Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Istanbul Park, 2020

Hamilton’s Turkish GP “masterpiece” shows his success isn’t just down to the car – Brawn

2020 F1 season

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Formula 1 motorsport director Ross Brawn says Lewis Hamilton’s victory in last year’s Turkish Grand Prix refuted claims his success is a product of having the “best car”.

Hamilton clinched his seventh world championship with victory in the rain-hit race from sixth on the grid. The combination of a track surface which was already slippery due to late resurfacing work plus the wet conditions made for an extremely challenging race.

His victory ensured he equalled Michael Schumacher’s record of winning seven Formula 1 titles. Brawn, who oversaw much of Schumacher’s success at Benetton and Ferrari, said it was a clear demonstration of Hamilton’s driving skills irrespective of the dominance of his Mercedes team.

“Lewis drove a brilliant race,” said Brawn in an exclusive interview for RaceFans. “If anyone questions that ‘he’s got the best car, he ought to win’, they ought to watch that race because that was a masterpiece.”

Hamilton took the chequered flag over half a minute ahead of the rest of the field. While some drivers were highly critical of the low grip conditions, Brawn said there were lessons F1 could learn from the unusual circumstances of the race.

Interview: Ross Brawn on why 2020 was “one of our best years” in F1 despite pandemic
“We had some very negative comments about the grip levels and the conditions,” he said. “And we had one of the greatest races of the year.

“I think everybody took something away from that. It was interesting to me to see the more experienced drivers come to the fore there.”

Brawn said the race also showed that slowing the cars down – as is expected to happen when new technical regulations are introduced for the 2022 F1 season – may help improve the quality of racing.

“That’s another thing that we’ve sort of taken into consideration, that it doesn’t necessarily follow that producing the fastest lap time is going to produce the best race,” Brawn added.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 87 comments on “Hamilton’s Turkish GP “masterpiece” shows his success isn’t just down to the car – Brawn”

    1. I saw the race. I saw lots of drivers driving very well, and some not so well.
      And I also saw the conditions change, where Racing Point lost relative performance and it came back to Mercedes, who could afford to try something different with Bottas’ strategy to learn what to do with Hamilton.

      The one part that Brawn got right there was the final part. The cars are too fast, and that is the prime reason why the racing is usually terrible.
      Take downforce away, slow the cars down and make the drivers drive.
      Rule no.1 for fixing F1: If the teams and drivers don’t like something – do it.

      1. @S The cars aren’t too fast. The speed isn’t the reason, but dependency on clean air because of how they’re designed aerodynamically.

        1. Lower the speed, lower the aero dependency…

        2. Additionally – lower the speed and there is far less need to neuter classic racing circuits, turning every track into a car park with a bunch of long straights into hairpins.

      2. Bottas had damage and wasn’t a good reference point when it came to trying strategies for Hamilton during that race, he kept spinning. Hamilton made his own strategy calls and the team let him have at it because they trust him that much, Bono said that on his post race interview with Sky. Vettel also put it nicely after the race, it wasn’t Hamilton’s race to win and he still did it, it was a performance worthy of a 7 time world champion.

        The race didn’t come to Mercedes as the conditions settled, if that was the case, Bottas would’ve been able to at least get into the points despite the damage to his car.

        1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
          29th January 2021, 8:57

          Someone mentioned it took 7 or 8 laps to get the tyres working. About that time Bottas would have a spin and would have to start the process off again… and again.

      3. Yes you are the all seeing eye aren’t you ‘S’. Brawn was wrong and Lewis only won because they trialled it on Bottas first. Nice work. In fact I think you could probable dis-assemble every one of his wins and there would be a reason, other than he can drive. And I bet you have.

        1. @tonymansell Hamilton is undoubtedly a brilliant driver. He also drives the fastest and most consistent car by a long way and is a part of what is currently the ‘best’ and most dominant team in F1’s history.
          He’s not doing it alone, and he’s not being partnered with another driver who is consistently on his level.

          Besides, a big part of Brawn’s job is to talk up his business and its main attraction. Do you believe everything a salesman tells you about their product?

          1. But then there are years like 2017 and 2018 where Hamilton was able to make more of a difference

          2. Staying a winning driver is not that easy or it would happen more often. You are very simplistic in your view but if you dont get that then im certainly not going to spend time helping you understand.

            Whats the salesman stuff, total nonnnsense. I didn’t form my view of Lewis this morning after reading this article. Laughable.

            1. Ah well, there’s a never-ending supply of kool-aid sipping Hamilton fans ready to discount just how good and how important the other two ingredients are that are required for success in motorsport – the car and the team.
              I’ve seen his entire F1 career. No doubt he’s good, but he isn’t twice as good as everyone else. That idea would be laughable.

            2. S: ‘undoubtedly brilliant’ or ‘no doubt good’? Maybe you just adapt to the conditions too? :oP

          3. Hamilton is undoubtedly a brilliant driver.

            Why? Because you were told that? Because of the stats? Or because you’ve seen evidence for yourself watching him drive?
            If the latter (I presume so) then I’m flummoxed as to why you disagree with Brawn on this one. For me Turkey was one of Hamilton’s standout races (Portugal also) to go with some of the brilliant qualifying laps. Both races required learning throughout the race as conditions changed and/or the track was an ‘unknown’. Significantly, Hamilton increased his advantaged as he adapted – as he later said, trying out different lines and approaches, while keeping the tyres going. That’s what Brawn so.

