Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monza, 2020

Mercedes party on as Hamilton leads another one-two after ‘quali mode’ ban

2020 Italian Grand Prix qualifying

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The ban on ‘quali mode’ ban made no apparent difference for Mercedes at Monza as the world champions dominated qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton claimed another pole position ahead of Valtteri Bottas, while Carlos Sainz Jnr led their challengers in his McLaren.

Q1

Many drivers fell foul of the run-off area at Parabolica during the first phase of qualifying, having lap times deleted for straying beyond track limits. Charles Leclerc, who had the benefit of a slipstream from team mate Sebastian Vettel, was one of the first, but his subsequent effort secured him a place in Q2.

Lance Stroll, Pierre Gasly, Kevin Magnussen and Alexander Albon were also caught out by the track limits sensor at Parabolica on their early runs. But not only did all improve their times, they also successfully claimed places in Q2.

This was partly because of the widely expected drama at the end of the session. The majority of the field returned to the track for their final runs together, and several drivers ended up compromising each others’ runs.

Kimi Raikkonen was among the drivers who did make it into Q2, despite being stuck behind Ocon on his final run. He furiously criticised the Renault driver for refusing to let him last as they rounded the Rettifilio and Curva Grande. The stewards will investigate the incident and one involving Nicholas Latifi after the session.

Both Williams drivers ended up at the bottom of the times. George Russell, 19th, overtook several cars at the end of the lap, but ended up without a slipstream, and complained about his team’s tactics as he returned to the pits.

Sebastian Vettel was one of the drivers Russell passed, which disrupted his efforts to improve his lap time. He went out in 17th, accompanied by one driver from each of Ferrari’s customer teams: Romain Grosjean, banging the steering wheel in frustration on his Haas, and Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo.

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Q2

The Mercedes drivers easily headed Q1 despite using medium tyres, and were similarly untroubled in the second session after switching to the soft compound which they will start the race on. Hamilton was first to break Raikkonen’s two-year-old track record – also the fastest lap in F1 history – before Bottas lowered the time further with his second run, breaking the 79 second barrier with a 1’18.952.

The track discipline was somewhat better at the end of the second session. The Mercedes drivers and Daniel Ricciardo were content to run out front, though the Renault driver’s bid to improve ended when he ran wide. Nonetheless he kept his place in the top 10, though team mate Ocon may not have been impressed that his team mate immediately pulled over instead of continuing to give him a slipstream. Ocon failed to make the cut for Q3.

Magnussen also dropped out after running wide at Lesmo 2 – the second qualifying session in a row he’s gone off on his final run. None of the Ferrari-powered drivers made it into Q3: Leclerc went out in 13th, one place ahead of Raikkonen. Daniil Kvyat was the last driver to fail to make the cut, falling a tenth of a second shy of Albon.

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Q3

It was Bottas’s turn to lead Hamilton around and the fractional gap between the two of them at the end of qualifying suggested that had made the difference. Bottas set a 1’18.956 – just four-thousandths of a second slower than he’d gone in Q2. But Hamilton edged him by just under seven-hundredths of a second, claiming pole position for the 94th time in his career and securing another sweep of the front row by Mercedes.

Less than two-tenths of a second covered the next five drivers. Sainz produced a gem of a lap in his McLaren, producing a 1’19.695 to lead Mercedes’ rivals. A third Mercedes-powered car joined him on the second row of the grid in the shape of Perez’s Racing Point.

That forced a disappointed Max Verstappen back to fifth, despite having a slipstream from his team mate on the final lap. Albon, whose first effort in Q3 was deleted, could only manage ninth.

The second McLaren claimed sixth place, Norris ruing a mistake at the Rettifilio chicane. He was followed by Ricciardo, who came out on the wrong end of the five-car queue in a disappointing seventh place for Renault.

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2020 Italian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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103 comments on “Mercedes party on as Hamilton leads another one-two after ‘quali mode’ ban”

  1. I’ll wait probably until Mugello to judge Red Bull. This is a track where they normally do not do well. But 8 tenths in just 1:18’s? Too much.

    1. I heard from the Dutch TV they found a workaround of the party mode.
      Q3 you use the partymode start the race with the party mode then you declare a technical issue and put it lower. and win the race easy…

      1. Is that from Ziggo? After what happened with Norris last week, I am not sure I want to hear anything from that channel anymore…

      2. @macleod the requirements for switching to that mode include a requirement that it makes the car “significantly slower”, with the intention of discouraging teams from doing just that – so, that would suggest it is unlikely that teams would want to do that.

        @krichelle what was Ziggo Sport saying about Norris last week then for you to react in that manner?

        1. @anon

          There is a video of Ziggo interviewing Norris about the incident with Ocon in Belgium, and the interviewer referred to Ocon as “French *bleep f word*.

