Start, Sochi Autodrom, 2019

Trouble at Ferrari lets Hamilton in to lead Mercedes one-two

2019 Russian Grand Prix summary

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Lewis Hamilton scored his ninth victory of 2019 after Ferrari hit trouble in the Russian Grand Prix.

The Ferrari pair ran one-two in the opening stages before making their pit stops. However Hamilton took the lead by pitting under a Virtual Safety Car period.

Charles Leclerc finished third having run second behind Hamilton after the VSC period. He and Ferrari opted to make another pit stop during a subsequent Safety Car period which dropped them behind Valtter Bottas, who Leclerc was then unable to re-pass.

Sebastian Vettel led the first part of the race, though somewhat controversially. He passed Leclerc easily on the way into turn one, his team mate giving up the inside line as Vettel shot by Hamilton.

Soon afterwards Ferrari told Leclerc on the radio that Vettel would let him by into the lead, apparently due to some pre-race arrangement. However Vettel refused to follow the order when it came.

Ferrari eventually told Leclerc the positions would be swapped later in the race. This came about through the pit stops. In a reversal of what happened in Singapore, Ferrari brought Leclerc in before Vettel and left him out long enough to cut Vettel’s lead on his fresher tyres. When Ferrari brought Vettel in, he came out behind his team mate.

His race lasted less than half a lap longer, however, as the team told him to pull over with a suspected power unit failure. “Bring back the fucking V12s,” cursed Vettel as he climbed out of his SF-90.

Max Verstappen took fourth for Red Bull but was never in contention for the podium. Team mate Alexander Albon raced his way through from the pit lane to finish fifth.

Both McLarens finished in the points, Carlos Sainz Jnr sixth and Lando Norris eighth after inheriting a place from Kevin Magnussen, who was given a five-second time penalty. Sergio Perez split the McLarens in seventh, and Nico Hulkenebrg claimed the final point.

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2019 Russian Grand Prix reaction

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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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230 comments on “Trouble at Ferrari lets Hamilton in to lead Mercedes one-two”

  1. Did not predict a Mercedes 1-2 today. Ferrari really need to take a look at themselves, they can’t afford to throw away wins/championship when they have a car capable of competing for them.

    You do wonder whether the Leclerc/Vettel relationship may fall apart in next few races? Could that lead to one of them (most likely Vettel) leaving at the end of the year?

    Renault seem to have gone backwards again after a couple of strong races. As a Danny Ric fan, I would be interested to see how many 1st lap incidents/DNF he has had this year, it feels like a lot. Its just not working for him at the moment

    1. @burden93

      Did not predict a Mercedes 1-2 today. Ferrari really need to take a look at themselves, they can’t afford to throw away wins/championship when they have a car capable of competing for them.

      Erm, did you watch the race? They didn’t “throw away” the win. Vettel’s MGU-K (?) just happened to give up the ghost at the worst possible moment, and the resulting VSC allowed Hamilton to sneak past Leclerc, which probably wouldn’t have happened that easily under normal circumstances.

      1. A free pit stop under VSC changed the winner of the race thats it.

      2. Today may not have been entirely their fault, but it was ironic that it was one of their cars breaking down that caused it though. But we spent the first half of the race listening to a Ferrari soap drama between the two drivers. Lets not forget that they had just royally screwed Vettel over by deliberately leaving him out for Charles to regain the lead. Luckily for Ferrari, they’ll be no fallout from that as his engine went pop a lap later.
        I think its quite telling that Mercedes picked up the pieces for a 1-2 today, Ferrari need to improve if they are going to give the fans a decent championship fight next year

        1. @burden93
          I’d go even further and say it was 0% their fault. Well, apart from having a reliability issue, of course. But that issue could’ve occurred virtually anytime or anywhere else without affecting the outcome as severely as it did.

          Also, let’s not forget that the swap was part of a pre-arranged deal that consisted in ‘screwing Leclerc royally up’ at the start to allow Vettel to get past Hamilton.

          I mean, if you subscribe to the common narrative of ‘Ferrari suck on pretty much every level, so they deserve pretty much anything bad’, then yes, there is some sort of karmic connection.
          But if you don’t, this was just a perfect storm that cost them the race win, an event that neither the drivers nor the strategists could affect in the slightest.

          1. I’d go even further and say it was 0% their fault. Well, apart from having a reliability issue, of course. But that issue could’ve occurred virtually anytime or anywhere else without affecting the outcome as severely as it did.

            Could they do anything in the lap where Vettel broke down and the safety car came out? No, definitely not.

            Though, Mercedes made a different call on Saturday to Ferrari to go on to the harder compound, which put them in the position to take advantage of a safety car. Could Ferrari have matched their decision? They’re always choices and things you can do different so to say its 0% their fault is crazy.

            I get that there are lots of Ferrari fans here, and I’m probably being harsh on Ferrari this time, but as a F1 fan its so frustrating to see them make mistakes during the last few seasons which has robbed us of a great championship fight because ultimately thats what we want to see.

            Also, let’s not forget that the swap was part of a pre-arranged deal that consisted in ‘screwing Leclerc royally up’ at the start to allow Vettel to get past Hamilton.

            But this! No other team does this with such drama! Mercedes at this track a few years ago (can’t remember the exact year) ran formation to stop slipstreams from other teams, then fight each other at the first corner and carry on from there…

        2. Did it really break down though ?

          1. Wondered about that as well. So convenient for punishing Vettel lol

        3. Everyone seems to forget that Mercedes chose the harder tyre on the first stint, and ceded the lead off the flag.

          The longer first stint created the probability for a VSC free pit stop for Merc that the Ferrari’s didn’t similarly benefit from. There were both VSC and later SC and Merc’s probability calculation put them in a chance to exploit that.

          Yes, luck always come into it, but Merc’s tyre decisions were designed to exploit that luck.

      3. So their own car has a DNF resulting in the VSC, and that doesn’t count as them throwing away the win?

        1. No it doesn’t

        2. You’re implying self-sabotage? Otherwise, I don’t see how they threw it away.

          1. @mg1982 well… Ferrari decided to prioritise engine power resulting in shorter life of their engines.. Engine failure is not an ‘Act of God’. Still I wouldn’t call it “throwing it away”, we have plenty of good examples by Ferrari of what that is :)

        3. In the same lap a Williams crashed the wall so the result would have been the same without the problem of Vettel.

          1. Maybe not, Russel’s car crash resulted in a proper safety car and if it picked up Ham early he might not have come out in front.

          2. But true, there’s at least a decent chance on the same happening just because of russel’s incident.

      4. I’m not sure a Ferrari win was guaranteed. The two Ferrari drivers were quibbling, Hamilton was running well enough on his tires that they decided a +15 strategy would be reasonable, and I think Hamilton only completed about 5 of those.

        I think Hamilton would have been pretty close to the Ferrari’s on much, much newer tires with 10-15 laps to go. Whether he’d have made it past them, I have no idea.

      5. Or you could say Vettel didn’t manage his car, and drove the car to its limits, which caused his DNF.

        Vettel was trying to make a point about his right to remain out ahead of Leclerc, when he might have driven conservatively and simply managed the gap to the car behind him.

        He broke the car, and then to compound matter by not bringing the car home, when it was still rolling, abeit slowly. Had he nursed the car back to the pits his team mate would have had the win after normal stops by Hamilton and Bottas.

        Vettle through his arrogance shot himself and his team in the foot.

        1. Seb forced (IMO) that wonderful ‘superspeed’ engine (completed in a month !) and something (quite dangerous) broken – leaving the car (look at Ferrari’s anguish – listen to their instructions) at the side of the road (full off dangerous battery high-capacity electricity) – which why Seb JUMPED clear of the car (as ordered) and pushing away the stewards etc. (Never had Seb done this) Fishy? You as real scientists may give the answers.

  2. Ouch!

    1. Actually was expecting Leclerc to come on the radio by the end asking FIA when to switch places. ”Didn’t at all understand the VSC swap. Very unfair to lose the position to Ham there. But we will discuss later. ”

      1. And ironically he would be right, this VSC affecting races needs to be scrapped.

        1. @esploratore Why? Why is the VSC any different to the Safety Car (which changes races even more dramatically), or reliability, or weather, or other drivers making mistakes? F1 is not a time trial – what makes the VSC so special that it shouldn’t affect the race?

