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Vettel takes over at the top

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Andrew Benson | 14:23 UK time, Sunday, 14 October 2012

As Sebastian Vettel put down his winner’s trophy after holding it up in celebration on the Korean Grand Prix podium, Fernando Alonso tapped him on the back and reached out to shake his hand. It was a symbolic reflection of the championship lead being handed from one to the other.

After three consecutive victories for Vettel and Red Bull, the last two of which have been utterly dominant, it does not look as though Alonso is going to be getting it back.

Alonso will push to the end, of course, and he made all the right noises after the race, talking about Ferrari “moving in the right direction” and only needing “a little step to compete with Red Bull”.

“Four beautiful races to come with good possibilities for us to fight for the championship,” he said, adding: “Now we need to score seven points more than Sebastian. That will be extremely tough but we believe we can do it.”

Alonso (left) and Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel won the Korean GP by finishing ahead of team-mate Mark Webber and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso (left). Photo: Reuters

Indeed, a couple of hours after the race, Alonso was quoting samurai warrior-philosophy again on his Twitter account, just as he had in Japan a week before.

"I've never been able to win from start to finish,” he wrote. “I only learned not to be left behind in any situation."

Fighting against the seemingly inevitable is his only option. The facts are that the Ferrari has been slower than the Red Bull in terms of outright pace all year, and there is no reason to suspect anything different in the final four races of the season.

Vettel’s victory in Korea was utterly crushing in the manner of so many of his 11 wins in his dominant 2011 season. The Red Bull has moved on to another level since Singapore and Vettel, as he always does in that position, has gone with it.

Up and down the pit lane, people are questioning how Red Bull have done it, and a lot of attention has fallen on the team’s new ‘double DRS’ system.

This takes an idea introduced in different form by Mercedes at the start the season and, typically of Red Bull’s design genius Adrian Newey, applies it in a more elegant and effective way.

It means that when the DRS overtaking aid is activated – and its use is free in practice and qualifying – the car benefits from a greater drag reduction, and therefore more straight-line speed than its rivals.

Vettel has been at pains to emphasise that this does not help Red Bull in the race, when they can only use the DRS in a specified zone when overtaking other cars. But that’s not the whole story.

The greater drag reduction in qualifying means that the team can run the car with more downforce than they would otherwise be able to – because the ‘double DRS’ means they do not suffer the normal straight-line speed deficit of doing so.

That means the car’s overall lap time is quicker, whether in race or qualifying. So although the Red Bull drivers can’t use the ‘double DRS’ as a lap-time aid in the actual grands prix, they are still benefiting from having it on the car.

And they are not at risk on straights in the race because the extra overall pace, from the greater downforce, means they are far enough ahead of their rivals for them not to be able to challenge them, let alone overtake them. As long as they qualify at the front, anyway.

It’s not all down to the ‘double DRS’, though. McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe said in Korea: “They appear to have made a good step on their car. I doubt that is all down to that system. I doubt if a lot of it is down to that system, actually. You’ll probably find it’s just general development.”

BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson will go into more details on this in his column on Monday. Whatever the reasons for it, though, Red Bull’s rediscovered dominant form means Alonso is in trouble.

While Red Bull have been adding great chunks of performance to their car, Ferrari have been fiddling around with rear-wing design, a relatively small factor in overall car performance.

They have admitted they are struggling with inconsistency between the results they are getting in testing new parts in their wind tunnel and their performance on the track, so it is hard to see how they will close the gap on a Red Bull team still working flat out on their own updates.

The Ferrari has proved adaptable and consistent, delivering strong performances at every race since a major upgrade after the first four grands prix of the year.

But the only time Alonso has had definitively the quickest car is when it has been raining. It is in the wet that he took one of his three wins, and both his poles.

But he cannot realistically expect it to rain in the next three races in Delhi, Abu Dhabi and Austin, Texas. And after that only Brazil remains. So Alonso is effectively hoping for Vettel to hit problems, as he more or less admitted himself on Sunday.

How he must be ruing the bad breaks of those first-corner retirements in Belgium and Japan – even if they did effectively only cancel out Vettel’s two alternator failures in Valencia and Monza.

If anyone had reason on Sunday to regret what might have been, though, it was Lewis Hamilton, who has driven fantastically well all season only to be let down by his McLaren team in one way or another.

Hamilton, his title hopes over, wasted no time in pointing out after the race in Korea that the broken anti-roll bar that dropped him from fourth to 10th was the second suspension failure in as many races, and a broken gearbox robbed him of victory at the previous race in Singapore.

Operational problems in the early races of the season also cost him a big chunk of points.

Hamilton wears his heart on his sleeve, and in one off-the-cuff remark to Finnish television after the race, he revealed a great deal about why he has decided to move to Mercedes next year.

“It’s a day to forget,” Hamilton said. “A year to forget as well. I’m looking forward to a fresh start next year.”

In other words, I’ve had enough of four years of not being good enough, for various reasons, and I might as well try my luck elsewhere.

There was another post-race comment from Hamilton, too, that said an awful lot. “I hope Fernando keeps pushing,” he said.

Hamilton did not reply when asked directly whether that meant he wanted Alonso to win the title. But you can be sure that remark is a reflection of Hamilton’s belief that he is better than Vettel, that only Alonso is his equal.

Whether that is a correct interpretation of the standing of the three best drivers in the world, it will take more than this season to tell.

In the meantime, if Alonso and Ferrari are not to be mistaken in their belief that they still have a chance, “keeping pushing” is exactly what they must do. Like never before.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Suprisingly good blog actually, I think that Vettel has this title to lose now, only reliability (or a lack of it) will cost him

    Feel for Hamilton, McLaren have made so many errors this year it's a joke him and Button deserve better for their efforts

  • Comment number 2.

    The next few circuits Red Bull are going to be supreme on. It will take an awful lot of luck for Alonso to retake the title lead, no matter how hard he drives. I really do hope the title goes to the last race of the season. As for Hamilton, he was frustrated that Vettel, a driver 2 years younger than him, has already achieved more pole positions, victories and world championships than he has. He believes he would beat Vettel in an equal car and even though that could be true, Mercedes are probably not going to provide a better or even more reliable car than McLaren. Hope for a thrilling end to the season.

  • Comment number 3.

    1 of 3 things have to happen for Alonso to win the title. Either Ferrari somehow pull out another half second in 1 lap pace to match Red Bull and get some pole positions. It rains as the Ferrari is good in the wet. Or Vettel gets taken out by a rash move/an alternator fails.

    Full credit to red bull, but Ferrari need to sort out their development if they want to challenge again next year

  • Comment number 4.

    Got to love that when Vettel wins the theme is how great the Red Bull is or what tweet or interview some other guy made, when Lewis/Jenson/Alonso/Webber win it`s all about their impressive performance and how they mastered the greatest tests of driver ability haha

    I can imagine you all waiting in vain for him to choke so that you can get on his back and slag him off, this relentless flawless after flawless must be so painful!