          1. @krichelle, anon Let’s note that was a quote from what Norris said after the incident he was asked about, and the reporter comments he was just doing his job according to his style, which is sort of true (and an issue in itself for at least part of the audience).

            But the general line of the Ziggo sport Channel being almost Fox US like in how they push Verstappen the hero/savior, including bashing guys like Ocon to get the point across certainly doesn’t do it any favors.

          2. @bosyber

            I guess that’s the way in journalism/media press…. Maybe that’s why Verstappen’s demand in marketing facilities when trying to hire him in F1 2020 My team is so high .. haha

      3. @MacLeod Yeah, Olav Mol is not a very reliable source, so I would take that remark with a pinch of salt.

        1. It’s was the dentist who is more deeper in his contacts Olaf use him for the juicy news.

      4. Ha ha, desperate Verstappen fans.

      5. @macleod Would not be surprised. The das loophole stands on the fact steering from left to right changes the suspension layout, therefore pulling the steering wheel to change suspension is okay. I have no faith engine modes can be policed as engine mapping is so sophisticated that they can make the mapping do what it needs to do whenever they want and if they actually need to press a button, I would not be surprised to see them use DRS or brake bias as an excuse to also manipulate engine modes.
        Renault said Q mode ban was going to help Merc and now we see, if merc was using q mode to cheat, they would not be .8 ahead, they would be closer.

        1. I think you might be confusing toe-in for camber…. lol

  2. Let’s be honest, anyone who knows anything about this sport knew that this ban wasn’t going to change the status quo. This rule was introduced because that’s the only way FIA know how to regulate if anyone is cheating with their engines.

    Regardless, Mercedes is still the best engine on the grid and by far the best chassis, so it didn’t make any different anyway.

    Realistically speaking, the only thing that can stop Mercedes dominance is the budget cap. Mercedes is the richest team and biggest team in Formula 1 with the most resources. Thjs enormous disparity will be addressed in 2021, but until then the status quo will remain.

    1. Mercedes is the richest team and biggest team in Formula 1 with the most resources.

      I know the results don’t show it, but Ferrari is not a “poor” team, you know?

      1. He says it like Mercedes only dominates because they spend more lol.

        1. It’s not the only reason but it’s a big one.

          Would Mercedes be dominant if they had the same money and resources as Haas? Be honest.

          Of course it matters

          1. it obviously matters, but money alone cannot buy race wins. Remember Toyota??

          2. Yes, I agree, it’s not the sole reason they are dominating and on money alone red bull and ferrari should be able to compete with mercedes, like they did on occasion, for example in 2018 and in select races these last few years, but indeed, I can’t imagine any team with haas’ budget doing what mercedes has been doing, even winning races would seem to be a stretch, no team has won a race since the first race of 2013 without a mercedes-like budget.

          3. No one is saying that. But you’ve made a wrong assumption that Ferrari and Red Bull’s spend is not in the same league as Mercedes. If you recall Ferrari has threatened to quit F1 because of the budget caps. Go figure!

          4. @rockgod
            Ferrari does have the same spending power as Mercedes but Red Bull does not

        2. Merc invest much more. In italy they say Ferrari miserable stakeholder pirates (Exor) steal all revenues from FIA and commercial business but invests crumbs. Binotto &GeS need do miracleas and tricks to cope with brand’s expectations. Now the results. Already Marchionne dryed all Ferrari cash before to split from FCA, in order pay fca resurrection debit to us govt. That’s it.

          1. @formevic where exactly is that coming from though when Exor only owns about 22% of the shares in Ferrari?

            How exactly is Exor supposed to be “stealing all the revenue” when, although they still have a large stake, they still only have a minority stake in the company and a minority share of the voting rights?

      2. @rockgod It’s not a poor team but Merc has 4 mercs, 6 engines on the grid and more coming, the highest paid driver by some margin, 1500 working on the f1 team, RB has 2 team, a GP and a track (ferrari will match them this year) and either company is bigger in actual valuation.

        1. Exactly. It’s just not the money that’s producing the results for Mercedes. If that were true, Ferrari should’ve been champions every year in F1.

    2. @kingshark Ferrari and RB are very close in the funding, I’d say it’s more down to…well I’ll say it. It’s not a money issue Ferrari and RB are a little dysfunctional.

      1. @johnrkh
        Red Bull don’t spend anywhere near as much as Mercedes. The difference is quite substantial:

        https://www.racefans.net/2020/01/02/the-cost-of-f1-2019-part-two-what-the-top-teams-spent/

        You are right about Ferrari being dysfunctional though

        1. Red Bull get ‘free’ engines. Renault, Ferrari and Mercedes have to meet the costs of engine development, manufacture and maintenance from their budgets.

