Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2017

Team mate battles 2017: No clear number one at Mercedes and Red Bull

2017 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner recently argued Mercedes need to pick one driver to back in their championship fight with Ferrari.

But against the expectations of many there’s been little to choose between Lewis Hamilton and team newcomer Valtteri Bottas so far.

And Horner should count himself lucky he doesn’t have to make that decision at Red Bull as Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo have been difficult to separate so far this year as well. Particularly due to the team’s reliability problems.

Mercedes: Bottas defying the doubters

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2017
Bottas has grabbed two wins already
When Valtteri Bottas was announced as Lewis Hamilton’s team mate for the 2017 season, some claimed Mercedes had gone after a soft option who was unlikely to challenge Hamilton rather than trying to prise Fernando Alonso or Sebastian Vettel out of their contracts.

Although you could point to a number of great performances by Bottas at Williams which demonstrated why he was the best choice available, there were many who viewed him as a stopgap solution to Mercedes urgent need to replace Nico Rosberg.

Bottas has defied those doubters so far in 2017. Indeed, he has kept Hamilton honest at least as well as Nico Rosberg did, arguably even more so. He’s 6-5 down in qualifying at the moment, a battle Hamilton won 12-8 against Rosberg last year and 12-7 the year before. Out of the ten races where both drivers finished, each had been in front of the other five times.

The question now is how much improvement Bottas can make in the second half of 2017. It’s not out of the question he could surpass Hamilton and become Mercedes’ leading championship contender, something which would have been unthinkable to many just a few months ago.

Which Mercedes driver finished ahead

AUS CHI BAH RUS SPA MON CAN AZE AUS GRE HUN
Lewis Hamilton Q
R
Valtteri Bottas Q
R

Red Bull: Poor finishing rate obscures the picture

On the face of it the divide between Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo comes down to who’s shown the most potential (Verstappen) versus who’s delivered the most points (Ricciardo). But there is another factor which makes this team mate battle tricky to judge.

That is Red Bull’s poor finishing rate, caused by a combination of unreliability and bad luck. The most remarkable measure of this is that out of the 679 laps raced so far in 2017, Red Bull’s two cars have only been on track together during 249 of them and have only been classified together three times.

Verstappen’s had a slight edge in qualifying but repeated technical failures have left us wondering what he could have done in the races. He’s also been taken out at the start twice by other drivers and further dented Red Bull’s success rate by walloping Ricciardo of the last race.

Last year Verstappen gradually began to eclipse Ricciardo following his promotion to Red Bull. He appears to have continued that trend so far this year, but the shortage of data masks the true picture. By the end of the season we should be in a better place to judge.

Which Red Bull driver finished ahead

AUS CHI BAH RUS SPA MON CAN AZE AUS GRE HUN
Daniel Ricciardo Q
R
Max Verstappen Q
R

Haas: Fluctuating form

Haas rarely seem to have a weekend when both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen are happy with the VF-17. And when they are, as in Austria, reliability problems tend to intervene.

Grosjean regularly sounds anything but happy with his car in practice, but has often bounced back on Saturday and gone on to lead the team’s forays into the points-scoring positions. His peaks are a bit higher than Magnussen’s, but for a driver with aspirations of driving for a top team it’s not as conclusive as he would wish.

Which Haas driver finished ahead

AUS CHI BAH RUS SPA MON CAN AZE AUS GRE HUN
Romain Grosjean Q
R
Kevin Magnussen Q
R

2017 F1 season

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98 comments on “Team mate battles 2017: No clear number one at Mercedes and Red Bull”

  1. Laps ahead at 74%; quite telling.
    That’s in Alonso/Vettel/Hulkenberg territory!

    1. But a race isn’t over until you’ve crossed the finish line. There were only 3 races both drivers completed, so your’e making a comparison on less than 30% of the data. Daniel has completed more races than Max did, and has got more podiums than Max has, hence he has more points than Max.

  2. @keith, may I have an I-told-you-so button for all the people prior to this season that said that Hamilton would wipe the floor with Bottas?

      1. My response to naysayers upon the announcement of VB coming to Mercedes was that he should be given the chance to show his stuff now that he will be in a competitive car for the first time. And he has done great. I cautioned that he was of course going to be on his hind foot as the newbie on the team, but it is almost like he hasn’t been a newbie to the team or to a competitive car.

        That said I do not expect him to surpass LH, nor be allowed to, unless he dominates the next two or three races after the break. That is the only way he will turn the math on his side. If he is bested by LH (and SV) in the next races, then the math with a third of the season to go, has to go to LH with SV such a threat.

        I’m still not convinced that just because LH was ordered to hand back VB’s points there is equality on the team. I find it hard to get past the notion that they handed LH an opportunity that could very well have left VB in the dust and us with a clear picture of what is going on there. It was only LH’s inability to get past KR, or KR’s lack of a mistake, that had them switch spots. We do know that if SV is ahead, and LH has pace behind VB, he’ll be given a free pass to go after SV.

        So as well as VB has done, he’ll have to assert himself on pole and lead in the next nearest races or the team will have no choice, as they’ve already foreshadowed before the break.

