Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Hungaroring, 2015

Mercedes wary of increased threat from rivals

2015 F1 season

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Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Hungaroring, 2015Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff is alert to an increased threat from the team’s rivals compared to twelve months ago.

“With ten races down and nine to go, we enter the second half of the season with a stronger points total than at this stage last year,” he said. “And yet, our margin to the competition is actually smaller.”

Mercedes leads Ferrari by 147 points after ten races. At the same point in last year’s championship the team had a 188 points margin over closest rivals Red Bull.

However in the drivers’ championship the closest non-Mercedes rival to points leader Hamilton is Sebastian Vettel, who is 42 points behind. Last year Nico Rosberg was the points leader after ten races and his closest non-Mercedes rival, Daniel Ricciardo, was 84 adrift.

Although Mercedes enjoys a greater performance margin over its rivals than last year, the team failed to get either of its cars on the podium at the last race in Hungary for the first time since 2013.

“Hungary proved once again that any slip is an opportunity our rivals will grab with both hands,” added Wolff. He warned the team still has “many chances to win or lose this battle”.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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32 comments on “Mercedes wary of increased threat from rivals”

  1. “However in the drivers’ championship the closest contender to points leader Hamilton is Sebastian Vettel […]”
    Some tweaking needed there, maybe “the closest contender from another team”. Cheers!

    1. Maybe people no more consider Rosberg as a championship contender :P

  2. Mercedes wary of threat from own slip up

    Fixed that for you.

    1. knoxploration
      19th August 2015, 3:14

      Mercedes pretending there’s a threat in the hopes they can remain utterly dominant for longer

      Fixed that for you.

  3. This thing could morph into one of the best f1 seasons of all time. All ingredients are there ;)

    1. I’m not disagreeing but I wouldn’t describe a non-Merc driver winning the WDC as simply “turning the season around”… If that happened it would have to be considered as one of the most dramatic, unexpected things we’ve ever seen in F1?

      1. @petebaldwin Where are double points when you need them!

        I honestly believe he is still in the hunt if the stars align.

        1. @xtwl

          I was thinking the same thing! It’s possible for Vettel to hang on to a 49 point gap before heading into the last race of the season, and then … anything can happen

        2. @xtwl – haha don’t give them ideas! I wouldn’t put it beyond them to bring it back!

          Vettel is still in the hunt of course and we all know he will never give up until it’s mathematically impossible but with the pace of the Mercedes and Hamilton’s lack of competition from Rosberg, I just think he’ll have too many easy victories over the coming races.

          Having said that, if Vettel can keep getting on the podium, all it’d take is a couple of DNFs…

      2. Yeah fair enough – it would literally have to go from the most frustrating season I can remember watching to one of the best! Fingers crossed!

      3. Well, Vettel has the same deficit in point to Hamilton today than he had to Alonso at the 2012 summer break. It’s a sign, I tell you.

  4. One thing also worth mention is Vettel’s tendency to have a very strong second half of a season. He did it in every season to date except for arguably in 2011. Even last year, he seemed to match or beat his team mate a lot more than in the first half, and I’m sure that we all remember his incredible nine out of nine in 2013.

    1. I’m pretty sure you could find some Hamilton fan disagreeing.

      1. Some fans can’t look at arguments objectively

      2. Let me give it a go;

        It was only the car. If Hamilton drove it he would win 10 races in the last 9!

      3. @xtwl
        Statistically, yes.

        If you take the car into account, nothing quite matches up to Alonso’s first half of 2012, IMO.

        1. Not really. Seb won 9 out of 9 races and did not put a foot wrong in any of the races.
          Fernando had one blip in the first half of 2012. The Canadian Grand Prix. He misjudged his strategy there and finished lower than what position he had started.

          Now, I have utmost respect for first-half-2012-Alonso and second-half-2013-Vettel. Both were examples of why these two are legends of the sport. But since, we are choosing between the two, I think Vettel 2013 is better, only slightly. But it is.

        2. @sumedh
          Alonso is not the strategist of the Ferrari team.

          For instance, Vettel’s strategy in India was also very strange, but he was still able to recover because Red Bull had such a massive advantage over the field; while Ferrari wasn’t even the best car in 2012.