            1. * what Brawn saw

            2. @david-br
              I don’t disagree that Hamilton drove well. I disagree it was a ‘masterpiece’.
              Latifi or Grosjean winning, for example, would have been closer to a masterpiece.
              It was a slightly poor choice of words to add “the one part…”

              Racing a car in changing conditions is quite interesting. The car can go from a dog on lino to a cat on carpet very quickly, and can go the other way just as quickly.
              I would be equally flummoxed if you felt that the changing conditions and the cars’ (Mercedes, Racing Point, Red Bull and the rest) characteristics played no part in the outcome.
              Every driver was out there in the same weather and track conditions, but only one of them had the same car and team conditions, and his car was damaged.

              Good and brilliant are synonyms… There are a lot of words in English, just trying to spread the love.

            3. @S Sure but it’s more or less 100% given that we all know how important the car is. The marginal differences matter. I mean, few are going to disagree about Usain Bolt’s brilliance, but it’s only fractions of a second! I guess what I admired about these drives and about Hamilton (or Alonso say) overall is this constant exploration of possibilities for increasing speed, ‘an impossible perfection,’ while keeping the pace (and tyres) going.

              just trying to spread the love

              I know, I was teasing you on that one. :o)

            4. @david-br
              I agree with your point – but the difference between Usain Bolt and Lewis Hamilton is that Hamilton has usually had a technical advantage over 18 other drivers since 2014. That’s why there is debate about how much is car and how much is driver.
              I don’t know why I keep reinforcing this point – Hamilton is good, but he isn’t as good as his statistics suggest, relative to every other driver. It’s a quirk of motorsport that Usain Bolt never had to contend with.
              This article attempts to put that same spin on it that many fans do – that it’s more the driver than the car. Car, team and driver all need to be at the top of their game to get those results, not just one of those ingredients.
              An opinion/article stating that Hamilton’s drive was a masterpiece is what it is, but it totally discounts how well others drive in inferior equipment lacking the capability to squash the competition.

            5. @S OK, I can see what you’re getting at. Nobody is really going to call a driver’s race a ‘masterpiece’ if they don’t actually win the race, and in that case, lots of equally brilliant drives will never get that accolade. It’s not really a term I’d ever use for a race performance, but I took it more in the sense of a lesson given to ‘apprentices’ by a master at his craft (which is what the term originally meant: a master showing students how a painting should be done). And in that sense, Brawn was spot on.

            6. @david-br
              But was it?
              How about Vettel’s performance that day? Was that not equally ‘masterful?’ Just because he didn’t win doesn’t mean he didn’t drive as well…. His car just wasn’t as fast. Same for Perez.
              How would we know that Magnussen and Grosjean haven’t put in such stellar performances in their cars? (Though not at Turkey, obviously.)

              That’s my point. The better car and team (and therefore, better results and stats) shift the perception of what’s good and what isn’t.

      4. I don’t think the drivers or teams will like seeing Hamilton dressed up in cute bunny lingerie. Does that mean that’ll be rule?

        1. I reckon they’d love it

      5. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        29th January 2021, 22:35

        I saw the race. I saw lots of drivers driving very well, and some not so well.

        OMG! I just give up! Hey S, what was the race like? ” They went round and round and the black car was faster than the pink car and the red car was good too and there was rain and stuff!”
        Reality. Three drivers didn’t f up and showed their skills! THREE OUT OF 20. Hamilton Perez Vettel. Re-write. It was carnage and only three drivers managed to navigate the chaos successfully. That’s what happens when you actually watch!

        And I also saw the conditions change, where Racing Point lost relative performance and it came back to Mercedes

        So Perez in the Racing Point finished second and Lance from first place on the grid finished 9th? Surely both should have finished a place apart given there is no driver skill involved in F1 and it’s just about car, track conditions and relative performance. In what world of the 2020 season do you imagine a podium of Merc, RP and Ferrari was a normal outcome given their relative car performances and no Redbulls?

        Mercedes, who could afford to try something different with Bottas’ strategy to learn what to do with Hamilton.

        Guess they made a cup of tea at the points of the race where Merc couldn’t do anything to help Bottas try as they did and they tried multiple times, and Hamilton was dictating the pit strategy from the track based on his reading of conditions.
        My personal favourite though is this:

        The one part that Brawn got right there was the final part. The cars are too fast, and that is the prime reason why the racing is usually terrible.
        Take downforce away, slow the cars down and make the drivers drive.

        Let’s ignore for a moment the sheer arrogance of an internet pundit assuming that they know more than one of the leading minds of F1 and can discount the original premise of the piece because it doesn’t match with their opinion, however unqualified they are to hold such opinions. What Brawn actually said was as quoted:

        “We had some very negative comments about the grip levels and the conditions,” he said. “And we had one of the greatest races of the year. That’s another thing that we’ve sort of taken into consideration, that it doesn’t necessarily follow that producing the fastest lap time is going to produce the best race,” Brawn added.

        Never said the cars were too fast. Never said that was the prime reason why racing is terrible. That is their opinion not Brawn’s. Brawn observed that grip levels and conditions made this race exiting not speed.
        Cars were 3 seconds slower in 2004 and the racing was still terrible. Brawn knows this and knows why. Taking away downforce and just making drivers drive is another category. F1 is downforce! What Brawn has done is focus on producing downforce below the floor where the backwash is limited and reduces the effect on following cars as apposed to the over body downforce produced today which generates turbulence or “dirty air”.
        So, follow S for a race rundown of “yellow car beat red car but pink car was good to and pit stops and lolliops and stuff!
        Meanwhile, I’ll get on with actually watching the race!

        1. Sorry Dave, I thought I’d explain it in a simple way so you’d understand.

          Just re-read the final paragraph of the article, while you’re here.
          And also do some research on what ‘opinion’ means. We all have them, and they don’t all need to be the same.

