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Brilliant Hamilton brings season alive

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Andrew Benson | 12:12 UK time, Sunday, 17 April 2011

Lewis Hamilton was fighting back the tears as he prepared to go out on to the podium after winning the Chinese Grand Prix. It had, he said, felt like "an eternity" since his last victory, in the Belgian Grand Prix last August. After he has come down to earth, he might well think it was worth the wait. This was - Martin Brundle and David Coulthard agreed - one of the greatest performances of Hamilton's career.

A thrilling race, in which it was impossible to pick a winner until very close to the end, put an end to Sebastian Vettel's domination of the 2011 season. From looking like his Red Bull had the pace to win every race, the world champion now knows he faces a fight.

From the very beginning of the season, it has looked like Hamilton would be the man giving the Red Bulls their closest challenge, but events had transpired in the previous two races to prevent him taking the fight to Vettel.

In China, though, Hamilton finally got the chance he had been waiting for and the result was one of the most exciting Formula 1 races for a very long time.

It ebbed and flowed, the advantage swaying one way and then the other between four teams and five different drivers, all coming together in a thrilling final few laps as the various strategies chosen by the different teams merged.

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What allowed it all to happen was both Hamilton and team-mate Jenson Button beating Vettel, who started from pole position, away from the grid. That demoted the German to third place on the first lap and prevented him from unleashing the full pace of the Red Bull and building an advantage he could then defend for the rest of the race.

Instead, Vettel spent the first part of the race bottled up behind the McLarens and from that position Red Bull made what eventually turned out to be a critical error - to do only two pit stops compared to the three of McLaren.

For a long time, it looked like it would work - starting from when Button made the astonishing error of stopping at the Red Bull pit instead of his McLaren one as he and Vettel came in for the first time.

That put Vettel ahead of both McLarens, into clear air and seemingly on course to cruise to victory. But it soon became clear it would not be as simple as that. He did not close on the leading Mercedes of the impressive Nico Rosberg as quickly as might have been expected, and neither was he pulling away from Felipe Massa's Ferrari behind him.

As the race developed, it soon became clear that it was turning into a classic F1 strategy battle - two stops versus three.

Had this been last year, with more durable tyres, the two-stoppers - Vettel and Massa - would have won out, as they were in front by the time all the leading runners had completed the stops.

But the deliberately rapid degradation of the new Pirelli tyres means that races are no longer about track position going into the final stages. Because the tyres can lose their edge so quickly, they are about who has the most grip in the closing laps. It is no good being in front if you do not have the grip to defend your position.

That created a brilliant spectacle - as was the idea when Pirelli were asked to design tyres in this way. Once everyone had completed their pit stops, Hamilton was in fourth place, and on tyres with much more grip than Vettel, Massa and Rosberg in the first three positions.

Hamilton's passing moves on those three got better and better - peaking with a superbly audacious dive down the inside of Vettel into the 150mph Turn Seven to take the lead. It was, as even Vettel had to admit, "a good move".

But arguably the best of all was the overtake that made the victory possible - taking what at the time was second place from Button into Turn One on lap 35, with 21 laps to go.

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It is not the easiest of places to pass - there is no sharp braking into that corner; the cars dive in and slow progressively as it gets tighter and tighter through nearly a complete circle. Hamilton seemed to catch Button unawares and there was a nervy moment when the older man suddenly realised his team-mate was there.

Button had a little wobble as he made room for Hamilton, and up on the pit wall team principal Martin Whitmarsh had his heart in his mouth. But it worked out and Hamilton had three laps to make up some time before his final stop.

"It felt absolutely incredible and was probably one of the best races I've ever competed in," Hamilton told BBC Sport's F1 Forum after the race. "It was one of the best grand prix wins I can remember."

It was indeed a quite superb drive, probably his best in the dry, and one that certainly ranks up there with his wet-weather wins at Japan 2007, Silverstone 2008 and Spa last year.

It was also a timely reminder that for all Vettel's impressive run of wins and pole positions at the end of last year and the beginning of this, there are a few other drivers out there who are at least a match for him if they are provided with the right equipment and circumstances.

Among them, Hamilton is right up at the top - and this win has closed the gap to Vettel in the championship to 21 points. Suddenly, a season that had looked poised to be a Red Bull walkover has come alive.

The key themes of the narrative are still not absolutely clear.

One, it seems, will be Red Bull's struggles with Kers. These again proved an Achilles heel for the team - Webber struggled with the system through the weekend, and it malfunctioned on Vettel's car in the race, just as it did in Malaysia a week ago.

Another will clearly be the impact of the tyres and the controversial moveable rear wing, or DRS as it is known in F1 jargon. For ultra-purists, there is an argument that the racing, while exciting, feels a little artificial at times.

As Webber, whose fabulous recovery drive ironically made him one of the biggest beneficiaries of the massive grip differences between old and new tyres, put it: "I'm still not a huge fan of how it is; sometimes the overtakes are not all that genuine because the guys don't have anything to fight back with."

But after a race as good as this, how much does that matter?

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    I think that Hamilton was the best today he showed that he was smart and clever.

    But I think Alonso cheated in a way he used the DRS in a no zone.

    I hope the FIA investigate and he may get a penalty.

  • Comment number 2.

    The availability of DRS to lapped cars has got to be looked at.

    Just as in the last race, we had a car which was lapped passing through the 'detection zone' and which then was able to open the rear wing to unlap doen the next straight.

    Such cars are NOT within one second behind the car in front; they are around one hundred seconds behind the car in front.

    Each car has a sensor, and the software should be able to distinguish and eliminate such blatant unfairness.

    --

    For all that, fantastic racing.

    A season without a boring, processional race (for the first time)?

    I'll reserve judgement until Monaco.....

  • Comment number 3.

    Why no mention of Massa outdriving Alonso so comprehensively? Massa has clearly found his old sparkle again after an out of sorts 2010. This is good news for the sport...

  • Comment number 4.

    Great drive from Hamilton. Button could have finished second if he had not driven into Red Bull's pit lane. It was pretty shambolic to be honest. Brilliant by Webber to finish 3rd from 18th. Best drive of his life?

  • Comment number 5.

    Re a Ferrari (Alonso?) use of DRS outwith the designated zone, it probably should merit a penalty.

    The driver must have known that he shouldn't have that option available at that part of the circuit, yet deployed it anyway.

  • Comment number 6.

    Phenomenal racing from Lewis and Webber. It was becoming too easy for Vettel, in a way its good for Vettel because i think it cheapens your WDC title if you just start from Pole to finish without hustling your way up or being challenged along the way. I hope these tussles continue. David Coulthard softened me up a bit, i didn't like him as a commentator but his quick wit is winning me over, especially the bit where Jenson is warned about Webber attacking him and Coulthard says "...the only way that engineer's message could have been any scarier would have been if it was delivered in the dark." My mouth sprayed water all over my lounge room floor when i burst out laughing before i could swallow the water i was drinking. lol

  • Comment number 7.

    Hi all,

    Just a quick note. Obviously, I cannot go into everything in this blog - it is only a part of the coverage of F1 on this website specifically and the BBC in general, and in this case I obviously had to focus on Hamilton.

    In particular, some of you are asked about the Ferraris, in particular Felipe Massa's impressive performance. My colleague Mark Hughes will go into Massa's upturn in form in detail in his column on Tuesday.

  • Comment number 8.

    'The key themes of the narrative are still not absolutely clear'.

    I'm a big fan of yours Andrew, and defend you vigorously over all the classic F1 nonsense. I'm just curious, as someone that aims to have a career in writing and journalism, why you chose the word narrative? Real life and the course of history isn't really about narratives.

    Good blog though, exactly what I was thinking with respect to the tyres. I think they'll become more important than KERS and the DRS system.

