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Hamilton's pace threatens Red Bull

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Andrew Benson | 17:42 UK time, Sunday, 22 May 2011

At the Circuit de Catalunya

Sebastian Vettel had the same question on his lips following his victory in a thrilling Spanish Grand Prix as everyone else. "We need to see where our pace went," he said.

It is an interesting question. Vettel and his Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber qualified first and second in Barcelona, about a second faster than Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button in third, fourth and fifth places. And yet in the race Hamilton's McLaren was at least a match for the Red Bull. Indeed, as Vettel put it, "it seemed quicker".

It is the starkest example yet of a phenomenon that has been apparent throughout the year. For all Red Bull's breathtaking pace on a Saturday afternoon, the races have actually been pretty competitive.

The reasons why are complex, and vary depending on who you talk to. They will be explored in much more depth by my colleague Mark Hughes in his column on Tuesday.
What it means, though, is that a season that on paper looks like a Red Bull walkover is actually anything but.

Vettel might have taken four wins and a second place from the first five races of the season, but he has had to work hard for all of them.

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton will not give up the fight in the battle to beat Red Bull (Getty)

That was not expected to be the case here, of all places. If there are circuits that could have been made for the Red Bull, they are this track and Hungary's Hungaroring, where the combination of long corners of varying speeds plays perfectly into the hands of a team whose car is aerodynamically the class of the field.

Last year, Red Bull duly dominated both events. So for McLaren to run them so close this weekend bodes well for more battles of this intensity throughout the season. As does the fact that at Barcelona, where races have generally tended towards the soporific, this time the grand prix was exciting from start to finish, a sure indication that this year's new rules, with rapidly degrading tyres and the DRS overtaking device, are working.

Just as in China, the race was made by a slower car holding up the Red Bulls in the early stages, preventing them stretching their legs.

But the pace of the McLaren throughout the Spanish Grand Prix suggested Hamilton, on scintillating form, would have been able to take the fight to Vettel even without the intervention of Alonso's spectacular start in the ultimately slower Ferrari.

When Vettel finally cleared Alonso by using what Red Bull team principal Christian Horner described as an "aggressive undercut" - making a second stop at the very early stage of lap 18 - the German must have expected that the rest of the race would be pretty comfortable.

He did brilliantly to clear four slower cars during his 'out lap' and having seen Alonso emerge from the pits behind him next time around, Vettel must have thought that he was now in control.

But when Hamilton emerged from his second pit stop five laps later and began edging closer to Vettel, it became clear that was not going to be the case. "From then onwards," Vettel said, "I knew it would be very, very close."

While it was perhaps not that surprising that Hamilton, on tyres that were five laps fresher, was able to close in on Vettel between their third and final stops, it was impressive indeed to see him continue to do that in the final stint, when their tyres were at more or less identical stages of their lives.

What saved Vettel, Hamilton said, was the performance of the Red Bull in high-speed corners, the characteristics that put them on the front row.

The Red Bulls were the only cars that were able to take Turn Three, Turn Nine and the final corner flat out on the throttle in qualifying, a speed advantage over the other cars of something like 15.5mph - a huge amount. On race fuel and worn tyres they were no longer flat out there, but the pace differential between the Red Bull and the other cars remained comparable.

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That, said Hamilton, meant he was unable to stay quite close enough to Vettel, particularly through the final corner, to be able to bring the DRS effectively into action and make a pass.

"They were massively, massively quick in the high-speed Turn Three, Turn Nine and through the last corner," Hamilton said. "His downforce was incredibly clear for me to see. It is very, very difficult with the step in downforce they have against us."

In hindsight, race director Charlie Whiting may consider that the DRS zone, which started at the timing line, could have been moved further back to the exit of the last corner, to make it a little more effective.

Whatever, not all tracks are like Barcelona and the next two, Monaco and Canada, should even things out more between the two cars.

Horner said he was not overly worried. "It wasn't concerning at all," he said, "because we managed to win the grand prix.

"It would be very arrogant of us to believe we had a car that enabled us to pull away at a second a lap. We managed to have a phenomenal qualifying.

"McLaren pushed us hard in China. They were competitive there. They weren't competitive in Turkey and it tends to see-saw.

"They brought a huge upgrade, almost a B-spec car here, and the upgrades that we have managed to introduce have moved us forward. I think we're in a good situation.
"The form will continue to be circuit-dependent, where some teams will be stronger in the race and some teams stronger in qualifying."

Hamilton clearly fancies his chances around the streets next weekend, saying after the race: "It is good to come from this race on a positive footing going into Monaco, where a driver can make even more of a difference."

Which you can take to mean: I'm brilliant around Monaco, just watch me go.
He's right, of course. But he is not the only Monaco specialist in the field. Alonso, at his superb best here, is also an ace on street circuits - just look at Singapore last year. Webber - who took a stunning victory in the principality last year - is pretty handy there, too. And Vettel, who Red Bull feel has moved on to another level this season, will be desperate to prove he belongs in the same Monaco masterclass.

Qualifying next weekend, then, promises to be fascinating, and there has been much discussion in Spain about how the new rules will affect the race there.

Two weeks after that comes Montreal, where McLaren finished one-two last season and Red Bull's engine power deficit will bring them back closer to their rivals.

Vettel's lead in the championship - 41 points over Hamilton - is edging up towards two clear wins after just five races, but this season is a long way from over yet.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Great Blog, Andrew

  • Comment number 2.

    Let them use DRS wherever they (the drivers) want to - that'd be great . . .

  • Comment number 3.

    I think it's great that the new tyres are spicing up the racing, but the problem is that they make qualifying insignificant. Look at Heidfeld/Petrov today...Heidfeld started from the back with an infinite number of fresh tyres, whereas Vitaly started 6th, with a limited number of tyres. Which driver ended up in the points?

    Both compounds need to be more durable, in my opinion.

  • Comment number 4.

    the season is over.

  • Comment number 5.

    Thank goodness for McLaren.

    Andrew, on a secondary point about the TV coverage. Why is it that various directors around the world seem to think that when there are two drivers disputing first place, that shots of Lewis Hamilton's brother are more interesting than the actual race itself.
    I do realise that the BBC have no say over the feed, but I'm curious to know why anyone in there right mind would want to be reminded of what various family members look like.

  • Comment number 6.

    I think the DRS line should have been moved back so DRS was enabled earlier. By the time Hamilton could use it Vettel was gone. Well done to Button for taking a deserved 3rd place. His 3 stop strategy looked shaky in parts but he did well and got on the podium. Things are shaping up. Roll on Montreal!!

  • Comment number 7.

    cracking Spanish Grand Prix, but nobody picked up on the start, where you might see Vettel make three blocking moves, i thought the rules stated that you can only move once, Hamilton was penalized for supposedly doing the same thing in the last race, the rules seem to apply to some and not others.......

  • Comment number 8.