    .

  • Comment number 5.

    I agree with Sportsmad19's appraisal of Hamilton. It's not the first time this season he has suffered "sour grape syndrome". Hamilton seems to think he is some sort of "chosen one". Well, negative to that! I've also heard that he says he's a "racer" and needs to win. Does he think the other 23 cars on the grid are just there to make the number up?

  • Comment number 6.

    So McLaren brought a new update onto Lewis Hamilton's car to reduce speed lol
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ii2bUVVAt0k

    I cannot see any one catching Vettel and it's sad. 3 years of winning the championship and we are back to the Schumacher days. McLaren have made a total mess of this champions with a disaster of a car reliability and operational wise. I think the Ferrari is faster than people think but they cannot match Red Bull. I will like Alonso to win this championship even as a Lewis fan but looks like Vettel has wrapped up.

  • Comment number 7.

    Despite what you may think, Laid_Back, your comments of "back to the Schumacher days" imply that Vettel is dominating and we know he will win before each year begins.

    Hardly.

    In 2010 he nabbed it by the skin of his teeth, 2011, granted, was dominant, but you get those years once in a while. This year, he's been well in the pack until recently in an enthralling title fight.

    This is nothing like the Schumacher days.

  • Comment number 8.

    More often than not, Vettel wins when Red Bull are the top car, he rarely has a stellar drive in a car that's not the outright fastest, so that will always hang on him. As great a lights-to-flag racer he is, he can't handle being stuck in the midfield and with a car that's not the outright fastest, he systematically cries to his race engineer when that happens.

    Hamilton was out the moment his car gave up in Singapore. Apparently McLaren let him race with a faulty gearbox or were not able to locate/fix the problem. He runs with a malfunctioning suspension in Japan and again in Korea. Without going into the conspirationist' theories, it just points to ridiculous negligence for a team of their size and power. And people wonder why Hamilton wants to leave... Well, if he won't try, he won't know how things are like outside McLaren.

    Vettel will take this year's championship unless something cataclysmic happens to his car in at least one of the next races. Ferrari will be competitive but not on the same level as Red Bull. McLaren have basically ended their chances of getting either championship, for all the "we let our drivers race" stance, in the end they fall away when the crunch-time is upon them.

    Best of luck to Vettel, ultimately championships are won, whether you deserve them or not is a moot point. It's not his fault if Red Bull followed the right formula that lead to them hitting the jackpot. Maybe McLaren and Martin Whitmarsh can learn something from them.

  • Comment number 9.

    pfffff. Every Andrew Benson column is like a political broadcast for the Lewis Hamilton Party. Get over it! If he was a more complete driver he would have had more world titles by now.

  • Comment number 10.

    I rather like the idea of somebody moving to Mercedes to try and find a more reliable drive! Hasn't Hamilton seen their DNF record this season?

  • Comment number 11.

    "But you can be sure that remark is a reflection of Hamilton’s belief that he is better than Vettel, that only Alonso is his equal. Whether that is a correct interpretation of the standing of the three best drivers in the world, it will take more than this season to tell."


    It matters not a jot what Hamilton means or what Hamilton thinks of himself, he can think all he likes. The answers are given on the track not out of it and this is where matters are resolved.

    And regarding the "3 best drivers in the world" which Benson is determined to fit in each blog as "fact" no matter what, if one went by achievements (which they shouldn`t) there is a top 3 but Hamilton isn`t in it, if one goes by performance there is nothing to suggest that there is a such thing as a "top 3", or that Hamilton is equal to Vettel or Alonso or better than a few others.

    Hamilton hasn`t done anything in this race to even be worthy of a mention (other than locking & destroying tyres in every session/stint, getting past by Alonso in the start, being overtaken by lesser cars and stuck behind Vergne on worn tyres for 10-odd laps).


    .

  • Comment number 12.

    Vettel is now surely going to take the title. He has shown that he has all the skills required to be an all time great. The way he looked after his tyres shows maturity beyond his years. I feel Alonso is hard done by Ferrari's stagnant development...

    Plus I'm glad Grosjean made a few amends today :)

  • Comment number 13.

    Nibs, hamilton had a damaged rear suspension for over half the race.

    Vettel should walk this now. Red Bull have come good at the right time and there is nobody better than Vettel at qualifying well and driving out in front for the race. Shame as i would like to see someone else win it but you can't deny Vettels consistency. Even if he is boring. Even if he lacks the ability of Hamilton and Alonso. It matters not because he is as reliable as that car is.

  • Comment number 14.

    I agree with 1. Good blog!

  • Comment number 15.

    Well here we go again the for and againsts LH blog!!!!
    I can understand LH's frustration 3 races 3 car failures from a top class team is that really what any top class driver expects to do a job he needs good tools and Maclaren have not given them to him whose fault is that?
    SV on the other hand has been given an excellent car the last few races as he had last season and he delivers with as would LH and FA
    MW has today amazed me with his praise for LH driving skills with the rear suspension fault and they even thought that they would run out of tyres!!!!
    I am sorry to all the SV fans but i can only see 2 drivers who could drive a car in bad shape as that and that is FA and LH
    regarding the comment about there are 23 other racers according to other drivers there about 19 racers and 5 idiots lol

  • Comment number 16.

    Surely Vettel is the only realistic contender to Schumacher's 91 race win record?

  • Comment number 17.

    Formula 1 is a Team Championship, with a Drivers Championship running alongside it.
    As such the manufacturer should form a significant part of the equation when it comes to performance on the track.

    So yes, Newey is producing and developing an extremely strong package, and it suits Vettel as a machine to display his talents in. Questions will rightly persist about Vettel's abilities to win from the third row or lower until he does something to alter that. ironically, Newey may not give him that chance!

    As for Hamilton, he has seemingly forgotten his part in the team. For a person so well looked after since he was 13, and had the team stand up for him in the uncomfortable alliance with Alonso, one would have to say he is remarkably disloyal in his comments to the media. He seems to feel he is the centre of a universe and not part of a complex piece of teamwork. Its not a pretty character trait, nor is it likely to help him become a multi World Champion.

    Mclaren have had a poor season by their own standards, but have tried to correct errors and rectify mistakes without acrimony or washing their dirties in public, shame their driver couldn't do the same. Perhaps today will hold him in good stead as it will be useful practice for next season.

    I can not see any way in which Red Bull can be stopped now, and that will lead Vettel free to secure another WC. That mid season break does seem to allow Red Bull to recharge their batteries and come up with some smart updates late in the season.

  • Comment number 18.

