBC. Except for Will Buxton, the old NBC commentators were slow to react to what is truly happening on the track. If they had commentated on this race, I feel like it would take them a while to understand that Ferrari was splitting strategy and praying for a safety car. But goddamit ESPN made the experience so horrible.

    3. I don’t get why broadcaster still have commercial breaks during races… what happened to split screens?

      1. @jcost, I believe the contracts require the networks to provide a full ad break to account for local small business ads. Side-by-sides are only used with the national companies that have agreed to it.

  5. I share precisely the same thoughts regarding the Halo as Jonny Bowers’ tweet.
    – I can’t really agree with Marko. In the end, F1 isn’t and has never been a ‘spec-series.’

    1. Couldn’t agree more.

  6. PSA: Yes, STR failed this weekend. I’m still expecting a Force India-like ’09 revival. I’ve not given up or anything. So all the non-registered white accounts can have fun again, But I’m staying.

    Even more then Honda, what really made me angry was this obnoxious person, this guy, this loudmouth…. Damon Hill.
    One of the, if not the most lucked (undeserved doesn’t cut it) out WDC of the last 25 years.
    What kind of hypocritical sack of potatoes do you have to be to actually call out the (political) dominance of the Mercedes and Ferrari’s when your only WDC is due to the fact you had such a good package combined with the fact all your opponents kept retiring – let alone having a rookie in the only other car that was able to get that WDC – (to put that in perspective, the only team apart from Williams and Ferrari to win an GP that year was.. the Ligier Honda), wasn’t this the guy that even came up short when Schumi got disqualified from 4 races in one season?

    I noticed how the FIA and the whole paddock seemed ”extra nervous” this weekend? What happened here? E.g;
    1. Haas.. for once I really felt for the Americans.
    2. Mercedes out of shape strategists.
    3. Charlie. It’s VSC or SC. Not Both. This isn’t a new track, some marshals are already employed for decades. If I was Lewis I would threaten to buy his new hip after I’m done with whatever poor excuses he has to offer.
    4. Did nobody expected that shoulder cam at the FIA? It’s like they’re trying the ”There is no bad publicity”.
    5. Wasn’t Nando already fighting with the Renaults at the end of ’17? (and he got beat in the US, Abu Dhabi. The other times apart from MEX, Honda placed above Renault) ”It gives us potential”? Didn’t he actually, with Haas lost at least 2 places in quali from fall ’17? Yeah, wasn’t that the same McLaren..? Seems strange doesn’t it.
    It all seemed… strange.

    1. Whilst I agree with some of your points, what Hill did in 1994 deserves much more respect.

    2. @xiasitlo I don’t understand why Hill is so bitter. He has this nationalistic pride, like the italians are still fascists but the Germans in Mercedes are only when we’re not talking of Lewis. He speaks of Ferrari like he had some rivalry with the team like his father and other racers of the 60’s.
      I agree with all your pointers.

  7. @john-h

    Maybe you’re right, and it’s only my opinion but…
    Senna? C’est la vie. Everyone will die at some time. He died loving what he did.
    Schumi god-like? Both Schumi and Hill said Senna would’ve won it.
    And maybe Damon you know, should’ve just stayed waited longer behind notorious (~30% start crash-rate?) Katayama after that ridiculous first lap at Hockenheim.

    Probably too brutal of an opinion.

  8. Now that F1 is totally behind the paywall in Australia, yesterday was the only race of the season live on free-to-air and the only race that I could enjoy without Sky’s commentary.

    Commentating for the local tv audience on Ten Australia were James Allen and Mark Webber. During the ad breaks I switched over the Sky’s coverage.

    It was like switching over to another race. Croft and Brundle sound like they are commentating on their grandmother driving to the shops for a litre of milk. What’s worse is Brundle acting as the “specialist commentator”. Not having to listen to his Tyrrell anecdotes as though they were modern stories was great. He is the ultimate wannabe insider.

    Mark Webber on the other hand is fantastic. He has proper first hand knowledge of how modern teams are run and strategy decisions are made. His insight isn’t gained from their press releases or cagey interviews in the paddock.

    It makes you realise that commentating in an excited tone livens up the race, even when the result was almost certain. How many people were attracted to the sport because of the sound of Murray Walker’s “pants-on-fire voice” over the top of the on-track effects? Most of them, I will bet.

    There is little chance that F1 can expand audiences while behind a pay wall AND with disinterested commentators on the mic.

    1. I am a big fan of M Brundle but unfortunately I agree with you.

      You only have to look at their commentary during the 5 minutes of race highlights on youtube to see how dull and un-enthused they sound… I can imagine what the other 100 minutes of the race were like.

      Webber and Allen on the other hand were great. Highly knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

    2. @kazinho The little I’ve heard of Webber as pundit has been very positive.

