Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2018

Vettel tried to mislead Mercedes with radio message “lie”

2018 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel admitted he tried to mislead Mercedes with a radio message to his Ferrari team late in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Ferrari abandoned plans to bring Vettel in for a second pit stop meaning he had to nurse his set of soft tyres to the end of the race. Vettel tried to give Mercedes the impression his tyres were still in good shape while Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton closed on him over the final laps.

Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, Bahrain International Circuit, 2018
Bahrain Grand Prix in pictures
“I think 10 laps to go I came on the radio and said ‘everything’s under control’,” said Vettel. “That was a lie because I was hoping they’d tell Valtteri ‘Sebastian is taking it easy’, tell him to save the engine, turn it down and give up. But they didn’t do that.

“Equally I was sure if I’d said the truth and said I’m struggling massively with the tyres they would tell him and make sure that he’s having all the power available until the end. Obviously my plan didn’t work but I tried.”

Vettel said the performance of his soft tyres dipped with around 10 laps to go. “They weren’t getting any better. It was really difficult to keep the car on the line especially in turn eight, turn 10, just getting out of the low speed corners was really tricky.”

It took until the final lap of the race for Bottas to get within a second of Vettel. “When I saw him in DRS range, I was thinking it would be difficult to make it last. I tried to save and deploy the energy so that I had the boost all the way down the straight and it worked.”

Ferrari changed Vettel’s strategy when the Mercedes drivers ran longer first stints and switched to the medium tyres, indicating they were not planning to pit again. Vettel said staying out was “only chance to win the race.”

“With them on the medium tyre and having such strong pace for long we knew it would be difficult to come out with a fresh set,” he said.

“We’d probably chase them down but probably to pass is a different story. First we’d have to get past Lewis and then chase Valtteri and pass Valtteri. In the end we tried and it worked. It’s good when it works out like that.”

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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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52 comments on “Vettel tried to mislead Mercedes with radio message “lie””

  1. Brilliant reactionary strategy by Ferrari and great to watch..

    After 2 years of complaining my Fiance finally gets the sport after this weekend ;)

    Grazie Ferrari!

    1. Matteo (@m-bagattini)
      9th April 2018, 13:37

      @twentyseven that’s two races won with the help of good strategies. Something we forgot after the Todt/Brawn/Schumacher days.

      1. So it was Ferrari’s strategy to bring out the VSC?

        1. No, but splitting strategies put them in the position to make good use of the VSC.

      2. Yeah, Ferrari doing a good strategy… What is going on?

        1. Go back to FlintstoneCar, this is too complicated for you.

  2. Ballsy strategy by Ferrari; they took the gamble and it worked in their favour.

    I’m sure if Vettel lost first place – or worse, had a tyre failure – they’d have faced a lot of criticism for not learning from their earlier troubles at Spa, Silverstone, etc.

    1. Yep, people like to bash.

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      9th April 2018, 13:55

      @phylyp it’s not clear when Ferrari made the decision and whether it was actually a tactical victory or simply a matter of fortune.

      If they decided to keep him out before the race on 40 laps, then I’m not sure how they knew that the soft tyre would have lasted 40 laps when Pirelli had advised 30 laps for the soft. If you just think about it, it makes no sense that they would choose to do 40 laps on a tyre that’s only meant to last 30 laps and on top of that to have a Mercedes behind you, which you have to assume.

      Did Ferrari make the decision to keep Vettel out when they informed him about Plan D (the Sky Sports commentators insisted it was Plan B but I heard a D as did other on the forum)? If so, they made that decision right about the time that Vettel was supposed to pit. Many have claimed that Vettel was nursing the tyres but Plan D doesn’t really sound like Plans A, B, C and I doubt that Vettel was focusing on Plans D, E, F, G, or plan Omega. So most likely he was pushing like crazy on the softs when he put them on so he could get on the Super-soft or a fresh set of softs. We witnessed that as he closed on Lewis and tried to pass him as quickly as possible. If he was doing 40 laps, he would not have been pushing that hard.

