Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Sepang, 2012

Hamilton stays on top in second practice in Malaysia

2012 Malaysian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Sepang, 2012Lewis Hamilton stayed quickest in the second practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver was 0.361s faster than the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher.

Their team mates were third and fourth, Jenson Button just two-thousandths of a second slower than Schumacher.

Behind Nico Rosberg were Daniel Ricciardo, Mark Webber, Jean-Eric Vergne and Romain Grosjean.

Sebastian Vettel completed the top ten. But the world champions was unhappy with the RB8, telling the team: “The car is all over the place – poor balance,” during the session.

Hotter conditions greeted the drivers for the second practice session in Malaysia, with track temperatures reaching 45C. Rain threatened but failed to materialise during the session.

Paul di Resta had a scruffy session with two off-track moments in the Force India. First he took to the grass at turn 15 due to a failure on his car. Later on he spun after getting onto the kerb at turn six.

He wasn’t the only driver to go off during the session – both HRT drivers had spins and Michael Schumacher also went off. Hamilton also took to the run off at turn four and later on at turn seven.

Kamui Kobayashi spent much of the session in the pits as the team worked on a gearbox problem. He eventually emerged in the final minutes of practice.

Pos. Car Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’38.172 28
2 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’38.533 0.361 34
3 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’38.535 0.363 30
4 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’38.696 0.524 34
5 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’38.853 0.681 33
6 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’38.891 0.719 27
7 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’39.133 0.961 29
8 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’39.297 1.125 33
9 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’39.311 1.139 22
10 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’39.402 1.230 25
11 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’39.444 1.272 35
12 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’39.464 1.292 26
13 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’39.625 1.453 20
14 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’39.687 1.515 16
15 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’39.696 1.524 29
16 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’40.271 2.099 28
17 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’40.678 2.506 34
18 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’40.947 2.775 33
19 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’41.464 3.292 25
20 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’41.681 3.509 20
21 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’42.594 4.422 18
22 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’42.874 4.702 24
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’43.658 5.486 18
24 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’43.823 5.651 22

2012 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Image ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei

109 comments on “Hamilton stays on top in second practice in Malaysia”

  1. If Red Bull are bad in quali, and have very good race pace again, this ould be a very exciting race, particurlarly with the potential for rain.
    Can’t wait for BBC Highlights

    1. Will there be bbc highlights for all the races this year?

      1. @deurmat Yep. They have 10 races live as well.

        1. nice, the belgian commentary is rubbish. And we can receive bbc1&2 here for free in Belgium.

          1. @deurmat If your French is adequate, try watching on La Deux. They have Jerome d’Ambrosio as a co-commentator and he sometimes delivers useful insights. I agree the commentary on VT4, which I presume is what you are talking about, is offensively bad.

            Also, Telenet is going to take BBC1&2 off the cable, so that won’t be for free anymore either.

          2. @necrodethmortem they are deleting bbc’s and other from their analog tv not their digital tv, so because I have digital tv I will have bbc.

  2. Hmmm. I notice that a lot of lap times are slower than they were this morning. That to me says two things: that a) the track and ambient conditions are cooler, and/or b) most of the teams did some running on hard tyres. Autosport’s live feed of the session seems to indicate this. Although Alonso is faster in this session than he was in the last, he only bested his time by about a tenth of a second. And Massa was about eight-tenths off his FP1 time. This to me indicates that Ferrari are in serious trouble: they’re only marginally quicker on softer tyres than they are on hard. The gap between their times appears to be much smaller than the gap Pirelli indicated. So I’m guessing that they’re over-heating their soft tyres while they cannot get any heat into the primes.

    Of course, that’s jsut speculation based on raw lap data. I have no idea who was using what tyres and when.

    1. Keith wrote:

      “Hotter conditions greeted the drivers for the second practice session in Malaysia, with track temperatures reaching 45C. Rain threatened but failed to materialise during the session.”

      1. Well, that still doesn’t cange my theory by much. Teams traditionally look to use FP2 for race pace, which includes running on the primes. Ferrari just aren’t using their tyres properly.

