Massa’s strong drive and Heidfeld’s bad luck (Chinese Grand Prix analysis)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Felipe Massa was on course for a strong result until his retirement
Felipe Massa was on course for a strong result until his retirement

It might have been a bad day for Ferrari in Shanghai but Felipe Massa’s form gives them cause for optimism.

Find out why in the breakdown of the race statistics.

Chinese Grand Prix race history (click to enlarge)
Chinese Grand Prix race history (click to enlarge)

This graph makes it clear how unfortunate the timing of Fernando Alonso’s pit stop was on lap eight (look for the orange line). He came in just as the safety car was being called into the pits, and later admitted they’d expected it to stay out much longer.

Chinese Grand Prix race history - Felipe Massa (click to enlarge)
Chinese Grand Prix race history - Felipe Massa (click to enlarge)

This chart should bring some cheer to Ferrari fans – Felipe Massa was running very well before his retirement on lap 20, climing up to third place. It shows the differences between Massa and all the other drivers, with those above the zero line ahead of him and those below behind.

From a starting point of 20s behind race leader Sebastian Vettel at the beginning of the race, Massa lost little ground to the race leaders while moving ahead of many other cars – some he passed, others pitted or spun off.

Had his race been able to run its full course it’s very likely he’d have beaten the McLarens for fourth and probably would have split the Brawns too (see here for more).

Chinese Grand Prix lap chart (click to enlarge)
Chinese Grand Prix lap chart (click to enlarge)

On the lap chart, look at what happens on lap 51 to Adrian Sutil (sixth) and Nick Heidfeld (eighth). Sutil’s race ends with a crash and Heidfeld suddenly starts losing positions – he had run over debris from Sutil’s wreck, damaging his own car and losing a points finish in the process. That handed eighth place and the final point to Sebastien Buemi.

82 comments on “Massa’s strong drive and Heidfeld’s bad luck (Chinese Grand Prix analysis)”

  1. Really?! Well, i’m not the tech type and neither do i depend on tech simulations – look what happened to the global economy having relied so much of tech’s & fancy biz models developed by quants!!
    What i’m saying here is:
    1. Yes, Ferrari is a dominant team,
    2. Yes, Ferrari has got some talented drivers,
    3. Yes, Ferrari has got the financial backing,
    4. Yes, Ferrari has got brillant mechanics.
    But they are just one team plagued with RELIABILITY ISSUES and one snow ball of BAD LUCK.
    Forget the graphs and team techs, i honestly dont see a ferrari up in the fore-front horizon until maybe the Hungarian GP.
    I stand to be corrected or just maybe when they finally decide if they want to run KERS or not!!

    1. I’d go along with that, and also point out that recent history has shown that Ferrari always manage to make a drama out of a crisis, whether its because of the Ferrari culture or pure mismanagement.
      So I don’t expect to see both cars running true to form until they are back in Europe – and maybe after more heads have rolled too.

  2. Ahhh I wondered what had happened to Heidfeld!!

    Seems good news for Ferrari though, Massa doing ok until the car stopped – especially going into Bahrain, which Massa has done rather darn well at over the past two years!

    1. The question should be : What happened to BMW!? They were looking for World Championship. Maybe in 2019.
      Kubica had few spins too.

  3. On lap 8 Massa wasn’t 20 seconds behind race leaders, but more like 10 seconds. He didn’t keep up, the gap went from 10 to 25-30 seconds. So he lost quite a lot on Vettel, Webber and Button. He did keep up with Barrichello though.

    If Massa actually had been able to continue and had had the same good race after the first 20 laps (which is completely uncertain of course) he would have beaten the McLaren for “fifth” not “forth”.

    Massa often has a good first stint to then never be seen again. For example, recently at Melbourne or last year at Monaco.

    Still it is indeed a big change to see Massa actually driving a car in the wet and getting some speed out of it. While oddly enough Raikkonen didn’t have much pace where he usually is reasonably quick in the rain.

    1. Kimi has never been quick in the wet.. If you can give me a time he was.. i’ll change my mind..

      but in my memory he has always struggled on a fully wet track.. but not so bad on a drying one.

    2. I said “reasonably quick”. But take just about every wet race in 2008 as an example. In those Raikkonen outpaced Massa by quite a margin. Or otherwise China 2007 or Fuji 2007?

      Let me turn the question around, is there any wet race where Massa outpaced Raikkonen?