      Like @aussierod I’m also a big fan of Brundle and could wish him to be more enthusiastic, but to be fair, he’s had a heart operation so must take care not to worked up, there’s that.

    3. Michael Brown (@)
      26th March 2018, 20:13

      I miss Ben Edwards. Being a Canadian viewer, I had access to the BBC broadcast until they switched to Sky in around 2014. I’ll always remember Edwards screeching in shock when Maldonado and Hamilton collided in Valencia 2012. He was just so absorbed in the action.

  9. Ferrari is stupid. Ferarri living under the illusion that they were within reach of Mercedes performance all these years while Mercedes only had to push a button once to claim the pole. Mercedes let Ferrari fight his fight on keeping this engine formula. Ferrari against RBR, Ferarri against Liberty, Ferarri against FIA for benefit of Mercedes.

    I salute Mercedes for their engineering prowess but to think that fans could stand another 6 years of single team domination is hurting my head. Damon Hill was right. We need a change. If Merc & Ferarri wants a breakaway they need to decide it early. If Liberty really wants a better F1 they need to stand out and said it. Liberty had promised to address this issue since November but all we have seen is they just chicken out.

    And no, I don’t think engine parity regulation or letting other buy the same engine would work. Having the same engine hardware and software that ‘capable of being operated in precisely the same way’ doesn’t necessarily translate as ‘the customer should have all the knowledge on what the best setup parameters are’. Just look where Force India and Williams are.

    If Mercedes happens to be the best again the new formula lets them earn it but not without offering the same time for other manufacturers to develop it first. And don’t say unnecessary complex and heavy engine needed for F1 to be ‘the pinnacle’ of motorsport, F1 would be another FE it that was the case.

    1. @ruliemaulana Neither Ferrari or Mercedes have mentioned a ‘breakaway’ series. It has filtered down through the media following a comment made by the embittered Bernie and is not worth the keyboard time that you have given it above.

      1. Marchionne, Wolff & Todt had mentioned it on many news outlets. Granted this was not covered as FOTA years ago otherwise we already had a leaked schedule of the new series. I could say it because Ferrari or Mercedes actually didn’t have the courage to do it anyway but just an act of pressing their own benefit for not to change current formula. But that makes my case for ‘Liberty is just chicken out’ stronger. And Casey shamelessly talks about leadership is laughable.

    2. Ferarri living under the illusion that they were within reach of Mercedes performance all these years while Mercedes only had to push a button once to claim the pole.

      Except in a side by side comparison the Ferrari was pulling back time on the straights. So what’s your explanation for that?

      1. What it had to do with overall time? The fastest on the speed trap was Sauber.

      2. That’s because you are ignoring the straight-line speed vs cornering speed (downforce) trade-off. (Or you don’t know about the concept of course.) Ultimately they are much faster. They don’t have the same top speed because they don’t need it. Instead they can add more downforce and have better cornering as it can be seen from any side by side comparison of Mercedes vs Ferrari best laps. Which is also something people often mistakenly attribute to the drivers’ performance as well when the most of it is down to the car.

  10. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    26th March 2018, 7:25

    Is there anything more tragic than seeing cars actually pull out of a slipstream to avoid overheating?

    Combined with the 3 engine rule it’s going to be another season of penalties, conservation and nonsense.

    The halo didn’t bother me though, I actually felt a bit more comfortable for the drivers safety knowing they were cacooned (stating the obvious but I hadn’t appreciated until seeing the cars on track racing).

  11. I really can’t stand the Sky broadcast. It’s just so bland and unenthusiastic. If it weren’t for the fact it were highlights, I’d choose Channel 4 over it every single day. The humour element and the way they get on is just on much more enjoyable to watch than Simon Lazenby and his dreary presentation, combined with Hill and Brundle constantly complaining about the sport. It sucks all the fun out of it.

    1. +1 – I felt so strongly about the presentation and lack of energy that i’ve sacrificed live viewing and 4k coverage.

    2. Channel 4 coverage is so good. Ben Edwards is a great commentator, remember watching him commentate on A1GP. Karun gives the best technical analysis imo, Steve Jones is actually pretty entertaining, I’m so sad that this is the last year for them…

      1. @jamiefranklinf1 @hugh11
        I’d rather have an honest appraisal of F1 than someone trying to sell it so don’t mind some gripe, but agree Channel 4 has the better team overall.

    3. Disagree. It’s not the commentators that can make the race better – it’s F1 that can make racing more exciting.

      I’d pay extra to have no babbling commentary, but have full live track audio. This isn’t a radio broadcast – we can see the cars, the overtakes (if they ever happen) and the pitstops under VSC (where overtakes happen). Or could see them if the ‘commercial’ networks didn’t cut away at the worst possible moments.

      Since I’m stuck with 2nd hand Sky coverage, the fake excitement that Crofty spews keeps my finger on the mute button. Just makes dull racing more annoying. But, the media must mediate all media experiences. No raw, visceral, unfiltered experiences are permitted.