        2. Yes, just like slipstreaming and tire degradation shouldn’t be allowed to influence your race result either. It’s just not fair. Seems a bit unfair all the guys who DNF don’t get any points either.

  3. Cristiano Ferreira
    29th September 2019, 14:02

    #Lucky and not #Blessed

    1. Yes, but it was still their choice to go on mediums to maximize their chances to pit under a safety car. Besides I would have loved to see Ham chase after the Ferraris with tire advantage at the end. Passing would have been impossible I think though, even mighty Ferrari couldn’t.

      1. Cristiano Ferreira
        29th September 2019, 14:14

        They need to change this rule to pit under VSC, and only allow that to happen when SC is deployed.

        1. They need to change this rule so only Ferrari can pit under VSC* I think this is what you really want, LOL.

          1. Cristiano Ferreira
            29th September 2019, 14:21

            No, thats for everyone

        2. You can’t close pit lane during VSC, some pay have unhealthy engine or a puncture or lost wing, its dangerous to drive around with that. But they probably should lower maximum pit lane speed to 50% so its twice as long to pit. Take away performance advantage.

          1. Cristiano Ferreira
            29th September 2019, 14:38

            Well just allow drivers who have significant damage like broken wings, punctures etc to pit then. Everyone else who is ok is forbidden to pit.

            Problem solved

          2. If they wanted to make things more fair they could do exactly what you said. Either reduce pit lane limit or if you pit under safety car or VSC you take a time penalty of however many seconds so that you don’t gain any time compared to stopping in race conditions.

            But I doubt they will consider either of these – Liberty don’t want ‘fair’ races, they want unpredictable races, and leaving the pit lane open as normal mixes up races and makes the results less predictable.

          3. Cristiano Ferreira, no they can’t do that. You can’t policy teams like that. They could ‘claim’ that they ‘suspect’ a damage to some bodywork, then at pit-stop confirm its not a damage and still only change tires. Or say they see a damage to tires, or whatever… they have thousand reasons.

          4. It will solve one problem, but just create new ones. Open en closed pitlanes both have advantages and disadvantages. It’s part of racing.

    2. Cristiano Ferreira #Righteously Annoyed not #Sour?

    3. To me this is clearly Hamilton making his own luck. He has been hassling the faster Ferrari’s since Spa. He already converted two 2nds or thirds into wins. First when Leclerc lost his engine in Bahrain, second when Vettel went off-roading in Canada. #3 today.

      He isn’t lucky, he’s like a dog watching a steak, waiting for the moment to snatch it.

  4. I don’t know how Mercedes keep doing it. Even when they don’t have the fastest car, they somehow just pull out the 1-2. And as for Ferrari, I don’t think it was necessary to swap Leclerc and Vettel to be honest. I was firmly against what didFerrari in Singapore, but that was last race, Vettel was quicker here, and they should have kept it that way. I’m not entirely sure what the agreement was, but I suspect the orders to both drivers were that Leclerc would enable Vettel to move into 2nd, with the caveat that he retains the lead into T2.

    1. But does Ferrari have the faster car? They have an engine setting which provides some crazy one lap power, but Leclerc can’t beat Bottas with DRS and can’t get the fastest lap. It looks pretty close in race pace.

      1. @passingisoverrated I’m pretty sure they would have managed a 1-2 without any failures. They may not have been fastest, but they weren’t slow either. And most importantly, they had track position.

        1. Yep. But I think that is F1 in a nutshell the last couple of years. Get the pole and control the race in clean air.

    2. Mercedes is still fastest in race trim, don’tget fooled by quali laps…

      1. Exactly. Even Toto mentioned from a previous article that he thinks Ferrari are focusing on qualifying.
        I believe in Singapore and today merc where better in racetrim.

        1. Even in Monza they had the better race pace, you don’t make 50 laps within a second from the lead car otherwise. Had Hamilton been in front of Leclerc, he’d have desappeared in very few laps. Nobody believes the bs that Totò and LH spread anymore, Mercedes is still the class of the field in race trim and by a food margin…

          1. Aye, keep telling yourself that…..

      2. Hard to tell, Ham beats Vettel in Quali and Lec beats Bot in the race. Is it Ham who makes Mercedes look better on race pace or Lec in qualifying? I don’t think there is data to say either way, but feels about the same pace in the race, Ferrari faster in quali and Mercedes slightly better on tire life.

      3. Ferrari were pulling away from Hamilton during the first stint and Leclerc was clearly held up by Bottas. So Ferrari was faster on race pace too.

        1. @f1osaurus Ham was on slower tires and wasn’t really falling back. When Lec pitted Ham got to within 1.5sec to him.

          1. @ivan-vinitskyy Hamilton did fall back to 3 seconds, but indeed he made some gains back at the end of Leclerc’s stint. He gained just as much on Vettel too though.

    3. And as for Ferrari, I don’t think it was necessary to swap Leclerc and Vettel to be honest. I was firmly against what [Ferrari did] in Singapore, but that was last race, Vettel was quicker here, and they should have kept it that way.

      I agree. I think it was wrong for the Ferrari management to have misled Charles into thinking they would let him pass Sebastian in such a way as to give an advantage to Mercedes. The reason Ferrari should do a planned swap is to advantage Ferrari, e.g. if Charles was sitting on Sebastian’s tail and had Fastest Lap. At the most Ferrari might do a swap if the outcome was even, e.g. Charles was on Soft tyres and Sebastian was on Medium tyres, but never if it was to disadvantage themselves.
      I think Charles was also at fault because he kept harping on about their planned strategy when it was obvious they were now in a situation that made their planning obsolete and the biggest benefactor would be Mercedes. Yes, it isn’t nice being told “Sorry, you’re going to have to accept being second for now”, but that’s what happens in a dynamic environment.

      1. Ferrari didn’t want one car ‘taking out’ the other at the start. Leclerc might have driven very defensive to keep Vettell behind and that might have let Hamilton in with a chance, or worst lead to them colliding into the corner.

        It would be interesting to learn if Vettel’s car was set up significantly differently to Leclerc.
        Ferrari created that stituation with team orders and then Vettel looks to maintain his artificial advantaged and drove his car to its limits. karma can be a b&%$.

  5. I don’t understand. Vettel was the faster Ferrari today. Why did they ask him to let Leclerc go by? Of course, I am also wondering why Leclerc did not defend against him at the start. Don’t get me wrong, Leclerc’s launch at the start look better than Vettel’s.

    1. An agreement to tow Vettel ahead of Hamilton if needed, it seems. But no one counted on Vettel being quick enough to take the lead, same as last race. I can see why both drivers thought they deserved the lead.

      Of course, if Vettel was the one pushing to be given back the lead after being over 4 seconds behind his teammate, the calls to retirement etc. would have been unbelievable. The salt in the internet makes Leclerc look like a considerate fellow.

      1. No the deal was because they did actual expect it was likely Postreader. I think Vettel losing out to Leclerc was the consequence at Ferrari for not sticking to it (and the Singapore outcome, had this been his chance of 1st win in 2019 instead, he probably would not have been pushed to cede the position as much).

    2. Leclerc’s launch at the start look better than Vettel’s

      Really? Looked to me Vettel had the best start out of the top 3.

      1. @blazzz looked the same for both Ferraris and better than Mercedes. Vet just got the tow above 100mph, which comes up in under 4sec.

    3. @krichelle We weren’t there when they agreed strategy. Seems Lec was asked to give Seb a tow, which he did. Not sure why Lec agreed to it, probably because Vet would have gotten by anyway and it was the only way Lec could guarantee coming out on top after start. Little did he know Vettel’s word means nothing. I’m a bit shocked that viewers care so little for keeping one’s word and still awarded slower, sneaky driver an award of the race.

      1. Generally people don’t like team orders, race manipulation and agreements and reward behaviour that disregard those. Even if it’s understandable from a team perspective. Like the Bottas call and the undercut last week.

        1. @passingisoverrated agree, drivers don’t like team orders and neither do viewers. But going into the meeting room and saying yes yes yes, then going on track and not doing it is so much worse… dishonesty, egoism, narcissism. Maybe these qualities make a good racing driver but horrible human beings.