      Just reviewing the whole she-bang, it really seems that Vettel was very lucky that he was able to push hard on the tyres at the start of his stint for 20 laps AND still manage to get another 20 laps out of them.

      Also if we look at Australia, Vettel was staying out for too long and that was costing him time. I’m not sure what the strategy there was unless Ferrari was planning to do 40 laps on those tyres just to verify Pirelli’s claims and rub it in their nose if they were wrong but Hamilton had a massive lead and Ferrari weren’t really doing anything to help Vettel. If anything, the only viable strategy at that moment with Vettel staying out was a gamble on a Safety Car within 1-2 laps. I haven’t seen many drivers stay out for a Safety Car so if Ferrari did that and got one, well, kudos to them.

      Again, Ferrari’s strategy this year makes no sense – I prefer last year’s strategy over Russian Roulette with 5 bullets in the chamber. If anyone can provide a better explanation of the strategy, then please do so.

      1. I rather agree with @freelittlebirds here. It wasn’t so much a “balsy” strategy (as you call it @phylyp) or even a brilliant move. It was rather bit of a gamble taken that played out for them a second race in a row – here they were helped with the Mercedes being very hard on its tyres and Vettel managed to keep it on track, in Australia the VSC/SC fell in their lap at more or less exactly the right moment, as they had hoped might happen.
        They did have their gambles/choices made during the race pay off. But it could just as well not have worked for them.

        I also think that part of the reason for choosing this strategy might have been the incident with Kimi – with a member of the pit stop team injured, could they count on everything going right this time, when the race win was at stake (and nuts had proven problematic in 4 cases already with the same design in the last 2 weekends).

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          9th April 2018, 16:24

          @bascb excellent point about the wheel nut failures and the mayhem post-injury perhaps forcing Ferrari into staying out yesterday.

        2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          9th April 2018, 16:25

          Oh, and thank you for partly agreeing with me – it’s a dangerous strategy :-)

          1. Oh yes, very dangerous strategy. Pretty sure more than 50% chance of failing baddly, blowout or something.

            Ferrari was forced their hand by Kimi pitstop injury, and Mercedes nullifying their track position advantage.

      2. @freelittlebirds

        The Australia strategy made perfect sense. While Vettel was “losing” time staying out, he wasn’t losing enough time to cost him 3rd place. Since that was not a worry, they kept him out in the hopes there might be a safety car/VSC. Sure, it was a long shot gamble, but one with no downsides and with a potential huge upside. Which is what they got. This situation was also what Merc feared with Bottas out of position. Vettel wasn’t being challenged for P3 because the only car really capable of it wasn’t there. If Bottas were running a close P4, then Ferrari does worry about keeping Vettel out too long.

        In Bahrain, I’m sure the Plan A was a two stopper with SS/S/S or SS/S/SS. Plan B was probably a one stopper similar to Mercedes SS/M. Since they went with SS/S they were on Plan A. The real unknown was what pace Mercedes could do on the Mediums. I think Ferrari suspected the Mediums to be a bit slower, but in the race, they were actually as fast as the Softs. Vettel couldn’t pull any gap on Bottas once he was on the Mediums. This meant that the strategy was a toss up between coming in for SS and running down Hamilton and Bottas in the closing stages – not something that was guaranteed considering the strength of the Mediums – or deciding on using the Softs to the end. I think the deciding factor was to keep track position. They probably felt that Vettel might hold on to P1, but if he lost it, would probably still keep P2. Whereas if he pitted, he would most likely end up P2. One thing that may have helped Ferrari decide was for whatever reason, Mercedes kept Bottas well back of Vettel for quite some time, even up to 7 seconds at one point around L44 and the gap was still over 5 seconds on L50. If Bottas had closed up sooner, that may have forced Ferrari to bring in Vettel. At the same time, Mercedes may have felt that if they force Vettel in too early, he’d be able to come back on fresh SS and end up P1. By leaving the close to late in the race, Vettel wouldn’t have any chance. I believe Merc felt they waited a bit to long before telling Bottas to attack.

