Hamilton will need help from pitwall to catch Rosberg

2014 British Grand Prix pre-race analysis

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2014The 2014 Formula One season just had its fourth rain-affected qualifying session of the year, though we are yet to see rain play a role in a race.

That is not currently expected to change during tomorrow’s British Grand Prix. Rain is forecast for Sunday but not until later in the afternoon, a few hours after the chequered flag has fallen.

This is more bad news for Lewis Hamilton because, as expected, rain during this morning’s final practice session kept him from completing that all-important simulation run on a racing fuel level.

Worse, for the second race in a row he will line up several places behind his team mate having slipped up in qualifying. Bailing out of his last flying run in Q3 means he will start from sixth on the grid while Rosberg has a clean view ahead of him.

The start

Hamilton was only the most high-profile of several drivers who were wrong-footed by Saturday’s capricious weather. Daniel Ricciardo could have been on the front row but starts ninth, but that pales in comparison to the Williams and Ferrari drivers who didn’t even make it out of Q1.

Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa have been the most consistently impressive starters in the field this year, so watch out for the Williams pair surging forward on the first lap.

However McLaren’s drivers, who achieved their best qualifying result of the season so far with third and fifth, have been among the weakest cars off the line this year. That’s good news for Hamilton, whose chances of getting on terms with Rosberg will be greatly improved if he can get past either or both of them.

The winding opening sequence of corners at Silverstone, which was used for the first time three years ago, often invites contact between drivers. It also present two good chances to make up positions at the start, with the heavy braking zone at Village followed by the long run down the Wellington Straight into Brooklands.

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Strategy

Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Silverstone, 2014As Q2 finished on a drying track the fastest drivers were all running on the softer medium tyres, so the top ten qualifiers will all start on the same rubber tomorrow, providing the race starts in dry conditions.

This is the third race this year where Pirelli have brought their hardest tyre compounds. In Malaysia and Spain the medium compound was the preferred tyre for the race, and that looks likely to be the case again this weekend.

Following the Austrian Grand Prix, where Hamilton finished second to Rosberg after lining up ninth on the grid, Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff said Hamilton had lost the chance to win in qualifying. That was because the team’s strategic options in Austria were limited, but that may not be the case tomorrow.

Pirelli expect strategists to reduce the running on the hard tyre to to a minimum – little more than half a dozen laps on a two-stop strategy. They also suggested some teams may prefer a three-stop strategy, which would involve making a last-lap pit stop to put on the hard tyre compound (as drivers are required by the rules to use both).

Although this would leave drivers more vulnerable to traffic, it could prove exactly the kind of attacking strategy Hamilton needs to take the fight to Rosberg. A first pit stop before the 20-lap mark would indicate a three-stop strategy, anything later than that would point towards a two-stopper.

It would be a gamble for Hamilton to take, but given Mercedes’ dependable performance advantage over the rest of the opposition, arguably one worth considering.

Qualifying times in full

Driver Car Q1 Q2 (vs Q1) Q3 (vs Q2)
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’40.380 1’35.179 (-5.201) 1’35.766 (+0.587)
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1’45.086 1’36.410 (-8.676) 1’37.386 (+0.976)
3 Jenson Button McLaren 1’39.791 1’36.579 (-3.212) 1’38.200 (+1.621)
4 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1’41.271 1’37.112 (-4.159) 1’38.329 (+1.217)
5 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1’42.507 1’37.370 (-5.137) 1’38.417 (+1.047)
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’41.058 1’34.870 (-6.188) 1’39.232 (+4.362)
7 Sergio Perez Force India 1’42.146 1’37.350 (-4.796) 1’40.457 (+3.107)
8 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1’44.710 1’38.166 (-6.544) 1’40.606 (+2.440)
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1’41.032 1’36.813 (-4.219) 1’40.707 (+3.894)
10 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1’43.040 1’37.800 (-5.240) 1’40.855 (+3.055)
11 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1’43.121 1’38.496 (-4.625)
12 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1’41.169 1’38.709 (-2.460)
13 Max Chilton Marussia 1’42.082 1’39.800 (-2.282)
14 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1’43.285 1’40.912 (-2.373)
15 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1’43.892 1’44.018 (+0.126)
16 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1’42.603
17 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1’45.318
18 Felipe Massa Williams 1’45.695
19 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’45.935
20 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’46.684
21 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1’49.421
22 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1’49.625

