“Hamilton is the fastest driver” – Stewart

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2013In the round-up: Jackie Stewart names Lewis Hamilton as the top driver in F1 in terms of raw speed.

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Lewis Hamilton can dethrone Sebastian Vettel (Daily Star)

“I think Lewis is the fastest driver in Formula One. He has sheer speed. When he puts in a quick one, he is the master.”

Formula One double points plan ‘will happen for sure’ this year says Ecclestone (Autoweek)

“Ecclestone says the source of the confusion is that he has put the plan up for discussion at the next Strategy Group meeting because he wants to extend it to apply to the last three races. The teams objected to this at the previous meeting so it was scaled back to just the finale. It didn’t deter Ecclestone and he says ‘I have got it on the agenda for the next meeting. I want to start three races again.’”

Williams: long-term stability secured (Autosport)

Claire Williams: “We have stability with our driver line-up, which we are excited about. And the senior management team at board level is also stable and that will remain stable into the longer term as well.”

IWC backs Charles Darwin Foundation’s Galapagos conservation work (FT)

“Eco-friendly projects are proving more popular targets for the largesse of watch brands, many of which are looking to temper their sponsorship of activities such as Formula One, Moto GP and powerboat racing with enterprises that appear more ecologically sound.”

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Comment of the day

More thoughts on whether a budget cap is realistic:

Teams have suppliers and they pay their suppliers a fee. That fee appears on their books, but the actual cost to the supplier doesn’t.

If you use Red Bull as an example (and I’m not picking on them, you could use anyone, including Caterham for this, I just happen to know the name of the Red Bull entities I want to use as an example): Red Bull Racing is the F1 team subject to the budget cap. They source a number of things from Red Bull Technologies, a separate company managed at arms length from the F1 team, though both are ultimately owned by the same deep pocketed individual. If Red Bull Racing pays Red Bull Technologies a fee of say $1 million for developing an aspect of their car, the fee of $1 million appears on their books. But if the development of that part cost Red Bull Technologies $10 million, there is a $9 million cost to Red Bull which doesn’t appear on their books.

In some jurisdictions you are forced to submit joint financial statements for a group of companies, so all this expenditure would all show up, in others, you aren’t, so it won’t. Trying to pick which set of rules the teams pick, and then agreeing on a number will be nigh on impossible. An F1 budget cap is needed, but it won’t happen. Not until the team’s hands are forced when we have lost two or three more teams.
@GeeMac

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And happy birthday to Norberto Fontana who is 39 today.

The Argentinian driver, who won the German Formula Three championship in 1995, made four starts for Sauber during the 1997 season, substituting for Gianni Morbidelli. The last of these became notorious as the lapped Fontana badly delayed championship contender Jacques Villeneuve having allowed his rival Michael Schumacher past with conspicuous ease.

Several years later Fontana claimed he’d been instructed by Ferrari team principal Jean Todt to aid Schumacher’s cause, as Sauber used Petronas-badged Ferrari powerplants. Former F1 driver Martin Brundle in his first year as a commentator saw through the rather transparent move at the time:

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211 comments on “Hamilton is the fastest driver” – Stewart

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  1. Calum (@calum) said on 20th January 2014, 0:36

    A budget cap would work exactly like transfer pricing. The scenarios that get the public wound up about companies like Amazon or Starbucks paying ridiculously low tax in the UK because they transfer their profits out of the UK to lower tax-rate nations like Luxembourg and therefore aren’t responsible because their UK subsidiary doesn’t record the moral ‘actual’ profit they make.

    F1 teams fight to get every benefit from regulations, always pushing them to the absolute limit. They’d be all over the same sort of loopholes Amazon etc. use to save money!

    • @calum – I think you and those like you are determined to believe a budget cap can’t work, so you continue offering examples of how companies basically cheat against multi-regime accounting and tax standards, and you come up w/ some pretty sad examples of unethical behavior that you are convinced will be manifest in F1.

      However, if a budget cap is established, and the regulations governing it and the protocols applied are spelled out such that each team is required to submit the requested information – true, complete information, btw – in a standard format via a reporting system that’s standardized across the entire grid, then if teams decide to cheat and provide incomplete or false information, when they and their suppliers are spot-checked or audited, if the fraud is discovered…instant disqualification from WCC + $50 million fine.

      There’s your disincentive to the teams to cheat.

      If the teams respect a budget cap – it works. If they cheat against the budget cap, and are caught via audit or spot-check, then the penalty implied can be such that whatever gain they’d hoped to realize is wiped out, and then some…

      • TMF (@tmf42) said on 20th January 2014, 8:20

        @joepa you can only make F1 teams and at a maximum tier1 suppliers responsible to deliver the data. these data will still check out and auditors won’t find a thing. But nothing prevents teams to move the costs to tier2 or tier3 suppliers especially for the big manufacturers like Mercedes and Ferrari it would be rather easy to hide costs while keeping the books of their F1 teams spotless.

        • HoHum (@hohum) said on 20th January 2014, 16:44

          @joepa, @tmf42 is correct, Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda all have engineering departments working continuously on improving all aspects of power trains just as aeronautical companies have teams working on attached flow fluid dynamics and companieslike Hewlett packard and Bosch have teams of software engineers looking for ways to improve electronic control of fuel flow and suspensions, how are you going to apportion costs or audit it when results from this research is passed on to their associated F1 team, I would remind you that the Jaguar XJ220 was designed by a team at Jaguar working in their own time as a hobby project.

      • TheBass (@) said on 20th January 2014, 15:37

        @joepa

        Read how many “if’s” your comment has. Too many for it to be a probable, realistic possibilty. Adding enough “if’s” you can make any situation possible, but sadly that doesn’t make it true nor realistic.

        Teams cheat and use every chance they get to abuse the system, no amount of “if’s” will change that.

  2. Nathan (@il-ferrarista) said on 20th January 2014, 0:39

    Indeed, Lewis Hamilton _is_ the fastest driver. Maybe even as fast as a certain Ayrton..

    • Sergio Perez (@sergio-perez) said on 20th January 2014, 3:35

      Probably in raw talent. Shame about the mindset, focus, character…

      • BJ (@beejis60) said on 20th January 2014, 4:37

        Why are old these irrelevant old timey drivers even being given the time of day? It doesn’t matter what they think and it certainly doesn’t matter what they say. Damon Hill, Stewart, Jack V., even Niki, why are they constantly being asked their opinion?

        • GeorgeTuk (@georgetuk) said on 20th January 2014, 9:47

          I agree. They are just talking heads.

          Plus it would be nice to have a quote tracker so we could go back to what they said. I am sure Jackie Stewart said Mercedes would implode and Jenson Button would fail miserably (paraphrasing!).

          Apart from Niki Lauda, his opinion is valid as he is still directly involved in the sport making decisions.

          • Mortimer (@brookem) said on 20th January 2014, 18:10

            Thats not paraphrasing, thats total fabrication, and not the carbon fibre kind. Don’t like him or what he says, fine. Don’t make stuff up he didn’t say to dsicredit him, thats just juvenile.

        • Girts (@girts) said on 20th January 2014, 10:32

          @beejis60 @georgetuk I think you’re right. Jackie Stewart doesn’t have access to any exclusive data that would allow him to judge Hamilton’s speed in relation to Vettel’s. He obviously meets a lot of F1 insiders but I think that experienced F1 journalists are better placed to draw conclusions as they spend much more time analysing and comparing data and opinions. So I personally care more about what Edd Straw, James Allen and Keith Collantine think of Hamilton’s qualities than I do about Stewart’s opinion.

