Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Singapore, 2015

Car balance “terrible” since Singapore – Hamilton

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton confirms he has been struggling with the balance of his car in the last seven races.


Comment of the day

Sergio Perez, Force India, Yas Marina, 2015
Perez had his best season
A handful more stats on the 2015 season spotted by Craig:

Sergio Perez had his best season to date, finishing higher and with more points than he did in 2012. I felt that he drove far better than he has done in any season too.

Daniel Ricciardo finished behind his team mate(s) for the third time in five seasons.

Lewis Hamilton equalled the record for most podium finishes in a season (although Michael Schumacher’s incredible record of 100% still stands). For the second time in his career, he has finished second in three consecutive races.

For the first time since 2006, every race win was taken by a manufacturer team. Unlike 2006, every pole position was also taken by a manufacturer team. However manufacturer teams missed out on three fastest laps – all taken by Ricciardo.

For the first time in his career, Fernando Alonso has finished a season with fewer points than a team mate. However, he finished behind Lewis Hamilton and Tarso Marques on count-back in 2007 and 2001 respectively, and scored fewer points than Jarno Trulli before the latter was sacked in 2004.

Finally well done to Manor on being the second most reliable team, only just behind the mighty Mercedes, and tied with Williams.
Craig Woollard (@Craig-o)

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On this day in F1

Ex-F1 drivers Jacky Ickx and Jochen Mass won the final round of the World Sports-Prototype Championship (fore-runner to WEC) on this day 30 years ago. The race was held at the Shah Alam circuit in Selangor, Malaysia.

Also on this day last year Sebastian Vettel had his first official run as a Ferrari driver:

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  • 71 comments on “Car balance “terrible” since Singapore – Hamilton”

    1. That Alonso/Button points stat is going to be one for the debate by numbers crowd. So he beats Hamilton on some fictional 3 year long championship and now Alonso, he’s the best driver on the grid then right?

      1. Clearly. Numbers never misrepresent the reality.

      2. Especially the numbers depicting how, Ralf, Fisichella, and Villeneave all beat Button but yet he wasn’t sacked as he then beat Takuma Sato. Button did well, especially ever since 09, but lets not get silly.

        Horner is still campaigning, I guess RB won’t get bailed by Mercedes. I hope it’s Honda but it might just mean a technological partnership between Ilmor and Renault, branded Aston Martin, which in-hand will mean there’s no SFI on the grid next season.

        1. Villeneuve beat Button? No no no no and again no. They only raced together one year in 2003 when Jenson comprehensively beat JV. Jenson was 9th in the DWC and JV 16th…

          In fact, this was the main reason that JV was sacked – that and a £15 million salary. JB also beat a vastly more experienced Trulli @ Renault and although Ralf did score more points than JB at Williams BMW (not by many), it was his rookie season. Be fair to the man. He’s better than many think….just not exciting. A bit like Prost.

          1. @baron Be fair to JV and look at his horrendous unreliability vs. Button that year. Look at the agenda David Richards was on. And look at JV’s salary as an investment in both talent and marketing draw, since they would have been far worse off without him given he was the reason Honda came on board.

            1. @robbie I completely agree, but I was merely addressing a posted untruth in that “Villeneave ” (sic) beat Button which is patently incorrect. I’m afraid that PRT has always had a bit of a downer on JB. Personally, I care not but I do care for some degree of accuracy when you are trying to make a point…

        2. It’s looking like Red Bull will run Nissan engines, which are obviously Renaults rebadged. Aston Martin – Force India announcement sometime in December apparently.

      3. @philipgb, well, to be brutally honest, the points totals are pretty meaningless when the sheer unreliability of the car meant that points finishes were as dependent on luck as they were on skill – had Alonso’s engine not started malfunctioning in Austin, for example, it could well have been him who scored that 6th place instead of Button, which would flip the standings around.

