The Roar
The Roar

Michael Lamonato

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Joined July 2012

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Michael is a presenter/producer of ABC Grandstand's national F1 programme Box of Neutrals, but his most significant claim to fame came during the 2013 Australian Grand Prix when he angered the French contingent of the paddock by accidentally opening an umbrella indoors. He's also done some other things, none of which are particularly interesting. You can find him every Friday at 10:30AM (AET) on ABC Grandstand, or talking largely to himself at any time on Twitter: @MichaelLamonato.

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You seem to have missed the point.

Why Lewis Hamilton deserved victory in Canada

Got into my house and saw all my Hamilton posters, did you?

Why Lewis Hamilton deserved victory in Canada

Yeah, I think you’re right. I don’t think they have much of a chance anyway, though — it’s probably just to have their grievances noted, to be honest. Even if you think the penalty is completely contrary to the spirit of the rules, the regulations still entitle the stewards to make the decision, so I’d be surprised if an appeal were upheld.

Why Lewis Hamilton deserved victory in Canada

It’s a good comparison — but so is last year’s Japanese GP when Verstappen got pinged for doing to Raikkonen what Vettel’s done to Hamilton. It’s as consistent as you can get when the stewards are always rotating, I think — which is another matter entirely!

Why Lewis Hamilton deserved victory in Canada

Good thing no-one was on his tail.

Why Lewis Hamilton deserved victory in Canada

I can see what you mean about Hamilton having to get the job done, and that was ultimately the frustrating element of the penalty — but if the guy you’re chasing on the track and you’ve pressured into an error cuts a corner, you should have to contend with him cutting you off if you’ve stuck to the racing line. I think that’s the difference. Hamilton also didn’t have anywhere to go, really, so he could only choose to brake.

Why Lewis Hamilton deserved victory in Canada

It’d be an interesting race! I think you’d definitely get a top tier forming comprising some of the usual suspects you’ve mentioned, but I don’t think the rest would be that far behind — I think F1’s grids in the last few years have been pretty consistently strong with few, if any, drivers who don’t really belong on the grid.

For the record, I think Leclerc would be in that top tier (and would finish the race!).

The reinvention of Max Verstappen

Renault’s really got some questions to answer. If the car’s unreliable, there’s no excuse for them not to be maximising the occasions it’s quick, as it was in Ricciardo’s hands at the weekend. I think back to hearing Guenther Steiner say last season that Renault was worried because “they know they cannot beat us” in the F1 Netflix documentary, and the more we see of the team, the more it’s clear that he’s got a point, and not simply because the car might not be the outright quickest.

Why Monaco is still magic

Yeah, I’m not sure there’s much you can do about the circuit, and I’m not sure it’d be worth making wholesale changes to generate maybe an extra overtaking opportunity that might not pay off anyway. The history counts for something, and that combined with the mental challenge makes it worthwhile. I’m all for filling the calendar with circuits that promote lots of wheel-to-wheel racing, but there’s got to be room for classics, even if in a convention sense they lack action.

Why Monaco is still magic

Good point about the lack of overtaking opportunities elsewhere. It’s probably not such a stretch to say most other tracks are similarly hard to pass at but for the fact that run-off means more attempts are made given the cost of bailing out tends to be low. But that’s exactly what makes Monaco so brilliant — every action counts.

Why Monaco is still magic

Zandvoort will be absolutely nuts once it’s packed with Dutch fans. Hopefully the circuit delivers — though I have some serious doubts about that.

As for Verstappen, he’s really only got Singapore and Mexico, as you said, as potential win locations, unless RBR and Honda can find some extra time, which they keep hinting they will — but then so will Mercedes, so I can’t see the RB15 getting too much closer to the front. I think second ahead of Ferrari is likely the maximum.

And what a disappointment Ferrari has been indeed! The podium will give the team a bit of a buzz, but everyone at Maranello understands the real picture. Canada might be interesting, though, given it favours engine power.

The reinvention of Max Verstappen

Yep, they’re both drivers who you know will have a go and both have a great feel for a car on the brakes — I suspect Ricciardo’s relative lack of bit this season has been rediscovering the braking limit in his new car, as Azerbaijan suggested.

I don’t doubt there was some gamesmanship when it came to the radio, but visually his tyres were pretty cooked, especially post-race. I think the Hollywood element Palmer’s referring to is Hamilton saying he wouldn’t be able to win the race despite the circuit layout heavily stacking the duel in his favour.

The reinvention of Max Verstappen

Hi mate — I think it’s too early to say. His move was never about being in victory contention this season or even in 2020 so much as it was about being in a position to lead a championship-contending team in 2021. That said, absolutely the dramatic difference between the team’s preseason goal and its current competitiveness would be causing concern. A strong recovery this year will help steady the nerves.