          That said, it’s impossible to know if Hamilton is quicker than Vettel or vice versa as long as you don’t put them in the same car. Even then, their performances will change from one race to another and from one season to another. So this is an interesting question that has no answer.

      • JCost (@jcost) said on 20th January 2014, 6:55

        I don’t know about the speed part but Character wise (at least on track) I think Senna was way below Hamilton, actually back then bad guys were use to rule the world.

    • Greg-C said on 20th January 2014, 3:52

      Tap Tap on your Forehead !!! Senna ?
      Helloooooooooooo ?
      Surely you jest ?
      And being the fastest !
      I always thought
      ( i could be wrong)
      that the guy who wins the race is the fastest ?

      • GongTong (@gongtong) said on 20th January 2014, 8:03

        The fastest combination of driver and car wins the race, all being well for them.

        The fastest DRIVER could be in a Marrusia (He’s not) and thus would have no chance of winning.

        That’s how Formula One works, and it leaves us to discuss who we BELIEVE to be fastest. Which can be quite good fun.

    • Joshua Mesh (@joshua-mesh) said on 20th January 2014, 6:02

      I rate Vettel is the fastest, even over a single lap.

      • @joshua-mesh perhaps not when both are at their best but absolutely, in terms of consistent qualifying speed Vettel could very well be more than a match for Hamilton (I reckon it would be very close though). How I see it though, in race pace Vettel is distinctly clear of Hamilton (at least on Pirelli-generation rubber).

        Alonso still has the best tactical head on his shoulders however, but with experience that naturally improves and Vettel’s feedback and work ethic is second-to-none (if we are to believe Adrian Newey). Both usually have the required attitude also and don’t tend to let issues mess with their heads, even if Alonso has had a slightly fictitious relationship with Ferrari of late.

        So Hamilton may have the speed when it all falls in to place to beat them all, but on average I think you may well be correct in your assessment.

    • Breno (@austus) said on 20th January 2014, 14:52

      Hamilton hasnt accomplished much since 2007 and 2008. Since 2009 his best position in WDC has been 3rd. Vettel, on the other hand, was 2nd in 2009, dominated 2011 and 2013 and took the title in the last race in 2010 and 2012.

      • Luth (@soulofaetherym) said on 20th January 2014, 17:53

        Actually, Hamilton has been 2nd in 2007, 1st in 2008 and then he has always been 4th and 5th. He’s not been in the top 3 for 5 years. 2009 (5th), 2010 (4th), 2011 (5th), 2012 (4th), 2013 (4th). I’m willing to concede 2009 and 2012, he drove well in those seasons, but on the rest it seems he’s had his focus on other matters. He hasn’t been driving like a champion, I’d expect him to be able to beat Alonso if he’s ‘the best’, but nope, past 4 seasons, Alonso has always beaten him on inferior machinery… 2010 (2nd) 2011 (4th) 2012 (2nd) 2013 (2nd)

        • +1000

          He seems to be a not-that-hard-working genius, while Vettel and Alonso seem to be much more focused while maybe having a little less talent. And that’s again something you cannot skip when you compare drivers as a whole package. Raw speed is not everything. Driving a Formula-1 is not a 100m run (couldn’t find a better example as running), it is rather a long distance run where you need to use all your intellectual capabilities. Don’t get me wrong, but I think Hamilton lacks something important that those others may have. All in all – natural talent and past advantages can fade easily. Success must be earned every day.

        • matt90 (@matt90) said on 20th January 2014, 19:30

          You’re ignoring 2010, which is widely regarded as one of his best seasons (many placed him above Alonso and Vettel for driver of the year, and with good reason). From what I remember data analysis showed the Ferrari that year to be generally faster than the McLaren too.

          And considering how much Hamilton was hindered by car and team failures in 2012 you can hardly blame him for finishing behind Alonso.

          In 2013 the Mercedes was rarely in great condition during races (and the team was new to Hamilton)- so I’m not sure you can blame him for finishing behind Alonso then either, even if it was one of his worse seasons.

          Looking at the final positions and ignoring all else is far too simplistic a way to analyse a driver.

          • Breno (@austus) said on 20th January 2014, 22:00

            He had two retirements due to the car (and a puncture that led to car damage), the rest were collisions. Even if he won both of those races, he would have finished third. But my point is: In 2007 he was a rookie in 2nd, in 2008 he won the title, and ever since hasnt done as well, while others have been more consistent. Actually, my bad, my point is: I don’t think Lewis is the fastest driver in Formula One.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 20th January 2014, 22:27

            I assume you’re referring to 2012. Of course, at least 2 collisions were not his fault in the slightest (and cost him a win and either podium or high points scoring position). And you still haven’t factored in the awful team decisions and mistakes which set him back. Of course, having a fast car sometimes means that the pay-off is poor reliability- but in this case there were too many problems which were nothing to do with him, and I think he did about as well as any driver would.

  3. nemo87 (@nemo87) said on 20th January 2014, 0:42

    Hopefully McLaren will reveal their title sponsor today as they are scheduled to revel their 2014 team wear range today!

    • dodge5847 (@dodge5847) said on 20th January 2014, 22:45

      Had a look on their website, no title sponsor, good news the kit won’t date as fast, bad news their budget will be less.

      Hopefully the car is good, and in a new colour, not going back to roots retro, something new and fresh

  4. Chad (@chaddy) said on 20th January 2014, 0:42

    Ehhhhh awfully hard to say Lewis is faster. He can put in a darn good lap, but I’d still rather have Vettel in qualifying. And for the rest of it– developing the car, having an eye for the character of an entire race, making the big passes, keeping your emotions working for you instead of against you– he just isn’t in the same class. Everyone keeps talking about how great it’d be to have a new champion. I say, let’s just have a great season, and if Vettel comes out on top, a la 2012, then the fan is no worse off than by having having a different champion for the sake of change.

    • GeorgeTuk (@georgetuk) said on 20th January 2014, 10:09

      I am interested to see how Vettel performs without Exhaust Blown Diffusers, not saying it’s going to be bad but that is how he has smashed the field.

      Will it be the same this year…exciting to see either way.

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 20th January 2014, 11:51

        I’m with you there, seeing as people often point to their introduction as the moment that Vettel went from better than Webber to much, much better.

      • Rockie (@rockie) said on 20th January 2014, 13:13

        He drove a TR in ’08 and a Redbull in ’09 that didn’t have it!

        • matt90 (@matt90) said on 20th January 2014, 16:32

          Yes, and he didn’t ‘smash the field’ then. Not like he did after.

          • Rockie (@rockie) said on 20th January 2014, 18:23

            Considering it was a midfield car, he was not meant to smash the field the guys driving the front running cars in ’08 did not smash the field and Vettel beat them a couple of times in his midfield car!

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 20th January 2014, 19:32

            Yes, we know he very good regardless, but the point is that he’s only shown the most dominance when driving cars with EBDs. Whether that was causation or correlation, we may find out soon.

        • Whilst the RB5 didn’t directly inject its exhaust gases into the diffuser, it did blow the exhaust gases across the top of the diffuser and over the rear beam wing.
          It wasn’t quite a blown diffuser as we now know it, but it definitely was a type of diffuser where its performance was enhanced by exhaust blowing.

