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The Spanish Grand Prix was another comprehensive domination by Mercedes and the fourth win in a row for Lewis Hamilton who, with teammate Nico Rosberg in tow, nearly lapped the entire field.

One could argue that the Barcelona circuit favored the Mercedes and challenged the other team’s iniquities and that may be a very true statement but it also is starting to expose the results of dramatic regulation changes in the sport for 2014.

When the sport makes a significant regulatory change, the first year can find the on-track action confined to team-by-team islands of racing. Two Mercedes, Two Red Bull’s, two Ferrari’s and a couple of Force India’s running close to each other and these islands are then separated by the distance that each team has over the next in pure performance.

The disconcerting issue is that Mercedes seem to have well over a second per lap over the other teams and it is unclear as to if and when the other competitors might claw back time on the Silver Arrows. While fans still cheered Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel’s bad luck over the weekend to show their joy that he isn’t running away with another title, they could be missing the plot as Mercedes is so comprehensively superior now that Fernando Alonso does see them conceivably winning every race this year. Not even Vettel and Red Bull pulled that off in their 4-year run.

There is precedent for this kind of domination from 1988 when Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna won a combined 15 of 16 races for McLaren.

Win

Win

Sebastian Vettel had car troubles all weekend and suffered a 5-place grid penalty to relegate him to starting from 15th on the grid. He drove an impeccable to finish 4th and may have signaled his possible podium had he not experienced the transmission issues in qualifying.

Lewis Hamilton seemed very nervous in the car today and was seeking more feedback from his team and then questioning their tactics when they did give him information. Regardless, Lewis managed to hold off a charging Rosberg on stickier tires to secure his 4th win in fine fashion. This could very well be the defining moment when Lewis took the driver’s title lead and secures his 2nd world championship.

As expected, Valtteri Bottas held up the pride of Williams F1 with a fine drive to 5th in Spain and simply couldn’t manage to keep Vettel behind him with better tires. The strategy did play out for Williams and they secured much-needed points.

Fernando Alonso was able to give the crowd something to cheer about when he put a move on his teammate Kimi Raikkonen. Raikkonen had the measure of Alonso for most of the weekend but when it came time to race, Alonso proved that he’s the number one at Ferrari and a slightly resurgent Kimi wasn’t going to rattle him. To be fair to Kimi, his car looked like it was running on Vaseline instead of asphalt such was the handling of the F14T.

A win for Sergio Perez who has been beaten by his teammate of late and found the split strategy the team used the perfect opportunity to pass Nico Hulkenberg and secure a points finish for both cars. Good job Sergio.

Lotus driver Romain Grosjean turned a resurgent qualifying into a points-paying performance and it is something the team desperately needed. The team are lucky to have Romain and he even managed to control his start with a bit of a lockup into turn one without having any collisions like he would have had in the past.

Fail

Fail

Pastor Maldonado crashed in qualifying and then had a coming together with Marcus Ericsson incurring a drive-through penalty. The issue now is that he’s on the FIA’s radar and they will be handing out penalties for the slightest infractions and this doesn’t help Lotus at all. Even with Maldonado money, if your driver is always penalized and never capable of being in the points, the money starts to fade in it shiny allure due to the championship money you may be missing by not finishing in the points.

Felipe Massa had a bad day at the office considering what his teammate was capable of and while most fans are happy for his second life at Williams, this is most likely not a surprising result—he can’t blame Kobayashi for the lack of points in Spain.

Adrian Sutil managed to be beaten by his less experienced teammate Esteban Gutierrez while Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen failed to score points for the Woking-based McLaren International.

Ferrari were lapped. ’nuff said.

Five races into the season and I see no concern or even frustration with the completely lopsided nature of the racing. Not even Red Bull’s 4-year domination was this comprehensive and galvanizing. Two of those title were down to one point int eh final races. This is even more comprehensive than Ferrari’s domination in the Schumacher years. If Lewis wins the title, I can’t help but think it will be one of the most empty title victories on hand in many years. Lewis said last year that he wouldn’t feel good about winning like Vettel did with being in a clearly dominant car…let’s see what he says when if he wins the driver’s championship in 2014.

WTH

Mercedes seemed to put Lewis on the back foot a bit with their pit stops which were 1 to 2 seconds slower than what you would normally expect while Rosberg’s stops were at times 1 second or more quicker. Whatever Lewis gained on track was hampered by what he lost in the pits.

