Vettel and Hamilton at odds over unlapping

F1 Fanatic round-up

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Hockenheim, 2012In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton defends his driving after being criticised by Sebastian Vettel and Christian Horner for unlapping himself during the German Grand Prix.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso cruises to German Grand Prix victory (The Guardian)

Sebastian Vettel: “It’s a bit stupid to disturb the leaders. I think that potentially lost us the position to Jenson [Button].”

Cry baby: Hamilton slams Vettel as German Grand Prix fallout turns into public spat (The Mirror)

Lewis Hamilton: “It doesn?t really bother me what he says, I guess. It shows his maturity. I don?t think I?ve made any silly decisions throughout the race. I had nothing to gain apart from staying out of the way of my team mate.”

Vettel and Horner slam Hamilton (Sky)

Christian Horner: “Why was he interfering with the race leaders? He should have respected the fact that they were ahead on the track.”

F1 Fanatic via Twitter

“Vettel doing himself no favours calling Hamilton’s unlapping ‘stupid’. Remember the Kubica/Vettel/Hamilton move at Interlagos ’08.”

Intelligent Alonso shows he has all the answers (BBC)

“After standing on his Ferrari’s nose to milk the applause, Alonso turned to Button and said: ‘You couldn’t beat me?’ He then pointed to Vettel and said: ‘He couldn’t either.'”

2012 German Grand Prix (McLaren)

Hamilton: “My second-lap puncture was incredibly unfortunate: there was debris scattered across the full width of the track and I didn?t have any option other than to drive straight through it. What?s more frustrating is that, at the time, I was the eighth car through ?ǣ so to be the one to get the puncture is just cruel luck.”

Ferrari Still Not The Fastest Car, Says Domenicali (Speed)

“I believe we still don?t have the fastest car, if we had the fastest car maybe it would be easier to win. We need to improve the car, and we need to make sure our car is good in all the different conditions, wet/dry, different kinds of tyres, and so on.”

McLaren MP4-27 – revised sidepod design (F1)

“The extensive list of updates include lower and more sculptured sidepods, new exhausts, new radiator installation, a revised floor in front of the rear tyres, a new diffuser, new rear wing endplates and modified brakes ducts.”

Ferrari told to ignore RBR technical row (Autosport)

Stefano Domenicali: “When I first saw the note from the technical delegate, I said ‘stay focused on our job today.’ This is something that engineers see and they try to think about. But no, stay focused on what you have to do. Forget about what is happening.”

Ecclestone’s absence fuels talk of charges (The Telegraph)

“After his office intimated that he would fly in late on Saturday, Ecclestone apparently had a change of heart, saying that he did not want to be ‘a distraction’. German media had speculated on Friday that Ecclestone might be arrested if he attended the race.”

German GP – Conference 4 (FIA)

Button on his flat spot during the final stint: “It gave me a little bit of a headache, but that was about it. It was unusual. I guess they just weren’t up to temperature when I hit the brakes that time. We’ve been very good with front-locking in this race. Normally it’s a big issue with the McLaren. In testing we had big issues with front locking. We did some set-up work and we’ve solved a lot of that, which is great for us.”

Comment of the day

There’s been a lot of discussion recently over Ferrari using Italian in their team radio messages. Bullfrog reckons it’s up to TV broadcasters to translate them instead of forcing Ferrari to use English:

Sky are asking people to pay a premium for their service ?ǣ the least they can do is find someone to translate the messages, instead of making lame jokes and sounding amazed that people speak in funny foreign languages…

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Matt!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Five years ago today a furious Scott Speed claimed his Toro Rosso team were trying to force him and Vitantonio Liuzzi out.

Sure enough, it soon turned out Speed had already started his last race: he was replaced by Sebastian Vettel at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Liuzzi was dropped at the end of the season to make way for Sebastien Bourdais.

Image ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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197 comments on Vettel and Hamilton at odds over unlapping

  1. Andy Redden (@andyredden-on-f1) said on 23rd July 2012, 1:04

    I think Vettel and Horner are very, very bad losers. Horner’s excuse for Vettel’s move on Button was pathetic and this isn’t the first time Vettel has slandered other drivers. (KAR in Malaysia) Vettel is far from the complete driver and sportsman and to be honest I feel he has been rather poor this season, the credits he got for last season now seem over the top as he is nowhere near Alonso in terms of talent this season, and if I were him I would start well away from joining Fernando at Ferrari.

