Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2023

Irvine expects Hamilton will not capture record eighth title

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In the round-up: Grand Prix winner Eddie Irvine says he does not expect Lewis Hamilton will manage to win another world champion

In brief

Irvine unsure Hamilton will win eighth title

Former Ferrari Formula 1 driver Eddie Irvine says he does not expect Lewis Hamilton to break Irvine’s former team mate Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world championship titles.

“The era of the triumphs of Hamilton and Mercedes is now over, but Lewis is still a very good driver, very focused on objectives and eager to obtain results,” Irvine told La Gazzetta dello Sport

“He is still doing a great job behind the wheel of an F1 car. Also the comparison with Verstappen is very tough, because Max is younger, has a bit more speed and enormous belief in his abilities. Hamilton’s prospects will depend on how competitive Mercedes will be in 2024. With his experience he has shown that he knows how to seize every opportunity that presents itself both in qualifying and in the race. However, I doubt he will be able to win the championship again, realizing his dream of winning his eighth title.”

Hughes goes quickest, then crashes

McLaren Formula E driver Jake Hughes set the quickest time in the opening practice session for the Mexico City Eprix before bringing out the red flags by crashing at turn one.

The McLaren driver posted a 1’14.364, three tenths of a second quicker than Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein, before running off track and into the barriers at the first corner.

The opening round of the Formula E season takes place today at 8pm UK time.

Being Verstappen’s team mate would be “amazing” – Goethe

Red Bull junior driver Oliver Goethe says it would be “amazing” to race alongside world champion Max Verstappen one day.

The Formula 3 racer, who will compete in the series again this year with Campos, joined Red Bull’s programme late last year.

“I have always liked Sebastian Vettel, who also comes from the Red Bull youth team,” Goethe told Speedweek. ” He had humor and attitude. I would like to follow in his footsteps.

“But I also look up to Max Verstappen, who dominates Formula 1. To be his teammate one day would be amazing.”

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Comment of the day

Would introducing reverse grids to sprint races make them more entertaining? Reader Brell-9W believes it would…

I just wanted to say I’m very partial to the reverse grid sprint race. It works well in Formula 2. Why not? The best drivers in the world should have their overtaking abilities tested. They have DRS.

I’d also like to see a Friday ‘time trial’. I know people are groaning reading that, but I believe it would be very exciting.

You’d have two drivers from the same team, the second one leaving the pit lane when the first one has crossed the first sector (on the outlap). Comparing their times for lap after lap, seeing the delta’s live, for five laps maybe, the ultimate test of skill, rather than one quick lap.

But anyway, reverse grids are a great test of overtaking ability.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Ace, Kei and Diego!

On this day in motorsport

  • On this day in 1974 Denny Hulme scored his final F1 win at Buenos Aires

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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45 comments on “Irvine expects Hamilton will not capture record eighth title”

  1. A better test of overtaking ability would be to scrap DRS.

    1. Coventry Climax
      13th January 2024, 1:40

      My thoughts exactly.

    2. “Impossible” isn’t a viable test condition…

    3. Agree, but how do you stop the better drivers to always start from the front?
      The sprint races (championship) would be a good opportunity to try something different like a reverse grid or flip off a coin.

      1. Agree, but how do you stop the better drivers to always start from the front?

        I always thought that the point of the qualifying setup was to allow the better driver/car combinations to be at the front, did I get something wrong?

        1. But what do you want the races to be like?

        2. You are getting exactly to my question: why do we always need a pre-race qualification and make it easier for the better car/drivers in the real race?
          Most sports don’t have qualifications to decide from which side of the field you start the game.

          If they are better cars/drivers then they can prove this in the real race rather than drive off without having to fight others.

          PS qualification is meant to determine who is fast enough for the main event (hence the word). Using those sessions to form the grid is just a convenient way to use those sessions as well, and has been used extensively in motorsports (much less so in other sports, where they use heat elementals).
          There is nothing wrong to determine the grid based on another rule. I wouldn’t start with the main race, but the sprint events could be a perfect way to test this.

          1. PS qualification is meant to determine who is fast enough for the main event (hence the word).

            Yes, although the tradition of practise/qualifying also determining the grid is over a century old.

            Paul Fearnley wrote a nice article about it, noting that although the 1915 Indianapolis 500 used practise times to set the grid, it took a lot longer for Europeans to adopt the concept. He traced it to the 1933 Monaco Grand Prix, after which it became standard across France (Monaco essentially being French), and then spread across Italy, Germany and Great Britain by 1935.

          2. NAGF:

            Most sports don’t have qualifications to decide from which side of the field you start the game.

            Good point. In other sports I can think of, they try to make it so that star position has no advantage, a staggered start on an athletics oval, competitors lined up side by side for longer distances. In speedway where there may be a start advantage to one gate over another, the riders are assigned gate positions on a rota. In sports where there may be some small advantage in batting first, or playing in one direction first, they do a coin flip to decide.