    I'm a Ferrari supporter but I've still been getting right behind Hamilton and McLaren in the vain hope that the championship won't be over by June. The racing is good, but it always seems to end up with Red Bull at the front. Even today, Hamilton was great but the bare facts show that Vettel has won and extended his championship lead. Red Bull's achilles heel last year was their reliability and they've sorted that out. The only hope for the rest of the field is a few unpredictable wet races and a nosedive in Red Bull reliability. Even though Red Bull aren't so far ahead in race pace as long as Vettel finishes he's likely to finish at least on the podium, and Hamilton or whoever gets close to him must win, which isn't guaranteed. Ferrari may as well concentrate in next year's car now they're so far behind, and even if they do catch up they're not going to get enough speed to beat Red Bull convincingly enough. This season is turning into a canter for Vettel and I hope in a non-malicious way for the sake of an exciting championship fight he crashes out of a few races or has some engine failures.

  • Comment number 9.

    Spot on Andrew. Mclaren will develop their car faster than the others and Hamilton will probably win the WDC. Love and hugs to all.

  • Comment number 10.

    #7 Scooby. I think it was stated that the rule doesn't apply to the first lap because it's either too hard for the FIA to track, and that there's so much going on drivers HAVE to move more than once.

  • Comment number 11.

    A pretty good grand prix. If the DRS activation zone was 10 metres up the track Hamilton probably would have had Vettel for dinner.

    Vettel will probably run away with the title, but hey, we're getting good races. Right?

  • Comment number 12.

    Can't help but feel like, as much as the McLaren may be 'bringing it to Red Bull', ultimately Vettel still keeps winning (apart from China when it was purely a strategic victory for McLaren), Kers or no Kers. Doesn't matter how much the cars behind can challenge, if the result is always the same... it makes it just as boring.
    Anyone notice that in the 2 occurences Lewis was in the best position to overtake coming out of the last bend and onto the straight, that in both instances a backmarker was on the straight and able to give Vettel a handy slip stream. CURSES!!

  • Comment number 13.

    I can't believe that you are saying this season is far from over.

    Vettel will comfortably win this years World Championship.

    All the cars this year are far seem too reliable, and therefore he will pick up points whatever the others do.

    Maybe I'm cynical, but are BBC panicking that dispite having more overtaking opportunities, they are left with a championship that will be all but over by the time of the British GP?

  • Comment number 14.

    Dear old Jenson is doing his best - but it would help his cause if he were to let the handbrake off at the start - then who really does know what that young man could achieve!!

  • Comment number 15.

    I'm sorry Andrew, Lewis and Mclaren will do their best but Vettel will retain his championship this season, end off, barring a serious incident to Vettels physical condition

  • Comment number 16.

    I agree with some of the above comments. This blog, although it has a nice sentiment, seems like an attempt to retain the interest of the casual F1 fans who after seeing a few exciting races are now realising that the same driver wins every weekend and is likely to walk the championship, meaning that they don't want to watch anymore.

  • Comment number 17.

    Why are so many cars managing to finish the race these days, a few years ago you were lucky if 10 finished

  • Comment number 18.

    And also on the next race in Monaco, Red Bull scored a crushing 1-2 there last season so I don't see how they'll be struggling to cope with McLaren's pace in the space of one week. At the two slowest circuits last year (Monaco and Hungary) Red Bull annihilated everyone, their car is a class apart.

  • Comment number 19.

    7.
    At 19:24 22nd May 2011, scooby wrote:

    cracking Spanish Grand Prix, but nobody picked up on the start, where you might see Vettel make three blocking moves, i thought the rules stated that you can only move once, Hamilton was penalized for supposedly doing the same thing in the last race, the rules seem to apply to some and not others.......

    _________________________________________________

    Get back in your box.
    Lewis Hamilton was incredible today. It's just a shame that his car is so different to a Red Bull car that we couldn't see a proper battle.
    I know this may sound an attempt at being glib, but has Vettel had to make one meaningful overtake this season yet? Hamilton did 5 in China to win, it'd be interesting to see more racing at the front, like there was today. Alonso getting to the front set it up really well. Still, if either McLaren had today just a reasonable start, then a 1-2 or 1-3 could have been on the cards. Button's start cost him nothing in the end except the time difference, Hamilton losing a place definitely cost him victory today IMO.

  • Comment number 20.

    A very good race today. I can't believe I was watching the Spanish Grand Prix, usually one of the most dull races on the calender!

    Alonso's start and move to first was sensational! It's a shame that the Ferrari isn't quite there in terms of overall race pace - the current Ferrari is letting Alonso down. Button made a poor start but recovered excellently to finish third. Michael Schumacher must be far happier than we was in Turkey! He did well in qualifying (overall) and made his usual good start then held on to a very respectable 6th place which was as high as he realisticly could have finished in his current car.

    But the two stars today were Vettel and Hamilton. The former in the way he held off the pressure of Hamilton for 12 or more laps. One slip and Hamilton would have pounced. The latter because he is singlehandedly taking the fight to Red Bull this season. If McLaren can close the gap in performance on the Red Bull by the half way point of the season we could have a mighty second half of the season.

    On Monaco, I fully expect a Red Bull front row after qualifying. Hamilton might like to think a driver can make a difference at Monaco but no driver can realisticly hope to beat a Red Bull with such dominates over one lap, especially on a circuit like Monaco. And on current form, you would favour Vettel to triumph over Mark Webber yet again.

  • Comment number 21.

    Thanks for the blog.

    I don't agree that the season is over. Lewis will push RBR and Seb all the way. It looks like a tall order and he will need help from the rest of the field but he has a chance.

    Ferrari look to slow to give Fernando a chance despite the fact that he will take all their big points.

    If Lewis gets help from Mark, Jenson and Fernando he could bridge that gap. Lets also not forget Mercedes, Nico could also go well next week, we will see on THURSDAY - don't forget.....

    Tis a shame that Robert isn't in the field...........

  • Comment number 22.

    The race is definitely on......



    ..........for 2nd place, I'm afraid.

  • Comment number 23.

    Vettel pressured throughout? Are you kidding me?

    Vettel is not only a great driver, he also seems to be a master of mind games. Vettel knows how to win with minimum effort. He could have streaked away from Hamilton any time he liked; every time Hamilton cut the lead to half a second Vettel would magically conjur up speed and pull away 1.5 seconds clear. It was a controlled race, and a comfortable one, make no mistake about it.

    Now that I think of it, I can't see how anyone is falling for the puzzled look on Vettel's face.

  • Comment number 24.

    no andrew it wont theaten red bull, lets not get all ou hopes up, the championship is long over, now it is over fact vettal will win the championship and lewis or webber will take 2nd, but apart from that lets be honest hey, the BBC commentators love vettal right, the car makes the driver look good, remeber 2009 or 2008 where barrichealo and jenson were wining races, so do not rate vettal that highly, as the BBC pundits are, if lewis was in rud bull's car tha what could he have achieved, or alonso or kubica or jenson, red bulls car is at least half a second faster than anyone elses, remeber the era of michael where he was wining all the time, vettal seems that he might just do that, whos better senna or michael, the stats say michael but everyone true f1 fan knows senna is better f1 driver

  • Comment number 25.

    I dont get why people are so worried. We've seen this kind of championship before in 2008. Don't worry the stewards will start intervening and taking points off Vettel to keep it interesting

  • Comment number 26.