        2. @king-shark Just a quick note, to quote the article:

          “The switch to Honda saved the team around $25m per annum, with Honda support amounting to a total of $50m in cash and kind – providing a budget ‘swing’ of $75m – which ultimately explains Red Bull’s ability to run Mercedes and Ferrari close despite an overall budget of some $100m less.”

          A delta of roughly $25m, if you allow for the cumulative salaries of the drivers, Hamilton + Bottas if we are conservative is probably another $10-15m over than Verstappen + Albon, the 2019 spend gap narrows to a minimal level.

    3. I’m sorry but this isn’t true at all. Ferrari & redbull spend probably more than Mercedes. And Mercedes unlike them teams actually made a profit. For the last 3 years Mercedes have made a profit. And all this success costs Daimler £30 million that is all they have to contribute to the f1 team.

      1. Red Bull don’t spend anywhere near as much as Mercedes. The difference is quite substantial:

        https://www.racefans.net/2020/01/02/the-cost-of-f1-2019-part-two-what-the-top-teams-spent/

        Ferrari are bums, yes we all know that

      2. They did made profit, however costs have increased too and last year they spent aroud £330 millions.
        https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/151892/mercedes-spent-over-333m-to-win-the-2019-f1-title

    4. Hmmm I dunno @kingshark. Red Bull were pushing for it and they do know a bit more about F1 than you and me :) The FIA pretext doesn’t really fly does it, once we ask the question how they can police this single mode if they can’t police the old modes, when the variables are the same.

      And Mercedes spend about the same budget as Ferrari and Red Bull, 3xx mil, there’s not much difference, and not much difference in their infrastructure either.

      Normally an F1 dominance ends as other teams poach the best staff, but one of Brawn and Wolff’s great successes has been that Mercedes is a really great place to work. The culture and infrastructure will carry over into the new era, so we might have to wait a bit I think.

      1. @zann
        Mercedes will have to make huge cuts and lay off many employees. The current company has 1000 employees, which will become unsustainable once the budget cap is introduced.

        The only other team of similar size is Ferrari. I believe that Red Bull have about 780 employees.

        1. Yes and fair linking above @kingshark, but still Merc will be able to cherry pick the staff to keep won’t they, and they’ll have the same top tools and infrastructure. Red Bull is an awesome team too of course. But with 780-1000 staff the difference must be well into diminishing returns.

          I’m betting their performances will still come down to the tools and a small number of brilliant people, and I’m not expecting the balance to change, for a while. At this point, Mercedes can design a car and have it do exactly what the sim said it would do, while Red Bull get some unwelcome surprises, and why would it be different in 2022?

          1. @zann

            But with 780-1000 staff the difference must be well into diminishing returns.

            Yeah I don’t really believe that. 220 extra people of brainpower and manpower is a very substantial difference. As is the budget difference of $90 million.

            The budget cap will be introduced in 2021, which is also around the time when teams are allowed to begin working on their cars. The 2022 rule changes might make Mercedes’ low rake concept less favourable (the 2019 rule changes helped Mercedes big time).

            But at the end of the day, neither of us know what will actually happen. We’ll have to wait and see.

    5. @kingshark I think you will find that Dieter has quite clearly stated Ferrari has the same headcount and a larger budget (putting their 2019 budget $15 million higher than Mercedes – https://www.racefans.net/2020/01/02/the-cost-of-f1-2019-part-two-what-the-top-teams-spent/), whilst 2018 saw Ferrari with a higher headcount and a larger budget – so, in recent years Mercedes hasn’t been either the wealthiest or largest team within the sport.

      Strictly speaking, there is also the question of what you can classify as Red Bull’s headcount – the team itself apparently had 780 people in 2019, but it’s not quite a direct comparison to Mercedes or Ferrari as their headcounts include those working on the engines, whereas it’s not clear how many people Honda have allocated to their F1 programme.

      The Gazetto dello Sport thinks that Honda is putting €140 million into its power unit development in 2020 and nearly doubled their workforce to 450 people – so, in that respect, the combined operations of Honda and Red Bull is at least comparable in terms of resources and workforce to Mercedes, and potentially even exceeds it in terms of both budget and headcount too.

      1. Those budgets you linked do not include the engine division in the head count or the budget.

        Mercedes is clearly a bigger and richer team than Red Bull, and not by an insignificant margin.

        1. @kingshark Dieter does state that the head count you refer to of approximately 1000 people is inclusive of the engine division of Mercedes. Dieter gives a split of circa 500 people within the team and 500 within the engine manufacturing division of Mercedes in that article, with Ferrari at a similar level – unless you are accusing Dieter of making up those numbers.