          1. I agree with you Ivan.

            I have the feeling that many fans who do not feel a need for fairness – well , we know their characters better now. We can’t change another person’s character (big assumption but I believe it’s largely true) but at least we know that they believe in so when we see their comments the next time , it is clear whether to discard or take their opinion in good faith.

      2. Vettel was faster than Leclerc.

        1. It was rather the case, whoever was in the lead therefore in clean air would have been able to open a decent gap and maintain it to stay in the lead. Vettel is trying hard to save his face and he was only faster than Leclerc because he was in the lead, which he got in the first place by putting himself above the team (so much for saying that no one is above this Ferrari team in order to justify his Singapore Win). And Ferrari rightly put him in his place after the first pitstops. If Leclerc wouldn’t have lost the lead under VSC, Hamilton wouldn’t have been able to win the race as well, its simple really.

        2. @gufdamm It’s called a slipstream

          1. Not the laps that followed where VET build a advantage of 4 seconds.VET was faster then LEC till his enigine died on him.

          2. That is called “dropping back to hold station”. Also, Vettel was behind Leclerc before his engine died on him …

            Seriously man, try to learn a bit how F1 works. I understand you are green as grass, coming here only on the Verstappen cheer train, but still.

    4. @krichelle
      Question A (Why did they ask Vettel to let Leclerc go by) and question B (Why did Leclerc not defend against Vettel at the start) are related:
      Apparently, Ferrari discussed a start strategy before the race that consisted in Leclerc staying to the left without defending in order to give Vettel a tow that maximised his chances of getting past Hamilton. Without this, Leclerc would’ve had the option to:
      – Move across on Hamilton, depriving Vettel of a slipstream and allowing the Mercedes to challenge for 2nd
      – Defend against Vettel on the approach, potentially allowing Hamilton to benefit from this as well

      They decided against this, because they absolutely wanted both drivers ahead of Hamilton, and thought that the best way to achieve this consisted in giving Leclerc a disadvantage, which they would later compensate for by switching the running order.

      1. This makes sense. Where did u get this info from?

        At first I was frustrated from the unnecessary team orders, just let them race

        1. It’s not first-hand info. I just paid attention to the broadcast.
          Leclerc’s radio messages told that exact story, and his pit wall basically confirmed his version while telling him the promised swap would take place later on.

          1. I also thought about Leclerc giving Vettel a tow in order to jump Hamilton. However, I did not expect Leclerc to let Vettel by, and asking Vettel to slow down was too much because Hamilton was still in range of Leclerc.

          2. Aha, unfortunately my broadcast isn’t as knowledgeable. But free, so I’m happy.

      2. Nase, you are 100% correct.

    5. Ferrari wanted to be 1 and 2 after the first few corners.
      Leclerc defending would have left an opening for a following car

  6. That’s karma for Ferrari. I was in pain watching how they were swapping their drivers, though Sebastian Vettel was the quicker of the two today. What goes around, comes around.

    1. Same feeling man. First time ever I was pulling for a Mercedes win. That LEC kid is getting to be an annoying entitled spoiled brat.
      Ferrari asking lap 2 to swap was the dumbest thing ever.

      1. @crystakke and what do you know about Ferrari’s strategy and there pre-race discussions / agreements? Your comment above suggests you know less than 10% of the picture.

        1. Dude, my problem was with him asking for a swap on lap2, with Hamilton right there. Entitled.
          Build a gap, stay close to Vettel and then swap, lap 10-15. But he was slowest of the 3 of them, losing out to Vettel and Hamilton gaining on him.
          10% is more than you’ll ever know and looks like more than Ferrari knew today

      2. Perhaps you’re under the impression that CLC signed up to be the second driver at Ferrari.
        Teams have rules in place. When drivers don’t follow rules it’s better to replace them. And if they can’t they’ll side with the young gun.
        Mark Webber might be able to shed light on this. #multi21

        1. How do you know he didn’t? It’s his first year with the team and 2nd in F1. But that is not the point.
          The point is this: if you do have a prearranged strategy to get 1-2 at the start, keep your mouth shut and drive. Gap Hamilton.
          You don’t ask for a swap on lap 2 with HAM right there. Best thing he could’ve said is: “let me know when we can swap back”. That let’s the team know he wants the swap but he can wait until the right moment.

          1. Couldn’t have put it better myself. bravo.

          2. Leclerc isn’t exactly in a position to “gap” Hamilton as this will result in unnecessary reducing the life of his tyres.

            There was no unreasonableness in leclerc requesting for a change on lap 2.

            Is honour of one’s word to be compromised when there is opportunity?

            I don’t want to extrapolate much further but this is one reason why the world is so messed up today by people who are more interested in losing their honour than keeping it.

      3. @crystakke Ferrari had two team instructions – 1) Leclerc not to defend against Vettel at the start in order to ensure a Ferrari 1/2 after the first corner – Leclerc complied. 2) Vettel to give back the position to Leclerc due to this pre-race agreement – Vettel did not comply.

        You can argue whether these team orders were necessary or not, and whether the drivers should have complied with them. But of the two drivers only one of them played the team game and that was Leclerc. Hardly the behaviour of a spoiled brat.

  7. If you go long and a safety car or VSC comes you win the race. It’s a joke really. They need to close the pit lane during safety car and VSC.

    1. They will never do that. You can’t force a car to stay out with damage or badly worn tyres, thats just dangerous.

      1. Exactly! They need to find another way so as to keep the pit lane open and to keep the time penalty of pitting the same as when racing, e.g. if a driver normally would come out behind a car 24 seconds behind them when getting new tyres while racing then that’s what pitting should cost under VSC.

        1. This has been happening for a long time.
          Why is it suddenly a problem now??

      2. The pit lane used to be closed at the first SC lap before. And we even had refuelling.

        1. @afonic … Yes it did. And it was horrible. People having to stay out on dead tires, slow laps on low fuel.

          Never again.

        2. Yeah, and we got Crashgate.

    2. Well, that’s racing @afonic. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

    3. Almost every driver has lost out or benefited from a safety car at some point in their career.
      A safety car is no different from any other incident only it is a bit more predictable when it is going to happen.

    4. @afonic Funny how on this blog a post was placed named “Have Mercedes made a tactical error before the race has even started?” describing how Mercedes shot themselves in the foot by going for medium in the first stint. Plus Ferrari thought it would be better to start on softs.

      It actually looked like Hamilton would take P1 anyway with his strategy. Even without VSC or safety car.

      1. @f1osaurus their strategy was to go long and pray for a safety car, probably because from the race simulations they realised they didn’t have a better race pace.

        I fail to see how Hamilton would take P1 any other way.

        1. @afonic Have you missed Austria, Silverstone, Hungary and (to some extent) Monza? Going long creates an offset where the following driver ends up with (much) fresher tyres at the end and therefore can overtake.

          Hamilton at the end of the race on fresh shofts vs Leclerc on worn medium is a much better proposition then Mercedes simply following Ferrari strategy where they “for sure” would only have gotten P3 and P4.

          1. @f1osaurus given how the gap would be around 7-8 secs after Hamilton pitted he would need to push on those Soft tyres to close that gap and then try and pass a (or two had Vettel not DNFed) much faster (on the straights) Ferrari. I don’t think that was possible, the delta between the soft and the medium wasn’t that great anyway.

          2. @afonic You mean just like what happened in Austria and Hungary? Or actually a lot less bad than in those races?

          3. @f1osaurus the degradation is simply much less in Sochi. They would be nowhere near or being able to fight for that win. Toto Wolff said they wouldn’t have won without a VSC and Bottas said that it was a “miracle”.

            Their whole strategy was to go long and hope for a VSC situation. That’s lottery, not sports.

          4. @afonic So what? They were still on fresh softs vs slightly older medium.

            It’s hysterical how you accept Wolff’s downplaying as if it’s somehow fact now it fits your narrative.

            Either way, they did NOT just set up to wait for a SC. Dnmt be so overly simplistic. You sound like a Ferrari strategist. There was a lot more to Mercedes’ strategy.
            – They kept up with Ferrari when Ferrari was on softs and the Mercs on medium. They would have the offset plus tyre delta in their favor. Potentially enough to pass on track and take the win.
            – Hamilton had the tyre delta in his favor while going long potentially enabling to pull ahead far enough for a stop to take the lead.
            – Bottas could have held up Leclerc and Vettel was already behind Leclerc. So they could have helped Hamilton come out in front that way too.
            – A SC or VSC could happen
            – By putting Ferrari under pressure with a different strategy it could potentially create panic on their side … and it did massively.