    Andrew

    I would like to get your own sentiment about the more than apparent inconsistency of the FIA when interpreting the rules and regulations of the sport.

    Fernando Alonso´s sensational qualifying lap yesterday and start today was proved totally fruitless due to the fact that the Ferrari car just isn´t good enough. Its lack of downforce and raw pace is making it fall quickly far behind the RBR and the Mclaren and only able to fight for positions with Mercedes and to a lesser degree Renault. (You only need to look at where Massa usually finishes during the race to see the real position of the Ferrari).

    Last Thursday and Friday Ferrari brought and tested a new rear wing which seemed to work somewhat improving the performance of the car around 2 tenths per lap, according to Fernando (I believe it´s more). I can only assume that other improvements and developments in the Ferrari were designed to work around this new rear wing.

    Come Saturday´s free practice the FIA declared this rear wing illegal, apparently due to an interpretation of the regulations as being against the spirit of the norm.

    We have seen the FIA allowing more than dubious devices and clever solutions very recently, and even when these are declared illegal - hot gasses blown exhausts, flexi wings(?) - decisions to ban them get postponed so that teams getting the benefit of the illegality are still allowed to use them thereby extending their lead

    We have seen this time and time again. I understand F1 is politics as well; I just wished the FIA was a little bit more coherent (or at least tried to be) with their decisions.

    (rant over) Thanks Andrew

  • Comment number 27.

    I agree with most views here that Vettel will walk it this year - only hope is if McLaren can develop their car to be consistently faster than RB and that Lewis can get into a situation early enough that Button has to play a support role. Seems a very long shot to me.

    James Allen's blog suggested that DRS seemed to benefit the Red Bulls more than other cars, so when available over the whole lap in qualy, it gave them a bigger advantage vs. in the race, as only available on one section...

  • Comment number 28.

    17.At 19:48 22nd May 2011, Calum wrote:
    Why are so many cars managing to finish the race these days, a few years ago you were lucky if 10 finished

    ______________________________________________________________________

    Perhaps because they're compromising on how much fuel they carry in race, so don't run the engine at maximum for the whole duration of the race. Less wear and tear on the engine, fewer blow outs. Having to look after their tyres more, probably plays a part too. They are essentially being more gentle with the cars as opposed to running ragged at 100% for the full race distance.

  • Comment number 29.

    To be honest, all this talk on here is not relevant all the time....
    i just want lewis or button to be world champion again and again and again..
    Two of the nicest guys this sport has seen in many years...

  • Comment number 30.

    This season could be turning out like 2006 perhaps? Vettel like Alonso dominating the first half of the season but then Hamilton being able to pull it back in the second half like Schumacher. I still would put my money on Vettel but I can envisage a situation where the Red Bull's advantage may be pulled back either through rapid development of McLaren or Ferrari or a ruling is made against their car, like Renault with the mass damper in 2006. Either way I think this season will turn out to be a Vettel v Hamilton fight.

  • Comment number 31.

    One of the reasons the Red Bull was so much better in qualifying than the race must be the fact that in qualifying they could use DRS at any points in the circuit. The downforce on that car is so good they were engaging it around the final corner, much earlier than anybody else. In the race that advantage wasn't available.

    Let's not forget that KERS was playing up on Vettel's car again as well, which helped make things more interesting. Had it been working all weekend...

  • Comment number 32.

    #17

    With drivers being penalized for not getting 5 (or is it more now?) races out of a gearbox, and only having a limited number of engines per season, the teams are having to build more reliable cars and cannot risk stressing them as much.

    Presumably, advances in car construction are helping as well. And there's so much information being fed back from the car during a race nowadays, teams can sometimes see potential issues arising and work around them.

  • Comment number 33.

    I think you're clutching at straws here Andrew, in the hope the season will still turn out to be competitive (which I really hope it does).

    The Red Bulls are not even using their Kers properly and have the resource to also keep developing their car from race to race.

    So far their victories have looked pretty comfortable, even today Hamilton was not actually close enough to force Vettel into a single defensive move. When the big team starts a season half a second off the pace, they can normally claw that back at some point and maybe even end up with the quickest car. But when you begin the season 7/10ths to a second off, by the time they catch up the season will effectively be over.

    Apart from today, where he actually looked like he broke a sweat once out of the car, I don't think Vettel has had to work particularly hard at all. It's not his fault, he does what he has to do with the tools he's been given, the other teams simply are way off the pace.

    If Mclaren or Ferrari can't compete in qualifying or out right beat a Red Bull in the next two races, I can't see them truly competing for this years championship. Unlike last year, the Bulls not only have the pace, but they now have the reliability too.

  • Comment number 34.

    Let's hope at least Mclaren can step up their development to really make this season competitive and not just a walkover for red bull.....

    On another note, i can't believe how Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard in particular are allowed to express their anti Schumacher biased so frequently. I can only assume this kind of prejudice is in line with the thoughts and feelings of the BBC management. Eddie Jordan has unjustly and rudely suggested Schumacher should quit the sport at the end of this season on more than a few occasions. If they are judging him on his performance relative to his team mate, then why aren't they also calling for Jenson Button and Mark Webber and everybody else thats getting out done by their team mate to also consider retirement. Schumacher is not doing a bad job at all considering everything and taking each race in it's rightful context. Lets face it somebody in the BBC hates him. Sort it out.

  • Comment number 35.

    I think this year, individual performance has taken a backseat to tyre strategy and fuel running modes, to the extent that races can be won and lost based on which (slower) cars managed to get in way of a faster competitor to effectively spoil his race / strategy. The front runner also plays a bigger part in setting the strategy for everyone else, because the others have to respond to cover off.

    The pit stop opportunities of the past were game changers and offered more tactical strategies, but now everyone basically adopts the same pit stop strategy (forced by the leader) unless they find themselves completely out of position and can take a risk in doing something different.

    Despite the fact that the racing on track appears to be much closer than previous years, it is starting to feel very homogenised.

  • Comment number 36.

    The season is not over but I can't help feeling that in 3 of the 5 races so far this season Vettel could have gone even faster if needed. Last year he had around half the points he has at this stage this season. Webber has been left well and truly behind this season. LH, good luck in catching him - you'll need it.

  • Comment number 37.

    36.At 21:03 22nd May 2011, lhfantilidie wrote:
    Webber has been left well and truly behind this season. LH, good luck in catching him - you'll need it.
    ______________________________________________________________________

    Webber performs better on this track than Vettel and should have walked it, but he was unlucky at the start as both Alonso and Vettel were able to get a tow from Webber. He then got stuck behind Alonso, who clearly had a slower car, and was held up by him.

  • Comment number 38.

    Let's recognize two facts:

    1. The advantage RedBull has is similar to that of McLaren in the Senna/Prost times... i.e. the season is over.

    2. Today the best driver was Alonso. He put the car in front for 18 laps, when everybody would have said that was physically impossible. He reminded me of Senna this weekend.

  • Comment number 39.