          1. Of course you are entitled to your opinion S. The problem is that you dramatically over estimate its worth. Is someone in a position to independently document Brawn’s knowledge and contribution to F1 and S’s knowledge and contribution to (let’s be generous) anything? We can then line them up and see who’s opinion to value.

    2. Indeed, good point.

      Yes, this run of success is down to having a great development team able to maintain the technological and aerodynamic package at the top of the pile combined with very smooth operating team AND a driver (lineup) that is able to make great use of that material in the critital moments to make the difference (and they are a part of keeping the package at this level)

    3. “Hamilton’s Turkish GP masterpiece shows his success isn’t just down to the car” – Ross Brawn

      “Russell’s Sakhir GP masterpiece shows it largely is” – Aussie Rod

      1. Mercedes’ front-row qualifying, race win/podium rate and fastest lap count over the last 7 years provides further evidence.
        As if any more evidence were needed.

        1. Even further:the other day this site ranked Bottas as #8 driver last year.
          In his years on Mercedes, his avg finishing position in the WDC is between 2nd and 3rd (5th was the worst).
          Bottas is a good driver but he is definitely not the 2nd 3rd best drivers we’ve seen in the last 5 years.
          Yes, hamilton might as well be the best driver we have ever seen, but the car has a massive influence on the result.
          If not for other reason because there is always a average driver in an awesome car guarding any assault from a third competitor.

      2. If you can’t see the difference between those 2 race weekends, i don’t know why you follow motorsport.

        Maybe 22 fella’s kicking a bag of air around a field is more your speed.

      3. “Russell’s Sakhir GP masterpiece shows it largely is” – Aussie Rod

        Last i checked, Russell got beat in Q3, picked himself up a puncture and finished a lowly P9..

        Vandoorne Bahrain 2016 should serve as a reminder “one swallow a summer does not make”

        1. @amam
          Russell was easily dominating a race in a car that he was completely unfamiliar with (and in a seat far too small for him) until circumstances outside of his control unfolded.

          At the end of the day, you can scream “P9” all you want, those who were there to witness the Sakhir GP knew what they saw.

          1. @kingshark

            IMO, Vandoorne was more impressive in his one-ff in 2016

            Unlike George, he actually outqualified his teammate, a teammate who was actually a WDC. Unlike George, Vandoorne was a complete rookie. George had 2 full years racing experience. Vandoorne had zero F1 racing experience. By the end of the year, Bottas had already mentally given up whereas Vandoorne raced a fully motivated Button at the start of the season and was able to outqualify, stay near pace in the race and outpoint him. IMO, Vandoorne’s performance was more impressive. But, it’s just 1 race. Foolish to draw firm conclusions from.

        2. @amam Russell was beaten by a extremely small margin in an unfamiliar car that he had no practice with prior to that weekend, to a driver who has run Hamilton close, and beaten him on occasion, in qualifying throughout the year. And in the race, he was set to beat that driver at his first attempt. And I have no idea how you can blame Russell for either the pitstop error or the puncture. At that point, it’s clear you’re just trying to twist facts to suit an agenda. With more experience in that car, and a chassis that actually fits him, I see no reason why Russell wouldn’t be able to dominate Bottas in the same manner that Hamilton does. Look at how Verstappen fared versus Ricciardo when he first got promoted to Red Bull and when he had some more experience in the car in 2017 and 2018. Same with Leclerc in the first races of 2019 to the 2nd half of that year and 2020.

      4. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        29th January 2021, 21:31

        @aussierod Question. Given that Hamilton outqualified Bottas on the main track a week earlier by nearly 3 tenths and Bottas outqualified Russell on the short track by a couple of hundredths, if all three drivers were racing Mercs at Sakhir, without the pit stop failures who would likely have won?
        Question. Who do you think would win over a season between an experienced Bottas and a first season at the team Russell if Hamilton didn’t race in 21?
        Question. If Hamilton had gone to Merc and they had not been successful, would Hamilton now be driving for another team in a better car? Or the reverse, if Merc had recruited Hamilton and he didn’t end up delivering, would he still have that seat?
        If you honestly analyse the value of a successful driver to a team and the value of a successful team to a driver you can answer most debates.
        Lewis was a breakout rookie star, a headline grabber, a fierce and extremely fast competitor who took it straight to a 2 times world champ Alonso who himself beat the great Schumi, as soon as he entered the stage. He continued to deliver stand out performances to the point where Brawn, developing his Schumi / Ferrari part 2 strategy for Mercedes realised Lewis was the driver they needed, emphasis on needed. Lauda agreed and Dieter Zetche was all over it. They wanted him.
        Merc on the other hand offered Lewis something he needed, a chance to really put his stamp on a team as it’s lead driver, having been nannied by McLaren and told to be quiet while the grown ups talk set up and strategy. He saw a potential that he needed, emphasis on needed.
        Now, you take the engineering and driver potential and Daimler finally waking up and committing to spending money (which they weren’t interested in doing until 2012) and combine them and this is the result.
        The car he drives is the car they made WITH him. The team they are now is the team they made WITH him.
        The success that they both enjoy is the success they made WITH each other.
        So. Is the Merc the best car. Yes. Did it allow Hamilton to get where he is? Yes. Those are actually superficial. The key is the why and the how. Tabloid takes don’t cut it when you actually analyse the why and the how.
        Is the car why Lewis has been so successful? Largely yes. Is Lewis the reason Merc has been so successful? Largely yes. You cannot separate them, just like you can’t separate De Montezemolo, Todt, Brawn, Byrne, Allison, Schumi and Ferrari money. It’s a team and Lewis is the star striker.
        The eventual W11 was driven down a development path by what Lewis needed when he found the W08 didn’t do what he wanted it to in 2017. The power unit came about as a result of Lewis telling them in no uncertain terms during 2018 and 19 that the Ferrari power unit was much faster and he needed more power. Lewis and Andy Cowell have both referenced these conversations in interviews. They literally burned out staff at Brixworth as a result of the effort they put into the 2020 power unit to give Lewis what he needed (and Toto is seriously p’d off at Ferrari for cheating and forcing that level of development.) The level of trust and faith in each other resulted in this all conquering W11.
        Is it the best car ever? probably yes. Why and how?
        Could any one of the top 5 F1 drivers get in it and win? Yes probably, if they didn’t have a similarly skilled team mate and if Max caught Covid and missed the race!
        Could any of those beat Lewis Hamilton in the same car? One name. Max. All the rest aren’t sufficiently battle hardened.
        Could Max beat Lewis over a season? 14 years battling for a WDC vs never in the mix for one? Smart money goes on Lewis. Lewis’s speed is just beginning to fade but his guile and mental abilities have never been better.
        So next time you find yourself thinking, “yeah but without that car” consider how he arrived in “that car” and also how “that car” came into existence.
        And also a bit of deference please for the guy that engineered Michael’s 7 WDCs, created Brawn GP out of the ashes of Honda to deliver a never before accomplished debut double WDC / WCC and had the foresight to recognise Lewis was the new Michael. The guy is literally a genius.