            Maybe if F1 was being invented today, they’d conclude that the fairest option was the rota procedure, where, over 20 races, each of the 20 drivers starts once on P1, once on P2, etc.

          3. Alan, I like the rotation idea you suggested, would be interesting to have verstappen start 20th, 19th, 18th etc. in various races in a season like we just had.

  2. Coventry Climax
    13th January 2024, 1:50

    “I’m such a huge fan of F1! But can we make it more exciting with reverse grid, fan boost, random exploding tyres and at least 50% of the laps with a safety car, please? I love those SUV safetycars, so cool.”

    Whenever I read nonsense like this from people, I think: Why the heck are you watching F1? Because your tiktok buddy said it was cool and oh, you should definately (always spelled incorrectly like this) watch that show on Netflix too?

  3. Nobody expected Ferrari to lose the 1999 WDC, either. So I guess Irvine has just reverse-jinxed Hamilton.

    1. I think that nobody expected them to be in contention actually. At least this was the case after Schumacher broke his leg.

      1. Indeed. The title was considered a foregone conclusion after Silverstone.

        Then Hakkinen and McLaren held a competition to trip up in the most baffling matter and it became a 4-way title fight berween Hakkinen Irvine Frentzen and even Coulthard.

        At a wet Nurgburgring, any of them could have stepped up to become the favourite. Hakkinen was always awful in the rain, Coulthard threw away the win by going off, Frentzen was self-sabotaged by a gimmick in the car and the infallible Ferrari pit crew failed to bolt a complete set of wheels to Irvine’s car. Herbert won in a Stewart.

        Still, from Silverstone on, anyone but Hakkinen would have been a surprise winner.

        1. Jonathan Parkin
          15th January 2024, 14:20

          Except the next year at a wetter Nurburgring, Haķkinen finished second to Michael and the two of them were the only drivers on the lead lap

    2. I do not see why Hamilton wouldn’t get his eight championship. Clearly one of the best drivers out there. Just needs a better car and its not like Mercedes are that far off

      1. Yeah this pretty much. He has shown he can manage George and all he needs is the best car to win.

        1. RH:

          all he needs is the best car to win

          All he needs is a very good car to win, just like any other world champion. I’ve yet to see the world championship won in a bad car, and I don’t know any way of objectively knowing which is the “best” car in any one particular season.

          1. Default 1-2 wins throughout the season.

          2. To win the WDC, you have to have a good team, a good car, a good driver, and a bit of luck. The constructor’s championship isn’t perfect for determining which car is the best, but it’s a pretty good indicator. Personally, I think the Mercedes W14 was the 3rd best car most of 2023, and yet it finished second– largely because of Lewis Hamilton.

            Two drivers on the current grid have won the WDC while another team came first in the constructors’s championship– Lewis in 2008, when Ferrari won the WCC, and Max in 2021 when Mercedes won the WCC. Both WDC’s came down to the last lap and being “lucky”– but Lewis’s luck was created by another driver, and Max’s was created by the race director.

    3. Schumacher definitely let Hakkinen win in Suzuka. There’s no way you go from 1 second faster than the nearest guy in the previous round to finishing 2nd in just 2 weeks. Especially with unlimited testing that time.

      Love Schumi but his pride is too high to let Irvine/his teammate with the WDC – for Ferrari.

    4. Ex-drivers have no better idea of what’s going to or not going to happen than anyone else. So sick of seeing the general opinion of ex-driver, team principal, etc. made into a headline.

      1. BTW, I think the odds of him getting another title are 1 in 10. So, I agree, but how is an opinion which says “Hamilton is amazing, but Max is likely slightly faster. And, unless Mercedes makes an amazing car, he won’t win.” news.

  4. The comparison to F2 is meaningless simply because F1 is not a spec series.

    An F1 reverse grid race in 2023 for example would just be a mere showcase of the Red Bull’s straight line prowess.

    The time trial idea would be fun though. Formula E has basically adopted the format with the qualifying duels, and when the participating drivers are closely matched, it can be electric.

    It’s definitely better than seeing 10 drivers ‘racing’ to be the last driver to start their final Q3 lap.

    1. The comparison to F2 is meaningless simply because F1 is not a spec series.

      That’s true – which actually makes it even more compelling for F1 to use the format.

      When you really think about it, having the fastest cars start races at the front is simply minimising competition, racing opportunities and the likelihood of anyone other than those in the fastest cars winning easily all the time.
      Is that really the best kind of racing that F1 can put on?
      I’d ask why can’t they do both? Traditional (fastest car gets the advantage) and reverse grid (equalise the starting order to create a better sporting competition on the track, during the race)….
      There’s plenty of time to have more than one race at every event.

