Hamilton: Mercedes aren’t in a position to win yet

F1 Fanatic round-up

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes aren’t competitive enough to win races yet.

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Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Mercedes can’t win yet – Hamilton (BBC)

“We’re not looking at wins at the moment. We’re hoping to get into the points and fight for top 10.”

Nico Rosberg Q&A – Mercedes need to be the best (F1)

“The car is definitely a big step forward. It feels very nice to drive with a good balance. It is a massive step.”

Pastor hails FW35’s first week (Sky)

“We had a wonderful four days. No problems in the car.”

Webber: Red Bull working at its best (Autosport)

“In 2011 and 2012, we were not super reliable and I could have done better in certain races. But ultimately, we can do better all together, my side, the team side, all of us together. That will mean a strong performance for us in ’13.”

The Pursuits Interview: Bruno Senna (FT, registration required)

“[My mother] was really, really nervous and worried about the whole racing thing and the dangerous side of it but she learnt the hard way that it?s much safer than it was before.”

Activity at Nissan (Joe Saward)

“It is interesting in the light of yesterday?s ruminations about F1 engines that Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan and Renault, will be announcing ‘major news’ for Nismo motorsport and its performance arm on Tuesday in Tokyo.”

Classic season opener: 1950 British GP (MotorSport)

“The first four spots were taken by the Alfa Romeos of Farina, Fagioli, Fangio and Parnell, giving an indication of who the top team would be for the rest of the year.”

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Comment of the day

The role of the current generation tyres and DRS in shaping racing remains a talking point as we head into the third year with them. Nick argues in favour of them:

People moan non-stop about the tyres and DRS and I?ve just about had it. The new tyres and DRS are two of the very best things to ever happen to F1.

I am a massive F1 fan. I live, eat and breath F1 but only because of the way it is now. The other week I happen to get my hands on the entire 2007 season and went to my mates house to have a pure F1 session. It wasn?t long before I was nodding off, my mate too!

People bitch and moan about the racing these days and how it?s artificial etc… but let me tell you, the F1 today is a far better beast than it used to be. The racing in 2007 was downright dull.

I can’t remember which race we were watching, but as I fell off to sleep with boredom, Kimi Raikkonen in a vastly superior Ferrari was coming up behind a slower car, can?t remember which one. He was way faster and cruised right up on the back of the other car. After five-plus laps of following between 0.5 and 1 second behind the other car, I drifted off.

I woke up and saw that another 15 laps had passed, and lo and behold, what do you think I saw? you guessed it, Raikkonen still following the slower car. Boring!
Nick (@Nick101)

From the forum

Happy birthday!

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On this day in F1

The 1958 Cuban Grand Prix was won on this day by Stirling Moss. But the non-championship race is more famous for two other incidents.

The first was the sensational kidnapping of five-times world champion and 1957 Cuban Grand Prix winner Juan Manuel Fangio by pro-Fidel Castro revolutionaries.

Nonetheless the race went ahead but was abandoned after a bridge over the circuit collapsed, killing seven people. The result was declared based on the first six laps.

Image ?? Mercedes/Hoch Zwei

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78 comments on Hamilton: Mercedes aren’t in a position to win yet

  1. R.E. on this day. That is truly shocking to read, and I am so glad we don’t hear tragic stories like that nowadays. The leaps and bounds safety has made since the championships’ inception are illustrated powerfully when put into context such as that.

  2. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 23rd February 2013, 0:12

    Hmmm.
    Rosberg says the car is a “big step forward”, and anything better than last year should at least win one race.

    Yet Hamilton is saying that victory is not on the cards, and they’ll just be fighting for top 10 points positions.

    • Eddie (@wackyracer) said on 23rd February 2013, 0:17

      Well Rosberg driven it last year and knows what kind of car it was then and now, and Ham has the feeling of the Mclaren and knows how car should behave to win races, while the Merc doesnt feel that way :D

      Who knows, we’ll see maybe Lewis is wrong :D

    • Maybe it’s just a matter of minimizing expectations and maximizing amazement at future good results — similar to when Alonso mentions how slow the Ferrari is at every opportunity.

      • Candice said on 23rd February 2013, 4:49

        not surprised. He and Alonso are best mate afterall.

      • JCost (@jcost) said on 24th February 2013, 20:58

        Maybe Lewis wants to say that W04 is not as good as Mp4-27 and winning a race is stil a long shot when they’ll have to beat Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Lotus at least or he’s just palying Alonso to make the wins more “admirable” :)

        I hope Lewis is wrong.

    • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 23rd February 2013, 7:08

      As an example of the improvement, Rosberg says:

      Take the rear. We had massive problems with tyre heating and losing grip and all that.

      But couldn’t that just be due to the characteristics of the new Pirellis? In other words, Nico and Lewis could both be right: the car is no longer struggling with tyres, but at the same time it doesn’t have enough downforce to challenge for wins yet.

      • Candice said on 23rd February 2013, 7:23

        you kidding me? lewis set 1.22.7 on hard compound with 10 lap fuels…….

        And how does any of them know how much downforce is needed to win?? Is there a standard for it??

  3. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 23rd February 2013, 0:15

    Agree with COTD. The problem is, at least with DRS, that it is a good thing, and yes it produces unpredictable races. But we don’t want either thing: we don’t want 2007, nor we want people streaming by midway through the Kemmel straight as in 2011.

    And then the tyres. I doubt drivers never ever struggled with tyres. They are now struggling more. Well, up to them and the team to make it work. After all, it’s still the fastest one with the fastest car that will have better chances. We didn’t see a Marussia winning last year, nor a Toro Rosso on podium. So what’s the problem? Is it really that much of a lottery?

    It’s a nice debate anyway… it’s been 3 years and we’re still very much in it ! And at least we’re not talking about double-diffusers…

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd February 2013, 1:32

      I don’t get this whole “unpredictablity is bad!” train of thought that so many people complain about.

      How, exactly, is that a bad thing? I for one don’t want to be watching races where the result is decided at the first corner, so I welcome things like DRS and the Pirelli tyres that have the potential to produce unexpected results.

      DRS and the Pirellis are not random elements. It’s not like Charlie Whiting spins a chocolate wheel every eight laps, and the unfortunate driver whose name comes up is forced out. Both the tyres and DRS fully within the driver’s ability to control.

    • Is it really that much of a lottery?

      I agree. Last year, 17 of the 20 races were won by the driver who qualified 1st or 2nd. Suggestions that DRS or the Pirelli tyres have turned racing into a lottery are gross exaggerations.

      • Brace (@brace) said on 23rd February 2013, 3:49

        @tdog

        Good point. Especially when you consider the fact that the other 3 races were won by Alonso and Kimi, who from what I’ve heard, are not too shabby, eh? :)

        • @brace – to add to that, one was wet and Kimi’s win was from 4th: only Valencia was really a surprise win, and at that probably only happened because of Vettel’s alternator failure (although you could still call his drive from 11th to 2nd unpredictable)! So really, was it all that bad?

    • Jason (@jason12) said on 23rd February 2013, 8:40

      DRS is fine.
      ‘Poor Tyres’ are just wrong for F1, a go all out sport.

      • I agree with COTD entirely…I remember the 2007 season well, at the end there was this chorus of how exciting it was and how great it was to see 4 drivers fighting for the tittle most the season…but I remember the racing being VERY dull. Pretty much the top 6, bar any mechanical failures were guaranteed to be Mclaren, Ferrari and BMW. Mclaren and Ferrari were quite a bit faster than BMW and BMW were able to cruise around because they were comfortably quicker than the next team.

        But back to the main point, you don’t want complete lottery type races where a driver comes from 15th on the grid to 3rd but then has no idea why because for an unknown reason his tires just “clicked” that day.

        I see both sides but the racing now is much better than it was a few years ago and DRS is very much a work in progress!

      • 2005 was the best season, Good tyres but you had to make them last the whole race which is a huge skill and challenge for both driver and team. They didnt just crumble like some of the current tyres but if you didnt look after them the difference would be enough to create great racing right down to the last lap(remember pre 05 the race was over after final pit stop, not the case when your tyres were 50+ laps old).

        2005 sepang, imola, monaco, Germany, Brazil and Japan were all great races with ‘real’ wheel to wheel racing.

        F1 doesnt need DRS and soft tyres. It needs one or the other. And being DRS gives the defending driver a huge disadvantage which is 100% not fair then i pick the soft tyres at least its down the man in the car do work them right.

        I miss races like imola and monaco 05 where a driver could actually defend against the odds and hold on grim death. Its a skill thats not able to shown much these days with DRS as there is just no point in bothering.

        • graham228221 (@graham228221) said on 23rd February 2013, 15:11

          totally agree – DRS is akin to having football without goalkeepers or having much bigger goals (as actually suggested once by Sepp Blatter I believe), you’ll have tons of goals but is that really adding to the entertainment?

          The art of defending is really lost nowadays, and I think that’s a real shame.