          1. anon, this is the banner on Mercedes’ official F1 team Facebook page:

            “We are Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team; a 1,500-strong team of designers, engineers, mechanics, technicians, executives and so much more, competing at the pinnacle of world motorsport – the FIA Formula One World Championship.“

            That 1500 figure includes 1000 people working on the car and another 500 on the engine

        2. @kingshark Posted this above but messed up the tag, I read the article you posted (thanks by the way) and the written conclusion on Red Bull contradicts the point you are trying to make, pasted it below:

          “The switch to Honda saved the team around $25m per annum, with Honda support amounting to a total of $50m in cash and kind – providing a budget ‘swing’ of $75m – which ultimately explains Red Bull’s ability to run Mercedes and Ferrari close despite an overall budget of some $100m less.”

          A delta of roughly $25m, if you allow for the cumulative salaries of the drivers, Hamilton + Bottas if we are conservative is probably another $10-15m over than Verstappen + Albon, the 2019 spend gap narrows to a minimal level Anon has also covered the response above. Conclusion is any difference in budget has no material impact on Red Bull’s ability to compete with Mercedes.

    6. Disagreed.

      Redbull and Ferrari are equally rich and spend even more. And Ferrari get easy 100 M simply for turning up.

      1. 100M inglorious bonus doesn’t go to next year budget. It’a shameful paycheck for stakeholders, anything return in F1.

    7. @kingshark – Red Bull spent as much as Ferrari last year, and more than Mercedes. And they dont even have to pay for their engines.

      This is not a money issue.

      1. @ kbdavies
        Red Bull spend about three-quarters as much as Mercedes and have about three-quarters as many employees.

        1. @kingshark Sure, and they spend all of that on the cars. Then Honda comes and pays another 200 million for the engines. While Ferrari and Mercedes have to pay for those themselves.

          Red Bull has the biggest budget if you include everything or when you exclude engine development for Ferrari and Mercedes.

    8. @kingshark Well it was Marko’s insistance (and apparently Ferrari) that it would change the status quo. It did sometwhat though. It seems like Red Bull and Ferrari are doing even worse than last year and the previous high speed track race.

  3. Lewis told in a interview that his team doesn’t party anymore. After winning a GP its right back to work in the office, preparing for the next 1. I wonder if they even party after taking this years championship…

    1. Usually its a party in Singapore paid for by Hamilton. That’s usually it until the Christmas party back at base.

    2. Winners! Winners have an unquenchable thirst for success.

  4. lexusreliabilty?
    5th September 2020, 15:24

    So Red Bull and most certainly Ferrari party is over. Surprised with how bad Verstappen and Red Bull struggled- maybe it will put some perspective on his overzealous fans- I highly doubt it though. Sainz with the lap of the day IMO. So instead of RB creeping up to Mercedes and winning the odd race, we’re probably going to see Merc lap the entire field. Bravo, well done FIA and the hopeless teams that were lobbying for this. You can now have your cake and eat it.

  5. I said earlier this yr that RB were now part of the midfield the honda hype has been blown away by Mercedes and Renault. But lets see how they go in the race they should be able to beat at least one of the pink Mercs. But Renault and McLaren maybe be a different matter.

    1. @johnrkh You consider them sitting in a lone 2nd spot in the WCC, with their nearest rival with only a bit more than 1/3 the points, part of the mid-field? Max splitting the Mercs? So I guess to you then there’s the Mercs, and then the mid-field? No longer a top 3 in F1? Alrighty then.

      Methinks you’re conveniently taking quali from Monza today, a track that they were always going to be less effect at, and making up a story for the season for them. Going by the races so far this season, there’s a good chance Max will dispatch Sainz and Pérez and take a podium. But if he doesn’t this weekend, he’ll be back to doing that next weekend. And you’re blaming Honda for RBR’s high rake, high downforce car, at Monza.

      So what you said about RB earlier this year has proved to be wrong. Using today to support what you said proves nothing.

      1. I agree, stating red bull is in the midfield sounds silly, they’ve never been particularly strong at monza and the 0,8 sec gap is quite typical, considering the track layout I’m guessing force india and mclaren managed to get between merc and verstappen thanks to the engine, but in a normal race I don’t see verstappen ending behind ANY of them, even at monza, and not just because of verstappen, red bull should still be the better car, engine aside.

        1. @esploratore Yeah OK may be a bit of a stretch but they certainly can’t be placed as front runners the gap is to big. Verstappens 2nd was due to a Mercedes tactical failure and Bottas unable to take advantage of his faster car. Hamilton has at any time been able to just drive away when needed and Verstappen has said that.
          Don’t underestimate Perez in the pink Merc, he may not be at Verstappens level of outright pace but he is a very decent driver.