    3. Terry Fabulous
      20th April 2009, 13:55

      Massa was very strong last year at Interlagos when it started to rain, a shed load faster then Kimi.

      Most of the time, Kimi is quicker, but Massa is not as much as a liability in the rain as he is made out to be.

    4. Sure, lets do that.. take every 08 wet race for example…

      Monaco 08, Interlagos 08 – Massa faster
      Silverstone: – both were rubbish but particularly Massa

      China 09 – Massa faster

      Kimi was faster on a drying track in China 07…

      So probably the only one would have been Fuji 07 where massa was slower than kimi in the wet.. but im taking ur word for it cause I didnt watch that race.

      Also remember Sepang 09 Massa was quick in the wet.. but can’t compare cause Kimi had that horror tire choice gamble.. so lets exclude that one!

    5. spa 05.
      brazil 03.
      hungaroring 06.
      nurburging 07.
      fuji 07
      china 07
      monza 08
      spa 08

    6. Oh come on, the only reasonably good drive in the wet that Massa had in 2008 was at Interlagos. Raikkonen was just as fast, but his race strategy was compromised to help Massa to the win and he ended up stuck behind Alonso.

      All the other races Massa was slow as a snail (Monaco, Monza) or even pathetic (Silverstone)

      Raikkonen was doing perfectly fine at Monaco, but he had to undergo a drive through penalty because the car wasn’t ready in time. Massa was struggling to keep up with Kubica and flew off twice, letting Kubica through twice!

      Silverstone 08, Raikkonen wasn’t doing too badly. Of course the whole field was put to shame by Hamilton’s drive, but Raikkonen was one of the “best of the rest”.

      As Nick shows, Raikkonen has a whole list of actually pretty good performances.

    7. Terry Fabulous
      20th April 2009, 21:59

      All the other races Massa was slow as a snail (Monaco, Monza) or even pathetic (Silverstone).

      Um, Massa was fast as hell in Monaco and would have beaten Hamilton is Lewis’s pitstop hadn’t been at great time to put on the inter tyres.

      And didn’t Raikkonen stuff it in the wall at both Spa and Monaco when it was raining?

      We could argue around this all day but the fact is, Both Massa and Kimi are great drivers. Kimi probably has more natural talent, but Felipe seems hungrier and more focused. And that is why he was better last year and seems to be the man more likely to get points right now.

    8. At Monaco Massa was fast for a few laps. After that he was beaten by Kubica and Lewis was going a second per lap faster.

      For now both Ferrari drivers seem to be struggling. Both with their car, the strategy and with themselves.

      We’ll see how they get on when their update comes.

  4. massa is the best

    1. Mussolini's Pet Cat
      20th April 2009, 13:34

      by any measurable way, he isn’t…

    2. He is at least one of the best.

  5. What the graph shows is that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the Ferrari, they just have to work on their reliability.
    By the way, was the first 9laps included in the graph? Because the race actually started from lap 9.

  6. The race started on lap 1, just it was behind the safety car. All those laps count. So the graph shows the cars holding station behind the safety car. Those that pit drop to the back. Like the big drop of Alonso on lap 8.

  7. I think that what is creating such great confusion is the KERS-NO KERS issue. Everyone is going crazy and spending a fortune.
    The Toyota Prius already has it, so what is the point ?

    FOTA should say to Bernie and Mo : we will all throw this piece of junk to the garbage and not run it anymore. Period.
    If all the teams do the same thing, Mo cant say anything.

    1. That’s never going to happen though, as some teams have already spent millions more than others developing it.

      We just have to wait and hope it’s a standard (flywheel) component in 2010

  8. Terry Fabulous
    20th April 2009, 13:58

    So Felipe spins 5 times at Silverstone and subsequently, is made out to be a massive laughing stock as a driver for his incompetence.

    Well Lewis spun 4 times yesterday….

    So does this mean that Lewis is rubbish in the rain as well, or does it mean that we all need to take a deep breath and admit they are both great drivers who have have had bad days in the rain (and who hasn’t!).

    1. great comment.. couldnt agree more

    2. It is funny how when Massa had that horrible race in Silverstone, it was because he’s bad in the rain. While Lewis spun 4 times in China, it’s because his car wasn’t set-up for the rain, or some other excuse.