  • Comment number 9.

    Fantastic Race. Worth waking up reasonably early for it. Coulthard's wit is pretty impressive. Loved the scarier in the dark comment about Webber closing in on Button. I think the BBC Has found a good balance in commentary with Blundell and Coulthard. It is relaxed, informative and cool. Proper Bromance!

  • Comment number 10.

    what a sensational race from start to finish, it was pack with action wherever you look. once again great commentary from the guys. well done and keep up the good work. Well done to Lewis and mark for their flawless and otstanding drive. my driver of the day is definitely lewis. despite all the problem he had before the race, he kept his head down and his nose clean and produce one of the most outstanding drive of his life. mark webber drive from 18 to 3rd is nothing short of amazing. he should be incredibly proud. rock on lewis and mclaren. keep up the good work

    seb shouldnt be dishearten, he still come away with 18 valauble points but i dont want this season to be a one horse race.

  • Comment number 11.

    Also have a word with DC he kept using KL instead of Kuala Lumpar. The BBC are on cuts I know but no need to cut out Uala and Umpar.

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    I nominated Mark Webber for the driver of the day in Malaysia but that drive was nothing compared to his drive today. This was the drive of his life!

    Quote of the day - David Coulthard talking about the message from Button's Race engineer that Webber was on his tail. "The only way he could have said that any scarier was if he said it in the dark".
    http://bit.ly/erCVax

  • Comment number 14.

    Hi all,

    Thanks for your comments so far.

    I see one of the key questions you have is why we saw Fernando Alonso's moveable rear wing deploy at one stage between the two final corners when this was not in the zone in which it is allowed to work.

    I have an answer to that.

    What happened was that on that lap only, Alonso's wing was not enabled until 300 metres before the braking zone for the corner at the end of the long back straight - when it should be available from 750 metres before the corner.

    The wing was then available after the corner for a short time. Alonso therefore gained no advantage as he was only able to use it for a very short time on the straight, in a slow corner and on the exit from that corner.

    In those circumstances, obviously there will be no penalty as it was an error - the reasons for which are still being investigated - which did not help the driver in any way.

  • Comment number 15.

    this has been on the cards and a long time coming from Hamilton. today we've seen how much of a talent he really is. and why some say his the best raw driver in F1. last week Lewis killed his race by the bad choice of Tyres, so what does he do?.. he switches his race to take care of the Boots in order for the win, and it paid off. this win has been worked around in his head for a while, so those people that say Lewis isn't a thinkings mans Racer, today showed that he is. now its about keeping it at that level to challenge for the title. and well done to McLaren on that front. they have made the biggest improvements out of all the teams since week 1. and if it continues like this I can see Lewis Hamilton winning another title. Jenson Button raced well, but I can't remember seeing him overtake anyone in the race, which is Hamilton's strength out of the two Drivers. shame too because I felt Button had a very strong weekend overall. but there's no doubt that Lewis is the most complete driver out of the two.

  • Comment number 16.

    Fantastic drive by Hamilton, best dry race I have seen in many years.
    Not sure what happened to Button though, would have expected him to have coped with the tire degradation a bit better (maybe there was another mechanical issue).

    As for Vettel well he lost the race before the first corner as someone got ahead of him. When do people think Vettel will manage a competitive overtake on track against a top driver? My money is on it not happening this season.

  • Comment number 17.

    That was an awesome race this morning!

    I never knew who was going to win and at certain points i thought it could be Button or Rosberg or Vettel or Massa and then finally Hamilton, who was fantastic. I may be wrong but i believe that Hamilton has never won a boring processional Grand Prix, with some wonderful races being won by Lewis such as Japan '07, Silverstone '08, Germany '08, Hungary '09 and Turkey, Canada and Belgium last year not to mention today's race.

    Hopefully some more drivers (BUtton and Webber) will get within 25 points of Vettel so we can have a great four way title showdown as i don't think Ferrari have enough pace yet.

    I Can't wait until Turkey, hopfully it will be great.

  • Comment number 18.

    Loved it. But then Hamilton won so why wouldn't I. Hamilton is the best on the planet. He didn't need DRS before and he doesn't need it now. As long as Hamilton has tyres he can use to race with, he's always gonna outclass everyone else. I only hope McLaren can get their car closer to the Red Bulls over the coming season. If there's one person who has always bought the fight to the leaders, it's been Hamilton. Ever since the first corner of his first race.

    Can someone ask Christian Horner, after suggesting it wouldn't be a good idea to have both Hamilton and Vettel in the same team, if he would swap Vettel for Hamilton. Hamilton would be at least as fast as Vettel on race pace and qualifying but, on previous form, be able to hammer out the overtakes time and time again.

    As for Alonso's DRS being deployed when it shouldn't have. If it was only that one time we saw on TV, I wouldn't bother penalising him. Did it really give him an advantage?

    Would have loved to have seen Rosberg win though.

  • Comment number 19.

    Also possibly a decent idea by Webber at the press conference not to bother with qualifying (just to make a 107% time). For the top teams it looks a potential idea not to go anywhere near the Option tire in qualifying. I know this would make Pole out of the question, but if you could start from the 4th or 5th row on the Prime tires and have an aggressive strategy by the end of the race the car is literally seconds per lap faster than anyone else and with miles more traction.

  • Comment number 20.

    Hi Andrew...I think instead of saying Hamilton won it we can say Vettel lost it. No doubt Hamilton was brilliant but so would any other good driver with a fresh set of tyres. Who knows what Vettel was trying to say over the radio, maybe if he would have communicated that the tyres were not working, he would have made another stop.

  • Comment number 21.

    Well done LH. You won purely on your skills and team strategy. Wonder what if you were driving one of the RB cars- 3 wins in three races?

    Well done McLaren what an improvement on the car.

  • Comment number 22.

    I remember a certain thread last year at the same race and a Hamilton fan was throwing racist accusations all over the place.

    Some of his fans need to grow up.

  • Comment number 23.

    I think Mark Webber benefitted massively from the trade off of falling out in Q1. A whole host of brand new sets of unused soft tyres to provide him with pure pace throughout the race. And he had more of a free reign with strategy as the more time he spent on his soft tyres, the more pace he was going to have - a no brainer from Red Bull that one.

    Lewis benefitted from his own will not to use up a set in Q3 yesterday. It may have cost him one place on the grid in all probability, but that was rendered unimportant by the time he had gone through turn one and passed pole sitter Vettel. From that moment onwards, he was in a position to eek out more pace from his already fast car during his second stint on brand new softs.

    A few things hindered Button today. From being in a great position in first, he finished fourth for a number of reasons. Firstly he messed up his first pit, ceding a position - although this didn't have a massive impact on his race, but he would have been closer to Vettel. Secondly he didn't have the luxury of a completely brand new set of softs as he did two runs in Q3. Then he was passed by Hamilton, which cost him one place after Hamilton had always been behind up until that point. Fourthly, he wasn't able to pass Massa for a while, losing him some time. Unlike Lewis, he was inefficient at passing. Finally, he couldn't hold off Mark Webber - no one could have. To be on fading hard tyres against someone on relatively new soft tyres would be almost impossible to hold off in normal circumstances, but against a faster car there was only going to be one result.

    Button's result slightly sours today a little bit. It was similar to Hamilton last weekend in Malaysia. There were circumstances that didn't go his way and he didn't necessarily do anything wrong. He probably deserved second from being in first into turn one.

    I hope going forward, McLaren pick up some more speed because the car looks really good. Otherwise, Vettel will win most races, it is inevitable.

  • Comment number 24.

    Today was the best race for a long long time, and that was 95% down to Hamilton. Love or hate him, you have to admire the fact that he's a driver that will go for every overtaking opportunity. It was nice to watch a proper race for once.