      • @georgetuk re-acclimatising with the loss of rear downforce is sure to be key in particular with Vettel: there is no doubt that for the most part since the previous rule changes, Red Bull have ruled the roost in terms of exhaust-generated downforce. And there is also no question that Vettel maximised that extra grip the most effectively.

        So I concur with your assessment: I have absolutely no doubts that he will still unquestionably be one of the best drivers in Formula One, but the rule changes may fall back into Hamilton or Alonso’s hands. We shall see however: Vettel wasn’t exactly terrible with throttle application which I am sure will become much more key this season (with the spikes in torque figures and loss of rear downforce).

        • Jay Menon (@jaymenon10) said on 20th January 2014, 23:22

          Watching and reading all comments about the rule changes this year, most of the pundits seem to think that the drivers with good technical and tactical capabilities will shine in this first year. For that reason, I believe it was Mark Gillan on Sky? who said he favours Nico to beat Lewis.

          Frankly, I dont care who is the quickest, its a never ending argument. All we know is, Hamilton is the fastest round the Top Gear track in a Suzuki Liana.

  5. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 20th January 2014, 0:50

    He might be just as fast (not sure if faster), but compared to Alonso and Vettel, he’s a lot more prone to other things getting in his way. I mean, Alonso might not be the fastest in raw pace and stuff, but give him a year and he’ll fight like a trapped cat trying to get away.

    • Same as you, I still doubt his overall consistency. I mean, I don’t think he would have won 9 times in a row as Vettel did last year given the same car. But too many times people tend to judge him on his pre-2012 seasons. He has been quite fast and consistent, and made minimum number of errors during the last two seasons.

    • Yappy said on 20th January 2014, 1:46

      The trick is any driver can be quick on the day. That’s why we had 7 different winners in 7 races in 2012. What those drivers have to do is be quick on more than one day. Vettel is winning that one. When in comes to pole, quite often the times are a difference of the time it takes to blink, even less. So while the car is a factor so is the drivers ability to run on a clean line. When you compare a pole lap from Hamilton and Vettel it is easy to see that Vettel moves the wheel to where it needs to be, yet Hamilton’s pole lap the wheel is always being corrected. If Hamilton fought the car less we would be sick of him winning all the time.

      • Rockie (@rockie) said on 20th January 2014, 2:15

        Well said! Vettel makes it look easy, but somehow Brundle makes it seem as if fighting the car is the best way to determine the fastest driver .

        • Kimi4WDC said on 20th January 2014, 3:30

          This. I often get annoyed by that, because it’s his personal preference of things and hardly true. Rather than him being sympathetic towards the driver.

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 20th January 2014, 3:07

        I think you meant any car/tyre combination can be quick on the day.

        • JCost (@jcost) said on 20th January 2014, 7:03

          +1

          I don’t have time to run regressions but I suspect that consistency has something to do with the quality of the car (unless you value Chilton’s consistency the same way you value Vettel’s).

          Button was very consistent in 2009, like Schumacher was used to be driving for Ferrari in early 2000′s

          • @jcost

            “Button was very consistent in 2009″.

            You mean the first 7 seven races right? All I recall is that, in the second half of the season Rubinho easily outscored him due Button either making mistakes or not being fast enough.

      • Guy (@sudd) said on 20th January 2014, 4:12

        You obviously have never had to drive hard or push. Its pretty obvious that the RB have a ton more aero grip than anyone else, hence their stability under braking and cornering. The reason Vettel makes it look so easy is because it is! relative to the other drivers of course. When was the last time you saw Vettel or Webber correct for oversteer? Almost never. Everyone else is fighting their cars because they are pushing the limits. And when you’re pushing you’re not going to look nice and tidy. They can do that in practice and qualifying, but during the race, it will wreck their performance because the tires won’t last. Have you noticed that as more and more aero is being pulled off the cars via tech. regs, Vettels dominance in quali is being reduced? I’m not saying he’s not good, but 2014 is going to make him look even more mortal because the RB’s stand to lose more from aero reduction.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 20th January 2014, 4:37

          @sudd -

          The reason Vettel makes it look so easy is because it is! relative to the other drivers of course. When was the last time you saw Vettel or Webber correct for oversteer? Almost never. Everyone else is fighting their cars because they are pushing the limits. And when you’re pushing you’re not going to look nice and tidy.

          One of the masters, by the name of Jim Clark, was known for being very smooth. He was the only driver in his day, who wore the tyres evenly, front and rear. That level of smoothness would suggest that he wasn’t pushing the limits, or was slow speed compared to the rest. That of course, wasn’t true. Similarly, Vettel has been the best on these sensitive Pirellis, as well as delivering on the old, more durable and race-worthy Bridgestones. More aggressive =/= faster.

          Have you noticed that as more and more aero is being pulled off the cars via tech. regs, Vettels dominance in quali is being reduced?

          Yes, I saw him qualify top 3 in 18 races last year, with 9 poles.

          • Guy (@sudd) said on 20th January 2014, 5:48

            You have to admit his dominance is diminishing. Look at 2011-2012. I going based on poles alone, nevermind front row starts. He starts on the front row 98% of the time. He was looking pretty mortal for more than half of 2013. Before Singapore he had 3 poles, after that he went on a tare. Red Bull found something that blew everyone away. Everyone knows they have a form of traction control. It passed FIA tests so they get away with it. Jim Clark is not a valid comparison. Totally different. Look at Jenson. Super smooth, but without Hamilton showing him whats possible, Mr. Smooth is in the midfield with a McL. Smooth drivers are being propped up in this age of F1. Thanks to Pirelli. All drivers have their natural style but have the ability to adapt. Problem is they are not that good when they have to adapt. Hard racers/chargers are being punished while “smooth” drivers can drive within their range because the cars and tires of the past few years favor them.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 20th January 2014, 6:19

            @sudd

            Look at 2011-2012. I going based on poles alone, nevermind front row starts. He starts on the front row 98% of the time. He was looking pretty mortal for more than half of 2013.

            He had more poles (4) going into Singapore, than at the same point in 2012.

            Everyone knows they have a form of traction control.

            No, that’s an unfounded accusation. It’s like claiming Domenicalli pours sugar into Mercedes’ fuel tanks.

            Jim Clark is not a valid comparison. Totally different. Look at Jenson. Super smooth, but without Hamilton showing him whats possible, Mr. Smooth is in the midfield with a McL.

            Jim Clark is a valid comparison, if only in the basic sense that his huge success was built on being lightning fast, yet smooth compared to his rivals. Jenson Button is said to be “smooth”, but unlike Clark and Vettel, lacks in the “speed” department compared to his champion peers. His 2013 wasn’t helped by Mclaren building a dog of a car, though. It performed arguably worse than even Button’s own BAR-Honda’s from 04/06.

            Smooth drivers are being propped up in this age of F1.

            So Button, as you must have said, is being propped up. Oh wait…

            All drivers have their natural style but have the ability to adapt. Problem is they are not that good when they have to adapt. Hard racers/chargers are being punished while “smooth” drivers can drive within their range because the cars and tires of the past few years favor them.

            No, one of the key facets of a driver is the ability to adapt well. Drivers such as Alonso & Vettel are hard chargers, yet can adapt to different conditions & styles to get the best from their cars.

