The second Formula 1 race is all over. It took place in Malaysia where Ferrari stunned the Mercedes as Vettel won the race and claimed his first race win in a Ferrari. In my last post I said that I didn’t think anyone could beat the Mercedes. I was wrong, as today proved.
However, Vettel said in an interview, which is true, that, Mercedes’ pace hasn’t just magically disappeared, it’s still there. Mercedes won the first race in Australia by 30 seconds, that amount of time doesn’t disappear overnight. I expect all will be back to normal in China, by that, I mean Mercedes will finish first and second with no competition.
Here’s how, in my opinion, Hamilton lost the race. There were three factors. It all started on the Saturday when Hamilton used a set of Medium tyres in Q1 when he could have easily set a fast enough time on the Hard tyres. So he’s already down a set of Medium tyres for the race.
The next factor was that, on race day, Hamilton pitted on lap four when the Safety Car was called out. That was partially Hamilton’s fault as before the race Mercedes had agreed that if a Safety Car was called out, they’d pit. That was a waste as the tyres only did four laps, he could have stayed out on the same tyres, still leading the race.
The final factor is linked with the first. When Hamilton pitted for his last pit-stop the Hard tyres were put on his car. If he had used the Hard tyres in Q1 (and not the Medium tyres) Hamilton could have used the Medium tyres during the last stint. I believe that if Hamilton used the Hard tyres during Q1 (he’d of easily set a quick enough time to get into Q2 as I’ve already mentioned) and used the Medium tyres for his last stint during the race, he’d have probably won. Vettel didn’t win the race, Mercedes lost the race. Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t it?
I am not taking anything away from Ferrari and Vettel though. He did a brilliant job. Vettel only pitted twice and in that heat, that’s very impressive. If every track’s surface was around 50-60 degrees, Ferrari would probably beat Mercedes but of course that isn’t the case. Ferrari have made the biggest step forward this year, the power unit has improved, the chassis has certainly improved and all just seems well at Ferrari. I have a sneaky suspicion that Ferrari might give Mercedes a run for their money at some point this year. It looks like the season is already hotting up. Who said Formula 1 is boring?