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Ricciardo in the other Red Bull started third and ended up third. The others, including the Mercedes, all look that bit more nervous and one end or the other will ultimately give up. Koushik Sivasubramaniam. But Hamilton responded brilliantly and picked up the pace for a few laps. That's what he needs to come to terms with tomorrow. On Friday morning an ERS problem had restricted him to nine laps, and the car was not at all to his liking come the afternoon session. Even though Vettel's machine was swiftly returned to the pits the damage to the loom was such that it could not run again on Friday.
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You may also be interested in View More. How Hamilton found the decisive six tenths 38 http: I don't like that, being in that position. I like to say it was no problem and under control - but it wasn't!
Well, in the context of what Rosberg said after the race, specifically that with "one more lap I could have given it a good go", you could argue that this was where that sixth tenths margin was really established by Hamilton. But realistically, could Rosberg really be expected to pull off a pass on his team-mate with an extra lap or even two? Probably not, although Hamilton would certainly have been forced to defend.
So how do we account for those six tenths and balance the books? Here are the ingredients: Those elements, plus thousands more, all played their part in what added up to a marginal win for Hamilton. He was the one who negotiated all the pitfalls and kept Rosberg at arm's length when required, and the reward was arguably an even better victory than the one in Bahrain. Was there ever a better illustration of how infinitesimal the margins in grand prix racing can be?
Perhaps not, given that if you looked at what might be called 'Class B', there was a whole other race going on populated by 20 other cars that Hamilton and Rosberg only encountered while lapping. Daniel Ricciardo finished a massive 49 seconds behind this victory battle, albeit after losing time in the first stint bottled up behind the Williams of Valtteri Bottas.
At a track where even the Mercedes drivers suggested the gap might be reduced, this was a stunning demonstration of the supremacy of the Silver Arrows. Only six cars finished on the lead lap, the others being Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull, which surged through from 15th on the grid to fourth after committing early to a three-stop strategy, and Fernando Alonso's Ferrari.
But this race was really all about the two Mercedes. After the race, Rosberg made very clear where he believes Hamilton found that 0. Qualifying was very, very close and I even had a bit of a problem which we found in hindsight where I was a little bit down on power on the straight.
But the difference was not enough to get pole. In the race, I nearly got another opportunity at the very end, but again just not enough. One more lap and I could have given it a go.
How Hamilton found the decisive six tenths 39 http: Of course, I also missed FP1, which didn't help either. So next time How Hamilton found the decisive six tenths 40 http: I think I showed enough of what I could do in Formula 1. Probably not as much as it should've done.
Any sympathy at the abrupt Toro Rosso slate-wiping that swapped Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi for Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne dissipated as the new recruits proved their worth. And Alguersuari had been given 46 grands prix - which the likes of Tonio Liuzzi, Scott Speed and Sebastien Bourdais, the four-time Champ Car champion kicked out to make way for the young Spaniard, might consider generous.
That's the blunt interpretation of Alguersuari's career. But you could also make a case for him being the most unfairly disregarded of the jilted Red Bull proteges. He still holds the record for being the youngest man to start a grand prix, aged just 19 years, four months and three days when he lined up on the Hungaroring grid in the ex-Bourdais Toro Rosso in July And he was one of the least well-prepared in history, without a single proper test under his belt when Red Bull promoted him.
The theory was that amid the then-new testing ban, he could do his learning in-field. Cue vocal scepticism from drivers, pundits and ex-champions, a reaction that perhaps coloured views of his F1 career.
Jaime Alguersuari's new life after F1 41 http: And fourth and fifth in the points behind that trio were current F1 drivers Sergio Perez and Marcus Ericsson.
Aged 21 years and eight months when he made his last F1 appearance, Alguersuari doesn't quite have the record for F1's youngest exit, though aside from Esteban Tuero, every other driver who beats him on that unhappy list owes their stat to a tragic early death.
The manner of Alguersuari's departure from F1 clearly still stings - he recalls the date of the fateful phone call December 16, without a moment's hesitation, and mitigating factors are listed with defensive urgency: I did great races with the material we had.
I knew what we could do with that car and I knew what they were asking for was not possible. Yes, he feels F1 spurned him unfairly, it annoys him and he wants to defend his record.
But he has a new life now, and the slightly evangelistic passion with which he speaks of Formula E underlines his belief in and commitment to it. This is not an interview where opinions have to be cajoled out, his responses full of quick-fire bulletpoint streams of unique FE selling points "Zero emissions It can only grow.