          • Yappy said on 20th January 2014, 6:21

            The traction control being that Vettel dabs a bit of KERS out of the corners.

          • JCost (@jcost) said on 20th January 2014, 7:10

            Similarly, Vettel has been the best on these sensitive Pirellis

            @david-a

            Drivers are huge factor when it comes to tyre wear but tdo not discount the car design. Red Bull was having a hard time with “Pirelli 2013 spec 1″ while Ferrari and Lotus worked better on those fragile compounds, it’s not that Alonso or Kimi were much better than Seb on tyre management, it was their cars that performed better than Seb’s on same rubber.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 20th January 2014, 11:58

            It performed arguably worse than even Button’s own BAR-Honda’s from 04/06

            Clearly, seeing as 04 was one of his best years with 10 (I believe) podiums and 3rd in the championship behind the Ferraris, and 06 was the year of his first win as well as other podiums.

        • Krisfx said on 20th January 2014, 10:09

          I agree, When JEV tested the RB in a young driver test, I thought he was incredibly talented as he’d took so much time on the rest of the field consistently. Now he’s in a mediocre car, he’s nowhere. It’s not necessarily a bad thing that the Red Bull cars are so “easy” to drive and while I believe Vettel is very talented, I still think the next level car performance will always be counter productive to how people judge him.

          Hamilton has always been a “Seat of your pants” driver, and if you watch him in earlier categories it’s clear to see why he’s so regarded, Vettel was absolutely nowhere when he was karting, and he wasn’t even that good in the lower formulae, it’s also important to remember that the STR he won in, was actually designed by Newey as it was a less up to date version of the RB until 2010.

          • TMF (@tmf42) said on 20th January 2014, 16:07

            agree- he was so absolutely nowhere in karting that Marko and the BMW scouts picked him among all other obviously much more talented guys to bring him in the ADAC Formula where they manipulated all other cars so he can obliterate the rest of the field and from there on be on the fast track to F1.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 20th January 2014, 16:42

            While Vettel didn’t have as many dominant seasons as Hamilton in junior formulae, he was definitely good, placing 2nd, 1st, 5th, 2nd in the 4 complete series he contested.

          • MattDS said on 21st January 2014, 22:52

            Vettel had pretty comparable results to Hamilton in their junior series if you compare year by year. The differences are Vettel was in higher series at younger age and he was promoted to F1 when Hamilton was left in the junior series for a few more years, allowing him to extend his resume by winning some junior series titles.

            The STR was indeed a sister of the RBR. Noticed how utterly great that RBR must have beentoo end up where it did in the WCC standings?

            Same bad arguments time and again.

      • Nathan (@il-ferrarista) said on 20th January 2014, 4:26

        That’s very simplistic to put it that way – Vettels RedBull is aerodynamically-and-downforce speaking the most efficient car on the grid, and naturally he do have more stability in medium to fast corners. Same with Webber. Count also in their respective driving style.

        Afaik – LH likes to hustle the car, slide it, and to have quick entrances into a - and out of a corner. Energetic driving style.
        Vettel on the other hand tend to have a more ‘calmer’ driving style, he’s slow in and very quick out of corners, especially in slow corners were he’s very early on the throttle. ( Please ‘experienced’ F1Fanatics correct me if I’m completely wrong on this one, specially in regard to Vettels driving style.. :) )

    • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 20th January 2014, 1:59

      Yep I think you’re right. A few times a year Hamilton will turn up and destroy everybody. He’ll be the fastest in qualifying and be brilliant in the race. But then for some reason he’ll have weekend where his head is down, something is bothering him, and he’s lost. That happens far too often, whereas Vettel and Alonso no matter the car or circumstances seem to be able to operate at an extremely high level with near 100% consistency, at least in the races (Alonso is a spotty qualifier imo).

      • Yappy said on 20th January 2014, 2:11

        Alonso has always been a spotty qualifier but he really makes it up on the start. His reaction speed must be off the scale.

        • Rockie (@rockie) said on 20th January 2014, 2:17

          That’s down to the Ferrari has Massa as well gains the most position of any driver of the start line!

          • Yappy said on 20th January 2014, 2:24

            Yes it it is in a way. Back during the Alonso/Renault titles Renault had the best launch control. I am sure that Alonso helped Ferrari in that one, ie “gaining positions at start is better than qualifying”.

    • Nathan (@il-ferrarista) said on 20th January 2014, 4:15

      I’ll much rather have a Hamilton on one lap qualifying round. He’s never been a super-consistent driver as we know (but occasionally so yes), but in present F1 imho Hamilton is _the_ best qualifyer

    • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 20th January 2014, 11:34

      @fer-no65 – True, but I still disagree with this assumption that Alonso is a slow qualifier. Yes, it’s not his greatest strength, and yes, he is not with Hamilton, Vettel, Rosberg, Hulkenberg, Grosjean or even Ricciardo in qualifying trim, but I would still say he is a perfectly decent qualifier. Yes, he has probably lost some of the outstanding Saturday pace of his younger years, but he always has been a Sunday specialist, and nowadays, when the red lights go out, he can suddenly make the finest racing drivers in the world look like utter morons.

      And actually, how many races has he had a car capable of pole whilst at Ferrari? Italy 2010? At a push, Italy 2012? Alonso has delivered Ferrari poles in the dry when his car has been capable of it, and on two occasions in the wet through utter wet weather mastery. Such is the brilliance of his 2012 Silverstone pole it is currently my screensaver…

      Also, not everyone is Lewis Hamilton. Not everyone has a extra quarter of a second up his sleeve like Hamilton has when he is comfortable. I would so far to say that a happy Hamilton is completely untouchable, unless your name is Ayrton Senna, on a qualifying lap. Yes, Alonso is pretty ordinary in qualifying compared to Hamilton, but so is everyone else…

      • Nathan (@il-ferrarista) said on 20th January 2014, 22:26

        +1, Fernando has never been exactly slow on saturdays. Also, since 2006-2007-seasons, he never ever had the car to consistently battle for pole positions.

        He’s never been the fastest on saturdays, but he do have many other skills to compensate for that. One thing is his sunday pace, an other is wet weather-speed, and also an almighty car control.

      • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 21st January 2014, 0:07

        But I think that’s the whole point. Nobody’s making the argument that Alonso is a rubbish qualifier – those that do aren’t living in reality – but being merely decent or good when he’s up against such talents as you have mentioned is a problem, especially when it costs points. Alonso being average to good at qualifying doesn’t make him a bad driver. It just means he isn’t the outright fastest which is only one element in being a Championship-level driver in F1.

        • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 21st January 2014, 7:17

          @colossal-squid – All exceedingly true, in fact I am of the persuasion that being incredible off the line, stunning in wheel-to-wheel combat, blisteringly fast in race trim and quite simply sublime in the wet ontop of being pretty decent in qualifying makes him the most complete racing driver in the world, although that is simply my opinion. I do think though that those that criticize Alonso incorrectly cite his qualifying form as a weakness, just like everyone used to say Vettel couldn’t overtake, when he is actually just not his greatest strength, and with so many of the current junior categories, such as FIA F3, GP3 and FR3.5, putting most of the emphasis on outright speed due to the durable tyres, Alonso is utterly surrounded by phenomenally fast kids like Ricciardo, Grosjean and of course Hulkenberg (in fact you could probably add both of the 2013 Williams drivers to that list), and with a field’s qualifying vintage that strong it is easy to get boxed into the “poor qualifier” column.