    1. Season’s not over yet. Valterri has done well to keep with the Ferraris qhwn the car is not working. See russia monaco in austria and baku lewis couldnt really compete.. But other than that he is no real threat to Lewis. The mopping will comence once we get to Spa.

      1. Agreed.

        The stats do not really show the picture fully.

        Apart from here and there and all things being equal, does anyone really think Bottas has been anywhere near Hamilton’s race pace? Equally, how many poles has Lewis got? And while Bottas has been there or thereabouts some of the margins have been eye opening.

        Just like the Rosberg days.

        1. No but let people continue to hype Bottas. For me he has been even worse than i thought since i belived him to be better than Rosberg at least.

  3. Magnussen’s Saturday performances really let him down I think…

  4. The Red Bull graph shows an interesting story of how their drivers have fared in the first half. Verstappen is clearly leading on all parameters except points. Goes to show the raw pace and natural talent minus the experience. Although no longer a rookie, he is still a teenager and experience will grow eventually if he is patient and consistent.
    For me, Bottas has been the most impressive driver in the first half. Even if the Mercedes is a top car, it is never easy to perform at a level close to his multiple championship winner teammate in the first year itself.

    1. Max has had an unfair share of DNFs through mechanical failure. I’m not sure we can count him as inexperienced or inconsistent any more?

    2. Verstappen is clearly leading on all parameters except points. Goes to show the raw pace and natural talent minus the experience. Although no longer a rookie, he is still a teenager and experience will grow eventually if he is patient and consistent.

      So far Verstappen has had 5 DNF’s in 11 races, 4 of which were because of technical failures. So that’s 4 DNF’s for which he shouldn’t be held accountable for. Therefore they shouldn’t be attributed to the amount of his experience (or lack of, which you seem to be implying)

      Only the Barcelona one, where he tried to overtake KR and VB around the outside, could be considered as a ‘high risk move’. Someone with more experience might not have tried to go around the outside there.

      Maybe he shouldn’t have been there, on that part of the track at that time, because you are at high risk to get knocked out (and it showed). He took some risk there, sure. But he didn’t instigate that DNF. VB did.

      1. If Spain was a high risk move by Verstappen than Hungary was for Ricciardo.

        Each race there will be drivers overtaking other drivers at the start, part of the game

    3. @pinakghosh Yes, you can call Verstappen inexperienced, especially compared to Ricciardo. But he is in his third year, so it cannot be used as an excuse. I think it’s more of a combination of a very competitive and stubborn nature (more likely to be involved in an accident) compared to sheer bad luck that he is behind on points.

      1. ‘more likely to be involved in an accident’, that’s all between the ears… Verstappen has been involved in but a few accidents all this 2,5 year. The more they talk about incidents the more it seems to have occured…which is in fact untrue.

        2017 Hungary (own fault), Spain (Bottas) and Canada (Kvyat)
        2016 Monaco (own fault), Spa (no DNF, Vettel)
        2015 Monaco (own fault), Sochi (Hulkenberg)

        Put any other driver next to this and there ar only but a few who expierences less incidents.

        1. Clear analysis

  5. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
    8th August 2017, 13:10

    Bottas has been flattered by Hamilton’s difficulties with the ‘diva’ car this year, but even so the comparison is very impressive, he seems better than Rosberg in every department. In the second half of the season, Hamilton should be able to push ahead: there are fewer low-grip street style circuits on the calendar and Mercedes has a better handle on the tyres.

    1. Can’t say I get the comment ‘better than Rosberg in every department,’ but no question VB is doing great.

      1. I wonder how “better than Rosberg in every department” will ‘better’ the WDC title. Nobel Prize? Cure Cancer?

        1. Yeah it sounds contradictory to say Hamilton will pull ahead if Bottas is better than Rosberg (hint: Check who the 2016 champion is).

      2. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
        8th August 2017, 23:20

        @robbie Bottas is clearly better when it comes to wheel-to-wheel racing where Rosberg was hopeless, he’s also far better in the wet. On qualifying (Rosberg’s strongest suit), they’re more evenly matched.

        1. @thegrapeunwashed I think when you consider Nico’s career overall…the poles, the wins, the Championship…VB has much catching up to do. Sure Nico was clumsy at times, but he was also awesome more times than not. VB has his virtues of course, and sure may best Nico’s career…but he’s got much to prove yet. Let’s start by seeing if he is still in a top car next year. He certainly isn’t squandering his opportunity, which is great. What’s not to like about the guy. I’d put already proven FA in that seat though. F1 would be way better off for it. As would the audience.

          1. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
            9th August 2017, 22:20

            @robbie In my view Bottas isn’t weaker than Rosberg in any area. I’d rate Bottas as a Button level talent, which is very high – and substantially higher than Rosberg. Rosberg benefited from a very good car and effectively only his teammate for competition, whereas Bottas has Hamilton and both Ferraris to beat, Mercedes are not the dominant force we’ve seen for the past couple of seasons.