      5. On Russell’s success, if you want to call it that, at the Sakhir GP. I really would like to see Russell on a proper track in the Mercedes to get a good gauge on how he will fair. To be honest that track layout for the Sakhir GP was rubbish.

    4. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      29th January 2021, 8:55

      When it was decided to make the cars wider it was touted they would be 5 seconds a lap faster. At the time Hamilton said no-one watching the races on television would see that difference in speed.

      I cannot remember exactly what he said but he definitely thought it was the wrong direction.

      1. IIRC one of the points he made was that instead of going through Copse, Pouhon and corners like it on the ragged edge the cars would now be glued to the road at full speed with the extra downforce. No skill required and little chance of making a mistake.

      2. Yeh he was right and he wasn’t the only one. The cars are 11 seconds a lap quicker round the same Silverstone layout than they were at the beginning of the hybrid era to no noticeable effect on the watch-ability. They get a 2005 Renault, driven pretty quickly it has to be said, by Alonso and the whole paddock goes silent in awe and every hard core fan weeps a small tear.

    5. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      29th January 2021, 11:43

      Hamilton is one of the greatest of all time there is no question. My only issue is I only think he’s having to drive at 80% of his ability with a lacklustre team mate and a dominant car. When he turns it on like Turkey he reminds us what he is capable of (going off on the first lap aside).

      Tribal allegiances aside we all just want to see a closer formula, I think Fernando summed it up in his comments yesterday regarding George Russell going from last to first in 5 days.

      For me the moments that capture my imagination with Lewis are the earlier years. 2007 as a rookie, 2008 Silverstone, 2011 Nurburgring and so on. The Mercedes years are him cementing his legacy rather than creating it. Much like Michael at Benetton and early Ferrari years. Taking the challenge to Williams and Mclaren with far superior machinery blows my simple mind away far beyond what we saw in 2002 and 2004 for a similar example to Lewis.

      1. t

        hink Fernando summed it up in his comments yesterday regarding George Russell going from last to first in 5 days.

        i wonder whether Fred was so keen to play up Vandoorne’s performance in Bahrain 2016…a rookie that came in and beat the guy (Button) who had beaten Fred in 2015

      2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        29th January 2021, 18:53

        @rdotquestionmark

        My only issue is I only think he’s having to drive at 80% of his ability with a lacklustre team mate and a dominant car

        If you are talking about maximising speed and fighting wheel to wheel then yes. That is however just one aspect of driving a race and a championship. He’s 100% on tyre management, PU management, race awareness and strategy and how to manage the long road to a WDC, not to mention car development team motivation and his own mental and physical game. Schumacher had the same philosophy. His activities outside the car were as important as inside and he could drive with spare capacity because of them. Just because Hamilton’s not driving on 2 wheels and smoking rivals doesn’t mean he’s not trying as hard as he can!

        1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          29th January 2021, 21:30

          @davewillisporter I agree fully. Obviously when I say 80% I say that tongue in cheek but I do think the skill sets and factors you mention are contributed to further by the fact Lewis is driving with spare mental capacity as it’s all so comfortable (generally).

    6. George Russel has proved it that the merc best car made LH champion after he replace LH to drive for merc at Sakhir GP. GR from slow car in William to fastest car in merc and he comfortably lead the race until merc wrong call for pit stop end his winning chance.

      Let CL drive merc and he will become champion easily too. Its too obvious.

    7. Put Hamilton in, for example, McLaren, he won’t win the championship (we can say this with a 100% certainty). Put McLaren drivers in Mercedes cars, one of them is going to win the championship (we can also say this with a 100% certainty). Yes, cars win the championship. If you get to choose the right teammate, then you’re the one winning the drivers championship uncontested. I don’t need to tell myself lies to enjoy F1, nor I need people from F1 to tell me those white lies. It is what it is, F1 is as fair as life in general. Anyhow, Hamilton himself said that he’d win nothing if it wasn’t for Mercedes, except for his first title. End of story.

      1. he’d win nothing if it wasn’t for Mercedes, except for his first title. End of story.