    2. F1 tried time trial qualification. It was the dullest, and when the weather intervened, the most unfair format they every experimented with.
      They do need some kind of mechanism to prevent the drivers doing the slow walk out of the pits, queuing on track or other nonsense, though.

    3. The comparison to F2 is meaningless simply because F1 is not a spec series.

      Exactly. It actually makes much more sense in F1.

    4. F1 is not a spec series

      It has spec tyres, an equalized and frozen engine, an obligatory pitstop, a highly prescriptive set of technical regulations to safeguard the key 2022-concepts, a spec ECU, etc.

      F1 teams may not have the same chassis and engine, but they’re not within 1-2% of each other because they’re all coming up with the same clever ideas. A big part of every F1 car is essentially the same.

      That’s not a bad thing! It’s all about keeping the speeds under control and making the series worth watching; it’s not just a sport, it’s also entertainment and marketing.

  5. Too early to rule out him getting another shot at a record-breaking 8th world championship, but certainly possible.

    I’m still generally against the reverse-grid idea, but more open towards a time trial-style session.

  6. Irvine is right. Red Bull will remain (too) strong until the next major regs change.
    This is how F1 works now – and Hamilton benefited from exactly that cycle in the past to get most of his championships.

  7. The quote of the day is terrible and sounds like it was written by someone who doesn’t understand different racing series.

    Reverse grids in spec cars is totally different than prototype cars. The proportion of ground effect downforce is different. The format is different. The points are different. The aim of the reverse grid is different. The aim of the SERIES is different.

    And what on earth is the ‘time trial’ idea? The drivers have to drive the exact same sector times? Why? What on earth does it achieve? What happened about racing and trying to beat each other?

    Why don’t we set a challenge where they have to drive over some coins somewhere on the track, like that movie! That would show the driver’s skill!

    A silly comment with silly ideas, only made sillier by making it ‘Quote of the Day’…

    1. It was written by Stefano, using his alias.

    2. I’ve come to realise the most exciting part of the weekend is often towards the end of Q3.
      David Croft is vigorously comparing the sector times “Charles Leclerc is a tenth up in the first sector on Max Verstappen’s provisional pole time, Carlos Sainz is a tenth down… Sainz has matched Verstappen in the second sector…” that anticipation… very enjoyable.
      Most of practice and qualifying is a build up to that. I envisage a time trial as a prolonging of that anticipation from the very end of qualifying. Also, I’m not sold on the idea one glory lap is the true test of pace. The fastest five consecutive laps would be a real feat.

      1. This is an idea I like, so driver A can get to keep laps 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, while driver B could keep laps 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, whichever are their fastest.

  8. With his experience [Hamilton] has shown that he knows how to seize every opportunity that presents itself both in qualifying and in the race.

    There is no doubt in my mind that Hamilton still has the skills to mount a title challenge . Yet, I disagree with the statement above.

    There were some races in 2022 that he could have won but he did not snatch any of them.
    In 2023 it was the same story, even tjough opportunities were far more scarce. Perhaps tellingly, it was Russell who chased Sainz for the non-RB win, not Hamilton.

    1. Although there were a few people telling us after Singapore that Hamilton would *definitely* have won if Mercedes had only pitted his car, rather than both of them.

      1. Singapore is a good talking point, I don’t think hamilton would’ve won for sure, but it’s undeniable he had more pace in race day, he’s done that a few times this year, qualifies worse and then has better race pace than russell, probably setting the car up for the race to some extent, unfortunately singapore punishes bad qualis. I think it was a dumb move by mercedes to pit both drivers, I know they wanted to keep russell happy, but for the interest of the team, russell had a sure 2nd place and they would’ve given hamilton the opportunity to win, and if he hadn’t been able to overtake sainz, he could’ve given the place back to russell. Instead doing like they did, let’s forget the fact russell crashed at the last lap, but he had settled for 3rd by then, he was 2nd before pitting!

  9. what COTD is missing, is that it’s not a matter of is it exciting or not. It’s a matter of do we want to still call this a sport? Award prizes to the winner? Somehow punish the losers? Than you have to avoid such anti-sport gimmicks as reverse grids as well as the totally unfair and asymmetric DRS

    1. +1 my thoughts exactly!

    2. Exactly. Be straight forward and call it ‘amusement show’ or ‘entertainment event’ and stop misusing the word ‘Sport’.

  10. Personally he already has the 8th WDC. He was robbed by a fraudulent action by a FIA representative.

    1. 90% of Republicans also still believe Trump won the 2020 elections, notwithstanding all the investigations and evidence contradicting it.

    2. By fixing the abu dhabi mistake by masi, I’d hope you’d also fix the very lenient silverstone penalty, or verstappen’s tyre explosion, or the 29 track limits in bahrain in hamilton’s favour.

      Long story short, abu dhabi result shouldn’t have mattered, verstappen should’ve been champion before that race with even luck.

      1. What nonsense.

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