            Rosberg won a championship thanks to a huge slice of good fortune: Hamilton suffered engine failure at three GPs, Rosberg at none – about a 14% hit rate over the course of the season. Add in the misfortune of clashing with Bottas in Bahrain, and a poor weekend in Azerbaijan capped with a weird set-up problem, and Rosberg was simply good enough to capitalise. I don’t see why Bottas wouldn’t have been able to do the same if there were ever a repeat.

            Last season Hamilton and Rosberg competed directly against each other (i.e. without engine failures or collisions) in 17 races, of those Hamilton came out best 11 times , about the same ratio Hamilton had beaten him for the previous two seasons – luck played a huge part in the championship. Rosberg was no slouch, but I don’t think he was anything special. I don’t think Bottas is in the first rank either, but he seems at least as good or better than Rosberg in every respect.

    2. I don’t know if he’s better than Rosberg, but he’s definitely matched Rosberg in performance. Considering it’s his 1st season in the team, it’s pretty impressive though.

      1. Matched Rosberg?

        People are living in an alternate reality here, Rosberg beat Hamilton on pace when Hamilton was on it something Bottas has not managed till date.
        In a race where Hamilton has been on pace Bottas has been nowhere near him.

        The only thing making Bottas look good is Hamilton’s inconsistencies, if not it should be circa Vettel vs Raikkonen kind of score.

        1. gimmegimmegimmebadonkadonkgirl
          10th August 2017, 0:39

          Every time I read a comments section I’m left with the impression that the vast majority of commenters live in an alternate reality designed to prove that their favourite driver/team/whatever is best.

          As for Hamilton’s inconsistencies, it’s often said of Alonso that a big part of what makes him a great driver is his ability to adapt his driving style to the needs of the car and drive around problems. One could draw the same conclusion of Bottas looking at the days when Hamilton has struggled this year.

    3. ‘Difficulties with the diva’. We get to hear that from Raikkonen, Grosjean or Button, like they’re ‘sensitive’ drivers. It sounds like excuses for not performing at the expected level.
      I’m no fan of Hamilton though I reckon he’s one of the best out there if not the best.
      But when he’s under-performing, let’s not blame the car if there is no apparent reason or technical problem will we?

      1. Evil Homer (@)
        9th August 2017, 14:24

        @NotAgain
        Very true- I always was a fan of Bottas and thought he could race Lewis this year- hard to bloody do- and I think he is doing a bang up job so far.
        But he is a quiet achiever so may be looking at the Nobel Prize or curing cancer on the side :) (The latter would be better).

      2. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
        10th August 2017, 10:39

        But when he’s under-performing, let’s not blame the car if there is no apparent reason or technical problem will we?

        You probably missed this from Mark Hughes.

  6. I was a bit surprised to even see a suggestion such as is in the headline to this segment as to driver status at Red Bull. I don’t think they are in any position nor would need to designate a 1 and 2 there. Not while they lag so far back in the WCC. Their main concern needs be to forward the car together. There is no gain whatsoever, that I can see, in them or any team that is third in the WCC shading one driver over the other.

    In terms of RBR and their two drivers, for me Max is by far the more enthralling to watch. Pretty much on the whole grid imho. Shame he’s had so much unreliability.

    1. Who needs a #1 & #2 when you only finish 3 races together?

    2. @robbie I think @keithcollantine hits the nail on the head with this summary:

      On the face of it the divide between Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo comes down to who’s shown the most potential (Verstappen) versus who’s delivered the most points (Ricciardo).

      To some potential is more important, to some the champion standing is. Therefore I can fully understand that these two are regarded as closely matched at this point.

      1. @robbie My personal opinion is however is that Verstappen is superior to Ricciardo this first halve of the season. Points are what matter in the end but don’t tell the whole story. If points are the truth then Ricciardo would be better than Vettel (2014), but worse than Kvyat (2015), who is bested by Sainz (2016-2017), who lost out to Verstappen. But Verstappen is losing out to Ricciardo so… confused…

        1. Fair comment. My point was simply to say I don’t see any need for RBR to think in terms of 1 and 2 drivers, no matter how each other’s season has unfolded, since they are so far back from Ferrari and Mercedes in the constructors. So there is no need for them to designate a 1 and 2 in the way Ferrari and Mercedes will have to as they fight for the championships, when their (RBR’s) main goal needs to be to advance both cars.

          1. @robbie You are right, that was your point. I was so eager to express my opinion (in poor English I see) that I didn’t read your comment properly. I am confident that Red Bull will improve the rest of the season, just like last year. Too late for the championship, but let’s see who comes out on top then.

  7. The Red Bull statistic is very telling in how lucky Ricciardo is with Verstappen’s technical issues this season.
    Last year they were still pretty close, now Verstappen is clearly better in all aspects. I can definitely see Verstappen finish in front of Ricciardo at the end of the season if his car stays reliable.

    1. Ben (@chookie6018)
      8th August 2017, 16:23

      Sorry @baron, but it’s pretty short sighted to say Verstappen is “clearly better in all aspects”. There’s no doubt that he has followed up how he finished last season with his tight battle with Riccardo. But with all due respect didn’t the last race in Hungary show how Riccardo is at worst equal with Verstappen? And that’s at worst?