        1. up to a point they should be slower in hotter conditions. when it’s cooler the air is denser so the engines produce more power (the fuel/air mix is better) and in theory the cars should produce more downforce. i’m slightly sceptical about the second part of that, but cooler conditions should equal better performance (up to a point).

          1. Anthony Davidson said during the practice that due to hot weather cars can loose up to 7% of aerodynamic downforce, as the air expands while getting hotter therefore being less dense :)

    2. they all were on the hards in the morning

    3. Richard F150 - I am not a truck
      23rd March 2012, 14:01

      As a guess I would suspect they turn the engine power down a bit too if the temperature is as hot as it looked. Especially as its early in the season and they dont want to overcook the engines in case they need them later.

  3. eventhough its practice.. Massa is way off (1.3s) Alonso.. Problem with new chassis too ?

    1. @prdsh – What are the odds that Ferrari built two bad chassis in two races, and both of them went to the same driver?

      Still, we won’t know for sure until after the race.

      1. @PM, Kimi is slower than Grosjean. If trend goes on this is one of the biggest upset of team mates this year.. As we recall the team mates voting here in F1F. Any thoughts about it?

        1. @kyle – I think Raikkonen needs a bit of time. The Lotus pair are very difficult to judge, because Raikkonen blew his qualifying lap in Melbourne, and I suspect Grosjean’s flying lap was a freak lap. His race pace – what little we saw of it – was probably more representative of his ability right now.

          Nevertheless, I think Lotus represent a genuine threat to Ferrari’s position (Mercedes, too). They just need to make good on their development plans this year, but I think their biggest potential problem comes from within: Eric Boullier is a particularly poor team manager.

          1. well said

          2. I think Raikkonen needs a bit of time. The Lotus pair are very difficult to judge, because Raikkonen blew his qualifying lap in Melbourne, and I suspect Grosjean’s flying lap was a freak lap

            Surely that just means he has the ability, but rarely can use the car to his full potential?

      2. I have a feeling Grosjean will get the better of Kimi…this whole season..

        i get this feeling coz Massa was able to get better of Kimi..and overall i think Grosjean is more talented and faster than Kimi..

  4. Looks like a Hamilton Weekend. Good pace and no reliabilty issue. Seeing the Mercedes up there, i am hopeful for a podium for Schumacher. Dissappointed with the pace and reliability of the Force India. Hope they have a better weekend.

    1. @1abe

      Looks like a Hamilton Weekend.

      After FP2, Australia looked like a “Hamilton Weekend” as well.

      1. After FP2 in Australia, Hamilton finished at 16th position. Not sure what you are talking about.
        Anyways, i am just saying that, so far it looks good for him. Hopefully he has a good weekend for his sake. But i sure wont lose sleep if he has another poor race though..!

      2. Well lets hope they fixed the clutch issue and also calculate Jenson and Hamiltons fuel levels properly this time. Considering they were in fuel saving mode from lap 8 onwards I can only assume that they would have been miles ahead if they had enough fuel in the cars.

        1. U do knw that if u put in more fuel it slows the car down a little more with every little bit of fuel u put in?

          1. Yeah, but McLaren made a msitake calculating their fuel levels in Australia. They had to go into fuel-saving mode on the eighth lap just so that they would have enough fuel to get to the end of the race.

          2. Obviously that is the case, but the Maclarens were so much quicker than the others the extra fuel is unlikely to have slowed them down too much.

          3. Yes thats true. But lets not forget that ıf they had to save from lap 8 ıt means that the mıss calculatıon must have been abıt substantıal. If they have to put more fuel ın the car then from lap 1 they would be a lıttle slower..wheretwud pıck up pace would be towards the end of the race tho because they wudnt have to fuel save lıke they dıd ın the last race.

