Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2018

Red Bull hoping altitude will help them in Mexico

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In the round-up: Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says the team is counting Mexico City’s high altitude to help them this weekend.

What they say

Horner believes the thinner air at 2,250 metres will affect Mercedes and Ferrari more than them.

We’re hoping that with the altitude in Mexico it will concertina the engines a bit. Ferrari and Mercedes won’t be able to run their high power modes so that’s what helped us last year and we’re hopeful it will do the same again this year. Realistically it’s our last shot of winning a race between now and the end of the year.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Did Mercedes fail to take account of the Verstappen factor in Austin?

The main struggle for Mercedes was Verstappen, who drove a great race and got in there among the leaders. If it were only Raikkonen in front, I think Hamilton would have eventually gone by (like he did in Monza), as he is less concerned with the fin making all-or-nothing defensive moves.

Hamilton could have passed Verstappen if he went full attack mode, but I believe Verstappen’s reputation has started to creep in and Hamilton though better of it (especially after seeing what happened to Vettel after his fight with Verstappen at Suzuka).

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Keith Collantine
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34 comments on “Red Bull hoping altitude will help them in Mexico”

  1. So now it’s Ferrari’s job to drive instead of Vettel? What driver management? It’s not like he was not having the whole team focused around him.

    The whole 70 points deficit can be attributed just to Vettel’s UNFORCED mistakes in the 2nd part of the season, and no amount of excuses can change that fact.

    Germany – 33 points swing
    Monza – At least 23 points swing if we take that he would have won and Kimi been sacrificed for him, hence giving 2nd place to Lewis
    Japan – messed up quali (no matter the tire choice, Kimi was 4th on the grid), and messed up race. Lost at least 7 points compared to Lewis, if we take that he wouldn’t have manage higher than 3rd.
    USA – brain-fade in FP cost him 2nd (position from which Kimi won), and then another case of rookie wheel-to-wheel driving cost him a win, considering that he actually out-qualified Kimi who ended up winning the race. Could have outscored Lewis by at least 10 points, instead of losing another 3 to him, hence overall losing another 13 in their battle.

    All in all, 33 + 23 + 7 + 13 = 76 points.
    In conclusion, he can talk about the updates as long as he wants, but it won’t change the fact that he dropped more points than he is currently trailing, all by his own mistakes. And that’s just the second part of the season. Don’t forget Baku and similar situations.

    It really shatters the illusions that this sport is won on merit.

    1. What driver management?

      There was a nice comment yesterday that said that while Arrivabene might be an excellent manager, it takes a former driver to proffer advice and coach a driver over the course of a year-long campaign. Niki Lauda’s there in Mercedes, Renault have Alain Prost, Red Bull have Helmut Marko. Ferrari have no one in that role.

      I believe that’s what Webber is referring to (and is aligned to the point you’re making) – someone who understands the driver mindset who would have sat Vettel down and talked to him driver-to-driver and helped him focus more on accruing points instead of always going for the win (and failing at it).

      1. Vettel is a senior of 12 seasons in F1, and 4-times WDC. You would think that he doesn’t need someone to hold his hand. Only time that kind of management is needed for the experienced drivers, is when there is a lot of friction between the drivers in the team. But the situation couldn’t be more different. Vettel has been an unquestionable #1 in the team for the past four years. He simply isn’t good enough.

    2. Germany 32 btw, doesn’t change the general idea and I agree, but it’s 25 lost 7 gained for swapping hamilton from 2nd to 1st.

      1. Also I see raikkonen-vettel-hamilton at monza or vettel-raikkonen-hamilton, basically don’t forget that vettel’s mistake also allowed mercedes to play 1 vs 2 with raikkonen, otherwise I don’t see hamilton passing ANY ferrari.

    3. Being a bit generous there, are we? Hamilton and Bottas were catching Vettel by 1.5 seconds a lap at Hockenheim, and would definitely have passed him before the end, so that’s only 18 points lost.

      1. @ho3n3r, on the contrary, the lap times show that Vettel actually pulled away from Bottas in that period of time.

        They were reasonably evenly matched until lap 43, but thereafter the times started fluctuating quite a bit.

        Here are Bottas’s times for the laps leading up to Vettel’s crash:
        Lap 43: 1m17.59s
        Lap 44: 1m17.61s
        Lap 45: 1m18.22s
        Lap 46: 1m21.82s
        Lap 47: 1m20.37s
        Lap 48: 1m19.57s
        Lap 49: 1m19.72s
        Lap 50: 1m22.06s
        Lap 51: 1m31.87s

        Here are Vettel’s times for that comparable period:
        Lap 43: 1m17.68s
        Lap 44: 1m18.29s
        Lap 45: 1m19.25s
        Lap 46: 1m20.70s
        Lap 47: 1m19.38s
        Lap 48: 1m19.13s
        Lap 49: 1m20.28s
        Lap 50: 1m23.38s
        Lap 51: 1m29.27s

        That indicates that Bottas’s delta to Vettel was as follows:
        Lap 43: -0.09s
        Lap 44: -0.68s
        Lap 45: -1.03s
        Lap 46: +1.02s
        Lap 47: +0.99s
        Lap 48: +0.44s
        Lap 49: -0.56s
        Lap 50: -1.31s
        Lap 51: +2.60s

        As you can see, Bottas was not consistently gaining time on Vettel – he’d gain on a couple of laps, but then lose time to Vettel over the next couple of laps after that.

        By the time he crashed, Vettel had actually increased his lead over Bottas by 1.4s compared to where they had been before the rain started falling – so, rather than “catching Vettel by 1.5 seconds a lap at Hockenheim”, Bottas was dropping away from Vettel and wasn’t threatening his position at all.

