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Discuss the 2017 Formula One Australian Grand Prix here.

Featured Italian GP: Hamilton, Mercedes escape Phantom Menace

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Ben Stevens, Sep 7, 2015.

  1. Ben Stevens

    Ben Stevens

    italypodium.JPG Embroiled in late drama by queries over tyre pressure, Lewis Hamilton endured more stress post-race than during while taking a commanding championship lead

    If there’s a simple way to sum-up Lewis Hamilton’s Italian GP weekend, it’s that sometimes it pays to be lucky and good.

    In a class of his own all weekend, the Brit looked on as teammate Nico Rosberg struggled with an underpowered engine that eventually forced him off the podium, before escaping the wrath of the stewards in a post-race scrutiny of the tyre pressures used by his engineers at Mercedes.

    With both Hamilton and Rosberg found under the minimum-allowed pressure in their left-rear tyres while sitting on the grid pre-race, the former had to wait three hours for his eventual 25-second victory to be confirmed. His seventh win of the season may not have been his most difficult, but it seems likely to become his most controversial.

    Penalty-talk aside, things were far spicier behind Hamilton, with Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa joining him on the podium, as Kimi Raikkonen and Rosberg both endured some major disappointment through no fault of their own.

    A race overshadowed by the post-race drama, nevertheless the 2015 Formula One Italian Grand Prix gave us plenty to talk about, so read on for a look at some of the big stories from the race.

    hamiltonitaly.jpg Hamilton emerges unscathed from late tyre drama

    To quote the words of the legendary Ron Burgundy: “Boy, that escalated quickly.”

    Putting together the finishing touches on his second Grand Chelem of the season (Pole, win, fastest lap and led every lap), Lewis Hamilton suddenly found himself under the gun from a mysterious threat even his pit wall refused to identify. Already 20-seconds up the road from second-placed Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton was rightfully aggrieved as he was forced to up his pace for no obvious reason.

    As we now know, the Mercedes pit wall had just gotten word that the team was under investigation for failing to meet the necessary minimum tyre pressure of 19.5 PSI. Another comfortable race victory in his pocket, the real story was just beginning.

    With Mercedes having to put their celebrations on hold while the stewards deliberated, initial opinion seemed to indicate Ferrari would be handed an unlikely home victory. Surely, this was an open-and-shut case of Mercedes flouting the safety rules, and particularly in the wake of the Spa blow-ups, they could expect to be penalised thusly?

    In the end the FIA didn’t think so, but curiously, the reason was not because Mercedes had been cleared of any wrongdoing, but because the FIA couldn’t be sure they did their job right.

    According to the stewards’ report announcing their decision, Mercedes had complied with tyre manufacturer Pirelli’s instructions in fitting their tyres on the car, but had simply had the tyres cooling for too long (with the warming blankets off) as they waited to have the pressure retested several minutes before the race start. It was Mercedes waiting on the FIA (supposedly testing the Ferraris first) that had put them under, and as such, the former couldn’t be penalised for the latter’s delayed action.

    Essentially, this comes down to the FIA not knowing how to enforce their own rule. Their testing procedure was inherently flawed, as they were testing a tyre that was not only outside operating temperature in the first place, but had been allowed to cool even more in the time it took them to get a measurement.

    It’s this acknowledgement of their own mistakes that led them to grant Mercedes a reprieve – meaning this is less a case of Mercedes “dodging a bullet” and more a case of the FIA forgetting to load the gun in the first place. The German team was targeted because of their blowout in Spa, but it’s difficult to accuse them of any wrongdoing under the current circumstances, and particularly when the tyre temps would be increased during the warm-up lap anyway. For the FIA, it’s a very different story, and they can now expect to join Pirelli in the tyre-discussion spotlight.

    Raikkonen, Ericsson Impress

    Their credentials may be at opposite ends of the F1 spectrum, but Kimi Raikkonen and his fellow Scandinavian Marcus Ericsson both needed – and got – a timely boost to their reputations on Sunday.

    raikkonenitaly.jpg Enduring an uneven year at Ferrari, Raikkonen drove a brilliant recovery from last to fifth after stalling at the start, while Ericsson extended his streak of points finishes to three while outshining his more highly-regarded teammate Felipe Nasr once again.

    Beating teammate Sebastian Vettel for just the third time in qualifying this year, Raikkonen was at his brilliant best after his anti-stall saw him stationary as the lights went out. In a sterling first stint on soft tyres, the Finn went over half-distance while passing everything from Force Indias to Red Bulls, all while matching his teammate for pace.