        2. I think some people are getting FP2 & FP# confused? Usually we see some low fuel runs at the end of FP3, not FP2.

      3. It looked like a Hamilton weekend up until the start of the race on Sunday.

        1. yes but he got his front wing setup wrong for the race,plus a slight clutch problem,fuel saving mode and losing a place during the safety car,you shouldnt base much on what happened in australia.its very rare for lewis to be that slow off the line,and he normally gets his set up right.he just needs to avoid collisions this season.

      4. Yeah !! Button has developed such great racecraft and grown in confidence since winning WDC , I think Hamilton is still quicker in a single lap , but that’s about all , and a race is not won in one lap. Come race day , Button at least (if the McLaren is indeed the quickest car) will be ahead of Lewis.

    2. I’m rooting for Schumacher success.

      1. macca1977 (@)
        23rd March 2012, 9:32

        He is looking very good for this race. I’m surprised he has the same pace as Nico now. I like Nico too, hope Schumi is not gonna destroy him this season, just beat him.

        1. I knew he would beat him, just bursts of confidence whereas, Nico is sort of Massa type of a driver. Too sensitive. At least that is the picture I get from them.

        2. looks like he has more this season actually..

  5. all the times were set using Option tyre?

  6. The top tens all times are set on the medium compound while Vettel set it on the harder compound. Might want to take note of it.

    Raikkonen is another on hard tyres.

    1. Excerpt from Autosport:
      40 min: Vettel is out there using the medium compound tyre for the first time. He is seventh in the standings with a best lap of 1m39.402s so far.

      He used ‘Medium’ compound.

      1. My bad! Probably should go to sleep. He is on Medium AFTER he has set his personal best lap on HARD compound.

  7. Worries me a bit to see McLaren on top. No bad feelings for them and I’m happy they’re on top, but after a season which was dominated by Red Bull, I don’t want to see another season with a dominating team. Other teams are catching up, which is very good for races and excitment.

  8. Oh dear, doesn’t sound too good from Vettel does it? That’s what practice is for I guess ;)

    Good to see HRT within 107%.

    1. Really good news, hopefully that means they’ll be allowed to race even if they have mechanical issues tomorrow. If they keep it up they might even be on a par with Marussia before we get to Europe.

      I don’t mind if someone’s off the pace if they are racing someone else that’s off the pace. I don’t like situations such as with Merc last year when they were sometimes just pootling around on their own.

      1. @f1addict Yeah, having a microcosm of competitive teams is half the appeal for me. It’s a fascinating battle, often closer than that going on ahead at the top of the grid.

    2. He doesnt like that back end now the rails have been taken away from him. Go Webber I say

      1. F1fanNL (@)
        24th March 2012, 1:34

        If you’re saying Vettel only won because the car was easy to drive then what does that say about Webber? Was Webber just too scared to go as fast as Vettel for the past 2-3 years?!

    3. @andrewtanner – Nevertheless, Vettel insists that Red Bull is much closer to the front in terms of race pace. And maybe they are, given the way the Australian Grand Prix played out, but looking back 2011, a general race order tended to establish itself towards the end of FP2. Even when Red Bull were saving qualifying simulations for FP3.

      1. The redbulls were helped by the Mercs not racing well at all and the Maclarens not being fueled properly (plus obviously immense good fortune from the safety car). Although I do think they do have slightly better race pace than quali pace, I still don’t think they are even close to the Maclarens. If Mercedes have worked out their race issues they will also be ahead of Red Bull in the race.

        Would love to see Williams up there this year too.

        1. The Mclarens not being fueled probably wasn’t much of a big deal as you think.
          People took a few words and stretched them. Mclaren wouldn’t have been 20 seconds further down the road if the fuel was better.

          1. @solo it depends on how underfuelled they were. There is obviously a cut off point to weight vs speed. Lap 8 is very early

          2. They just confirmed the problem in lap 8, they weren’t saving from lap 8 till the end. For example Button saved from lap 8 for a few laps and then went back to normal, another 4-5 laps in the second stint and then he went to save fuel mode close to the end again but the safety car did most of the job for him so he could go full at the restart.
            Also they choose wisely the laps they save fuel. They choose laps that they wouldn’t need to push much to save tyres etc.
            Things ain’t that simple. They don’t lose huge amounts of time simply because they save a little fuel. It has to be a completely extreme situation where they are massively under-fuel and even notice late to make them lose a significant amount.