Lewis was uncomfortable in the car and was looking for feedback and when it was given to him, he was questioning if it was the best decision. That very easily could be Lewis being uncomfortable, nervous and amped up. What surprised me was the clinical replies by his team instead of realizing that Hamilton needs encouragement that what he is doing is good, what the team is doing is spot on from a tactics point of view and that everything is working to plan.

A little radio encouragement may have gone a long way to calming Lewis down and getting him focused and in the zone instead of their Spartan replies and sterile commentary devoid of any empathy.

Could Jean-Eric Vergne have any worse luck?

Thanks NBC for cutting to Barclay’s Premier League instead of giving us the podium interviews…I missed the magic that only Eddie Jordan can provide. Tight pants always makes a podium better.

Results of the Spanish Grand Prix

1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1hr 41mins 05.155secs,

2 Nico Rosberg(Ger) Mercedes GP 1:41:05.755,

3 Daniel Ricciardo(Aus) Red Bull 1:41:54.155,

4 Sebastian Vettel(Ger) Red Bull 1:42:21.855,

5 Valtteri Bottas(Fin) Williams 1:42:24.355,

6 Fernando Alonso(Spa) Ferrari 1:42:32.855,

7 Kimi Raikkonen(Fin) Ferrari at 1 Lap,

8 Romain Grosjean(Fra) Lotus F1 Team at 1 Lap,

9 Sergio Perez(Mex) Force India at 1 Lap,

10 Nico Hulkenberg(Ger) Force India at 1 Lap,

11 Jenson Button(Gbr) McLaren at 1 Lap,

12 Kevin Magnussen(Den) McLaren at 1 Lap,

13 Felipe Massa(Bra) Williams at 1 Lap,

14 Daniil Kvyat(Rus) Scuderia Toro Rosso at 1 Lap,

15 Pastor Maldonado(Ven) Lotus F1 Team at 1 Lap,

16 Esteban Gutierrez(Mex) Sauber-Ferrari at 1 Lap,

17 Adrian Sutil(Ger) Sauber-Ferrari at 1 Lap,

18 Jules Bianchi(Fra) Marussia at 2 Laps,

19 Max Chilton(Gbr) Marussia at 2 Laps,

20 Marcus Ericsson(Swe)Caterham at 2 Laps

Not Classified:

21 Kamui Kobayashi(Jpn) Caterham 34 Laps completed,

22 Jean-Eric Vergne(Fra)Scuderia Toro Rosso 24 Laps completed

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Ed Flinn

    NBC’s lack of commitment may hypothetically prompt people to go hunting for illicit feeds of UK’s Sky. Or so I’ve heard.

    • Hmmmm…hadn’t thought of that before. ;)

    • cipher

      I’ll be honest, I’ve been going for the sky feed all season, but since NBC decided to stream FP1 & 3 I decided to be legal and play commentator. I think the NBC coverage has gotten better this year and the talking down to us has decreased, but I would appreciate it if Will Buxton would shut up when there’s a team radio message.

      • UAN

        In fairness to Buxton, a producer needs to tell him that a team radio message is coming on, and that’s probably not happening.

        • cipher

          Fair point, I thought he has some sort of access to the world feed while there but perhaps not.

        • I’d have assumed a producer constantly in Mr. Buxton’s earpiece; if not, his job is harder than presumed. Todd, as you know part of NBC’s crew, can you discover or disclose how its studio crew/ on-location reporter works? Is there a production team w/ Buxton that coordinates on the fly w/ the studio, or are Buxton/cameraman alone in the woods during the event?

          As a curiosity, for the race commentary, does a CBC or ATL for example send its entire on-camera team, or is it split like NBC? Does NBC send its entire team to closer events like Austin/Montreal/Brazil?

          • They have a live feed to the circuit that Will listens to and can talk to the broadcast team. It’s two-way but there is a delay and that’s why Will seems to talk while there is radio communication. It’s not his fault and actually he does a decent job of keeping an eye on that while he’s talking. The do coordinate on the fly with him and he knows when they’re throwing it to him etc. Barring technical issues, he’s in constant contact with them.

          • I read that NBC has sent and will continue sending its entire broadcast team to Monaco. I’d appreciate it if those watching next week’s race comment on the subjective quality relative to NBC’s in-studio show; curious whether it’s offsite limitations, NBC focus group content editing, or broadcast team dynamic/personality/skill hurting NBC’s show (IMO).