          DRS isn’t making F1 more unpredictable, it’s more predictable because even if a fast finds itself towards the back of the field you know it will find itself back in the mix. Mistakes and/or bad luck simply isn’t punished like it was just a few years ago, and I think that takes away from the sporting drama. It’s even worse because of the “Overtaking zone” effect, overtaking used to be an exciting event but now it’s just an inevitability that you can see coming miles ahead.

          Fortunately the tyres add some unpredictability back, but it’s really artificial unpredictability. At times it truly feels like luck that one team finds themselves fastest on a given weekend.

          DRS is a cheap cheap gimmick, I’m sincerely hoping that 2014 will see it gone.

          • graham228221 (@graham228221) said on 23rd February 2013, 15:15

            And are we really only allowed to compare 2012 to 2007?

            Why not compare 2012 to the dire 2011 season? What about comparing it to the excellent 2008 or 2010 seasons?

          • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 25th February 2013, 12:56

            I feel it’s less DRS (which was simply a legitimising of the F-duct device because engineers would just try and recreate it within the framework of the rules) that has caused this problem and more the ‘only one defensive move’ ruling .

            I can understand the reason for it, but it makes passes into corners and on straights processional because the following car can feint a move to try and grab a free pass.

    • I think in Spa it’s stupid to use DRS on the kemmel straight. I think it should be allowed right from the chicane, through la source and stopping 50m before eau rouge. Now that could be exciting, I’ve never seen DRS used to overtake anywhere but on dead straights.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 23rd February 2013, 16:52

      Well this COTD confirms an earlier accusation of editorial manipulation to promote Keiths personal view, the COTD was 1 of only 2 comments pro the new short-lived tyres as against so many well reasoned comments against this development. The comment itself is nothing more than a teen-ager promoting himself to ultimate authority and complaining that he was bored watching a race from 2007 and therefore proving that the entire past of F1 was boring and that we are lucky we now have tyre failure and DRS to make F1 exciting.

      • @hohum – I don’t believe that is the case, rather that comment provokes a response in the comments thread on the round-up hence makes for a more interesting discussion! And hey, us young ones have a right to an opinion too! ;)

  4. matt90 (@matt90) said on 23rd February 2013, 0:18

    Regarding COTD, the DRS is not what has has made the racing more exciting than 2007. There have been many factors, but DRS is one that hinders as much as it helps.

    • Hairs (@hairs) said on 23rd February 2013, 0:35

      Drs has solved one of the massive bugbears of the current generation of f1 cars. Even if you’re against it, stating that it’s “hindered” racing isn’t something that can be backed up, I don’t think. It’s been badly set up at some tracks, sure, but I think the basic principles are sound. Or at least, more sound than the alternative.

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 23rd February 2013, 1:47

        It hinders my enjoyment. I disagree that it’s solved one of the massive bugbears. With the cars having become closer in performance from 2011 onwards, and the Pirelli tyres, I haven’t really seen much evidence which would suggest that the removal of DRS would be detrimental to racing for the majority of events over the last couple of years.

      • People tend to polarise and forget there’s something between the extremes. There are more alternatives than just no DRS or the current DRS. The fact that I don’t like DRS the way it is at the moment doesn’t mean that I would prefer racing how it was before. We have be wary of dismissing criticism just because things are better now than they were in the past, because that doesn’t mean it is good now.

        The problem was that overtaking was hard, and not because of lack of driver skill but due to consequences of the aerodynamic design. What the DRS does to address this is make the back car faster. This seems reasonable, but the way it currently works creates more problems, like, for example, taking away from the excitement of watching closely matched opponents race. Among other things, it doesn’t leave space for the overtaken driver to respond. It’s poor implementation. Which is why I don’t think this DRS is a good solution. It fixes a problem by creating others. The way to improve it is to make more fundamental changes than just changing activation and detection points.

        • Matty No 2 (@mattynotwo) said on 23rd February 2013, 2:22

          ‘Among other things, it doesn’t leave space for the overtaken driver to respond. ‘

          Wrong. The overtaken driver has every opportunity to respond, by staying within 1 second and using DRS to see if he can get his position back.

          • No, not every opportunity. Only at the exact same place on the following laps and only if DRS didn’t provide the overtaking driver with a much bigger advantage, which is frequent.

        • ben (@dubaemon) said on 23rd February 2013, 2:59

          what if it was the angle at which the wing is opened that is reduced, therefore cancelling dirty air without completely giving the advantage. So instead of +15 kmh we could have +7kmh and then fight over position not on the straight but at the turn (braking or apex or acceleration or all of them).