          3. @solo what you say makes sense, I suppose it’s gonna take a few races to gauge their relative pace and by that time the development race starts to take effect, either way I’m intrigued to see how it’s all gonna pan out ;-)

          4. Solo,

            However the maclarens were both pulling away at quite a rate at the beginning and then around lap 8 or so they suddenly stopped pulling away and were even getting closed in on. Yes there were a few laps during the rest of the race that they were able to put in some hot laps but generally they were relatively slower after the first 8-10 laps. This seem that they switched fuel mixtures very early and seemingly to a leaner mixture than the rest of the field.

            We will however know more after this next race as if they put in consistently faster laps than the opposition during most of the race then we will know that they were running lean in Melbourne.

        2. The thing is, with Mercedes, it’s all ‘if’. Theoretically anyone can have a great package, but it’s translating that into great lap times what’s crucial.

          1. I would say it is when. Clearly their advantage will never be as great in the race as quali due to the nature of their system, but the more they learn about the cars behaviour the more they will be able to extract the benefits. Red Bull are clearly worried as they are making so much noise about the wing.

      2. Stellar race pace won’t do them much good if they begin the race staring at the back of four silver cars. And maybe Grosjean and Raikkonen too.

        1. I don’t mind if they win again by saving fuel…RBR had a number of concerns last year but mostly overcame them sometimes with luck but it all counted as high domination at the end of the season.

  9. Toro Rosso kids is catching up with da big boys to reach Q1 tomorrow qualifying. Great expectations.

    1. You meant Q3. Everyone’s reaching Q1 :)

      1. Sorry mate, wrong typo.

  10. I think Hamilton is an exceptional qualifying driver; he had some good ones last year as well. Seems like in racing conditions he puts the tyres under too much pressure to extract performance. With Australia as well, he may have been caught out by the safety car but I got the feeling that Button managed degradation much better and this was the case last year as well.

    If Lewis can become a little easier on the tyres and manages his race better, I guess he can win the championship this year. The thing is that both McLaren and their drivers must maximize their advantage in the early part of the season as I believe that Red Bull will get stronger as the season progresses. It happened in 2009 when they were better than Brawn in the second half and it can happen again.

    1. Although he is more aggressive than Button but I believe Hamilton can manage his tyres like button if he is in the lead with a 10s gap…
      I think in Australia he lost the race in the first corner, not because of tyre degradation.

      1. this is exactly it.ppl keep talking about tyre degredation,but lewis problem last season wasnt that,it was collisions with other drivers.he still won 3 races like button tho,getting mclarens last win of last season too.
        in australia he had a different front wing setup that wasnt right for the race,but the poor start was the main thing that cost him.
        but slow starts like that are rare from lewis.

        1. Before the Pirellis we used to consistently see drivers go faster lap after lap towards the end of their stint.

          Last year I noticed only 3 people who could do that Vettel, Button and Alonso. Hamilton just couldn`t go faster towards end of his stint, its like he goes faster then he gets way slower. He just hasn`t figured out these tires.

          This year i think there are 4 who have demonstrated they can do that in Australia, Button, Vettel, Alonso and Raikkonen. I am particularly impressed with Alonso and Raikkonen, i think with a little bit better car Raikkonen can challenge for championship.

          1. I’m not sure but I think Hamilton set a fastest lap in his last laps of Abu dhabi last year. I think with pirellis’s you can extract performance anytime you want but not always and in every lap!

      2. @snafu True in Australia he lost out in the first corner. But my point is that Lewis seems to be harder on the tyres than Button. I am sure he is good enough to manage it and as you say that maybe a 10sec gap might ease the pressure of having to push that much. Yet, I think that he does not do it consistently enough as he is capable of. I understand that Hamilton’s aggression is his style but with the Pirelli’s I do feel they need to be coaxed a bit. A good comparison is with Sauber where Perez is more conservative in his approach and can do a 1 stopper while Kobayashi is more the aggressor and really loses lap time fast when the tyres ‘give’.