        1. My tongue is firmly planted in my cheek at the suggestion. Numbers never tell a full story, though I do think Jenson has been incredibly strong this year and on a few occasions reminded us how he can mix it wheel to wheel, the points make about as much use as a bingo draw for getting any real driver performance conclusions. Much like the point tally comparison between Hamilton and Button over 3 years is a convenient argument for people who want to talk down Hamilton regardless of there being no championship that counts 3 years worth of points or all the points reliability, operational errors and other drivers mistakes lost him in 2012.

      4. Nice try Philip but….
        If you take into account Alonso had 2 more DNF’s and didn’t even run in the first race (that adds up to 3 less races in case your math isn’t too good) and was 5th at COTA until his engine went south it shows how ridiculous your assessment is. As you were saying..


        1. Argue all you like over reliability ,DNFs etc (which Hammy fans do) the stats in the record books are the ones written in the history books .

          1. @sonia54 And Ham 2-1 vs But would mean 2-1 in titles so dont let more points fool you in one year, Ham more poles and wins and 2-1 in yrs

    2. i won’t disagree with Lewis, mostly because i’ll never get to drive that car (not before and not after Singapore) but if the car balance is terrible… what the hell is Nico doing? he won all the races he couldn’t because of that terrible balance… he surely need to look more on the mirror than in the car for a culprit…

      1. Terrible balance for Lewis doesn’t automatically equal terrible balance for Nico.

      2. I commented yesterday that I thought the Mercedes handling looked better after Singapore. It’s all relative but Nico was looking in much worse shape that Lewis is now, in terms of getting the right balance, you could see it on pre-season test, Hamilton’s lap times and Nico’s groans. On the tyre pressure debate, I honestly believe tyres are one of the catalyst for changes in the drivers hierarchy, just look at how great Raikkonen was doing back in 2012 and 2013 until the tyre change, and look how slow Mark got in 2011. I wonder if there are specific parameters that are insurmountable for some drivers. I can’t tell a dip in form by Fernando, on pace he’s been on top of his game ever since he left McLaren.

        1. Every driver has his gust of wind:-)

      3. Don’t forget that in 2013, when Hamilton was complaining about his car, investigation showed the chassis was cracked.

        Alternatively, Hamilton is known as a demon on the brakes, and unless things have changed from last year, has a more complex brake setup than Rosberg on his steering wheel. If there’s something throwing the balance of the car off under braking, I could see it affecting Hamilton more than Rosberg.

    3. They can’t really be thinking of bringing back “the cliff” again. I would love to just see some decent tires which they can choose whatever they want. Hard, soft, medium. Hard on the front right. Medium all the rest. No pit stops if you don’t want to have a pit stop. I hate that rule having to use two compounds for a race almost as much as pit stops in general. Nothing worse to ruin the flow of a race than driving down the pit lane at 50 miles an hour. Tired of all the contrivances.

      1. @darryn,
        Re-watch India 2012 race. Tyres lasting forever, drivers pushing to the limit and… no on-track action.

        1. @michal2009b Aero downforce is far more the culprit than tires. And for me if there is going to be no on-track action, which has happened a lot this year too even with gadgets of fake tires and fake passing, I’d rather at least know the drivers are pushing themselves and their cars to their limits while I’m watch a procession.

          And I agree, the cliff is terrible and is just more of the bandage type solutions to mask their continued addiction to downforce. It is the equivalent of sprinklers around the track to shake things up because they can’t bring themselves to leave that up to the drivers in cars with more mechanical grip and smaller wing effect.

          1. @robbie,
            I just re-read comments in the rate the race section. No one rated it highly nor mentioned his happiness because the drivers were pushing all race long. People want on-track action (DRS omitting). It is a recent development amongst the purists (especially on F1F I think) to call for flat-out non-stop races, such is the bad image of Pirelli. But history suggests these grands prix are very dull to watch.

            Call me crazy but I still prefer races like China 2011 or Belgium 2011 to 2010 one-stoppers or India ’12. The fact Pirelli is doing a poor job right now cannot deny how good racing was in ’11 and ’12 in spite of DRS.