          Alonso also made several miracles work in the first half of 2012, such as Malaysia and Valencia.

        3. @kingshark Aaaaan we found one. That is of course if you are a strong believer the 2012 Ferrari was actually a Force India…

          Both Malaysia and Valencia were two races affected by a whole lot more than ‘Alonso his superpowers’. For example, had Webber not had a KERS issue, Grosjean and Vettel their alternators stayed in tact there is no way Alonso would have been able to get that close to them. Malaysia was a freak race affected by freak weather like this years race. His best race in the first half of the season is Hockenheim, where he actually won on pace.

        4. @xtwl
          Malaysia being weather affected suddenly does not dismiss the race from being relevant. Massa finished 15th and was nearly lapped, so it’s not as if the Ferrari was setting the world alight in these conditions (Massa is certainly not a bad driver). Alonso was simply on another planet that race.

          The 2012 Ferrari was no Force India, but it wasn’t a Red Bull either, nor was it as fast as McLaren. The Ferrari was about as good as the Lotus, give or take.

          Alonso overtook both Grosjean and Raikkonen in Valencia even before any Lotus cars lost their alternator. Once again, Ferrari was not particularly strong this weekend.

          Alonso’s first half of 2012 was also better than his own first half of 2006, despite the first half of 2006 being significantly more impressive (statistically), because the F2012 was not as good as the R26.

          1. @kingshark trust me, Alonso could not overtake lotus if his car was inferior. Massa is not even a decent driver in rain. 2012 was a season of stellar drives from Alonso, nothing less nothing more. There is no such thing like outperforming your car (it’s a myth)…. no one has ever done it and no one will ever do it.

  5. Let’s hope for a very strong second half ! I hope Honda has solved the reliability issues in order to have some very good weekends … but in my opinion the next two high speed circuits will be very difficult

    1. @sotiris07 It wouldn’t be too bad for Merc if Honda came on strong either, the more points Honda can pick up, the fewer available for rivals who might actually challenge them.

  6. I think Lewis will returned refreshed after his ‘gallivanting’ in the Caribbean Islands!

  7. Lewis should be romping if not for the incompetence of his team. They have given away 2 wins that should have been his. Any other driver winning the title besides Hamilton would be a sham and F1 would lose credibility.

    1. Yeah but how much credibility does F1 really have anyway? It’s run by Bernie, involves more backroom deals than occur at FIFA, has most teams struggling to exist, is losing fans left right and centre, cannot attract new teams to join the sport, is being dominated by one team for several seasons in a row etc…. I could go on but you get the idea.

      At least Hamilton not winning the title would mean that we are in for an exciting remainder of the season – that’s something!

      1. @petebaldwin
        Exactly. The fact they are constantly meeting to improve the show contradicts with the statements saying F1 is in a good shape. In my opinion introducing these lazy and boring regulations only exaggerated F1’s existing problems and created new ones. You have to be happy with the sport first then you can be excited and thrilled by races.

    2. Which two races are you talking about when you blame Mercedes? Monaco is acceptable. But which other race?

      1. I don’t think even Monaco is acceptable. Lewis has to take a good 50% of the blame for that pit-stop mistake.

      2. Monaco, Malaysia, and Spain Hamilton was pitted an extra unnecessary time. The team should have insisted for him to stay out in Monaco and in Malaysia the race was only 4 or 5 laps in before they pitted Hamilton. His team has shown complete utter incompetence that has cost Hamilton 2 additional wins.

    3. what 2 wins did Merc give away? Monaco maybe – LH was just as culpable. But which other race? Not Malaysia. Ferrari with Vettel was matching the Mercs on pace and would have won even without the SC. Spain? Rosberg clearly the winner. Austria? Again, Rosberg the clear winner. Hungary? Well, LH ran himself out of contention not once, but twice. Not the team errors.

  8. I prefer to say Alonso got everything out of the car while others simply were unable to do so in those circumstances. Ferrari wasn’t inferior but similarly wasn’t on par with Red Bull and McLaren in most races. However a combination of Alonso’s masterclass, great reliability and good team work allowed him to fight for the championship, not sheer speed.

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