        Don’t twist his words. He said he wouldn’t win if he stayed at McLaren. He didn’t say he wouldn’t win elsewhere e.g. Ferrari 2017-2018

      2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        29th January 2021, 18:43

        Put McLaren drivers in Mercedes cars, one of them is going to win the championship

        False comparison. LEAVE Hamilton in his Merc and put ANY other driver in the other seat. Then there is considerable uncertainty whether the second seat would win a championship and the odds are they would lose the first year.
        In a comparative appraisal of whether the car or driver makes a difference, compare like to like. If Hamilton went to McLaren in 2021 against either Norris or Ricciardo, he would definitely not win a championship but he’s odds on to beat his team mate.
        In a world where marginal gains and consistent performance are everything it is far too simplistic to say the car is the most important factor. Take Hamilton’s first 3 WDCs. Sure as hell wasn’t the car that was the most important factor in those so we have historical evidence. Would he have got to 7 if Rosberg had stayed or Ricciardo had joined? Likely given the performance improvement Hamilton has made over those 4 years.
        Marginal gains and consistency. And a bunch of skill. Jensen Button in his own book wrote that shortly after joining McLaren he looked at Hamilton’s telemetry and saw things he thought were impossible and confided in his Dad “If he ever figures out how to work with his engineers the rest of us may as well go home!”
        Guess what? He did.

    8. Turkey gp shows it is all about the car, so does Portimão. Credit where credit is due, Ham said it at Portimâo, he and merc set the car just right for tge conditions they would face for the bulk of the race.

      1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        29th January 2021, 18:57

        @peartree
        This statement:

        Turkey gp shows it is all about the car, so does Portimão.

        Contradicts this one:

        he and merc set the car just right for tge conditions they would face for the bulk of the race.

        So without the driver / team skill in setting the car up just right, the car would still win with any driver in it?
        Which is it?

        1. @davewillisporter ham said in Portimão it was all about the set up as he answered why he was struggling with the wetter conditions at start.
          I give him credit for the set up even if only a merc could do that, the car was well ahead of the competition, turkey was not special relative to a dry race. As long as cars are not autonomous the driver has to have a lot of credit but there were many good drives in both weekends.

    9. Istanbul was just lucking with the weather and good car on balding inters. Poor example. As others have said, a backmarker driver parachuting in at Sakhir showed it is all about the car.

      1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        29th January 2021, 19:12

        @balue
        Don’t even go there with Turkey. Verstappen spun out and lost a chance of winning as did Albon, Lance couldn’t handle tyre deg, Leclerc screwed up and went from 2nd to 4th, Bottas couldn’t keep the car in the window, Danny Ric got swallowed, not to mention how difficult it is to manage inters to slicks on a constantly changing grip surface. Only Perez and Lewis finished on slicks. Both have a reputation for outstanding tyre management. Three drivers drove an outstanding race. Lewis Checo and Seb. Two of them are multiple world champions and the third has earned a seat at Redbull. That was a demonstration of skill. END OF! I’ll believe my own lying eyes and the guy who watched Schumi race from the pitwall thanks.
        Now on to Russell. “Backmarker” implies that’s his skill level. So he’s no better than Grosjean or Magnussen who’ve both fought at the front and got dumped! He must also by that logic be way worse than Bottas as Bottas is a “frontrunner”.
        So when as you say, Russell parachutes into a top car and after a few hours practice nearly beats the other driver in the same car, was that just the car or an indication of Russel’s skill level?
        Bored of these asinine takes. Change the record. It is not “all about the car”

    10. Not entirely down to the car of course but it *really* helps, doesn’t it? He’d not have a scored a point if he was driving a Williams.

      1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        29th January 2021, 19:20

        @rocketpanda I guess the critical question there is, why isn’t he driving the Williams and having a pointless career?
        Another question would be, how did he land a top seat in his rookie year?
        Or how did he come within a point of a WDC in his rookie year and win the WDC in his second? Or win another 2 on the bounce against a driver in his 5th season driving the other car?
        There’s a reason he doesn’t have to drive a Williams. There’s a reason he won’t slide down the grid and finish his career in the midfield. The car helps him achieve what he has, but what he has achieved has put him in that car.
        It’s a symbiotic relationship and a basic operating principle of this sport. Good drivers get good cars. Great drivers somehow miraculously find themselves with great teams and achieve great success with great cars.
        Join the dots!

        1. @davewillisporter

          Another question would be, how did he land a top seat in his rookie year?

          This one is mainly down to dumb luck.

          There are some drivers like Hulkenberg, Leclerc and Russell who had F2/GP2 seasons more impressive than Hamilton did, and yet had to start their careers in mediocre machinery like Sauber or Williams.

          1. his one is mainly down to dumb luck.

            Nah. Educate yourself and read Pedro De La Rosa’s comments about what happened when he and Hamilton tested for the 2007 McLaren seat

            1. @amam Don’t forget that the McLaren car and team were genuine championship contenders at the time.
              They could have been the slowest and most unreliable cars on the grid, as they were when Vandoorne got his full-time chance.
              That’s pretty lucky for Hamilton, wouldn’t you say?

            2. @S

              Not luck that he had impress to win the seat ahead of Pedro

            3. @amam
              You are dodging the obvious point here.

              The fact that McLaren made a championship contender in Hamilton’s debut season instead of a dog (like 2004) is obviously very lucky.

              Hamilton’s GP2 season was less impressive than Hulkenberg, Leclerc and Russell.