    Good grand prix.. however, everyone always complains that F1 is boring. A negative perception only reinforced by some halfwit TV director focusing on useless shots of Martin Whitmarsh, Maldonado making a pit stop in 17th or Massa walking back to the pits when the REAL action is Hamilton 0.7 seconds behind Vettel. This is unacceptable. The TV directors out there wouldn't know a good race if it landed in their laps.

  • Comment number 40.

    Some interesting points on the changes. I think F1 ininfinitely more interesting now that we have the potential for some "real racing". I for one think that is more watchable knowing that there is more of a possiblity of a racing overtake.!

    Question.......does anyone think that if any of the other driver's were in Vettel's Red Bull they would also be leading the championship at this stage......if so who?

  • Comment number 41.

    Great drive again by Lewis, if Mclaren can just up their game Hamilton can beat Vetel.

    It would be great if they were both in Red Bull cars, I think Hamilton will wipe the floor with Vetel, crikey he did with Alonso in his rookie season and put the Spainard's nose really out of joint making him look ordinary and Alonso is probably the next best driver.

  • Comment number 42.

    34.At 20:59 22nd May 2011, mem_dori wrote:

    On another note, i can't believe how Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard in particular are allowed to express their anti Schumacher biased so frequently. I can only assume this kind of prejudice is in line with the thoughts and feelings of the BBC management. Eddie Jordan has unjustly and rudely suggested Schumacher should quit the sport at the end of this season on more than a few occasions.

    ______________________________________________________________________

    Not sure about DC, but I agree that EJ has been very anti-Schumacher. I think Schumacher adds a lot of interest and he showed today, the skill that differentiates him from other drivers. I was never a fan of Schumacher in the old days but have a new found respect for him following his return. It was a brave decision to make a comeback and just shows the passion that he has for his sport.

  • Comment number 43.

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

  • Comment number 44.

    I think the difference in pace between quali and the race for the Red Bull is down to how good the car us under the DRS.

    In quali, they can use DRS wherever they want and the car is phenomenal, because they can deploy it mid corner, where all the other cars can't, thus their pace is significantly better than anyone else.

    In race, they can only use it once per lap, and in the DRS zone.

  • Comment number 45.

    40.At 21:20 22nd May 2011, WickedlyCool wrote:
    Question.......does anyone think that if any of the other driver's were in Vettel's Red Bull they would also be leading the championship at this stage......if so who?

    ______________________________________________________________________

    Without a doubt.... Hamilton. Some drivers can only win championships in the best car, but I think Hamilton is a driver who can make the best of a car that is not so great. He has consistently performed above the expectations of his Mclaren and would streak ahead of the competition in the best car on the grid.

    There are other potential winners, such as Rosberg, but IMO I don't think you can really judge a driver until you've seen how they respond to pressure and different situations. Some people perform well if expectations are low and they have nothing to prove, hence no pressure.

  • Comment number 46.

    #42 Dominique: "I was never a fan of Schumacher in the old days but have a new found respect for him following his return."

    You're a fan of Schumacher barging Barrichello into the wall at Hungary last year then? The guy is pure evil and clearly has no remorse, nor learnt anything from past behaviour

  • Comment number 47.

    @23 waldovski

    Are you a little bit crazy?

    To suggest that Vettel comforably held Lewis at 0.5 seconds behind for 12 laps is ludicrous!

    Well done Seb (through gritted teeth!) brilliantly held it must be said, even if the track doesnt exactly through overtaking oportunities at you. Nice to see a bit of overtaking from the lad too even if it was just an outlap with brand spanking new tyres.

    Racer of the day, LH by a county mile.
    Great strategy Jenson too

  • Comment number 48.

    2. At 19:12 22nd May 2011, Roadblaster wrote:
    Let them use DRS wherever they (the drivers) want to - that'd be great . . .

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

    Correction - let them use DRS wherever they want, *except* on the long straights. That'd make it really interesting. I bet Kobayashi would finish in the top 5 every time. At least, every time he didn't spectacularly crash out and probably take someone else with him. Now that's how to make a spectacle! Last season was great, sure, but the moment I remember most clearly, by a country mile, is Mark Webber doing a backflip. Crashes make for great entertainment.

  • Comment number 49.

    46.At 21:30 22nd May 2011, maverickpianist84 wrote:
    #42 Dominique: "I was never a fan of Schumacher in the old days but have a new found respect for him following his return."

    You're a fan of Schumacher barging Barrichello into the wall at Hungary last year then? The guy is pure evil and clearly has no remorse, nor learnt anything from past behaviour

    ______________________________________________________________________

    Well of course not, but they do say there is a fine line between genius and madness. I think Schumacher is probably the best example of single-minded determination, for better or for worse.

  • Comment number 50.

    @46 maverickpianist84

    You know what, i saw nothing wrong with the Schumacher/Barrichello "incident". Schumacher did leave just enough room did he not? Anyhow some people are bound to disagree, personally i think this was just an example of hard racing.

  • Comment number 51.

    I think with the DRS it be interesting to have the section on one part of the track for the first half of the race, and then switch it somewhere else for the second half. Admittedly it might get confusing, but I think it could be interesting.

    Also, if drivers had to choose between DRS and KERS, one or the other per race, that could also be fun I think.

  • Comment number 52.

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

  • Comment number 53.

    what was lacking in the last race certainly arrived in spain today, that being a fight the victory that stayed to the end. good race, hopefully lewis can win at monaco

  • Comment number 54.

    Great result for Lewis given the ominous speed of the Red Bull in qualifying.
    Even if you allow the fact Vettel did not have access to his KERS during parts of the race, it clearly shows Mclaren have taken a big step forward from Turkey with respect to race pace.
    Monaco will be fascinating from the perspective of strategy. Surely most teams will look to minimize tyre degradation by preserving their tyres during the race in order to reduce the number of stops they need to make.
    A driver might be brave and try to stay out on an older set of tyres in order to gain track position and hold off the faster cars from behind in the closing stages (1992 Monaco Grand Prix).
    Track position will be crucial and so a greater emphasis on qualifying will once again be a priority.

  • Comment number 55.

    @49, 50 Dominique/mem_dori

    You cannot take stock of Schumacher's 'genius' without acknowledging his failings at the same time. It is bad enough that a seven time world champion feels the need to put a move like that on Barrichello but then to justify it in the press conference afterwards by his po-faced suggestion that "he didn't see him". The most successful driver in recent history "didn't see" his ex-Ferrari teammate? Yeah right. Maybe he also "didn't see" Jacques Villeneuve and Damon Hill.

    @48 sheffieldharry

    I feel Kobayashi is a bad driver, in the same vein as Katayama and Sato. Given the chance to use DRS whenever he wanted, he'd probably open his wing on turn 1 and spin straight off. The ONLY reason he remains in F1 is due to Japanese investment, which in turn makes Mr Ecclestone happy. There are plenty of other better racers out there. I'd be elated if di Resta could have his seat, for instance.

  • Comment number 56.

    @maverik pianist post 52

    possibly one of the most rediculous comments ive ever read.
    I think its now quite universaly agreed upon that kamui is one of the most entertaining racers on the grid, and a real overtaker.
    Not sure i can think of a particular time he crashed off?

  • Comment number 57.