      Massa has said many times that while growing up, he would pray for rain because his equipment wasn’t as good as the competition, and I think that if you look at his performance in Japan 07 against Kubica, Monaco 08, Brazil 08 in dreadful conditions and yesterday in China while it lastest, one can’t say he’s bad in the rain at all!

    3. diseased rat
      20th April 2009, 14:46

      So Felipe spins 5 times at Silverstone and subsequently, is made out to be a massive laughing stock as a driver for his incompetence.

      Well Lewis spun 4 times yesterday….

      Are you sure about that figure of 5 times? Regardless, Felipe was flat out last at Silverstone, miles behind anyone else. Hamilton managed to pull in 6th place despite his 4 spins.

      I’m no great Hamilton fan but attempts by those who would like to see him do badly to compare his race with Massa’s ’08 Silverstone race are silly.

    4. Was it 4 spins? i thought some were just him running wide

    5. ….guilty of that myself,I have come to respect Massa after last season.We all know Lewis is usually great in the wet,guess you just have to be in the cockpit of that car on a wet track to understand fully.It is easy to be an armchair racer.

    6. Difference is that Hamilton was actually putting in a pretty good performance while Massa was simply put to shame (being lapped twice!).

      The worst you can accuse Hamilton of is trying too hard. I have to agree it didn’t make much sense and it brought him nothing, but still. For some reason he was pushing.

      BTW Massa flew off behind the safety car …

  9. Guys, could we all stop this Hamilton, Massa arguments pls!!!! Here are my points:
    1. Massa spun 5 times in Silverstone last yr – YES – He didn’t only spin, he was very very slow as well.
    2. Hamilton spun 4 times in China – YES – He didn’t only spin, he was by far faster, loosing position to Kimi & taking it back 3 times over, starting behind on first grid & taking points at race end!
    Lets settle this fellas, even Massa acknowledges (i should think so)Hamilton is faster in the rain! PERIOD!!!
    WHAT SAY YOU??!!

    1. Wasn’t the case yesterday… Massa was ahead of Hamilton by time his car let him down!

    2. Also wasn’t the case in Brazil where Massa led from start to finish in changing conditions and Hamilton could hardly finish 5th.

      Then there’s Monaco where Massa got pole position to his own surprise, then a slight mistake cost him the lead. While Hamilton gets a punctured tire by hitting the barrier and is forced to pit because of it, gets lucky with the safety car and wins.

    3. @Kugitz

      You ask the rest to stop and started one yourself. Nevermind that, however, here are some arguments:

      1) How much do you know about set-ups?
      2) Did you have information on set-ups from all races?
      3) Massa did do some good races in wet conditions. Brazil ’09 comes to mind alright.
      4) Kimi’s engine (yesterday) was misfiring during the race and you understand the rest i hope.

    4. saying Hamilton’s win in Monaco was down to luck… then you didn’t watch the race with live timing next to you!

  10. Nobody is commenting on the fact that Massa retired on lap 20, a third of the way into the race, which I feel makes it easy to make predictions on the possible outcome, other drivers were, pretty cool, Sutil for instance….Buemi…, Massa being in a Ferrari you would expect to do well in the right circumstances, these guys are expected to be at the back…

    1. It really was a shame that Sutil couldn’t score his first points, yet again… I would’ve been nice to see.

      Buemi I can’t give my opinion on quite yet. He did good in Australia and lucked into a points finish yesterday with Sutil’s crash. But he was lackluster in Malaysia.

  11. OK…quick question?
    Same car, Same tires, Constant weather condition – Rain, 56 laps, Hamilton and Massa, who wins?!

    1. We’ll never know, will we?

  12. Place ur GBP on ur driver..

    1. GBP?

      I think you’ve missed the point though. Nobody has said that Hamilton is in the wet. He has proven otherwise a few times.

      The point is that Massa can be competitive in the wet just the same and despite having proved it time and again, he still gets a bad wrap for wet weather driving.

    2. *Nobody has said that Hamilton is bad in the wet

  13. My tabs on hamilton..

    1. My tabs on Massa… but I don’t see how that proves your point or not! it’s a stupid question.

  14. I Agree 100% with Patrickl, Massa was really good in the wet…

  15. I’m sensing some ardent hard-core ferrari fans here!
    But listen guys, i didn’t mean to be offensive..i’m just as passionate about this season as you all are!
    Regardless of whatever team we all support…we just all want to have a fantastic & competitive season!
    Bring the race on & let the F1 fever run down our spines!
    We are but only F1 Fanatics!!
    Bless u’all!!