Sector times

Driver Sector 1 Sector 2 Sector 3
Nico Rosberg 29.304 (1) 38.966 (2) 26.017 (2)
Sebastian Vettel 29.887 (6) 39.773 (7) 26.525 (3)
Jenson Button 29.642 (3) 39.408 (4) 26.612 (5)
Nico Hulkenberg 29.993 (8) 40.240 (9) 26.692 (8)
Kevin Magnussen 30.011 (9) 40.459 (10) 26.900 (10)
Lewis Hamilton 29.366 (2) 38.740 (1) 26.008 (1)
Sergio Perez 29.866 (5) 39.709 (6) 26.540 (4)
Daniel Ricciardo 29.720 (4) 39.169 (3) 27.051 (11)
Daniil Kvyat 29.918 (7) 39.543 (5) 26.625 (6)
Jean-Eric Vergne 30.224 (11) 39.972 (8) 26.654 (7)
Romain Grosjean 30.851 (15) 40.641 (11) 26.897 (9)
Jules Bianchi 30.702 (12) 40.928 (12) 27.079 (12)
Max Chilton 30.809 (13) 41.807 (13) 27.184 (13)
Esteban Gutierrez 30.814 (14) 41.891 (14) 27.407 (14)
Pastor Maldonado 30.091 (10) 42.676 (16) 28.881 (16)
Adrian Sutil 31.707 (18) 41.978 (15) 28.783 (15)
Valtteri Bottas 31.912 (19) 43.778 (20) 29.628 (18)
Felipe Massa 32.163 (20) 43.559 (18) 29.973 (20)
Fernando Alonso 31.202 (17) 43.660 (19) 29.907 (19)
Kimi Raikkonen 30.983 (16) 43.339 (17) 28.965 (17)
Marcus Ericsson 33.190 (22) 45.429 (21) 30.802 (22)
Kamui Kobayashi 33.178 (21) 45.704 (22) 30.743 (21)

Speed trap

Pos Driver Car Engine Speed (kph/mph) Gap
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes Mercedes 325.3 (202.1)
2 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 323.9 (201.3) -1.4
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Mercedes 323.4 (201.0) -1.9
4 Kevin Magnussen McLaren Mercedes 321.8 (200.0) -3.5
5 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes 321.8 (200.0) -3.5
6 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes 320.8 (199.3) -4.5
7 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber Ferrari 317.8 (197.5) -7.5
8 Adrian Sutil Sauber Ferrari 317.7 (197.4) -7.6
9 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso Renault 317.6 (197.3) -7.7
10 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Renault 317.1 (197.0) -8.2
11 Valtteri Bottas Williams Mercedes 316.0 (196.4) -9.3
12 Jules Bianchi Marussia Ferrari 315.7 (196.2) -9.6
13 Max Chilton Marussia Ferrari 315.0 (195.7) -10.3
14 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes 313.8 (195.0) -11.5
15 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Ferrari 312.5 (194.2) -12.8
16 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Renault 311.7 (193.7) -13.6
17 Fernando Alonso Ferrari Ferrari 311.5 (193.6) -13.8
18 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault 310.6 (193.0) -14.7
19 Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 309.6 (192.4) -15.7
20 Pastor Maldonado Lotus Renault 309.5 (192.3) -15.8
21 Marcus Ericsson Caterham Renault 309.1 (192.1) -16.2
22 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham Renault 295.8 (183.8) -29.5

Over to you

Is this going to be a straightforward run to victory for Rosberg – or can Hamilton take the fight to his team mate from sixth on the grid? And how will Williams and Ferrari fare from their compromised starting positions?

Share your views on the British Grand Prix in the comments.

2014 British Grand Prix

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Images © Daimler/Hoch Zwei, Williams/LAT

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36 comments on Hamilton will need help from pitwall to catch Rosberg

  1. Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 5th July 2014, 18:45

    Well, Sebastian was due some luck, and he got it (finally) – even after Red Bull appeared to have screwed him over yet again.

    That makes the race thoroughly interesting though: Vettel was quick on Friday. Mercedes-beating quick? Well, he’d need another decent dose of luck…

    • Chris (@cgturbo) said on 5th July 2014, 19:13

      @vettel1

      I think there’s a solid chance of Vettel finishing ahead of Lewis.

      Catching Nico may be a bit harder, but I can see him giving Nico a bit of a headache, at least.

      • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 5th July 2014, 22:57

        @vettel1 and @cgturbo
        Out of curiosity, what makes you guys think that Vettel will be so close to Mercedes’s pace tomorrow? Rosberg out-qualified Vettel by 1.62 seconds in conditions where RBR normally excels at, am I missing something?

      • manu said on 6th July 2014, 10:17

        Lewis will be too quick and dont forget that Merc is matching redbull in the high speed corners, so that coupled by the fact
        1. that Merc has a higher setting they don’t use which they can in this race
        2. Vettel not wanting to waste time fighting Lewis only to lose to more cars in the end
        3. Merc trying to undercut Vettel in Pits which will probably pass Seb

        I don’t see Redbull taking the risk to try and fight Lewis. It will be like Canada, once Lewis gets there Seb will just let him go.

    • Iestyn Davies (@fastiesty) said on 6th July 2014, 1:30

      Vettel wanted to wait for the driest conditions, same as Ferrari and Williams. RB made it out of Q1, but did the same in Q3…

  2. Slava (@slava) said on 5th July 2014, 19:22

    Ferrari will not finish in the top 10, no higher that 11 to 15 place.
    Williams has very good pace so places from 7th to 10th can be reached.
    Lewis may win this if he makes again great 1st lap. It is not that difficult. Rosberg will have to work hard to finish first.
    Also, it will be interesting to see if Hulkenberg will be able to challenge for a podium or at least save his place in the race.
    McLaren is terrible on a sheer race pace so Button will be 6th or 5th at best.

  3. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 5th July 2014, 20:55

    I’d still say Hamilton has a chance. He always seems to bring something extra to this track, as he always seems to do for Montreal and Budapest. If he gets a good first lap, the sheer performance advantage he has could see him up to second before the end of the first lap. In any case when he gets DRS, he should obliterate anything in front of him (bar Rosberg). It’s a matter of when, not if he finds himself behind his team mate. As we saw in the last race, one slower pit stop for Rosberg could mean a win for Hamilton.

    • Mr win or lose said on 6th July 2014, 12:15

      It would be interesting if they put Hamilton on a different tyre strategy (soft-hard-soft versus soft-soft-hard for Rosberg for example), so he may eventually prevail. But first of all, he of course needs a clean first lap to be within range.

  4. Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 5th July 2014, 21:05

    The tyre rules are crazy, and have to go. Race day is another day and everyone should have a free choice of tyres. Isn’t the grid mixed up enough already?

    If someone does a last-lap tyre stop, could that be an advantage for teams whose pit comes before the finish line (presumably Williams and others) – they can use the speedy pit entrance here and avoid having to do a whole out-lap on new tyres.

    • Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 5th July 2014, 21:31

      Interesting idea. Not only would they not have to do an outlap on cold tyres, but they would also only spend half the time in the pit lane as they would only need to drive to the finish line. However, maybe the rules state that you need to complete at least one lap on each tyre compound?

      • Dave (@raceprouk) said on 5th July 2014, 23:17

        The finish line is too early for that strategy to work; all the pit garages are past it.

      • Iestyn Davies (@fastiesty) said on 6th July 2014, 1:33

        Good old Schumi tactics with Brawn!

        • greg-c (@greg-c) said on 6th July 2014, 9:39

          @fastiesty at brawn ?
          oh , you mean Ross,
          what a rule bender that man is/was , classic racer, miss him dearly, :(
          are you referring to the 1998 GB GP when Schumi was issued a late stop go and crossed the line in the pits ?
          WOW, wast that a classic,

          Is that also the race that earned the wrath of “RON” because Davey Cakes Coulthard left the Macca unattended and a photojockey(darrenHeath)? got a shot of the 3rd pedal?

          • Iestyn Davies (@fastiesty) said on 6th July 2014, 12:23

            @greg-c Heh yes the 3rd pedal debate. But that race was also linked to the bizarre Malaysian GP where Montoya got penalised for Schumi piling into him at T1, effectively losing him the win to Ralf. Good old Malaysian stewards.. not biased towards anyone in particular at all times..

    • Iestyn Davies (@fastiesty) said on 6th July 2014, 1:32

      They are definitely too complicated – I thought that as there were inters in Q, wet session, i.e. free choice for race start tyres tomorrow. Did they not run inters in the first part of Q2? Imagine if Gutierrez’s best time was on inters for example – would they make him start the race with them? Or give only him a free choice? Bloody hell.