  • Comment number 25.

    how about this, if lewis was in red bulls car for the last two years how many races would've he won? he is the consistent driver in f1 right now

  • Comment number 26.

    It is a bit baffling that once Vettel had the advantage over the McLaren's after the first stop that Red Bull didn't go aggressive and stop three times. He surely would have had comfortable pace towards the end a la Webber. Are Red Bull less confident in his abilities to make progress through a field than McLaren with Hamilton? Either way it wouldn't have mattered had Lewis' tyres reacted in a similar way to Button's.

    It was a bit of both, Red Bull going negative and Lewis doing a great job on those tyres. Fab result for Webber too.

  • Comment number 27.

    This race was fantastic, truly unexpected as well. After the first round of stops, I have to admit, I thought that was it, race run; Button messed up and handed Vettel the win. But fair play to Mclaren, choosing a risky strategy to win the race. I know they are mostly conservative with their approach, but today they were rewarded for taking that extra risk.
    On another note, can I just say how brilliant David Coulthard was in the Comm Box today. We all know Martin is class and today he continued to show that, but DC really gave a useful insight and fantastic humour. He is gripping to know what the audience wants to hear and it can only gel and get better. Well Done BBC and well done Lewis Hamilton. Today however the real winners were Pirelli and Formula One.

  • Comment number 28.

    You do have to ask this question though.

    What would the outcome have been if seb wasn't passed at the start, and utilised a 3 stop strategy. Possibly, complete domination from start to finnish. If webber can make up 15 places without any safety car incidents, then seb could have won easily. Just look at the lap times. With an even strategy and track position (normally secured by seb in qualy), can we really expect anyone to beat the young german. Im not so sure. Imagine Vettell with webbers pace today. Domination.

    Excellent race. Pirrelli have done an awesome job.

  • Comment number 29.

    at 28 your right, if vettal was in webber's pace than the race was won, but imagine if lewis had red bulls car?

  • Comment number 30.

    As is widely agreed in the comments above this one, what a fantastic race we were treated to today. It was well worth getting up early for. This race must surely go down as an all time classic, I could watch it over and over again.

    Excellent reliability from all teams today, with only one retirement - Jaime Alguersuari. And even that wasn't mechanical, more down to human error when fitting the new tyres.

    The start was crucial, with Vettel bogging down and the McLarens duly taking maximum advantage. Slight mistake with Button going into the Red Bull pit, which cost him position to Vettel. Didn't like that idiot from the Red Bull team, who said it was McLaren/Button trying to cheat! Oh my goodness, all I can say to that is "WHAT A BAD LOOSER".

    Lewis Hamilton drove excellently, in one of his finest performances ever. The same can be said of Mark Webber, who's 15-place-comeback was tremendous. I'm glad he's smiling again.

    Nico Rosberg also drove well, with other good performances coming from Felipe Massa, Michael Schumacher, Kamui Kobayashi and Heikki Kovalainen in the improving Lotus. We must also mention Jerome D'Ambrosio for beating the more experienced Timo Glock all weekend.

    Williams are still doing very poorly. Haven't seen much from Pastor Maldonado yet, although he hasn't really had a chance to show us what he's got. As for Perez, bit of a rougher outing today, but it's all a learning curve.

    This season is now really starting to shape up. I am overjoyed that McLaren have now halted Red Bull's charge, but they must continue to work hard to make the wins consistent. And I have every faith that they will.

    Great race. :)

  • Comment number 31.

    @ #22.
    I agree Lewis Hamilton was the best out there today, but recalling last years similar thread appears to be irrelevant to this thread at this time.
    Welldone! McLaren and also Mark Webber

  • Comment number 32.

    For a supporter of Felipe Massa like myself, this was a refreshingly enjoyable race. Nice to see him battling back at the front, at least while he was on the soft tyres. It's just a shame that he seems to struggle with the harder compound.

    I think beating Alonso in the last two races has given a bit of food for thought to those that have written him off and also shows how fickle reputations are in F1. Last year, the 'true' Massa was reputedly on holiday as Alonso put him in the shade. All of a sudden, he's back this year, according to some pundits. It's clear that the 'true' Massa never went anywhere, but was simply struggling with the car and tyre combination he had last year.

    Even still, we saw some flickers of his potential to compete with Alonso last year - Turkey, Germany, etc. Now we have seen that, on the soft tyres at least, he is at least as quick if not quicker than Alonso, as race pace both here and in Malaysia showed. Goes to show how much is down to the car in F1, and if a driver doesn't have the approprite equipment then he's limited in what he can do.

  • Comment number 33.

    THAT WAS AN AWESOME RACE!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  • Comment number 34.

    @9 - It's Brundle who commentates!

    @15 - Button overtook Rosberg and Massa I think, as well as Vettel from the start. But I agree that Hamilton is a class apart when it comes to overtaking.

    After the first two races I was (and still am) a little worried that the Mclaren DRS was not very effective. Button struggled to pass Massa in Australia with it. Then Hamilton couldn't get past Heidfeld in Malaysia but when the tables were turned Heidfeld cruised past Lewis. However, today Hamilton pulled off four stunning overtakes on very competent drivers, none of which needed the DRS. It just goes to show how good a driver, and an overtakes, he is.

  • Comment number 35.

    @ 31.

    I was just pointing something out. Sorry if it was off topic.

    Going back on topic I believe Alonso should take a penalty for DRS use in a non DRS zone.

  • Comment number 36.

    Pound for Pound, apart from possibly Alonzo who I thought last season had a very slight edge (if he can get his hands on a decent car) over Hamilton.... Hamilton is the best driver of his generation. You don't become a Mclaren nominated future at a very young age for nothing....Am sure some people would still find a reason to moan about him...he should be pleased with the day's work...I honestly don't understand what Coulthard's contributions are every week apart from cheerleading for Button and Webber (his alleged best mates).....considering he was an average driver even in his prime... Though Webber ran Hamilton close for best driver of the day...but Red Bull had the better car...which takes away some brownie points from Webber. Well done to Lewis Hamilton...and Mark Webber.

  • Comment number 37.

    25# / 29# Think it is safe to say Lewis would have won more than the 2 incumbent Red Bull drivers (but we will never know).

    28# If Seb would have lead out of the first corner then I don’t think there is much doubt that he would have disappeared off into the distance for a trouble free win. After all, of his 12 GP wins 10 have been from Pole (and I seem to remember from a previous BBC F1 bog that the other 2 wins only had 2 competitive overtakes between them).
    Seb can lead from the front, he just needs qualifying (not overtaking ability) to get him there.

    That’s why Lewis is the better of the two. Lewis is a Racer, Seb is only a Driver (a very very quick Driver in a great car, but not a Racer).

  • Comment number 38.

    Hamilton won because Vettel and Red Bull made a huge error by only pitting twice - shown by the Ferrari's who used the same strategy and ended up outside the top 5.

    McLaren are NOT back in the race and Hamilton will NOT finish anywhere near Vettel when the points are tallied at the end of the season.

    Another gross over-reaction from the British media after one race where Vettel dominated from Friday until the first lap of the race and then shot himself in the foot with a poor start.

    Btw, this doesn't take anything away from Hamilton's win. He had an excellent race today and was only trumped by Mark Webber who stormed through the field after everything going against him at the start. A fantastic podium finish for him!

  • Comment number 39.

    Maybe its just me then who finds that sort of race more frustrating rather than exciting - there's something about the current style of overtaking that makes me uncomfortable as a formula 1 fan. I personally didn't enjoy that race today which just felt somewhat artificial.