        All in all, the Ferrari strategy makes a lot of sense. Were they lucky at times? Sure. Having the best strategy doesn’t mean you are going to win. It can only put in the best position possible. For instance, there was really no strategy available the was going to get Hamilton the win in Bahrain. Sometimes it’s the reason why it sounds like drivers (i.e. Hamilton, Vettel) seem to be “complaining” when they are behind. Bono should come on sometime and say “Sorry Lewis, the teleport mode is not available at this time.” That’s were the frustration of someone like Lewis comes into play when Vettel comes out in front of him in Australia. He knows there’s really not much of anything that can be done unless the Ferrari runs into some issue.

        1. “Mercedes kept Bottas well back of Vettel for quite some time, even up to 7 seconds at one point around L44 and the gap was still over 5 seconds on L50”

          Bottas was having to control his tyre temps during that part of the race. He could push for a few laps get the delta down but would have to nurse his tyres. During that part of the race Vettel somehow managed to increase his lead to ~9 seconds.

          I think Mercedes seriously thought there’s no way Vettel would make it to the chequered flag with those tyres or keep decent pace from lap 50 onwards.

          A lot of moving pieces in this race. Everything from Kimi, Dan and Max retiring to the mechanic’s injury played a part in the strategy. I agree that although a bit of luck involved, Ferrari made the best possible strategy with the given situation.

          Overall it does seem that Ferrari have been a bit more aggressive with their strategy this year which is very refreshing to see.

        2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          9th April 2018, 18:41

          @uan Thanks for the reply.

          In Australia, you said that Ferrari kept Vettel out because he wasn’t going to lose P3 and were hoping for SC/VSC.

          A couple of things about that. I doubt that Vettel would have been happy with P2 after being outqualified by Kimi. He wanted P2 more than P1 and wanted to pass Kimi, probably more so than Lewis. I doubt he was happy in P3.

          As for hoping for SC/VSC, I sure hope that Ferrari wasn’t hoping for a VSC because the VSC is supposed to maintain position. It’s a travesty that Ferrari was able to abuse VSC and win a race and that falls squarely on Charlie Whiting’s incompetence – he should have asked Vettel to fall back to P3 and added the time for the pitstop.

          If you’re suggesting that Ferrari was hoping that they would benefit from a VSC and intentionally kept Vettel out, then they should give up 25 points and a point penalty on top of that for essentially cheating in F1.

          Maybe they held out for a SC but they sure waited a long time for it compared to Lewis.

          As for Bahrain, I think the 2 plans you have for Plan A were Plan A and Plan B. If they changed to Plan D at the time of the switch for Plan A and Plan B, Ferrari got very, very lucky because Vettel should have used up those tyres over the first 20 laps especially as he was trying to catch up to Lewis and pass him. I don’t think it was a brilliant strategy – they should have lost and it’s even possible that they deserved P3, not P1. Sure the soft tyres ended up being absolutely phenomenal but no one expected that including the manufacturer so Ferrari had no reason to believe they knew better unless they know something that others don’t.

          1. @freelittlebirds wait, what? Why on earth should Whiting have asked Vettel to fall back to P3, or why should Ferrari be punished, for doing a pitstop when it was allowed? What kind of twisted reasoning are you applying to come to that conclusion? Pitting under VSC is allowed, he did that, the end.

            Either way, there was no on-track passing in Australia so Vettel wasn’t going to pass Raikkonen. Everyone knows that if two somewhat slower cars try to beat one faster car in front, you split strategies and the lead car covers one of the rival cars. In this case Raikkonen got the “ideal” strategy, and Hamilton had to pit to avoid the undercut and getting stuck behind Hamilton. At that point there was no point in pitting Vettel. As I said, no on-track passing and as mentioned above, no danger to lose P3 either. So Vettel went long. One possible advantage: if he went long enough, he could fit the supersoft tyres instead of the softs Raikkonen and Hamilton had. So on much fresher and softer tyres he could have maybe mounted an attack. I’m sure that was the plan.