    4. @Biggsy Add to that, he threw away a potential or to be more precise, a rather sure win in Baku as well (instead of the likely 25 points he only got 12 from that race), and a loss of a 3rd-place or even potential 2nd in Paul Ricard.

  2. RE. COTD.
    Any strategy that requires overtaking other competitors is already one likely to fail.
    Mercedes only had to drive behind Raikkonen and then use the undercut. Even after stopping for tyres and catching up again with Raikkonen, they still had the very same option open to them of pitting again and using the undercut.
    Trying an early single stop strategy without any preparation was an unnecessary gamble.
    There was even a second window of finishing at least in 2nd position, that existed for several laps, but Mercedes didn’t take it.
    But I’m not surprised. Mercedes has done something similar to Bottas on two previous occasions, gambling for a win and ended up dropping to 4th position or so.
    Mercedes, don’t think on their feet.

  3. There wasn’t enough nose cam footage! I loved it!
    Someone who had to go to the washroom or refill their coffee could have easily missed it.

  4. “Vettel lost 33 places on 1st. lap” Just goes to show what a talent we have in Lance S., I’m sure he has not lost anything like that amount of places on the 1st. lap.

    1. In fact the opposite, I believe he’s one of the best lap 1 drivers, along with verstappen and alonso.

    2. Prodigy Stroll won 31 places on lap 1.
      Which is only 1 less than ‘only in F1 due to daddy’ Verstappen. And we all know Red Bull is solely focussed on that stat by dropping him an extra 5 positions whenever they can ;)

    3. @HoHum
      You really cant lose any places on the first lap when you start at the back!

  5. Sebastian Vettel has lost a total of 33 places on the first lap of races in 2018, 14 more than any other driver

    While this stat is exaggerated (i.e. amplified, not implying it’s been cooked up) by Vettel’s starting position, the fact remains that even amongst the top 6 drivers, no one else has lost anywhere as many places. And that is a pretty damning statistic. (Verstappen might have lost a chunk of places in the early races after lap 1, however).

    So, who’s Vettel going to bounce off against and spin off, at Mexico? Place your bets here. :-)

    1. Its funny how those 4 titles back in his Red Bull days seem to keep him safe from acquiring nicknames such as “1st lap nut job”, “crash kid” or “Maldonado”.

      1. yeah, it would be silly of us to give him some credit for winning four world titles!

    2. I bet he bounces off on Hamilton in Mexico.

    3. “(Verstappen might have lost a chunk of places in the early races after lap 1, however)”

      I often wonder how people come to such theories…? Versstappen lost 2 positions in Australi halfway the race due to floordamage. In Bahrain he gained places, but DNF-ed after a 50/50 racingincident with Lewis.
      In China he lost 2 places halfway the race.

      In lap one Verstappen has always maintained his posiiotn, but more often gained places… in fact gained by far the most places of all driver… 32 to be exact, places gained in lap 1.

      Please try and be a bit more correct and at least motivate

    4. Bottas, France.
      Hamilton, Italy.
      Verstappen, Japan.
      Ricciardo, USA.
      Kimi, -So cold,so emotionless; needs a hug/kiss-

      Vettel is, much like Alonso, planning his driving career in a personal way that keeps his motivation high and will ensure his place in the sport’s history.

      Alonso is, not so secretly anymore, going for the Triple Crown.
      Vettel is cheering up his fellow competitors byt hugging and kissing them during the most stressful times of any GP, the first lap.

  6. Fikri Harish (@)
    23rd October 2018, 8:42

    Well, as the Canadians can now comfortably tell you, there isn’t much that can’t be solved by going high so I’m hopeful that Red Bull can do something to spice up Mexico as much as possible given how dull it’s been in the past.

    Anyway, regarding COTD, that wasn’t the first time Hamilton went easy on Verstappen. Last year at Sepang, Hamilton didn’t put up much of a defense when Verstappen came at him.
    I do think that had it been other than Verstappen, Hamilton still won’t go into full-attack mode, so to speak. He’s just too smart to try and do something needlessly reckless as that.

  7. Mark Webber is right. We should have had a new guy in from the end of last year.

  8. What an ignorant comment made by someone called Gechichan, that made it even to comment of the day. ‘Lewis could have passed Max but he didn’t because of Max’ rep’, yeah right….

    How strange that Lewis’ facial expression after the race told completely otherwise.

    1. He joked about the same thing earlier in the weekend during a spot with SkyF1. It’s one of those funny because it’s true things.

      1. “He” = ? Max or Lewis?

        1. Lewis joked about avoiding Max at the first corner. Something like going to the left if Max is on the right – basically saying that wherever Max is, you go the other side.

    2. Hamilton was clearly being cautious not to tangle and said as much after the race. It’s not a bad reputation to have. I don’t think Verstappen is an unfair racer, but he doesn’t give any quarter. Even if Hamilton had got past by risking more, I fully expected Verstappen to attack again and try to retake (eg. in sector 1 where the Red Bull was faster). Given the amount of close racing that would involve, accepting 3rd was a wise choice. 2nd wouldn’t have won him the championship anyhow. Basically no different in terms of what Hamilton has to do this week.

  9. Great to see Ferrucci back in the news :D

  10. I agree with Horner, but not so much with Webber. Even with Toto or Horner on board, I doubt the title fight would be any more alive now than it is under the current team management. I agree with the COTD as well.

  11. Cord, Ham did go on full attack mode with a much faster car on fresher tires. If he had waited for his Drs advantage he would have been smarter.
    Ver defended his position very fair but succeeded in tricking Ham to the dirty part of the track.

    1. He’d spent quite a few laps trying to get into DRS range and even then it was marginal. He really only had that chance to attempt a pass. Yes, Verstappen’s defense was excellent.

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