    I want to see Button, Hamilton, Webber and Vettel all duking it out obviously, wheel to wheel etc. But this season seems to be giving us the situation where there are loads of overtaking moves yes, but its almost always a situation of one car having a massive advantage whilst the other is a sitting duck, which is to be honest not very entertaining and takes further away from the idea that its the skill of the driver as opposed to the car/strategy they are driving.

    Granted, something had to be done to avoid the situation last year where it was almost impossible to overtake in the dirty air, but perhaps DRS (and possibly KERS) alone would have achieved that alone instead of the ridiculous tires.

    When they butchered the F1 rules/regulations during the years of Schumacher dominance I lost interest in the sport - I have a bad feeling if the rest of the races are like that then I'll lose interest again.

    If I wanted to watch something the result of which was manipulated by the organisers so horribly, I'd watch something like Pro wrestling or The X Factor.

  • Comment number 40.

    Massa's doing better than last season no doubt, but to suggest he's comprehensively outperforming Alonso is taking it a little too far. He drove well today and deserved to finish ahead of Fernando as he got him off the start once again, allowing him to stop first. Alonso lost all his time in this section of the race but that's the way it goes if you continually drop back at the start.

    Alonso was streets ahead of Massa in Malaysia until he collided with Hamilton and was quicker in Melbourne too. Also remember that Alonso has been using Felipe's setup this weekend as his running time was compromised in P2 and was running aero development tests in P1. Anyhow, it's great to see Felipe back amongst the front runners and long may it continue.

    Fabulous drive from Lewis today, thoroughly deserved.

  • Comment number 41.

    #37 - My word, you really DON'T know what you're talking about, do you??

    Has it occurred to you that maybe, just maybe it is Hamilton's own failings as a driver which put him into positions where he HAS to overtake? And that maybe a better driver would have been so far in the distance that he wouldn't have to make up positions lost through his own lack of overall ability?

    Which seems to be the essential difference between Vettel & Hamilton - to anyone with the ability to look at the evidence of their own eyes! All of the greats have had that ability, unlike the Mansells & Hamiltons of the sport - over-rated and over-hyped by the media.

    And Hamilton wouldn't have had a chance if RBR's Kers would work consistently (Hamilton had the benefit of both Kers and DRS when chasing down Vettel, although he "only" had to use Kers to pass! In equal machinery, there is no doubt he would have been put well and truly in his place). Once RBR sort that out, it'll be a stroll to the WC for Seb, and all the Lewis-loving little fanboys will be left crying "foul" once again.

    Sweet... :)

  • Comment number 42.

    #41, there's no need to be so harsh. :P

    A fantastic race. I really enjoyed it. So much to talk about. Webber and Hamilton really impressed me. Shame Button didn't keep third, though.

    I just hope that Vettel doesn't run away with it and we get a proper good close fight for the championship. I have faith in Mclaren and Ferrari that they can keep developing their cars and at least get closer to the RBR's.

  • Comment number 43.

    @41

    So by your own conclusions because Vettel has never won a race when his car wasn't the fastest he is better than others who have managed to fight to victory when things haven't always been perfect?


  • Comment number 44.

    How is it that no one is mentioning the fact that one of the Ferraris went over the line on exiting the pit? I remembered Mika having to do a drive-through because he went over the line. Is Ferrari above the rules?

  • Comment number 45.

    #44, I believe Martin and DC mentioning in commentary that for some reason the first part of the pit lane line isn't punishable. It's the one on the race track that matters.

    The Renaults and a Red Bull did it too, I seem to remember.

  • Comment number 46.

    That race was an answer to all the Hamilton naysayers. He is the best driver in F1 right now and has been pretty much since he arrived in 2007. I know people keep touting Alonso, but that is just wishful thinking, delusional even.

    What makes me laugh is last year we were being told by the so called experts that Lewis would struglle having to look after his tyres and this year that would be even worse yet in the last two races (except for that strange last stint in KL where he wasn't fast from the outset) Hamilton has done better than Button with his tyres.

    A great driver will get the maximum out of what is available to him, Hamilton knows he can no longer push to the limit every lap and therefore he no longer does that.

    Good drives today by Webber, Rosberg and Schumacher and great to see Massa finishing ahead of his team mate again. Not long now before another 'Fernando is faster than you' message comes our way.

  • Comment number 47.

    Jenson is way out of his depth (when being compared to the top 4 or 5 drivers) and he proved this today once again. His performances in 2009 were only that because he had no other challengers.

    But amongst the current top drivers hes not anywhere in the same levels, even drivers like rosberg, schumacher, webber, kubica, kobayashi and a few others are better than jenson because jenson does lack bottle.

    Jenson is consistantly being overhyped as a top tyre manager; calm and faultless driver. Well esecially looking at the comical calamity he made today, the lack of bottle for overtaking/defending and his terrible tyre management - he has proven once again in bold colours that he is not as gifted as some of his media friends make out.

  • Comment number 48.

    #42 - Agreed! Just the BBC's love-in with Hamilton turn my stomach sometimes - reminds me of their jingoistic coverage of the idiot Mansell!

    #43 - No, actually. Just pointing out that the best drivers usually are the fastest drivers (funny that, isn't it?), which means they are more likely to be on pole or P2 on the grid, which means they are more likely to lead into Turn 1, which means they are more likely to be able to build an advantage over the rest. On the other hand, there are those (no names, no pack drill) who "look" exciting and talented when in fact it is often their own mistakes which lead them into positions where they have to scrabble & fight to get anything out of a race.

    Quite logical, I'd have thought?

    And very churlish of me not to mention the drive of the day from Mr Webber - fantastic stuff. Shame the race wasn't 4 laps longer so he could have relegated Hamilton to a position more commensurate with his status in F1...

  • Comment number 49.

    Fi

    Is there a problem with you or something

    Hamilton is a GREAT driver look at drives such as Silverstone 08, Hungary 09 Canada 10 and China 11

    And the BBC??? They are NOT like ITV if anything they overhype Button instead of Hamilton.

    I HATE Fickle F1 Fans like you.

  • Comment number 50.

    clearly red bull still clearly have the fastest car , kers or not ; they had in 2009 for most of the season and should have won that as well
    so let's not get all excited , they won't make the same mistake again , only a big improvement from one of the other teams will stop them , fantastic drives from hamilton won't do it ...eg he was 0.7 secs slower on his Q3 lap , and vettel only did one lap in anger as well
    big bonus of the weekend for me ? I didn't have to listen to that clown eddie jordon with his idjit remarks

  • Comment number 51.

    I don't really get why people have to be so harsh on this forum. What's the point? Yes, you are entitled to your opinion, but some of the comments are so mean. Call me a Lewis lover, but eh. I guess comments like those are what you expect on the internet.

  • Comment number 52.

    Since it appears that BBC moderators are humourless automotons, I will no longer consider BBC blogs to merit my attention.

    And I may well choose to investigate the use of avenues - non-live internet programming availability, etc. - which mean that I do not need to buy a TV licence.

    No to charter renewal!

    Let the BBC die........

  • Comment number 53.

    I have been following F1 since 1974, I've never seen someone better than Vettel, he holds already all the records for the youngest driver ever, he's modest and a great guy all around.
    Now, it appears that quite few people don't regards him as a skilled overtaker,first of all today he passed LH before the 1st pit stop, it seems that no one has mention that , and surely at the end RB strategy for him was the wrong one, but be in no doubt, he's phenomenal, maybe it's worth to remember that Vettel won a Gran Prix Italy 2008(and a Pole position) with a ToroRosso(Minardi) under torrential rain,none of the other great drivers has ever achieved that, (LH,Kubica,Shumi,,Alonso, Raikkonen),fact talks clear:) it's easy to win with a top team, do it with one that has never won a Grand Prix , than you see the talent!

  • Comment number 54.