          • I agree. As the whole idea of DRS was to the driver in the position to have ago on the brakes, so basically get behind or along side the car infront, not blast past it. For this is something the FIA have totally forgot when setting it up. if a car can pass the other using DRS then its not been done right.

            Also it was thought of when no one knew the pirelli tyres were going to fall off the cliff. DRS fresh rubbered driver against a non drs worn out tyred driver its a massive speed difference that to most long term fans just isnt interesting to watch

        • What if you can use DRS if the you’re between 0.5 and 1.0 seconds behind the car in front, however if you’re less than 0.5 seconds, both or neither car can use DRS? It will probably negate the ‘motorway’ style overtakes nobody likes.

        • One good thing to try with DRS, without changing much of its current philosophy, would be having it enabled for activation whenever you are inside, say, 100 meters (maybe have this distance be the parameter to adjust for different circuits) of the driver in front, wherever you are in the circuit. This makes the back car faster, increasing the slipstreaming effect on straights so that the speed gain can offset the loss of downforce on the corners. With the amount of telemetry the cars have today, this wouldn’t be too hard to implement. Besides, it’s a very simple, easy to understand system; it’s fair, since it lets the defending driver have a go; and this way it isn’t the FIA deciding when the driver wants to pass the one in front, which is one of the things I dislike the most about what we have now. It would solve every problem I can think of with the DRS rules.

    • Bleeps_and_Tweaks (@bleeps_and_tweaks) said on 23rd February 2013, 13:54

      Just throwing my 2 pence in here; how about DRS only being used at the tracks where we need it most? It’s totally unnecessary in Canada for example as the layout encourages overtaking. The FIA ‘tailor’ DRS zones to tweak the difficulty of using it to pass, why not get rid of it all together at tracks where we clearly don’t need it.

      This would of course mean the teams had to develop a non DRS rear wing, which is obviously too late for this season, but they should have lots of data from prior to the last 3 years to whip one of those up pretty quickly.

  5. infy (@infy) said on 23rd February 2013, 0:21

    I think Hamilton is playing the Alonso card a bit now. He downplays the strength of the car so much, so that when it turns out to be fast, it makes it look like it is more due to his godly skills. All indications so far show the car is not bad at all. It has a very innovative rear suspension too.

  6. crr917 (@crr917) said on 23rd February 2013, 0:51

    F1 – a TV show about tires (and time trial).
    The other side of the COTD.

  7. Slr (@slr) said on 23rd February 2013, 0:52

    DRS has slightly cheapened overtaking in my opinion, there aren’t many great passes made since 2011 which involved DRS. I think a system similar to IndyCar’s push-to-pass would be the best way to use DRS.

    I didn’t think racing was boring before 2011, overtaking isn’t the only thing which makes a race entertaining for me. Close strategic racing can also be very interesting for me. Back in 2007, I generally enjoyed the battles between Ferrari and McLaren even though they often didn’t involve overtaking.

    And I love that tattoo Hamilton has got, very nice!

    • Matty No 2 (@mattynotwo) said on 23rd February 2013, 1:50

      @slr Push to pass is unfair, just gives the advantage back to the guys who start at the front who don’t have to use thier push to pass up.

      • Roger2012 said on 23rd February 2013, 14:38

        If you watched any series which uses P2P you would know that isn’t the case.

        P2P works much better to produce exciting racing & exciting overtaking than DRS ever has or ever will.

    • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 23rd February 2013, 7:57

      I don’t know how ptp works in Indy, but Zi loved the A1 approach: here’s 8 powerboosts and good luck.

    • @slr I agree with your first statement: in actual fact I think DRS does give an unfair advantage, as the leading car can’t do anything to defend other than trying to stay 1s ahead. That robs us of what otherwise may be a longer, more interesting battle for position. P2P is the same for everyone though and can be used to defend, so it adds an extra element of strategy as well which is very welcome to me! Perhaps in 2014, with the more powerful KERS systems, we may have reason to ditch DRS (fingers crossed)!

      • agreed. limited P2P adds tactics in how to use it rather than: ive put all the effort in getting pole and now im gonna get mugged on lap 3 due to no fault of my own

  8. OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 23rd February 2013, 1:03

    How good it could be to have some tests with rain? Is it really a day to forget, or is it something which gives the teams the opportunity to check degradation and aero packages under these conditions? It seems that for Williams it wasn’t worth it at all. I think that under rainy conditions, the aero doesn’t work well, does it?