    "Hamilton was out the moment his car gave up in Singapore. Apparently McLaren let him race with a faulty gearbox or were not able to locate/fix the problem. He runs with a malfunctioning suspension in Japan and again in Korea. Without going into the conspirationist' theories, it just points to ridiculous negligence for a team of their size and power. "

    Or they knew if they changed the gear box they would get a 5 grid place penalty and wouldn't win it from there so they chanced it, simple as.

  • Comment number 19.

    What about Jenson Button?

    Everyone's going on about the Alonso-Vettel-Hamilton triangle. poor Button must feel very left out.

    Surely Button is the best? No wonder Hamilton wants out of McLaren, Buttons been humiliating him this season. That incredible 16th place in Canada tops the lot.

  • Comment number 20.

    @18 I can understand taking the risk in Singapore with the gearbox unless they knew that it would 100% fail in the race, in which case of course you have to take the grid drop.

    Regarding the failing suspension I don't think there is a conspiracy behind it I just think it is very complacent on Mclarens part.

  • Comment number 21.

    We don't know the reasons behind the suspension failures. Were they manufacturing faults, design faults, caused by driving off track or over kerbs, or damaged in the pits?

  • Comment number 22.

    The narrative gets a bit predictable. When Button won the Spa GP by a similar margin to that by which Vettel finished ahead of Alonso yesterday, nobody was writing about how "utterly dominant" he was. But here again we see the typical response of the British media to a Vettel win - "Isn't Adrian Newery fantastic?"

    There's very little in it in terms of pace between the cars. Interestingly, Massa was faster than Alonso yesterday. He certainly deserved a podium. Could he also have taken second from Webber? Possibly. But Benson is so busy praising Alonso and dismissing Vettel that he does not even mention Ferrari's radioed instructions to Massa to hold his position.

  • Comment number 23.

    Umpteenth time user.....

    what about Button ? I think he has been a major disappointment this year save Spa, & even then all oposition was wiped out at the first corner & the car was 'Perfect' as it seems it has to be for Jenson.....he seems incapable of adjusting his driving style during the race if the balance is not to his liking or his tyres have degraded, he can't qualify, has been annihalated by Hamilton in qualy & outperformed in the majority of races. Last year he was hailed as the master of preserving his tyres with a super smooth style & undisputed No1 at McLaren, well he is now ! today, (Korea) he was unlucky but he only has himself to blame for qualifying amongst the carbon fibre in 11th.

  • Comment number 24.

    @22 What's the big deal about Ferraris team orders?

    Alonso is fighting for the title, Massa isn't. So it would be pretty daft to allow Massa to overtake Alonso.

  • Comment number 25.

    >"Questions will rightly persist about Vettel's abilities to win from the third row or lower until he does something to alter that."


    Hilarious. How come those questions do not persist about Lewis Hamilton? LH has never won a race from the third row of the grid or lower.

  • Comment number 26.

    So who has taken the bigger risk ? Hamilton moving to Mercedes or McLaren signing Perez ?
    If Mercedes can sort out their tyre degradation they will have a quick car & two quick qualifying & race drivers. McLaren will have two drivers who rarely qualify well & we all know with the current regulations, qualifying at the front & leading in clear air gets results.

  • Comment number 27.

    Fernando, Felipe is faster than you...........

  • Comment number 28.

    The only reason Massa would go past Alonso would be if it was felt he could also pass Weber and back him up to Alonso.

    Why risk Alonso temporarily let Massa go, to travel in his dirty air, just to pass him later in the race.

  • Comment number 29.

    #25 Hilarious. How come those questions do not persist about Lewis Hamilton? LH has never won a race from the third row of the grid or lower.

    The sentence was referring to Vettel not Hamilton, and linked to other points raised........Hilarious misinterpretation of a paragraph.

  • Comment number 30.

    >"you can be sure that remark is a reflection of Hamilton’s belief that he is better than Vettel, that only Alonso is his equal.

    Whether that is a correct interpretation of the standing of the three best drivers in the world, it will take more than this season to tell."

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


    We don't need to look at just this season. We can look at 2009, 2010, and 2011 as well. After four consecutive years of finishing behind Vettel, simple common sense should indicate that Hamilton is not better than him. And I'm highly confident that after Hami moves to Mercedes next year, that streak is going to reach five consecutive years.

  • Comment number 31.

    >"The sentence was referring to Vettel not Hamilton"

    I know the sentence was referring to Vettel, not Hamilton. That's why I pointed out that, based on the criteria in the sentence (a record of winning from the third row or lower on the grid) questions should exist about Hamilton as well. But for some reason, they don't.

  • Comment number 32.

    At least Hamilton is getting used to his next few seasons will go.

    Completely forgot how rubbish the Korean track is as well, this race highlights nothing of note in the championship as such but just how much the sport needs to sort out the nonsense tracks we go to. Vettel can still loose the championship horribly with a DNF at somewhere like India or Brazil and the USA being a complete unknown means he's only got one pretty much sure fire win in Abu Dhabi (another nonsense track).

    Maybe we could make a special cup for Vettel winning the nonsense GP's and super cup for winning the decent/classic tracks. He'd only challenge for the cup in the good gp cup with his win in Japan and we can forget about the silly places like Korea and the Bahrain....

  • Comment number 33.

    27. At 18:20 14th Oct 2012, Big G wrote:
    Fernando, Felipe is faster than you...........

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

    Exactly what I was going to say. :) I'm a bit disappointed with how everyone seems to be ignoring the brilliant two last races Massa has had. If Ferrari do keep him on for next year, which now seems a lot more likely than it did a month ago, I really hope he does well. For all this talk of Hamilton, don't forget that Glock gifted him his only title on the final corner, a title that could and perhaps should have been Massa's.

    Best of luck to Felipe for the rest of this season and all of the next.

  • Comment number 34.

    @31 Hamilton has never win from lower than 3rd row? I'm not sure why but this surprises me. And I think you are right because when someone says Vettel has never won from lower than the 3rd row it doesn't surprise me. Way they are portrayed in the press maybe?

  • Comment number 35.

    Also Andrew your latest attempt at "techical insight" is as laughable as ever.

    First you claim Red Bull's ddrs allows them to use a higher downforce setting than the "ideal" ie. the one they would normally use. Which is correct as in qualifying the ddrs balances the loss of straightline speed making it ideal FOR QUALIFYING.

    But then you randomly say that in the race too (without ddrs effect) this higher downforce actually gives better laptimes ie. is actually "the ideal".

    You say "quicker whether in qualifying OR THE RACE", without any evidence or explanation for the latter.

    And if this was indeed "the ideal" overall (and if as you put it they can thus pull away enough before the straights which is way too simplistic), why on earth would it be only Red Bull and not all the other teams using this setting and optimize for the 60 laps, even if that meant losing a tenth or so in qualifying to the ddrs Red Bulls?

    (Also considering that they can easily undercut in the pits, and that the higher downforce means less tyre wear which is so crucial?)

    Sort it out bbc.


    .