            Sure, taking a 1-2 against two faster cars was a “miracle”, but Mercedes had a lot of ways of snatching the win away from Ferrari. Especially after Ferrari panicked like that and destroyed their own chances.

          5. @f1osaurus I just told you, neither the tyres delta nor the tyre degradation was enough for them to challenge for a win. Especially in Sochi. Even if they managed to close the gap after they pitted, which in any case would be quite substantial seeing how Hamilton was losing 0.6 – 1secs per lap after Charles pitted, they was no way to get past that Ferrari. And lets say they could fight and pass one Ferrari, two? I don’t think so.

            It doesn’t mean it was not clever, it was possibly their best bet, but I just don’t like it when it happens, especially because VSC was introduced to “neutralise” the race. Well gifting a race win is not exactly neutralising. And yes, I felt the same way at the 2018 Australian GP.

          6. @afonic Lol “you just told me”. Like that means anything. So if there was no benefit, why did Leclerc pit? He actually lost a position because he knew he would otherwise be overtaken anyway.

            Seriously man, you know nothing.

        2. But Merc did have better race pace. In fact they had better race pace today, in singapore and yes, they also had better race pace in Monza!!! What they did not have in singapore and moza was race position.

  8. Bring back the “bleep” V12s

    Yeah, right, you don’t remember how they were popping every half the race, do you Seb?

    I absolutely love current engines, V12 must remain a history.

    1. @dallein, as you note, when you look at how frequently Ferrari’s V12’s were failing in the early 1990s (5 in 1991, 8 in 1992 and 5 in 1993), Vettel might rather change his tune if he also had the same reliability figures that they had back then.

      1. And you honestly believe, that today, in 2019, Merc or Ferrari are incapable of building a reliable V12???

        1. Merc certainly are. Ferrari, maybe not so much.

    2. I had the same thought. If you consider how will Seb usually understands F1 history it was a rather odd statement.

    3. So you think a naturally aspirated V12 as a concept is less reliable than a very complicated v6 with mgu-k and H and batteries etc? What an absurd comment.

      1. Why is the comment absurd? This season’s power units are more powerful and more reliable. Maybe the driving is better now as well. The last season Ferrari used a V12 engine was in 1995. If Vettel were allowed to drive the 1995 Ferrari 412 T2 this season then he’d start last (assuming no penalties applied) and finish nearly last (assuming he didn’t crash or break down). I’d say if he really wants to race in that car then let him, but he’d only win in media attention.
        In that season Jean Alesi had 8 retirements from 17 races of which 3 were engine related. Gerhard Berger had 6 retirements of which 1 was engine related and 3 were electrical related. Thus a total of 7 retirements caused by power unit unreliability. Compare that to Ferrari’s 1 power unit related problem so far this season (16 races). So the current power unit spec for Ferrari is vastly more reliable and less accident prone.
        If we compare Monza results, which was this season’s most recent race that appears in both 2019 and 1995 seasons, this season 17 drivers were classified as completing the race and there were 3 retirements. In the 1995 season 10 drivers completed the race and 14 retired. Again, showing this season’s vastly better reliability and less collisions and accidents.
        This years winning time (Leclerc) was 01:15:26.665 (1 hr, 15 minutes, etc; 53 laps). His average lap time was 01:25.409. In that season the winning time (Herbert) was 01:18:27.916 (1 hr, 18 minutes, etc; 53 laps). His average lap time was 01:28.829, so 3 seconds or so slower per lap. Meaning if Johnny Herbert were to compete with Leclerc he’d have finished about 3 minutes (1 lap) behind, and that the nearest comparable driver from this season to Herbert at Monza was 16th placed Romain Grosjean who’s average lap time (01:16:51.44/52 laps= ) was 01:28.682.
        In regards to Monza Qualifying, in 1995 Pole position (David Coulthard, Williams-Renault) was 1:24.462. This year Pole position ( Charles Leclerc, Ferrari) was 1:19.307. Meaning Coulthard would have been knocked out in Q1.

        The Ferrari drivers completed 1757 laps in 1995, while this season they’ve currently completed 1846.

    4. So much dumb in this post and replies..

      1. Are you saying your post and my reply are dumb? I guess you are right. Your post is dumb and I shouldn’t feed trolls like you.

  9. While many are critical of Sebastian, I am totally in agreement with his actions. Vettel got a better start out of the top 3 and whether he got the tow or not I think was a moot point. He would have got by anyway IMO.

    This race for me answered a particular question- can Merc keep the mighty Ferrari behind at a power track like this if they are in front? Answer seems to be yes. Also I don’t understand why Ferrari pitted Leclerc (even though he was on the mediums) during the SC and give up track position. At that point Leclerc could have attacked Hamilton at the restart and potentially win the race.

    Finally, while Hamilton no doubt benefitted from the VSC, he was doing well to keep in touch with the red cars while on the mediums. Bottas also had a solid race, genuinely thought he was toast at the restart.

    1. This was all about Sector 3 man, Mercs were faster there and Bottas could get the distance needed to defend from DRS. But on Spa or Monza wouldn’t work.
      If the situation arises again in Mexico, it will be interesting. Sector 3 is similar to this, but not as long. And the straight is much longer than here. So we’ll see.

      1. Indeed, that was the about that last sector (unless the straight in Mexico is long enough to get them past anyway).

      2. @crystakke

        This was all about Sector 3 man, Mercs were faster there

        I know man. I still thought Leclerc would have Bottas either at turn 2 or on the run down to turn 14. Indeed we will see- if Ferrari are competitive in Japan then next year will be an i9nteresting season.

    2. I get it, and fully expected him to do it this way @blazz, he has always been like that (and I guess that’s part of why he is a 4 times WDC?), but he’s not at Red Bull but at Ferrari – and making a deal with them and reneging, well they aren’t about that.

      Vettel quite likely went FLAP, FLAP, to force the team to make it bad idea to swap, esp. with Hamilton within a few seconds, which was crafty and clever.

      But it still doesn’t make it fair and right if you make that deal, and he did, because it meant Leclerc did teamwork and his teammate (intentionally) profited – if you do that once, well; next time, Leclerc won’t play along, and they might crash. For the team, it was probably a bit too clever to let him go ahead with it (knowing how Red Bull faired with that too …).

      So, I think, Ferrari needed (esp. after Singapore, where it probably wasn’t expected, but I think Vettel might have went for it when he saw it happening) to set things right (because at this point, this year, Leclerc is a safer choice for pole, and wins, and also after next year). Ferrari will not let Vettel or Leclerc get away with ‘smart’ stuff like that (also compare Monza quali, and Singapore weekend attitude to Leclerc), because it’s Ferrari and they don’t like drivers putting themselves above the team.

      1. I am also wondering if Seb pushed his MGU-K too much because he was posting fastest lap after fastest lap.

        1. Engine modes are controlled by the team. They wouldn’t have given Vettel a superior engine mode to LEC. He was just faster and was doing the right thing setting flaps. LEC was supposed to keep up with him and gap Hamilton.

          1. The team can not and may controll the enigine modes, its not allowed. They have to instruct the driver to do it.

      2. Vettel going flap after flap was the right thing. When you know you’re swapping back the positions, you need as big a gap as possible to 3rd place. LEC just couldn’t keep up.

        1. Yes, because he wasn’t a lot faster, and in dirty air. The other way around might well have been the same @crystakke

    3. If Leclerc, on the fast tyres, couldn’t get past Bottas, how was he going to get past Hamilton while running the slightly slower tyres.

  10. The luck Hamilton and Mercedes have is infinite. Absolutely unbelievable…

    1. Lol look at 2012 for example, and tell me Hamilton’s luck is “infinite”.

      1. @blazzz Sure he was unlucky in 2012, but this year has been quite unique. Has there ever been a VSC or SC where Hamilton didn’t benefit this season?

        1. @huhhii

          Well, in the last race he didn’t benefit when Merc weren’t on the ball strategy wise. Also I would argue Red Bull are the ones who usually benefit from these alternative strategies.

          1. @blazzz But even there he benefitted from team orders (Bottas didn’t undercut him despite having massive speed advantage).