        2. If I took the time to re-watch a race it wouldn’t be that one. I don’t really care about on track action. I am just sick of all the gimmicks. F1 has been on the slow and steady path to WWE for 20 years now. I just want 3 tires taken to the track and they can decide how to use them. I want open development. If it is a boring season I will get lots of Sunday afternoon naps. I like when the stars align every once in awhile and a great season, or race, or championship fight occurs naturally. I seriously think the on track action is the best it has been in the 30 years I have been watching the sport, but all the gimmicks to achieve it leave me underwhelmed. I would rather see F1 open the rules back up and die that way than wither on the vine like it has for the last 20 years.

    4. I’m sure those comments by Hamilton are the setup to an Alonso joke.

    5. I’d like to throw the Pirelli tyres off a cliff!

      1. Haha.

        I bet MANY of the drivers and fans agree!

    6. Perhaps Lewis would have liked Mercedes to replicate their Singapore form everywhere.

      We might have seen a different champion.

      1. lol @evered7. A bit tiresome to hear one of the drivers in the best all round car on the grid mentions how “terrible” its handling is now. I am pretty sure the drivers in all but a few cars on the grid would love the handling of that Mercedes compared to what they had now!

        1. @bascb, spot on, exactly what I was thinking as well.

      2. If the balance in the car has been “terrible” since Singapore, how come he didn’t mention it when he won in Austin, and was making all his “It’s tough being my teammate” comments deriding Rosberg?

        When a driver wins, they think they’re the best. When they lose, it’s someone/thing else’s fault. That’s just the psychology of being a winning driver, self doubt is a killer. Vide Rosberg at the beginning of the season, Grosjean before he went to therapy, Button’s slump in 2009…

        1. It’s consistently amazing how thin-skinned Rosberg’s supporters are, crying over anything that might be construed as even remotely derogatory.

          When Lewis says, “Since then it has been terrible … so I need to figure that out.” who do you think the “I” refers to? Lewis is perfectly aware that setting up the balance of the car is a critical part of his job as a driver and talks about sitting down with his race engineer to fix it. Yes, you need to be pretty special to earn an F1 world championship, but both Hamilton and Vettel before him have been effusive after every win in their praise of the team that put them there. Clearly that sails right over the heads of those who only hear things that fit their pre-conceptions.

          1. Thank you.

          2. In not sure how you got to Rosberg’s fans from there…? Or that there was an agenda to have a go at Hamilton by describing him as having a “winning driver”‘s mentality…

            His comments are nonsense when regarded as fact, because clearly the car hasn’t been that bad for him since Singapore. They make perfect sense within the context of how a top driver mentally frames being beaten: if they allow self doubt to creep in , they fall apart.

    7. The article about Baku limiting the number of tickets to their Grand Prix to only 28,000 because of accommodation issues in the city really illustrates how ridiculous the selection process for Grand Prix venues has become.

      In my mind the best Grand Prix are ones where there is atmosphere, where there is an actual crowd, excited to be there. Year after year even if the racing is boring the best Grand Prix in my mind are Melbourne, Barcelona, Monaco, Montreal, Silverstone, Spa, Monza, Singapore, Suzuka, Texas, Brazil, and now Mexico, because when I watch them on TV there are massive crowds of excited fans. The worst ones are where there is no crowd or just a bunch corporates milling around – i.e. Russia, Abu Dhabi, China, Bahrain, and Korea.

      1. Bernie has already told us, he doesn’t want “ugly” people attending races.

        I’ll let you interpret “ugly” ;-)

      2. pretty damning indeed.

    8. At least he won Austin, right ?

    9. Hurrah for the Independent! I am so sick of these stories of Rosberg “raising his game”, because the simple fact is, in the part of the season that actually mattered, he was 10-3 down on race wins.

      Yes he had 6 poles on the bounce, that is impressive but he was still out qualified over the course of the season by Hamilton.

      I get the sense that this “story” is just the press trying to find column inches where there are none because there was so little to talk about on track over the last 3 races.

