Hamilton’s data ban: Is Lewis onto something?

Michael Lamonato Columnist

By Michael Lamonato, Michael Lamonato is a Roar Expert

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    Lewis Hamilton. (Photo: GEPA pictures/Daniel Goetzhaber)

    Formula One is no stranger to Lewis Hamilton’s outspokenness on the state of the sport.

    Whether it’s his views on stewarding, his describing of the FIA’s plans for head protection “worst looking mod in Formula One history” or his short-lived war with the media, Hamilton has established himself as Formula One’s most opinionated and divisive personality.

    Indeed, Hamilton began his off-season in the style of many an exiled prime minister: subtly undermining his bosses, accusing his team of disrespecting him in the 2016 finale grand prix in Abu Dhabi.

    And it seemed the three-time champion was out to stir the pot again on the eve of the 2017 season, saying in a sponsor interview that he felt it was unfair his teammates could use his lap data to improve their own performances.

    “For example when we’re driving we’re picking out braking points, bumps, tyre rubber marks on the track – all these different things to help get you through the corner quickest.

    “The other driver probably naturally may be able to do more or less than you are, but because of this data they can just copy you: ‘Oh he’s braking five metres later there, I’ll go out and I’ll try braking five metres later’.

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    The Briton’s problem is that any natural advantage brought by a driver is no longer intrinsic to them; data renders the tricks of the trade completely public within the team, potentially negating their effectiveness against a teammate.

    Lewis Hamilton

    “You could take a young kid from Formula Three, have them just go on a simulator and drive every single day and try and get to my lines – and eventually they’d probably get to my lines.

    “He should have to discover that himself. You’ve got to find the limit yourself, that’s the whole challenge of being a racing driver.”

    Was it an act of self-preservation to shore up his ego after championship defeat at the hands of Nico Rosberg despite his persistent belief Rosberg was the less deserving of the two?

    Hamilton clarified his position, tweeting that his commentary wasn’t a dig at the team but rather his perspective on this modern data-driven sport.

    “I have asked my team. I don’t want to see my teammate’s [data],” he noted in the original interview.

    “I don’t feel it’s fair that he brings his A-game and I should be able to study his A-game on a computer.”

    So if his position on data sharing is genuine, could it be useful to Formula One?

    Engineers on each car view each other’s data to help ensure both cars are performing optimally for qualifying, and part of that is reviewing driver traces – everything from acceleration and braking markers to steering inputs – which can build a near complete picture of how a car performs to a given lap time.

    Mercedes in particular has been alert to the benefits of keeping information flowing freely between garages, swapping Hamilton and Rosberg’s engineers for 2016 to prevent a staff split in the heat of a third consecutive championship battle.

    But Hamilton’s high-tension battle with Rosberg isn’t the first time the Briton has found himself on what he could perceive as the giving end of a data-sharing relationship – Jenson Button, after an infamously uncompetitive start to the 2012 season, used teammate Hamilton’s data to shrink a 43-point gap after seven rounds to just two points by season’s end.

    Fernando Alonso, thinking it strange Hamilton would take such a view given the Briton admitted to having learnt from the Spaniard’s data in his debut season, agreed.

    “If he was watching more data from Rosberg last year, maybe he would have won the championship!” Alonso backhanded.

    A theme for Formula One’s regulation changes has been to return drivers to centre stage as the heroes of the sport. This is materialising itself this season in cars that will require more strength to drive but has also manifested itself in the controversial radio bans of last season, which were universally poorly received.

    Competition could benefit from teammates working to master their car and the circuit independently. It’s a truism that an Formula One team can’t unlearn something it already knows, and not being able to maximise their drivers’ performances and therefore points hauls would be difficult argument to put to them, but it would be a beneficial change in the constant battle to prevent the sport from becoming a mere technical exercise.

    Would it be difficult to execute and police? Absolutely – but then Formula One has a track record for diving head-first into untested rule changes, including those much maligned radio restrictions.

    But maybe Hamilton, in a possible attempt at massaging his own ego, is onto something.

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    The Crowd Says (20)

    • February 28th 2017 @ 7:24am
      Realist said | February 28th 2017 @ 7:24am | ! Report

      I think Hamilton has forgotten that the F1 season is a constructor championship first, driver championship second. If a constructor wishes to be successful, then it makes perfect sense to share data between the teams to get maximum benefit for both teams and hence more championship points.

      • Roar Rookie

        February 28th 2017 @ 8:36pm
        Ants32 said | February 28th 2017 @ 8:36pm | ! Report

        Spot on. +1

      • Columnist

        March 6th 2017 @ 11:30am
        Michael Lamonato said | March 6th 2017 @ 11:30am | ! Report

        This is definitely true, and people do tend to forget that — but on the other hand most fans are in it for the driver vs driver battles, and the sport definitely needs to consider strategies to keep the drivers at the centre of the show.

    • Roar Guru

      February 28th 2017 @ 10:39pm
      Bayden Westerweller said | February 28th 2017 @ 10:39pm | ! Report

      Competition might stand to gain, though the outfits would argue they stand to lose if a notionally inferior team-mate is denied access to telemetry which may propel the driver further up the field and ultimately aid its constructors’ bid.

      It’s a double edged sword which takes on greater context when there are multiple drivers in the same team contending for the title. That Hamilton is the outspoken individual naturally draws the assumption that he’s in it purely for his own selfish motives, yet if it were “executed” – as you state, with the right intent, such as making ‘heroes’ out of the protagonists, it has it’s merits. The bottom line is that outfits want both drivers in a position to win. How to do so without compromising one driver’s integrity over another is the difficult part.