          2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
            31st January 2021, 20:08

            @kingshark Was it “dumb luck” when he was signed as a McLaren Mercedes junior at 13 which eventually resulted in the F1 seat? Was it “dumb luck” that one of the most successful F1 teams of all time was as good as it should be when he got the F1 seat? Was it “dumb luck” that his team-mate was the previous world champion twice against Schumi? Was it “dumb luck” that he matched that driver as a rookie?
            You can say that the stars had aligned just right but Lewis had to deliver and deliver he did. His performance in GP2 at Silverstone and Turkey together with his test performances with McLaren and the 13 year old that prompted McLaren to start a young driver program were crucial. Funny, what Big Ron saw in him that he didn’t see in Hulkenberg and funny that Hulkenberg never achieved anything special, and make no mistake, you don’t think Mercedes would have liked a German driver at McLaren?
            Charles and George are stand-out drivers like Lewis. If you recognise their skill you must recognise Lewis’s too.
            And S (I presume S stands for simple) if McLaren at the time Lewis was racing GP2 had been a back of the field team, do you honestly think Anthony Hamilton wouldn’t have worked out a deal for a better seat? Lewis broke out in 2006. Every team knew about him by mid season.

    11. Who would say it is and only just down to the car? What the? I know of no one, with any sense and knowledge of the subject, who would dispute Hamilton’s abilities. The question is not Hamilton’s abilities is it? The question is more along the lines of; can almost anyone on the grid have a shot at the title in the Mercedes and a good one at that? To me the answer is a pretty clear yes. The Mercedes is just a trophy on wheels. Who’s driving it? I would love to see Hamilton do something else soon and really show what he has up his sleeve.

      1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        29th January 2021, 23:38

        @stash Lets take that bubble philosophy a step further. Lets assume there are 20 identical driver robots. Put two of them in the Merc. Which one would win? Identical bot A or identical bot B?
        Lets assume Redbull had the faster car. Same question. Or Ferrari, or McLaren etc. etc.
        Now lets get out of that bubble and back to reality!
        Merc have the fastest car. Lewis is driving one of them. Who could sit in the other seat and beat him to a WDC?
        Redbull have the fastest car. Max is driving one of them. Who could sit in the other seat and beat him to a WDC?
        Ferrari have the fastest car. Charles is driving one of them. Who could sit in the other seat and beat him to a WDC?
        Absent of a detailed understanding of just how Merc and Lewis arrived at this dominant position in the first place (and that is the essence of F1 so pretty ludicrous to discount the process) Lewis, Max and Charles have made their teams their own and displaced challengers driving the same car in the other seat, causing them to leave or be replaced, or just live with it.
        Why?
        And to your second point. The “trophy car” IS what Lewis had up his sleeve. He did something else. He left McLaren in 2012 when they were the fastest car on the grid and only lost the championship through bad calls and unreliability. He went to a team that had finished 5th in 2011 because he wanted to show “what was up his sleeve”
        He didn’t just arrive in the W11 and win all the races. He joined a team, built it around him and they dominated.
        I suggest you watch the 2012 2013 seasons again. It appears you don’t know where they came from and what they both achieved.
        The W11 is Lewis’s achievement as much as the team’s. From 2017 to 2020 they worked together to produce that car. To ask him to move on and prove something else is laughable. You’re seeing what he has done. What more do you want? For him to take a few years off like Schumi did and join say Williams and bumble around off his peak and not do much?
        Your premise is. The Mercedes is the best car. If there was only one of them, many drivers could be a WDC in 2020 if they drove that car. How many could have beaten Max in the Redbull? How many could have developed, motivated and inspired the team to produce that level of excellence going back 4 or 5 years previous?
        How many could beat Lewis Hamilton in the other car and take the mantle of the Mercedes icon from Lewis?
        The W11 is a trophy on wheels. Should have won 15 races. Why and how? And why does Lewis keep winning those trophies?

        I would love to see Hamilton do something else soon and really show what he has up his sleeve.

        You’re seeing it before your eyes in real time. 7 WDCs, 98 poles, 95 wins, probably 8 to 10 WDCs and +125 wins / poles before he retires. Smashing the record books for decades to come. He did something else. At the time in 2012 he took a risk and left a team with the fastest car on the grid for the 5th fastest. All thought he was mad, nuts and a mistake. Why do you think he needs to do it again? What don’t you think he has achieved?
        And more to the point, having spent 8 years at Mercedes, why do you think that the “trophy car” has nothing to do with his input, or the “trophy team” has nothing to do with him?
        It’s HIS team and HIS car and HIS achievements as much as it is Mercedes AMG F1. They know it, he knows it. That’s why he is able to make contract demands that drag on into the early months of 2021. If he was just a driver they would have bye boi’d him long ago and signed Russell, and that is just reality.

    12. So if I understand this and the history behind it correctly ….
      In the last big change to the aero regs, they widened the cars, allowed more and larger wings and reduced lap times by 5 seconds a lap. To improve the racing.
      Now Brawn is saying that slowing the cars is needed “to improve the racing.”
      You either slow the cars by reducing power or cutting aero. Cutting power will slow them down but the drivers will be at 100% throttle more of the time. How exciting.
      The new highly touted regs for 2022 are going to change everything.?? Not likely.
      Some teams will nail it and others will miss the mark. The successful ones will be back where we are now, stuck to the road and railing around corners … flat. Oh boy, how exciting.
      R. Brawn may indicate he wants more of what transpired in Turkey, but it certainly looks like they (Brawn and FIA Co.) are doing exactly the opposite. The cars may be able to follow more closely, but the drivers will be flat around more corners than even with todays regs. Yep, how exciting.

    13. About Turkey, it wasn’t simply the fact the cars were slower, it was that the car was less predictable and this then drew on every bit of the driver’s experiance and skill to manage that unpredictability. Slowing the cars wouldn’t necessarily introduce this other element. If the drivers had less time to prepare for the track, that might force them to be more caucious on track in the opening laps of the race, which would then favor the brave and the skillful.