  16. Massa wasn’t ‘competitive’ in the rain, he just didn’t fall off as many times as he usually does and more importantly, his car stopped while still on reasonably good tyers, unlike Kimi who had (((((((((…a problem with my engine))))))))) !? ;)

    Lewis for me was the driver of the day, he drove his socks off, going off and coming back to make more passes than all other drivers, on the limit all the way and he and Heikki, who drove beautifully, finally showing what a great driver he really is, have shown that the McLaren is heading in the right direction and now we wait and see what the maFIA will do next to McLaren/Lewis in order to reverse this progress, and to help their ‘golden boys’ towards the title ;)
    Bring it on

    1. Massa was very competitive in the rain.
      They all started the race on the same tyres.

      Vettel was the driver of the day, he didn’t put a foot wrong and was fast.

      Hamilton ruined his tyre’s as he didn’t pace himself.

      Massa did but also managed to pass people and not make errors and have to re pass them.

      Hamilton also got beaten by Heikki Kovalainen who didn’t have the updated parts that Hamilton did.

      If you think Lewis was driver of the day, that’s your own opinion, but I hope you realize that other people were in that race also.

  17. Andrew White
    20th April 2009, 16:24

    Although I agree that Massa was driving strongly in the wet, I would like to say that the only reason he was running third was because a few people ahead of him had already pitted and he hadn’t. I don’t think he would have come third in the race.

    1. Why not? When his car broke down he was running third and Lewis, who also hadn’t stopped was a few spots behind him and he finished 6th despite spinning. Massa was in a good position for a strong points finish and maybe a podium.

  18. btw here is a vid that might refresh Massa and Hamilton’s exploits in the rain :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLVDKIcGigo

    1. Here’s Massa in the rain at his best:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l40yFTePD8s

    2. How on earth did Massa not get penalised for those stunts at Fuji? He basically just rams Kubica off track to get by.

  19. Thats right, Traction Control is really handy in the rain ;)

    1. @ Patrickl

      Kubica rammed Hamilton off in that race.

  20. I think it just took Massa a while to learn how to drive in the rain again with no TC. By the latter part of the season in 2008 he was excellent.

    There are no real excuses for Hamilton’s spins in this race, because Heikki stayed on the road fine – I guess he was just trying to push the car beyond what it’s limit in frustration.

  21. Did Hamilton actually spin 4 times guys or was it that he had a spin but ran wide 3 other times?

    1. He spun early when lost position to Kimi for the first time and spun and again late when Kovalainen and Sutil went ahead of him, TV also show him going off track once more and he certainly either spun or went off track once more when Kimi passed him for the second time.

  22. John, you may be wrong on that count. Heikki wasn’t pushing too hard, but Hamilton was trying extra hard. Besides we saw on Hamilton’s car during qualifying that his front left tyre was actually not making contact with the ground on some sections of the track which would lead to massive wear over a long duration.

    In hindsight Lewis would have just tried to maintain a steady pace after he got past Trulli instead of trying too hard to get to the next driver ahead.

  23. forget everything…i feel lewis,massa and kimi are all talented drivers in the rain massa had real chance on the podium, lewis is always desperate to move ahead while kimi had a really difficult time in his car due to sudden power loss it was a real mature drive by him as the team wanted atleast a driver to finish the race.we could see he really didnt have the pace. but having such a difficult car that can’t be on the track due to lack of grip and speed, he was awesome according to me.Kimi is just not having the right car under him. We’ve seen him in the past and he is a trustworthy driver. Remember belgian gp 07 and 08…..though he didnt win but it wasnt that lewis was better than him in the rain, he had a problem in the rain….he had some problems in the rain but still he fought till the end. there wouldnt be a loss if he had his car working in rain. Same was in china if he could have fought may be he would have not finished the race and then……again “can’t he keep the car on track he’s such a …..blah blah”.But we don’t know whats going on in his cockpit. I still believe him as even after struggling, massa is upset and frustrated but kimi is still positive and thats what i love about him never gives up. KIMI WILL COME BACK. HOPE FERRARI KEEPS FAITH IN HIM. AFETRALL HE IS A FERRARI’S WORLD CHAMPION OF 2007.COMEBACK KIMI….SPAIN ?