            Everything has gone Hamilton’s way this year. He has had his fair share of bad luck in the past, but this year everything goes his way.

        2. @huhhii Actually it’s often that the SC/VSC makes it look like he was lucky when he would have won without it anyway.

          Then there have been plenty of occasions where he lost a lot because of SC/VSC. More in 2018 though, but still.

    2. Sometimes luck is a part of the races.

    3. @jesperfey13 I don’t think it is a case of Mercedes being lucky.
      More that they are master tacticians and are so good at F1 that if a lucky break appears they know precisely how to make the most of it.

  11. This was an unlucky race for Ferrari drivers. Second pit stop for Charles was also a wrong call.

    1. @hamiledon

      Thought you said yesterday “Leclerc was making all the difference“? What happened today?

      1. What happened today? A free pit stop under the VSC changed the winner, simple doesnt it? Leclerc was 0,4sec faster than anybody yesterday when everything was same for all, did you really forget that?

        1. Yeah but if Leclerc was a “different beast” he would have overtaken Bottas, overtaken Hamilton and strolled into the sunset? This is the problem with making over exuberrant comments about your favourite driver. Vettel was quicker than Leclerc on race pace today as well?

          1. I can’t see any problem there, but it seems you dont understand what I wrote yesterday. I wrote Leclerc is the king of hot laps.
            About race pace, we did not see Leclerc on front today that means he was always at disadvantage. Simple isnt it?

          2. @hamiledon

            I wrote Leclerc is the king of hot laps.

            Even that is disputable. 4 poles in the last 4 races doesn’t make Leclerc the quickest out there when you have seasoned drivers like Hamilton and I would also put Verstappen in there also proving how fast they can be over a single lap. For all we know, put Hamilton/Verstappen in that Ferrari and they would be quicker.

            About race pace, we did not see Leclerc on front today that means he was always at disadvantage.

            So now you’re qualifying your over exuberrant comments after Leclerc couldn’t pass Bottas nevermind Lewis?

            I think my point is quite simple and you have helped to make it. You make these OTT statements when Leclerc is doing well and when he doesn’t do so well, it’s the car and no clean air etc.

        2. Have you heard of quali setup and race setup? Looks like Vettel’s car was much better suited for the race. And in that case swap wasn’t warranted.

    2. Speculation at Ziggo – after Vettel interview, did he maybe protest tooo much that he didn’t think that needed a VSC or SC to get rid of his car – they believe he might have been defending himself from the team there, and might have indeed put the car where he did bc. he didn’t want Leclerc to win it if he couldn’t. Maybe not Lucky HAM then but crafty SEB?

      Dunno, I mean Vettel is clever and resourceful, knowledgeable enough to do it, but would he intentionally go that far? It seems a bit much to assume it for now. But juicy bit for the fans of course (esp. with Verstappen frustrated he couldn’t really feature today, yet again, so Ziggo in need of supplying his fans with some distraction?).

      1. But if the car was really out or he was told to stop it, I dont think he had too many options.
        Matter of fact, there was an opening right where he placed his car, although with a locked gate.

      2. @bosyber Ferrari would know the car was perfectly fine though. Also I cannot believe he would be allowed to retire the car without approval from the pit.

      3. @bosyber, sounds like Ziggo trying to stir things up, because on the broadcast they replayed a message from the pit wall to Vettel where he was being instructed to stop the car at the side of the track – Ferrari’s pit wall then confirmed that they told Vettel to stop the car as soon as he could because they were worried that he was going to damage his engine if he kept trying to limp back to the pits.

        As OOliver notes, given where Vettel was when he developed that problem – on the exit of Turn 15 – and, if the team were telling him to park the car as quickly as possible, the place where he parked was probably the closest place to a marshal post to park the car.

  12. Tough race but encouraging, good podium sad for the retirement
    Hopefully at Suzuka we’ll cement the thought that we’ve finally solved our downforce problems

  13. Well, well. This is the Ferrari that’s been missing the last few races.

    Jokes aside, not sure whether Mercedes would have had enough pace to make their offset strategy work under normal conditions, and I would have loved to have seen how that Ferrari second stint played out as Vettel definitely looked faster on the softs.

    Well done to the Red Bulls for recovering as much as they could. Damage limitation accomplished. It does at least seem we’ll have a few interesting races to finish the year, with all three teams probably grabbing a win or two.

  14. Really sad for Vettel. He did everything perfect. Had the race pace advantage over Charles.
    The softs proved a great race tyre that teams preferred a set of used soft then a brand new Hard. Only if Max had saved a set of softs he would have been in the mix after the safety car.

    1. @amg44 gifted a win by Ferrari 7 days ago, destroyed in qualifying yesterday, benefited from Ferrari assistance at start through pre-agreed tow, didn’t stick to pre-agreed switch back. Was he faster? The gap was not high, or increasing every lap. Looked like tire life management from Lec, as one does when following another car. At best Vettel was on race pace with Lec.

      1. In the first stint for sure Vettel’s Ferrari was the fastest car. He was like 4 seconds ahead of Lec and 7 seconds ahead of Ham before the pitstops.

        1. @amg44 But that’s just the standard gap they keep to conserve tyres. They keep about a 3.5 to 4 second gap. Exactly what they had now.

          1. i would have been very stupid to change places in lap 2 as requested by LEC. That would have resulted in gifting VETs place to HAM.
            So VET speed up to build an advantage.. LEC was unable to follow.

          2. erikje No, all drivers keep a gap like that when they are holding station.

            Why would Vettel build up an “advantage” when he knew he had to give the position back to Leclerc anyway?

            Why can’t you just try to follow logic rather than just randomly blurting stuff out for a change?

            But sure, Vettel and Leclerc were going flat out, which is exactly what Mercedes was trying to push with their strategy for starting on medium. They knew Ferrari would panic and things would start to crumble on their end.

          3. @f1osaurus
            Oooh, the man is talking about logic…..all open your ears and listen carefully to dr. Condescendant.
            2,5 seconds max man, that’s the gap they have been keeping for years now, and this years it seems to be an even smaller gap.
            4 seconds means the lead driver is controlling the pace!

          4. Philups At some tracks it’s more and at others less. It’s normally around 3 to 3.5 seconds.

      2. You really live in your own little world do you. I bet there wasn’t one lap LEC was faster than Vettel, after like lap 3.
        You lost all credibility when you said “at best Vettel was on race pace with Lec”. He was setting flap after flap and not once, not even once, did Lec take the flap. Later on the in the stint HAM started swapping fastest laps with Vettel. Lec was the slowest of the 3 of them.

        1. @crystakke That’s because Vettel was in the lead and Leclerc was dropping back to conserve his tyres. Vettel didn’t get a flap during the second half of the stint at all.

          Besides this might be the same like in Canada when Vettel was using a higher engine mode and then later in the race paid the penalty because in using that mode he had used up too much fuel. So he had to go somewhat slower at the end, came under pressure from Hamilton, cracked and lost the race.

          1. How do you get all this info about engine modes?
            Hmmm, let me guess, the voices in your head!
            Man, you’re making a fool of yourself with all your “insightful” claims.

          2. Philups Lol, just because you don’t actually follow the news makes me the “fool”? You are such a sad little individual. Why don’t you just go back under your bridge?

            This information was extracted from the full radio traffic between Vettel and the pit. He was running in the highest engine mode for the first half of the race. With his race engineer warning him that he would run out of fuel.

        2. @crystakke that’s what drivers behind do, they make a gap and keep it, preserving their tires. Did you really expect Lec to set FL in dirty air? Lets wait until race charts are posted to take closer look.

          1. @ivan-vinitskyy You can find the lap times on FIA site. Although I agree it’s easier to wait for Keith to put them in charts :)

  15. Ferrari is doing themselves over with arrengements like these. What do they expect? Leclerc seems like the most driver with most sense of entitlement since Alonso. Or ever even. Ferrari setting themselves up for a farce. Let them race or kick one of them out. This is never going to work with ’arrengements’. Seriously don’t understand why they would make Vettel give up the position when he was clearly faster and drove the race perfectly. That’s just shooting yourself.

    1. I agree with you, though Charles is very likeable and quick but his ‘sense of entitlement’ is getting more and more now and the relationship with Vettel can turn negative very soon which will negatively effect the team. As Vettel said he got a great start and with that huge tow he would have passed Charles anyway agreement or no agreement so Charles should turn focus on his race and try to overtake him later in the race. Lets see how things develop at Ferrari.