  6. If Ecclestone’s plan for double points for the final three races actually passes, then I’m switching off F1. I’ve almost had it up to this point. I’ve been following F1 since 2011, and today the sport looks much different than the one I saw a few years ago.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 20th January 2014, 3:11

      yes, the poison dwarf is at it again, he only cares about the money in the short term so he can die rolling in it.

    • Greg-C said on 20th January 2014, 3:48

      I dont care what they do ! Triple points , no points !
      I’m an old(er) F1 Fanatic and always will be . When they don’t show it , I wont watch it,

      • Chad (@chaddy) said on 20th January 2014, 4:21

        Hear hear! What people who complain about this rule-change don’t seem to appreciate, is that this affects the naming of the winner after the season is over! Can you imagine someone thinking to himself, “Alonso leads after Brazil by 26 points, so I’m turning off the TV because he should be the winner, and it isn’t fair that someone else could end up the champion by this artificial gimmick!” How does this ruin the first 18 races? How does this even ruin Abu Dhabi? Watch all the races, and then feel free to keep an asterisk in your head as to who’s the real champion, as I’m sure many did back in ’89 (or possibly ’90).

        I don’t believe the melodrama, and I’m getting tired of it. It may be a bad rule, but it’s known 19 races ahead of time, so build up a 51–instead of 26–point lead if you want to joyride in the last race!

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 20th January 2014, 7:17

      I was used to like Bernie Ecclestone. Now I desperately want him to retire.

      There a tens of ways to make the “show” better, not this.

  7. Peter Cotterill (@stigrennfahrer) said on 20th January 2014, 0:56

    Where do BRDC members get their fascination with Hamilton? Okay, he won in 2008 after narrowly missing out in 2007, but he has failed to really impress since then. I have mellowed to him over the years, and enjoy watching him race – he is undoubtedly fast, after all – but I think he is just totally over-hyped. Remember: Jackie Stewart was the man who described Button as being ‘like Senna’ before he came into F1.

    I think the BRDC are just protecting their own, and being more than just a little Brit-centric, ignorant of the ability of other drivers. You might just as easily say that Alonso, Raikkonen and Rosberg have the same possibility – even drivers such as Hulkenberg and Grosjean, given a clean break…it’s just small-minded to go on flogging this horse after five lean years with nothing to really back up the hype.

    • Steven (@steevkay) said on 20th January 2014, 20:15

      I think that’s just it, they still remember the immediate and significant impact he had as soon as he started F1 in 2007. Also agreed that since then, he hasn’t been as impressive (although 2012 was a good show of skill, errors really put him out of contention that year). You get those odd flashes of brilliance that you saw in ’07-’08, with his pole position laps, and his strong Hungary win.

      If you asked me where Hamilton would be in 5-6 years in 2008, I would’ve confidently said that he would match Senna’s or Prost’s WDC record. I think he’s still amongst the top drivers in F1, but to come out and say he’s the fastest is silly. Conversely, I think Vettel is one of the fastest in F1 as well, but I wouldn’t say “the” fastest? I would hesitate to label only one of Raikkonen, Alonso, Hamilton, or Vettel as the “fastest”/

  8. karter22 (@karter22) said on 20th January 2014, 1:10

    So the pr in favour of MERC has started…. I guess if you have a team spending as much money as they have, you got to tipp them as contenders. I have a bad fealing about this. I just hope Ferrari come out guns blazing from the get-go! If it is nearly as good as the f2012 was at the end of the season, ALO will do the rest, if not, I´m sure we will see ALO walk over to McLaren in 2015 again.

    • Guy (@sudd) said on 20th January 2014, 4:18

      I have a feeling Alonso is going to find himself in the situation Hamilton has always found himself in, except for when he was partnered with Kovi. A venerable teammate robs you of WDC points. Top notch drivers in the same team is good for WCC, bad for WDC.

  9. OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 20th January 2014, 1:27

    Of course not happy, but at least let’s wish a soothing birthday to Jenson Button today.

  10. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 20th January 2014, 1:45

    I believe Lewis is the fastest. I get the impression he gets more than 100% out of the car.

    However, as a Hamilton fan, it pains me to admit that he is not the total package. I feel Vettel is the best overall driver, his qualifying pace and race craft as a total package is the all round best.

    I’d say Lewis is faster over 1 lap and Alonso is a better racer, but Vettel is a close second in both categories and that’s what makes him a 4x champ.

    • COTD
      I completely agree. Vettel seems to be almost as good as Hamilton in sheer speed and is third best (Kimi) in race craft. I think Hamilton has better race craft then people give him credit though, its just he had one crash filled year and the cars he’s driven the past three years have been very hard on their tyres.

    • Yappy said on 20th January 2014, 2:03

      As a Vettel fan I have to say Hamilton gets maybe 95% out of the car. If he did not fight the car so much he would be a record breaker. As a driver he is bloody fast, it just that when he is not in the car his mouth opens at random which leaves me conflicted. So fast as Vettel, can be if he treats his car right. Better than Alonso, that takes time but again he can be if he knows his car better.

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 20th January 2014, 3:14

        You don,t have to fight the car through the corner if it has enough downforce.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 20th January 2014, 4:19

          Up until the summer break, Mercedes had plenty of that.

        • Yappy said on 20th January 2014, 6:14

          If your fighting the car then you are losing grip. Grip is required for speed. Therefore bad. Downforce is not a problem if you understand your car. The difference is less than a blink which means some drivers are blinking too much.

          • JCost (@jcost) said on 20th January 2014, 9:50

            Really? Do you really believe this is the golden formula?

            C’mon, it’s not that simple. Seb has more grip, his drive will be easier.

            I strongly doubt he would be capable of winning 9 in row if was driving Nico’s Mercedes or Fernando’s Ferrari.

          • mnmracer (@mnmracer) said on 20th January 2014, 19:51

            You don’t have to be winning 9 in a row to be a better driver, just like having the fastest car doesn’t mean you’re not the better driver. Completely separate issues.

            When both are on their best, it’d be really hard to separate Vettel and Hamilton. But what makes a champion is being on your best every day, not a couple of times a year.

    • Rockie (@rockie) said on 20th January 2014, 2:08

      ” I’d say Lewis is faster over 1 lap and Alonso is a better racer, but Vettel is a close second in both categories and that’s what makes him a 4x champ.”

      After saying,

      “I feel Vettel is the best overall driver.”
      Vettel is the third all time pole man in F1 history, I don’t see Hamilton going on a run like Vettel did last season even if he was in the redbull!
      And Alonso I rest my case really people shout about his race craft, its all down to the fast starting Ferrari, India 2013 where he actually started from the back he went into the pit with Vettel, they came out 17th and 20th respectively, Vettel won the race Alonso did not finish in the points.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 20th January 2014, 4:18

        @rockie – Well, to be fair, it isn’t “all down to a fast starting Ferrari”, that he gets by accident. Alonso’s Renaults, especially 03-04 often started well too. Perhaps he just reacts well at race starts. And though his race in India was poor, it was more of an exception, than the rule.