            As for Bahrain, I also think the original plan was SS-S-S or SS-S-SS. But then Mercedes pitted for M tyres, and basically forced Ferrari’s hand: if Vettel pitted again, he would have to pass Hamilton and Bottas on track. I don’t think that would ever have happened. Hamilton, maybe, but Bottas, I don’t see it. He would’ve been far in front. So I think the moment Ferrari saw the M tyres, they knew they had to onestop the race and converted to that.

          2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            10th April 2018, 13:23

            @mattds I’m not saying that pitting under the VSC shouldn’t be allowed. However, you shouldn’t be allowed to gain a positional advantage by pitting and in this case 2 positions and a victory. The whole point of VSC is to maintain respective positions unlike a SC which bunches up the field and nullifies advantages and allows for cheaper pit stops (unless everyone pits).

            Charlie is in charge and that pit stop went against the entire spirit of the VSC. Bottom line, there should be no advantages gained under VSC. Whose job is it to enforce that? Not yours, not Toto’s, not Keith’s. There is one person in charge of the race and he had to decide if he was ok with the VSC being abused that way.

            As for Raikonnen getting the ideal strategy, history shows that he doesn’t and the result in Australia also proved that to be the case. Obviously Vettel would have thrown a fit if Raikonnen had gotten the ideal strategy so there’s no doubt that Vettel was on the ideal strategy which was a very shady one.

            As for Ferrari, if they knew they had to one stop, why did they bring Raikonnen in? Wasn’t he on the ideal strategy for P3? Also, when they decided to one-stop is important because you don’t decide to do another 20 laps after burning up the tyres for 20 laps. If you get 20 laps at that point out of that tyre without sliding or locking up once with a Mercedes behind you. We’ve seen worn tyres all the time and Vettel doesn’t do double stints in general with tyres.

          3. @freelittlebirds

            1. You are mistaken about the purpose of the VSC. It is NOT there to “maintain respective positions”. The VSC was brought in as a reaction to Jules’ incident with the primary goal of immediately creating a safer working environment for those that are on track. That it has the characteristic of respecting relative positions better is an advantage, but not a goal in itself. Vettel did nothing unsafe, so neither him nor Ferrari did anything against the spirit of the VSC.
            And there was nothing for Charlie to decide upon. There was no rule being violated, pit stops were allowed, so there was literally zero regulatory ground to somehow make Vettel

            2. Australia’s result shows that Vettel got lucky and only in hindsight that was the best strategy. Raikkonen received the primary strategy and chances of the VSC happening were far smaller than not happening.
            Riddle me this – if you are Ferrari’s team boss, what do YOU do if this wasn’t the way to go? Only two real possibilities:
            – Either you give both of your drivers the same strategy. Raikkonen pits, the next lap around Hamilton pits and you also let Vettel pit. Congratulations Michael, you finish P2 and P3! Great job, that is TOTALLY a so much better result than P1 and P3!
            – Or … you split strategies the other way. You make Vettel pit first. Hamilton covers Vettel. Kimi is being kept out. Result? Kimi fans are enraged at you because you tried to make Vettel undercut Kimi! Luckily that VSC was there so that Ferrari’s evil scheme to once again get Vettel ahead of Raikkonen failed!

            I’ll be happy to see you answer this one.

            Lastly, there were a number of reasons why they would bring Kimi in again in Bahrain. First of all, they could: he would come out not too far behind Hamilton on much fresher and softer (supersofts) tyres. So chances were good he’d overtake Hamilton. Secondly, they were trying to sell to Merc that they would stop Vettel again, so it probably played a role in Mercedes delaying Bottas’ attack to Vettel. Thirdly, as they were putting on supersofts, they could get data of how Kimi’s supersofts performed against the Mercs mediums, and that would have been helpful in further deciding whether to keep Vettel out on softs or whether he had a real chance at getting the Mercs back.