    2. They definitely seem to be over complicating things on strategy. The mechanical failure was the key factor in losing this race, but they run too much risk trying to manage the cars so narrowly. As long as Leclerc didn’t move over and give Hamilton the tow instead, Vettel overtaking him was almost inevitable. Once you have that tow and close up to a car, you can’t simply back off the throttle and lose that momentum because the car behind is going to take advantage.

      I think before the race, they should have had clearer rules of engagement that allowed for the possibility that Vettel would be faster. We won’t swap back unless there is enough of a gap back to Hamilton. Stay with Vettel and gap them as much as possible. If you can’t stay with Vettel, we’re pitting him first to maintain the race lead. If Vettel is holding you up, we’ll issue orders to swap or pit you first.

      I don’t envy the strategists, maybe it’s not that simple. But one thing that seems to consistently bite Ferrari is that they don’t communicate well enough in general. I mentioned this about the Singapore race as well. By contrast, Mercedes are pretty clear about what is going on, how the strategy is changing, status of other drivers, etc.

      I think we can safely put to bed the conspiracy theory that Ferrari meant to under cut Vettel in front of Leclerc in Singapore. They just didn’t expect Vettel to gain that much ground, but they also had no choice but to pit him in response to Verstappen or the same under cut would have happened to him.

    3. @amg44, @lunaslide

      There is another possibility. We saw Leclerc was naive about what Verstappen could get away with in Austria. He didn’t make the same mistake in Monza, quite the opposite.

      Perhaps today he simply wasn’t prepared for Vettel to get a better start, which would (did!) void any agreement they had.

      If Leclerc had got away well it would have been different. Then the agreement makes sense – don’t crash or let Hamilton ahead.

      Of course he’ll trust Vettel less now too. The team kept their end though, despite Leclerc’s poor start, which is noteworthy.

      1. @slotopen From the overhead view of the start, it actually looked like Leclerc and Vettel had identical starts and were equidistant until the tow started to kick in a few seconds later. With Hamilton on the mediums he already had a disadvantage, but also had a touch of wheel spin such that before the tow even kicked in, Vettel was side by side with him.

        I’m just trying to say it is nearly impossible to engineer this kind of arrangement before hand and Ferrari should stop complicating things for themselves. If they do have a plan, make it very clear that at any time circumstances on the ground could require throwing out the plan and going with what works better for the team. Ted Kravitz on the Sky coverage said it perfectly with the old military axiom “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.” But they could have at least established parameters around Vettel staying in front, and it seemed like regardless of any circumstances, Leclerc expected to be let back in front even if that harms the team result. That doesn’t make sense if Vettel had better pace which he clearly did when pulling almost 5 seconds away from him and Leclerc could not pull the same kind of gap on Hamilton.

        Maybe I’m not taking the aero wash into account well enough, it does seem to affect them beyond the 2-3 seconds behind. But that said, even if that was why Leclerc could not keep pace as well, that means the first few laps of the race were not the time to try to do the swap between them.

        1. @lunaslide

          After rewatching the start I concede Vettel didn’t get a better start than Leclerc. He did get a massive slipstream. Leclerc never had a chance.

          Vettel was in an odd position. Knowing the Mercs were on the dirty side of the track, with hard tires, he could have know his position was ideal. But wh
          He doesn’t want a team strategy. But what does he say? “Sorry boss, I like my odds without the team agreement?”. That was only sure to anger the team.

          So he took the tow, passed, and hoped for the best. That didn’t work either!

          1. @slotopen Let me ask it this way. Do you think they told both drivers before the race that they would make sure Leclerc finished first? I personally don’t think they would make such an assurance, and I seriously doubt Vettel would accept it. And if not, what was the extent of the team orders?

          2. @lunaslide
            The best guess is they wanted to ensure Hamilton stayed behind. They may have wanted to ensure those drivers didn’t crash into each other on the first lap.

            The big question is if they were favoring Leclerc, and if they will continue to do so until the WDC is settled.

  16. Lol at Mercedes “luck”. If Ferrari had told Seb to retire the car back to the pits, Leclerc would have won the race.

    Ferrari were just over complicating their race trying to appease both drivers. Then they screwed themselves trying to save Seb’s PU over getting a race win. Facepalm.

    1. “If Ferrari had told Seb to retire the car back to the pits, Leclerc would have won the race.” Actually not. In the same lap or a lap later a Williams crashed the wall.

      1. Except that if VET had not stopped on track there wouldn’t have been a VSC and the Williams would not then have pitted under it. It looked like cold tyres at the restart contributed to the crash.

      2. It was the VSC from Vettel’s retirement that gave Lewis the lead of the race

  17. Good race for Merc again, I must admit to being surprised Leclerc could not get past Bottas but there you go. Maybe the new track will be better…but probably not.

  18. What the hell are Ferrari doing? Vettel got P1 after first straight, showed some glimps of himself, then they started discussing team orders on lap 2. LAP 2!?!

    Only fitting that Mercedes then stored a 1-2. Italian dumbasses. The moment they get 2 tenths advantage they throw it all away by being cocky, dicussing stuff as if they had 50 seconds advantage. Disgusting.

    Only good part of this race was Vettel start, then it was holding stations and discussing positions. Like watching paint dry.

    1. @jureo The point is that Leclerc helped Vettel with his slipstream so that Vettel would end up ahead of Hamilton. So Leclerc did not defend against Vettel seeing how he was helping Vettel. Then Vettel benefited from that help and took the lead.

      Otherwise Leclerc would have blocked Vettel and at least tried to keep the lead himself.

      1. if LEC had blocked HAM, he would have lost his place to VET.
        If LEC blocked VET he would have lost his place to HAM,
        Just as i predicted yesterday.
        His only option was to keep his line and get the best start possible.
        His starts was good, but not good enough. VET was faster and used the slipstream to.

      2. Correct. They still look like a pair of idiots now.

      3. erikje You seriously have no clue. Just get lost with your nonsensical blurbs.

        Without the tow Vettel would not have gotten past Leclerc. They had the exact same start as was confirmed by Ferrari.

  19. Vettel is not a team player. Remember “Multi 21” (2013 Malaysia), “tough luck” (2014 China) etc.

    1. Cristiano Ferreira
      29th September 2019, 14:26

      Champions rarely are team players.

      That’s why drivers such as “Wingman” Bottas exist.

    2. Vettel is not a team player.

      I agree. But as @Cristiano Ferreira above points out, the best drivers usually aren’t. Also you know the saying “good guys always finish last“? It’s certainly true in F1.

    3. We still on this? Webber had already disobeyed several team orders before that. GBR 2011, not help to Vettel in Brazil 2012 and blocking him at the start.
      Vettel is smarter than the whole Ferrari pitwall. Swap on LAP2? Really? because a 21 year old demanded it? Seriously?
      Build a gap to Hamilton, swap at pit stops. Which he did and didn’t complain. If he was pushing for the win he would’ve been on the radio non stop to pit him. But all he said was “rears are gone” and still stayed one more lap. And Ferrari pit crew still felt the need to have a slow pit stop for him at 3 seconds.

    4. Really?! You must be watching only the highlights. Anyway, nobody is a team player when they’re in P1, doing fine, and asked to give up their position. Better ask yourself why HAM did not play the teamplayer game and give the win to BOT since they were 1-2, to make up for the win BOT had to offer HAM! Besides the number of wins, HAM detroned Schumacher from like all important stats anyway, and BOT is mileeeeees away behind in the champ to have a real chance at getting the WDC.

  20. Whatever the fairness etc. of the Ferrari stuff, I think it probably wasn’t a good risk to keep Vettel out quite that long, he suffered a lot there and should have been pitted at least a lap earlier. Just didn’t seem like the best way to go for the team’s race result.

  21. I’m not sure if I enjoyed today’s race or not.

    If there was an agreement that Seb would cover the gap to secure the positions but would later give the lead back then you could argue that he is an untrustworthy bum.

    BUT – if he genuinely had the pace that he appeared to have then how would it make sense to tell him to slow down?

    The VSC/SC thing needs sorting out and I like the suggestions that Pit Stops should be banned under a VSC unless a stop had been pre-booked or something on those laps.