    Who cares about alonso anyway, i dont like him after he spat his dummy out several times when he was team mates with Lewis Hamilton...

    My mind was made up once he disrespected Lewis..

  • Comment number 58.

    56. At 21:48 22nd May 2011, El Nino2433 wrote:
    @maverik pianist post 52

    possibly one of the most rediculous comments ive ever read.
    I think its now quite universaly agreed upon that kamui is one of the most entertaining racers on the grid, and a real overtaker.
    Not sure i can think of a particular time he crashed off?

    --

    That's hilarious. How many overtakes did Kobayashi manage in Catalunya?

  • Comment number 59.

    @58

    Im not even getting into this with you. your response is completley besides the point.
    getting bored with negative off topic (and sometimes malicious) comments on this thread week in week out.

  • Comment number 60.

    #35 - I agree
    #38 - (clap clap)

    Ironically, there is a danger that the use/abuse of "undercutting" is going to take away some of the thrill in F1 this season - and make it clearly predictable. The new Pirelli´s compounds mainly and to a lesser degree the new devices to aid overtaking and other "interesting" solutions, are starting to pan out this season. It doesn´t matter if one driver cannot overtake a slower car on the track - the better car will still be able to do that withoutn having to fight on the track by pitting and changing tyres..

  • Comment number 61.

    I agree with many here. The season is over. Vettel will walk away with the title. And, although I am not his biggest fan, I have to admit he did very well today holding the McLaren and keeping a cool head. Hamilton was brilliant and managed to bring some excitement to the front.
    As an Alonso-Ferrari fan, I can't hide my dissapointment today. I thought Alonso was brilliant at the start and expected, if not a win (I knew their tyre situation wasn't great) at least a podium.

  • Comment number 62.

    @59

    My response was not off topic. You previously stated "Kobayashi is a real overtaker."

    So I asked a simple question: how many overtaking moves did he do today?

    Perhaps you shouldn't make generalised statements if you are unable to back them up?

    By the way, Kobayashi started 14th and finished 10th. But nowhere do you mention Heidfeld, who started 24th and finished 8th, gaining four times as many places.

  • Comment number 63.

    @maverickpianist84

    It may even surprise you that i am not that much of a Schumacher fan, but i don't like to see a man getting kicked when he's down. Besides it would be hypocritical of me to criticize Schumacher's moments of selfishness or lets say determination, when i am a big Senna fan. We all have our own opinions on what is considered acceptable within racing and what is the epitome of racing. Sure Schumacher's had some overly selfish moments in the past, but they do not define him for me. I think if their is no real determination and aggression it isn't really racing and just bland to watch. Thats just me though. ;)

  • Comment number 64.

    @62

    Quite simply because my origional post was simply saying your post was ridiculous. I am fully aware of all drivers grid and finishing positions, i just did not like the way you argued your point in the first pace suggesting the lad is only in F1 because of Japanese investment!
    Like i have already said, it is pretty well universaly agreed from the paddock, media, and probably 99% (at least) of people that follow F1 week in week out that the young lad is a real talent, and certainly entertaining.
    your counter argument of ''How many overtakes did Kobayashi manage in Catalunya?'' was quite clearly in no context whatsoever as you are talking about one race.
    but then to follow that up with
    ''By the way, Kobayashi started 14th and finished 10th'' kind of answers your original silly question and suggest 4 overtakes haha
    before you counter this with another silly response, i dont know how he gained his places today in truth ie through overtakes or pit stops.

  • Comment number 65.

    @64

    Please enlighten me, how should I contextualise a racing driver if not within the latest race? They're all only as good as their last race anyway.

    There are many drivers in F1 who I don't rate. Kobayashi just happens to be one of them. Liuzzi is an accident waiting to happen. And for di Resta to consistently beat Sutil places big question marks over Sutil's latest performances - on and off track.

    Then cast your mind back to Ralf Schumacher, do you SERIOUSLY think he was there on racing merit or because he had an illustrious surname shared with brother Michael? Some suit at Toyota obviously thought he could exploit it, and promptly paid Ralf $20m. (I'm not making that figure up, by the way - look it up on Google.)

  • Comment number 66.

    If anyone can beat the Red Bulls over a whole season it's Lewis Hamilton. Button is not quite on the pace at the moment and both Ferrari drivers struggling with a very unwieldy car.

    Things can change but not sure it can change quickly enough to put Button, Alonso, Massa in the mix. It's the Red Bulls or Hamilton in my view.

  • Comment number 67.

    I feel F1 is dying fast.It maybe good for the Red Bull team to win another race but very bad for the sport.Think of those millions of fans who will be bored or put off by the winning of one team and the enormous loss of revenue everyone in the sport will suffer with many circuits becoming white elephants.I am glad the tickets for silverstone are still selling well this week! Monaco next week is no longer a race but a historic procession for celebes with no major track investment for years.

  • Comment number 68.

    @65

    To say a driver is only as good as their last race is also strange in my mind. that is why we have a season of 19 (maybe20) races.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, i guess i (amongst others as you have had a post removed by moderators) dont particulary like the way you 'voice' them.
    I am not an out an out Kob fan, but his driving speaks for itself, as do his race results so far in his short career.
    To be honest anyone who can drag that Sauber into the points on a regular basis is no dog of a driver, and that is a fact.

  • Comment number 69.

    This is gonna sound like sour grapes buuuuuttttt.....

    I noticed a lot of shots of turn 3 with Vettel putting the whole car past the track's white line, into the "green bit". If the corner was gravelled up to the usual limits he'd be in the tyre wall. Surely this is gaining an advantage by driving outside the confines of the track?

    I saw most others drift half over but none all the way like Vettel.

  • Comment number 70.

    Interesting race. Whatever one thinks of this season so far, at least it has been nowhere near as dull as many races in recent years. Vettel did brill, Hamilton raced to the end, Button did good ending up on the podium. Alonso's start was superb, though not sure what happened to Alonso and Webber in the race.

    It's been so interesting up front this season, we're not getting to see much of the mid-field action.

    Kobayashi is brilliant. Without a doubt. Someone up above slighted Kobi's skills. Luckily the statistics confirm Kobi's skills. Even with a puncture, and hence an extra stop, he still finished just behind his team mate. That's good driving, and plenty of overtaking.

    Kobayashi is the best of the rest, depending how you define 'the rest'. Sauber has very little, if no chance, short of luck, of beating the Mclarens, Red Bulls and Ferraris. The fact Kobayshi is mixing it with the Mercedes and Renaults show his skill as well as his spirit. Check the results tables. He is currently 11th, behind the Red Bulls, Mclarens, Ferraris, Renaults and Mercedes'. 11th is perhaps the best position his car can attain. I'd love to know, along with millions of others, where he'd place in a first division car. If Ferrari or Red Bull don't hire him as a 2nd driver, it's their loss. In retrospect, if it could have been wangled, he should have joined Petrov at Renault instead of Heidfeld.

    Roll on the day Kobayashi is given a top 3 car to drive, AND the day Kubica is back.

  • Comment number 71.

    Hahaha listen to all these nutters who are saying the season is over! Silly, silly people...very green....

  • Comment number 72.