  • Comment number 36.

    gutted Hamilton had another issue(i said after he made his choice he wouldnt win any of the remaining races),mclaren really need to get it togather now for both button and lewis but both championships are finished for mclaren.

    i called it vettel was going to coast if webber stayed 1 or 2 on the grid.alonso still churns out another podium which is unreal.the best of the whole weekend was the bbc boys dancing gangnam style.i actually like this track,it is miles better than suzuka for actual overtaking and interesting races.some of the moves and battles that were on track were great,mostly involving hamilton.i hope they replace suzuka with fuji.my driver of the day was massa he would of owned alonso had they not been teamates,but rob smedley celebrating like they won the title after passing a mclaren with issues with drs was just embarrassing,most of hamilton action came out of that zone.

    india it is,i think vettel with own that too with more hamilton issues

  • Comment number 37.

    It looks like we are in a period of Red Bull dominance to compare to others that I have seen since 1986. McLaren were dominant in the late 80s and early 90s. Then Williams early 90s to late 90s and lastly Ferrari early to mid 00s.

    In the case of McLaren and Williams there was not a dominant driver for a variety of reasons. In the recent Ferrari era Schumacher was obviously the main man. There are clearly similarities to Vettel and Red Bull now.

    Vettel should win this championship quite easily now unless his Red Bull has a mechanical failure or he is involved in a crash in the last four races. I would say Alonso has been the best driver this season but as we have seen in the past the best driver does not always win the WDC.

  • Comment number 38.

    An average article. Once again, Mr Benson has managed to include his customary sentence/paragraph surrounding the 3-way competition for 'best driver in the world'. Mr Benson has managed to turn a well-wish from Hamilton to Alonso into Hamilton suggesting he is better than Vettel. Utter, utter nonsense.

    Imagine for a moment that Vettel was British. A double-world champion by 24, a likely triple-world champion by the age 25. If we had that level of success in Britain, we would lay the reason squarely at the skill of the driver - not banging on about the class of engineer that he is working with. It's ridiculous. And it's because he's young, talented and German, not British. And it's not just Mr Benson, it's all of the media production in Formula 1. The way they talk about Paul Di Resta, you'd think he'd won world championships already. He got destroyed by Sutil last year, and is now getting beaten by Hulkenberg. BBC is meant to be impartial but it just blatantly isn't.

  • Comment number 39.

    I think Alonso's chances of winning the title were pretty much ruined when, through no fault of his own or his car, when he was taken out by the two Lotus drivers, Grosjean in Belgium and by Raikkonen in Japan.

    Fact is the Ferrari cars simply have not been as quick as the Red Bulls and the McLarens. In fact, Lotus, Mercedes and Williams cars have at different times been also quicker than the Ferraris too.

    Alonso did an amzing job to lead the Championship, probably the best driver overall, but can't see him overhauling Vettel now in what is a clearly slower car.

  • Comment number 40.

    Very good blog, your best for a while. Adrian Newey should be getting paid more than any other person in F1. Because of him Red Bull and Vettel are looking like getting 3 WDC's on the bounce, in one of most competetive era's of F1 ever

  • Comment number 41.

    sorry *competitive

  • Comment number 42.

    @39 bottled-banana

    The incident between Raikkonen and Alonso at Suzuka was a racing incident, if anything Alonso was probably slightly more at fault than Raikkonen.

  • Comment number 43.

    I was under the impression Raikkonen hit Alonso from behind. So while it was chalked off as a racing incident, it was not Alonso's fault.

  • Comment number 44.

    >"It looks like we are in a period of Red Bull dominance to compare to others that I have seen since 1986. McLaren were dominant in the late 80s and early 90s. Then Williams early 90s to late 90s and lastly Ferrari early to mid 00s."


    That's a poor comparison, due to the fact that the rules of F1 were drastically changed after Schumacher to ensure that "dominant" cars would no longer exist. And in fact, they don't. Not in the sense that the McLaren's, William's and Ferrari's you mention were dominant. Those cars would frequently qualify several seconds ahead of everyone else, and lap the entire field.

    For example: In the 1988 San Marino GP, Senna qualified 0.7 seconds ahead of Prost, and a staggering 3.3 seconds ahead of Piquet in third. In the race itself Senna and Prost lapped the entire field. That is, they lapped the driver in third.

    THAT is what a "dominant car" looks like.

  • Comment number 45.

    A Lot of people are saying vettel is only winning due to having the best car which I think is a tad unfair. Its hard to pinpoint one car as being the best as this season it has changed so much from race to race. But I think Mclaren had the best car at the start, dropped off a bit in Valencia and Silverstone, and then did from Germany onwards. There superior performance has just been masked by there errors in strategy and pit stops, so it looks like red bull have had a better car due to them having more points. Having said that I think Vettel in the Mclaren would be beating Hamilton, just. He wouldn’t have messed up the start in Aus, wouldn’t have crashed with Maldonado in Valencia(not saying it was Hamilton’s fault but Vettel wouldn’t have defended so hard, as proven in Canada when passed late on in the race). Ultimately though for vettel to prove that he is the best, he has to change team and take on a better team mate.

    Another point entirely, why are people saying it wasn’t Alonso fault that he crashed in suzuka, he tried to nudge kimi off the circuit and got a puncture in the process, entirely his fault!

  • Comment number 46.

    44.
    At 19:21 14th Oct 2012, Twirlip wrote:


    >"It looks like we are in a period of Red Bull dominance to compare to others that I have seen since 1986. McLaren were dominant in the late 80s and early 90s. Then Williams early 90s to late 90s and lastly Ferrari early to mid 00s."


    That's a poor comparison, due to the fact that the rules of F1 were drastically changed after Schumacher to ensure that "dominant" cars would no longer exist. And in fact, they don't. Not in the sense that the McLaren's, William's and Ferrari's you mention were dominant. Those cars would frequently qualify several seconds ahead of everyone else, and lap the entire field.

    For example: In the 1988 San Marino GP, Senna qualified 0.7 seconds ahead of Prost, and a staggering 3.3 seconds ahead of Piquet in third. In the race itself Senna and Prost lapped the entire field. That is, they lapped the driver in third.

    THAT is what a "dominant car" looks like.
    ___________________________

    Well yes the current and recent Red Bull's have not been as dominant as the MP4/4 or FW14B were but they were ahead of the field in 2010 and 2011 and for a decent portion of 2012.

  • Comment number 47.

    Forget about ever beating Red Bull at anything now. They jump from the edge of space for fun.

  • Comment number 48.

    "Well yes the current and recent Red Bull's have not been as dominant as the MP4/4 or FW14B were but they were ahead of the field in 2010 and 2011 and for a decent portion of 2012."

    No, they were not. The RB driven by Vettel was "ahead of the field".

    The MP4/4 and the FW14B finished one/two in the WDC, and nobody else was anywhere near them. Webber has never finished as high as second in the WDC, and this year he's in fifth.