      • Columnist

        March 6th 2017 @ 11:33am
        Michael Lamonato said | March 6th 2017 @ 11:33am | ! Report

        Yeah, naturally teams will push against any change that might put them in a less than optimal position, but Formula One as an entertainment product craves heroes to sell to the public, so allowing them to naturally differentiate themselves from one another would be beneficial for the sport. It will be interesting to see how Liberty balances the focus on the constructors vs drivers championships in the long term.

    • March 6th 2017 @ 7:18am
      Buffy said | March 6th 2017 @ 7:18am | ! Report

      Just to put things into perspective, the writer clearly hasn’t done his homework on what happened at McLaren in 2012. There is another reason as to why Button finished only 2 points behind Hamilton–Hamilton lost approx 110 points due to reliability issues & operational errors beyond his control. Hamilton drove well in 2012 while Button admitted it was perhaps the worst year of his career. Hamilton was badly let down by his car and his team. 2 points does not tell the full story.

      • March 6th 2017 @ 7:22am
        Buffy said | March 6th 2017 @ 7:22am | ! Report

        This better explains why Hamilton lost over 100 points due to operational errors beyond his control and reliability issues https://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2012/11/analysis-how-the-points-and-the-title-slipped-away-for-lewis-hamilton/

      • Columnist

        March 6th 2017 @ 11:27am
        Michael Lamonato said | March 6th 2017 @ 11:27am | ! Report

        Yes, Hamilton suffered unreliability, but you’ve completely missed the whole point of the article in an attempt to criticise — the column has nothing to do with Lewis Hamilton’s performances; it’s all about the fact that Button had failed to score in four of the first seven races before looking to Hamilton’s set-up in an effort to get his season back on track, which he did. This entire article is about data sharing, so this should have been obvious to you.

        • March 6th 2017 @ 10:53pm
          Buffy said | March 6th 2017 @ 10:53pm | ! Report

          Fair enough. My apologies.

          Does kind of prove Hamilton’s point regarding driver data, that sharing can be detrimental to the “stronger” driver and more useful to the less strong driver. Perhaps this is a reason as to why modern day F1 drivers seem closer in ability–it’s hard for a driver to distinguish himself when all his driver techniques and secrets are shared. Reminds me that Rosberg was handed a 12 page dossier on Hamilton’s data, on Hamilton’s driving techniques etc.

          • Columnist

            March 7th 2017 @ 12:09am
            Michael Lamonato said | March 7th 2017 @ 12:09am | ! Report

            Yep, that’s exactly his point. It’s important to take into account that every driver thinks they’re the best at what they do, so naturally all of them feel like they’d be disadvantaged by having their data shared with their teammate — but in doing so they tend to forget that learning from their first teammate’s data as rookies helped them break into the sport! Even Hamilton had a hand from Alonso in 2007, so It’s a bit of a vicious cycle, I suppose.

            The issue could also be viewed through the lens of testing. Drivers who debuted when in-season testing was still open, you could argue, had more opportunity to harmonise with their cars, so having a teammate’s data wouldn’t be as critical, whereas today you get only a couple of hours per grand prix weekend to nail the set-up and test new parts.

            • March 7th 2017 @ 7:40am
              Buffy said | March 7th 2017 @ 7:40am | ! Report

              I dunno about 2007. I read an article by McLaren ex-mechanic Marc Priestley. He said that Hamilton was brought in to learn from Alonso, so i suppose it would be natural for him to learn about car set-ups etc from Alonso. That was the deal. It only became a problem when Hamilton started beating Alonso and Alonso soon stopped sharing his data. But Button was an in prime WDC–it’s a different scenario entirely–he wasn’t some novice/rookie like Hamilton was in 2007.

              Car data should always be shared, which is what Hamilton is saying. It’s driver performance data that he objects to and i agree with him.

              Ps-every driver may THINK they are the best at what they do, but Hamilton really is the best on the current grid–according to the team bosses anyway. He’s the fastest, i can’t see him learning much from Bottas

              • Columnist

                March 7th 2017 @ 9:51am
                Michael Lamonato said | March 7th 2017 @ 9:51am | ! Report

                Yeah, it feels different to data sharing in a championship fight, but then the sport loves to talk about its out-of-the-box rookies — your Hamiltons, your Verstappens et cetera — who undoubtedly benefit from the same processes, notwithstanding the fact they’re obviously talented individuals. Same effect, just in a different context.

                I’d be cautious about making unequivocal statements like ‘Hamilton is the best’. He’s certainly amongst the current best, don’t get me wrong, and he’s in top form in the best car, which makes the difference — but form and machinery are temporary. I’d put him on equal standing with Vettel and Alonso, and probably Ricciardo. Likely Verstappen too, in time. And you never know what a a driver like Bottas will do with a chance like this…

                I think that’s why F1 has a great deal of potential today: there are so many top-tier drivers waiting for the chance to race one another.

    • March 8th 2017 @ 7:44pm
      SonOfLordy said | March 8th 2017 @ 7:44pm | ! Report

      In 2013, in races where both drivers finished, Rosberg effectively beat Hamilton 9-6. It was 8-7 but Rosberg was instructed by the team to not pass Hamilton in the Malaysian Grand Prix. Hamilton edged Rosberg in the points standings, but Rosberg had 3 non-points finishes due to reliability compared to Hamilton’s 1.

