Rating Hamilton’s first season at Mercedes
27th November 2013, 13:00 at 1:00 pm #245903
We see how technically you got those numbers, what is unclear is why you did that as this number does not really carry any information, in particular because Mercedes did not take those extra points from McLaren.
Moreover, there’s no reason for relating that number to Hamilton. After all, if Lewis stayed at McLaren, would you say that the loss of points compared to last year was due to Hamilton staying?
Now I agree that Hamilton’s move most likely did hurt McLaren and benefit Mercedes. To guess how much we have to look at teammate comparisons, not some unrelated numbers.
Here’s my favourite argument why McLaren should miss Hamilton. Lewis was often better at adjusting to a less-than-perfect car than Button, so I find it feasible that he might have made it only the second worst season ever for McLaren instead of the single worst :-).27th November 2013, 14:26 at 2:26 pm #245904
Like I said some will agree, some will disagree. It all depends on what impact you believe a driver has. In any other sport we would not question that. For instance, if Messi left Barca and they scored 100 fewer goals during the season, we’d put down a lot of that to Messi. If the other team won the Champions League that Messi joined, we’d put that down to Messi.
Look at it the other way, if McLaren had scored 860 points this year (43 pts per race), wouldn’t we all say that they are better off without Hamilton and that Hamilton affected the team negatively?
F1 is a zero-sum game – the points gained by 1 team come at a loss for another team as there is a finite number of points. All the points lost by McLaren went to Mercedes, that cannot be coincidence especially when Merc was floundering at the end of the last season. If they had a clue, they would have fixed the W03 chassis.
Hamilton brought clarity and unity to the team and McLaren lost that. What was the net effect of that? Maybe a 0.3%-0.5% improvement which in terms of points is around 250 points and in terms of money, maybe 80 million dollars or a little more.27th November 2013, 14:28 at 2:28 pm #245905
@Freelittlebirds – Comparing football to F1 is completely nonsensical. Hamilton, whilst driving well, did not help to build a better car before the season began. McLaren built a poor car, whilst Mercedes a good one. Hamilton had nothing to do with that. I suppose you also think that if McLaren build a better car next year, that it was all down to Magnussen?27th November 2013, 15:30 at 3:30 pm #245907
Hamilton, whilst driving well, did not help to build a better car before the season began
I think our difference in opinions stems from the fact that you believe that a car is designed before the season and that no improvements can be made to the car or the team during the winter break and in-season.
On the other hand, I believe there are 3 distinct phases to a car’s development:
1. Development before the winter break
2. Development during the winter break
3. In-season development
I think Mercedes built a good car in phase 1 but it was probably a P4-P5 car. During the winter, Hamilton joined and the car was bumped to a P3-P4 car/team. This is consistent with Merc’s start of the season where they didn’t dominate and Red Bull and Ferrari did better.
Then Hamilton and Rosberg were able to contribute and the car eventually ended up scoring 8 poles (almost 10) and 3 victories with Hamilton being on the front grid pretty much in every race for many GPs. Then the tyres changed and Hamilton (& Merc) simply didn’t have an answer (including many other drivers and constructors).
On the other hand, McLaren built a fundamentally flawed car in Phase 1 but they weren’t able to correct it in Phases 2 and 3. With Hamilton, however, they would have been able to do better and secure a podium – perhaps he would have taken the team in a different direction and they would have avoided their disastrous season or saved face.27th November 2013, 15:43 at 3:43 pm #245908
I never said that cars can’t be improved during the season, but whilst drivers have somewhat of an input, I don’t think it’s so great that they could turn it from 2 seconds off the pace, to a regular pole sitter, especially now that in-season testing is banned.
The reason McLaren is doing poorly is because they relied too much on their systems, and it back-fired. Had Hamilton been there, they would have fared no better. He may have occasionally out-performed the car, but that would have in no way put them any higher in the Championship. Likewise, if Schumacher had continued in the Merc, I’m sure he would have scored some podiums this year, possibly even a win.
If Hamilton really had that much effect on a car, don’t you think everyone would be pushing to buy him out of his contract? The fact is that they all know that Merc has some great designers and have finally delivered on their potential.27th November 2013, 15:59 at 3:59 pm #245909
Why do you think Ferrari hired Kimi Raikonnen when LDM and Ferrari have been so staunchly opposed to having “2 roosters in the henhouse”? What prompted such an about-face if not Hamilton’s 474 point swing from McLaren to Mercedes?
It’s not 2 seconds. On a 1′ 40” lap a 1% improvement is 1 second and no driver can bring that. I’m thinking a 0.3%-0.5% improvement which is 0.3 seconds to 0.5 seconds per lap but ultimately the difference between P5 and P2 in the constructors championship.27th November 2013, 16:25 at 4:25 pm #245910
Maybe because Red Bull has dominated the last four years, whilst Massa has contributed very little during that time? Perhaps having two consistent and quick drivers, giving them the best chance to at least secure one title next year, be it Driver’s or Constructor’s (or even both) is better than having on great driver, whom can only do so much, and losing out to Red Bull. Raikkonen was the best driver available to maximise the potential of the car for next season to beat Red Bull. It had nothing to do with Mercedes.