      1. Hungary does not show anything. They crashed in turn 2 after RIC was A WHEEL ahead but noone knows if the move would have stuck or how turn 3 would have ended. All we can conclude is that VER won the qualifying battle.

        1. Mike that is a weird comment..max was too hot and understeered into ric..ric’s was in control stuck an he was ahead of maxie’s car not they are facts not if’s and but’s??

          1. Ok sorry Mike my previous post that didnt make sense!! ric was ahead and had control of his car max was behind and he didnt have control and took ric out..they are the facts… if’s and but’s mean nothing…

      2. @chookie6018 Look Ben, I didn’t make that comment and it’s pretty clear that you cannot ‘tag’ those posters who are not registered on this forum. It’s pretty irritating when I have an inbox full of ‘replies’ to posts I never made. Once more: If the posters name is in black and there’s no @ by the side of it, he (or she) is untaggable so he (or she) won’t get your reply by email. Not your fault mate – just a quirk of the forum. I have told @keithcollantine about it and hopefully he’ll eventually find a remedy. One simple remedy would be to only allow registered people to post, but I guess quite a number can’t be bothered to do that which makes it all kind of random and permits ‘fake’ multiple accounts by the same person having arguments with themselves. It’s kind of funny, but it happens on all forums unless admin spot the same IP addresses.

        1. @baron or, you know, the other baron was unaware you exist and uses that username because it’s his preference too? How nefarious

          1. Thank you for your reply @hahostolze. If you read my post again, at no point did I suggest he had no right to use the handle, and that’s because the current rules permit it so it’s a forum issue not a personal one. Yes, he is well aware of the clash, but I’m curious, what exactly is nefarious about my post? And I’ll ask you the question: why did you choose to register with this forum, when you could have just posted with any name you chose?

        2. Evil Homer (@)
          9th August 2017, 14:39

          @keithcollantine
          @baron

          Keith- Is this correct? Why can people not registered post on the forum? It was never previously like this!?

      3. @chookie6018
        No it isn’t. Looking at one race and saying Ricciardo is at least equal is.

  8. Hamilton is a overrated driver. He only win with a super car, and Bottas is very close to him and he isn´t a top driver. Verstappen, Alonso or Ricciardo will be a nightmare for Hamilton in the Bottas seat

    1. Haha, Alonso couldn’t beat a rookie in 2007

      1. Hamilton is mighty, as Vettel is. Alonso could have been mighty if he hadn’t been so much into political games and controversial situations. Unluckily he has “only” 2 WDCs; however, he has nobody to blame about that “shortage” of championships but himself.

      2. Hendra, and Vettel couldn’t beat Ricciardo, Ricciardo couldn’t beat Kvyat and Kvat couldn’t beat Sainz. And Rosberg and Button beat Hamilton. So Sainz, Button and Hamilton are the best? Every driver will have at least one off-season. 2007 was Alonso’s, even though he came close to winning the title.

        1. @matthijs Ric couldnt beat kvyat??
          Ric was wiping the floor with kvyat in 2016 one of the reasons he was demoted!!!!

          1. @nosehair Thank you for confirming my point. The fact that Kvyat scored more points than Ricciardo in 2015 did not mean that Kvyat was the better driver.

        2. @omarr-pepper l think you are getting mighty confused with best cars..ric destroyed vet in the same car!!!

        3. Ricciardo did beat Kvyat.

          1. No he didn’t. Not on points.

      3. I knew some clown would post that as a response. Vettel got smashed by Ricciardo and Hamilton lost to Button in 2011. What’s your point? Button and Ricciardo are the best drivers Formula 1 has ever seen?

    2. Can’t agree with that Jusnj. Love him or hate him, Hamilton is the real deal..

      1. Sorry, *Juanj* .

  9. Guybrush Threepwood
    8th August 2017, 17:59

    Not sure you can count the Ricciardo v Verstappen race result in Great Britain when Ricciardo had to start from the back of the grid.

    A fair comparison to count would have been Hungary where Ricciardo was in front of Verstappen when Max took him out.

    I think it’s been so close between the pair that it’s difficult to split them, but Max has shown slightly better pace on a few occasions however Ricciardo has shown more measured aggression and kept out of trouble when his team mate wasn’t knocking him off.

    1. I agree, Hungary race should go to RIC. Max made a big mistake.

      GB should be even, RIC car mechanical issue, back of the grid start.

      Also Austria, Max crashed his car on Friday, and had a savage high speed gravel run on the Saturday quali and what happened? His car broke.. when you beat your car up making mistakes on Friday and Saturday, then it breaks on Sunday, i’d say you have contributed to the failure. RIC should have a tick for Austria race also IMO.

      Otherwise i think they are very close. The second half of the season will be very telling.

      1. This is like closing your eyes, nothing wanting to see what happens on racing day.

        Out of 11 races Verstappen has been in front 10, all but Austria. Suggestions his DNF in Austria was due to his own doing are rediculous… he had double trouble (mechanical and crash) He would have DNF-ed anyways regardless.
        Ofcourse he made a mistake in Hungary, but Ricciardo’s know limits do end sometimes as he crashed two times in Q3 and a near crash at Monaco.
        In GB Ric did well, but nothing spectaculair, it took him all race to overtake slower cars and to end up almost a minute behind Verstappen, Verstappen was the faster driver on track for about 70% or the race.