      1. In F1, you are only as good as your last race… and in the last 3 Hamilton hasn’t been good while Rosberg has, so it is fair game. also it is not like Hamilton has relaxed after winning the title, you could tell by his droopy facial expressions and body language that is not satisfied with the results – and listening to the teams words about his last race shows that Rosberg has a mental victory leading into next year, and perhaps better team backing. Hamilton is the champion, but Rosberg is the form driver of the moment. both have had a good spell of media deservedly, but the independent article is just rubbish.

        1. it is not like Hamilton has relaxed after winning the title

          While I agree that it has been obvious that Hamilton has been pushing hard on track, the area I would question is the off-track time. It would not surprise me to find out that he has been putting less work in behind the scenes since winning the WDC, or that his partying has left him less productive in that area.

          Then again, it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that wasn’t the case, either, and either Rosberg has upped his game or a change in the car has suited him better…

      2. Not to mention, even with ‘terrible’ balance, since Singapore, HAM and ROS earned three wins apiece.

    10. Just read the one year old article. Some of us were so wrong. “Arrivabene is a stop gap solution”, “Vettel will now endure the pain Alonso has endured”, “Ferrari will take at least 2-3 years to be competitive again”.

      So glad it didn’t turn out that way though.

      1. Ferrari were slaughtered by Mercedes, Seb only looks very good because of Kimi and all the other teams relative performances, but ultimately Vettel was never within any fraction of a percent of a chance of what he wanted, at least in 2014 there was a fraction of hope before preseason testing…

        1. Seb only looks good because of Kimi

          Can we replace Seb with Mercedes? Considering the mistakes that Kimi has done this season, the points gap between Mercedes and Ferrari can be explained perfectly.

          Seb was in the title fight until Austin and if Mercedes had anymore of their Singapore weekends, it would have been real close between the top3.

        2. Nice try Alex, but Vettel only looks good because he is good.

          1. It came out wrong, I meant Vettel and Alonso both had the same chance of winning the WDC, that is , zero, and both are the best on the grid.

      2. Well, another season in 2nd place might make a difference, another season after that and you will start to see cracks.

        1. If the alternative is to fight the Manors at the far end of the grid, I think Vettel would take the second place any day :)

    11. I like the cliff. It’s more dramatic to have that threat hanging over them, and at the end of the day the race weekend is a story, which needs tension.

      A tyre that hangs onto its performance, more or less, then suddenly, and not quite predictably, drops into ‘safe mode’ and costs 5 seconds is just more interesting than one that steadily drops 0.15s per lap or whatever.

      1. I kinda agree with you @lockup. The “will he make to the end or not” part of the races was very exciting. Even if the most memorable race to me (as a finn) with those kind of tires was also the most horrible: watching RAI dropping from the podium to out of points position. It has also been brought up in few discussions that the status quo is too easy for the teams. They have adapted to the tires and the cars and all the other parameters so well that there’s only ever one possible strategy.. they even show the best 2 and 3 strop ones on tv before the race! And usually most teams pic one of them with only a few going for the alternative. The races where they have missed one practise or it has rained in one event or another have been as a rule more interesting. So, I say: bring on more variables and mix it up a little bit!

      2. @lockup I don’t necessarily need “tension”, and certainly no tension because of comedy tyres popping a surprise. I want to see teams and drivers performing at their best and the cliff is an abomination for racing with the sole purpose to “spice up the show” (how I hate those words).

        I have no idea why Pirelli suddenly wants to reintroduce the cliff so badly. I hope they don’t succeed in doing so. UNLESS it is merely a safety measure to allow drivers to race hard on the tyres but not make them explode when being close to completely wearing them down, and unless it is predictable when it will happen.

      3. I disagree, Having a driver suddenly become several seconds a lap slower unable to do anything with cars easily breezing by him as he can’t even think about defending is just as uninteresting/unexciting as any boringly easy DRS highway pass.