            Basically pitting him would mean a higher probability of P1 for Vettel and a very good probability of P3 for Raikkonen. Not pitting him would mean (as we have seen) more risk of not winning with Vettel, and more risk of not getting P3 for Raikkonen (as Hamilton would have probably caught him with his durable mediums).

          4. @freelittlebirds forgot to finish a sentence in the first paragraph – should’ve been “to somehow make Vettel give back two places”.

          5. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            10th April 2018, 19:57


            If you view that it’s perfectly fine to pit and gain 2 positions and a victory during VSC, then the discussion is
            really moot.

            You do realize that Bottas or Lewis could have won at Bahrain by bringing out a VSC for any reason they wanted – e.g. by stopping the car to itch a scratch and then resuming again once VSC comes out.

            It’s perfectly legal and it’s a way for any team with a driver outside the points to make their guy jump a few positions. Magnussen didn’t need to pass Gasly – he had a free pass with Grosjean. Ditto for Gasly, Hartley’s back which is in pain could have easily brought out the VSC.

            We’d have 30 VSCs in the race, all extremely legal.

            Plus everyone now needs to cover the pitstop delta in case of VSC… You can’t just have a 10 second lead or build it, you have to cover the VSC which any team can bring out.

            Not against the spirit of the VSC??? Think again Matt:-)

          6. @freelittlebirds

            It is not my view that matters. It is facts and regulations that matter. Fact: the VSC was brought in to immediately create a safe working environment, in response to Bianchi’s incident. I do not have to think again about that – your memory might be clouded surrounding the implementation of the VSC and the communication that accompanied it, but mine isn’t.
            And pitting and gaining a position does not go against that nor anything else in the regulations. Therefore it is rubbish to suggest there was ground to make him give back positions.

            And no, Bottas or Lewis couldn’t have “stopped the car to itch a scratch”. The regulations explicitly mention that a driver can’t just stop his car on track, so no, “stopping the car to itch a scratch” is not a “perfectly legal way”.

            By the way, I see you didn’t answer my Australia strategy question. I really wonder why that would be.

          7. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            10th April 2018, 20:23


            Well, no regulations are perfect as is the case with laws. When they implemented the VSC obviously the thought was to create a safe environment but to also ensure that positions were kept the same. You are claiming that they didn’t care about that and we are in stark disagreement there. Who’s in charge of governing the race? In football, there’s a referee and his decision wrong or right is what matters. There are regulations but he has final say. Ditto for tennis – there’s the chair umpire.

            You can’t sit there and argue that Ferrari or any other team was betting on that situation and hoping the VSC would grant them a fake victory which is what you’re suggesting and I think it’s ludicrous to suggest that they were hoping for a VSC. I’d rather they leave F1 then wait for the VSC to win. I cannot explain to you how similar that is to Flavio Briatore’s crashgate in spirit at least.

          8. @freelittlebirds that the positions were kept largely the same was a byproduct. The main goal was and still is to create a safe environment. That is the actual spirit, goal, name it whatever.

            In football, the referee decides based upon an extensive rulebook. A referee can make wrong decisions, but he’ll only do so because he saw it a certain way and thus thinks his decision is in accordance with the regulations (until a video ref, e.g., can prove he didn’t see it as it really happened, and he can overturn his decision). Same for the umpire in tennis. They all decide going by their knowledge of the written and established regulations.

            And no, I’m not saying Ferrari was necessarily betting on the VSC, but as I expained it made sense to split strategies, and it made sense to make Vettel go longer. If they pitted him right after Raikkonen and Hamilton, they finish P2-P3 best case (if nothing happens to Hamilton). If they wait and do something different, the race might throw a curveball their way. Be it a VSC, be it a red flag, be it the ability to go on the supersofts instead of the softs in order to have a faster second stint, whatever. If stopping doesn’t bring a tangible advantage and not stopping might have even the oddest chance of improving your result, then why stop?

            This is why I asked you about what you would have done as Ferrari team boss in Australia. I’m a bit disappointed you don’t have the honesty of answering it and instead are choosing to avoid it.