        Verstappen DNF-ed 5 times, 4 x due to mechanical failures.. positions in the race P4, 3, 2, 4 and 6
        Ricciardo DNF-ed 3 times, 3 x due to mechanical failures.. positions P-last, 7 and a shared P4

        Verstappen lost many potential points while Ricciardo collected those same points cause other dropped away in front of him. The only overtaking Ricciardo did was 2x Raikkonen and one time Stroll, it’s not like he consistantly beat Ver, Vet, Bot or Ham. Verstappen on the other hand was in front of both Ferrari and Mercedes drivers (+ Ricciardo) quite often by overtaking them.

        Ricciardo and Verstappen aren’t close, in terms of performance Verstappen is very clearly ahead of Ricciardo.
        Hamilton and Bottas are close than the sheer majority would have expected

    2. Why shouldn’t it count? Verstappen started from the back in China but was already ahead before the first pitstops.

      1. Ricciardo get’s the ‘pity factor’

      2. Guybrush Threepwood
        10th August 2017, 19:54

        Because he was able to change his setup for wet weather in the race, however held Ricciardo up who showed better overall race pace but didn’t make any silly moves to take Max out like Maalx did in Hungary.

        China does point out though that you can’t count Max being in front when he retired in a few GP’s as anything conclusive about race pace.

        1. Stille on that lonely island i see.

  10. Hamilton has been very disappointing so far this year, the team are very confused atm as they want Hamilton to step up and be clear number 1 but he doesn’t have the speed over Bottas to do so.

    1. Hamilton clearly does have the speed over Bottas, but the car has been unreliable to set up on a few occasions. Or like last race where in Q3 they didn’t give Hamilton working tyres while he was at last half a second faster in all other quali sessions and during the race.

      You have to try and understand that sometimes the car just doesn’t go. Or are you saying that last race Vettel just suddenly forgot how to produce fast laps?

      1. You are just making excuses up, Hamilton has underperformed this season and of.

  11. I don’t get the “Verstappen inexperienced” idea.

    He best in the rain, overtaking, defending. One of the best in tire managment, starts and race pace.
    He is beating Ricciardo in Q and race pace.
    What is he not good at?

    Inexperienced?

    1. He’s inexperienced as a mechanic, which is why he has so many mechanical issues, duh.

  12. Lol if it was the other way around nobody on this website would be calling a 7-4 quali ratio ‘slight’ (especially considering one of the four was a technical defect).
    Verstappen has been better this season. He’s probably been one of the standout drivers of the entire field, but has nothing to show for it. Kudos to Ricciardo who has Zelig-d his way to remarkable results.

    1. Just for emphasis. The quali ratio and the laps ahead ratio are utterly damning. If not for the points, which again are hardly indicative of anything in this particular instance, you would not have put Ricciardo and Verstappen as closely matched. They’re not.

      1. Exactly. Verstappen vs Ricciardo imo is almost as damning as Vettel vs Raikkonen. The difference between the two is that the gap behind Red Bull is so big that Ricciardo automatically gets sixth even if he’s off the pace whereas Raikkonen will be fighting the Red Bulls for fourth if he’s too slow.
        And Verstappens car was very unreliable. Without his reliability issues Verstappen would have been a good 30 points ahead.
        The only thing Ricciardo has going for him is that he keeps his nose clean allowing him to profit from others misfortune and mistakes. But on terms of pace Verstappen is beating him.

  13. Chip Hilton
    9th August 2017, 0:54

    Seems like we’re not taking the difference in cars from year to year into account. Some year’s versions just don’t suit one driver on a team while the other one has no problem. Is Vettel really as inferior to Ricciardo as he looked in Vettel’s last Red Bull season? All of these head-to-head battles could be flipped next year or even later this year as upgrades are more to one driver’s liking than another.

    1. That’s on the driver though, it’s his job to express to the engineers what he wants from a car and such. If he can’t adapt to a car that’s his problem, a sure mark against his qualities as a driver.

      1. But Red Bull was never going to paint his car red…

      2. I agree for the most part, but what does that say about Grosjean? He is constantly complaining about his car.

        1. He is complaining but still getting the job done relative to his teammate.

  14. Marian Gri (@)
    9th August 2017, 8:11

    Hungary proved – if there was doubt left – that HAM is Mercedes’ ”DIVA”! They told BOT to let him ahead not only to have a go at trying to win, but to protect him from VER too. Mercedes was kinda worried that VER will catch and might overtake him (so, lose some other precious points!). They never were worried BOT might lose places in the last part of the race, tell HAM to let him ahead and/or protect his place, like RAI did for VET, more than sure never crossed their mind. So, it’s pretty obvious how things work at Mercedes.

    Why would RBR have a no.1 and no.2 when they’re just the 3rd best team and with no chances to win any of the champs even if they back-up 1 of their drivers?!