      2. @robbie

        But if he doesn’t this weekend, he’ll be back to doing that next weekend. And you’re blaming Honda for RBR’s high rake, high downforce car, at Monza.

        No Horner is blaming Newey for not ‘concentrating’ on F1.

        So what you said about RB earlier this year has proved to be wrong.

        Which was?
        Last year RB were spruking the Honda engine as equal to the Merc and accusing Renault of overstating their power gains.
        I’ll say it again RB need to stop the whining and complaining, stop with trying to knobble other teams success. They need to put their heads down and bums up and work on being better.

        1. @johnrkh ‘Blaming Newey?’ Had to stop right there. What’s the point of a discussion with a 5 year old?

          1. Not only that @robbie but Verstappen had a bit of a swipe at Albon during his post race interview on Sky. RB are not where they want to be and the knives are out.

      3. @robbie

        Methinks you’re conveniently taking quali from Monza today, a track that they were always going to be less effect at, and making up a story for the season for them

        Actually robbie as I have said many times the only day that counts is Sunday, it’s Verstappen fans who put all of the weight on a single lap. Verstappen has been crowned as the GOAT by some purely on his qualifying pace. You yourself place no weight on the championship points of 2016/17 but 2018 was fine :)) I’ve read your posts robbie declaring that Verstappen unequivocally beat Riccardo in 2016/17 overall based purely on his quali results the actual championship standings mean nothing to you.

        So far this yr Merc has dominated quali every race bar one? And race-days except at Hungaroring Bottas wouldn’t pass and Silverstone RB had better tactics. So that would make Merc / Hamilton faster and more successful =better team/driver combo.
        Race day robbie race day that’s all that matters.

    2. Lol, John-H is as much a troll as he accuses others to be.
      Drawing conclusions like that after 1 qualifying session! It’s hilarious!

      1. Didn’t call him or accuse him of being a troll sad.

  6. It seems Renault are the biggest losers – Red Bull has never been very good at this track and Honda isn’t exactly known for its great power output, so we’ll have to wait and see until Mugello to see their respective position. The engine mode ban, expectedly, didn’t affect the usual order, maybe just brought the pole time down by half a second. Once again I applaud a brilliant strategy of FIA who accomplished nothing and will be proud to show it off to everyone, the fans, the public and the shareholders. A beautifully symbolic way of how to underline their incompetence and a total lack of any clear idea on how to make F1 attractive.

    1. Sainz is using a Renault engine.
      Redbull now has a new excuse, never been good here, so it’s ok to perform so bad even with a tow?

    2. You realise sainz is 3rd right? And Renault has 3 cars in the top 10? If anything this has just proven how good the Renault engine is now. Pretty sure you could put that Renault engine in the Mercedes and they’d still get pole & win

      1. Probably yes, I obviously have to give it to the engine to explain perez and sainz’s performances.

    3. @pironitheprovocateur Looking at the current results it looks like Renault engines actually gained most. As was predicted upfront. While Honda and Ferrari engines have lost most.

      Although Renault (as the team) claim to have lost some on race pace. Not sure how that works, but there was some talk on Friday that the setup break through Ricciardo found in Silverstone and Spa didn’t work anymore because of the engine modes ban.

      Red Bull is much further behind than they were last year. Albon was 5 tenths behind Mercedes in 2019 (and Verstappen was on par with Vettel in FP3) while this season Verstappen is over a second down on Hamilton. From being on-par with the top to Verstappen stating “I no longer care about the race” this season.

      But then that’s more likely just caused by them not being able to find proper setups for their car, just like in Hungary where they were suddenly a second down. At least for a single lap that costs a lot of time.

  7. Well done AMG Mercedes Petronas

  8. Iskandar Mazlan
    5th September 2020, 15:40

    Christian Horner .. so party mode ban affect Mercedes or RBR more?

  9. Too early to say if Redbull are happily reaping the rewards of their insistent call for the ban of the party modes.

  10. well, that’s a shocker. I didn’t think the Ferrrari powered ? teams could fall any further, but i was wrong.

    And then their Redbull, they apparently wanted this rule change, we’ll see if they have anything to spare tomorrow.

    I am guessing they set their stall by their race set up, over qualifying, but they wont have any more to give.
    the real race will come when those who tunned their engines too high for qualify, come a cropper on race day.

    The only thing which can spoil this if Mercedes. If their drivers start pushing each other instead of racing conservatively, they may yet come a crouper. I imagine there’ll be some kind of team order to prevent them over stressing their engines

    Watch this space..

    1. You doubt Merc has no game plan????

      Think they learnt it well in the second silverstone race.

  11. After all Mercedes doesn’t have a magic button which we could ban. I guess the crazy suggestion is that the others will have to rely a building better cars. No that is too crazy: let’s carry on complaining about Mercedes. After all it is not fair! They should aim to be as average as the others.
    Sarcasm over. Well done Mercedes. F1 is about the pinnacle of Motorsport and you are showing how it’s done.

