Skip to main content

F1: Is Vettel's Pace Flattering Ferrari

Three races into the new season and it looks like we might have a battle on for the  world championship. In one corner we have Hamilton and Mercedes, virtually unbeatable in the last three seasons; in the other Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari, who are looking like they have closed the gap under the new regulations.

So far each race has turned on a pitstop call from Ferrari - twice Ferrari have struck lucky. In Australia Hamilton's pitstop brought him out behind Max Verstappen, who delayed the Mercedes driver sufficiently to affect the result. In Bahrain Hamilton's safety car pitstop and resulting gamesmanship again delayed the Mercedes sufficiently to hand Ferrari the win.

In China the safety car flipped things the other way and handed the race to Mercedes and Hamilton.

In each case the difference between the top two has been sufficiently small for victory to be swung by these factors. In itself this is a novelty compared to the last three years when Mercedes had enough of a pace advantage to still win when the cards fell against them.

So Hamilton and Mercedes; Vettel and Ferrari are nip and tuck at the front of the field. Take the top two away and something becomes apparent: Ferrari and Raikonnen just aren't in the championship.

Bottas would be two wins to the good, the remarkable Max Vertsappen one. We would be talking about another year of probable Mercedes domination.

So right now it looks like Mercedes has a better car than Ferrari - but the gap is much reduced. The rest has been made up of some clever pit strategy and some very impressive performances from Vettel.

Three races in and my expectation remains that Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes should take every race. However should they experience even the slightest glitch or make the smallest mistake then Ferrari and Vettel are there to mop things up.


Popular posts from this blog

F1: Robert Kubica Impresses In Renault Test Run

The car may be old but its the performance of the driver that's the story here. Robert Kubica returned to F1, after a fashion, earlier this week with an extensive test run in a 2012 Lotus Renault F1 car at Valencia.
The age of the car and the circuit were likely determined by F1's current rules which ban testing, but the reason for Kubica being in the car is far more interesting. Considered by many to be a potential World Champion and certainly one of the fastest drivers of his generation, Kubica's F1 career seemed to be over after a 2011 crash whilst driving in the Rally of Andora. His Skoda Fabia was penetrated by a guardrail in the high speed accident partially severing his right arm.
Up until last year Kubica has been competing in rallying, with the expectation that the limited movement in his repaired arm would prohibit a return to single seater racing.
So this week's test is both interesting and confusing. Interesting because Kubica completed 115 laps of the ret…

F1: Robert Kubica's Williams Test Asks More Questions Than It Answers

Comparing driver's times at a tyre evaluation test like last week's Abu Dhabi event is difficult at the best of times, but when trying to assess the performance of a driver who has been out of the sport for six years, that difficulty level is raised even higher.
On the face of it Robert Kubica's test for Williams was a success. Fastest of the three Williams drivers present the headlines look promising. However, taking into consideration the different tyres used to set those times muddies the water considerably.
Kubica ran a three lap qualifying simulation on the new 'hyper-soft' tyre - which should have given him a two-second advantage. Correcting for tyres it would appear that Kubica was significantly slower than Sergei Sorotkin - who was on the harder 'soft' tyre - and marginally quicker than Lance Stroll, the team's only contracted driver.

Stroll's family fortune currently funds Williams, so there' no chance that he will be anywhere but in a…

Panos Panay's Defence Of Microsoft Surface Hardware Sounds Eerily Familiar

This weekend I went out with my ten year old daughter to select a laptop for her school year beginning in January. The schools requirements are quite specific, requiring a Windows 10 device, with a preference for a touchscreen and a stylus. She chose a Surface Pro, after trying a large number of different options. Having seen the way I use my own Surface Pro - and tried it herself there was only ever going to be two options - and the other was a Surface Laptop.
I tell you this so that you understand I am a buyer of Microsoft's products through choice, not compulsion. I'm on my third Surface device now. 
So when Panos Panay dismissed reports of the death of the Surface hardware line, I was very interested to see exactly how strong these denials were. Especially how they reflect what has gone before. To whit: Windows 10 Mobile.
Panay claimed that Microsoft is in hardware for the long haul. Almost exactly mirroring the words of Terry Myerson, when he claimed Windows Mobile was g…