    As for the RB car being "ahead of the field for a decent portion of 2012", it's been "ahead of the field" for perhaps one or two races.

    Of course there's a tautological sense in which whatever car is driven by the WDC can always be said to be the best car, by definition. In that sense the Ferrari was the best car of 2007, the McLaren was the best car in 2008, and so on. But I don't recall many stories being written in 2008 about how Hamiltons success was due his car.

  • Comment number 49.

    IMO i think that Hamilton's development curve has risen but not in the way it was expected. I remember how he took the sport by storm, an amateur doing things that were not expected of him. In 2008 after narrowly missing out on the championship in 2007, one would say that he will rule the sport for years to come but then 2009 i think he last all his focus as he did not know how to handle an under-par car. In 2010 he made lots of mistakes and you could argue that the Mclaren was not that quick. Last year was catastrophic and this year he has finally reached some maturity of which Mclaren have decided to abuse. Am really waiting for next year and see what he can do, i wish him all the best.

    PS: I am a Hamilton fan.

  • Comment number 50.

    Originally I didn't mind who won this year's title, but I now hope it is Vettel, just to annoy all his critics who frankly don't have a leg to stand on.

    The only driver this year to have won a race without actually having the best car on a given weekend has been Alonso.

    This year's championship has been all about making the most of when you have the best car and limiting the damage when you don't - Vettel and Alonso have done that better than anybody else this season so deservedly it is down to these 2 - this season with Webber being back on semi-decent form as well only cements that Seb is a world class driver and people just need to accept that rather than chew on sour grapes.

    In the meantime, Hamilton must be thinking "what have I done" when he looks at the Mercedes car. And as Button and Perez continue to put in mediocre qualifying performances, McLaren must be thinking the same!

  • Comment number 51.

    @47

    I like that.

    I must admit that my attention was distracted to the resurgent Massa. It truly is great to see him finding his feet once again. Was delighted for the Toro Rossos and sorry for Kobayashi. I hope he finds a seat because he is an entertaining driver. It seems like he's lost his tenacious edge this season though. Nico Hulkenber supported my existing theory that he is superior to di Resta. I say this regardless of the standings because I think his year out must count for something, and I think he will do a fine job at Sauber next season, providing they can produce a competitive car. Webber surely needs to concentrate on his starts.
    Was hoping that Hamilton and Button were going to linger in the title fight a little more, I can't see this being a particularly fascinating end to the season, which is a shame considering its incredible start.

  • Comment number 52.

    Alonso is in real trouble, Newey's Red Bull is simply too good and is far less likely to be unreliable when they control the race or far less likely Vettel has an incident when they own the front row of the grid.

    Early retirement for Newey please, or for this year a dodgy batch of overheating alternators please, just to take the championship to the wire.

    Drivers aside, the only thing in the Ferrari garage that is better than in the Red Bull garage was Alonso's girlfriend. Move over Jessica. ;)

  • Comment number 53.

    Bit off, topic but I thought it interesting that Hulkenberg opted to join Sauber rather than stay another year, considering FI tends to beat Sauber. Does anyone know if its true that him or Di Resta have yet to paid this year? Maybe they are about to go bust.

  • Comment number 54.

    If Red Bull was capable of breaking the sound barrier with that austrian skydiver today. I guess the next on line is Vettel with his car.

  • Comment number 55.

    @48 Twirlip

    I would agree that there has not been a huge difference between the Red Bull and McLaren for most of the season. At times McLaren have had the fastest car but reliability and some other errors have prevented them from making the most of that. I expect the Red Bull will continue to be the best car for the rest of this season.

    In terms of the best car always being the one that the WDC drives that is definitely not the case. In '86 the Williams was superior and they won the WCC easily. In '94 it was also the best car and they won the WCC despite only having one driver at Monaco.

  • Comment number 56.

    So now that Hamilton is blanking the BBC and watching what he tweets Benson is reduced to getting Hamiltons quotes from Finnish TV. That goes to show the lengths the BBC are going to desperately checking anything Hamilton says to spin another story out from.

    To be fair Benson has toned down the anti-Hamilton bias for a change and that's not surprising given Hamiltons heroic drive today.

    Still I think Benson should stick to journalism instead of inventing words to put in LH's mouth like...

    "I’ve had enough of four years of not being good enough, for various reasons, and I might as well try my luck elsewhere."

    Also as Hamilton does not talk to Benson what evidence does he have that its "Hamilton’s belief that he is better than Vettel, that only Alonso is his equal".

    Complete hearsay and gossip.

  • Comment number 57.

    56.
    At 20:13 14th Oct 2012, straight talker wrote:

    To be fair Benson has toned down the anti-Hamilton bias for a change and that's not surprising given Hamiltons heroic drive today.
    ____________________________________

    I'm not sure what was heroic about his drive today. He got passed by a few cars and collected some Astroturf towards the end of the race as far as I could see. Hulkenburg probably had the drive of the day.

  • Comment number 58.

    @57

    Should be "Hulkenberg" not "Hulkenburg"!

  • Comment number 59.

    On the subject of the constructors I hope McLaren don't have enough of a turnaround in the remainder of the season to win it as quite frankly they don't deserve it.

    Ferrrari and Redbull have been nowhere near as incompetent so I hope one of them gets it.

  • Comment number 60.

    @57. BaggiosPonytail

    I take it you're a Hamilton hater or know nothing about F1 or both... take your pick!

    To pick up a point after driving three quarters of the race with a broken suspension and pitting 3 times when everyone else pitted twice is just amazing as far as I'm concerned.

  • Comment number 61.

    I agree with redsloz , disappointingly another partial blog by Mr Benson who seems to be revealing his personal dislike of the German by misinterpreting Hamilton's remarks and putting too much emphasis on car's changes. Vettel would already have had two dominant victories before the changes if it wasn't for the alternator failure in one and two of Alonso's wins were quite lucky.I think the championship will go down to the wire as Alonso said Red Bull will not win all the races .Just look at Mclaren who were so dominant for four consecutive races. Ferrari still has comparable race pace as proven by Massa today which should all make it an intresting last four races.

  • Comment number 62.

    @60 straight talker

    I know quite a bit about F1 and no for the record I don't hate Hamilton. It baffles me why some people on these blogs feel they have to make comments personal rather than just debate the topics at hand.

  • Comment number 63.

    @61 Some of Alonso's wins were lucky indeed! Like Sauber effectively telling Perez to back of in Malaysia so they didn't lose their second place.

    Also, people making the point of Seb and Lewis never winning from the third row or further back, has it ever occurred to you that is because they are excellent qualifiers? Unlike Jenson who is annihilated by Lewis in Quali, but then relatively close in race pace? If the car is quick enough to win the race with outright pace, not through the misfortune of others (cough cough jenson colliding with both Lewis and Fernando in Canada 2011),then it's also fast enough to qualify within, at least, the top four.