        1. When you consider that all the rules are now kind of set against his driving style and driving way i’ll say it’s to his credit that he hasn’t lost the ball and can keep it up with the best. It shows how he can pull threw different situations.
          Just look how some other drivers like Webber and Massa fall when conditions change.

          1. @solo True, The McLaren team have a very good driver lineup. Each one complements the other. And Hamilton is by no means slow or incapable. I think that on his day Lewis can make the others look like they were arcade racers and sometimes I think he just tries too hard. Maybe its the expectation maybe that’s how he is. It is not wrong to be aggressive as well. Like you said the rules may be set against him but he is better than them. I just feel that if he can get over his tyre issues he would be untouchable. An amazing quality Vettel had last year was that even though he was on pole and leading a race, he always had the tyre to back it up. If the team needed him to push 12 laps into a stint he would be able to push.

            In that aspect credit is due to Pirelli as well for bringing out an aspect of racing that seemed forgotten; i.e. tyre management. Bridgestone like the words making the name were just that stones, wont degrade wont spoil.

      3. Abu Dhabi last year.

  11. Not sure if you guys have noticed, but Narain has been faster than De La Rosa in both the practice even after having car problems . . . hhhhmmmmm . . .

    1. i believe Pedro will be able to beat him in the race though..
      as Narain is a aggressive driver but not one with great concentration over a longer distance and is prone to making errors.
      I wouldn’t be surprised if he out qualifies pedro over the season
      but Pedro can extract more over a race distance.
      bit like button, hamilton situation..but obviously not at the same talent level..

  12. Love to see the sector times, I watched on TV in Sarajevo so I couldnt follow the commentary, but Jensons lap had an awful first sector but he then got within a whisker of Schuey, anyone know where these might be published ?

    1. http://www.formula1.com/default.html

      you get to see the same timing screen as the teams use, and has text commentary

      1. I looked but it was replaced by his next lap before I could see, I wondered if their best times are recorded anywhere showing sectors, I know the FIA do it for qualifying and the race, but was just inetrested to see how he compared to Lewis over the next 2 sewctors. cheers.

      2. @paulipedia There’s actually a lot less information on there than the teams have on their timing screens – they have access to several screens of live data.

  13. Vettel:

    “The car is all over the place – poor balance,”

    Not wishing to endulge in Schadenfreude too much, but this is music to my ears.

    Ferrari would have sacked Newey by now ;)

    1. indulge even. Meh.

  14. Christian Horner is making a really big deal out of Mercedes’ front wing F-duct. He queried it in Australia, and Whiting ruled it legal. He appealed the verdict and threatened a formal protest, but the FIA maintained that it was still legal. He requested a clarification ahead of Sepang, and the FIA threw it out. Now he wants “more talk” about the rear wing, claiming that there is still no resolution and that it may still be illegal.

    He’s certainly making a big song and dance out of it. Does anyone else get the feeling that Red Bull might have something in their car that would make it very difficult – if not outright impossible – for them to introduce their own FWFD? Or that developing their own FWFD would push them beyond the limitations permitted by the Resource Restriction Agreement?

    1. As far as I know, there is currently no RRA in place, especially since RBR is out of the FOTA, so that should be no problem.

      And then again, maybe it’s Redbull who’ eager to safe some money rather than invest huge amounts of money in copying the DRS F-duct, and other teams like Mclaren not bothering about money and just go and design their own version.

      1. With the team facing so much criticism about overspending when they were supposed to be observing the RRA, I doubt they care too much about keeping costs down.

        The problem with the FWFD is that the air going in through the DRS vents needs to travel back through the car in the opposite direction to the car’s actual travel. I’m no expert, but I very much imagine that because of this, the channels the air follows from rear wing to front would need to be set out in a very exact way so as to let the air flow through the car in the most efficient way possible. Especially since the intended effect of the FWFD needs to be felt as soon as the DRS flap is opened.