    • Girts (@girts) said on 23rd July 2012, 7:49

      I wouldn’t be as harsh and I think that Vettel has shown a lot of greatness this year, too. At the same time, I have to say that the success seems to have gone to his head and that Red Bull are now light years away from the ‘different’ team that they once claimed to be, it seems that there is no upper limit to their self-righteousness. I found this quote from Vettel particularly amusing:

      If [Hamilton] wants to go fast he should drop back and find a gap.

      I wonder why Vettel himself didn’t drop back and wanted to fight with Alonso for the victory instead… For sure, I understand the difference between fighting for the lead and the 15th place but an F1 driver will always fight for every inch and every second, no matter what position he is in. I don’t believe that Vettel has suddenly forgotten that.

  2. HoHum (@hohum) said on 23rd July 2012, 3:04

    New topic, engine mapping. I am finding this controversy hard to understand. Initially the scrutineers claim there is less mid-range torque and later claim their is more mid-range torque, which is it more or less and does it really matter? All cars seem to have several engine “maps” available in order to extend range, extend engine life, run cooler etc.
    Smoothing the torque curve is desirable for driveability , especially in the wet or with these tyres to prevent loss of adhesion, has Newey got the scrutineers so spooked they see everything as being about the aerodynamics or was there really something in the mapping purely to increase exhaust-gas flow?

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd July 2012, 8:14

      I think the part what gets the FIA suspicious is that they were not having this flat in the power curve earlier in the season @Hohum There is less torque being delivered than would result from the imput of the pedal, i.e. the engine would have more torque that is not used for what an engine is supposed to do.

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 23rd July 2012, 23:35

        @bascb, I realise that the FIA have suspicions but to me less torque usually means less fuel being burnt (in the cylinder) and therefore less exhaust gas to flow over aerodynamic aids. With tyre life being such an important factor this year I can easily believe that the engineers may want to limit mid-range torque so as to reduce power- oversteer in slow corners. Without being able to see the before and after torque graphs or knowing how the torque is reduced all I can do is speculate, but to me it seems more likely that this is more about traction control and/or fuel economy than an aerodynamic cheat.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 24th July 2012, 6:15

          but to me less torque usually means less fuel being burnt (in the cylinder) and therefore less exhaust gas to flow over aerodynamic aids

          Its exactly that what the FIA minds, @hohum
          These engine maps give them less torque with the SAME input of fuel (as the relation between pedal-fuel flow is linear to prevent traction control), meaning that the energy put in is not going to the engine, but being used for exhaust blowing. But as you mention, part of the advantage is surely the traction control factor as well.

  3. sumedh said on 23rd July 2012, 3:19

    While there is nothing wrong with what Hamilton did, I am surprised why blue flags were never shown to Hamilton after the pass.
    He was less than a second ahead of Vettel at all times. I would have thought that gap was enough for someone to show the blue flag to Lewis.

    • vho (@) said on 23rd July 2012, 3:32

      Not sure, but did Lewis initially give way to Vettel first and then came back at them once he found grip in his new tyres? Nevertheless, I think the blue flags are waved if the back marker is visibily slower and the lap times reflect that too. But I think in Lewis’ case his lap times were faster and was visibily pulling away from Vettel once he was in front. For me, that’s enough to say Lewis’ car was faster and was allowed to unlap himself. The only part that Vettel lost time was during the overtake – waving his arm around wasn’t going to make him go any faster…

    • Mark (@marlarkey) said on 23rd July 2012, 18:19

      He quickly pulled out more than a second gap from Vettel…. the fact that Vettel couldn’t even reclose on Hamilton despite having a DRS advantage shows how much faster Hamilton was.

  4. mnmracer (@mnmracer) said on 23rd July 2012, 6:49

    I think it might be fruitful to get some facts straight on Brazil 2008:
    – Kubica overtook Hamilton without impeding him. He made the pass on a straight and had completely passed before the corner.
    – Vettel was battling Hamilton for position, so he had every right to overtake Hamilton.

  5. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 23rd July 2012, 6:50

    I think it would be much better if F1 adopted the Indycar rule of allowing drivers to fight to stay on the same lap. In F1, there is the strange grey area where you are allowed to unlap yourself, but have to move out of the way in case your holding up a leading driver. So in case you overtake a leader but a few corners later he is able to come back at you, do you have to move out of the way; or if five corners later he is still pretty close behind and you get a blue flag, do you have to move out of the way again?

    There is only one problem in using the rule of allowing drivers to fight to stay on the lead lap: Monaco. The leaders may just be able to get around the HRTs and Marussias, but at least one McLaren saw no opportunity to pass a Caterham. Or if, similar to the last race, a midfielder has some sort first-lap problem, and emerges from the pits just in front of, or among the leaders, then they would be following a Toro Rosso for 77 laps. On the other hand, that might actually spice an otherwise boring Monaco GP.