  • Comment number 64.

    @62 Its not being personal, its just trying to find a reason why you are writing something that just sounds so dumb.

    Can you not at least acknowledge that to pick up a point after driving three quarters of the race with a broken suspension and pitting 3 times when everyone else pitted twice is at least impressive?

    Especially taking into account he finished the final part of the race holding Perez off with a broken suspension and the astroturf destroying the aerodynamics of his car.

  • Comment number 65.

    I wouldn't regard Hamilton's drive as heroic either. He did pretty much all he could but Schumacher's 2nd place in Spain while stuck in 5th gear was heroic. Hamilton's drive was determined, but not heroic.

  • Comment number 66.

    #12 "The way he [Vettel] looked after his tyres shows maturity beyond his years."

    The fact that his pit crew thought he needed to be reminded every lap not to try and go too fast and get fastest lap on a dying front tyre shows just how mature they consider him to be...

  • Comment number 67.

    Also, Twirlip makes a very good point. It is only Vettel's Red Bull that has been head and shoulders above the rest in the last few races and indeed in 2011.

  • Comment number 68.

    Lewis' performance today robbed Benson of the chance to write a negative article about him but there is one strange omission.

    Where is Bensons article on Buttons dismal qualifying???

    Where is Bensons article on McLarens dismal reliability???

    Why is it Benson only seems to be able to write about Hamilton???

  • Comment number 69.

    @straightalker

    Benson mentions that 'Hamilton, who has driven fantastically well all season only to be let down by his McLaren team in one way or another.'

    He also mentions how they cost him a chunk of points at the beginning of the season.

    Where's this anti-Hamilton bias? Even those who were critical about it before have conceded that Benson has been unbiased in his recent articles.

  • Comment number 70.

    "Hamilton did not reply when asked directly whether that meant he wanted Alonso to win the title. But you can be sure that remark is a reflection of Hamilton’s belief that he is better than Vettel, that only Alonso is his equal.

    Whether that is a correct interpretation of the standing of the three best drivers in the world, it will take more than this season to tell."

    ---

    What an absolutely load of sensalionist guff. Sometimes I think those going on about the media being obsessed with bashing Lewis are misguided, and then I read stuff like that. There was absolutely nothing in what Hamilton has said, or ever said, that suggests he thinks he is a better driver than Vettel. Yet Andrew Benson describes it as "Hamilton's belief". I'd like to know where that came from. He wished Fernando well in the championship - I think that speaks more of the mutual respect shown between Alonso and Hamilton, rather than any sort of agenda against Vettel. And personally, I have to say i'd far rather Alonso won the championship this year, he's been the driver of the season by a mile.

    The problem with what Benson has written is that it immediatly stokes up the Hamilton hate brigade, those that will jump on everything they possibly can to have a go at Lewis. #17 just goes on some random rant about Lewis, based on complete bilge. I watched his post race interview, to me he seemed very humble, disappointed that something broke on the car, but complimented the spirit within the team, and said he did his best. I do not see in any of the frankly ridiculous comments, such as 'washing his dirties in public' or 'being disloyal'. He answered questions truthfully and humbly, and did not take the opportunity to criticise the frankly embarrassing situation of the track falling apart and slowing him down!!

    For what it's worth, I think some of the criticism Hamilton has had this season is justified. He tweeted a couple of silly, naive things, and has since apologised for it. But he's not made many (if at all) mistakes on the track, and has shown good pace - if it wasn't for Mclaren's reliability issues, and frankly embarassing operational errors (pitstops, not putting enough fuel in the car, poor race strategy) then he would be leading the championship. From his point of view I can see how he would be frustrated, he knows that this year has been one of his best ever chances to win the title, and that's running away from him.

    For what it's worth, I also think he's made the right decision moving away from McLare

  • Comment number 71.

    @63....Remember Senna...

    Totally spot on...We all know how dangerous Seb is when he starts from P1 or the front row for that matter he is near untouchable when he heads the field after the 1st turn. Lewis on his part knows how to storm through the field and take a deserved victory. Coming to think of it, i dont think we have a very exciting driver on the grid and therefore is comfortably the overtaking king on the grid.

  • Comment number 72.

    "Hamilton did not reply when asked directly whether that meant he wanted Alonso to win the title. But you can be sure that remark is a reflection of Hamilton’s belief that he is better than Vettel, that only Alonso is his equal."
    Hamilton's lowest grid slot when he won a race was 4th, Vettel's lowest grid slot when he won a race was 3rd. Not an awful lot between them so I don't understand where this impression comes from that there is a gulf of performance between. Over the years, there have been many races Vettel has shown he can race mid pack either after a car issue or pit stop and can handle the pressure.
    For the record, Alonso is in a class of his own and arguably Hamilton and Vettel are more or less equal.

  • Comment number 73.

    @70. the_man_Frimpong excellent very well reasoned post and I totally agree with you!!!

  • Comment number 74.

    For what it's worth, I also think he's made the right decision in moving away from McLaren to Mercedes. True, currently they have a slower car, but he's not winning the championship - if you're not first your last, so I don't think he's worried too much about that. Also, who knows what Mercedes might pull out of the bad for 2014? With the resources they have, and Ross Brawn on board, you have to think they'd nail it sooner rather than later. It may also help Hamilton improve as a driver. He is undoubtably quick (maybe even the quickest) over 1 lap, but his race management sometimes suffers. (Still, rather have it that way round than Jenson's!). After all, Alonso certainly improved as a driver over his second stint at Renault, and is now the best driver in F1.

    I also think Hamilton talking about a 'fresh start' isn't disrespectful toward McLaren. It's pretty obvious that the relationsip has soured, due to Hamilton's naive tweeting and Whitmarsh's poor man-management, and I think everyone would respect both parties issues to put the matters behind them and move on.

    As for the race today, I think Ferrari missed a trick. Massa was faster, so they should have let him through, and given him a chance at Webber. That would have helped Alonso too, allowed him to be able to use DRS and gain 0.5 seconds a lap. The if Massa didn't have any joy, they could have swapped again before the end of the race.

    Glad to see Massa racing well again, he's had a hard time of late but today had genuine front-running pace. Who knows where he could have been had he started further up the grid?

  • Comment number 75.

    @64 straight talker

    Hamilton did all he could with the car today so yes in that sense it was impressive. I just think describing it as heroic is way over the top.

    The Astroturf thing is a bit of a joke, it either shouldn't be there or shouldn't cut up like that. I have to say i'm not a big fan of the track generally.

  • Comment number 76.

    A poor race ruined by inadequate marshalling of the DRS zone, 7 laps (9 total) of yellow flags in the DRS zone (after turn 1) ensured enough field spread to let vettal get away..... does it really take 12 mins to recover a rusty old merc!?
    No real comment from any media about this, only Mark Webber mentioned it (600 laps!), in today's 3/4 speed racing these things matter......... Bring back flat out racing, these tyres dumb down the sport.....