      • Michael Brown said on 6th July 2014, 2:15

        The qualifying tire rule only works for dry tires. Gutierrez won’t be forced to start on inters and a driver who qualified on dry tires for a wet race would also be exempt from the rule.

    • timi (@timi) said on 6th July 2014, 2:59

      @bullfrog The tyre rules sit pretty well with me to be honest. The top 10 (but more like 12-14) are usually just way too fast for the rest of the field, resulting in lapped cars just a third of the way into the race. Let the top 10 start on brand-spanking new tyres and it’ll just become a farce. It’s bad enough the fastest cars start first, and then we wonder why races are boring as they sprint off, but at least the Q2 tyre rule applies some logic to evening things out.

    • Mr win or lose said on 6th July 2014, 12:18

      The tyre rules are crazy, but I fail to see why a 1-lap stint on hards could be a viable strategy – I mean fresh hards should definitely be faster than worn softs, so the ideal timing for the last pitstop will be maybe 5-10 laps before the chequered flag.

  5. Bobby (@f1bobby) said on 5th July 2014, 21:41

    If it’s dry, unless Ros gets nerfed at the start, it’s over already.
    Any chance of rain tomorrow?

  6. KaIIe (@kaiie) said on 5th July 2014, 22:34

    Hamilton definitely has a chance to win this, but it depends on the start and the pace during the first stint. If it takes too long for him to get enough clear air behind him, he’ll be probably forced into a two stopper which should be rather easy for Nico to cover.

    I think both Williams should reach points rather easily, but I can’t see the Ferraris doing the same. Once again they lack some straight line speed, so unless they nail their strategy and some key overtaking moves, the best they can hope for is maybe P9 or 10.

    And a random prediction: Nico Hülkenberg will be on the podium.

  7. Jon (@johns23) said on 5th July 2014, 23:29

    Wow going to be a cracker! As much as I think Nico will win, he will need to be keeping an eye on Vettel but mostly Lewis who I’m sure is going to tear the silverstone track apart.

  8. Harry said on 5th July 2014, 23:50

    Whilst Rosberg has had a solid season, I can’t think of a single incident that hasn’t gone his way. Ultimately he is a quick driver, but I feel Hamilton has consistently shown more pace than him throughout the season. It’s a bit embarassing that Nico fails to acknowledge that his lead is only down to mechanical failures on Hamilton’s behalf, otherwise he’d be on the back foot. Rosberg will win tomorrow and will take the championship, I can’t help feel due to mass luck and not a great deal of talent.

  9. Iestyn Davies (@fastiesty) said on 6th July 2014, 1:44

    Looking at the sector times makes me wonder if Raikkonen had a lap deleted – or did he just not hook up a lap? FIA site doesn’t say a Raikkonen lap was deleted but I thought I remembered seeing one go in Q1.

    Also, I’m sure Hamilton was not that far off his other times, going off the Rosberg onboard.. he should have done a Rosberg Monaco (he didn’t hesitate to reverse out despite Lewis approaching) and stayed in front to S3 (his memory of S2 should have told him how fast the track dries out). The team were very quick to radio him, if they told him not to hold up Nico, as he let Rosberg by on the Wellington straight.

  10. Gideon Hadi (@f1indofans) said on 6th July 2014, 1:48

    McLaren showed decent pace on the wet track, so i think Jenson have a chance in the race if it rain

  11. MattyPF1 (@mattypf1) said on 6th July 2014, 5:51

    Aside from needing help from the pitwall, Hamilton has advantages and disadvantages for this GP.

    Advantages: Motivation, being his home GP his qualy performance wont be confidence killer, it’d be the opposite and his pace helps him too cause he is talented and the motivation will help prove that he can still catch Rosberg in the championship and what better place to prove that, his home GP.

    Disadvantages: Not only is Rosberg on pole and more than lilely to keep first place after lap one, theres a Red Bull, a Force India and 2 Mclarens hes still got to get around. And not only that, since Rosberg will more than likely be infront of Hamilton, he’ll get first call at the pitstops.

    But, like Canada this year and Silverstone last year, anything can happen.

  12. juan fanger (@juan-fanger) said on 6th July 2014, 9:18

    If it’s dry but cool then Williams and Ferraris to start on hard and at least one each (two if behind safety car) will pit at end of first lap, then do two long stints on the mediums.

    This strategy stuff is easy :)

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