  • A couple of thoughts:

    1) I really enjoyed this race. Obviously as a Mercedes fan it’s easier to enjoy a dominating performance this time around. Still, this was a real tactical race which I do enjoy. Barcelona isn’t an all out action filled track, but that’s fine. Sometimes, I do enjoy the race car chess sort of thing. And we did get a couple of nice fights towards the end which is a bonus.

    2) Regarding the inner-Mercedes battle, I think Nico was brought in one lap too late for his second stop, which may very well cost him the victory, as he lost at least a second during that lap on top of having one lap less to catch Lewis. I was really angry at the time when I saw Nico passing the pit lane on his infrared camera. As it happened, Nico had basically one shot to overtake Lewis and a bad one at that. Had he come in earlier, he may well have had three.

    3) The dominance of Mercedes really should scare everyone else. The cards are in the open now. Not only can Mercedes dominate at will at an aero track like Barcelona, but since Nico and Lewis were battling each other throughout the race, this should also give a realistic picture of their pace. And it’s 50s clear of Red Bull.

    4) Also interesting was Ferrari’s decision to split strategies, particularly the fact that Alonso got the three stopper. Normally, I would think that the car ahead (in this case Kimi) would get that strategy while the trailing one would get the more conservative alternative. So I wonder if this was Ferrari politics at work or if Kimi decided that he wanted to go for the two stopper. Given Kimi’s history, he may well have opted for that strategy.

    5) Then there’s the fact that the Mercedes customers are really losing relative pace. One would expect the opposite. As they learn more about the engine, they should be able to take advantage of it more and more the way the Mercedes works team does. But the opposite seems to happen. Bottas was the odd man out this time around and even he was soundly beaten by Red Bull (30s to Ricciardo!). Other than that, Lotus and Ferrari also seem to have overtaken the Mercedes customer teams…at least on a track like Barcelona. Of course the Mercedes customers should do better on high speed tracks. I mean I kinda expected this result form Force India for example who traditionally have had problems on aero tracks while excelling at high speed venues. But McLaren’s pace (or rather lack thereof) in particular was sobering.

    6) Brilliant drive by Vettel. He finally seems to get a handle on his car. Obviously this track would have suited the Red Bull compared to the previous ones, but it was still impressive for him to drive up all the way on fourth. Too bad that we didn’t see how he would stack up next to Ricciardo due to his bad luck on Friday and Saturday. Ricciardo still looked slightly more comfortable in my mind, but I think it has become clear that Vettel is getting there. I think before long we will see him consistently beating his teammate once again.

    7) Kimi seems to get on better and better with his drive as well. He beat Alonso for the second time in qualifying and he put up a great race on an inferior strategy. Again I think that before the season is over, Kimi will make Alonso’s life a lot more difficult.

    8) And of course a word on Lotus needs to be said. Finally the team seems to be able to access the fundamental pace that is built into their car. Good on them. That should spice things up going forward.

    • Interesting point on Nico’s pit stop strategy. Wonder if traffic had anything to do with that?

      • That could have been the reason, but I don’t think it would have been worth it. A Mercedes on fresh tires should be able to quickly overtake other cars, particularly as they were all lapped anyway. But yeah, it didn’t make sense, particularly since Lewis was most likely brought in early in order to cover for Nico. Lewis was perplexed when he was brought in as his option tires were still fine. But it makes sense when you think about Nico who was on the prime tires and would have been eager to switch back to the quicker options ASAP. Given that Lewis was in front, he (or rather his garage) had the right to the first stop, so they brought him in early in order to prevent Nico from undercutting him. But then Nico wasn’t brought in immediately afterwards which doesn’t make sense. Maybe it was due to traffic (though Nico hit the traffic anyway), maybe there was a hiccup at the Mercedes garage, maybe Mercedes wanted to make up for their slower pit stop for Lewis or they simply didn’t want to risk several laps of Lewis defending his position in order to minimize the risk of a crash. I certainly was angry as it meant that we lost at least two more laps of a tight fight for the lead.

      • UAN

        Towards the end of the race, the Mercs were lapping everyone and running into lots of traffic, so I don’t think it was a matter of where he’d slot back in – unless he was held up on what would be his in lap. But Lewis was putting in some really good times on the primes at the beginning of his last stint which I don’t think Rosberg counted on. I think coming up on the Ferraris with a couple laps to go sealed any real chance Rosberg had.

    • Also, an addendum to my point about Ferrari. You guys have to watch this short clip, it speaks volumes:
      http://youtu.be/-jjAj79e7RA

      So yeah, I think Kimi isn’t happy. It felt like he could have broken into tears at any moment. Can’t remember ever seeing him this upset.