Mercedes have gained far more than 0.3-0.5 seconds. Abu Dhabi 2012, their best time was a 1:41.6xx, this season it was 1:40.4xx (not to mention Hamilton made a mistake, which could have seen him go quicker). Add to that the fact that DRS was only allowed in two places, rather than anywhere, and that’s probably closer to 1.5 seconds improvement. Even if you say that the tyres were softer, there is no way that Hamilton made that improvement himself. The team did a much better job designing the car.27th November 2013, 16:58 at 4:58 pm #245911
I’m not sure we can use the season-to-season lap improvement of a single GP – track conditions, weather, tyre choices, in season improvements, custom changes just for that GP can easily skew that. If you just look at the qualifying speeds between 2012 and 2013 that didn’t have many regulation changes as far as I know, they are just all over the map.27th November 2013, 17:09 at 5:09 pm #245912
That’s why I chose Abu Dhabi, instead of Austin or Interlagos, as the conditions were the most relative. I just don’t see how you can deny the facts that Merc are far quicker than they were last year, and that isn’t down to one man. Sure, I don’t like Hamilton, but I can admit he’s a very good driver, but no single driver can make that much difference in this day and age.
By your logic:
- Jenson Button made the McLaren team good, and the Brawn/Mercedes team worse by leaving Brawn/Merc and switching to McLaren from 2009 to 2010.
- Sebastian Vettel made Red Bull great by switching to them in 2009.
- Fernando Alonso made Renault worse and McLaren better by switching from them in 2006 to 2007.
- Bruno Senna turned Williams from their worst season in 2011 to a race winner in 2012.27th November 2013, 17:50 at 5:50 pm #245913
No doubt Alonso made a contribution in 2007as did Hamilton. As for Vettel it’s indisputable that RB would not be where it is without Vettel.
Double diffiuser in 2009 and tyres for PM in 2012.
I may even venture that Hamilton is very teammate friendly in the sense that his teammates seem to benefit from his presence on a team and he “elevates” their performance. I’m not sure if he gets much benefit or if his own performance is elevated by his teammates. His struggles with Alonso, Button as well as Rosberg’s antics on the track this year suggest the opposite.27th November 2013, 18:38 at 6:38 pm #245914
Actually, no. What you say is not just a different opinion, it contradicts facts. Let’s see:
1. Your example with Messi actually supports my point, not yours. Mclaren did not just change a driver, they also changed their car. If Barcelona changed all their players for players from a village league, the drop in scoring would definitely not be attributed to Messi by football fans (OK, by knowledgeable football fans), because they know that Messi would not score pretty much anything with his new teammates even if he stayed in Barcelona. Messi needs to be fed the ball by players behind him, just like a driver has to have a decent car to get into points.
2. The points that McLaren lost did not go to Mercedes. While F1 is a zero-sum game, there happen to be more teams than just the two, therefore the “zero-game” argument is invalid for the McL-Merc pairing (I happen to work in a field close to game theory, trust me on that).
3. If McLaren scored 860 points this year, you would have big trouble finding people attributing this to Hamilton’s past bad influence. Knowledgeable fans know that such an increase in points can only happen when the _designers_ hit jackpot. I see no justification for your claim that “we would all say”.
4. Your argument “If they had a clue, they would have fixed the W03 chassis” is flawed as well, as it contradicts the way teams have been working for decades. Changing a car fundamentally mid-season is a major undertaking (for instance, a new chassis means that all crash tests would have to be done again), therefore teams wait for the winter break to make extensive changes.
There is nothing wrong supporting your favourite driver, but the arguments should not fly in the face of logic and facts, otherwise the effect is just the opposite. Hamilton’s results clearly show that he is an exceptional driver, one of the best of this generation, they do not need any embellishments.28th November 2013, 15:21 at 3:21 pm #245915
I actually would give it an 8/10 season for Hamilton .
He has bedded in with the team and found out that there are a lot of things to be learnt like working with new people , learning new feel of brakes , suspension and not having to rely on simulator for set-ups when jumping into a new team ( which he has never done before ) . He has played his cards well on and off the track .His honesty has been refreshing .The pirellis are his worst enemy . Hopefully he learns to circumvent the frustration and win in 2014 . As a lot of people have said , he has to learn to let go of things and not get worked up ( which he has done very well so far this year ) . He must be even willing to maximise his position even if things don’t go well next year. I am eagerly looking forward to 2014 to see if either of Mercedes or Ferrari can challenge the bulls . Or maybe it will be the other way round . No one knows .
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