    1. @Marian Gri – Hungary proved that Mercedes valued a 2-4 above a 3-4. Given that Bottas at no point was even close to Kimi. Once again Bottas did not display the race pace to match Hamilton.

    2. If anything that’s disproven by last race. Otherwise they would never have taken the risk to swap the drivers back on the last few meters.

      If anyone was shown the “DIVA” in the team then it’s Vettel. They clearly held Raikkonen back to fend of the Mercedes drivers. Raikkonen could have easily taken Vettel during the stops, or they could have told Vettel to stop holding up Raikkonen.

      It’s funny how Raikkonen was still complaining over and over during the race that he had more pace and should not have his strategy messed up like that, but by now it must be clear to him that he’s there only in a support role.

      1. @patrickl
        Except Bahrein happened. Hamilton was Mercedes’ #1 from the word go this season. Bottas only suddenly shows pace when Hamilton is struggling. For the rest of the time he has to let Hamilton through, help Hamilton win by holding up the competition or hang back.
        Vettel had to overtake Raikkonen on merit in China and by consistency established his #1 status at the team.
        If Raikkonen and Ferrari were like Bottas and Mercedes he would have been told to let Vettel through at Silverstone.

    3. @corrado-dub, this is nonsense, Hamilton had Bottas well bean on race pace in Hungary, although Bottas has been great this season Lewis pulled out over 0.5sec a lap after he was let through, and got as close as he could to making a pass on Raikonnen, meanwhile Bottas was over 8 secs behind and unable to catch the battling drivers in front.

      If anything, it was somewhat humiliating for Bottas as even though Hamilton had been battlign with Raikonnen he had to ‘wait’ for 7 secs for Bottas to close down, this is a little embarrassing for Bottas that Hamilton had such superior race pace.

  15. There’s a very good reason Redbull has no clear nr 1 driver: mechanic failure

    Max has really upped his game this season. You can see he’s been in the car from the start and RIC knows it.

    1. They have a clear number one. Daniel is fighting for his red bull drive and red bull is fighting to keep Max.

  16. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    9th August 2017, 22:26

    I still think way too many people are saying Verstappen is better than Ricciardo. He has been better in qualifying and usually has had better starts. But they have only both finished 3 out of 11 races!! That is a hopeless amount of track time of the most important thing, which is the race! In all the other 8 races put together, they have done 41 out of 496 laps when both on track. But this is only the start of of the other races that we don’t know what the end result will have been. So this amount of time isn’t the best time to compare them either. If I include every lap they have done when both on track this season, it adds up to 226 out of a total of 682. And one of the races they both completed was Monaco which has the most which makes it look like more. Red Bull have had by far the leased amount of time out of any team I think when both drivers are on track which makes comparing them this year rather unfair. And even though Verstappen often got better starts, we have no guarantee whatsoever of the end result. Ricciardo is often stronger towards the end of races or has been in the past. Even out of the races they have been together in, the only one where they both started in similar positions was Monaco. That weekend, Verstappen was better in qualifying again as he often has been. But during the race, they were pretty much even. Ricciardo did get an better opportunity but he really did perform very well indeed and pull away. Verstappen could have done the same or he may not have been able to if he was given the chance. We saw Ricciardo have very good pace though. In Britain and China, one or other of them started towards the back and they had different strategies and it is just so difficult to judge them against each other in these situations.

    3 races and a few laps in other races just isn’t enough to say either driver is clearly better this year. As I said, We have only seen them both complete 1 race when they both had a trouble free weekend. Ricciardo may have had a couple of crashes in qualifying, but Verstappen has just taken out Ricciardo in the last race which could have cost the team just as many points. Deciding who is better with just this amount of track time would be a bit like deciding Bottas was better than Hamilton if Bottas had done better than him in 2 of the first 3 races. This is basically what Verstappen has done in the only races they have both completed. Both have made mistakes. But based on last year when we did see more of them race, I still personally believe Ricciardo is a little better. But I’m not saying that is true as we just haven’t seen enough this season. I do agree with what Martin Brundle says on Sky. Although Verstappen often looks better, he still believes Ricciardo just about has the edge over him. It has to be said he is good at maximizing most of his results this year. Even if he has been lucky, it could be possible that Verstappen may not have been as good at doing this. We just have no idea as it hasn’t happened and we haven’t seen it. Based on the results this year in the races, we just can’t say Verstappen is better just yet. We need more time to decide who is better! But anyhow, they still are both great so does it really matter?

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      9th August 2017, 23:18

      Just to add, I am basing this from all the races which I recorded. I don’t quite understand how they did for 249 laps together when both on track. They did 56 in China, 78 in Monaco and 52 in Silverstone. This adds up to 186. I am certain they didn’t do 63 laps over the other races. When I added it up, I got to 41 and when I looked back over them again just now, I think I over counted first time and got 38 now. What do they classify as a lap??