    Nice to see Albon taking 6th but flipping heck it took him almost the full race to get it. Not knocking him, he is still a rookie and is doing better than Gasly did but come on dude, just go full Verstappen on that throttle …. erm …. or maybe don’t.

    1. Why untrusty? He was clearly left out on track to be undercut and passed by LEC and didn’t complain, didn’t say he should stay in front, nothing. He accepted the swap-back. All he said was “rears are gone” and still Ferrari left him out there one more lap. And as soon as he came out behind LEC, there wasn’t any complaints about it.
      He knew best thing was to build a gap, swap at pitstops. NOT ON FREAKING LAP 2 as Leclerc demanded and Ferrari wanted to do.

      1. I said one “could” argue it – I didn’t say he “is” untrustworthy.
        Then I said that given his pace it would have been foolish to force him to surrender the position.

        Regardless I can see why Leclerc would feel badly used and he has already demonstrated that he isn’t afraid to speak his mind ;)

        1. Leclerc was driving within his limits, until he was told to ‘push’. In other words Leclerc knew after a certain point he would have to manage the car.

          Vettel on the other hand just kept on flogging his horse until it died under him. So much for his ‘pace’.

          1. Check out the onboard videos if you have access. During that first stint, Vettel was getting those fastest laps while driving within his limits. He wasn’t over driving the car which is actually a common problem for him. Leclerc was over driving it, making small mistakes here and there and committing a few small lock ups. Even after the team told Leclerc to push for the pit stop, he was only able to improve by 2/10ths. Maybe the wash was still affecting Leclerc even 4 to 5 seconds behind, but the fact is that Vettel was the faster driver through this first stint without pushing too hard. They should have pitted Vettel first, but they tried to manipulate the outcome and it likely would have cost them second place if Vettel’s car hadn’t popped and they’d under cut Leclerc to the front. If they had pitted Vettel on the lap directly after Leclerc, he likely would have still come out ahead of him. But they left out Vettel too long until the tire deg had ensured he had lost enough time for Leclerc to come out ahead.

    2. Albon got 5th.

      1. Ahhh yes – my bad …. I was close though wasn’t I?
        Look – it has been a busy day OK – no need to get super technical about this.
        Stop picking on me ALRIGHT!


        ARGGGGGGG ………… ;)

        1. @nullapax Still, Albon started from the pit lane and ended up one place behind Verstappen. Verstappen started from P9 and gained only 5 places. What more can you expect from Albon?

          1. @f1osaurus He is doing great – like I said I’m not knocking the guy in his rookie year.
            It just seems strange to me that two excellent young drivers appear to be struggling with a car that Max is showing has the potential to win.

          2. @nullapax Ricciardo went off in the same corner. Vettel and Verstappen also lost the car in that corner, but they managed to keep it limited to underside damage.

            Other than that Albon is stepping into a car that he does not know and apparently is quite different from the car they were driving at STR. Verstappen has been growing with this car, had winter testing and has been in it for the whole season.

            The car is probably exactly tailored to suit Verstappen since the team is completely build around him. Schumacher’s team mates had the same issue. The car was always exactly the way Schumacher liked it and there was never any compromise to make it work for the #2 driver.

            Besides, Verstappen is not showing much winning potential lately either. Their additional pace (like in Austria and Hungary) was mostly from cranking up the engine modes. Which results in using up much more engines. So that’s really quite a sneaky way to extract more power from the engines. They can run it at a much higher mode.

            By now Ferrari and Mercedes have also upped their engine spec and they seem to be able to maintain the same power levels inside the allowed power train part allocations.

          3. @f1osaurus
            Tailored around Verstappen?
            Man, what have you been smoking…..
            Red Bull build a crap car that lacks grip and has a highly unstable rear; not one F1 driver in the world wants such a car and only a very, very few are capable of extracting every bit out of it.
            You clearly don’t have a clue, or a big grudge against Verstappen, if you make a comment like that.
            My opinion….both.

          4. @f1osaurus)
            Oh, and btw, the first time we hear the red bull strategist telling the 2nd driver to slow down 3 seconds per lap, is the first time you’re entitled to cry about favouritism at red bull.
            Untill that time; The amount of favouritism Michael received from Ferrari pales in comparison to the amount of favouritism Lewis receives from Mercedes!
            Vallteri, it’s James…..

          5. Philups

            ‘When the deal was announced, Horner was declared, “As we now look to the long-term with Max he is in the best place in the sport to build a team around him to deliver our shared ambition.”’


          6. Philups Seriously man, what on earth are you doing here? Go watch a knitting tournament or something.

  22. @nullapax

    Lol at the suggestion that VSC needs “sorting out”. F1 fans are always complaining about every single detail of everything about F1.
    There is no sorting out needed, it works both ways. Yeah, lets pre book the pit stops, thats going to make everything better, what a great idea!

    1. +1, luck is part of races.

    2. Not sorting out perhaps then, but I think it could stand a bit of tweaking.
      VSC is one of those areas that a team can really abuse as things stand so tightening up the rules on it wouldn’t hurt in my opinion.
      and no I am not

      always complaining about every single detail of everything about F1

      – I just think that when an aspect of a sport – any sport – is open to abuse then it needs looking into ;)

      1. The whole point of Virtual Safety Cars was to freeze the race positions in place so as not to disproportionately advantage or disadvantage drivers as a result. It was a tacit admission that Safety Cars cause those problems because there isn’t a delta to run to and those behind can close back up to those ahead. They literally implemented VSC to cut down on the crap shoot nature of SC, but it hasn’t really worked.

        Indycar has done pretty well in not allowing SCs to be such a big determining factor by closing the pit lane when it goes out and only opening it when the whole field has gone past and has the same opportunity to pit on the following lap. Exceptions for damage, punctures, and low fuel are made with a penalty to be served so it can’t be gamed. The result has not diminished from the racing but has eliminated this lottery ticket aspect to where you are on track when a SC comes out. Indycar doesn’t have VSC, I would favor closing the pits for the entire duration of VSC and only during the first lap for SC. I think F1 should consider it for 2021.

    3. VSC and SC is not luck. Luck (or lack of) is rain starting just when you change to dry tyres. Luck is having a puncture just before the pit entrance.
      VSC and SC are a subjective decision taken by an human. Basically, when Vettel stopped there, he could decide if he make Hamilton or Leclerc win. Today he decided Hamilton (other times he decided Hamilton).

      Going both ways is not a good excuse. It’s like having a football match in which independently of the score, at the 90 minutes the referee throws a coin and decides who wins. The fact that could go both ways doesn’t make it better.

      I don’t want races that go both ways, I want races that go to the best driver/team/car/engine in the available track conditions. I don’t want it to be decided by “the car is a few meters closest to the armco entrance than usual, or maybe not, so I should deploy the SC and give a free pit-stop to everyone”.

  23. Some Mercedes luck, but two other strong factors: 1. Mercedes offset tyre strategy, which pushed Ferrari into racing at the start, and 2. Hamilton’s superb qualifying lap, splitting the Ferraris, which set up their decision for Leclerc to tow Vettel, leading to their team friction.

    1. @david-br Exactly. Again many overlook all the things Mercedes and notably Hamilton did to take that win and sigh “It’s just luck”. Well he and the team make their own luck yes.

      Although it completely did not work in Singapore, but more often than not it does.

      1. @f1osaurus Just smart tactics. Mercedes know that Ferrari’s internal battle is on a knife edge, Vettel their designated number one, Leclerc beating him most times. So letting them race at the start – and forcing them to make it a race, rather than tyre-conserving, by offsetting the soft-medium choices – raised the chance of friction and even a collision. That friction is just going to continue until they resolve who is number one – if ever. I can see this playing out all next year too, if Vettel stays (I presume he will).

      2. @f1osaurus + Singapore Mercedes got wrong precisely because it relied on no safety car, always very unlikely there, and not the place to give up track position.

        1. @david-br Completely agree with your other post (above), but this one I don’t understand?

          The problem in Singapore was that suddenly they found themselfs going long on a tyre that lost all performance when Hamilton started to push. Same as Leclerc found of course. So the two drivers that did not take the undercut (Leclerc and Hamilton) were in big (and unexpected) trouble.