        This is a problem because it will no doubt be very difficult for the channels to reach the front wing without first passing through the survival cell. And the survival cell needs to be homologated; once it passes its crash tests, it cannot be changed. The FIA is unwilling to let changes through for any reasons other than safety, and they go over any plans for re-homologation very carefully so that teams cannot simply claim “it’s safer than the old version”, but include something that offers aerodynamic gain – if they find anything, they will reject it (a bit like Lotus’ reactive ride-height system, which was claimed to do one thing, but was actually intended for something else). This is why McLaren had the best F-duct in 2010: it was incorporated into the design of the survival cell, which made it the most efficient. Everyone else had to find a way around a survival cell that they could not change.

        So, I’m willing to bet that Christian Horner so vehemently opposes the FWFD because it offers an excellent advantage, but Red Bull’s hands are tied either by a survival cell that they cannot modify, or something in the design of the car – maybe to do with that slot in the nose-step – that makes it very difficult to work in an FWFD. Possibly the kind of something that they don’t want to give up.

        1. Good points PM, it is a little odd how much Horner is talking about this when most other teams seem to be saying little, if anythink about it.

          1. Propbably because Mercedes are their closest rivals at the moement, particularly in qualifying. They can’t find anything to protest on the McLaren or Lotus, so are trying to hobble Mercedes to prevent them from qualifying, and maybe finishing, ahead of them.

            Ironic, considering how they considered complanits against their cars to be ridiculous and frivilous in previous years…

        2. @prisoner-monkeys if they struggle to copy it and others can copy it then they’ll really suffer in qualy and we may be seeing redbulls trying to come thru the field more often, something I really missed last season

      2. AFAIK, the RRA is still in place, and legally binding.

        1. I don’t think it is. A limited version of the RRA was put in place by the FOTA, which teams had to obey. Now, teams are still bined to this FOTA agreement for 3 months after officially leaving. Those 3 months are over now, and they should be able to spent however much they like. Neither the FOTA nor the FIA can do anything about it, hence the talk and media attention about a new RRA agreement this time controlled by the FIA.

          But correct me if im wrong. :)

          1. The FOTA status and RRA agreement ain’t the same document. The teams didn’t just shake hands and agreed in the RRA. They sign a few papers so they are still under the agreement. The problem is that who is gonna stop someone from cheating and even if someone get caught who can punish him?
            That’s why many teams want the FIA to play the police.

    2. I think that’s possible. They are not worried about Mercedes but the Mclaren. If easier for McLaren (FWFD) and too complicated for Red bull to copy..

    3. It is a bit pot kettle black on the part of RB. Or have they completely forgot about their Front wing shenanigans?

      1. Do you think that bothers them?

        Only half of Formula 1 involves beating your opponents on the track – the other half involves beating them in the rule book, getting your advantages preserved whilst getting everyone else’s banned.

        1. The protests may allow RBR and other teams to understand how the system works, since Merc will have to explain the system in front of the FIA and other constructors to prove it’s legal.

          What’s the better way of understanding the FWFD than forcing Mercedes to explain it themselves? :)

          Undoubtedly RBR can see Mercedes as their direct rivals and the force standing between them and McLaren so i am sure that most of your speculations are spot on.

          What i can’t understand is that the FIA haven’t banned the system already, as far as i understand it’s not applicalbe to road cars and developing it would mean huge, huge spending from the teams to catch up if it proves competitive, which is pointless – i’m sure the system will be gone before 2013.

          As for implementing it in new cars – i am no expert as well and i wondered since the original F-Duct how the air can freely pass those complicated pipes inside of the car (2011 Renault’s complicated exhaust got me even more puzzled), but then i looked at my 20m garden hose and how it effortlessly pass water through wether it’s curled up or not, so i guess it isn’t such a big issue.