      Hamilton got the better of Rosberg in races in 2014 (with Rosberg beating Hamilton 11-8 in qualifying). Would it be fair to say that Hamilton benefited from Rosberg’s knowledge in 2014?

      Also, if a Rosberg can drive better than his teammate utilising his teammates setups and data (assuming what Hamilton says is true of course…), then doesn’t that still make Rosberg the better driver?

      The team would be better off employing Hamilton as their second driver and have him go out their collecting data for their number one driver Rosberg.

      At the end of the day, this is all a smokescreen because the reason Hamilton lost the championship was because he blew 6-7 manual race starts, he crashed in Spain, he crashed in Baku qualifying, he spat his dummy in China giving a half-hearted effort, got beaten by a Red Bull in Singapore.

      • March 12th 2017 @ 8:40am
        Buffy said | March 12th 2017 @ 8:40am | ! Report

        “At the end of the day, this is all a smokescreen because the reason Hamilton lost the championship was because he blew 6-7 manual race starts, he crashed in Spain, he crashed in Baku qualifying, he spat his dummy in China giving a half-hearted effort, got beaten by a Red Bull in Singapore.”

        I have never read such one-sided nonsense. Hamilton was voted best driver in F1 by the team bosses. They have the data, knowledge etc to separate driver from car. They were far more impressed by Hamilton, than by Rosberg.

        Despite losing nearly 50 plus points due to reliability issues, Hamilton still scored more wins, poles, podiums than Rosberg. Reliability ultimately cost Hamilton the title.

        Rosberg blew starts in as many races—Hungary, Germany, China, He was slow off the mark in Canada too so that’s another poor start for him. Both Merc drivers were slow off the mark in Canada, this is why Vettel got past them both, Had Rosberg aced his own start in Canada, he may have avoided contact with Hamilton & avoided the loss of points there. Rosberg also had issues with starts in Australia & Bahrain, though luckily for him, he was able to recover and win. In fact, he lost as many points as Hamilton through poor starts if you include Canada, But where Rosberg didn’t lose points was through reliability issues, That was the real differentiating factor.

        As for Spain, Hamilton actually got the better start in Spain, but Rosberg slipstreamed him. Rosberg messed up his engine setting at the start of the Spanish gp, that lead to him being distracted & closing the door too late on Hamilton who had already committed to the inside line. Rosberg pushed Hamilton onto the grass. It was classed as a racing incident but drivers like Jacques Vill, blamed Rosberg http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/formula-1/nico-rosbergs-killer-move-blame-8011343

        And as for Baku, Rosberg also crashed in a couple of FP sessions-e.g. Australia. Rosberg also performed poorly in wet races all season e.g. Monaco, Brazil GB. He was pathetic in the wet.. He was beaten by the Red Bull drivers in races like Monaco, Germany, Austria & Canada. At least Hamilton has the excuse of reliability issues affecting his preparations in Singapore. Rosberg got involved in so many scrapes and crashes, he was the most penalised driver on the grid in 2016.

        And of course Hamilton was unhappy in China-he had to start from the back of the grid due to engine penalties. To make matters worse, Rosberg messed his start in China but Hamilton was too far back to take full advantage. Another easy, uncontested win for Rosberg–like Spa where Hamilton also started last due to engine problems & Russia, where he had to start P10 due to more reliability issues. Just as Hamilton has re-taken the lead of the championship and had seized the momentum, he has to take an engine penalty in Spa which eases the pressure on Rosberg.

        So let’s be clear, Rosberg messed up often, but fortunately for him he could afford to because he wasn’t leaking points due to reliability issues. Losing over 50 points, to Rosberg’s almost zero reliability point loss–is what really cost Hamilton that title. Team bosses know it. Even Wolff has gone on record to say reliability cost Hamilton the title. In fact, leaving out reliability affected races, it’s 10- 6 to Hamilton in the races, and 10-5 to Hamilton in qual (taking out q sessions where Ham did not partake due to reliability and yellow flag session like Hungary).

        As for 2014, those qualifying figures, did you take out q sessions where Hamilton was hit by reliability problems because there were quite a few? Rosberg scraped the qualy battle in 2014, but Hamilton trounced him 10-5 in the races- despite suffering more overall reliability issues.

        As for 2013–you are forgetting Hamilton was new to the team and was effectively driving a car built around Rosberg and Schumacher yet Hamilton was able to out-qualify Rosberg, gain more podiums, more poles etc He was on average -0.158s quicker than Rosberg, despite having to grapple in a car he wasn’t comfortable in and built around Rosberg. Hamilton was essentially quicker, always has been, perhaps the reason for the 12 page dossier i mentioned.

        Hamilton has been voted best driver in F1 by the people that count. To suggest Rosberg is better is laughable.

    • March 14th 2017 @ 5:52pm
      SonOfLordy said | March 14th 2017 @ 5:52pm | ! Report

      “I have never read such one-sided nonsense. Hamilton was voted best driver in F1 by the team bosses. They have the data, knowledge etc to separate driver from car. They were far more impressed by Hamilton, than by Rosberg.

      Despite losing nearly 50 plus points due to reliability issues, Hamilton still scored more wins, poles, podiums than Rosberg. Reliability ultimately cost Hamilton the title.”

      Hamilton plays the media game as well as anyone and is always on the front foot making a case for himself. He takes shots at Rosberg every chance he gets, blames the team for giving him an unreliable car. Repeat it enough times and people begin to think it’s true.

      Team bosses got it wrong, simple as that. The fact is Rosberg had 9 wins to 6 and all he had to do in the last 4 races was bring the car home safely and that’s what he did.