          Mercedes (in their debrief) also stated that from that point onward they were hoping for a safety car to save the day. So they asked Bottas to keep Hamilton’s pit window open and kept Hamilton out in front waiting for that SC as long as they could. Of course that never happened, but they were hoping for an SC.

          1. @f1osaurus I thought it was the opposite! After the undercut worked for Vettel, Mercedes kept Hamilton out as long as possible with the hope that he’d be able to catch the Ferraris after their tyres wore out towards the end of the race. Only 3 safety cars after the pit stops preserved the tyres. Having missed the undercut (which Hamilton had asked for and which would have given him the race win had Mercedes gone with it) their next best option was at least to try to undercut Leclerc next lap. The tyre strategy they actually went for would only work with, say, 1 SC at most. Always unlikely at Singapore. Anyhow, little damage done in terms of the season.

          2. @david-br Again, they literally said that they were hoping for an SC.

            Besides, since everybody stopped and Hamilton didn;t have any performance in the tyres, Hamilton was at best going to be in P4. Mercedes also said that they didn’t think the medium would last. So they would have put Hamilton on hards anyway.

            So he would have 3 cars in between going for the lead and he was on the same long lasting tyres which should reasonably be able to go to the end of the race.

    2. So then Rosberg isn’t a lucky champion hey guys, he just ‘made his own luck’? Can’t wait to see you try and squirm out of that one lol.

      1. I’ll bit.

        Rosberg was good enough to stay within the window where luck could help. He was close enough that and engine failure could give him WDC.

        Compare him to Bottas, who will need way more than a single Hamilton DNF to be WDC.

      2. As @slotopen says very well, yes Rosberg did make his own luck, close enough to benefit from one Hamilton DNF (and various other issues earlier in the season) in contrast to Bottas.

  24. The Merc is still a faster race car than the Ferrari. Charles did everything to try and pass the supposed weaker Merc driver but the car was just not good enough. Based on this I can understand why Ferrari felt the need to have tactics to protect the 1-2 after lap one. Their qualy advantage and weaker race pace means they need to do something in the races with both their drivers to keep the top step of the podium.

    1. So Leclerc was able to attack a Mercedes, but somehow the Mercedes is still faster? Not sure what your definition of “faster” is , but normally “faster” means that the car is lapping in less time and therefore pulls away from the car behind.

      1. Faster means you are quick enough to pass the other car when most normal variables are equal. Attacking and not passing is not being faster. Being faster is staying ahead or pulling away (like Lewis was doing).

        1. No, that’s not “faster”. You need to be “much much faster” to be able to overtake. That takes about 1.5 to 2 seconds a lap pace advantage. You don’t see that kind of pace gap between top tier cars. Unless they are on different strategies or something.

          So Ferrari were faster, but not 2 seconds a lap no.

          1. There were plenty of overtakes with less than 1 second/lap advantage in the race. Specially by the RBRs and the STRs.

          2. No there weren’t.

            For instance, Albon was overtaking cars which were 2 seconds slower than him.

  25. Ferrari screwed up.

  26. VSC and SC rules need to be review urgently. The guy that decides whether to deploy SC or VSC should not have the power to decide the winner. It’s not fair for any of the racers and for him. Resetting the race and giving a free pit stop every time a car retires (even when it is completely of the track in a very visible area very close to a armco opening like today) is ridiculous. We could have had a great race ending, with the Mercedes trying to close on Leclerc with fresher tyres. And instead of that we have a borefest of all the cars with the same tyres in the same state for more than half of the race.

    I’m not rooting for either Mercedes or Ferrari. I don’t really care who wins. I like good and logic races.

    1. I don’t think it’s any more urgent that it has been all along. However, this might be a good change to make going into 2021. A fresh start on how to handle safety cars and VSC. It prevents teams from building the statistical possibility of a safety car into their race strategy, and doesn’t have the effect of stealing a race win from a driver on the arbitrary timing of when the safety car picks up the cars.

      Indycar manages this pretty well. Pit lane closes when full course yellow first happens, and if it goes on for longer than a lap or two they open it for everyone who wants to come in. Anyone who has damage or is low on fuel can still come in for emergency service, but they must drive through later on to pay for it. I think it is every other safety car they will wave around lapped cars. It works pretty well most of the time except for some instances where a car that has stayed out for a longer stint runs too low on fuel because they can’t come in without the drive through, but that isn’t an issue for F1.

      1. Didn’t knew about the indycar approach. It’s a very nice system, would work much better in F1.
        Also, I understand this SC excess everytime a car is out is to reduce the chances of a Bianchi-like crash, but packing the cars all together so many times increases the chance of a Hubert-like crash. So the safety part is relative. F1 did well for a long time with yellow flags for mechanical failed retired cars, I think in dry weather for cars outside the track a yellow flag is more than enough.

      2. Precisely, the only reason Ferrari won in Australia last year was due to a VSC and it didn’t cause a huge uproar because it was Hamilton who was on the receiving end. I think it’s fine to stay if I’m honest as it does add risk to teams undercutting that they may suffer later. Staying out longer gives you a slim chance of fighting back with fresher tyres so this is very situational in that it shouldn’t take long for a driver chasing on newer tyres to get within the smaller pit window.

        1. Yeah when the dominant team looses everyone is happy. When they win “through” safety-car, then everyone is unhappy.

          1. Vettel’s misfortunes were never celebrated when he had a dominant RedBull.
            But maybe you were not then hence so naive.

        2. Thanks. The “this happens because everybody hates Hamilton” argument was missing. Thanks for bringing it to the table.

    2. Under SC or VSC, pit stops could be stop’n’go-like, with 10 secs added (or whatever amount is deemed to compensate depending on the circuit, but 10 secs is not way off the mark).

  27. The whole situation at Ferrari is quite unique and leaves a bad taste. They are treating instinctive creatures like drivers like they are just another employee.

    Vettel needs to up his game on Saturdays. The root cause of those controversial decisions is Vettel’s bad qualifying form and needing extra help from a team’s perspective.

    Was Vettel better in the race? Possibly yes (he was in clean air in front) but if Leclerc didn’t tow him and towed Hamilton he could be in 3rd place race after lap one. The effect of tow was insane as much as dirty air. Look at Bottas vs Leclerc.

    Anyway, people need to understand that the race was lost due to engine issues and not from Ferrari’s managing tactics.

    1. True, race was lost from that engine issue.

      But how they handled themself was appaling. They lost more than just the race yesterday. Petulant children those two.

  28. Just watched the race on replay in the US. The comments seem to indicate everyone watched a different race. In the race I watched:
    1. Mercedes’ strategy was to go long and either get a safety car based on historic probability or go to softs near end and catch Ferrari with worn tires. This strategy worked. For those wanting to change the rules on pitting during safety cars, under different rules Mercedes would use a different strategy so you would just be disappointed in a different way.
    2. I don’t remember LEC getting a fastest lap today at any point in the race. How does LEC and his fans think he had the pace to win today under any strategy? He had new tires on the restart and only sniffed BOT once or twice and BOT didn’t have a fastest lap at any point during the race.
    3. Ferrari’s strategy at the start indicates that they didn’t believe they had the race pace to beat Mercedes. So again, I don’t understand why LEC and his fans believe he was screwed over.

    1. 1.) True!
      2.) He would have stayed ahead of Mercedes if he was ahead. Overtaking was impossible.
      3.) Ferrari could have had a 1-2 without Vettel’s MGU-K failure. Because overtaking was impossible.

    2. LEC set the FL at least 1 time. In the 1st stint, when HAM was 2sec behind, LEC set the FL but 2sec later HAM set a new FL. So, LEC set the FL at least 1 time… for like 2sec.

    3. 1) True
      2) You don’t get FL when you are behind someone. Leclerc was trying to overtake Bottas. Just look at how Bottas went for FL a few races ago. He had to drop 4 seconds back and then do a run for a FL. That means giving up that battle for P3 and Leclerc rather fancied that fight.
      3) They simply didn’t want Hamilton in between their cars. It’s much easier to win the race when you control it with two cars in the lead.

  29. The vitriol aimed at Leclerc on socials is hilarious, Seb fans are something else.

    I saw one girl having some kind of attack over the fact he said it’s a shame the second car isnt up here. She was in hysterics that he hadnt addressed Seb by name, it was pointed out that he said second car because there are two of them and she had no response.

    Sebfosi are running scared of the young man.

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