Six hours after the race…

Screen Shot 2017-08-27 at 17.45.23.pngLewis Hamilton was on scintillating form at Spa, with a stunning pole position on Saturday, but he knew that Sunday would bring a tight battle with Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari. The race was exactly that, with the pair jousting but Lewis staying cool, soaking up the pressure and finally winning through. Vettel admitted that there was little he could have done to beat his title rival – and the gap between the pair of them closed. It was great entertainment, even if the thousands of orange-clad Verstappen fans were disappointed early on when Max’s Red Bull failed him again. Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas were not in the same league as their team-mates and trailed along behind, while Dan Ricciardo was his usual opportunistic self and grabbed third in splendid style. Further back, the two Force India drivers again contrived to throw away a bag-load of World Championship points by hitting one another several times. The teamw ould not have caught up with Red Bull, but it would be a lot closer to third in the Constructors’ if they pair were a little more careful.

– We talk to Christian Horner

– DT describes rolling a jet-car speed record car at 250mph

– We remember Don Nichols, an F1 team boss with an amazing history

– We remember Ernest Friderich, a forgotten star of the 1920s

– JS looks to Top Gun for inspiration

– DT considers esports

– The Hack flutters from the Proms to Formula Ree

– Peter Nygaard captures Spa in all its glory

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25 thoughts on “Six hours after the race…

  1. Nice to meet you last night Joe, it was a pleasure to get a different insight into the sport we all love, hope you enjoyed your meal and the probing questions. Great blog!

  2. Good race. I thought Lewis was done for when Vettel had ultrasofts after the safety car, compared to Lewis’ softs, but he used a great tactic to break the Ferrari’s chance of using his slipstream as they mounted that hill.

    Now, what’s going to happen with the Force India drivers? If they go for team orders, will the drivers take any notice?

    Will the team have to mechanically hobble one so that he cannot challenge the other, as Red Bull did to Webber on the weekends he qualified close to Vettel on their last two seasons together, or Mercedes did to Lewis several times in 2016?

    1. I’d imagine they’ll start pitting them at slightly different times, or perhaps running them on alternate tyre strategies to ensure they hit each other as infrequently as possible. Problem is that they’re always going to be close to each other on pace, so they’re pretty much inevitably going to be squabbling over the same corners.

    2. I thin the interesting question about the Force India drivers is whether this increases the chance of one of them (and, as a secondary interesting question, which one) leaving the team at the end of the year, presumably to Renault.

    3. Torchwood Five, no matter how many times you repeat such accusations that Mercedes would deliberately hamper their own driver, it won’t be true (no sane team takes such idiotic risks!). And anyway, Nico is the 2016 champion and that won’t change.

      1. Rather than suggesting that Mercedes would “hobble” one driver to let the other win, my personal theory, crazy as it sounds, is that the disaster in 1955 has made the team WAY over-sensetive about the idea of their cars making contact with each other.

        2015 and prior, if behind Nico, Lewis could come through the field, catch up with Nico, and battle with him to pass, or chase to the flag.

        2016, if Nico was up front, Lewis was nowhere near him.

        2017, Lewis’usual talent at coming through the field, seems to have been neutralised somewhat by the Mercedes’ aero package. Even if faster than Bottas, he needs to call for permission to pass, than attempt it himself, as he just loses grip.

        Despite the wider cars this year, several other drivers do not seem to be encumbered to quite the same degree.

        As for Nico, he soaked up everything in that last race, so from that point, I had no problem with him being 2016 champion.

    4. “Will the team have to mechanically hobble one so that he cannot challenge the other, as Red Bull did to Webber on the weekends he qualified close to Vettel on their last two seasons together”

      Are you referring to the fact that his clutch was repeatedly always incredibly slow to engage off the line, losing him quite a few places in the process? Yes, I was always mystified by that as well, every time it happened……

      1. I’m reading Webber’s book at the moment. It’s incredible how well Red Bull covered their tracks on this, to the point that he didn’t even get particularly good starts in Formula Ford…

      2. @DaveyP – I understand Webber has had those start-line issues even before he and Vettel became team-mates.

        When Vettel was dominant, I took a keen interest in anyone who could challenge, and Mark was in the same car.

        I think both drivers were allowed to race until they collided in Turkey. Their last two seasons together, I eventually noticed a pattern developing – if Webber qualified close to Vettel, some fault befell his car on the Sunday; but if he was something like eight places down, miraculously, he had a good Sunday, and the car was fairly stable.

        For me, that was why Multi 21 hurt so much. I was a bit surprised that the team were not actively working against their number 2 driver for once (he was already retiring), but someone didn’t go along with the script.

  3. We’ve had half a season without the Little Man causing havoc. I’m enjoying not reading the acres of twaddle being written about his latest wheeze to screw more money out of us.

    How are things in the paddock without him? Are major changes afoot without the publicity that Bernie thought had to accompany everything he did.

  4. Among F1’s technical insiders is the condescend that Williams’ declining performance this season is more indicative of Paddy Lowe coming on too late to make any impact even during in-season development or that Mercedes/Lowe inherited an incredible package from Brawn that was so far ahead of the others that it has only required competent engineers to make incremental improvements to stay ahead of rivals that were miles behind when it debuted? Seems like a lot of people made a big name for themselves on performance inherited from Brawn.

    1. @Nick T. I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that after 3 years of using the same basic car, designed under Ross Brawn, that this year’s car, designed under Paddy Lowe, has proved to be camel. A camel that’s taken many races to get slightly sorted. It very much echoes similar problems that I remember happening at McLaren.

      I think it’s unlikely that next year’s James Allison car will be so difficult to setup and certainly won’t be a yard longer than the rest of the grid

      I’ve just read that Paddy Lowe is making “quite substantial changes” to next year’s Wiliams. Good luck with that Frank!

      1. Yep. Seems another so called star who has built his reputation on the inherited good work of others. As I’ve seen happen in every industry I’ve worked.

  5. DT’s article on his record attempt was great. Now having seen the “After” photos I was interested in the materials used in the roll cage. The shower of sparks entering the cockpit was a little bemusing and had me wondering if he had left a window open.
    DT is now somewhat ahead of Guy Martin who is attempting a similar record on two wheels, but which was abandoned due to the salt pan being too soft this spring. (He was working as a member of the Williams pit crew for the Spa week as a treat, he was interviewed by DT and MW and will be on tv on the17th)

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