      If you want to say Hamilton drove better than Rosberg, then I don’t really care. I don’t rate Rosberg at all. It’s an indictment on Hamilton’s consistency that he couldn’t beat his teammate over 21 races.

      But you can’t tell me Hamilton drove better than Ricciardo or Verstappen. Ricciardo beat Hamilton in a straight fight with a slower car in Singapore and for all intents and purposes beat him in Monaco (team bungled Ricciardo’s pitstop, Hamilton had to skip chicane and chop Ricciardo to stay ahead).

      Hamilton lost 25 points to reliability. Over the course of 2013-16, Rosberg had 8 non-points finishes due to mechanical failure and Hamilton 4. 2016 was the first year Rosberg had less non-points finishes due to mechanical failure than Hamilton (LH 1 non-points finish to NR 0). Yet all we hear is how the team has some conspiracy against Hamilton winning…

      Sure, Hamilton lost 25 points in Malaysia, but Rosberg was robbed of an almost certain win in Spain. Hamilton made a mistake through no fault of Rosberg and took himself and Rosberg out of the race. The Malaysian engine blow up was just evening up the score in my book.

      “Rosberg blew starts in as many races—Hungary, Germany, China, He was slow off the mark in Canada too so that’s another poor start for him. Both Merc drivers were slow off the mark in Canada, this is why Vettel got past them both, Had Rosberg aced his own start in Canada, he may have avoided contact with Hamilton & avoided the loss of points there. Rosberg also had issues with starts in Australia & Bahrain, though luckily for him, he was able to recover and win. In fact, he lost as many points as Hamilton through poor starts if you include Canada, But where Rosberg didn’t lose points was through reliability issues, That was the real differentiating factor. ”

      All drivers have bad starts, but Hamilton BUTCHERED his starts in about 6 or 7 races. I’ll have to go through my notes but it was at least 6 races where he handed the race to Rosberg before the first corner. Manual starts are an important aspect of driver skill (that’s why they brought manual starts back), and Rosberg was significantly better under pressure at the starts than Hamilton.

      As for the first corner of Canada, Hamilton punted Rosberg off the road. It was a dirty move but Hamilton is never criticised for them. Same as Texas 2015, Suzuka 2015, etc.

      I can remember the outrage when Schumacher “pushed” Montoya off the track at Imola 2001 I think it was — even though there was no chance of Montoya getting by and it was during the race not on the first corner where it’s congested and you must leave room. Hamilton’s a Brit.

      “As for Spain, Hamilton actually got the better start in Spain, but Rosberg slipstreamed him. Rosberg messed up his engine setting at the start of the Spanish gp, that lead to him being distracted & closing the door too late on Hamilton who had already committed to the inside line. Rosberg pushed Hamilton onto the grass. It was classed as a racing incident but drivers like Jacques Vill, blamed Rosberg http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/formula-1/nico-rosbergs-killer-move-blame-8011343

      Hamilton hadn’t committed. He just didn’t want to lift off. He could have gone to the outside like Sainz did in exactly the same move.

      “And as for Baku, Rosberg also crashed in a couple of FP sessions-e.g. Australia. Rosberg also performed poorly in wet races all season e.g. Monaco, Brazil GB. He was pathetic in the wet.. He was beaten by the Red Bull drivers in races like Monaco, Germany, Austria & Canada. At least Hamilton has the excuse of reliability issues affecting his preparations in Singapore. Rosberg got involved in so many scrapes and crashes, he was the most penalised driver on the grid in 2016. ”

      But Hamilton crashed in qualifying in Baku when it was all on the line. In the end eliminate that mistake and he wins the championship. Hamilton only has himself to blame for not winning it.

      No argument from me that Rosberg is a ordinary F1 driver. Indictment on Hamilton that he didn’t beat him like Vettel used to beat Webber.

      “As for 2014, those qualifying figures, did you take out q sessions where Hamilton was hit by reliability problems because there were quite a few? Rosberg scraped the qualy battle in 2014, but Hamilton trounced him 10-5 in the races- despite suffering more overall reliability issues.”

      Take out the reliability problems and it’s still even in 2014. Hamilton was lauded for years (when Vettel was dominating) as the fastest over one lap. Rosberg proved that to be rubbish. Rosberg was more than a match for Hamilton.

      “As for 2013–you are forgetting Hamilton was new to the team and was effectively driving a car built around Rosberg and Schumacher yet Hamilton was able to out-qualify Rosberg, gain more podiums, more poles etc He was on average -0.158s quicker than Rosberg, despite having to grapple in a car he wasn’t comfortable in and built around Rosberg. Hamilton was essentially quicker, always has been, perhaps the reason for the 12 page dossier i mentioned.

      Hamilton has been voted best driver in F1 by the people that count. To suggest Rosberg is better is laughable.”

      No arguments from me that Rosberg is an average guy at F1 level.

      Shows how “good” Button was to come into Hamilton’s team and outscore him during their three seasons together.

      I wasn’t suggesting Rosberg was better I was saying that Ricciardo, Verstappen, Alonso and many more would beat Hamilton fair and square.

      • March 15th 2017 @ 11:39am
        Buffy said | March 15th 2017 @ 11:39am | ! Report

        I think the team bosses are in a better place to judge than either you or I. They are the ones with the data, telemetry, insider knowledge, expertise and experience. Unlike you, I am not conceited enough to say they got it wrong, and claim my judgement is better than theirs….Besides, it wasn’t just the team bosses either, a lot of F1 writers voted Hamilton the best performer in 2016 but of course, the team bosses is the main, most significant vote.