    @68

    I don't know why #52 was removed. I reposted it as #55, which is virtually identical except I changed 'Bernie' to 'Mr Ecclestone'.

    I will agree that everyone is allowed to have their own opinion, though this shouldn't preclude you from being so naive that you seriously think every racing driver in F1 is currently there on racing form/merit and nothing else. When I think of proper thoroughbred drivers that do not get the drives they deserve - like Davidson, de la Rosa, Salo, Wurz, and Paffett, to name but a few - and then see a talentless bunch like Liuzzi, Karthikeyan and Trulli in there, it really does make me wonder.

  • Comment number 73.

    @70 "The fact Kobayshi is mixing it with the Mercedes and Renaults show his skill as well as his spirit. Check the results tables. He is currently 11th, behind the Red Bulls, Mclarens, Ferraris, Renaults and Mercedes'."

    Probably a good time to remind you that the Sauber cars are currently powered by a Ferrari engine which between 2006-07 was also used by the reigning champions Red Bull. Of course the works team is expected to be behind Ferrari, you really think they'd allow Kobayashi to consistently beat Alonso? Heidfeld, at least, has shown himself to be a fast and competent driver and deserves his place in the Renault team. Actually, he is the de facto number 1 at Renault since Petrov hasn't yet fully settled in.

  • Comment number 74.

    No 70: What are you on about? At what time did I state that Sauber should be beating Ferrari? I believe he is placing his car in the best position anyone could, hence he is driving superbly. 'The best of the rest'. It's a simple clear concise argument, hard to default.

    Kobayashi is a great driver, end of. You directly insulted his driving skills. I praise him on his merit, nothing else. His results, and his overtaking skills, speak clearly. You're either being contrary, for whichever reason, which you are entirely entitled to, or you don't like him, for whichever reason, which again you are entitled to.

    Equally, I'm entitled to my opinion that I think - in retrospect, as I didn't state it at the beginning of the year - that Kobayashi would have done better for Renault than Heidfeld and Petrov. It's a whimsical suggestion, no more. Which I'm entitled to.

    But please don't bring logic, reason or statistics to back up your arguments, for unfortunately they do not support your view. Are you perhaps just a wind up merchant taking the opposite view just to get a reaction?

  • Comment number 75.

    Nope, not a wind up merchant. I think you're being somewhat sensationalist to announce that Kobayashi is a great driver. After all, he has only had one full season in F1 with Sauber and 2 races at the end of 2009 with Toyota. Do you not think it's a little early to be proclaiming him as 'the next best thing'?

    As for your argument that 'he is placing his car in the best position anyone could', well, don't you think all the drivers are doing that? No team is going to hire a driver that conveniently settles for 5th if 3rd is attainable.

    Equally, he might be a good racing driver in your eyes, but what about development? Teams rarely improve unless they have continuous feedback from their drivers and their own data, so they know which areas they are wanting in. That's the difference between someone like Alonso and Hamilton, who are A* drivers and tell their mechanics EXACTLY what they want out of their cars, and Kobayashi, who is a B at best, who might drive the nuts off the thing on a Sunday but could perhaps be wanting when it comes to a Friday setup session.

  • Comment number 76.


    Errrhm ... May I in all due modesty point out that Vettel has won 4 out of 5 races (one 2nd place) and that all this dabbling about Hamilton and Alonso and others is a bit unbalanced? "Hamilton catching Red Bull" ? Huh ? Some catching indeed.

    As one poster stated, unless something unfortunate happens to him, Vettel is bound to take 2011. Period.

    There are some other drivers who are excellent. Vettel, however, is sublime. Period.

  • Comment number 77.

    For a Barcelona GP- Fantastic race?
    Fully agree with #20, however I think Alonso was playing to the crowd by taking short stints on the softs and then having about 26 laps to run on the hard compound. As soon as I saw that-I knew his race was unfortunately over. Fantastic classic racing by Hamilton and Vettel!
    Great showing also by Heidfeld in the Renault.

  • Comment number 78.

    Great race, i really enjoyed it. My driver of the day was Kobayashi though, he got a puncture on the first lap sacrifising a set of the soft tires and relegating him to the back of the field. To come back through that and score points was superb.

  • Comment number 79.

    Great race. Well I hope the season ain't over as many seem to think . Encouraging for Lewis that he was so close at the end, especially considering how many of the other drivers were so blown away by the high pace and lapped. Where did Lewis and Seb lap up to? Up to the fifth place car was it? Amazing. Seb's Kers not working properly but on the other hand this was a Red Bull suited aerodynamic track with those long, long corners. Roll on next week, if Lewis can bag that one then things will open up a little more. Let's see if DRS can have any effect at Monaco. Some drivers think it's dangerous to use it there apparently. Pfft. Go and take up tiddly winks then, if you don't want to use it then don't. Those supersofts may prove the decisive factor though.

  • Comment number 80.

    I am suprised that no one had mention how poor Webber has been this season, esp in the race today. He has a car that is a second quicker than the next team and so should be pushing Vet, if not, at least have come 2nd to Vet in every race so far. The last 10 winners of the Spannish GP have won, yet Webber doesn't.

    I also feel Vet was under no pressure today, if Ham was closer, we would of seen some mistakes but to those people who say Vet is excellent under pressure must be talking about another guy. When the pressure is on, Vet will take out another driver.

    In regards to the red bull, it is obvious the speed in qualifying lies with supension. With an empty tank, the car is lower to the ground compared to the others but with a full tank (which focrces the other cars down due to weight), the gap is reduced.

    Finally, Those Renaults are fantastic of the line

  • Comment number 81.

    DRS didn't work here not so much because of how long the zone was but because of the high speed off the last corner. Cars simply could not follow each other closely enough at that point.


    The comments on here regarding Koboyashi: I was always oen to say wait and see with him after everybody decided his 2 race cameo was the best thing ever. Last season he looked good at times but this year he has really impressd me. He does have a knack of maximising the Sauber's performance better than most of the midfield does, in that sense he reminds me of Button in the BAR/Honda. Perhaps not good enough for the very top table (Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton etc.) but he seems to have the potential to be in the next group (Button, Webber, Rosberg etc.).

  • Comment number 82.

    I just think that in qualifying the Red Bulls using the DRS around the whole track make the difference... cant wait for Monaco...

  • Comment number 83.

    i think DRS should not be allowed in qualy...after all its a device to aid overtaking during the race as there is obviously no overtaking in qualy it should not be used.maybe then we would see closer qualy sessions.

  • Comment number 84.

    "9.
    At 19:28 22nd May 2011, themanwhosoldtheworld wrote:

    Spot on Andrew. Mclaren will develop their car faster than the others and Hamilton will probably win the WDC. Love and hugs to all."

    ---

    Given that RBR have won all but 1 race this season I fail to see how you can say Hamilton will win the WDC. In his and your dreams maybe. Lol.

    ===

    "71.
    At 23:41 22nd May 2011, Lord_Lancashire wrote:

    Hahaha listen to all these nutters who are saying the season is over! Silly, silly people...very green...."

    ---

    Lets see if your comment holds any water in 13 races time. Then we'll see who's very green...