Motorsport needs to get green. Maybe this is the future of life. Formula E will be quieter still, and also breaks convention with its all-street calendar, all-weather tyres and mid-race car swaps.
But F1 's bad reception hasn't given Alguersuari any worries about how FE will be perceived, as he's sure its lack of baggage means it will get a fair hearing. F1 is another world; a different planet. That's why comparisons could be misunderstood. Jaime Alguersuari's new life after F1 42 http: We all know Formula 1 and so many of its positive and negative aspects.
Here we have a new championship. No one knows anything. He took an unusual approach to his post-F1 career too. The only thing he has raced in what will be an almost three-year gap since his last grand prix is a kart, with the rest of his motorsport mileage coming from Pirelli tyre testing.
Racing anything anywhere just for the sake of it wasn't on his agenda, which is why he says he was very picky about his choice of Formula E team too, committing to Virgin because of its pedigree for innovation across multiple industries. That's why for two years I was just testing with Pirelli.
But I had huge experience with developing the tyres and I'm very proud of that. I didn't race, but testing kept me alive. I was the first one who wanted to go racing; but big opportunities like this are very few in professional racing.
His career twists have left Alguersuari accustomed to the unexpected - which is ideal with so many unknowns in Formula E - and extremely determined. The Virgin FE seat has ignited his passion in a way it's doubtful a return in an established series would have done.
Jaime Alguersuari's new life after F1 43 http: Now all that matters is being Jaime Alguersuari Formula E champion, and he's convinced he's psychologically ready to achieve that. I guess this is life. It works like that. You have to be prepared for each day and to understand both a good opportunity and very bad news. It was a good way to [become] how I am as a person in all areas, not just as a driver.
I'm ready to take part in this championship. I'm here to win because I won other championships in my past career. I really need this. I really want this. Jaime Alguersuari's new life after F1 44 http: Instead it effortlessly bagged its fourth one-two in five races, which but for a split in a small rubber tube covering a spark plug in Australia would have been its fifth.
Looking at those one-twos more closely, one of the reasons Lewis Hamilton has beaten Nico Rosberg on all four occasions is revealed in the fuel-use graphic that appears during the race.
Hamilton seems to use less fuel than his team-mate, so how he can do that and still beat him is a bit of a head-scratcher. It would be easy simply to say he's just faster, but there's more to it than that.
He appears to have learned a consistent way of driving and using less fuel while still doing the required lap time. That means he is able to start the race with less fuel. Looking at the graphic, it appears to be an average of 3. So on a pure weight-versus-laptime calculation, this is worth 0. That's 6. If both drivers and their respective cars have identical performance, that gives Hamilton an advantage of almost seven seconds over the race distance.
Mercedes is racking up the points, but its advantage is being amplified by the fact that everyone else is jostling for position behind. How far ahead is Mercedes? With Daniel Ricciardo third in Spain, there is no clear rival chasing Mercedes down.
Everyone in Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart must be rubbing their hands in glee at the situation. Mercedes' overall performance has been very impressive. Using my performance statistics, which take the fastest lap set by each team on a grand prix weekend and convert it into a percentage of the outright fastest, this is how the teams average out over the first five races of Some of them dramatically. One thing that confuses me a little about Mercedes' race performance in Barcelona is that this is the first grand prix of where they haven't had the fastest race lap.
Rosberg had the means, motive and opportunity. In the latter stages of the race he was chasing down his team-mate. He was on the softer of the two tyres and he was reasonably low on fuel, so all the stars were aligned. Yes, his tyres were a little bit fresher than Rosberg's were on lap 51 when the Spanish GP runner-up set his personal best, but with the performance margin that Mercedes had, it should have been enough for fastest lap. Ricciardo in the other Red Bull started third and ended up third.
He was around 49 seconds behind both Hamilton and Rosberg, and all three did two stops. This is an average of a 0. On the other hand, Vettel came from 15th on the grid, did a three-stop race and ended up 76 seconds behind the leading two. Take away 22 seconds for that extra stop and you get a 54s deficit, or an average of 0.
Any advantage he got from that extra set of tyres would have been negated by traffic, so why was he able to get the fastest lap in a car that on average was knocking on the door of being a second a lap slower than the winning car?