        “Hamilton plays the media game as well as anyone and is always on the front foot making a case for himself. He takes shots at Rosberg every chance he gets, blames the team for giving him an unreliable car. Repeat it enough times and people begin to think it’s true.”

        So, you are assuming people don’t have in intelligence or balance to discern and make their own minds up? Oh dear! Talk about clutching at straws! Now people are too dumb to question what they are fed? LMAO! Anyway, Rosberg often played that game, taking shots at Hamilton—not sure why you felt the need to introduce it into the debate but here’s a couple of examples to remind that it’s not only Hamilton who can takes shots https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/mar/28/nico-rosberg-journalist-questions-lewis-hamilton
        http://www.skysports.com/f1/news/12433/9801944/watch-nico-rosberg-accuses-lewis-hamilton —there’s plenty more examples but i think i’ve made my point,

        “The fact is Rosberg had 9 wins to 6 and all he had to do in the last 4 races was bring the car home safely and that’s what he did”

        Last time I checked, Hamilton got more wins (10) than Rosberg, so no that is not fact. As for all he had to do was bring the car home in the last 4=that’s far too simplistic. Rosberg admitted he tried to win in those last 4 races, but the pressure got to him and slowed he down, He pushed in qualifying and simply got beaten to turn 1—after that, it was all over. No matter how hard he tried, wouldn’t have made any difference—, history shows, which ever Merc leads out of turn 1 wins regardless of effort of the car behind to try and gain the lead( do some research on that).

        “But you can’t tell me Hamilton drove better than Ricciardo or Verstappen.”

        Oh yes I can—and so did the team bosses and even RedBull.com all said Hamilton drove better.,
        Ricciardo was outclassed by a teenager in the later half of the season, In Brazil, Max made Ricciardo look ordinary. Hamilton & Max were head and shoulders above the rest of the field in that race. Ricciardo is a good driver, but he seems to lack race pace in relation to his teammate and isn’t as confident in the wet. He should have done better against a teenager, adjusting to a new team. Max got into too many scrapes in 2016, and was consistently moving under braking. Max just needs a little more maturity and consistency and I can see him ultimately beating Ricciardo

        Hamilton lost 25 points in 2016? Make that over 50. A 28 point swing Malaysia.. Work out how many points he lost in Spa & China by having to start at the back. Assume the Merc should be finishing 1-2 and work out where he did finish. Then there was Russia too. China in particular was a bit of a bummer. Hamilton has a terrific record there, Lowe confirmed Hamilton had the best start on the grid in China while Rosberg messed up his start, but Hamilton couldn’t capitalise due to starting from the back. He finished 7th. Lost loads of points- assuming he would have started P1 or P2 without that engine penalty and finished P1 or P2.

        What planet are you are? Just because Rosberg matched Hamilton in qual in 2014 doesn’t mean Hamilton isn’t fast! To his credit, Rosberg has always had 1 lap pace, even before he partnered Hamilton- that was his forte. Rosberg is naturally one of the fastest men in F1—it was always his racecraft that was in question—not his speed!

        We can argue the toss about Spain , Baku, Monaco, starts etc— but the point being that BOTH drivers had poor starts and messed up some races, so the real differentiating factor is reliability. A driver cannot expect to lose over 50 points in reliability and it doesn’t detrimentally affect their title fight—especially when your only competition has bullet proof reliability to always cash in and pick up the pieces. Even Wolff has now stated reliability cost Hamilton the title.

        As for Jenson Button—I am a fan of his, I think he is underrated. But Hamilton beat him 2 seasons to 1. Points don’t carry over from season to season (unless that’s a new rule I don’t know about?). Each season is judged on it’s own merits. Educated f1 fans know points don’t always paint a full picture. For example, Hamilton was the far better driver in 2012 but lost over 100 points due to reliability issues and operational errors beyond his control. This link might educate you a little better https://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2012/11/analysis-how-the-points-and-the-title-slipped-away-for-lewis-hamilton/
        I’d say it was similar to Button beating Alonso in 2015—or indeed Kvyatt beating Ricciardo. Ricciardo was the far better driver but ended up getting outscored by Kvyatt due to worse reliability. You see,, through reliability, the better driver doesn’t always end up with the most points—-food for thought for you….

        As for Alonso beating Hamilton-well Hamilton has already beaten him in the same car and Alonso is perhaps now past his prime. And Alonso has already been “beaten” by Trulli, Marques, Hamilton & Button so he is not invincible.. Ricciardo has already been beaten by JEV and Kyvatt (see above) As for Ric/Ves beating Hamilton— we don’t know that. They have never been in the same car so please stop making such rash, unfounded, unsupported and sweeping statements.

    • March 15th 2017 @ 3:16pm
      SonOfLordy said | March 15th 2017 @ 3:16pm | ! Report

      “I think the team bosses are in a better place to judge than either you or I. They are the ones with the data, telemetry, insider knowledge, expertise and experience. Unlike you, I am not conceited enough to say they got it wrong, and claim my judgement is better than theirs….Besides, it wasn’t just the team bosses either, a lot of F1 writers voted Hamilton the best performer in 2016 but of course, the team bosses is the main, most significant vote.”

      Don’t make me laugh. The F1 media is dominated by the British.