          Anyway that’s my 5 cents on this story. ;)

          1. It has not been banned as it is perfectly legal!

            It has nothing to do whether it is useful on a road car or not…. Just how much of an F1 car is useful to a road car? (Probably less than 1% of the total car is useful on road cars). The air will not have many obstructions or bends to go around as this system was designed into the car so the whole cars design would be based around getting the air to the front efficiently. Also the FIAs rules should not be based on whether competitors can cheaply reproduce the systems or not. If that becomes the case then just Make f1 a spec series like GP2. I think it is ridiculous that the FIA ban every clever idea.

          2. It depends on how you view F1 as a sport.

            I see it as a development ground for new technologies that can be transferred to road car manufacturers, i.e. new materials, safety, aero understanding, KERS, engines, etc.. All of this is has a bigger impact than one can imagine.

            The costs of implementing those systems should be taken into account since it’s reflecting on smaller teams who don’t have the kind of money to blow out on R&D that Mercedes have.

            Yes – the idea is perfectly legal – as was the double diffusers, original F-Duct, exhaust blown diffusers and so on. All very clever ideas. Now they are perfectly banned.

            Now would you rather see all of the teams redesign their chassis, safety cages and crash-test them once again (for a relatively minor benefit as it seems, they’re weren’t fastest on the speed traps in both tracks so far) just for it to be banned before next season or ban it right away and clear things up?

    4. f1fanindia (@)
      23rd March 2012, 14:17

      Horner is scared of McLaren not the Mecedeze, because they are the pioneers in the design of F-DUCT. Now this is deemed as legal he knows it would be impossible to catch the McLaren this season who are already in good position if they come with their own F-DUCT.

  15. I’m tipping Button for a win again this weekend. His marathon, rathern than sprint, mindset has paid him dividends in the last few years. Mercedes looking good, as are Renault. It’s refreshing to see a slightly different top 3 teams to what we’ve been used to over the last few years.

    1. Tyre management will decide this one, all things being equal…….if so…Button

  16. Well, it looks like we might see a Mercedes on the front row. That will be interesting, because then we may hear that familiiar choo-choooo — as when Toyota had that that awesome qualification car and so-so race car.

    Given that both McLaren drivers have had a chance to experience both tires in different fuel levels, I don’t see Button stealing a march on Hamilton by sussing out the tires better. Contrary to the apparent wisdom, last year did not see Button out-manage Hamilton per se. You can look at the beginning of the season at China and and to the end at Abu Dhabi, Hamilton knew what to do with the tires. Button brings the car home and wins when it’s quick. He is good at these sort of gut-level calls, as at Hungaroring last year, that reflect the kind of instinct borne from experience. Also, I think Button has some incredible streak of never retiring due to an accident. Hamilton, not so much.

    This could be an epic seaon for McLaren. Hamilton could rack up a major stack of poles. Ferrari and RBR are in disarray. If Hamilton can keep it between the fences (it will be hard to hit Massa on his sofa back in Brazil) and Button can keep the Mercedes beind on Saturday, then its not looking good for the opposition. Newey, though, you can’t count out. You know he has some ridiculous .5s-quality device in simulation right now.

    1. Can’t say I disagree with much of what you are saying although I think JB only gets stronger by the weekend so I’m not sure what was true last year or the year before applies to today…ie. I think LH might have his hands full with JB moreso than you are implying.

      Also I don’t feel like RBR is in disarray, nor would I necessarily categorize Ferrari that way either… I think both just need a little more time, Ferrari moreso than RBR…but I do acknowledge your Newey comment.

  17. Can’t help but think Vettel is missing the EBD a little. Whereas Webber never really liked it. I’d be willing to bet the two RBR will have more of a 2010 year than last season, but we’ll see what happens!

    1. F1fanNL (@)
      24th March 2012, 1:42

      You mean Vettel having one car failure after another losing 80 or so points throughout the season by no fault of his own while Webber’s only problems is to keep it out of the Korean and Abu Dhabi walls? We’ll see. So far no unfortunate points loss at Australia for Vettel.