      • Brian (@bforth) said on 20th January 2014, 4:53

        @rockie @david-a Vettel pitted early in India because he didn’t trust the option tyres to last long enough. He emerged into clean air and was back in the lead once everyone else made their first pit stops. Alonso was hit by Button and Webber in the race, requiring him to limp around the circuit and get his nosecone replaced, and he also qualified on the prime tyre which rarely works well.

        That’s not to talk down to anyone, just pointing out the facts. It wasn’t so much bad driving as it was a combination of bad luck and bad strategy.
        Oh, and I will point out that it’s silly to say Hamilton couldn’t have the run Vettel did in the RB9. There is no way to know that for sure, so it’s pointless speculation at best.

        • Juzh (@juzh) said on 20th January 2014, 8:37

          “vettel emerged in clean air”
          What? He came out behind chilton and bottas or something like that, and had to overtake quite a lot of cars to get up to P2 behind webber”

          “Alonso was hit by Button and Webber in the race”
          Was hit by webber, and did hit button.

          • Brian (@bforth) said on 20th January 2014, 22:04

            @juzh (Matt DS can listen too) Vettel blew past the backfield (and JEV) so quickly that they might as well have not been there. Do you really think Max Chilton could hold off someone of Vettel’s caliber?
            I’ll grant that “clean air” is a bit of hyperbole, but the vast majority of Vettel’s overtaking did occur during pitstops, including his pass on Webber and the rest of the front-runners. And the gap between the back-markers (and JEV) and the midfield had already grown predictably large within the first few laps with a couple of seconds between each car, so he had some space to play with.
            I linked to the lap charts in a comment below if you want to have a peek at those.

            I appreciate the eye for detail, but you largely missed the point of mentioning Alonso’s aero damage and the difference in their pit stop motives. Their strategies were different and their fortunes were different. That’s why it doesn’t work to claim Alonso is inconsistent because of one poor race. Vettel had a similar race at Malaysia in 2012. That wasn’t entirely his fault, and it doesn’t mean he’s worse than his fans claim him to be.

          • MattDS said on 21st January 2014, 19:12

            @bforth ofcourse Chilton never could have held off Vettel – the point is though Vettel was not in clear air, and all in front of him received no instructions to move aside. To then keep up with the times someone in the same car is doing (but not in the same slow traffic) was pretty astonishing to see.
            There were not “a couple of seconds between each car” where Vettel came out. You linked to the lap charts so you can see for yourself – from Button to Vettel there were 9 cars within 7 seconds. Which pretty much means constant traffic. The use of “clear air” was not a hyperbole, it was wrong.

            Now as for the “vast majority” of overtakes through pitstops – he came out in 16th after his first pit-stop, and by my count he did 8 on-track overtakes. A bit of hyperbole again?

            What I do agree with you is comparing Vettel and Alonso’s races doesn’t make too much sense.

        • MattDS said on 20th January 2014, 9:54

          You might have given the facts about Alonso but not so much about Vettel. No way Vettel came out in clear air. He was in the pack and cutting through it all the way until he was in third. Only then could he drive a few laps in clear air.

        • Rockie (@rockie) said on 20th January 2014, 13:29

          Vettel and Alonso stopped on lap 2 together both came out of the pits at same time, Vettel 17th Alonso 20th just 2 seconds apart.
          All the excuses you making for Alonso happened before the pit stop in question so I don’t understand its relevance!

          “Oh, and I will point out that it’s silly to say Hamilton couldn’t have the run Vettel did in the RB9. There is no way to know that for sure, so it’s pointless speculation at best.”
          It’s not speculation as he has not won three races in a row in his career and he has driven for a team that is capable.
          Hard to believe but before Vettel won 4 in a row in ’12 Mclaren won 3 in a row, that’s where Hamilton does not stack up to Vettel.
          When the car is there Vettel annihilates the opposition!

          • Arguably Hamilton should have won the last three races of 2012 and probably would have gotten 4 in a row (Hungary to Singapore) if it wasn’t for bad luck and (his fault) a bad strategy decision in Belgium qualifying.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 20th January 2014, 16:46

            Vettel’s car, although less reliable than the Ferrari, was more so than the McLaren in 2012. Hamilton simply couldn’t have got 4 in a row due to his car breaking down.

          • Brian (@bforth) said on 20th January 2014, 20:36

            @rockie Two seconds, you say? Odd. The 2013 Indian Grand Prix lap charts say it was about a 20 second gap between the two coming out of the pits. If you have evidence that states otherwise, I would hear it. I would also mention that I’m not much of an Alonso fan, and that I do like Vettel.

            There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that other drivers might have an edge on Vettel in some measure. No driver has been absolutely superior to the rest of the field in every sense. What makes Vettel the best at the moment, and what earned him my support, is the extreme level of focus, dedication and hard work he puts in (plus a vast pool of talent and cheeky remarks). Hamilton might be faster in raw speed–I can’t tell you for sure–but Vettel couldn’t be far off him and works so much harder to understand the car and the tyres that any deficit means nought.
            That’s how I see it at any rate.

      • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 24th January 2014, 4:32

        @rockie

        Vettel and Alonso stopped on lap 2 together both came out of the pits at same time, Vettel 17th Alonso 20th just 2 seconds apart. Vettel won the race Alonso did not finish in the points.

        Kind of hard to make up many positions when you are driving with a damaged steering column.

        Though unlike Vettel, Alonso does not have a bad habit of breaking front wing endplates when in traffic. Vettel did this in Abu Dhabi 2012 and again in Hungary 2013. Compared to Alonso, Vettel’s racecraft is a bit reckless and clumsy.

        • MattDS said on 24th January 2014, 7:21

          Malaysia 2013, Japan 2012. Two examples of Alonso being clumsy (or overly bossy), with DNF as a result.

          I wonder how far back I have to go to find two DNF’s for Vettel that were his own fault.

    • Diego (@ironcito) said on 20th January 2014, 2:19

      There are also other, less obvious ways in which a driver can be better than others. Car development and setup, strategy, taking care of the tires and saving fuel, and even things like keeping the team motivated and the engineers happy. It’s not just about driving the car. Vettel, apparently, excels at most -if not all- of those things.

    • Kimi4WDC said on 20th January 2014, 3:32

      Pretty much, he is just boringly dedicated and boringly determined :) Vettel is.

    • craig-o (@craig-o) said on 20th January 2014, 8:33

      There’s nothing I need to add to that. Spot on there.

    • TMF (@tmf42) said on 20th January 2014, 8:45

      Since F1 is not a single spec series I wouldn’t dare to say who is the fastest. But comparing the results to teammates and taking an overall season – I think Hamilton, Kimi, Rosberg, Alonso and Vettel are the current top drivers. Each one able to dominate a weekend / race.
      Though Vettel and Alonso are just ahead of the rest over a whole season.

    • GeorgeTuk (@georgetuk) said on 20th January 2014, 10:16

      You can’t get more than 100%. But I think you mean he gets everything out of it.

  11. Rockie (@rockie) said on 20th January 2014, 2:10

    This bugs me though how is Lewis faster over 1 lap? Yes he pulls out a qualy lap time when the car is good, last season Rosberg had pole positions as well in the Merc so it was not like he performed miracles or any car he has driven his team mate has not put it on pole as well so what exactly makes him the fastest driver?

    • Rybo (@rybo) said on 20th January 2014, 4:09

      The fastest driver is the one who consistently finds extra pace. Hamilton has proven that he is very very fast. 2012 and 2013 would have been very different if 1) McLaren had better luck/reliability/race operations and 2) Mercedes didn’t eat it’s tires like a professional eater at a hot dog contest.