  24. Rahim all cars that were following other cars in the rain suffered from power loss. Kimi just seemed to have forgotten that its a normal thing to happen. His comments on the power loss was as such, ” It seems to happen when I’m following close behind another car then clears when I am not so close.”
    Perhaps the other cars were running powerful magnets that seemed to slow down his engine :-)

    1. @steve: I dont know, this restricted aspiration conspiracy sounds a bit far fetched. I think as Oliver suggests: ‘powerful magnets’ are the real culprits here ;)

    2. didn’t you know the fact that kimi hasn’t got through his university!! He’s never managed to pass his basic physics examination. hehehe!!

  25. Oliver: that is very interesting, could you explain why?

    I think out of the current crop, Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel stand out as qualified rainmeisters. Do remember that Alonso spun a few times yesterday as well. Barrichello and Button, perhaps Sutil are very good in the rain. The rest rank from average to good.

    1. The moisture in the air is intensified in the wake of a car. This moisture must be extracted before the air enters the engine, its filtered out by the air intakes which restricts the air into the engine……thats my guess.

  26. LH is really rainmaster, five times out from track without breaking his car

  27. interesting argument massa did have a very quick car for the first part of the race but they forget to seal it up and it broke so we have no way of knowing what would of happened later in the race as he didnt get there he has’nt seen a chequered flag yet.Kimi had no downforce or speed they should’ve strapped a plough to the f60 and he could of planted some corn up the back straight more productive than what he achieved on sunday.The reality is the cars with downforce are competitive those without aren’t.Torro rosa red bull aero package ferrari engine it’s not the power its the aero.The thing that that concerns me the most is they have been the most dominate team over the last ten years but for some reason they have got nothing. In preseason testing the drivers would have known there was no downforce yet they didnt rectify this it’s like she’l be right,make’s me wonder if there is more going on the background that we dont see.

  28. steve, I don’t think the air induction system attempts to dry the air. The air is just saturated with water and doesn’t provide as much oxygen… thats my guess

    In China Hamilton proved how good he could be in the wet. He always pushes too hard when behind, and especially when whet. He is very quick, but can’t sustain driving on the edge without a mistake. This is expected so he should tone it down a bit and minimize the spins. Its easier to loose time then to gain it.

  29. I think a lot of the performances in the rain are a lot to do with the car, which a lot of people dont seem to factor in. The ferrari was a pig in the wet last year, so you can forgive their drivers for that to some extent. Whereas the Mclaren was excellent in the wet, due the downforce it created, making Hamilton stand out. I think its really easy pin all this on the driver. I just think the equipment shouldn’t be overlooked?

    1. Indeed and how do you do that? You match the drivers with their team mate. Exceptional performance is measured not in an absolute sense but relative.

      Compare Massa and Raikkonen at Silverstone (Raikkonen 4th and Massa last 2 laps down) Or Hamilton and Kovalainen at the same race (Hamilton first with about a lap ahead of the whole field) Or the last race where Vettel and Webber are pretty closely matched.

  30. Massa’s spins are blamed on him, Hamiltons spins are blamed on the car. Hamilton would never spin due to his Senna-esq talent. He is The Rain Master, The Peoples Champion.
    It was all bc of the car (not Kovalinens, just Hamiltons) :)

    1. Massa being lapped twice and ending dead last is blamed on him. Hamilton bringing the car home in 6th with bad tyres is also his doing yes.

      One is a very poor performance, the other could be better, but still a reasonable performance.

  31. i believe both drivers can be good in the wet. Hamilton probaly the better when he is at his best, but to say he was great in china because he went off/spun 4 times is just wrong because if he was great he just wouldn’t of went off/spun. I think Vettel is the new rainmaster albeit he was in the right car he didn’t make any mistakes. I hope his wins a championship soon become youngest ever champion that mighgt upset hamilton fans.

  32. No body is slamming Hamilton like they did Massa at Silverstone. PLease look at everyone with the same pair of eyes

  33. Here we are calling a guy that spun off track 4 times the rain meister. Here we are, also defending a guy that hasn’t been convincing in wet conditions in the past.

    Guys, like I said on a thread yesterday, you can’t tag someone rainmeister based on 2 or 3 races, there are so many different variables to this. It has to be based on a solid track record. Based on this, the only person who has proven time and again, over so many years is Barrichello. Vettel, Hamilton, Sutil or whoever else may have the talent to be quick in the wet…but they ain’t meisters yet…they’d have to do it quite a few more times for me.