  • Comment number 77.

    Also regarding the argument of winning from the middle of the pack is much harder than pole, remember that winning through good race strategy from rows further back was far easier in the days of refueling! or "the good days!" as I like to call them.

  • Comment number 78.

    @69. Jack Connolly

    You're missing the point, I'm not talking about Benson briefly mentioning McLarens shortcomings.

    Benson jumps on anything negative about Lewis' performance, creating an article and enabling comments so the Hamilton haters can pour out their hateful bile.

    If Jenson has an issue it just gets a mention but certainly no dedicated article and definitely nothing with comments enabled.

    Just look at this weekend for the clearest example of what I'm talking about.

    Hamilton has a drop off in performance in PRACTICE 2 yes PRACTICE 2 and Benson immediately creates this article titled "Lewis Hamilton baffled by lack of McLaren pace" http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/19921610 and makes sure that comments are enabled on it then surprise surprise having set the scene for the haters they gladly oblige with the anti-Hamilton drivel posts.

    Contrast that with the fact that Jenson gets knocked out in QUALIFYING 2 yes QUALIFYING 2 and Benson immediately does....nothing. No article and no comments enabled on it.

  • Comment number 79.

    @75. BaggiosPonytail ok thats fair enough I respect the fact that although you would not describe it as heroic you do acknowledge it was an impressive drive from Hamilton.

  • Comment number 80.

    Ultimately Hamilton driving with a broken car and still fighting with Massa, Raikkonen, Grosjean and Hulkenburg, innevitably getting passed all the same, showed that he got the maximum from the car today, being a good drive. Sometimes getting everything from the car is not just winning, but not giving up and losing.

    Also Benson claiming Hamilton thinking his team wasn't good enough is nigh on farsical. Slanderous in fact, all on a comment of nothing. fact is, had McClaren not had the mechanical and team problems last year, Lewis could even be leading the championship right now. The team should realise they are the reason left and should be ashamed of themselves. I only hope the same thing does not happen to Perez, who I believe, with the right maturity and judgement, could be a great world champion one day.

  • Comment number 81.

    Good to see that Vettel and Alonso are at the front able to fight it out. Judging on F1 history, and the ominous double quali lockouts, RedBull/Vettel look set for the title. That being said, Webber looks good, and i cant see Vettel winning the rest of the races. I expect the title wont be won from winning races, but lost from a DNF. I only hope its not to do with contact etc.

    Why didn't they release Massa? It would have removed the threat of Kimi getting into felipe's DRS zone. Alonso would have lost a negligible amount of time letting Massa past. Massa could have gone for an attack at Webber and put him under pressure. We saw how critical Vettel was on tyres, Mark must have been close. A little agression could have helped Alonso get closer to Webber. Massa could have then begun to slow his pace down to just hold onto 4th place.

    Or they could have stayed how they were and secured the points they had, to take over McLaren. Maybe Massa was critical on a gearbox/engine. Or the slight dirty air for Alonso could have caused him graining and problems.

    Massa really does need to start causing some problems for RedBull. Perhaps, as i've said before, setting his car up for quali to split the Red Bulls.

  • Comment number 82.

    farcical*

  • Comment number 83.

    @66

    What you seem to forget is that they themselves weren't aware of how much tread was left on the tyres... They were just being arkward :/

  • Comment number 84.

    @ straight talker

    But it focused on why Hamilton couldn't understand why his car, not he himself, was slow. It was an article on how once again McLaren cannot keep pace with the Red Bull. It didn't exclaim how Hamilton was off the pace in second practice, but how Hamilton was 'baffled' by his car's lack of pace.

  • Comment number 85.

    Furthermore, if Benson really was that biased towards Jenson, he could have mentioned how he was robbed (for excuse of a better word) of a chance to score points when he was suddenly hit by no fault of his own. He didn't mention his bad performance, and he didn't mention his bad luck either. I also think that the reason for a headline on Hamilton conceding that he is out of the title race is bigger than that of Button because it is a given that Hamilton always starts a season with better odds of winning a title. If anything, I think it reflects the opposite of bias.
    As for enabling comments, I think that is strange considering enabled comments include more of those which slam Benson.

  • Comment number 86.

    The other thing I don't understand is how is it Whitmarsh gets off so lightly in the media?

    The mistakes this year from McLaren with pit stops, strategy and reliability are now well into double figures and are ultimately Whitmarshs' responsibility.

    The mess-ups have have now culminated with the best driver in the team (who once said he'd like to spend his whole career at McLaren) feeling his chances are better leaving for a lesser performing team.

    So why is Whitmarsh not being pinned down about it in interviews and why aren't there any articles on it?

    Every interview with Whitmarsh I see is him essentially saying poor day will look to the next one.

    Whitmarsh took over the team with a Hamilton on top of his game as WDC and they have been on a downward trend ever since.

  • Comment number 87.

    #86 absolutely agree with you, McLaren have been shocking this year. They would have a good chance of winning the drivers title, and definately should be winning the constructors.

    The design team must be very frustrated that a title-winning capable car has been ruined by juvenile operational errors.

  • Comment number 88.

    You make a good point, Whitmarsh has indeed been a disappointment. However, it is by no fault of his that the McLaren has been unreliable. By that account, Ron Dennis should have been taken out and shot during the early noughties. However, Whitmarsh has clearly failed firstly to stop his team-mates from clashing, and subsequently failed to harmonise the situation as it began to escalate.
    Though maybe it's up to the team to notice that. With McLaren being a British team with what are currently two British drivers, perhaps it was decided that more pressure wasn't necessary.
    He has been a bit of a thorn in McLaren's side though.

  • Comment number 89.

    @88 Jack Connolly

    Initially I would not have been too hard on Whitmarsh for the first couple of screw ups as mistakes happen and they should just be taken as the signal to tighten things up but to have so many mistakes and not be able to get on top of the issues over a whole season is unforgivable (actually 2 whole seasons as we had the same thing all last year).

    Teammates clashing imo is not ideal but ultimately does not affect team performance. Look at the disdain Webber and Vettel clearly have for each other bubbling under the surface in the press conferences but they still managed a 1-2 finish.

    McLaren should say enough is enough and give Whitmarsh the boot.

  • Comment number 90.

    Now, after reading most of these posts i would like to make a summary of my own

    Driver of the season: Fernando Alonso

    Up and coming driver of the season: Sergio Perez

    Greatest comeback of the season: Felipe Massa / Michael Schumacher

    Flop of the season: Jenson Button

    Worst team of the season: Mclaren

    On a lighter note i would compare Mclaren to Arsenal; lots of hype at the beginning of the season shame at the end.