    I'm afraid that people like Andrew Benson, and the rest of the media can hype up a 2nd place by Hamilton and a 3rd place by Button as much as they like, it does not take anything away from the FACT that RBR have won 4 out of the last 5 races.

    RBR haven't even got a fully functioning car yet, imagine what they will be like if and when they get their KERS system operating as intended, so far in all 5 races RBR have had failures of it, and yet they have won 4 of them!

    That is a statistic which cannot be denied or overlooked.

  • Comment number 85.

    It was an engrossing GP from beginning to end, where did Alonso come from on that start? Watching it again from Alonso's view he was struggling to avoid the cars in front, who would have thought a Spanish GP could be so exciting? Blink and you missed something. This Season is far from over.

    Incidentally, in the info about this blog you say "the love affair has blown hot and cold". Is that blown hot while you are off the throttle? Because I'm not sure that's legal you know...

  • Comment number 86.

    ---------------------------------------------------
    84.At 09:13 23rd May 2011, ravenmorpheus2k wrote:
    Lets see if your comment holds any water in 13 races time. Then we'll see who's very green...


    I'm afraid that people like Andrew Benson, and the rest of the media can hype up a 2nd place by Hamilton and a 3rd place by Button as much as they like, it does not take anything away from the FACT that RBR have won 4 out of the last 5 races.
    -------------------------------------------------------

    Don't forget that in 2009 Button won 6 out of the first 7 races and didn't score any more wins for the rest of the season.... Yes, he won the championship with 1 race to spare (just) but it was never certain he was even going to win the championship until Brazil because the cars around him raced ahead in terms of development. It's far from over this season.

  • Comment number 87.

    I'm aware that the 'top' teams all use the blown-diffuser but am I right in assuming that currently Red Bull are the team that get the most from it and, if this is the case, once the FIA has pulled its thumb out won't that level the playing field slightly?

  • Comment number 88.

    I don't know about anyone else but I thought Mclaren made a couple of pretty bad strategic errors with hamilton in this race that could have cost them the race. Hamilton pits 5 laps later than vettel for his second stop but then for his third stop pitted only one lap after vettel. Surely he would have been better off staying out on his soft tyres versus vettels harder tyres. This would have enabled him to pit slightly later than vettel for the fourth stop allowing him to put on a set of softs for the final stint compared to vettel who I think was on the hard tyres. They have four sets of soft tyres available don't they so why not use all four instead of the 2 seconds a lap slower hard tyre.

    I also wonder what the outcome might have been of this race if one of mclaren or red bull had done both Q1 and Q2 on hard tyres. They could have then started the race with four sets of soft tyres and having watched vettel breeze past people on his new softs after the first stop you imagine they would have been able to do that for most of the race

  • Comment number 89.

    Some valid points there Andrew, and it will be entertaining to find out whether Mclaren do manage to develop their car faster than RBR, if they do, it will makes things more entertaining.

    Catalunya, was more entertaining this year than previous years, but there was still a virtually total lack of overtaking, mainly due tothe design of the circuit and the placing the of the DRS activation point so far down the main straight.

    I found the graphics showing when cars were using DRS and KERS very interesting, and show justhow effective the basic aero package on the RBR is. Vettel was deploying DRS and or KERS before the final corner coming onto the straight, when no one else could do so, before they had got out of the corner.

    For Hamiltons chances of overtaking him, it meant that by the time, Hamilton could use KERS and DRS, Vettel had already pulled out far too big a gap, for any chance other than a suicidal charge up the inside to work.

    Had the DRS point, been right back close to the final corner, the story may well have been different.

    As to RBR's pace in quali vs race, watching the graphics again give a very big clue, for whatever reason, RBR can use the DRS far more of the time, than any other team, which gives a huge speed advantage, both between and through corners.

    It may well also be that the RBR is less happy on full fuel tanks, than the Mclaren.

    Unfortunately, the RBR is designed by Adrian Newey, and lets face it, he is by far and away the best conceptual designed in F1, and has been for at least 15 years or more, through stints at Williams, when they won, through Mclaren, when they won, and now at RBR, when uess what, they win.

    I'm not sure what the reason is as to why Webber has fallen so far behind Vettel, but in truth, i suspect its the difference between a good F1 driver and a great F1 driver. Lets face it, the gaps are much smaller in F1 these days, than before, and the drivers are all good, but a truly great driver, can still make at least 0.5 to 1 secs a lap difference.

    Monaco will as usual be all about qualifying, lets face it, Monaco is a procession race, where overtaking a car even 3 or 4 secs a lap slower, nearly impossible.

    But in races where overtaking is more possible, and with development of the cars continuing, then the only one that looks capable of a chance of taking the fight to Vettel, is Hamilton.

    As to why the cars are more reliable these days, blame the regs, and the drive to reduce costs.

    Previously the engines were taken right to the limit every race, now they aren't and are rev capped (to even the performance), previously drivers didn;t have the easy run off areas, so mistakes were punished more severely, and the whole car was more stressed. Some cars were faster in a straight line, others better round the corners, but ironically, with a few years exceptions, it meant that the driver could make more of a difference and take a fairly uncompetitive care by the scruff of the neck, and drag it up the field.

    F1 is supposed to be the pinacle of motorsport, so all the massive regulations do tend to stifle the different route approaches that made the races in the 7's and 80's interesting

  • Comment number 90.

    @ravenmorpheus2k - re. RBR Kers. It could be argued that it doesn't work because Adrian Newey refused to compromise the aero. In other words they have gained in one component and lost with another. In order to fix Kers they may need to redesign the aero.

  • Comment number 91.

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

  • Comment number 92.

    Another brilliant blog from Andrew Benson not. Can the BBC please get someone else to write the post race blog like Martin Brundle or Ted Kravitz please oh please make it happen. Bensons blogs always seem to lack something and this is another example. It was clear from yesterdays race that the McLarens had the pace over the Red Bulls in the race and Vettel put in a stunning performance to win the race if Lewis hadve got ahead at the start like Alonso did then we would have won easily even if Vettel was behind him it was a missed opportunity for McLaren yesterday and it was also another example of why Vettel is the champion. Also what a stunning drive from Button who was almost my driver of the day and I am a Lewis fan three stops in 10th place at one point and he just sailed past people on that strategy I have been critical of Button in the past but yesterday was impressive even if the McLaren was the car to beat as it was Vettel got my driver of the day simply for his outlap after his first pitstop and people say Vettel can't overtake.

  • Comment number 93.

    Good Blog Andrew.

    Watching FP3, there was quite a bit of excitement and talk about Charlie Whiting's comments in regard to the off-throttle exhaust blown diffusers currently employed by most teams, and the fact that Virgin and Hispania pulled theirs for the race. The theory being that they could object and state that other teams ran illegal cars. Of course, I'm sure common sense would have prevailed, and the other participants allowed to continue because writing new engine maps and removal of a powerfully fundamental tool like this cannot happen over a weekend.