Does this mean that Vettel has finally got his head around how to drive this year's car? He's a driver that really does try to exploit a car's DNA - last year with the blown diffuser system he was without doubt the one that exploited it the most. When I go out on the circuit during practice sessions, I'm still seeing a car being driven to exploit the extra rear grip that last year's cars had when you got the throttle open.
Vettel has had a fairly troubled start to the season and not had the consistency of running that a driver needs in order to adapt his driving style.
In contrast, Ricciardo had never really driven a car with a good blown diffuser system and when I watch him on track he is very precise and consistent. His Red Bull looks the class of the field, very stable, and as he builds up steering angle on corner entry he can just lean on the car; you can see the car build up roll, but not break away.
The others, including the Mercedes, all look that bit more nervous and one end or the other will ultimately give up.
Red Bull did enjoy a step in engine performance from Renault, but as engines are a lot less important in Monaco perhaps at last we will see the car's true performance. As for the others, the statistics tell the whole story.
Williams is the only team that has made any real progress and the rest have gone backwards relative to Mercedes. I think this shows that grid position can be confusing - in the end it is ultimate pace that's important. I always used to look at the grid average being separated by 0.
In Barcelona, Button - who was eighth on the grid would have been roughly 0. This is a lifetime in F1. As for Ferrari, which should be mixing it with the best for race wins, Barcelona was a reality check.
New team principal Marco Mattiacci probably thought that after Alonso's third place in China this F1 lark was easy. What a difference a few weeks can make. The team said after China that the result was a surprise, and the same will be said about sixth last weekend.
Looking at the car out on circuit, every corner of every lap is a new experience. It just doesn't look like it has any consistency, and the rear end is critical. This is a problem that needs to be addressed if they are ever to get the drivers confident enough to allow them to push nearer the limit. But Monaco in two weeks is a very different track. Rosberg won there last year, so will Mercedes dominate again?
With all that extra torque from this year's power unit, these cars will take a bit of driving there, but after all, that's why these guys get paid the big bucks. When we last had turbos, the Brabham-BMWs were reputed to have something like bhp. Actually, they couldn't measure it as the dyno would only run to hp, but whatever they had, Piquet was able to leave black marks from the chicane all the way to Tabac. It's going to be fun watching trackside. I wonder who can leave the longest black marks this time around?
If you have a question that you would like Gary Anderson to answer in his regular feature where he takes reader questions ahead of a Grand Prix, Tweet using askgaryF1 and he will choose a selection to answer.
Qualifying for IndyCar's inaugural race on the IMS road course had just started, but if the burst of fan-generated images that appeared on the track's official Twitter feed was any guide then the sporting spectacle had taken a back seat to a more tangible one: The long history of the Indianapolis is a source of immense pride in its home city, but that passion doesn't necessarily spill over to the rest of the IndyCar schedule.
For many, that single-mindedness has also created some pretty firm notions of what you can expect to see when you spend a day at the Brickyard, and the sight of cars racing in the rain is not on that list.
At least, it wasn't until last week. IndyCar and IMS came up with the idea of a race on the road course as a way to inject extra energy into the start of the Month of May, but a secondary objective was to remind the fans living in IndyCar's heartland - the series' corporate offices are directly across the road from the speedway that IndyCars do a lot more than spend a couple of weeks turning left every year. How Indy's road course gamble paid off 49 http: Boles said final crowd figures are still being tallied, but he claims that pre-weekend predictions of 40, over the three days were comfortably exceeded.
Most of the main grandstand was closed, encouraging fans to make the most of the road course layout by sitting in stands at the first and last corners, and the spectator mounds and temporary stands within the infield. The mounds in particular were visibly bustling on the first two days and jam-packed for the race. For a lot of people that came, it was their first road race.
Some had been here for F1, but very few had seen IndyCars race on a road course. A small degree of the criticism was the standard resistance that accompanies any sort of change, but Boles believes the success of the event answered its more strident doubters.
How Indy's road course gamble paid off 50 http: I ran into a couple of them and they said, 'You know what?
The number of people here, and the energy level here Andretti Autosport's Michael Andretti believes the fans will be the final judge of the event's success, but said that it was an easy fit for teams like his.
It's not a big deal to get the cars turned around for Indy practice the next day. Logistics-wise, we like it. Nice curving, nice configuration it's interesting. There are definitely good places to overtake. In the case of this writer, any claim to neutrality is not being entirely honest. I had doubts about the series' motives for racing on the IMS road course, doubts about how good the track would be; even doubts about the wisdom of calling it the 'Grand Prix of Indianapolis', considering the memories that combination of words could evoke for anyone who was there in And I was swiftly proven wrong.