    With fresher tyres than those around him, Raikkonen’s second stint was more of the same, taking both Force Indias and Ericsson’s Sauber on his way to P5. With all the misfortune that has befallen the Finn this season, Monza provided us with a reminder of why Ferrari were eager to retain his services for 2016. Don’t be surprised if next time Mercedes falter, it’s the Finn celebrating on the top step.

    ericssonitaly.jpg Ericsson, on the other hand, has started to take some serious strides forward as an F1 racer. Starting the season as an afterthought who seemed to talk his way into a drive with his chequebook and not his talent, his recent form indicates there may be more to the 25-year-old than previously envisioned. He had some serious pace in Saturday’s qualifying, reaching the top-10 before the mistakes of “bad Marcus” caught up with him, receiving a three-place grid penalty for impeding Nico Hulkenberg in Q1. Still, he carried that form into the race, mixing it up in the points with the likes of Raikkonen, in the end just losing out to the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo, but beating his teammate Daniil Kvyat to take ninth.

    Unlikely to challenge for a seat at one of the front-runners any time soon, Ericsson is nonetheless proving that he has what it takes to stick around for the long haul. With some serious financial clout behind him, he’s one to keep an eye on, especially if teams like Lotus and Force India continue to struggle making money. Compared to some of the other deep-pocketed drivers on the grid, you could certainly do worse than the Swede. Who knows? He might not be done surprising us just yet.

    Should the FIA have disqualified Mercedes? Or should the blame be on them for “deflate-gate”? Thoughts on Kimi or Ericsson? Is George Lucas the worst podium interview of all-time? Let us know your thoughts below.
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  2. Joel


    Well I accidentally voted yes for the poll so just minus 1 from it, thanks :D

    I'm gonna talk about nico because I feel like talking about nico plus I don't feel like typing a lot on the phone.

    What tough luck. Getting an underpowered engine after the first problems must have been really annoying. Not only did his team mate have a better engine but also a fresh one and considering this is a power track, I'll be the first and only one to say it, but he did a phenomenal job. I was there to see the first bits of smoke burst out of the car and believe me, it wasn't a happy grandstand from my part. To be right up on the Ferraris and just (yes I did just use that word [pun kind of intended]) 3 tenths off Lewis and then battle your way to 3rd and almost second after bobbing down to 6th due to a car that didn't move ahead of you is an excellent drive.

    Rest of the race was good, but gotta say, watching Hamilton lead every lap is even more boring in real life.
    • Like Like x 2
  3. the_sigman

    Sim racer, F1 news editor... Racing is in my blood Premium

    I would like to see you type a lot after this one :p
    • Haha Haha x 1
  4. Joel


    I got carried away :redface:
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Bram

    Administrator Staff Premium

    By far :laugh: He should bring a lightsaber next time to get some authority on the podium.

    • Agree Agree x 4
  6. Dave Stephenson

    Dave Stephenson
    Technical Administrator Staff Premium

    Voted no purely on the basis that the whole rule is a joke. For once ever in my life I have to agree with Slanting Grin Davidson. Any rule regarding minimum pressures should be applied to running temperature not cold temperature. The telemetry data is there and available for the FIA to scrutinize. As Pirelli said themselves in their memorandum to the teams this weekend they already gather their starting pressure data using this method as the cars exit the pitlane on the way to the grid.

    Taking measurements with manual devices on the grid out of the blankets is a recipe for disaster. despite the fact it will take significant enough time for the pressures to drop out of the blankets the fact that each teams process as to when they come out or as we saw at the weekend turn off the blankets leads to too much opportunity for teams to defend themselves on the grounds of poor process.

    If they are to continue setting the rule to be an enforced minimum cold pressure then I feel the only fair way to give parity is to no longer set a maximum blanket temperature but to set a fixed temperature for blankets that all teams must adhere to (which would also need to be scrutinized to ensure compliance) and for all measurements to be taken in the blankets after a given minimum time in them.

    Even with that I still can't back a rule based on cold pressures. Running pressures with measurement starting after 1 or 2 laps is a far better way to go imo. Yes it will be that more performant cars will start with lower pressures as their ability to put energy into the tyres to achieve the running pressure required is far greater but really aside for them having a bigger contact patch on the grid, over the course of a race it's not going to make much of an impact and is unlikely to change the result.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  7. Rivvern

    www.MasterArms.se Premium

    Go Ericsson!
  8. Michael Watts

    Michael Watts
    XB1 Gamertag: michaei watts Premium

    If anything a .03 of a pound of air pressure on LR would cause the car to understeer at the Clock-wise configuration Monza.
  9. If course it's a "no"; anything else would be a farce.
    It wasn't unsafe - the tyre pressure would be back up to minimum almost immediately when the car was at racing speed.
    Hypothetically - if they disqualified HAM they'd have to disqualify ROS for the next race, as a DNF isn't an escape from a penalty for technical infringement.
    Pointless now anyway, there was no infringement and the stewards' decision is final.
    They've just exposed an error in the testing method which will be corrected - that's all this is.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. Kimi often makes at least one crucial mistake per race it seems, yet somehow he manages to impress in his recovery of the mistake. If he could find a way to be more consistent by not making those mistakes, Ferrari would be a serious threat to Mercedes between him and Vettel.