    2. F1fanNL (@)
      24th March 2012, 1:51

      Also, the EBD gave more downforce. Ask any driver what they’d prefer and they’ll all say they would like more downforce. Even with the EBD drivers (Hamilton for example) would have liked to have more downforce. The EBD made the car easier to drive (better traction at the rear, better overall stability) so if anything Webber should have been closer to Vettel because there’s less a driver needs to do.
      So, if Vettel was only faster because the car was easier to drive than Webber is just a pansy who is afraid to go as fast as Vettel would go. No?

      I see this only as the last remaining excuse as to why Vettel was winning last year because all other excuses have been laid to rest by now.

      1. Fair comments. I’m just speculating, that’s all. It was interesting reading Webber’s latest BBC column and how he said the car felt different with the EBD and now the cars feel more ‘traditional’ again, which he prefers.

        I’m not making excuses or being a fanboy, but I won’t hide the fact I’m a fan of Webber’s.

  18. It’s only fp2 but glad to see MSC challenging for the pole. Still maccas is the team to beat but i don’t mind as long as I don’t see the finger infront. Go MSC and hopefully ALO can make it to Q3 to challenge for top 5.

  19. I believe from last years results and last weeks race there is no doubt that given a dry track and good grid positions for both drivers Lewis is about 2 tenths per lap quicker than Jenson. The shame is that generally this only lasts for about half a lap during the race if Lewis is required to drive at maximum pace. His pace to make the tyres last seems to be about 2-3 tenths a lap slower than JB. and I can’t see an improvement ,just more frustration from Lewis. Even if Lewis wins it doesn’t really seem to give him increased confidence , I just sense he dreads the next race when he will have the same problems with the tyres. His whole persona was formed by the drive to win by aggresive (exciting) driving , a driver in front was just a target to be intimidated and beaten. Last year showed him that the moves he thought would win him races (and fans) were no longer possible or acceptable . Mark Webber had a similar problem but manged to calm himself ,obviously due to more maturity and a desire to keep his place at RBR. If Lewis was going to Morph. into Jenson I think it would have happened by now, thank goodness it hasn’t . The only thing that will bring the old Lewis back is a change of tyre policy back to fully durable racing tyres.

    1. I think this is a very good account of what is going on at the moment. Can we really imagine Hamilton throwing the car down the inside of another car, sliding the back end while doing so like on Kimi in 2007? No, because it’s all about tyre conservation and such overtaking would ‘damage the tyres’. I have my own personal opinions on this artificial spicing up of races which everyone bar a few seem to be congratulating Pirelli on, but beneath the surface we’re gradually all going to get tired of drivers talking about tyre conservation every race. Agreed about Webber being quite mature about it all though.

    2. F1fanNL (@)
      24th March 2012, 2:05

      If that’s the case than Hamilton just isn’t the best racing driver.

      If you look at Alonso for example you see a racing driver who’s quick in all circumstances. Race lasting tyres, heavy degrading tyres, wet, dry, it doesn’t change his chances much. The only problem Alonso has is his current race car and his inability to cope with a fast(er) teammate. Although that was a few years ago and one might argue Alonso could have learned from 2007.

      Anyway, I don’t think Hamilton’s problem is the heavy degrading tyres. If you look at most races last season Hamilton was quicker than Button all throughout the race. In China he had the same strategy as Button, who was suffering loss of grip at the end? Button.
      The problem is people read too much into a few off results. Yes, there’s a difference between how Hamilton and Button treat their tyres but in order for that to make a real difference Button would need to save an entire pitstop over Hamilton. That hasn’t happened yet and I doubt it will happen anytime soon. I believe if Hamilton hadn’t lost the lead in the first corner he would have won the Australian GP.

  20. the-muffin-man
    23rd March 2012, 16:50

    I’m really disappointed to see Caterham still scrabbling around at the bottom of the time sheets. I thought that with being first to launch and with a full pre season test programme they’d have pulled well away from Marussia and HRT. But they seem to be in exactly the same position as the last two seasons.

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