  12. I despair at how F1 strategists can not come up with anything else than ‘send them out there at the end and hope for a tow’ which even my gran would know can only end in a bunch-up and likely disaster like happened in Q1. It’s beyond a joke really.

  13. Ferrari were really only truly dominant in 2002 to the degree Mercedes has been 2014-20, but the FIA brought in wholesale changes to rules to bring Ferrari back to the field for 2003.

    Ferrari dominant again in 2004, so huge changes to the rules for 2005 to bring Ferrari to the field.

    Mercedes has been allowed to dominate for 7 straight seasons.

    Enough already. It’s ridiculous.

    Schumacher would have been a 10 time champion if the FIA didn’t interfere. He would have stayed on past 2006 and won 2007 and 2008.

    These numbers just become so hollow when Hamilton’s only competition for 7 seasons has been Rosberg and a subservient Bottas.

    At least Schumacher fought tooth and nail with Hakkinen in 2000 (who had the faster car), fought Kimi and Montoya in 2003. It was only 2002 and 2004 (and 2001 to a degree) that were uncompetitive as has been throughout the hybrid era.

    1. @David Bondo – this seems very painful for you….so much so that have made up all manner of stuiff so as to mitigate that pain

      1. Very painful for every non-mercedes fan I’d say, boring more so, I just checked the highlights today, normally would rewatch the replay overnight, but not for such a qualifying.

        I would also say that while mercedes dominated for way too long, you can’t compare 2002 to every 2014-2020 season, I think only to the 2014-2016 + 2019-2020, the other 2 were much closer, more alike 2001 and 2000.

        1. But I agree that fia should intervene equally, they stopped many teams from dominating too long and they should do the same with mercedes, indeed there’s no stat hamilton can get as things are that will elevate him above schumacher and fangio, what he needs to do is win on a lesser than the best car, he did something to that extent in mclaren but too little, there’s no other top driver who never had a bad car, and again first half of 2009 is too little.

        2. When someone says they didnt enjoy todays qualifying you know they only have one agenda. It had more racing, penalties, near misses, screw ups, off-roading and overtakes than most races. And anyone who can’t find something to watch in two teammates being .07 apart going for pole you are maybe watching the wrong sport.

          1. Top comment.

    2. Since you’ve been posting regularly the number of Ferrari dominant years has got less and less. Look forward to you telling us in the future MS won all his championships in a midfield car fighting against No 1 teammates who always had priority on strategy and parts whilst the team had to overcome a decade of opposition from the FIA.

      1. The McLaren was quicker than the Ferrari in 2000. Fact.

        The McLaren and Williams were very close to the level of Ferrari in 2003. Schumacher was the difference.

        2001 the Ferrari was better but not the kind of dominant of all time car that Mercedes have routinely developed from 2014-16.

        2002 and 2004 were truly dominant cars, but not to the degree of what Mercedes have produced from 2014-20.

        Same with Red Bull during those four championships. Only 2011 and the second half of 2013 were truly dominant, but nothing to the degree to which Mercedes have dominated.

        RBR innovations were routinely outlawed, rules were brought in to nullify Ferrari’s edge after the 2002 and 2004 seasons.

        Something should have been brought in to bring Mercedes back to the field after 2015.

        It’s becoming a lost decade for F1. Imagine where the sport could have gone with real competition.

    3. Oh really David Bondo. Schumi retired rather than face Kimi, whom Alonso thrashed, whom Lewis matched as a rookie.

      while we’re being silly

      You can’t compare across eras, apart from Lewis hasn’t won a wdc by taking out his rival obviously, or been dq’d from a championship or from qualy for cheating

      1. Schumacher destroyed Massa who matched Kimi. Bottas wasn’t much quicker than a Massa 6-7 years past his best and never the same after his accident.

        Di Montezemolo forced Schumacher out.

        1. Lol, Bottas totally destroyed Massa. Even with Smedly always giving Massa the best strategies.

          How often did they not mess up a good race for Bottas with a dumb strategy and then Massa suddenly found himself in front of Bottas. Yet still Bottas destroyed Massa.

          And lol, suddenly Massa was “past his best”. Like he was ever that good to begin with.

          Hamilton was better than Alonso already as a rookie and Bottas manages to stay reasonably close to Hamilton. That in itself is a great feat.

          Schumacher was fighting average drivers like Hakkinen (utterly destroyed by Senna and barely better than Coulthard), Hill, Villeneuve and Raikkonen. When Alonso got a car to oppose, he beat Schumacher.

          Mercedes has been allowed to dominate for 7 straight seasons.