    @48. Fi

    Dear me, you really don't like the McLaren driver, do you... He drove fine with the car he had today. You degrade his race as being born out of his own mistakes, but then praise Webber's effort, so surely he must have been doing some seriously bad mistakes since he's had to catch up about 15 places from his initial grid position... ?

    Hamilton's race craft is pretty good, but given that over the last 2 or so years, the Red Bull is clearly the benchmark for other cars, and as such : he rarely gets the occasion of being on pole, 2nd is the best option he can aim for. He started 3rd, which is hardly shabby.

    Vettel does well whenever he's on pole more often than not, today unfortunately the 2-stop strategy wasn't the best option. But that was the point of the 3-stop strategy : concede 20 seconds because of the stop but make up for it by using a set of new tyres, which McLaren did for Hamilton and Button.

    Webber was lightning-quick at the end, but again : that's down to strategy, Vettel was leading fairly comfortably but today the performance seemed to be better for the 3-stoppers, on another track it might not have been the case. You make the effort of saying Webber would have put Hamilton to a position more "consumate to his status in F1" but don't forget that this would have come after doing the same with Vettel who was just behind and who's currently the top driver in F1 (Defending DWC remember)...

    The race was great and enjoyable overall, just enjoy the thing.

  • Comment number 55.

    @ 28

    You could say that every race... What if Webber hadn't started from 18th? What if Button had pulled away? For me today is what separates the good drivers from the great ones. Great drivers will always pull something out the bag when they need to. Vettel can never seem to pull of a competitive overtake. He needed to get ahead of the McLarens at the start but didn't. When Lewis needed to overtake Jenson he found a way. He pulled off each manoeuvre magnificently and victory was more than deserved.

    Vettel is a good driver in a great car. That's it at the end of the day

  • Comment number 56.

    #53
    Now, it appears that quite few people don't regards him as a skilled overtaker,first of all today he passed LH before the 1st pit stop, it seems that no one has mention that

    Completely true, Vettel's overtake on Hamilton was more representative of skill than Hamilton's on Vettel. They had very similar tyre quality, unlike the latter when Vettel's were shot to pieces.
    I wanted Vettel to win, but in some ways I am happy he didn't. Even though we all have our own particular favourites we don't want the title race to be over by August. The European high-downforce circuits should again suit the Red Bulls, and I'm sure of any hyper-long straights we encounter until the next lot of fly-away races, so the DRS system and KERS becomes less advantageous.

  • Comment number 57.

    Re Alonso's DRS opening when he was out of the zone, i'm no alonso fan, but surely this was a mechanical fault and the DRS flap is disabled even if he tried to activate it out of the zone?

  • Comment number 58.

    @53

    Well not really. I'm more than sure that Mclaren would of told Lewis that Vettel was due to come into the pits at the end of that lap, which he did, therefore there was no need for him to be risky in defending his position.

  • Comment number 59.

    Apologies, @56 not 53

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 61.

    "[...]for all Vettel's impressive run of wins and pole positions at the end of last year and the beginning of this, there are a few other drivers out there who are at least a match for him if they are provided with the right equipment and circumstances."

    Dead right. The Red Bull is comfortably the fastest car, and Vettel is comfortably better than Webber. However, in equal cars it's difficult to see Vettel being a match for Hamilton, Alonso, Rosberg or Kubica.

    When Schumacher, who Vettel is so desperate to emulate, had such a dominant car he won the championship with plenty of races to spare. I can't see Vettel having anywhere near the ability to dominate in the same way.

  • Comment number 62.

    Today's race was a perfect demonstration of why Lewis Hamilton is a far more natural and gifted racing driver than Sebastian Vettel. Long may this continue i.e a natural racer beating a guy - who is admittedly fast - can only seem to win in one way in the fastest car.

    A truly fantastic drive by the Englishman and one of the best races I've seen in 20 odd years of watching F1. Huge credit also to Webber and Rosberg. Schumacher and Kovaleinen also impressed in different ways.

  • Comment number 63.

    WELL DONE LEWIS for doing a remarkable job. THANK GOD for that. Long may it continue. all the drivers have done remarkable well today. of 24 cars, 23 cars remains at the chequer flag, that is a rarity in F1. There will always be people on here quick to put Lewis down but that is their problem. they obviously got issues. us mclaren fan are relishing this moments. i am overjoy and estactic.

    Lets commend the achievement of all our drivers. they are all world class driver at the top of their game. i may support one team and driver but I still get no joy from trying to cheapen the achievement of a rival driver. Its always good for a driver to have a challenge and by overcoming the challenge it makes them stonger and more complete as a result. afterall this f1, the pinancle of motor sport we dont want someone to have an easy ride, we want them to go out and earn it and prove their worth.

    Come on guys stop all this slagging off of rival driver, you might not like them personally but please give credit where credit is due. everyone is entitled to an opinion but its very tedious with all this playground slagging match. there is no need. todays is wonderful day for us F1 Fans, we have witness a very spectacular race. long may it contine

  • Comment number 64.

    wow at 41 you, do you know anything about racing, this year the red bull's are a second quicker than maclaren alone, the down hill speed of any track are much faster than maclaren's the raw speed is second to ferrari or to reaunlt.

    Someone pointed out that vettal won a race with torroso in 2008 in rain, if you watch tha race, you'll see hmilton and rikkoenen took each other out.

    I am being honest, if lewis had red bulls car for the last two years or three he wouldve won so many races, micheal schumacher was made to look good as he had a red bulls car in his period, simple.

    red bulls cars are a second faster remeber that people

  • Comment number 65.

    With ref to post no 60 Fi you are one very bitter individual. perhaps this debate is a bit too grown up for you and you have resort to lowering the tone. your bitterness will not change the result today. you are blinded by your dislike of lewis. just because i support lewis does not mean i dont recognised the talents of other individuals and rate them very highly.

    i commend them when they do well.

  • Comment number 66.

    I love how everyone is convince that Alonso and Ferrari are cheats and purposefully deployed the DRS in that clip that's been far too many times by the so called neutral BBC coverage. The fact of the matter is this. It was a software glitch! End of. In fact Alonso didn't even benefit from that clip where the flap opened. He was at a disadvantage hence the reason for no penalty before you Ferrari start going on about conspiracies and FIA stands for 'Ferrari International Association'. Poor work Benson. No credit to Massa for looking like his old self and beating Alonso and worst still is the absolute lack of credit given to Mark Webber for making the biggest and most explosive comeback I have ever seen in the last 14 years of following the sport! Truly unbelievable! Stunning and for me personally the drive of a champion and this could already be the turning point in Marks season.

  • Comment number 67.

    #53 Hamilton was passed by Vettel because his tyres were absolutely shot, being held up by Button. Seems that you following the sport since 1974 hasn't enabled you to follow races correctly.

  • Comment number 68.

    Similar start to 2009 season... Button won the first two races and then the next 4 after the third race. Title race was over by then! Anyone see that that happening again with Vettel?

  • Comment number 69.

    @#60

    "Shows how right I am if you are unable to accept justifiable feedback of Hamilton's performances from an unbiased point of view."
    .....
    "I've also ALWAYS disliked Hamilton"
    "I really, really don't like Hamilton and find him cold, dour, tempramental, unsporting and about as appealing as a bucket of cold sick."

    How very unbiased of you.

    Vettel and Hamilton are both fantastic drivers, otherwise they wouldn't be in the position they are in, and they wouldn't have won world championships. It's impossible to say who is the best driver unless they both drive in the exact same equipment.

    Personally I find Hamilton more exciting to watch, since he is a more aggressive driver and seems to be involved in more of the action (whether that is his own fault or not). I would much rather watch that than someone who is in a much faster car just putting the car on P1 then driving to an easy race win.