      Seb has done a great job with the tools at his disposal. Same with Hamilton and Alonso. Unfortunately they don’t have the same tools to work with.

  12. Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 20th January 2014, 2:33

    As always, Sir Jackie Stewart says something without giving valid reason or evidence; Can you please elaborate on that Sir Jackie, and please explain what data you used to make that conclusion?

    “When he puts in a quick one, he is the master.” <— what does that even mean?
    I's like saying, "When he wins, he doesn't lose!"

    When anyone puts in a quick one, they themselves are also the "masters", at that particular time & place. But if Hamilton was the fastest driver in F1, he would be blowing Rosberg at every opportunity. But that is not really the case, is it.

    The truth is, Hamilton is currently a top 5 driver. For me personally, I need to see more to narrow him down to top 3 or even top 1.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 20th January 2014, 3:19

      Sir Jackie didn’t become a “sir” by being a fool, he is making an observation based on his own very great ability and vast experience, you may not agree with him but don’t pretend you are better qualified to judge.

      • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 20th January 2014, 7:42

        The phrase he used certainly makes him sound like a fool. But that aside, I just simply want to know more about his observation. What does he mean exactly, him being such a brave man using such brave words as you discribe, when he says “…a quick one”. How is that “quick one” different to other drivers?

      • Juzh (@juzh) said on 20th January 2014, 8:40

        Stewart said button is like Senna when he started in F1. This pretty much invalidates him as opinion giver.

    • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 20th January 2014, 10:04

      @maksutov – I can’t help but think that that is not a rather reactionary comment. Yes, Hamilton was not comfortable a) with the fragile tyres of recent years and b) the W04, but although Hamilton a quiet year by his standards it doesn’t infringe his claim as, in my opinion, a top three driver.

      In 2010 most people, including fans and pundits, thought Hamilton was the best out there. He was not just fast on a Saturday, but could carry that pace through the race with the durable Bridgestones. However, since then three difficult seasons have passed where Hamilton has struggled for consistency with the volatile Pirelli tyres, even though he drove a fabulous season in 2012 and only lost out to the title through unreliability and McLaren’s now signature operational errors.

      Hamilton simply found himself in an era for which he isn’t suited. He is still a fabulous racing driver, and he is still easily the fastest driver in the world and the only man remotely capable of the kind of lap he did at Silverstone last year. That might all change this year, and you might find it harder to assert Hamilton’s alleged mediocrity with him as world champion.

      You may not like Hamilton, you may not think there is evidence to suggest that he is particularly that special, but quite frankly there is no evidence to suggest that he isn’t special. He is the fastest driver in the world, I think there can be no questions about that, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that his recent issues have simply been tyre related, and if he wins this year’s title at a canter on the more conservative 2014 Pirellis, that would simply further that point.

      • Nathan (@il-ferrarista) said on 20th January 2014, 13:34

        +10

      • Juzh (@juzh) said on 20th January 2014, 23:23

        @william-brierty
        Hamilton best in 2010? lol. Maybe 2012, but not 2010. If not for repeated breakdowns of Vettel’s car, hamilton (or anyone for that matter), would be left for dead by vettel in 2010.

        what lap at silverstone? Vettel blew away opposition on countless occasions by much more than that. What’s so special about that particular silverstone lap then?

        • ” What’s so special about that particular silverstone lap then? “- Go and do your research before u ask such questions here.
          But allow me to enlighten you. 1) That is a silverstone lap record 2) Second place was 0.5 seconds off. 3) The lap was pretty special. You can go and watch it on the f1 website

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 21st January 2014, 23:24

            1) A lap record with only 3 other seasons to compare with? 2) There have been bigger gaps, even in 2013.

          • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 22nd January 2014, 8:26

            @david-a – 1) The lap record he beat is Vettel in the 2010 RB6 with the exhaust blown diffuser and 2), the only times we have seen larger pole margins in 2013 are at India, where Webber went on the primes (had he been on option he would have been only a fraction off Vettel) and in the wet, where Red Bull had a HUGE advantage in 2013.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 22nd January 2014, 9:56

            @william-brierty -
            There are numerous cases where similar, or better qualifying times were set in 2013, compared to 2010-12, so it’s a little pointless to base an argument on “it was a lap record”, when it was by the margin of 0.008s. Doesn’t mean I’m saying it wasn’t a very good lap from Hamilton though.

            And in Singapore, Vettel was over 6 tenths clear of the field, before electing not to do a second run.

          • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 23rd January 2014, 7:43

            @david-a – Well, because none of laptimes that had done in practice, or in Q1 or Q2 were comparable to those that the Red Bull’s managed in 2010, until Hamilton did his Q3 lap, it does suggest that it was a pretty special lap, so whilst it is not great to base an argument on (which I am certainly not), it does serve as a striking examples of Hamilton’s raw speed.

            Oh, and in Singapore, where Vettel was over 6 tenths clear of the field, before electing not to do a second run, Rosberg managed to get within a tenth of him, and because Vettel said that he could have only improved by a tenth or two, it doesn’t exactly count.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 23rd January 2014, 22:52

            @william-brierty – Practice, Q1 and Q2 times are basically never as quick as times in Q3 (barring rain, of course). Even in 2010.

            In Singapore, Rosberg improved to within a tenth of Vettel, but needed to do so on his second run where most others also improved their times, whereas Vettel had already found such a high level of performance much earlier than Rosberg or anyone else in the session. So the gap Vettel put on the field there, works as much as Silverstone does for Hamilton.

          • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 24th January 2014, 7:47

            @david-a – You have misunderstood me. The Q1 and Q2 times in 2013 were lagging those of 2010, and that trend remained until Hamilton did his final Q3 lap. Most of the time the two Mercedes and two Red Bulls were doing laps in 2013 that were 0.5 second off of the Red Bulls in 2010, at least until Hamilton did his final lap. There’s nothing I know of that explains the 0.45 gap to Rosberg, other than the fact that Hamilton is the fastest racing driver in the world.

            Regarding Singapore, Vettel quite clearly said that he could have only improved by a tenth or two on his first run, which is subsequently why he didn’t do a final run. Had he done a final run, the gap to Rosberg would’ve only been a third of a second, not the half a second advantage Hamilton had.

          • MattDS said on 24th January 2014, 8:07

            “easily the fastest driver in the world”, “only man remotely (!!) capable of the kind of lap he did at Silverstone last year”. Come on. At the top nobody is “easily” the fastest driver in the world, and the differences are not such that at the top nobody is “remotely” capable to come close to another.

            This kind of maths is strange. You can’t just go pulling numbers left and right to come up with conclusions that suit you. I mean, come on, you’re using the “about 2 tenths” as exact science then put Vettel at “only a third of a second”. It just doesn’t work that way. I’m sure if you ponder about that for a while you’ll agree.

            The Mercedes was a very fast car in qualifying, especially before the summer break, and Hamilton is a great qualifier. Ofcourse then he’ll put in some great laps with such a car. But “easily” the fastest? Nobody able to come “remotely” close to it? Come on.

        • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 22nd January 2014, 8:32

          @juzh – Yes, most people thought Hamilton was the best out there in 2010. That was borne out in that he managed to remain in title contention in the third fastest car until the final race, and spent much of European season heading the standings because Vettel was making too many mistakes.