The F1 quarter-term report

Hi Simoc, to be clear, this is in the context of their approaches to the 2019 aero regulations and their relative development potential. Ferrari has taken a distinctly different approach to how it deals with its front wing and the subsequent directing of airflow compared to Mercedes and Red Bull Racing.

The F1 quarter-term report

There’s merit in your Hamilton assessment. I think Mercedes, including Hamilton, has been very much focussed on external threats so far this season. Once attention turns to the teammates beating each other, they’ll both be required to step up a gear. The question then is how high Valtteri can go to match him, especially considering Hamilton tends to have slow starts to seasons before he really becomes comfortable in the car. Should be interesting.

Is the championship already over?

True! We’ve got to stay positive if this really is the whole season. Even if Bottas doesn’t get over the line, I’ll be interested to see how he approaches it. Hamilton might be one of the best, but he isn’t unbreakable.

Is the championship already over?

Yep, I think it might be up to Bottas to salvage this season. He definitely has a different attitude about him, but Hamilton always tends to find another gear halfway through the season after a slow start, so Valtteri will need to up his game again if he’s to see it through.

Red Bull Racing might have a crack at a couple of their traditionally successful races, but already the signs for Monaco are grim, and if the team can’t win there, it mightn’t be possible anywhere without a major slice of luck.

Is the championship already over?

Accusing Mercedes of tanking must be your wackiest claim yet.

Is the championship already over?

I agree things must be scrutinised closely, which is why I think it’s too difficult to decide these things during a career — it’s really for post-retirement.

Similar goes for Bottas. He mightn’t have impressed you thus far, and fair enough, but drivers improve over time, some more slowly than others. This doesn’t mean they have to be in greatest-ever territory, but better not to write these things off ahead of time.

As for last season, even if Mercedes’s car was comprehensively the quickest out there (it wasn’t bar perhaps a quarter of the races), it wasn’t dominant to the degree of his hold over the field. You do not have to believe he’s the greatest of all time to admit he was in superb form last year.

Can Valtteri Bottas save the 2019 F1 season?

I think it will be a very interesting discussion once he’s retired. Sure, he was beaten by Button (world champion) on points over several seasons and Rosberg (world champion) in a single year, but he also matched Fernando Alonso on debut and wiped the floor with the entire competition last season, when he was performing at an incredibly high level.

I think he’s certainly in the discussion — the number of poles, titles and wins alone mandate it — but it’s so hard to declare it, especially when a driver is still competing.

Can Valtteri Bottas save the 2019 F1 season?

You may be right, which would be a disappointing anticlimax to what was supposed to be a big Ferrari year. Spain will be the real test, though. If Ferrari can look as good in Barcelona as they did at the same track in preseason testing, then there’s hope at least the team might learn how to unlock that pace consistently for the rest of the season to launch a fightback.

Either way, I can’t wait to watch Leclerc vs Vettel unfold.

Can Valtteri Bottas save the 2019 F1 season?

Bottas was pretty much on Hamilton’s pace this weekend and obviously got pole. Hamilton is probably the best driver out there, but I think Bottas can push him, he’s definitely stepped up for the start of the year.

As for Vettel, it’s hard to say. Had he been in the dominant Mercedes of 2014–16, you’d probably say he’d have beaten Rosberg, but then his mistakes under pressure in the last two years have been disappointing — who’s to say he Rosberg wouldn’t have cracked him in what were seasons-long one-on-one battles? I think this is an important year for Vettel’s reputation in that regard; he still has things to prove.

Ferrari team orders looked bad, but they hide a bigger problem

Yep, it definitely cost both cars time and gave Verstappen a sniff. It’s understandable given it looked like Vettel was quicker, but there’s no denying the cost.

Verstappen getting fourth was more a function of everything that happened after the first pit stop, though. Leclerc could’ve recovered the position had he been given a regular strategy rather than used exclusively to cover Vettel.

Ferrari team orders looked bad, but they hide a bigger problem

Hey mate, let me reproduce a key part of the article you clearly didn’t bother reading:
The first call in Vettel’s favour was understandable. It’s not uncommon for teams to switch drivers when the following car appears faster, and Ferrari’s hand was subsequently forced when Red Bull Racing smelt weakness and exploited it.

I don’t see how this constitutes Leclerc fanaticism, but I’m happy you’re excited anyway.

Ferrari team orders looked bad, but they hide a bigger problem

That’s a great comparison, I reckon. Vettel has loads of ability, but he seems to be missing one or two percent compared to the likes of Hamilton when it comes to landing the knockout blow.

The dynamic inside Ferrari will be fascinating this season.

Leclerc the hero Ferrari deserves and needs after Bahrain near miss