  • Comment number 91.

    coulthard must hate commentating sometimes..."there goes my old car.... winning again... siiiigh!"

    vettel has proven more than once that he too is capable of making mistakes, and good as newey is, his cars do sometimes break.

    you can never rule out alonso, no matter the relative performance of the ferrarri, he always seems to manage to drag it somewhere it doesnt belong. good job by massa recently too, but he's always been too inconsistent.

    hamilton still has a chance (just). despite a downbeat demeanour in general his on track performance leaves nothing to doubt. the way he fought against the torro rossos shows he will fight for any position. seems mclaren need to regroup a little. maybe then they will deliver the "perfect" car to button (who is obviously still struggling with tyres).

    oh...almost forgot about webber....eeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrr.... cheer up ya miserable get, you came second...i mean they have the cheek to call us "whingeing poms"?!?!?!

    and i dont think perez is ready for a mclaren yet...he's apprently not even ready for a ferrarri. and by the time he IS ready for a mclaren, he'll have had enough of their operational errors, and be ready to move on. and this...sadly...from a diehard mclaren fan.

  • Comment number 92.

    er..white elephant remark in the room...

    concerning Hamilton's "push" remark...it's the ideal repost to how Alonso has been using Hamilton as his foil whilst the inevitable Red Bull dominance was bound to take hold.

    It's painful for me to say, but Alonso's title challenge is over. The record books will look at Vettel as the youngest Triple World Champion (and maybe more), but the stats will not show how Alonso managed to wrestle a car that was at the start of the year over a second slower than the much lauded McLarens...(where are they now?)...and to put it in a leading position for much of the season.

    If the pre-summer break was a signal of tenacity, luck and supreme skill from Alonso then Belgium and beyond has been anything but...Ferrari are letting this much talented driver down. Hamilton (again) has let himself down with his continuing boyish antics.. I think Andrew you have been too kind to this boyish man..Vettel, by contrast, just watches these two at verbal jousting and gets on with it by reaping the rewards in what has been been a superior newey car for the last 3 years.

    The inevitable has happened...I'm just surprised that it took as long as Singapore to reach it...

  • Comment number 93.

    @25 and Twirlip in general. Nobody is disputing that Vettel is an incredible racing driver. Not anyone with any sense at least. But I think you are defending him a little too hard. He still has to prove himself in certain ways and that cannot be denied. The main argument against Vettel is that he has mainly won in situations where he either starts on pole, and then opens out a lead in clean air from where he can control the race, or situations where he gains the lead on the first lap and then does the same, or inherits the lead through a failure on one of his opponents cars, and then does the same.

    It is true that Hamilton has never won from a grid position lower than 4th, which is also the case with Vettel (although Vettel has never won from lower than a grid position of 3rd). However, the reason why people (in general) do not question Hamilton's ability to win from a position other than pole is obvious to anyone who has been watching the sport for the last 5 years. If you want to be pedantic, then the statistics speak for themselves:

    Half of Hamilton's wins have been from pole (10), 6 from 2nd, 2 from 3rd and 2 from 4th.

    Vettel has won 18 GPs from pole, 5 from 2nd, and 2 from 3rd (including Singapore '12 where he inherited the lead from Hamilton's gearbox failure). That means before the Singapore GP this year, he had only won 1 of his 24 wins the 2nd row.

    And when has Vettel ever triumphed in the rain?

    Until he proves himself in this respect, there will always be these questions about him.

  • Comment number 94.

    I'm sorry but is it just me or is this a load of rubbish? think it through...

    "The greater drag reduction in qualifying means that the team can run the car with more downforce than they would otherwise be able to – because the ‘double DRS’ means they do not suffer the normal straight-line speed deficit of doing so.

    That means the car’s overall lap time is quicker, whether in race or qualifying."

  • Comment number 95.

    @93 his first win, for Toro Rosso at Monza was in the rain. I Gould know I was there, wettest Italian GP in like 20years and I was in a tent ha ha. But still one of the lost skilled drives I have seen in person, don't remember him making a mistake that whole weekend.

  • Comment number 96.

    *most @95

  • Comment number 97.

    More guff about Vettel only winning because of the car. Honestly people, if you think Vettel is an average driver in a great car, then you know sweet FA about motorsport, formula 1 or competitive driving. Go back to your playstation.

    Vettel gets bashed everytime he wins, and its the same old tired rubbish - my favourite being "he can't win if he isnt on pole. He'll only be considered a great when he can win from starting in midfield." Really? I thought the number of wins, poles, and WDC would be higher but hey, what the hell do I know about F1 compared to that startling analysis? Ironically, Vettel has won from midfield, in a rubbish car - something that neither Hamilton or Alonso have done, but hey, let's gloss right over that. I can't remember ever seeing a top driver win from midfield without the aid of wet weather or safety car incident (which is how Vettel won of course). That sort of thing only happens in a playstation game. Also, there is no such thing as luck. If you're car breaks down, its not unlucky, its a result of a botched team job. F1 is a team sport, and it relies on the entire team performing well, driver, engineers, pit crew. I'm not a Vettel fanboy, I just like watching a great race, but man, he gets so much stick for winning a race. Is it his fault the rest of the field can't catch him? What would you like him to do, slow down and wait for everyone else to catch up with him? He might end up a triple world champion in a few months time. If you think he's still "average" then that puts him on a par with Mark Webber. They drive the same car. Webber rarely competes with Vettel. Logic states that therefore Vettel can't be an average driver, otherwise Webber would be sitting on a third WDC win.

    I look forward to the amazing LH dominating the F1 season next year in his clunky Merc. Afterall, LH can do that, because of his superior talent. :)

  • Comment number 98.

    @93 mgfunk94:

    "And when has Vettel ever triumphed in the rain?"
    His very first race win in Monza in a Torro Rosso no less.
    To question SV's ability in driving in the rain is a bit disingenuous... Just like LH at Spa a few years ago (almost crashed while in the lead, but saved it), or Button, or Alonso, SV has also had his moments in the wet just like anyone else. Selective memory perhaps??

  • Comment number 99.

    To elaborate on 94: In the race the RB WILL suffer from the straight line speed deficit regarding the double-DRS. It's just that it is a fundamentally fast car anyway- and is on turbo in qualy. Mercedes is a fundamentally slow car that is given a lift in qualy and exposed in the race but the D-DRS effect is the same.

    Also the next sentence is again absolute rubbish. How can you infer greater downforce means they are more ahead and less susceptible to being overtaken? First of all great downforce means less straight line speed.. the whole logic is flawed and pretty embarassing imo.. I'm sorry if this sounds harsh but we are talking about Chief F1 writer..

    "And they are not at risk on straights in the race because the extra overall pace, from the greater downforce, means they are far enough ahead of their rivals for them not to be able to challenge them, let alone overtake them."

  • Comment number 100.

    @95 & 98 you are right, of course, I forgot Monza '08. Incredible drive.

 

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