      The best F1 races I’ve ever witnessed were never televised. Live action is best.

  12. That tweet from Bec Clancy is spot on. For significant stretches I had no idea what the gaps where between the cars so it was nigh on impossible to work out who was fighting who. They also got rid of the graphic telling you which tyre everyone was on in the tower, which is always incredibly useful to have.

    The addition on the driver’s team is nice for newcomers I guess, but it took away loads for the serous viewer without giving back anything the casual fan.

  13. Confused your comment as the graphics were heavily focused on the gaps, both on the running order along the left had side and with the constant graphics where the ‘lastname vs lastname’ glitch popped up?

    Additionally and a nice touch was the ‘Battles on Track’ bit that occasionally popped up, grouping the running order into categories of battling drivers, and it was accurate too. As soon as Lewis went slightly deep and lost time it stopped showing him and Vettel as battling drivers.

    Overall I’m quite happy with the graphics, but do wish they would simplify a little. I don’t need to see the driver’s face when they speak on team radio nor the team logo in the running order graphic.

    1. I don’t recall seeing much info on gaps, certainly I was cursing the lack of info especially re. the top 3. But then I’m used to watching a race live with the official timing Android app on my tablet, and having watched this race later on I didn’t bother with the app (mainly because I was trying not to find out the result, but also because you need to sync it up with your TV as you start). Judging by the comments on the Play Store, they’re doing a good job of screwing up the app as well.

  14. I found the graphics to be a bit too small. A lot of the time I wasn’t sure if a number was a 5 or a 6 or an 8 or a 9. There’s definitely space to make the names and numbers a bit bigger while still having the overall list be the same size.

    1. @hugh11 I’m glad you said that, I thought that was just down to my abysmal eyesight.

      1. @geemac I have glasses for my abysmal eyesight and still struggled

    2. @hugh11 @geemac Same here, I watched the race on a 32-inch TV, yet would have preferred slightly larger numbers.

    3. Yeah, I find the driver position information font size much too small now, I’m sure it was bigger with the old graphics. It wasn’t until qualifying that it became apparent that they’d squashed that graphic tile vertically to make room for more info across the bottom (as well as that logo that just looks like a squiggle unless you know what it is).

  15. I can sympathise with Marko to a degree but there’s nothing that can be done about it.

    Every PU manufacturer has had the opportunity to match Mercedes, and have settings like “party mode” and you’d think that given it’s been 4 years, one of them at least would have been able to at least get close.

    Ferrari I suspect got close (with oil burning?) but Renault “seem” to be entirely disinterested in supplying a party mode setting and for that matter still sing the same “reliability” refrain.

    It’s hard to blame Mercedes for the other’s shortcomings when in reality I’d expect that they should be able to have been able to fix them if they had sufficient will (yes you Renault).

    So unless Mercedes are doing anything illegal (that’s always possible but after this amount of time, someone surely would’ve proved that) Marko and other team principals maybe need to ramp up the pressure on their engine suppliers.

    Problem is …. If they do that, everyone lambasts them for complaining.

  16. The Americans can at least can legally watch F1 in their own language. In Latvia, the TV channel that used to show F1 with Latvian commentary has stopped broadcasting it this year – according to the channel, it is because of this new F1’s live subscription service (which, however, is not going to be available in Latvia either). So the only legal options to watch F1 in my country right now are 1) on Viasat Motor in Swedish 2) on RTL in German. The average Latvian does not speak either of these two languages so the most obvious choices for the not-so-hardcore fans are 1) illegal Internet streams 2) forgetting about the sport.

  17. I don’t know if I am going to be able to get over the halo. It is absurd and I couldn’t stop staring at it. Can barely even see the driver in most of the elevated from the front shots which is like MOST of the coverage. Awesome to see Vettel win it, and who saw that coming. But I don’t know, something just feels really really off.

  18. @dbradock because they DO complain all the time, even when they did had the best engine. People are fed up with RB complaints, they are allowed to build their own engine if they want.

    Point is Renault has decided to get their own team because of RB constant moaning that was destroying the point of being an engine supplier (and it was a problem already before 2014…). So RB can nothing but keep their mouth shut, many people including me are fed up of their moaning. There is a reason if Merc and Ferrari never wanted to sell them an engine and i don’t beleive this is by fear, the reason is the same as the one making Renault wanting them out: they are a PR liability.

    Furthermore nothing in this weekend indicated Merc engine was any better than the Ferrari one… Hamilton drove a mighty lap and won ALL his time in the corners not the straight.

  19. Michael Brown (@)
    26th March 2018, 20:28

    Damon “I’m embarrassed I won so much” Hill

  20. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    26th March 2018, 20:37

    Oh no, I didn’t even consider the long-term impact – how long is the ESPN contract for?

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