          2017 and 2018 Ferrari had the car that was clearly on par and certainly in clearly faster. Sure Hamilton had no real opposition because Vettel was so poor, but Vettel was no poorer than Raikkonen or the other average drivers that Schumacher fought against.

          And then for 2019, how about Bahrain, Baku, Canada, Austria, Russia, Japan and Mexico? Are you going to claim with a straight face that Ferrari wasn’t faster there? They won none of those races, but still they started from pole or should have. And then there were Spa, Monza and Singapore where they were fastest and actually managed to win the race.

          That’s 10 races where Ferrari was fastest. That’s half the season.

          1. Massa was never the same after the 2009 accident. By the mid-2010’s he was a long way past his best. Bottas should have been crushing Massa but over three years failed to in races. Just a slight edge in the end. Massa had worse luck in that span too.

            Alonso had to completely change his driving style when he went to McLaren in 2007, plus was up against Ron’s golden boy. No doubt Hamilton had a brilliant season in 2007, but I feel like he never really went to another level in the years following. Hamilton reached his peak fairly early as a driver.

            That’s ridiculous calling Hakkinen an average driver. He had a handful of races as Senna’s teammate and was close to the pace in two of those weekends. Hakkinen had a clear edge on Coulthard throughout their time as teammates.

            Hill and Villeneuve weren’t all time great drivers (no better than say a Nico Rosberg), but they had a massive car advantage when up against Schumacher.

            The 2017 and 2018 Mercedes was clearly the best car on the grid. The only reason Vettel was in contention in the first half of 2017 was because of poor strategy decision by Mercedes in Australia, Hamilton blunder in Bahrain, Hamilton bottling it in Monaco qualifying, then there were various problems with the Mercedes like the headrest coming loose in a race.

            Yeah 2019 Ferrari were faster at some tracks just like McLaren was fastest as some tracks in 2011, but that doesn’t mean RBR wasn’t the dominant team that year.

  14. What rubbish. The fia forced through a massive aero changes in 2017 then a front wing change in 2019 (which they believed would hurt Mercedes). They believed Mercedes were burning oil (they werent) but they banned it. They banned their fric suspension because ferrari complained about it. Banned das and now banned their engine modes. I mean how much more do you want the fia to do? Heres an idea how about other teams do a better job? Its not Mercedes fault that ferrari believed cheating was the only way they could beat Mercedes. Its not Mercedes fault redbull can’t build a better car than them. Hell even after the fia and teams agreed to use these car next year the fia has brought in New rules forcing teams to reduce downforce levels. If in 2022 Mercedes build the best car and are winning every race will you be wanting the fia to change more rules to slow them down?

    1. I bet there’s something that can destroy mercedes, if only they really focus on that like they did in 2005.

      For example if this change seems to be making things worse I’d revert it, show clearly it’s meant to harm them.

    2. I’m really not sure why so many people are pinning their hopes on a Mercedes meltdown in 2022. Do they really thing Mercedes is going to forget how to build engines and cars?

      I’ll eat my hat if Mercedes is uncompetitive in 2022.

      1. People are pinning their hopes on Mercedes choosing the wrong design path, and having correlation problems between cfd, simulator and wind tunnel.
        That tied with losing more than half their budget, ends up in wishful thinking.

      2. @scbriml i know right. It’s like when Red Bull and Renault were begging for new engine regulations because Mercedes had the “best” engine at the time. It was only most powerful and the Renault engine was actually more frugal and had better driveability, but in Horner speak every benefit another has over them makes them best and this is unfair.

        Anyway, so somehow they imagined that the engineers that created the “best” V8 would be beaten when they all got to design a new engine. Low and behold, Renault again did not produce the best engine and Mercedes did (again)

  15. I guess the ban really showed merc up…

  16. Crash.net seems to have a very similar title for their article too.

    ‘Mercedes party on at Italian GP despite F1 ‘qualifying mode’ ban’

  17. Maybe they can give Mercedes the 26 and 18 points and leave the cars in the pits? The only way this GP is going to get interesting enough to watch.
    I don’t know where Mercedes found a not yet discovered trick to find that much more speed than the competition… But they are killing the championship for the fans. And the comments from Wolff and Hamilton about the championship being tight or interesting or races being difficult only make them more obnoxious and

    1. Rosberg was right. Bottas needs to roast whole pigs under the hotel window of Hamilton to have any sort of chance to beat Lewis. Fighting him by annoying him works. Fact is Bottas has the best car in the field. It should not be as easy for Lewis as it is. It makes him look better than he is. He’s really good but not nearly as unbeatable as he seems now. If only there was a top driver alongside Lewis. That would make F1-life interesting again.

    2. @w0o0dy Why would a race with less cars be more interesting. How about you simply only watch the lesser teams then?