    Even without KERS, the Red Bull is still a faster car than the McLaren by a couple of tenths, and so full marks to Hamilton for managing to get a great start and then out-strategise Vettel, it was probably the only way he could have won it. Awesome drive.

    For the sake of the sport, I hope McLaren, Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes can all close the gap on Red Bull and make the rest of the season as exciting as today was.

  • Comment number 70.

    Oh dear, I'm loving the flawed logic (and arrogance) of the Vettel fanboys on here!

    @Fi (Too many idiotic posts to mention specifically)

    No, the best drivers aren't "necessarily" the fastest drivers. What a basic misunderstanding of motorsport. Such a statement obviously - and deliberately - ignores the relative merits of the cars on the grid. Granted, some drivers are quicker than others and can minimise the the difference in performance compared to a faster car. Or in some times they can even "overcompensate" and be quicker in a slower car than a guy in a quicker car.

    Or to put it very simply for you; do you think Vettel would put the HRT on pole position? Credit to Vettel for being fast in a fast car but in terms of qualifying pace he is at a huge advantage. In fact, if he fails to put that car on pole position for 17/18 of the races this season then Vettel will be doing something wrong.

    And using your logic, Vettel would never be on pole if not for the genius of Adrian Newey. Thus he would never be in a position to win flag to flag races. And heck, on the evidence so far, Vettel cannot win a race if it requires him to overtake the top drivers when the pressure is on.

    And your comments on Haimilton today are quite clearly ridiculous - to the point of you being a WUM. How on earth could Hamilton have put his car far in front so that he didn't overtake!? For a start he doesn't even have the quickest car this season - see the RB7. Then, pray, tell what did he do today that at one point put him fifth? Where was it his fault? Where were his errors? I'll tell you. There were none. At the point where his McLaren was fast Hamilton simply dominated - scythed his way past the cars in front of him cleanly and at times, breathtakingly.

    And a couple more points on Hamilton/Vettel. First, you think that the only way to win is flag to flag as if overtaking is a bad thing! Well, Hamilton - unlike Vettel - has won a number of his races in that way but crucially he can win from further back on the grid or when the pressure is on and he has to overtake. Heck, if you frown upon overtaking so much, why bother with the race? Why not just have one lap shoot outs and be done with it!?

    The other thing you might want to compare is Hamilton's and Vettel's junior record and then get back to me! Heck when they went head to head to in the 2005 Formula 3 Euro Series - you might want to check the results of that!

    And it's funny you mention

  • Comment number 71.

    the word "churlish." I think that sums you up perfectly!

    @GillesVfan, post#53

    Damn, how many more times are people going to repeat the "Vettel won in a Minardi" myth!?!?!?

    That Torro Rosso driven by Vettel to victory in Italy was ADRIAN NEWEY designed and powered by a FERRARI ENGINE. Heck, even the useless Sebastian Bourdais brought that car home 4th in one race!! Complete and utter credit to Vettel for winning in Italy in the wet but let's not tell lies about it?

  • Comment number 72.

    @redsloz, #56

    No, Hamilton's tyres were gone (why did he pit a few laps later, Einstein!?) hence he had no chance of defending against Vettel, nor anyone else quicker behind him. That is true of EVERY driver in that situation including Vettel.

    Heck, I dislike Vettel but I am more than happy to acknowledge his attributes i.e great one lap pace, fast in a fast car, can dominate from flag to flag when he doesn't make mistakes.

    But there is something particularly pious and arrogant about Vettel fanboys which really do not help the German's reputation.

  • Comment number 73.

    I watch on Spanish TV where Lewis Hamilton is the pet hate figure. The commentators were consistent in criticising his dangerous overtaking today, particularly of Jenson Button. Even they were lost in admiration at the end. One thing that British fans would not have seen was the forlorn interview with Fernando Alonso at the end, during the victory ceremony. I haven't seen him looking so unhappy for a long time. Asked if he had a problem with his car that made him slower than Felipe Massa he just replied that there was nothing specific wrong with the car. It seems though that the Ferrari engineers have tracked-down what was causing the car to underperform, but don't know yet what the fix is.

    Today there were many good elements for fans, whatever their taste. A great drive by Hamilton. Another one by Mark Webber (astonishing to finish 3rd - it will do his morale good). Felipe Massa had a good race. Nico Rosberg looked fabulous and was unlucky to have such bad fuel issues. And despite a poor start and some car issues, Sebastian Vettel's strategy almost paid off. All in all, with five drivers close together at the front, it has to be better than watching one car disappear into the distance on Lap 1.

    I'm concerned that Virgin and Hispania seem to have made little or no progress. Today the fact that both Hispanias finished was trumpeted as a triumph. If you look at it from the point of view that they got almost no running before Malaysia, I guess that it was a good result, but it's putting the bar awfully low. Even Lotus was desperately off the pace of the mid-field cars in qualifying, although they were quicker in the race. It remains to be seen if Lotus will genuinely get up to the pace of the top 12 cars, but for the two slowest teams it looks like they are only going to be in their own private battle to be slowest: not sure how long Richard Branson will be happy to go along with that.

    One thing that I've aluded to is Fernando Alonso. He looks very unhappy and not himself. Things started to go sour last season and have got worse. The Ferrari is not as fast as he had hoped, but it is not a dog of a car as the McLaren was two seasons ago. He seems though to have consistent problems overtaking now. At the end of last season he got stuck behind the slower Petrov and couldn't find a way though. This season he's had problems getting past drivers again. Last week it was Hamilton and despite the explanation that Hamilton was deliberately blocking him (as the commentators said today, there is no rule that you%2

  • Comment number 74.

    @56

    So DRS had nothing to do with Vettel's overtake on Hamilton, whereas Hamilton didn't once use DRS fro his moves? Hmmm.

  • Comment number 75.

    (the end got cut off)

    ... there is no rule that you have to roll out a red carpet and let someone pass you), he was rapidly frustrated into error and collision when patience would probably have worked better. He seems to have lost the edge to his racing and allowed himself to get demoralised.

  • Comment number 76.

    Hamilton's win was brilliant, well deserved. However, I wish he would shut up about 'his hard work' negating the help he got from Ron Dennis and the McLaren organization. He's coming across like a total ingrate.

  • Comment number 77.

    15 laps to go, Lewis in 4th place, top two have tyres about to go "over the cliff"...somehow I just knew. I mean come on...that situation was just made for him.

    I'm not just gloating though, after the first two races I was seriously worried that Vettel was in the process of anhiliating the McLarens over the course of the season so for Lewis to put on 'that' display was just inspirational!

    Also good to see Massa looking competitive against Alonso again for the first time since early last year!

  • Comment number 78.

    @Fi: Not quite sure why the agressive nature towards Lewis Hamilton but everyone has their own opinion. Whether Lewis is better or Vettel is not easy to decide as they have not yet competed in equal machinery. I, like yourself, have been watching Formula 1 since 1978 so have a good knowledge of the sport as well as working in the sport. Given your remarks regarding a "Driver who has to overtake is a poor driver" you must be very knowledgeable then? Especially as Ayrton Senna, Alain prost etc had to do this quite often.........hmmmmmmm....If you want me to prove to you with given races please let me know and I will happily supply.

  • Comment number 79.

    I don't mean to sound negative, but while I do agree that Hamilton drove a very good race, I can't help but feel his overtakes in particular are being a bit over hyped on here. Button and Rosberg were very very weak in defence, and Vettel's and Massa's tires were shot to pieces. Obviously none of that was his fault and the passes still had to be made, but did he drive a better race than Webber? For me, not a chance, 18th to 3rd is just awesome!