    Agreed, that was truly awful. He just doesn't have the personality to be conducting interviews.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. Michael Watts

    Michael Watts
    XB1 Gamertag: michaei watts Premium

    That is why Lucas should stay behind the Camera. Should have gotten Sylvester Stalone, lol
  12. Jimlaad43

    Nice apex, I'll take it! Staff Premium

    Watching anyone lead from the front is boring, be it Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel or Stevens
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. Benutzername

    The Will to Death is what keeps me alive Premium

    The whole situation is just embarassing!

    I mean, now they didn't gave a penalty for braking rules that were made and often told throughout the weekend. In GP2 their were punishments for basically the same thing.
    Come on, Pirelli is the tyre manufacture and said it was unsafe - Safety First, even if it is an overreaction from the Belgium GP.
    On the other hand, the pressures seem to have been only incorrect due to the tyre-warmers. Which could have done on purpose, but that can not be proven.

    It's just a mess. If you combine that with the ridicolous answers from Toto Wolff to the reporters (We didnt know anything and stuff like that, when it was obviously that there was a message soon and there also was a reaction from the team - A panic reaction, they looked concerned about their win)
    They even pushed Hamilton to drive faster, on tyres which might have had too low pressure compared to the safety recommendations from Pirelli.

    No penalty is a joke. A penalty also would have been a joke, though. Hamilton would have won anyway.
    Formula one, get your sh*t together.

    The series will be dead in a decade if they continue their "progress".
    The term "F1-Circus" is stressed here.
  14. the_sigman

    Sim racer, F1 news editor... Racing is in my blood Premium

    Τhey told Hamilton to drive faster in the second stint. The discussion was all about the first set.

    They have telemetry. But their explanation is enough for me to think that there was no illegality. Maximum tyre warmer temp is 110oC and the tyre was surely under 90oC when the pressure was checked. While racing, tyres get much warmer than that and as a result pressure gets much higher.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. Benutzername

    The Will to Death is what keeps me alive Premium

    True that, my fault.

    Totally agree but there is one thing that is just annoying me:
    As far as i know, the pressure should be tested before the race, the teams were informed. -> Why they allow the tyres to get that cold, having too less pressure when they control it?
    Without this, there wouldn't have been all this.

    If they come to the conclusion that it was because of the temperature, why did they test it at that point?
    As you said, they have telemetry, so they could have controlled it all race long, so why control it first before the race? -> In this case the pressure was too low. Why did they let them start? Why didnt they get a penalty? I mean, yes that would be ridicolous, but if they control it at that point and the value is basically illegal, why nothing was done at this stage?
    I dont get it.
  16. the_sigman

    Sim racer, F1 news editor... Racing is in my blood Premium

    You are right. The only thing I can think is that they possibly did it to check that telemetry was accurate. I don't know, perhaps that was a misunderstanding.
  17. Benutzername

    The Will to Death is what keeps me alive Premium

    At least it doesnt help the reputation of the series. Thinking of grid penalties, loosing of good tracks, having double points for one season, quiter engines, less viewers, high costs, muzzles for drivers, not that exciting races,.... List goes on
  18. Joel


    Did anybody see Evans' move on the final lap of Race 2? That was sweet.
  19. 100% should be disqualified.
    Let's go back to 1976 when James Hunt was going for the championship with McLaren. The car was disqualified for being 0.1cm too wide in the wet stripping him of a race win. Harsh but 100% fair providing that the decisions remained consistent.
    I think Hamilton should have been DSQ on the basis that the rules were broken, clear or not, they were broken. 1 win wouldn't affect Hamilton at this point anyways. The championship has been a blowout of boring processions with mostly 2 silver cars in the top 2.
    I bet if Ferrari had won and was down on tyre pressure then they would have been DSQ but who knows because that didn't happen.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  20. I did have to scratch my head, when I heard George Lucas was to do the celebrity-conducted interview, haha.

    I don't think it was that bad though, considering I didn't take Lucas to be the F1 type.