      In Australia, Ricciardo didn’t start. 0 laps togeather
      in Bahrain, Verstappen had problems on lap 12 and crashed. So completed 11 laps.
      In Russia, Ricciardo Retired just as he had started the 6th lap. So that adds up to 16 laps.
      In Spain, no laps were completed together, so still just 16.
      In Canada, Verstappen retired on lap 11, so another 10 full laps. This adds up to 26.
      In Baku, Verstappen retired on lap 13, so 12 full laps. 38 now.
      In Austria, Verstappen retired on the first lap. 0 laps together.
      In Britain, they didn’t both complete any laps together again.

      So 186 + 38 is 224.

      Am I missing something? I don’t understand the classification of a lap sometimes. I realize I was wrong about how many racing laps there had been this year as I put 682 when it is 679 but that will have been me just not considering the aborted starts. I know 224 laps won’t be that accurate but I don’t understand where that big chunk comes from adding to 249.

      1. Ric did 26 laps in Australia.

        Btw… I don’t get that ‘I still believe Ricciardo has the edge on him’ ?
        What does a driver need to do to get better than his team mate…? The only thing Verstappen is behind on is scoring points, he’s been beating Ricciardo on about all area’s on track.

        I saw GB pass by in different articles, Ric even took DOTD for his performance… but if we take a closer look at that race there really wasn’t much spectaculair going on. It took Ric about all race to pass only slower cars on track.. it even took him several laps to overtake Alonso. Ricciardo was slower than his team mate ~70% of the race, only pulled some faster laps after pitting 13 (!!) lap later than his team mate, on equal tyres Verstappen was consistantly faster.

        In China Ric was catching up in the end of the race, but still their performance on track was about equal… Ric was faster in only ~15% of the total laps, Verstappen starting from P17 overtaking him within 10 laps doesn’t make it Ricciardo’s race…. at all.

        If we check track position of both drivers during racing day, when they both where on track, Verstappen has been in front in about all races… all!! In Monaco they switched placed thaks to the team, a smart move, but it didn’t favour the faster driver.

        So on racing day Verstappen was in front 10 out of 11 races (Austria Ric was in front)
        In Quali Verstappen was faster in 27 out of 33 sessions (Q1, 2 and 3) beating Ric 7-4

        The only thing that stopped Verstappen from taking the points was reliability, he’s been beating Ricciardo on track in every single way.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          10th August 2017, 9:03

          Right, I was missing something then. I don’t know why I remembered Australia as Ricciardo not doing any laps. I thought he didn’t start but I was wrong.

          I do agree Verstappen has been quicker in qualifying, but Q1 and Q2 really doesn’t matter. especially in Q2, if anything doing even the slowest lap possible so long as you get into the top 10, that may help as it will keep your tyres in as good condition as possible for the start. I do think Verstappen’s performance in China was better than Ricciardo’s in Britain. But I think the Red Bull is one of the best cars in the wet and Verstappen found grip where many of the drivers further back just couldn’t. Great job but I can’t say I didn’t expect that. But the fact he got past Ricciardo did show he was better. In Monaco, we just can’t judge them really. Verstappen didn’t exactly pull away from Ricciardo that much early in the race. When Ricciardo got passed Bottas, he did pull away by quite some distance. I know we didn’t get to see what Verstappen did, but we did see Ricciardo perform. From what we saw in the race, I would easily say their performance was equal. In Britain, I personally think they were about even again and I do think Ricciardo’s race was a little over rated. But I still think 3 races which are what count isn’t enough time to compare them. The starts don’t always show the end result.

          So I no matter what has happened in practice, Q1, Q2 or even Q3, the race is what matters and Ricciardo with some luck has managed to get loads of decent points. We haven’t seen if Verstappen will have managed to same results Ricciardo has. I am sure he will have, be we can’t be sure he would be beating him at all just basing it on the starts.

          1. Only three races both finished, but in fact there was only one race which was free from mechanical issues (Monaco). In China Ver started from the back and in GB Ric.

            We surely can rate the drivers from what we’ve seen on track, cause they started each race and mostly right behind each other on the grid. If we check real track positions in every race up till DNF + FP and quali than we’ll have a good picture of the potential. If FP and Q1, 2 and 3 are close matched only Q3 matters, but it is remarkable Ver is faster in over 80% of all sessions and on top is leading about every race.

            It’s not likely Ricciardo would have overtaken Verstappen in the races he DNF-ed, remember the track positions Verstappen was in (P4, 3, 2, 4 and 6). In Spain for example Ver beat Ric 0.4 sec in Q3 and was faster in each session, same goes for Canada and Baku.

            Ricciardo has the talent to stay out of trouble most of the times and is taking points where other leave them, that in itself is worth much to the team, but Verstappen is undeniable stronger in quali, starts, overtaking and receperformance.

  17. @thegianthogweedhogweed lot of time and effect went into your post..great post!!

  18. These graphs represent nothing. While Verstappen might be out qualifying Ricciardo 7-4, it doesn’t show the time gaps of each session. Rarely is there more than 0.100s between the 2 drivers. At the end of the day it is points that matter and Ricciardo is clearly showing his dominance.

    Yet again another great “bash Daniel Ricciardo” article.

    1. the reason people are saying this is because max had DNFs in all those races RIC gathered those good points. And he was ahead while doing so.