        Just look at the GP2 race over the weekend, The softer compound tyres hit the cliff within 4 laps & you had the 1st driver on the harder compound just easily breezing past everyone infront of him without having to even really try & it all looked really pathetic!

        1. I am not for the cliff effect either, as I find it to be just more gadget, and I won’t make the assumption that @lockup is making about them ‘hanging onto their performance more or less’ . But to be fair, I think we’ll just have to wait and see exactly what these tires will be like. Pirelli saying they want the cliff back does not make it so unless that is also the agenda of F1. If the tires can actually be pushed more than this year, and if the cliff isn’t too severe, then perhaps it’s no biggy. Certainly with a cliff present LH will have far less chance to convince his team that he should stay out longer or even forego a pit stop entirely.

        2. I don’t see it as a gadget @mattds @robbie, it’s just an engineered feature of the challenge like the track’s bends. Yes it’s disastrous to fall off the cliff, but not so much as gravel which lots of people love to love.

          We need tension because that is what goes with the outcome being interesting. Ideally they could push on the tyres while the outer layer lasts, with less graining, but they must NOT overdo it. We could be watching big place changes right to the end of the race, and it would be about skill and judgment.

          1. @lockup Realistically it is all an engineered feature, no? All the regs create the entity that F1 is, by design, good or bad. Can’t disagree with having tension, and drivers being able to push, but I think the cliff, or at least a true cliff, is unfair and too manufactured, at least for me. Give them a couple of laps and no more, to get in to pit without too much deficit, rather than half a lap, imho. And with a big cliff, couldn’t some of the tension be removed with a tire that forces drivers to pit rather than risk going further? Eg. Less chance that an LH would claim he has a better plan and can run longer based on how the tires feel to him at the time, a power I’m sure will be re-instated to him come the start of the next season.

            Anyway…there’s so many factors and variables to what reality will be, especially how the next front tires will behave when in dirty air wrt wing regs, the new cars’ design etc etc…wouldn’t want to see the run to the cliff shortened by cars still handcuffed behind another. Two penalties for pushing…kill tires early and make the cliff bigger in doing so.

            1. Give them a couple of laps and no more, to get in to pit without too much deficit, rather than half a lap, imho

              I agree that there has to be a graceful decline in performance. A sudden drop with no warning can ruin a driver’s chances, so the teams end up being ultra-cautious to avoid it. Not only that, but if too sudden it could even become dangerous (a driver goes off the cliff just as he’s going in to a fast corner…)

              For me, tyres you can push hard with consistent performance, which then fade away over 2-3 laps, would be the right balance. The driver will get warning that he needs to change his tyres, but may be able to eek it out for a couple more laps, if he needs to risk it, before the performance is completely gone. The drivers need that warning.

            2. Yes okay @robbie @drmouse I’d settle for a steep rather than vertical cliff. I wonder what Pirelli are thinking. Something to be dreaded anyway, hopefully :)

              I wish they’d shed less rubber, is another thing I hope they’re thinking about. The marbles really don’t help the passing issue.

    12. ColdFly F1 (@)
      1st December 2015, 9:21

      great to see the Complete index of every driver penalty and investigation in 2015.

      I found the penalty points hand-out very arbitrary this season.
      In 2015 drivers were ‘rewarded’ with penalty points on 24 occasions with 14 in only 4 races (Hungary, Malaysia, Brazil, and Abu Dhabi).
      Especially Abu Dhabi seemed rediculous: The biggest incident (Bottas/Button) did not result in a penalty point (rightly so IMO), but a smaller mistake by Alonso got a full 2 points. Further Verstappen receiced penalty points for relatively small infringements which were either not penalised at all previously (blue flags) or received widely inconsistent penalties (left track and gained advantage).

      It is good to have an ex-driver steward. But they should become a little bit more consistent in their rulings.

      1. Hungary is not a surprise. Most drivers apart from the Ferrari and Mclaren drivers were making numerous mistakes.
        Regarding Alonso, I think the penalty is more because it is lap 1 and it ended Maldonado’s race.