      Team bosses have skin in the game. They have their own reasons for voting for Hamilton. It says something about F1 when you vote as best driver in the world someone who BUTCHERED 1/3 of all of his race starts, made elementary mistakes in qualifying, made a clumsy move on his teammate in Spain, simply didn’t give 100% effort in races like China and Sinagpore, etc — was considered to have driven the best on the grid in 2016. Puhlease….

      “So, you are assuming people don’t have in intelligence or balance to discern and make their own minds up? Oh dear! Talk about clutching at straws! Now people are too dumb to question what they are fed? LMAO! Anyway, Rosberg often played that game, taking shots at Hamilton—not sure why you felt the need to introduce it into the debate but here’s a couple of examples to remind that it’s not only Hamilton who can takes shots https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/mar/28/nico-rosberg-journalist-questions-lewis-hamilton
      http://www.skysports.com/f1/news/12433/9801944/watch-nico-rosberg-accuses-lewis-hamilton —there’s plenty more examples but i think i’ve made my point,”

      They have their opinion, I have mine. I stated that a guy that BUTCHERED 1/3 of all of his race starts, made elementary mistakes in qualifying, made a clumsy move on his teammate in Spain, simply didn’t give 100% effort in races like China and Sinagpore — wasn’t the best driver in the world in 2016. Just the two RBR drivers alone outdrove him.

      “Last time I checked, Hamilton got more wins (10) than Rosberg, so no that is not fact. As for all he had to do was bring the car home in the last 4=that’s far too simplistic. Rosberg admitted he tried to win in those last 4 races, but the pressure got to him and slowed he down, He pushed in qualifying and simply got beaten to turn 1—after that, it was all over. No matter how hard he tried, wouldn’t have made any difference—, history shows, which ever Merc leads out of turn 1 wins regardless of effort of the car behind to try and gain the lead( do some research on that).”

      Okay, so Hamilton’s championship win in 2008 against Massa is not legitimate because Massa had 6 wins to Hamilton’s 5. Rosberg’s championship is actually more legitimate since all he had to do with 4 races remaining was bring the car home. He had no incentive to get into a head to head battle with Hamilton as the final race proved. Hamilton was willing to do anything (even “do a Senna”) to win the championship.

      “Oh yes I can—and so did the team bosses and even RedBull.com all said Hamilton drove better.,
      Ricciardo was outclassed by a teenager in the later half of the season, In Brazil, Max made Ricciardo look ordinary. Hamilton & Max were head and shoulders above the rest of the field in that race. Ricciardo is a good driver, but he seems to lack race pace in relation to his teammate and isn’t as confident in the wet. He should have done better against a teenager, adjusting to a new team. Max got into too many scrapes in 2016, and was consistently moving under braking. Max just needs a little more maturity and consistency and I can see him ultimately beating Ricciardo”

      Team bosses just vote on points meaning who was in the best car. People have short memories and forget that Hamilton butchered 1/3 of all his race starts, made elementary mistakes, didn’t give 100% effort in several races. They just remember what happened recently ie. the final four races of the season where Rosberg had no incentive to win and was more concerned with Hamilton trying to do something dirty to him in the final race. They wouldn’t vote for Rosberg because it’s a bad look to have the best driver on the grid walk out on the sport.

      Also, keep in mind that the team bosses voted Vettel as a better driver than Alonso in 2016. Shows how good Verstappen was to only just lose to Hamilton in the team boss count when they generally just vote based on the points standings.

      “Hamilton lost 25 points in 2016? Make that over 50. A 28 point swing Malaysia.. Work out how many points he lost in Spa & China by having to start at the back. Assume the Merc should be finishing 1-2 and work out where he did finish. Then there was Russia too. China in particular was a bit of a bummer. Hamilton has a terrific record there, Lowe confirmed Hamilton had the best start on the grid in China while Rosberg messed up his start, but Hamilton couldn’t capitalise due to starting from the back. He finished 7th. Lost loads of points- assuming he would have started P1 or P2 without that engine penalty and finished P1 or P2.”

      In China he didn’t give 100% effort. He should have cruised to 2nd but threw his toys out of the pram. Give 100% effort in China and he wins the title. Rosberg received some penalties that simply warranted which cost him quite a few points. Either way, Hamilton’s had 4 non-points finishes due to mechanical problems to Rosberg’s 8 from 2013-16. Reliability didn’t cost Hamilton it was his mistakes and poor effort at times.

      “What planet are you are? Just because Rosberg matched Hamilton in qual in 2014 doesn’t mean Hamilton isn’t fast! To his credit, Rosberg has always had 1 lap pace, even before he partnered Hamilton- that was his forte. Rosberg is naturally one of the fastest men in F1—it was always his racecraft that was in question—not his speed!”

      A nearly 42 year old Schumacher who sat out of the sport for 3 years went 10-10 in qualifying against a Rosberg in his prime in 2012. That’s not something to hang your hat on.

      “We can argue the toss about Spain , Baku, Monaco, starts etc— but the point being that BOTH drivers had poor starts and messed up some races, so the real differentiating factor is reliability. A driver cannot expect to lose over 50 points in reliability and it doesn’t detrimentally affect their title fight—especially when your only competition has bullet proof reliability to always cash in and pick up the pieces. Even Wolff has now stated reliability cost Hamilton the title.”

      No driver lost more points through bad starts than Hamilton. Race starts are a function of driver skill, and Hamilton was the worst on the grid at race starts.

      “As for Jenson Button—I am a fan of his, I think he is underrated. But Hamilton beat him 2 seasons to 1. Points don’t carry over from season to season (unless that’s a new rule I don’t know about?). Each season is judged on it’s own merits.”