      So unless you base dominance on luck with reliability, I can’t see where you get this from

    2. Not entirely true

      Aus > Ric crash
      Chi > VER DNF
      Bah > Ric 0.1 ahead (Verstappen held up by Bottas in warm-up lap)
      Rus > Ric 0.2 ahead (Verstappen car broken floor)
      Spa > Ver 0.4 ahead
      Mon > Ver 0.5 ahead (Ricciardo one run in Q3)
      Can > Ver 0.1 ahead
      Bak > Ric crash
      Aus > Ric 0.1 ahead
      GB > Ric DNF
      Hun > Ver 0.02 ahead (takes the average down a lot)

      On average Ric has been 0.13 sec over 3 quali’s
      On average Ver has been 0.255 sec over 4 quali’s
      Both DNF-ed once
      Ricciardo crashed twice

      Verstappen is rather dominant in quali

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        10th August 2017, 20:29

        Some of these are the must strange excuses…. Verstappen was help up in Bahrain by Bottas’s warm up lap? The warm up lap isn’t what counts! And I’ve just re watched that qualifying session as I recorded it. Bottas was doing his warm up lap at the same time as Verstappen but he was WELL ahead. When Bottas was going round the last few corners, you couldn’t see Verstappen in the distance at all. And if you think Bottas being a bit closer to Verstappen earlier on affects a lap at all later then that is just too much. Ricciardo was simply just a little better in qualifying here. If you were talking about the 1st timed run, then both Red Bulls went out before both Mercedes. And Bottas will have only gone past Verstappen if Verstappen backed off Ricciardo too much Bottas had room to do a fast lap so Verstappen clearly didn’t need to back off as much as he did.. So it was Verstappen’s choice to allow Bottas past. Verstappen did his quickest run on this run. But he failed to improve in his 2nd run. But even at the end of the 1st warm up lap, Verstappen just wasn’t close enough to Bottas when he started his lap for it to affect it. He definitely had the chance later to improve as Bottas was nowhere near him but he didn’t.

        I also don’t get what you mean by Verstappen having a DNF in qualifying in China. He did a reasonable run with just over 1 minute remaining in Q1. But as he had issues, it wasn’t enough to get through to Q2. He then started another lap and potentially could have improved if it wasn’t for Giovinazzi crashing. But he did see the black and white flags which indicated he finished the session. So it was not a DNF!

        I do agree that in qualifying, Verstappen has been better, but using the words “rather dominant” sounds as strange as “rather excellent”. Dominant is something a driver is or is not over another and I don’t think he’s dominant over Ricciardo at all. He’s just been faster in most of the sessions. But in Q3 which is what counts, 7 – 4 isn’t dominating. It’s not like Verstappen has always been on top form. He very nearly had a heavy crash in qualifying in Austria and also is the only one of these 2 drivers to to cause someone else’s retirement.

        1. Bottas was Massa… in Bahrain, Verstappen went out on a clear track, while Massa just popped up before Ver wanted to do his hot lap. Massa was taking it real slow which ruined Ver warm-up lap and therefore his hot lap. Not perfect warm-up is no perfect hot-lap.

          In Q1 China Verstappen suffered from engine problems in Q1… maybe you’ll understand P17 isn’t a normal spot for an RBR driver. He seased his first run for a reset in the pits which didn’t help with P17 as an result.

          Yeah… and what’s the defintion of ‘rather dominant’ it’s 7-4.. Ofcourse q1 and 2 are irrelvant for comparishing, but you might consider Verstappen being faster 27 out of 33 sessions as remarkable. It would have been irrelevant if the two where close matched, which isn’t the case. Ric crashing two times doesn’t really help as well.

          in Austria Ric was faster in Q3 by 0.1 sec. Again a remarkable fact….Verstappen was faster over 3 different sectors, but could not get it together in one sessions.

          Ofcourse Ric had some issues in quali as well, in Monaco he did just one hot lap in Q3 which wasn’t succesfull, but if he would have been faster is very questionable as Verstappen was faster 3 out 3 FP and 3 out of 3 quali sessions.

  19. There are so many variables that these graphs don’t say. Bottas is doing fantastic job, the points don’t reflect it, but i would say Lewis has Bottas in the palm of his hand.

  20. Well written post, Keith. The way things are shaping up at Mercedes with Hamilton and Bottas…reminds me of the times in 2002/13 at Ferrari, when Rubens Barrichello was not expected to challenge Michael Schumacher’s performance the way he did. Who can forget the controversial 2002 Austrian Gran Prix, where Barrichello was forced to finish 2nd, just yards away from the chequered flag..will history repeat itself..with Bottas and Hamilton?

    1. What do you mean? They almost did it last race in Hungary. The team didn’t order Hamilton back after ordering Bottas back, they just left it up to Hamilton, maybe hoping they could blame the confusion of the radio troubles, but Hamilton pulled out of it at the last corner as he surely knew the boos would come, even if not as strong as Austria 2002.

      But it showed intent, following other things this season, so I agree with you it would be no big surprise to have a clear order to come sooner rather than later.

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