    My point is, if we are to see these devices banned, fist of all is it possible? Teams will of course be very reluctant to allow outside scrutineers to access such sensitive areas of their cars performance, and have highly secretive engine maps as common knowledge. So without doing this, how do you police a ban? Secondly if such a ban were to come in, when would it be enforced by, how long is enough time for sufficient re-deisgn and will teams get a say in this? Finally, and possibly most importantly, how will it effect the aerodynamic efficiency of the Red Bull? They, being the pioneers of the technology, are the current masters of it, and it is thought to be a significant contributor to their outstanding qualifying-pace, and consequent differential to race-pace. Could removal of this tool shape-up the rest of the season, and have a significant factor in deciding the 2011 WDC. For the sake of the competition, I hope so.

  • Comment number 94.

    "86.
    At 09:41 23rd May 2011, liamnelson wrote:

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

    Don't forget that in 2009 Button won 6 out of the first 7 races and didn't score any more wins for the rest of the season.... Yes, he won the championship with 1 race to spare (just) but it was never certain he was even going to win the championship until Brazil because the cars around him raced ahead in terms of development. It's far from over this season."

    ---

    Grabbing at straws there.

    RBR won 9 out of the 19 races last season and were rarely off the podium. Lets not forget that you don't need to win a race to gain significant points.

    Yes in 2009 Button won 6 of 7 races at the start and then started to fail, more because they didn't move forward whilst others did, but given RBR's record in the last couple of years and how they seem to move forward at the same pace as everyone else, as they did in 2009, I don't see the same thing repeating itself.

    They are more like the dominant Williams and McLaren we saw when Newey was at each of those, and looking back at them you'd find it hard to not write off the season as a Vettel win.

    ====

    "90. At 10:07 23rd May 2011, Bart_E_Slartfast wrote:

    @ravenmorpheus2k - re. RBR Kers. It could be argued that it doesn't work because Adrian Newey refused to compromise the aero. In other words they have gained in one component and lost with another. In order to fix Kers they may need to redesign the aero."

    ---

    Yes. And? Iif that is the reason I doubt they will redesign the aero, as it's a major part of how an F1 car is so fast these days (and the biggest reason we see a lack of overtaking). If they do you can be sure they will do it in a way that won't compromise the work Newey has already done.

    So far I've not seen RBR have many problems with any changes they've made, besides the KERS system.

    And I do believe that "they compromised the KERS to suit Newey" thought came from the BBC footage, didn't it?

    You need to stop listening to off the cuff comments by Martin Brundle. ;)

  • Comment number 95.

    ravenmorpheus2k - It's been said elsewhere. And why the hostility?

    I agree with you that they'll probably stick with the aero and live with an unreliable KERS.

  • Comment number 96.

    "93.
    At 10:39 23rd May 2011, dannypc wrote:

    Good Blog Andrew.

    Watching FP3, there was quite a bit of excitement and talk about Charlie Whiting's comments in regard to the off-throttle exhaust blown diffusers currently employed by most teams, and the fact that Virgin and Hispania pulled theirs for the race. The theory being that they could object and state that other teams ran illegal cars. Of course, I'm sure common sense would have prevailed, and the other participants allowed to continue because writing new engine maps and removal of a powerfully fundamental tool like this cannot happen over a weekend.

    My point is, if we are to see these devices banned, fist of all is it possible? Teams will of course be very reluctant to allow outside scrutineers to access such sensitive areas of their cars performance, and have highly secretive engine maps as common knowledge. So without doing this, how do you police a ban? Secondly if such a ban were to come in, when would it be enforced by, how long is enough time for sufficient re-deisgn and will teams get a say in this? Finally, and possibly most importantly, how will it effect the aerodynamic efficiency of the Red Bull? They, being the pioneers of the technology, are the current masters of it, and it is thought to be a significant contributor to their outstanding qualifying-pace, and consequent differential to race-pace. Could removal of this tool shape-up the rest of the season, and have a significant factor in deciding the 2011 WDC. For the sake of the competition, I hope so."

    No disrespect meant but you don't seem to know F1 all that well.

    The teams are scrutineered often to make sure they are not doing anything illegal, and the FIA can request and have access to as much data as they want.

    It's how the stop all kinds of things being used, and it's how they find out about things like this in the first place.

    The FIA also banned ABS, Traction Control, Active Suspension, Ground Effect and many other "trick devices", so yes they can ban it and police it.

    Also removing the blown diffuser will do nothing to the competition - truth be known the top teams already have plans in place in the event it is deemed illegal and will hit the ground running.

    The threatened protest by HRT is just them rattling their sabre because their blown diffuser doesn't work well and they cannot wait until the hearing of the Technical Working Group in June.

  • Comment number 97.

    "95.
    At 11:02 23rd May 2011, Bart_E_Slartfast wrote:

    ravenmorpheus2k - It's been said elsewhere. And why the hostility?

    I agree with you that they'll probably stick with the aero and live with an unreliable KERS."
    ---

    No hostility intended. Hence the ;).

    As for it being said elsewhere, was it said before or after Martin Brundle said it?

    Reason I ask this and I said what I said is because so many people repeat what people like Brundle say parrot fashion as though it's gospel.

    I don't recall seeing anyone from RBR saying this is the reason the KERS tends to fail at times but works at others.

    Truth is we don't know why it doesn't work properly, RBR probably don't know either. So any speculation saying that it's Newey's fault for being uncompromising is rather pointless and fankly rude to RBR and Newey.

  • Comment number 98.

    Will this link from March do, ravenmorpheus? ;)

    http://www.patronisef1.com/index.php/f1-news/2011-news/march-2011/5021-horner-confirms-no-kers-for-rbr-in-aus

    how about this quote from the Telegraph?

    "I'm afraid we haven't had KERS on our car all weekend," team principal Christian Horner said. "It didn't look like we needed it. We ran it on Friday, but we felt it was a potential risk. We made a decision with KERS, it's quite a complicated technology and (chief designer) Adrian (Newey) being Adrian, he wouldn't compromise the aerodynamics of the car."

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/motorsport/formulaone/8409362/Australian-Grand-Prix-2011-have-the-new-regulations-delivered-the-added-thrill-they-promised.html

  • Comment number 99.

    David Coulthard said while commenting that McLaren had the faster package which I think is actually misleading. The truth I believe is that Red Bull still have the faster car where downforce plays a sizeable role in keeping the car on track such as medium to high speed corners, however quite obviously on the straight the McLaren car was probably faster, but it should be remembered that Red Bull were using their KERS intermittently and had they used it throughout, McLaren's straight line advantage would have been less evident. I do agree dispite Vettels excellent start, the season is far from over, and if McLaren can improve their downforce further, then we are in for a very interesting remaining season indeed.

  • Comment number 100.

    How long till Bernie starts chuntering on about sprinklers again? ;-)

    I can't see any other outcome than a Vettel championship. 4 wins and a second from 5 races is formidable, especially when the best of the rest are sharing around the other points. Button won in the championship in his "monster" Brawn thanks to 6 wins from the first 7 events. That was without KERS also. Thereafter he couldn't win or put the car on pole for toffee during the remaining 10 races. It made no difference though thanks to those early wins and he had it all sewn up with one race to spare. I doubt that the other teams will overtake RBR in the second half of the season as happened to low-budget Brawn.

 

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