      • And more information is coming in:

        1) Apparently, Nico suffered from some bad luck. His throttle pedal didn’t work properly during qualifying, costing him peak power output. Next, Niki Lauda said that the team has some reliability issues regarding their start-automatic which has also hit Rosberg (for the third time in a row). Both of which on it’s own could have cost him a victory.
        Nico himself said that his strategy was a couple of seconds slower than Lewis’, but that it was his only chance of passing him which almost worked.

        2) Regarding the Alonso/Räikkönen situation, apparently both drivers were supposed to go for a two stopper with Kimi having first rights, but Alonso was constantly moaning over the radio about his tires that the team eventually brought him in early. Personally, I can’t believe that this is the whole story though. I find it rather unlikely that a driver accidentally hits the perfect times to switch tires so that he has a clear track and an optimal strategy compared to the preordained one. I think this was a classic Alonso move that was planned well ahead. Ferrari needs to be careful not to fall into the same trap McLaren did when Lewis and Fred basically divided the entire team. To me, this looks very much like the Fernando half of the garage planning this in advance without telling the Kimi half about it.

        3) Apparently, the raw Lotus pace is even better than it would appear from looking at the result. During the final stages, Gosjean’s Renault engine caught some unspecified problems that apparently cost him “massive amounts of power”. Otherwise he apparently would have easily kept the Ferraris at bay.

  • Vettel is getting too much bad press for this season. He clearly is talented, driving from 15th to 4th is always a great achievement, but doing it at this track is so much greater. For the record, I don’t like him.

    NBC cutting away is perfectly fine. It’s the final day of the BPL. Have some understanding for Pete’s sake! It’s their baby, pumping 80 million dollars into the league it is obviously a priority. Some F1 fans have the underdog mentality, kind of like MLS fans.

    I’m happy with my picks, all six were in the top six but slightly out of order if remembering correctly.

    Mercedes is not catering to either driver, which is good. They put their drivers on different strategies when they could have, as many teams do, put the decision in the hands of the leading driver. When Lewis made the mistake with two laps to go, I thought it was over.

    • I’m sure Vettel must have taken a shortcut, I mean we all know that he cannot overtake, let alone with this Renault engine.

      • UAN

        no no no. we all know now he can over take, it was the car. Red Bull finally put together a dominant car – see he even got the fastest lap! Definitely the car ;)

      • I contend that had he started in 10th, he would have passed DR on track. Not a wild prediction, but just commenting.

  • Having just watched the race, I don’t think I can encompass the race in entirety, but I completely enjoyed it. Barcelona historically is a by-qualifying-order procession in which overarching strategy and stint-end pace are the dominating factors in finishing order; it’s a slow burn to the finale, and IMO the Spanish GP fully delivered. A car out of order (Vettel) racing through the field, teammate contrasts/fights throughout the grid, alternate strategies, and a cat-mouse game to the climax, and Rossberg/Hamilton Vettel/Bottas Alonso/Raikkonen battles a the end; good stuff.

    Why would the audience be concerned about “lop-sided” racing? It’s the nature of F1, as you pointed out in comparing 2014 w/ 1988, a season which many revere. 2012 held much intrigue, going to the wire, yes. 2014 holds intrigue, the leading team’s drivers fighting hammer and tongs while the closely-knit rest of grid punch each other in the nose. Lewis has all the momentum, yet is leading Nico by a paltry 3 points. Team trending in the new formula (will ______ team develop/can a small team stay ahead of a fading monster) is fascinating to me.

    I personally hated FIA’s reaction to Canada 2010, an exciting race of circumstances. It’s what brought the high-deg tires/DRS/Double points being rallied against.

    Tom, I don’t think the Merc cars are losing out pace-wise, it’s just the customer teams are less bullish than say RBR (see what I did there? :D). RBR’s been trending as best of the rest post Aus, and you rightly pointed out Enstone believed in its package from the start. In hindsight, Permaine and Co. didn’t forget how to build a chassis. Mclaren is a conundrum, not that they’ve lost pace, but they’ve lacked it from the start; I’ve mentioned that the car looked poor even in Aus, and the team’s good showing there was due solely to the homework Merc had done w/ the PU’s, that others would catch them. Williams looking good is a pleasant surprise, FI falling back an expected albeit unfortunate result.