          9. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            10th April 2018, 21:14

            I disagree with the whole safety. F1 is ALL about racing – safety regulations are important but they should not the outcome of a race or alter it. This was indescribable and really bad for Lewis or any other driver to give up a victory from pole because of a technicality.

            If Federer won all his Grand Slams based on technicalities, I wouldn’t be a fan or watch him. If somehow a player is 2 sets and 5 games down in the final of grand slam and is able to win because the other player’s socks or strings are deemed unsafe and he’s disqualified, I wouldn’t watch tennis. Same with soccer – if Juventus could get 5 goals for free against Real Madrid and win, I wouldn’t watch it. I can’t imagine any regulation allowing something like that to happen.

            About the strategy – I would not have kept Vettel out, I would have let him race Raikonnen and given him a chance to catch up to Lewis if he could. There’s no guarantee that Lewis was going to finish the race or that he wouldn’t have some kind of issue.

            I would also have let Raikonnen race Vettel because that’s a race I would like to see – the 2 Ferraris have been buddies on the track for a decade now and it’s getting really old.

            Last thing I would do is hold him out there in case of a safety car… But I care more about racing than about technicalities.

          10. @freelittlebirds it is entirely within your rights to not agree with regulations. I don’t agree with all of them either. But they are what they are – and nowhere did Ferrari nor Vettel transgress against anything, so there was no ground to “correct” anything. You speak from emotion, and emotion has a place in watching a sport, but not in ruling about a sport.

            And if that is actually what you’d do, then you would not be a smart team boss, because you’d have walked away with 30 points instead of 33 and your driver would not be leading the championship. And most fans would be quite mad at you for not going for the obvious and factual best choice, which is splitting strategies.

            I mean, letting them race – for what? We had 3 overtakes all race, there virtually was no overtaking. A wildly faster RBR couldn’t overtake a McLaren, a visibly faster Mercedes couldn’t overtake a Ferrari – no way any driver would have overtaken a teammate on same tyres of same age.

          11. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            10th April 2018, 22:48

            @mattds I do see your point about regulations and your argument is of course valid. What I’m saying is not out of the ordinary. We’ve seen the stewards misinterpret regulations in F1 and alter the outcome many times before. We saw Charlie hand a penalty to Hartley for not reclaiming his position on the formation lap which was ridiculous. By the same token, Charlie had every right and a responsibility to interpret the VSC regulations in a fair manner.

            To the ordinary fan, the VSC is supposed to lower the speed and maintain positions. The result of doing so is increased safety (that’s the byproduct, the product is to keep the race going and avoid unnecessary Safety Cars). It was completely within Charlie’s or the stewards’ power to interpret in a fair manner – there was nothing fair about Vettel jumping to P1 in that race. Even Ferrari probably isn’t happy about winning that way.

            As for your strategy, it’s predicated on a couple of things:

            1. That Ferrari care more about the WCC than the WDC. We don’t need to answer that, it’s a long question and the answer is pretty obvious for Ferrari. WC- what? Is that a toilet?
            2. That Vettel couldn’t mount a pass on Raikonnen.
            3. That Lewis would have had no issue or made a mistake.
            4. That keeping Vettel out for too long would not have resulted in a possible error.

            Sure I can sit here and tell you the best and worst strategies after every race and theorize that it would have been a mistake to do that but had Vettel run off course with worn tyres, we’d be saying that it made no sense to keep him out.

            Hindsight is 20/20…

            As for Raikonnen getting the ideal strategy as you suggested, do you see how Vettel has magically gotten the max points in 2 races while Raikonnen is sandwiched between Alonso and Hulkenberg even though he’s been very competitive and has 1/3 of the points? Hardly ideal… Poor guy, he must be wondering how it’s possible for the tyre issue to affect Romain, Kevin, and him BUT not Vettel who somehow also has the best soft tyres ever encountered in F1.

      3. Steven Van Langendonck
        9th April 2018, 17:07

        My take is this: they (Ferrari) made a less than optimal strategy by putting softs on vettels car and not mediums. But thanks to the quality of their car (good pace and light on the tyers) and their driver they have managed to hang on.