The extent to which the event achieves its aim of boosting the Indy will only become apparent with time, but even without taking that into account, last weekend proved that the IMS road course is a worthy addition to the IndyCar calendar in its own right.
The atmosphere was excellent, the racing spectacular, and the organisation flawless. IndyCar's not above the occasional misstep, but along with IMS, it absolutely nailed this. How Indy's road course gamble paid off 51 http: How Indy's road course gamble paid off 52 http: It seems Ronald J Walker, Australian Grand Prix promoter and long-standing Bernie Ecclestone-ite, called the first meeting of the Formula One Promoters' Association - an organisation founded two years ago which would, in the words of a disciple, "forever change F1's political landscape" - explaining the plethora of promoters mainly hanging about Red Bull's Energy Station.
If FOPA an acronym shared with the sport's photographic association wishes to impact on the landscape it must surely do better, for despite agreement among its members not to talk to the media, more than a few admitted feeling underwhelmed after flying halfway across the world, for they had sight of the agenda only upon arrival. To their dismay they discovered their most burning shared issue horrific race hosting fees charged by the commercial rights holder, which in turn manifest themselves in outrageous ticket prices paid by fans, whether in Montreal, Melbourne or Malaysia was, in the words of one delegate, "totally off-limits.
We agreed to discuss fees, but nobody had the balls to table it, and it was not on the agenda. F1's GP promoters miss their chance 53 http: Given that there is little chance of ticket prices reducing in the near future, that's one unique aspect of the sport that will surely be maintained The mere fact that the promoters collectively failed to share with fans their primary customer base, remember any detail whatsoever surely proves the meeting was thick on air and thin on substance.
That said, one of the topics was the lack of noise produced by the current cars, a topic which was thrashed to death during the previous four races, with the jury still out on that one. Other items on the agenda included plummeting TV and live audience ratings and ways to arrest the wholesale slides of both, and here's betting that if the sport reduced its ticket prices by 50 per cent it would double attendances across the globe, even if the cars were dead quiet.
That said, one of the weekend's more humorous cures for the aural dilemma was a proposal to fit silencers to GP2 and GP3 cars to reduce the contrast in noise levels for punters not that it would solve the issue for television viewers!
Also present was a delegation from Sochi, obviously anxious to share news with this column after it last week cast doubts about the Russian GP in view of the ongoing Ukraine crisis. Granted right-of-reply, they reinforced the thrust of AUTOSPORT's article, namely that it was likely that any decision to cancel the race would fall at the very last minute.
This writer suggested could be as late as Suzuka Sunday, when the cars would leave Japan for Russia's race a week later on October Richard Cregan, former Toyota F1 sporting director-turned Abu Dhabi promoter and now acting as international consultant to Sochi, joined us later.
The obvious opening discussion point is the current status of the event, and progress made towards hosting it. F1's GP promoters miss their chance 54 http: We have the contracts; we have the mutual obligation with the Formula One Group.
The construction is basically done, according to the timescale. We understand that 60 days before the race the facility will be completed. So we estimate that the constructional readiness at the moment is about 90 per cent. So when you're asking, 'Why do you consider the race will happen? So we are sure the [race] will happen [from our perspective].
No special difficulties with safety are occurring.
And as we understand, this crisis in the Ukraine is de-escalated and solved. But anyway, we're working on the basis of the contract and confirm that all the obligations will be fulfilled from all sides. F1's GP promoters miss their chance 55 http: While the group refused to speculate, Saurin did allow that ticketing details would be announced on May 20, 10 days after this interview.
We know for sure the prices, we know the minimum ticket price and this is not high. Now we're speaking about the final roads, preparation for the final [surface] and so on. As for the temporary grandstands, a final decision as to the quantity will be announced on May We're now completing the final economics, and ticket sales will start soon after the announcement. The other model accommodates 46, plus The final number, said our source, would lie between the two extremes, with the Paddock Club fixed at Either way it's a far cry from the original , the promoters targeted, and the worst-case scenario rates as the lowest planned attendance of any contemporary race.
Saurin believes 80 per cent of spectators will come from within Russia, with the rest drawn mainly from neighbouring states. But from where in Russia, given the logistics challenges outlined in last week's column? The interest from across Russia is quite big. F1's GP promoters miss their chance 56 http: Sochi will be a comfortable place to visit.