    I believe the Lewis/Nico pit mess was a confluence of events; they called Lewis in despite his pace because Nico was caught up in traffic. Lewis ignored/missed message, delaying stop by lap. Nico, now in free air and w/ Lewis’ slow stop had an opportunity to push, although it failed. So yes, perhaps a lap late.

    -What a drive from Vettel; he preserved his tires better than his teammate throughout stints, generally had great pace, drove aggressive and smart.

    -Tom pointed it out, but what the Hell was Ferrari doing w/ Kimi? He had track priority, but the team neither brought him in nor kept him out the necessary 2-3 laps for a chanced 2-stop. Poor form.

    -We saw very little of Grojean, but another well-done; lap times look comparable .

    -FOM, please focus on the lead battle on the final lap instead of a driver’s partner, fetching as she may or may not be.

    -Throughout the entire grid, the most evenly-matched and intriguing driver pairings I can remember.

    -When will Mclaren update its car? The “big” package, as in China, was nowhere to be found

    -Button’s onboards are so nice to watch. I don’t rate him, but his style is so fluid and sweeping.

    -On to Monaco (IN PERSON!!!!!). Another processional, tactical race, for those wanting more on-track fireworks. Me, I want to see the max-downforce packages the teams bring.

    • -The commentators repeatedly associated the cars’ grip levels w/ Monza 2013. Anthony Davidson can directly compare the Merc year to year, and the Brundles/Coulthards have team insiders feeding them info, but can anyone really quantify this year’s losses compared to ’13? Does it take into account form improvements/losses?

      Just a curiosity; while I relish the venue and racing insight of the UK broadcasts, some blanket statements and assertions I question (here’s looking at you Mr. Kravitz).

      • I’m not quite sure what you mean but I think the Barcelona track gave a pretty good picture of the amount of lost traction given its dependence on aero. If I remember correctly, Hamilton’s pole time is about 5 seconds slower than Nico’s time last year.

        In Bahrain on the other hand the times were virtually the same as the additional top speed made up for the lost grip there.

        Although we do have to factor the tires in I guess. With the compounds being harder this time around, times would also take a hit, so the real difference might be somewhat lower. But then this is a similar discussion as the driver vs. car one, you really can’t disentangle things. For instance, being so torque heavy, these cars probably couldn’t run on the 2013 tires, not for long anyway.

        • Don’t mind me, Tom, just my personal soap box :D I’m merely pointing out it’s hard to sum anecdotal evidence, and ruing that we the public base conclusions on the shoddy info F1 shares/broadcasters promote. I don’t think F1 needs share graphed data on conclusions, but some times the overarching declarations create more confusion than clarity.

          Assumed PU power curves mean extra 13kph on Bahrain (CoD and frontal cross section of each car year to year?), downforce levels are at Monza 2013 (no one outside the teams know any specific cars static downforce levels), 160hp ERS output for 33 seconds (wrong on so many levels); it’s rubbish. What about the extra 50ish kgs the cars are carrying this year, and the supposed 1.5-sh seconds it costs cars around the average track? Or the different

          The only accurate observational conclusions are the cars are faster in a straight line and slower overall.

          When someone w/ actual experience declares something (like Davidson sim-ing both last and this year’s cars), I accept it at face value. When Kravitz draws conclusions based on public domain info and presents it as fact (look at his horribly erroneous ERS descriptions), despite his inner connections, I’m dubious.

          Take the tires; it’s mentioned the compounds are one step harder than last year. Fair enough, easily digestible for us, less sticky, more durable. But Davidson pointed out in Practice commentary it’s more than that, that the compounds were more sensitive to lateral motion. He clarified that this years’ compounds, whilst harder, tended to “remember” under/oversteer-induced stress, leading to lost grip and repeated occurrences, like a flat spotted tire locking up more-easily.

          I wish someone like Paddy Lowe would conversationally explain the tech side, as Davidson/Brundle/Mcnish explain the racing side. It would service the sport, provoke thought and questions rather than the know it all internet blather we (including me at times) spout.

  • Rapierman

    So, it’s pretty much down to Hamilton and Rosberg (obviously), while the remaining drivers battle for 3rd place. Interesting thought: Hamilton isn’t quite happy with the car right now, but it was amusing to hear the crew chief/team principal telling him to “shut up and drive”. :-D

    • Brody

      It’s interesting how you can interpret the ongoing dialogue between Lewis and his race engineer during the race, and being amused as you say, by that engineer telling him to, ” shut up and drive.”….Amazing

  • UAN

    The season’s turning into a regular Noah’s ark – teams coming in two by two with the occasional odd car in the mix – but 2 Merc, 2 Red Bulls, a Williams, then 2 Ferraris, 2 Force Indias, 2 McLarens, and the Saubers and Marussias two by two as well.