    It's nice to see Vettel being challenged though! It would be interesting to see what would have happened if he hadn't been forced onto the two-stopper after the poor start he made. (Sorry for sounding negative again), but I can't help but feel that this McLaren result was partly due to that, as aposed to superior speed etc.

  • Comment number 80.

    Don't care about the political, strategy, DRS. Kers or tyre arguments - not even ' my favorite driver's better than yours' opinions......what I, and you probably yearned for was tension, drama, excitement and sheer, unadulterated entertainment from the F1 spectacle. The 2010 season was exciting enough, but the combination of all the changes and developments, together with the phenomenal BBC coverage of the entire weekend event, and the perfromances on track have left me completely blown away. I am in F1 entertainment heaven. Thank you to all those involved - and please, may the 2011 season continue the same way.

  • Comment number 81.

    A very good win for Hamilton, he made best use of the strategy and the new tires he conserved by not using them in the qualifying.

    Coming to Vettel-Hamilton issue, many here seem to point out that Hamilton's tires were shot when he was overtaken by Vettel (and Massa) in the first part of the race while comfortably forgetting that Vettel was in a similar position at the end of the race.

    It was stupid of RB to go with that strategy for Vettel, but it will serve as a alarm for them in the strategy area. McLaren should be more worried about the pace at which Webber caught the leaders with no KERS assist. McLaren still have to find pace from their car to challenge the RB's consistently.

    With the KERS issue sorted out, I find no reason why Vettel will not be able to walk away with the WDC with races to spare.

    And as for Massa comprehensively beating Alonso, I would say it wasn't that comprehensive. Sure he drove well but Alonso was released behind Schumacher and lost a lot of time fighting to overtake a Mercedes that was equal or better on race pace to Ferrari.

    Once the upgrades are working correctly at Ferrari, the real race between Massa and Alonso will begin. It may help Ferrari beat Merc/Macca to 2nd or 3rd spot in the WCC, when two of the drivers look good for points.

    Cheers to a great race and hoping for more like this to continue in the future. Why can't Turkey be held in a fortnight:-)

  • Comment number 82.

    I have a question to all posters - Why can’t fans change their opinions and prejudices to reflect the changing circumstances of the 2011 season? Rather than sticking with 'it's because his tyres were gone' 'The Red Bull is far and away dominant' 'if Kubica was here' 'Vettel can't race' etc.. Whether we like it or not, different races will produce different results and a car/driver on a run of good results might have a shocking race. Conversely someone might 'surprise' the hot favourite. Look at Alonso's run last year.

    @ robbieo79. I wonder if you could clarify what you mean by the ‘fastest’?

    The person who sets each pole position and wins each race is the ‘fastest’, they have taken the least time to complete the race/lap – it has never been otherwise. The fastest lap is essentially the ‘pole position’ of the race – who over one lap in race conditions was the fastest. How can you be ‘faster’ and take more time to complete the race than someone ‘slower’ ? You can be 'hypothetically' faster but for traffic/position (Webber behind FI/Sauber etc.) but that is all part and parcel of the race..

    Overtaking skill is another matter entirely and should be separated from the ‘fastest’ debate. One poster has been pilloried for saying it – but if you are the fastest and are out in front overtaking skills aren’t as important. This has some validity. Of course, if Webber was stuck down in 18th all race and couldn’t get past any one, then an ‘on paper’ ‘faster’ car would be stuck down the field.

    However this doesn’t change the fact that the ‘fastest’ driver and indeed ‘fastest’ car is the one that wins the race. Even if hypothetically today Vettel Hamilton Webber Button and Massa had retired and Rosberg had won, the ‘fastest’ car is still Rosberg because he finished. Fans have this ultra-hypothetical nature whereby the ‘what if’ questions are paraded around as serious possibilities and treated the same as facts of the race rather than wild conjecture and speculation.

    Finally, this talk about winning races from positions lower down the field has displayed the most supreme stupidity I have seen in a long time.

    - If Sebastian has won more races from 1st/2nd than say 'gutsy' drives from 8th, etc - do fans want him to 'mess up' qualifying at the next race in order to prove he can win from 8th or prove that he can't? Absurd logic.

    He tries to get pole in every session like everybody else. To suggest that he can only win if on pole is too short-sighted - his career is not old enough yet for us to reasonably examine his record.

    This year above all else should demonstrate that tyre wear, strategy, pit-stop speed, starts, use of mechanical gizmos i.e. KERS and DRS have an outcome on the race more so than does pole position.

    This view of some fans that a) Vettel only wins from pole thus b) Can't win from down the field so c) Hamilton overtakes more so d) is better

    thus completely misses the point of the factors above.

    -If Vettel wins from pole, it's not just him being on pole that led to him winning.. it's everything else.
    -If Vettel doesn't win if he qualifies fourth, it's not because he hasn't started on pole - you have to include ALL the other factors.

    Otherwise you're not engaging in fair analysis.


    76. Yes I agree partly with you. Of course to win a world championship and win races in 2009 in a car that at the start of the year was way off the pace takes a great deal of skill - but Paul di Resta for example has not had the backing LH had and is having to prove he is worthy of F1 in a lower team- this is where Lewis should think about his comments more, not taking anything away from his talent.


  • Comment number 83.

    best race i've seen in ages!!



    Hamilton - great overtaking moves, one of his best performances to date



    Vettel - solid



    Webber - incredible drive back through the field



    Button - decent in parts, lucky Rosberg overcooked it at turn 14



    Rosberg - minus the error, a brilliant drive, especially after getting a huge undercut after the 1st round of stops to really mix up the race



    Massa - looking like he's getting back to his best



    Alonso - poor, lucky to have ended up infront of schumacher



    Schumacher - pretty good drive all round, got a good undercut like Rosberg, just a shame he didnt have the same pace as Rosberg

  • Comment number 84.

    @81

    The reason that Webber was able to catch the leaders so fast in the final stint was because he had a fresh set of soft tyres on (because he didn't run any in qualifying), whilst the cars at the front were all on the hard tyre, which is generally regarded to be about a second a lap slower.

    He was able to catch them so fast because the team screwed up qualifying, meaning he was able to start on a brand new set of hard tyres in 18th and get that stint out of the way before running 3 stints on unused soft tyres. I agree the red bull is still the fastest car (especially over 1 lap pace), but perhaps not by quite the margin you think.

    Like Martin Whitmarsh said, the title this year will go to the team (and hence driver) who wins the development battle. McLaren are currently winning that battle.

  • Comment number 85.

    It unquestionably testemant to the quality of today's Grand Prix that it has engendered such debate regarding the respective credentials of world champions Vettel and Hamilton.

    The introduction of the new regulations, notably the KERS/ DRS package has arguably improved the 'F1 spectacle' from an overtaking perspective, but it is undoubtedly the nature of the Pirelli tyres that has most 'invigorted' the sport. Although the DRS concept is agreeable, it does appear to provide the attacking driver with a significant performance advantage. Claims that it is 'aritifical' certainly hold credence. Given the performance of the Pirelli tyres the DRS system appears unecessary, as demonstrated by the ease of Hamilton's winning overtake.

    I believe that all but the die-hard Vettel fans, who I am unsure actually exist, would argue that Hamilton's victory is beneficial for this years competition. The manner in which Vettel has crafted the majority of his victories, certainly this season, have been rather 'Schumacher-esque'. Given the excitement of recent seasons, a one-horse race would be very disappointing.

    Although Benson emphasises the viewpoint that Hamilton's triumph has imbued this season with life, there can be no illusion regarding the irrefutable dominance of the Red Bull package. Vettel was defeated only four laps from the end as a result of a strategic misjudgement, despite reliability issues which surely inhibited his race performance, whilst Webber managed third place despite his poor grid position and lack of KERS performance.