        Therefore the conclusion is that they were/are really at the same level or even a bit in front of mercedes.

        And that bodes well for the rest of the season as Mercedes is bound to respond…

      4. Yesterday you were bashing Ferrari because you were sure that the tires were OK, today, when it is clear that you were wrong you bash Ferrari because they did what they did.

        In Australia, Vettel said that he was long because he has nothing to lose because he couldn’t get 2nd and you bash them?


      5. The strategy went out the window, @freelittlebirds, when the catastrophe happened with Raikkonen. At that point, they had zero chance of Kimi coming out on super-softs, scaring Mercedes into at least pitting Hamilton for a set of SS’s (if not Bottas), and giving Kimi a chance to run blocker for Vettel & let him nurse the tires home, or get a new set after letting him open a 25-sec gap.

        Since that could never happen, Vettel had no choice BUT to stay out and try for the win. And it worked, because HIS tactics were spot-on.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          10th April 2018, 13:32

          @texarcana What do you mean by Vettel’s tactics were spot-on? His tyre looked brand new in the close ups. When tyres go off, every single time it happens we see drivers make all kinds of corrections around corners as they don’t know how the car will behave in the corner and obviously don’t want to end up off track. Wear is also not uniform so you lose traction from one part of the car and the car ends up. If anyone saw that with Vettel’s car, then please let me know cause I didn’t see it.

          The more I think about this, I’m beginning to think that there’s a high chance that wasn’t a soft tyre or it was a different kind of soft tyre courtesy of Pirelli.

          No problems with Vettel winning but a car that’s burnt the rubber on 20 laps and then is forced to run another 20 laps wouldn’t drive that way. I think Mercedes might want to have the tyres shuffled and have a Mercedes official checking Ferrari’s tyres at all times.

          1. As Matchett has said in hundreds of American broadcasts before, these tires go off differently than they have in the past (I’m paraphrasing): first, they look great, but don’t grip great until hot; then, they do well until they begin graining, where performance drops off significantly; then after the graining period, if the driver took care of the tires and didn’t overheat/overcool them, they come back to about 80% of what they were to begin with.

            That’s where Vettel was when the catastrophe struck, and he has to adjust his TACTICS (versus STRATEGY, as dictated by the team principals) to nurse those tires to the end, because pushing a tire at the end of it’s life results in a vast degradation in it’s performance. He didn’t really have to worry about Bottas or Hamilton: once Bottas caught up, he would never be able to pass, because Vettel’s tires were in better shape than everyone believed; and Hamilton was whining too much about not understanding what his orders were to even get into the race enough to try catching up (likely to cover for a danged car from the shunt earlier, or his massive hangover).

            NOW d’ya get it?

  3. Bert. Ecclestone
    9th April 2018, 12:50

    anyboby else in that Merc would have caught SB. VB decided to settle for 2nd with a lap to go. He’s no racer Merc should get another racer in that seat otherwise Ferrari will walk this championship this year.

    1. Matteo (@m-bagattini)
      9th April 2018, 13:35

      VB was coming from a poor performance in Australia, he needed to regain self-esteem and show that he could deliver. I think he had what was needed to attack SV in those conditions, but he was smart enough a) to avoid a collision which could cost one or both a retirement b) to score points and move up in the leaderboard. He’s the second drive and he knows; in my opinion, he did the right thing. Verstappen showed us that in this F1 and moreover this year you can’t waste points: it will be a matter of consistency and VB had solid points in his hands.

    2. Considering the pure pace of the Mercedes vs Vettels geriatric tires, yes, anyone (including Valtteri) in a Merc should have caught him. But this was race time so maybe Valtteri needed to manages something himself like engine temp or more likely fuel at that stage in the race.

      Remember i think China last year when Vettel was comming back to Ricciardo. He tried once to pass, didn’t work and then he backed down, i am assuming because of fuel saving.