    – 15 to 4. Drive of the day by far. Vet’s definitely the last of late of late brakers and totally owned T9 (iirc). It was at the end of the second DRS zone, but it only could bring VET close (not even parallel), so diving late into the inside to make the moves stick (taking out Massa, Kimi, Bottas and I think MAG at one point). Going outside of Alonso into T1 as Alonso reentered from the pit lane.

    I think it may be too soon to write off VET as mediocre…

    – That Ferrari is an absolutely handful – there were a couple of shots of Kimi followed by Alonso on some corners and they were both stepping out all of the place.

    I’ve heard conflicting theories on the first pit call with Alonso getting preference. From what some folks are saying it was to cover off Massa. Regardless, 6th and 7th. Good to see Kimi getting on top of things.

    – Lotus starting to get things sorted out.

    – Seeing how the other Mercedes teams are fairing, Merc is mighty and it’s not just the engine. They got the total package.

    – Not sure if it’s his way of keeping himself psyched up or not, but Lewis comes across as a bit paranoid in the car. He’ll bounce from complaining about too much information, to “why haven’t you talked to me in the last two laps”, then question why he was brought in for his pit stop, and question how my turns they gave him on his front wing adjustment.

    I know folks are talking about the psychological damage this win streak may have on Rosberg, but I think it weighs quite a bit on Lewis.

    One thing for sure, conventional wisdom that said Lewis should stay at McLaren was absolutely wrong.

    • Lotus getting things sorted? Definitely not so long as Pastor still has the drive.

      • UAN

        He could definitely use a little lovin’ of the sort Grojean got from Eric Boullier last year…too bad EB’s not there.

  • Dave

    “The race was fun if you like Mercedes and the battle between the teammates. If you like teams vs teams, then this was a complete yawner. Five races into the season and very few fans seems to be touchy about the completely lopsided F1 series. I guess I’m reading too much into it.”

    Todd, you have brought this point up a number of times, and I’ll give you my take on it:

    1. A lot of people tired of the continued success of Newey-RBR, which looked as if it would never end. Now that it appears to have come to an end, I for one am not unhappy – if for no other reason than that I don’t have to listen to Horner’s insufferable after-race crowing.

    2. In the last couple of years it seemed at times to me that RBR was succeeding in spite of the rules. Is that the nicest way to say it? Or perhaps they were seeing the rules as more (aero) elastic than was justified?

    In this case, it seems that Merc are succeeding because they have done a much better job of actually following the formula.

    3. Now we have a situation in which we could have the baseball equivalent of a no-hitter. Those who are positively disposed to Merc-Lewis-Nico should be captivated despite the limitations of the formula over previous years. Those who live and die for other teams should be similarly riveted, especially in the latter part of the season when Renault and Red Bull inevitably get their act together and could spoil the silver arrows party.

    I wouldn’t be distraught if Mercedes throws that no hitter this year, but I wouldn’t like it to continue. There are too many good teams and drivers who should have a chance at the top step.

    • “Now we have a situation in which we could have the baseball equivalent of a no-hitter. Those who are positively disposed to Merc-Lewis-Nico should be captivated… Those who live and die for other teams should be similarly riveted… Renault and Red Bull… could spoil the silver arrows party.”

      Man, what a clutch analogy. It’s exactly how I feel watching Merc this year; can Merc go 19-0? Will Lewis hold off Nico Bahrain/Spain? That you said it in a paragraph instead of a rambling dissertation makes me jealous; how’s the air up there from the top of the summit, Dave? :D

  • I content that if you are DR, and running 40-50seconds behind the Mercedes in the final 10 laps, that you may well not push too hard – but only just enough to maintain 3rd ahead of whoever is creeping up in 4th. The fact is was actually Vettel makes this more likely (safer) for DR to do. Being third by 50 sec versus 40 sec has no real upside for DR. Save PU/ICE instead.

    My contention, anyways. JF.

  • I content that if you are DR, and running 40-50seconds behind the Mercedes in the final 10 laps, that you may well not push too hard – but only just enough to maintain 3rd ahead of whoever is creeping up in 4th. The fact is was actually Vettel makes this more likely (safer) for DR to do. Being third by 50 sec versus 40 sec has no real upside for DR. Save PU/ICE instead.

    My contention, anyways. JF.