    • Girts (@girts) said on 23rd July 2012, 8:09

      @AdrianMorse This is what the article 20.5 of the F1 sporting regulations says:

      As soon as a car is caught by another car which is about to lap it during the race the driver must allow the faster driver past at the first available opportunity. If the driver who has been caught does not allow the faster driver past, waved blue flags will be shown to indicate that he
      must allow the following driver to overtake.

      I think that ‘the faster driver’ are the keywords here. Vettel was clearly not faster than Hamilton when the latter unlapped himself.

      I agree with you that the blue flags should go. For sure, getting rid of them would generate some new headaches as well but I think the gains would outweigh the disadvantages.

      • McGregski (@mcgregski) said on 23rd July 2012, 15:45

        You’d think that it would be more interesting to not get the slower drivers to let the leaders by… it’s surely more interesting and a better test of skill if the leading cars have to work to pass the slower cars. These are, after all, generally the better drivers in the faster cars competing at the pinnacle of motorsport, if they can’t manage to overtake a slow car without them pulling over then they’re in the wrong job.

        Some politics and rules ruin F1 a bit for me, I could understand this rule if the slower cars were dangerously slow but the FIA could just apply the 107% rule mid race and black flag dangerously slow drivers

  6. SennaNmbr1 (@) said on 23rd July 2012, 7:07

    Times like this Vettel shows his true colours.

  7. Girts (@girts) said on 23rd July 2012, 7:27

    As for the COTD, I agree that Sky should be able to afford hiring translators but I’m not sure if the same applies to the smaller TV companies all over the world, particularly because Italian is not the only ‘foreign’ language spoken by the F1 fraternity; for instance, Grosjean and Boullier might start communicating in French via team radio.

    I personally don’t think it’s a very important issue but we have talked a lot about team radio as F1’s wasted asset before and, in my opinion, there is little use of full access to it if the overwhelming majority of fans cannot understand the messages and their TV commentators are unable translate them, too. It’s a matter of fan-friendliness of F1.

    • Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 23rd July 2012, 7:51

      @girts I don’t know about costs of translation in other countries, but in Poland for instance it’s around 10 Euro per hour, as far as languages such as Italian, Spanish, Portuguese or French are concerned. For English and German it’s even cheaper. I really doubt a TV station which can afford to show F1 cannot afford translators for couple of hours every week or two.

      • bag0 (@bag0) said on 23rd July 2012, 9:17

        The other thing is, if you want to understand it, you have to learn fifty words at most in italian, if you cant make out anything of the message with those fifty words, they must be chatting about family.

        • Girts (@girts) said on 23rd July 2012, 9:58

          @bag0 I don’t think it’s that simple. The number of topics is, of course, quite limited but one can use quite many words to talk just about the state of the rear tyres, let alone all the other things related to the race (see IDR’s comment below). Besides, the sound quality is usually pretty bad when the driver is talking, I often don’t understand even the messages in English so I guess you need to understand the language very well.

          As for the costs of interpreters’ services, @cyclops_pl has a good point, I would also like to know how much each TV company pays for broadcasting F1 and how big or tiny the translation costs would be. Still, it’s unlikely that a lot of TV companies will hire a bunch of translators so that each of them can translate one or two sentences per race. This is just an example of how simple things can get overcomplicated.

    • q85 said on 23rd July 2012, 9:57

      TV companies wouldnt have to. FOM could have it as part of the feed. the messages are delayed anyway and it could come up as subtitles on bottom of screen

      • Girts (@girts) said on 23rd July 2012, 10:00

        If FOM could ensure that, it would be a really good solution.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 23rd July 2012, 10:05

        Subtitles are a great idea, actually.

        Now that I think about it, surely someone at FOM must be vetting these messages as acceptable for broadcast (e.g., not containing any swearing) therefore they must know what they mean and are in a position to provide a translation. So why don’t they?

  8. JCost (@jcost) said on 23rd July 2012, 7:34

    I think Fernando will claim his due WDC#3 this year. Red Bulls still can stop him but McLarens will need a ceratin amount of competence and luck combined to get to the top, unless Jenson or Lewis manages 5 or 6 wins and other podium finishes they will not reach the title.

    • bag0 (@bag0) said on 23rd July 2012, 9:26

      Although I agree with you, there is still a posibility, that one team could emerge with a new spicy upgrade, which can turn the tide. And lets not forget about Ferraris reliability, they have not had any mechanical failure yet, but RedBull, McLaren, Lotus and Mercedes had multiple times. Statistically Alonso should have at least one DNF, which could be very useful to everyone else. The big questions are, when will he have it, how many times, and who’s going to make up ground.

