So the season belongs to Lewis despite Rosberg’s strong finish !
by Matthew Roddan
An enthralling and eventful GP was delivered in Texas over the weekend which more than made up for the 48 hours of rain beforehand. Unusually for F1 the race outcome was by no means clear at any point in the race. Just as things seemed to settle into a pattern another safety car (actual or virtual) caused all the teams to jettison their strategy and start all over.
The synchronised passing of the two Mercedes cars against the two Red Bulls seemed to seal the fate of the GP but even that was thrown into doubt by the strategies of Vettel and Verstappen.
As the race continued it looked as though Hamilton was to be denied the opportunity to seal the drivers title in the USA until Rosberg made a mistake in the closing stages, gifting the win to Lewis.
Whilst Lewis celebrated victory and a third drivers title Rosberg was seen to sulk like a petulant child and in an uncharacteristic display of frustration showed his annoyance with himself by throwing his cap back at Lewis. This gesture will no doubt fill the headlines, he is just lucky it was not his towel !
So here we go…………….. Austin Texas.
This is the race that will likely see Lewis Hamilton seal the drivers title and will reveal just how much of a problem Nico Rosberg has on his hands. Losing to Hamilton is one thing but with the very best car on the grid, an inability to secure second place must raise concerns within the Mercedes team if they have the correct line up.
My prediction – Rosberg will come in second but the questions will now begin over his future with the Merc team.
They need to see consistent 1st and 2nd places and if Rosberg continues on the current downward spiral his position is in doubt.
by Matthew Roddan - Mercedes Dominance
Some interesting stats put together by Autosport this week show that Mercedes is already equalling the best of the best stats when compared to previous periods of dominance by other teams ;
MERCEDES IN 2014/15 (so far):
Wins: 28 from 34 – 82%
Poles: 32 from 34 – 94%
Laps led: 1668 of 2030 – 82%
Wins: 25 from 32 – 78%
Poles: 30 from 32 – 94%
Laps led: 1748 from 2070 – 84%
Wins: 20 from 32 – 62.5%
Poles: 30 from 32 – 94%
Laps led: 1540 from 2081 – 74%
Wins: 57 from 75 – 76%
Poles: 51 from 75 – 68%
Laps led: 1168 from 2140 – 55%
With their current form looking certain to continue into next year, especially as they already have next years engine ready to go it is looking likely that they will be able to keep up the highest percentages across the board of these stats and will do so over a longer period – The Ferrari 2000-2004 period will be the one they are chasing and it will be Ferrari themselves who stand in the best position to stop them.
Matthew Roddan, a reviwe of Sochi
Congratulations to the organisers of the Sochi GP. A thrilling race provided for 90 minutes of great F1 coverage resulting in Mercedes capturing the constructors championship and Lewis Hamilton all but securing the drivers title.
The clear losers on the day were Nico Rosberg who must now concentrate on preventing Vettel from snatching second place in the drivers title after a DNF caused by throttle issues. Sadly Carlos Sainz also suffered a brake failure right at the end of the race which was a disappointment after all his activities of the weekend.
Other than Bottas and Raikonnen, the rest of the F1 family went home happy with all teams having something good to take from the race – even McClaren !
Carlos Sainz suffered relatively little injury despite a major impact into poorly constructed barriers in FP3 today.
After losing the back end under braking the car headed straight to the scene of the accident as Martin Brundle would say. On closer inspection it is concerning that the barriers to not appear to be tethered to the ground ;
The Torro Rosso seen here has managed to lift a lot of the barriers and move them.
by Matthew Roddan
All the talk at Sochi this weekend will inevitably be about the prospect of Red Bull leaving F1 due to the inability to source a 2016 Engine. But surely the problem runs deeper than this.
Next season all the grid will be powered by either Mercedes or Ferrari (with just two exceptions in the form of the Mclaren Honda and Lotus Renault teams which are unlikely to feature given current performance) so we are provided with a spectacle which is largely all about 2 engine Manufacturers and due to recent rule changes regarding aero and other innovations, very little else.
So we will be back to processional racing where cars with the same engine package will not be able to overtake and we will be able to pretty much predict the outcome by the circuit type. This is precisely why Adrian Newey chose to take a step back from the sport (albeit it that he is still very much there).
F1 needs to reinvent itself and allow teams to bring new innovations. This will be the only way to retain existing fans let alone attract new ones. With Bernie hinting that the sport is once again up for sale one assumes that any buyer will want to see these changes implemented so there is some hope that Bernie will see sense in the form of increasing fans increasing the price !
Two surprising comments attracted my attention this week. Firstly, Martin Brundle’s assertion that Bernie Eccelstone dictates the Television coverage given to teams during the Grand Prix and secondly that Nigel Mansell when interviewed on 5 Live made the astonishing claim that given a few months to train he could be as fast as Hamilton in the Mercedes.
It is true that the television coverage of Mercedes at the Japanese Grand Prix was minimilistic prompting me to tweet this image which was about the extent of coverage we saw of the Mercs ;
However, I doubt that this was the influence of Bernie. The fact is that Lewis Hamilton’s flawless performance was not going to be the best thing to watch whilst all the action was going on mid-field and Nico Rosberg overhauled Sebastian Vettel using the undercut, so no overtaking to see there !
More surprising is Nigel Mansell’s view that he could match Hamilton. If 30 year old Rosberg has been trying for two seasons and failed I cannot see how a 62 year old Mansell could do so. Perhaps this is an insight into the mindset of World Champions – you have to believe you will always be the best to become the best, something that Rosberg must now surely be doubting.
Review of Suzuka by Matthew Roddan
Thanks to a good start Hamilton lead the race from start to finish. This is his best season by far.
Although many would not consider Singapore a success it was certainly lucky that he suffered a DNF at the only race he had no hope of winning due to the Ferrari dominance.
Back to Suzuka, we saw a fairly mundane race with the main action once again being provided by Max Verstappen and the rest of the pack squabbling over positions seven to twelve. Max has a great future albeit now somewhat in the balance due to uncertainty about the future of Red Bull. That said, if Red Bull do leave F1 (unlikely) Max will no longer be tethered to Red Bull and may even find himself at the front of the queue for Kimi’s seat at Ferrari in 2017.