  9. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 23rd February 2013, 7:25

    Re: COTD, I had more sympathy with the person he was arguing with, especially because I also didn’t find pre-DRS/Pirelli racing boring. However, I also like the current era of racing. The way I experience the new racing reminds me of my experience of food when I’m visiting the family-in-law in Taiwan for a few weeks. The food is interesting, and wonderfully different, but after a week or two I occasionally yearn for some familiar food. With yesterday’s discussion surrounding 2007 vs. 2011/2012, I realized I would really like to see some racing again without DRS, and without artificially degrading tyres (which doesn’t necessarily imply tyres that last forever).

    On another note, if the new Pirellis are really one-lap tyres, as Vergne suggested yesterday, then I like the Q3 rule of starting on the tyres you qualify on even less. If pushing tyres hard for one lap takes two seconds out of them, then there is little point trying to qualify for P6-P10, and we will see the second half of the top 10 line up at the end of the pit lane to put in fast sector times first, without actually putting in a timed lap time.

  10. Charlie (@fieldstvl) said on 23rd February 2013, 7:49

    Regarding the comment of the day, I don’t see the issue with two cars separated by 0.5/1 sec. It’s not just overtaking that’s exciting, it’s the potential for overtaking.

    I’d rather see 5 overtaking manoeuvres in a race, each one building up over 10 or so laps, than no-build-up 100 DRS passes, for example.

    I agree that when it has been impossible to pass, as it has at certain points in the past, it has produced some quite dull races. But I think we should view the overtake like any commodity. The more of them there are the less each is worth.

  11. andae23 (@andae23) said on 23rd February 2013, 9:01

    Response to COTD (as a few above me have also done I see): In my opinion, Formula One has become a bit of a mockery. The Pirellis degrade too quickly, though it does add something to the sport which in itself is actually a good thing. We will have to wait and see whether the 2013 tyres are any good. DRS however bothers me a lot, for reasons such as artificiality – but let’s not go there.

    A few days ago, I saw a graph of amounts of on-track overtakes per season, from 1980 to 2012 (can’t find the website anymore, sorry!). The number of overtakes steadily decreased over time, but skyrocketed in 2011, when DRS and Pirelli entered the scene. DRS and the degrading tyres do create a show, but I’ve said it before: I don’t want to see a ‘show’, I want to see ‘racing’.

    But this could be just me though: In the ‘Rate the race’ poll, I gave last year’s Monaco GP a ‘nine’ because I enjoyed watching five drivers driving on the limit when one mistake could have cost them the race win or a podium, but they all drove flawlessly for 78 laps. I my opinion, this was one of the best races I had ever seen. However, F1Fanatics thought the race was the third worst race of the year.

    What I’m trying to say is that Formula One tries to reach a new audience, who enjoy watching cars overtake each other as frequently as possible. In that respect Formula One has certainly succeeded, as 2012 was rated the best season of the last five years (see link above). Maybe it’s just me being a bit of a grumbler, but overtaking is a part of racing, not the actual racing itself.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd February 2013, 9:09

      I don’t think it’s a case of people wanting a Formula 1 where there is lots of overtaking, but rather that they want a Formula 1 where people can overtake. Whether or not they do, and if so, how often they do, is beside the point.

      Besides, how many times have we heard an engineer inform his driver that he needs to pass a certain car in order to make his strategy work? If overtaking isn’t a possibility, what good is a strategy battle?

  12. Steven (@sharpo) said on 23rd February 2013, 11:30

    Nicos wishes for 2013?
    “I want to win races – win races and play the guitar like Keith Richards!”

    With Hamilton in the same car, he has as much chance at both!

  13. xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 23rd February 2013, 12:02

    That tattoo is hideous…

  14. I think Hamilton has jumped on the Alonso bandwagon with his comments on how the car isn’t good enough! You’d expect it wouldn’t be quite as good as his McLaren as that was the fastest car last year, but nonetheless if he has a good set-up I see no reason why he couldn’t win a race next year. Rosberg did it in a car which was a much more underdeveloped machine than this years (if we look at his comments from a different perspective), so Hamilton – widely recognised as a better driver – should be able to win a race.

    • dont think alonso has said the car was poor. just it needs to improve compared to its rivals and he rallied his troops to do so. which worked considering he nearly won the title in a car that was only ahead of the bottom 3 at melbourne

      • q85 “only ahead of the bottom three” I think is a gross exaggeration but yes it definitely is an attempt at “rallying the troops”. Also though he is downplaying expectations, which is a card Alonso plays frequently.

  15. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd February 2013, 13:44

    @keithcollantine – Here’s a preview of Hans Zimmer’s score for Ron Howard’s Rush.

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