  9. IDR (@idr) said on 23rd July 2012, 7:44

    “making lame jokes and sounding amazed that people speak in funny foreign languages…”? This is not the COTD, this is the stupidity (of sky guys) of the century.

  10. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 23rd July 2012, 7:47

    Dear Red Bull Racing members, both drivers and staff alike, please shut your mouths for a while and stop making an impression you’re just a bunch of sore losers who, when not winning even though you broke the rules on two separate fronts, just yap around about how everyone else is to blame. After the engine mapping controversy this was just stupid, mostly on FIA’s side, now it’s getting disgusting and sad.

  11. IDR (@idr) said on 23rd July 2012, 7:49

    Ferrari Team Radio:

    ALONSO: “Lo so che non è facile, ma cercate di stare tranquilli. Qui è tutto a posto.” – “I know it’s not easy but try to be calm. Everything it’s ok here”

    Lap 61. Button was 1 sec behind him.

  12. BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd July 2012, 8:34

    This is what Renault said about the engine mapping controversy:

    “Formula 1 is a tight environment and we have to try to find every hundredth (of a second) that we can,” said Cyril Dumont, Renault’s principal track support engineer to Red Bull. “We’re not racing lawn-mowers and we were pleased to show that our package was very strong.”

    and they are right off course, its their goal to find every possible and not illegal way to get an advantage, and good job on them.
    Off course they will now have to soon look for something new, but that’s the fun of it in F1!

    • Girts (@girts) said on 23rd July 2012, 8:55

      @BasCB Agreed, F1 is all about trying to find where the limit is and RBR / Renault have done exactly that here. Loopholes in the technical rules, however, should normally be closed as soon as they are detected.

    • bag0 (@bag0) said on 23rd July 2012, 9:33


      Off course they will now have to soon look for something new

      I’m not sure, as no clarification has been made yet. I’m just wondering if their mapping has an aero benefit via the exhaust, or mechanical benefit like a traction control. And the other thing I’m curious about, is it possible, that the same thing was Mclarens electrical gimmick which Button is refferred to a few weaks earlier?

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd July 2012, 9:42

        Its an aero benefit. The fuel is used to be blowing the exhausts over critical parts during mid throttle range, ie. medium fast corners.
        Today is a technical working group meeting, I am convinced they will talk this issue trough and the FIA will send a clarification out before the Hungarian GP weekend @bag0

  13. BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd July 2012, 8:36

    And a happy birthday to Matt!

  14. xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 23rd July 2012, 8:59

    I agree with Sebastian Vettel.
    Due to Hamilton unlapping himself, it caused Vettel to lose a fair amount of aero, it also increased the gap to Alonso, and Button closed up. Furthermore, it got vettel fairly irritated and angry, which meant he was overdriving due to frustration.
    Had that not happened, Vettel would have finished at least 2nd, as befiore, he was hounding Alonso for P1.
    I also agree that it was a stupid thing for Hamilton to do; had he collided with Vettel, then there would be blood to pay.

    • bag0 (@bag0) said on 23rd July 2012, 9:38

      You must be a prophet of some kind, how could you tell if Button was not going to pass him on track? Before the unlapping Button was catching Vettel tenth by tenth, and trailing him by 2-2.5 seconds, his pitstop was ~1.5 sec faster, and you say he would not get him in the DRS zone? I must have forgot the RedBulls extreme top speed.

    • WillP said on 23rd July 2012, 9:42

      Furthermore, it got vettel fairly irritated and angry, which meant he was overdriving due to frustration.

      Poor Vettel. Bad Hamilton!

      I also agree that it was a stupid thing for Hamilton to do; had he collided with Vettel, then there would be blood to pay.

      Yeah, there would have been an investigation, and if it was Hamiltons fault then there would indeed have been hell to pay. But it wasn’t his fault. No, wait, it didnt even happen!

  15. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd July 2012, 9:29

    “Yes and no. Yes and no. He [Hamilton] didn’t attempt to make any move on Fernando. He was a lap down and this was for the lead of the race. Sebastian gets pushed off line, gets dirt on his tyres and it costs him time in a crucial battle with Fernando Alonso.”

    First of all, Christian, Hamilton was faster than Vettel, but only as fast as Alonso. And secondly, Ferrari pitted Alonso before Hamilton could make a move on him, though whether this was because they realised what McLaren were doing or if they were simply following this strategy remains to be seen.

    • q85 said on 23rd July 2012, 10:00

      he had a few goes at him and at one point fernando went defensive.

      this wasnt shown on the BBC highlights i noticed.

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