    14. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      29th January 2021, 19:55

      Some asinine and predictable responses here! Doesn’t matter how many people who are professionally involved in this sport, highly experienced and sought after to boot (what’s the word for that, um…..ah yes, experts) say it and guess what, they ALL say it, nope, iTS juTS ThACAr!
      Myth 1. Anyone could win in that car. Yeah but there are two of those cars and if Hamilton was driving one of them, could ANYONE win, really? ANYONE? No.
      Have an opinion but make it actually relate to facts please!
      Opinion: Probably two maybe three drivers could give Hamilton some bother and based on current performance I suspect only Max has the capability to take it down to the wire. Anyone else would probably crack under the pressure of fighting a WDC as Rosberg Vettel and Button have in the past, we’ve seen Alonso completely blow up in 2007 etc. etc. A WDC is actually a hard thing to achieve. Much as I respect George and Charles, they ain’t there yet and Danny doesn’t have the speed to beat Lewis.
      Myth 2. Russell at Sakhir shows iTS juTS ThACAr!
      So, Russel is just “Mr generic driver”??? No particular outstanding skills of his own??? Not seen as one of the up and coming next gen drivers??? The guy that made Q2 in a WILLIAMS 11 TIMES! He magically developed speed and race craft when he jumped in a Merc?
      As Bottas has shown, the difference between 1st and 3rd or 5th or (14th in the case of Turkey) in that Merc is down to the driver. The car was capable of winning 15 out of 17 races in 2020 yet Bottas isn’t a world champion. Why not? The answer to that answers the ridiculous notion that it’s just the car. Let’s put Hamilton alongside Max at Redbull and pair Bottas with Lance Stroll. It’s a toss up who wins the WDC but Redbull would likely take the constructors.
      Myth 3. Hamilton needs to move on and prove himself somewhere else. This is too easy. He’s yet to really show his worth.
      No. He did move on in 2013 to prove himself and has proved himself well enough. He is credited by around 1400 staff in two factories and a multinational car company as being intrinsic to their success. He did what you asked already. Stop complaining that him constantly proving himself is boring and move on yourself!
      If it was just the car, it wouldn’t leave the garage. That is an unavoidable fact. I’ll end there!

      1. Not a single response here (or anywhere else anywhere) says “it’s all the car.”
        Ross’s opinion is just that, his personal opinion. It doesn’t matter if he ‘knows more than everyone here’ because not everyone in F1 has the same opinion either. We are all individuals with different thoughts and ideas.
        Meanwhile, every single one of your (seemingly personally offended) responses goes over the same biased pattern.
        Yes, Hamilton is a good driver, no he wouldn’t be winning that race or any other if he wasn’t in one of the best cars of the time. And he has had – without any possible doubt or argument – the best car in F1 over the course of the last 7 seasons.
        Russel stepped in it one time in competition and would have probably won the race. Good driver, and a common element with Hamilton of the best car. No point making a song and dance about it.

        And finally, Hamilton could go to any other team in F1 to give him the challenge he says he wants. But he doesn’t, does he? He stays where he knows he can win every year.

        1. without any possible doubt or argument – the best car in F1 over the course of the last 7 seasons.

          Although many experts do in fact argue Ferrari had the best or joint best car 2017 and 2018

          1. @amam They could also note that in 2017 Bottas (in his first season in the car) scored 100 points more than (previous world champion) Raikkonen.
            ‘Experts’ argue all kinds of things.

            1. @S
              They also noted that while Bottas was winning awards for his 2017 performance, Raikkonen’s own bosses were calling Raikkonen a laggard due to his poor performances

        2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
          31st January 2021, 20:31

          Here’s one:
          “It is all about the car, Hamilton said himself, ‘I’d still be a one time champion if I’d stayed at McLaren.” Direct quote from this chat.
          It’s a common theme. I guess you’re new here.
          There are drivers and there are stand out drivers. The same people that worship at the feet of Max, Charles, George, even Seb although less so now are the same people that say with Lewis “It’s just the car”
          My point is you can’t have it both ways. Either they are all stand out drivers or none of them are. Choose!
          And again this tired worn out and frankly ridiculous notion that Lewis should move on to a better challenge. Again failing to understand that he did that in 2012, it worked, and is now the benchmark for success. I didn’t hear calls for Schumi to move on to Sauber who he raced with in sportscars after winning 7 titles with Ferrari because he should find a new challenge. Why ask Lewis to do the same? It’s a nonsensical double standard. Mercedes AMG F1 is the team they have made together and it is a historical success. He’s proved himself. He doesn’t need to do it again at the end of his career.
          And finally on Brawn. His opinion on Lewis’s performance at Turkey is shared by EVERYBODY in F1. EVERYBODY! It’s not just HIS opinion, it’s EVERYBODIES in F1! It’s called the consensus. You can believe the earth is flat if you want, and that is your opinion. Doesn’t mean it has any relevance to reality.

    15. Hamilton is a brilliant driver, no questions. The problem is that he has only one other drive to beat – Bottas, who proved his inability to challenge Hamilton. The fact that his lifetime achievements are still being questioned speaks but itself.

      Mercedes runs the championship of their own with only two drivers participating. Hamilton is unquestionable winner of that championship. To me Verstapen is a real 2020 F1 champion (I am not in his fun club). Hamilton didn’t have a chance to win the true 2020 championship. He didn’t participate in the real championship.

      The bad thing is that 2021 championship will be pretty much the same, unless something extraordinary happens. Who would bet against Mercedes and Hamilton hoping that nothing extraordinary happens?

      1. (I am not in his fun club).

        So why call yourself “V”?

        the problem is that he has only one other drive to beat

        Could argue the same for Max–he’s car is so far ahead of the chasing pack behind that all he has to do is beat Albon, a driver ranked rock bottom

        And Hamilton had to beat his teammate plus Ferrari 2008, 2017 and 2018

    16. It is all about the car, Hamilton said himself, ‘I’d still be a one time champion if I’d stayed at McLaren.”

      Turkey. Mercedes struggled in the wet/low grip and he was slow. Then it dried, the problem went away and he won.