    3. Bottas used all the fuel he had. He was not able to attack any sooner without risking running out of fuel. As for his performance, he beat Hamilton both in quali and in the race.

      Was just one of those races where Ferrari had the pace.

    4. I’d reckon a Hamilton, Alonso, Ricciardo or Max would have gotten the job done. Valterri still lacks that killer insitinct. He didn’t clear traffic efficiently and didn’t make any gain on Vettel on lap 54. Also thought it was a bit of a half baked attempt pass at the start of the first lap. Bit of a shame really, if Hamilton was in his position, he’d have a much better go at it.

  4. I don’t like too much the cars look this year, but that Ferrari looks magical in the night lights!

    1. Agreed – such a good, deep shade of red.

  5. It seemed to me quite obvious that Mercedes were trying to force Ferrari to come in and would then go long on a one stop. Or maybe I just made a lucky prediction, ether way I’m surprised that Ferrari hadn’t realise that sooner. It was great to watch the end though

  6. Concinced it would look better with a black Halo though. In action the black halo’d cars disguise it very well and especially over this weekend.

  7. Thats 2-0 to Ferrari Strategists.
    Merceedes should have split the trategy between Bottas and Hamilton.

    1. I’m still not convinced the Ferrari strategists did anything special.
      Melbourne: pure luck to have a SC after the others stopped and Mercedes miscalculating the gap.
      Bahrein: they came in too early for Vettel (did Mercedes fake stop trip them?) and it was the guy behind the wheel – not the strategists – who got the car home in first.

      1. Agree, Australia was a perfect definition of the word luck
        Bahrain they only reacted and went for the only possible strategy that would maintain track position, Vettel won that race

  8. I was thinking Ferrari was forced into this position by the horrible mechanic injury. They were one man down, and the rest of the pit crew probably doesn’t have the right morale to carry on the job. But even if you don’t believe in those things, it would take a while to fully get that man out of the pit area, for the pit crew to ready itself, and for everyone in the team to refocus on the race. Which means if Vettel came in he would have had significantly fewer laps to use the new rubber and catch up to the Mercs.

    In the end, they had to gamble with keeping Vettel out, and it paid off massively.

    1. Good point there @ducpham2708, I think you could well be right that them being down a key member of the pitstop team (and possible niggles over the reliability of the wheel nut/hub system after 3 crossed nuts in 2 weekends with this design that Haas also uses) was what tipped the scale in their strategy choices.

      1. Agreed, I believe there was an outstanding chance they would do an above 3s pit stop. With potential for cross-threading.

        They picked the slower strategy with better track position and Vettel made it work.

        Bottas also had old tires by that stage and had to manage who knows what.

  9. @ducpham2708 @bascb

    Spot on

    I think it was Mercedes plan all the way to push Ferrari into this but the chaos in the pitlane is probably what tipped them over the edge. Many hails this as a brilliant Ferrari strategy but im more inclined to belive its a brilliant drive that saved a failed strategy. Plan D = save us Seb.

  10. Not here to bash Bottas for failing to make a pass Yamamoto would have pulled off, etc. But I was pretty deflated to see him try a pass into T1 on lap 57 that obviously was not going to come off. The T1-3 complex is murder if your tires are going off, and I think Bottas should have just given Vettel a little space, and then went for it into 4. This is the wisdom gained in hours of Playstation, of course, and for which I am handsomely paid by no one. In the end it, was a great race. and this kind of strategic uncertainty and hard driving is what we tune in for. I’ll take 18 more of these, please.

    1. 19 perhaps, this season has 21 races!

  11. Of course Vettel changed his mind and opted to stay out, trying his luck with worn tyres to the end, when he realized what the swap of 2 mechanics with HAAS these first 2 races implicated:-)
    Jokes aside, I agree that Vettel was lucky again, but he also did a super job coasting it home on worn-out tyres. But to be lucky is also a verb You can often attach to a champion: As the Hiring manager said, when he ditched 125 unread job-applications in the bin: “This company don’t need unlucky employees – and this half of the applicant are unlucky!”

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