        The punishment is correlated more with the result of the crime than the crime itself. That has always been the case with Formula 1. And I think stewards have been consistent in following that.

    13. And now with Hamilton at half-cock Rosberg is lauded for raising his game. Has the world gone mad?

      I can’t stand whoever wrote that. This kind of arrogant, belittling and blind fandom annoys me out of my socks.

      1. Definitely!

    14. I am very curious what engine RB has. As they say they have one no matter what renault does. Is this officially the first step in a RB engine program?

      1. I think what Horner is getting at is it’s a Renault engine without the name, so whatever Renault do will not affect Red Bull. Red Bull will likely run ‘Nissan’ engines thanks to the Renault – Nissan alliance and that also works for Renault as they can distance themselves from the team and won’t have to take anymore flack.

      2. And I think you are right in that Red Bull will have a lot more of a say in engine development from now on.

    15. car balance being terrible is another way of saying Hamilton did not setup the car correctly, without directly claiming it was his fault, which is a direct correlation to not being fast enough.

      1. He says “i” need to work at that which is him directly saying its him who needs to find a way to set the car up that suits him. Sounds like you just don’t like him? Like many people I’ve found on here.

        1. It’s no different than when NR wasn’t beating LH earlier in the season and it was put down by many people as simply being up to him to compete, like he could just snap his fingers and find a better setup than LH or simply pass him, forgetting the same dirty air effect, and bad tires, and beating such a similar car under the current format, that LH is all too intimate with as well. When NR would say all he really could say…try harder…keep working…I’ll get him next time…that was just excuses and laughable by the many who have already written him off as one who will never win a WDC and is a waste of that seat.

          1. It’s funny how relative a concept a car being good to drive is. Put this car back in 2011 and it would feel like an absolute dog with no downforce and a loose rear end that is seconds off the pace of everything else on the grid.

            Fast forward to now when it has about a second a lap over it’s nearest rival and it will feel like a joy to drive for the driver in the team that is ahead. that driver that is behind even if just by a tenth though will feel like it has no balance etc…

            I’m pretty sure if you took Rosberg out of the equation the last few races and with the performance gap Mercedes still had after Singapore Hamilton would still feel like the car was a joy to drive. But the guy on the other side of the garage being able to get more out of it than you will leave you constantly chasing setup and pushing to it’s limits and when that still doesn’t get you ahead it just won’t feel right.

      2. That’s a bit harsh. Drivers have different styles and sometimes a car just reacts better to a certain style. It’s not that Hamilton is incapable of driving. It’s just that tiny tiny fraction of a second where he is pushing 99,9% in the corner, cause he can’t make the car do what he likes is is costing him. Also drivers tend to exaggerate a lot, so it’s not terrible.

    16. Horner’s words were interesting in they confronted the problem F1 has at the moment. Simply, it is not entertaining enough. A fan could count the number of truly memorable races this year on the fingers of one hand, which in a 19-race season is unacceptable.

      I am unsure on this. The truly memorable races are so memorable because they are much better than the other races around them. If all the races in a season were up to that standard, we would remember few of them.

      Football (soccer) is a very popular sport, but most games are pretty dull. People still enjoy watching it, and then love the occasional edge-of-seat game. Why does F1 need to be so much different, providing thrilling races the majority of the time?

      F1 is a sport. It will be dull at times. Admittedly this season has been dire, but that is no reason to push through a knee-jerk reaction and ruin it’s sporting integrity. Address the fundamental problems with care and consideration, and we will have an enjoyable sport to watch, rather than the engineered reality show some people are pushing for.

    17. Pirelli only have a short time to find a ‘cliff’? Maybe I can help…


      You’re welcome.

    18. We can talk numbers all winter.. And argue if Button is better than Alonso…

      We can however agree easily that Alonso is not on a different level to Button.

      What I give to Button, he is stronger in his head, calmer when car sucks, and holds spirit higher.

      Alonso wins at sunbathing…

      Their top GP2 engine driver is Vandorne naturally…

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