          I won’t dignify that comment about Hamilton’s Silverstone lap with a response.

        • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 24th January 2014, 4:38

          @juzh

          Hamilton best in 2010? lol. Maybe 2012, but not 2010. If not for repeated breakdowns of Vettel’s car, hamilton (or anyone for that matter), would be left for dead by vettel in 2010.

          Hamilton was most certainly the best driver of 2010.

          Vettel lost 25 points in Turkey when crashing into Webber.
          He lost 18 points in Belgium when crashing into Button.
          And lost 10 points in Hungary when ignoring the SC rules.

          Hamilton, on the other hand, only made one major mistake in Monza, which cost him 12 points.

          And you’re right that without the reliability issues on Vettel’s car, he would have won the 2010 WDC easily. So what? The RB6 was dominant in raw speed, unreliability was the only thing which kept Ferrari and McLaren in contention for so long.

          The 2010 Red Bull was like the 1999 McLaren. Dominant on pace, but its unreliability brought the championship chase much closer.

          • Juzh (@juzh) said on 27th January 2014, 10:37

            @kingshark
            Turkey.. ok.
            belgium.. ok. but also got a puncture late in the race which cost him points.
            hungary.. was told by the team to make a gap to webber as he didnt stop yet.

    • Wesley (@wesley) said on 20th January 2014, 19:22

      Debating anything that Jackie Stewart says is a complete waste of time in my opinion.

    • marino said on 20th January 2014, 22:36

      unfortunately some people do not understand that celebrities don’t always tell what they think, but what sounds better for the press and for themselves.
      sir jackie stewart is no exception. and his title doesn’t matter.
      some years ago sir stirling moss said raikkonen was the fastest driver.
      so what?
      these are simply opinions.
      strangely stewart is british and hamilton is british too. what did you expect him to say?

  13. HoHum (@hohum) said on 20th January 2014, 3:29

    Well that is a perfect demonstration of the delusion that all absolute rulers succumb to, Bernie not only thinks he knows better than everybody but wont listen when they tell him. The damage was done a long time ago but F1 has no chance of recovery unless Bernie goes and goes quickly.

    • Kimi4WDC said on 20th January 2014, 3:41

      I’m afraid when he goes, F1 will face CART destiny. Too many people controlling the thing, too many interests clashing everyone will be pulling to their side and not agreeing on sensible matters.

      Teams never should have a voting power or drivers – all the same for everyone. They are there to compete with in a certain regulations. As soon as stake holders can manipulate the rule makers to profit, they will. This is the reason why Red Bull will milk F1 till the last dollar of marketing value. Would it be change of tyres, new engine regulations or what ever. The day Bernie gave up considered chunk of his powers, the vicious cycle started.

      No one would have complained about tyres, engine or fuel if there was no way to change it. Everyone would have taken it as standard, but recently rule book seems to be for sale – including the double points thing, which I assume have been pushed by some major sponsors.

  14. mantresx (@mantresx) said on 20th January 2014, 3:41

    Funny how no one considers Kimi as one of the fastest qualifiers anymore, I genuinely believe that on his prime he was THE fastest racing driver in the world, indeed Vettel and Hamilton seem to be the fastest now, but even so I think Lewis has the edge, why? because Sebastian can only really be compared to Mark, in all those years together how slow did he get? and how much faster (if any) has Vettel become? this year Ricciardo will shed some light on this.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 20th January 2014, 5:23

      this year Ricciardo will shed some light on this

      Ricciardo?!?! You cannot be serious. Ricciardo has been paired up against JEV, Bruno Senna and Karthikeyan so far. He hasn’t convincingly beaten JEV, who is an average driver at best … and lets face it, Bruno and Narain were amongst the poorest drivers on the grid.

      Webber was a good yardstick to measure Vettel by.

      If Vettel thrashes Ricciardo (which he will in 2014), it really doesn’t say much for Vettel’s ability because Ricciardo was quite an unproven talent anyways

    • craig-o (@craig-o) said on 20th January 2014, 8:40

      Vettel has had other teammates too. Not just Mark.
      Heidfeld: was beaten by, but this was his first race
      Liuzzi: comprehensively outpaced the Italian in wet races, and took a 4th, Toro Rosso’s best result at the time.
      Bourdais: 4 time champ in America was somewhat humiliated by the young German, scoring more points than Bourdais, Coulthard and Webber COMBINED.

      Vettel will demolish Ricciardo.

    • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 20th January 2014, 9:40

      @mantresx – I think it is hard to judge whether it is Kimi that is slow in qualifying or Lotus. Looking at his performances compared to Grosjean, I think he has lost some of his Saturday speed compared to his younger self, although arguably Alonso has too, but in both cases they have become incredible in race trim with more experience.

      @todfod @craig-o – Really don’t underestimate Ricciardo. OK, yes, he will get mullered in race trim in 2014 by Vettel and yes, his promotion was motivated by a need to free up a backlog in the young driver programme, not on performances, but I genuinely believe he is one of the fastest qualifying drivers on the grid. Vergne is a fine racing driver, and if you look at his junior category performances you would say that he is the one that should have been promoted, but was instead annihilated in qualifying by the new found blistering pace of Ricciardo. Couple that with Ricciardo’s excellent technical understanding and feedback and you have a driver that I feel is a bigger threat to Vettel than Webber was last year. I’d be surprised if Ricciardo can’t improve on Webber’s record of only out-qualifying Vettel on only two occasions last year.

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 20th January 2014, 17:09

        @william-brierty, The reason some drivers are better on Sunday than they appear on Saturday is just another effect of the tyres, in order to get the best longevity/grip performance out of the tyres thecars have to be set-up in a way that does not provide the ultimate temperature/grip over a couple of laps in qualifying. The RBRs superior downforce allowed it to get the best performance balance out of the tyres while the Lotus and Ferrari could only succeed by sacrificing Sat speed for Sun longevity.

        • Juzh (@juzh) said on 20th January 2014, 23:27

          @hohum
          Lotus sacrificing sat speed for sun longevity??? or ferarri??? This is a joke, right? Lotus had the least tyre wear on the entire grid. They most certainly hand’t been sacrificing quali pace in favour of mild tyre setup for the race.

    • marino said on 20th January 2014, 22:55

      strange…because hamilton-rosberg in qualyfing is 11-8
      raikkonen-grosjean is 11-6

      so we are talking nonsense.
      if lewis was so fast, the fastest, he would have had a consistant edge on rosberg but 11-8 is definitely no big gap.
      the same is for raikkonen-grosjean…

      both aren’t much faster on saturdays than rosberg and grosjean even if raikkonen with the short wheelbase car was definitely faster than grosjean(7-0 for raikkonen till silverstone), but with the long wheelbase and with different tyres he was slower.

      I believe that tyres play a role and that the fastest is nor hamilton, nor raikkonen.
      I believe that the fastest driver doesn’t mean the more talented/better driver.

  15. Sumedh Vidwans said on 20th January 2014, 4:25

    If I compare Vettel’s peak to Hamilton’s peak to Alonso’s peak performance, Hamilton will trump Vettel and Vettel will trump Alonso.

    However, if I compare number of times Vettel hits his peak to how many times Alonso and Hamilton will hit their peaks in a season, Alonso will trump Vettel and Vettel will trump Hamilton.

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