    Lewis was brilliant in Monaco and Silverstone last year, whilst Massa was utterly rubbished. In Shanghai, the tables were turned, but like Varun said…nobody’s rubbishing Lewis..in fact, he’s even been mentioned for drive of the day!

  34. Discussions involving Hamilton always seem to get extremely polarised. It’s actually getting a bit tiring :(

    1. What polarises the debate is the bipolar decision making by Bernie and Max’s maFIA of ‘ol’boys’, who are bringing their nasty out of politics into the sport.

      Well, some of us think that is getting tiresome and damaging to a great sport we all love and enjoy, as it is without merit. Ppl who are getting tired of this remind me of Kimi and his “not working very well” engine ;)
      So here is an idea, if the polarised behavior towards Lewis/McLaren stops, you’ll find that the tiresome polarised debate goes away; ‘There is no smoke without a fire’ and we are all tired of this but sometimes you have t confront what is wrong, so if THAT tires you…… well diddums

      Remember playing the perpetrator and the victim at the same time is a tiring act and not very easy to pull off, especially if you get found out ;)

  35. theo: look at Senna. He has proven over and over again that he can make look other drivers in superior machinery look pathetic in the rain.

    It would be nice if Vettel was the new rain master. He could possibly be. So far his accomplishments in “mediocre” cars and rain are good. I was hoping for Kubica to show his stuff in China but there was nothing there. I know he can drive well in the rain, but a rain master he is not.

    No matter what, the rain shows what kind of driver you have. Hamilton has superb talent and skill, but many times in the rain he thinks he is God/Senna.

    1. “Mediocre” cars? Webber was flying in that Red Bull too and Bourdais was on P4 right behind Vettel at start of the Monza race.

  36. I like Vettel. He could be the next WC, just if he manages to not to crash so often. But I like him.

  37. Even Hamilton has admitted that his performance in the Chinese GP wasn’t his best

    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/74672

    I agree the only real comparison is between teammates because the car form book is not always the same in the wet as the dry, just look at Ferrari last year best car in the dry but not in the wet. This season the best car in the dry seems to be the Brawn while the best car in the wet seems to be the Red Bull.

    In my opinion in the race Hamilton was driving closer to the limit and so went off the track and spun a few times, whereas Kovalainen was more conservative and so stayed on the track and finished ahead of Hamilton.

    Of course sometimes drivers have off days. During the race some people thought Barrichello didn’t have to stop again because of his pace but it turned out he did have to stop again and he was just not fast, yet I think it is generally accepted that he is good in wet conditions.

    While I wouldn’t say Massa is one of the best in the rain I don’t think he is as bad as his reputation seems to makes out, I think Silverstone 2008 was just a very bad day for him.

    Personally I don’t think any driver can currently claim the title of rain master, although there are a few candidates I don’t think anyone is far and away the outright best. But if the cars were setup to the drivers liking for a wet race and I had to pick who would perform best I would probably pick Hamilton at the moment.

  38. Hamilton has superb talent and skill, but many times in the rain he thinks he is God/Senna.

    But wasn’t Senna exactly the same in his younger years?
    He was :]

  39. Barrichello has the best wet record overall. There are four or five drivers all very strong in the wet. Hamilton has been classy when he could be aggressive in a superior car but we haven’t seen enough of him being defensive or points accumulating in an inferior car yet. Massa was rubbish at Silverstone but Webber also had his darkest day and he is acknowledged by most of the others as one of the best in the wet. And as for TC solving issues in the wet in the past look at Webbers 1st off at Silverstone 08 and you can see why relying on TC was a big no no at times. Massa gets a bit risky at times so this may translate worse in the wet when he isn’t settled. Overall Massa has been ultra cool for the past half year and everyone in Brazil is impressed (and they are hard to impress if you are Brazilian!).

  40. Note, Piquet didn’t have as much downforce as Alonso. Alonso even managed to spin. Not saying Piquet wouldn’t have had several spins even if he had the new diffusers :-)

  41. Damon, Yes that was Senna’s mentality, but I’m under the impression that he delivered more amazing wet weather performance. I didn’t follow F1 closely during those years so I may be just looking at Senna’s highlights. I’m sure he had his share of spins.

    Patrickl, Thats why I put “mediocre” in quotes. STR was not considered a top car and neither was Red-Bull. Thats why STR’s first win was a wet race in Monza and Red Bulls is a wet race in China. They have not yet proven to be top cars.

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