      I think Button is criminally overrated. This is a guy that was basically matched by Perez by the end of 2013 despite Button having Whitmarsh wrapped around his finger.

      “I’d say it was similar to Button beating Alonso in 2015—or indeed Kvyatt beating Ricciardo. Ricciardo was the far better driver but ended up getting outscored by Kvyatt due to worse reliability. You see,, through reliability, the better driver doesn’t always end up with the most points—-food for thought for you….”

      Alonso went to a new team in 2015. That’s the same excuse you made for Hamilton when he went to Mercedes in 2013…

      Alonso also missed a lot of tracktime at the start of 2015 after that mysterious crash in testing. It set him along way back going to a new team and missing out on time in the car.

      “As for Alonso beating Hamilton-well Hamilton has already beaten him in the same car and Alonso is perhaps now past his prime. And Alonso has already been “beaten” by Trulli, Marques, Hamilton & Button so he is not invincible.. Ricciardo has already been beaten by JEV and Kyvatt (see above) As for Ric/Ves beating Hamilton— we don’t know that. They have never been in the same car so please stop making such rash, unfounded, unsupported and sweeping statements.”

      There was a lot going on behind the scenes in 2007 and McLaren made it clear that Hamilton was their man. They had developed him throughout the junior ranks and were always going to side with him over Alonso.

      I don’t think this is a very strong era of F1. Hamilton’s claim to fame is beating Massa in 2008 (despite winning less races) and beating his patsy teammate in 2014 and 2015 with the most dominant car in the history of the sport.

      • March 16th 2017 @ 4:26am
        Buffy said | March 16th 2017 @ 4:26am | ! Report

        “Team bosses have skin in the game. They have their own reasons for voting for Hamilton. It says something about F1 when you vote as best driver in the world someone who BUTCHERED 1/3 of all of his race starts, made elementary mistakes in qualifying, made a clumsy move on his teammate in Spain, simply didn’t give 100% effort in races like China and Sinagpore, etc — was considered to have driven the best on the grid in 2016. Puhlease….

        Arrogant from you- you are now telling the team bosses why they voted for a particular driver. Didn’t know you were a mind reader. Can you tell me what the lottery numbers are? LMFAO! And in making their decisions, they would have taken into account all the poor starts and driver errors of other drivers too. The way you talk you would think Hamilton was the only one on the entire grid who made a mistake. Alonso crashed in Australia, lost control in Hungary qualifying, was skidding all over the place in Brazil and a whole load more errors and mistakes. Ricciardo and Max-loads of mistakes too. Talk about clutching at straws. And as for Hamilton not trying in China, what utter nonsense and is really only being brought up by you because you are too much of a hater to want to concede how reliability impacted on Hamilton. He had the best start on the entire grid in China – that alone blows your silly theory that he wasn’t trying. In fact, considering he was driving with a damaged car (hit by Nasr) your comment shows Aussie ignorance at it’s finest. And you can bleat on about RBR drivers out-driving him but the people that count DO NOT AGREE WITH YOU. In fact, neither does RedBull.com!

        “Team bosses just vote on points meaning who was in the best car” . Ignorance at it’s finest. Check over the years–there were many times they voted for drivers who were not in the best cars and didn’t score the most points. Clutching at straws again and silly, silly comments from you. You really do not do Australians a favour as your thought process is illogical.

        “Okay, so Hamilton’s championship win in 2008 against Massa is not legitimate because Massa had 6 wins to Hamilton’s 5. Rosberg’s championship is actually more legitimate since all he had to do with 4 races remaining was bring the car home. He had no incentive to get into a head to head battle with Hamilton as the final race proved. Hamilton was willing to do anything (even “do a Senna”) to win the championship.

        What a childish, stupid comment. Where did anyone say Rosberg’s title was not legitimate? Grow up! We know Rosberg was faltering under the pressure in the last races–those were his words, unless you want to call him a liar and completely ignore his own words to suit your agenda? And do some research-educate yourself on how the battle with the Merc’s is over after turn 1. You might actually learn something. And as for 2008, it should have been 6 -5 to Hamilton had they not harshly stripped him of his Spa win and handed a free win to Massa.

        “A nearly 42 year old Schumacher who sat out of the sport for 3 years went 10-10 in qualifying against a Rosberg in his prime in 2012” But trounced Schumacher in 2010 & 2011……..

        As for poor starts, if you include Canada-Rosberg actually lost more points than Hamilton–work out how many points Rosberg lost in Germany, Hungary and Canada. Seb passed Rosberg in Canada at the start-if Rosberg had aced his start, he could have avoided contact with Hamilton. That’s a poor start for Rosberg. Of course he also messed his start in China but got away with it. Rosberg made as many mistakes as Hamilton but fortunately for Rosberg, he had bullet proof reliability and that allowed him to win the title.

        I notice you are conveniently silent on Kvyatt outscoring Ricciardo and the point i made ? LMAO!

        As for Alonso in 2015–yes it was a new team, hence partly why he was beaten by Button. Hamilton was in a new team in 2013 but managed to avoid being beaten……

        As for 2007, they were actively favouring Alonso up till Hamilton kicked up a stink about it in Hungary. For example, Alonso was given the best strategy in Australia. And team orders in Monaco were to Alonso’s favour. In fact, Ron Dennis has said they had decided Alonso was to win Monaco in before the race.

        As for 2008, i seem to remember the reigning world champion, then in his prime, in the other Ferrari. Hamilton beat BOTH Kimi & Massa in 2008. Kimi was also in the best car on the grid but Hamilton beat him to that title. Kimi had the car to challenge but failed to deliver. Hamilton beat him & Massa to it.