    The 2011 championship is still very much in the stranglehold of Vettel and Red Bull. Hamilton may have all the overtaking ability he likes, yet if Vettel remains untouchabe in qualifying his superior talent as a 'racer' will be irrelevant.

  • Comment number 86.

    Was DC feeling ok today? He seemed to freeze up a few times on screen.

    So glad Jake mentioned Norwich City - I had no idea he was a supporter. It isn't like he mentions it all the time.

  • Comment number 87.

    Hi everyone,

    I just got back from Milan, this was the first weekend when I didn t have the comfort of the awsome BBC F1 coverage! I live in switzerland btw, but BBC rules on F1. I love the way they are so critical and even hammer each other down.

    Secondly I am overjoyed about Hamiltons win. It shows he can learn from things he has done wrong, and I think personally it shows true character in a person when they can learn from what ever they are doing in life and move on which is what hamilton is exactly doing!

    Some of you posted a comment that if Hamilton was in a red bull how many races would he have won??
    This would be my answer to that : I have been brought back to F1 since Hami started in F1, and even when he had his down times and made his own blunders I never stoped supporting him. So I think that it is irrelevant if he would race for Red Bull, because a person and even hamilton needs to know what it is like to loose. This makes it more special to win and more importantly it teaches other qualities.

    In good and bad times will always be with the fella.

    Now t the new commentary, I love Brundles objectivity and the mix of DC s scottishness. I think DC is still being cautious on his commentary, and I would say to him just let it go even if it doesn t flow with Brundles opinions because this is what makes britih commentary special. I will see how things develop on this front during the course of the season and keep posting on both fronst (commentary and races).

    All love Hamilton from Zurich Switzerland!!!

  • Comment number 88.

    hmm who still goint to win the championship, i think vettal too muh of a fast car, at 79 have you ever been in a f1 car i dont think so, DC has martin brundle has so they know what they are talking about

  • Comment number 89.

    lewis vs vettal

    2008 lewis wins world tittle, he and massa had an equal car in terms speed
    2009 brawn had a ver fast car, along with red bull, lewis had a very very poor car, and still manage to win couple of races, in 2010 simlar story but still managed to win races, 2011 still red bull dominating, but maclaren just improved, hope 2012 lewis goes to red bull, or stays but has a competitve car to macth rivals, if he could beat alonso in the same team, he will beat vettal

  • Comment number 90.

    @67
    hey, what have we got here? Another expert?
    Tell me , was Vettel passed because LH was so far superior or because Vettel's tires were degraded due to to 2 pit stop?
    Was LH passed by Vettel in a Toro rosso in 2008 Brazil?Thanks Glock?Sounds a bell to you?I'm the first to say I like LH as a driver, but he's no match for Vettel in my opinion, stay tuned:)
    The thing is, the facts are undisputed!





  • Comment number 91.

    22. At 14:00pm 17th Apr 2011, Gert wrote:
    I remember a certain thread last year at the same race and a Hamilton fan was throwing racist accusations all over the place.

    Some of his fans need to grow up.

    -------------

    I agree with you, and I remember this from last year. I am of mixed origin too... there are more ethinic mixtures in F1 now which is good to see!


    all those racist fans, no actually racist people are just ignorant, they have no cultural exposure or understanding and throw out their uneducated nonsense out there to cause trouble. People come from different backgrounds and at end of day we are all people.. I have no time for that nonsense. It s all about education!

    Regarding Alonso I think he is a brilliant racing driver but I was annoyed about what happened with the Stewards last weekend.. He could be a great racing driver, personality wise I do not like him one bit! He expects people to bow down to him far too much, which makes him suit a team like ferrari who are just a corr upt bunch!

    Regarding Button, I like him but he is missing instinct, and in racing you need to have it! He is a nice fella though!

  • Comment number 92.

    robbie079

    Bourdais did not bring that car home in 4th. He had qualified it there, then stalled at the start of the race. Despite being 4th he was still best part of a second behind Vettel. Whats wrong with giving the guy some credit? he was what 20ish, driving in the worst imaginable conditions driving the 5th/6th best car and he took a perfect pole to flag victory miles ahead of Kovalainen who was in the very fast Mclaren.

    By all means fanboys enjoy Hamilton's win but please check the facts before downgrading another very good driver. Who incidentally did overtake a rival today, he did it to the very God like form that is Hamilton before he made his first stop. Please some impartiality people!

    Great race today.

  • Comment number 93.

    The Brazil 2008 scenario was wet conditions, and in the middle of a championship battle. Kubica also confused the situation by unlapping himself just before Vettel overtook.

    Sorry to be a Lewis fanboy, but these are the facts.

  • Comment number 94.

    That comment was at #90, by the way.

  • Comment number 95.

    90. At 19:55pm 17th Apr 2011, GillesVFan wrote:
    @67
    hey, what have we got here? Another expert?
    Tell me , was Vettel passed because LH was so far superior or because Vettel's tires were degraded due to to 2 pit stop?
    Was LH passed by Vettel in a Toro rosso in 2008 Brazil?Thanks Glock?Sounds a bell to you?I'm the first to say I like LH as a driver, but he's no match for Vettel in my opinion, stay tuned:)
    The thing is, the facts are undisputed!

    _______________

    I just have t disagree with you. Hamilton proved today that he matched and out thought him!

    Whether you win by a mm or 100m, a win is a win, just like pole, no difference if it is 0.001 s of a second, if you get it you get it.


  • Comment number 96.

    53. At 16:21pm 17th Apr 2011, GillesVFan wrote:
    .....it's easy to win with a top team, do it with one that has never won a Grand Prix , than you see the talent!.

    ____________

    I have to say that that is absolute nonsense. Lewis did start with a top team, but they had massive downs and he still performed remarkably. I do think it is both driver and team that make a good car, a a great driver that makes a great win!

  • Comment number 97.

    #90
    The Brazil 2008 scenario was wet conditions, and in the middle of a championship battle. Kubica also confused the situation by unlapping himself just before Vettel overtook.

    Sorry to be a Lewis fanboy, but these are the facts.

  • Comment number 98.

    Oops, sorry, seemed to have posted that twice.

    I might as well add something to this comment.

    I thought the commentary was very good too. Don't forget this com-box set-up is only three races old - I believe it will improve even more in the races to come.

  • Comment number 99.

    Their ambition was to get a race like Canada last year, well they have surpassed that. Don't believe DRS is necessary with Kers and Pirelli.

    One of the best dry races in the history of the sport in my opinion. You could watch any 5 lap period in the race and it would contain more action than most races have in their full summary for the last decade. And it didn't achieve this greatness through amazing smashes, attrition, rain, which quite a lot of peoples "classics" seem to require. If half of the rest of the season can be anything like this, it will be just amazing to watch.

    Just hope red bull get out developed a bit by all the other teams. Suspect they gain quite a ground wing effect from the steep rake of the car, it is causing the whole flat bottom of the car to act like a giant diffuser, taking air that has to pass through a 1 cm gap, and expand it up to 3 cms at the rear, lowering its pressure substantially and causing the naturally higher pressure atmosphere to compress the car on to the track, no other cars seem to have even have the angle of Red Bull.

    Also it is noticeable that Red Bulls front wing has stopped flexing, before you could always see the flex from the onboard camera as the Red Bull accelerated to full speed from a slow corner you could easily see the two ends of the wing progressively sink about 20-30mm relative to the nose cone(a fairly static point of the car, unlike suspension/tyres). That has stopped now, but possibly replaced with extreme rake.(body diffuser).

  • Comment number 100.

    Arguably the 8 best drivers filling the top 8 places? In no particular order of course. Anyway, one of the greatest races I've ever seen.

    Hamilton may have won (deservedly so) but I thought the real winner was F1 on the day.

 

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