  18. Mercedes did by far the best engine when this era begun and they had a lot of merit on that, but all the rest is still a result of that huge start gap.

    With engine frozen, and limited testing the others had a hard time to recover. Mercedes winning created the positive loop that it’s very hard to move back now, wins -> attract best people -> wins -> etc

    It’s almost impossible for others to improve to Mercedes level in this scenario. Mercedes has in his factory much smarter people (because they payed them more) than the others, so if things keep with the same rules, Mercedes will win again and the gap will only increase for ever.

    1. Yes they are the best. Is there a point you are trying to make somewhere hidden in there?

      Is it that you think changing the rules will change things? Did you see the engine regulations change? Mercedes had the “best” V8 engine before and that changed how much?

      Or when they changed the aero regulations to make the cars less engine dependent for 2017 to help Red Bull. That worked out well? Well it helped Ferrari a ton. They suddenly had the fastest car, but alas they lacked a proper driver.

      Or when they changed the aero rules again to help Red Bull for 2019. Did that change much?

      Or when they banned FRIC, oil burning, DAS, engine modes. Did any of that change anything?

      Somehow the best team always seems to come out on top when things change. Odd.

      While when regulations don’t change much, the cars seem to evolve closer together. Yet the urge to change is great and indeed it keeps helping the best team. Lets change everything for 2022 and see what happens then. Maybe fifth or sixth time is the charm. At some point a roll of the dice is bound to give you a 6.

      1. @f1osaurus
        You make a good point as things can move closer with no rule changes. However the situation now is not really sustainable to be allowed time to evolve. I mean say the only change was the budget cap. How many years might it take for the sport to get to the situation where two or three teams could regularly win races? Another two years after this or three years. Then it might still not happen.

        The other point is, as Max has said, these cars are actually getting too fast for some circuits.

        1. @phil-f1-21 OK fine, agreed that FIA meddling trying to appease Red Bull has just made matters worse to the extent that now really something does need to happen.

          Still we have the changed line up already. 2022 rules and the budget cap should make for a good new start.

          And also agreed the cars need to be reigned in before someone has a very nasty accident.

          I’m not against the changes per se, but I am against the notion of making changes to accomplish goals that are almost never achieved by the changes that are proposed/applied.

  19. There are lots of comments on here about what FIA did or did not do to try to bridge the gap between Merc and rest of the field. Then their action or not in previous years with other teams and whether this decision or that decision has worked or if it was political, etc. Some of these comments are quite daft.

    The point is FIA now know and I think are increasingly concerned that Merc’s well deserved domination is damaging the sport. I salute Merc their employees and their drivers but the point is that the gap between them and the rest is too big.

    Yes F1 is a team engineering and design competition but it is also supposed to be about the skill and abilities of the drivers. It is supposed to be competitive, exciting and entertaining with the odd surprise. To some degree it is but since 2014 it has been pretty much dominated by one team and mainly by one driver.

    I don’t blame the FIA One bit for trying to do something about this. Even if it has not instantly worked.

    1. @phil-f1-21 Realisticly though 2017, 2018 and 2019 could have seen Ferrari WDC’s. Pretty sure that if Hamilton was at Ferrari and Vettel at Mercedes, we would have indeed seen Ferrari/Hamilton take those titles. Still the same driver, but it’s really not just the car.

      It things like Singapore 2017 and Germany 2018 and the constant intra team nonsense at Ferrari in 2019 that kept Hamilton on top. What is any rule change going to do to that? Make a rule to stop squabbling?

      1. @f1osaurus
        I take your point about some seasons being closer than others and of course Vettel and the team did make some awful mistakes which really didn’t help matters. But we now know the Ferrari engine was probably breaking the rules anyway. So things were not as close as they actually appeared.

        I wonder what would have happened if FIA discovered that Ferrari had been breaking the rules after they had won the WDC or WCC in 2019? Would it have been kept quiet? Would there been a fine perhaps?

        1. @phil-f1-21 Still, Ferrari could have been WDC in those three seasons. The claim that Mercedes has had dominance since 2014 is simply not true. Hamilton did dominate, but he would have done that at Ferrari too. Indeed if the same cheats were in place.

          It’s not just the engine that’s killing Ferrari either. It looked like it was more used in Q3 and probably “overtake” and “push” laps, rather than through the races as a whole.

          So they would have lost a few tenths there for sure, but they have currently sunken to the performance level of their own customer teams. That shows they lost a lot more than a bit of illegal engine power.

          Something went horribly wrong on the car side too. As suggested, perhaps because the car was designed for a more powerful engine that fell through, but then still, without the cheats they would have had a better car too.

          Ferrari should still have been at Red Bull level with a legal engine and a few bhp down on Mercedes.

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