        And as for Hamilton, suck it up—he’s a 3x BRITISH WDC, who beat Alonso in the same car

        • March 16th 2017 @ 7:59pm
          SonOfLordy said | March 16th 2017 @ 7:59pm | ! Report

          “Arrogant from you- you are now telling the team bosses why they voted for a particular driver.”

          Yes.

          “Didn’t know you were a mind reader. Can you tell me what the lottery numbers are? LMFAO! And in making their decisions, they would have taken into account all the poor starts and driver errors of other drivers too. The way you talk you would think Hamilton was the only one on the entire grid who made a mistake. Alonso crashed in Australia, lost control in Hungary qualifying, was skidding all over the place in Brazil and a whole load more errors and mistakes. Ricciardo and Max-loads of mistakes too.”

          Not loads, but the difference is those guys are on the limit racing for the scraps left by Mercedes. They are constantly pushing because we’re talking tenths and hundreths of seconds between Ferrari and RBR — not the 1-2 seconds as Mercedes had over RBR/Ferrari. Hamilton is also one of the most experienced drivers on the grid. Mercedes is the most stable, easiest to drive car. Hamilton and Rosberg could trundle around and get at least 2nd place on the grid with virtually no risk such was the dominance of Mercedes between 2014-16. Hamilton had a patsy with no racecraft as his only foil in the past three seasons.

          “Talk about clutching at straws. And as for Hamilton not trying in China, what utter nonsense and is really only being brought up by you because you are too much of a hater to want to concede how reliability impacted on Hamilton. He had the best start on the entire grid in China – that alone blows your silly theory that he wasn’t trying. In fact, considering he was driving with a damaged car (hit by Nasr) your comment shows Aussie ignorance at it’s finest. And you can bleat on about RBR drivers out-driving him but the people that count DO NOT AGREE WITH YOU In fact, neither does RedBull.com!”

          He still had a massive advantage over the field in China and could cruise past cars on the straight at will due to being in the greatest car in the history of the sport. A podium was easily achievable, but he failed to extract the maximum from the car in that race and subsequently finished second in the championship. Even Hamilton lover Martin Brundle talked about it being some of the worst driving he had seen from Hamilton. Just taking weird lines in general, really negative mindset on team radio. Cost him the championship.

          “What a childish, stupid comment. Where did anyone say Rosberg’s title was not legitimate? Grow up! We know Rosberg was faltering under the pressure in the last races–those were his words, unless you want to call him a liar and completely ignore his own words to suit your agenda?”

          He never said anything like that. He talked about the pressure being incredible because he was the one with everything to lose and Hamilton had nothing to lose — hence the grubby tactics he resorted to in the final race.

          “And do some research-educate yourself on how the battle with the Merc’s is over after turn 1. You might actually learn something. And as for 2008, it should have been 6 -5 to Hamilton had they not harshly stripped him of his Spa win and handed a free win to Massa.”

          Hamilton didn’t know the rules or thought they didn’t apply to him. Didn’t put a legitimate pass on Kimi.

          “But trounced Schumacher in 2010 & 2011…….”

          Actually I meant to write a nearly 43-year-old Schumacher. Look how washed up Button looked last year and how Raikkonen has struggled for the last 5 years despite being early to mid-30’s. Imagine those guys sitting out of the sport for three years with their feet up, then attempting a comeback. Schumacher was 10 years past his prime and had three seasons out of the sport (basically not competing in ANY form of motorsport) letting his skills get rusty. Still matched Rosberg in 2012 as a nearly 43-year-old.

          “I notice you are conveniently silent on Kvyatt outscoring Ricciardo and the point i made ? LMAO!”

          Sure, but Ricciardo would beat Hamilton in equal machinery. He already can beat him in unequal machinery. Says more about Hamilton than Ricciardo.

          “As for Alonso in 2015–yes it was a new team, hence partly why he was beaten by Button. Hamilton was in a new team in 2013 but managed to avoid being beaten……”

          Rosberg had three non-points finishes due to mechanical failure compared to Hamilton’s one. Don’t forget that Ross Brawn ordered Rosberg to finish behind Hamilton in Malaysia. It was made clear who was the number one driver from the second race as teammates.

          “As for 2007, they were actively favouring Alonso up till Hamilton kicked up a stink about it in Hungary. For example, Alonso was given the best strategy in Australia. And team orders in Monaco were to Alonso’s favour. In fact, Ron Dennis has said they had decided Alonso was to win Monaco in before the race.”

          Alonso had shown himself to be the faster driver.

          “As for 2008, i seem to remember the reigning world champion, then in his prime, in the other Ferrari. Hamilton beat BOTH Kimi & Massa in 2008. Kimi was also in the best car on the grid but Hamilton beat him to that title. Kimi had the car to challenge but failed to deliver. Hamilton beat him & Massa to it.”

          Massa had Kimi taking wins off of him. No argument from me that Kimi is over-rated (as well as Massa). Massa still won more races than Hamilton.

          “And as for Hamilton, suck it up—he’s a 3x BRITISH WDC, who beat Alonso in the same car”

          Hamilton should have at least 5 championships given he’s had good cars from the minute he walked into F1 as a driver groomed by McLaren since childhood (in addition to having the best car in the history of the sport from 2014-16), but still finds ways to lose titles. That’s why he’s not elite. Vettel has four championships and won them in far more competitive seasons.

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