      1. Don’t twist his words. He said he wouldn’t win if he stayed at McLaren. He didn’t say he wouldn’t win elsewhere e.g. Ferrari 2017-2018

    17. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      29th January 2021, 23:52

      Again. the fact that people think that Merc rocked up in 2014 with a banger just because, with no plan or road map, no driver in mind just Ross Brawn shooting the crap and randomly picking Hamilton as Schumacher’s replacement then smashed the season, then put the record on repeat for 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 shows just how little so called “fans” actually know about the sport or the interaction between driver and team in this modern era. I’d just ask that people take the time to read the contemporary books from the major players in the game from Eddie Jordan to Bernie Ecclestone, from Brundle to Button, from Hamilton to Brawn because there is a serious and I mean SERIOUS lack of understanding in this discord as to how this business operates. Out!

      1. Well said, I was going to an add a comment to this effect, but this says it all. It’s no coincidence, it’s not just luck. The people at the top of the game make the decisions they do because they know how to play it.

        We’re all just along for the ride, or the “entertainment” as it is.

      2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        30th January 2021, 0:27

        There’s a reason why Hamilton Alonso and to a lesser extent Vettel and Ricciardo have the pull they have. They are business partners not just drivers. Max, Charles and George are just drivers. It’s a business not a sport. Those at the top earned their stripes.

      3. I just see Mercedes as underhanded and masters of manipulation. Mercedes tricked everyone into using an engine that they had already largely perfected along with technology and experience from their truck engines. So they had a massive advantage over any other engine manufacturer which made their early wins with in this era easy and left them all the time in the world to work on the rest of the car. This momentum just carried over to each year. The token system meant no one could overtake the Mercedes engine, Ferrari becoming so desperate they resorted to cheating. So I will never be impressed by what Mercedes achieved on track, it is off track that they won, which sucks for the fans.

        1. (@aliced

          it was Renault that mainly pushed for the hybrids and Ferrari pushed for 6 rather than 4 cylinders

        2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
          31st January 2021, 20:50

          @aliced God knows where you got that opinion from. Renault bet on V4, Ferrari and Merc wanted V6. Audi/Porsche was also part of the process and wanted V6s. They all had the same opportunity it just so happened that Merc had Brawn who is a master at focussing on and mastering regulation changes. And the token system was for V8s not the hybrids. There were no restrictions on development from 2014 to 2019. None.
          As for cheating. Ferrari have a history from flexi floors to dodgy fuel consumption. Redbull with flexi wings. McLaren got caught in 2007. Mercedes have never even been accused of cheating by their rivals let alone been actually caught cheating. If there was even a whiff the other teams would have come down on them like a ton of bricks. They’ve played it fairer than any other dominating team ever. Read Bernie Ecclestone’s book if you want to learn about cheating.

    18. Haven’t we seen several articles talking of Hamilton recently?

      If RaceFans was correct in Mercedes are offering Hamilton far less than he wants, perhaps having taken an unrealistic position, could we see statements like this from Brawn as the sport trying to encourage Mercedes to re-sign him?

      Or put another way, is this F1 trying to convince Mercedes that they want the Sir Lewis Hamilton Victory Tour rather than George Russell Maiden Championship Show?

      Mercedes might not care but I’ll bet F1 does. What power does the rest of the business have to encourage Mercedes?

    19. This whole “its not the car” narrative is starting wear on me. Why this constant reaffirmation?

      Lewis is a great driver doing a brilliant job. So what if people in the media and internet are trying to belittle his achievements? It happens to public figures in all walks of industry. No one is above critique, be it valid or not, that’s the nature of free speech.

    20. I’m far more concerned by the subtext of Browns comments than any narrative about Hamilton.

      His assertion that the track surface was responsible for a great race to me is akin to Bernie’s sprinkler ideas. What next? Give drivers an allocation of oil to drop on then track? Reverse grids .. Oh wait…

      1. Brawn .. Oh for an edit button :(

      2. But the track surface really was a major element responsible for that race, and is an equally major reason why it received such mass approval and high scores from F1 viewers.
        Why wouldn’t F1 want to learn from that experience?

      3. No i don’t think Brawn is calling for skitish tracks, what he is saying is that the race wasn’t about absolute all out pace. That race when you removed the iniate pace of the leading cars, came down to the skill of the driver. That track meant none of the cars could go flat out. They had to manage their pace or they would come a croper.

        In that senario you could have had yet another result where a car from the back, steals the win from the usual runners.
        We didn’t get that. Instead we had Hamilton using those very testing conditions to crown himself champion.

        What Brawn has taken from that race is the element of uncertainty which was uniquie to that track and how that drew on the best of the drivers. Next time this could be a mismatch between the tires selection and the track. Or the fuel load and the track. some rouge variable which forces the drivers to reassess the situation as it develops.

    21. It’s not so much about who won this race but about who lost it. Istanbul 2020 was Max’s race to win, easily. But he lost it

      Max has been the fastest driver since day one of his career but as a rookie he was too hotheaded to be a consistent winner. He has improved a lot over the years and he does fewer mistakes now. But in Turkey he did it again. A bit more patience with Perez, playing the long game, and all those arguments in the posts above would be moot.

      Still, he is learning from his mistakes, like most drivers. Remember Lewis’ silly season in 2011 when he was constantly shunting Felipe and Button outscored him by 48 points? He wasn’t a rookie by then, it was his fifth year in F1. Max has plenty of time to learn yet.

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