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Formula One - 2018 Season

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Nah, greatest of this generation certainly. Of all time.....? bit of a stretch.

 

He's got to gift Botas that win back at some point this year.

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Lewis doesn't win races after he's secured the title but he can't gift Bottas a win if he's 20 seconds behind him.

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For me, Lewis has done enough to earn a place in the top tier, but isn't the best.

 

As others have suggested, when you start applying more parameters, sure, he can be the statistical best Formula 1 driver, or whatever, but each of those can be explained, for example, more races in the modern era, or faster cars (for fastest laps), or drivers sticking around longer due to better mortality rates in modern F1...

 

Personally, I'd like to see him win in not a Mercedes, away from his comfort zone and not in a car that is the best, or even close to the best.  I'd like to see him maximise, to see him push hard and race wheel to wheel with better machinery, the way we can watch LeClerc now.

All too often, I've seen Hamilton spin out, or suffer some sort of issue with the car, and basically give up.  The race becomes more about moaning on the radio than making the best of a bad thing.

Less so in the last couple of seasons, but is that because he has changed, or because driving the Merc basically guarantees a top 6 finish nowadays anyway?

 

As others have said, it's impossible to really say who is best, and so it becomes more of e heart thing than a head thing.

Fangio did incredible things in different machinery year after year, and dominated as if he was in a different class to his peers, Clark won in saloon cars and F1, and perhaps died even before his prime, John Surtees won with 4 wheels and 2, Lauda's accident undoubtedly shook him and changed the way he drove. 

Perhaps Senna and Prost were the only 2 true greats to compete in their prime, or do you count the never give up mentality of Mansell, or Alonso (prior to being beaten to a pulp by slow McLarens)?

Perhaps you'd rather argue that the out and out pace of Hakkinen showed more raw talent than Schmacher's practice, practice and more practice ethos.

Why restrict to F1?  Discussing best drivers without at least mentioning Sebastien Loeb and Tom Kristensen seems wrong. 

And what about Valentino Rossi?

And I've only mentioned champions there, the list can go on all day.

 

What we do know is that we are seeing some of the best drivers we've ever seen at the moment all coming into F1 at the same time.  

Imagine how good F1 would be next year if it was a 1 make series / equal machinery with Hamilton, Vettel, and Ricciardo battling it out.  

Add in Verstappen moving from young gun to experienced, mature racer, and LeClerc moving up and improving too.

Add Norris and Russell who have both been fantastic up to now and the only thing missing would be to retain Alonso, and perhaps we'd have the best quality grid the sport has ever seen.

 

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Does anyone win racers in slower cars without some kind of success ballast they have in BTCC? I'd argue Loeb always had the best car in the WRC, so did Ogier when he drove for VW and he's really showing his skill now in a M-Sport Ford Fiesta which is clearly the third best car this year.

 

F1 changes so much over the years that is may as well be a different sport. But on pure consistency Lewis is the best driver of his generation and at least since Schumacher retired the first time. He beat Alonso in the same car in his rookie season and came as close as you can get to winning it in his rookie season. He's won at least one race a year since he joined F1 and he hasn't been in the best car for some of those years and while they share the same engine he has done it with two different teams which Vettel hasn't managed yet. 

 

Max has now won 5 races and still isn't as old as Hamilton was when he debuted in 2007. I still think he is going to take all of Lewis' records over the next 15 years and will be the greatest driver of his generation.

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Latest Beyond the Grid with Jackie Stewart is a really good one. It's hard to comprehend the mental strength those guys had to have in the 60s and 70s with the awful death toll the sport had. 

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16 hours ago, ryodi said:

Does anyone win racers in slower cars without some kind of success ballast they have in BTCC?

 

Well for a random example, Schumacher's wins in the 1996 Ferrari.

 

Senna's home win in Brazil in 1991 when, as the heavens opened he somehow kept Patrese's Williams at bay despite only having 6th gear or anything he did in the Lotus 99T.

 

Not wins but Alesi's exploits in the Tyrrell 018 and 019 during 1990, especially at Phoenix.

 

Part of it is Hamilton hasn't been in those situations much but he's always, like Vettel, had a habit of going to sleep when he does, I don't have a single drive of his I can name with "I don't know how he did that".  I know how he does it, he's a very, very quick driver who's got himself into a team during a period of unprecedented technological domination, which obviously these days is a skill in itself.  But I just haven't seen those moments, those situations of transcending the possible.

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51 minutes ago, Dudley said:

"I don't know how he did that"

 

I feel a bit of this with Lewis in terms of how often he makes split second "risky" moves work, as if he knows where to place the car and what grip he's going to have before the events even unfold. i.e. The thing that Vettel seems to miss. Alonso and Ricciardo seem to have this ability too.

 

I also don't think it's because he has a reputation (like Senna or Schumacher) which causes drivers to believe they have to choose either to get out of his way or get taken out.

 

Another relatively uncelebrated driver who seemed to have something special for this sort of thing was Kobayashi, I think?

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On 30/10/2018 at 10:29, beenabadbunny said:

 

It's not a dig at Hamilton, I like him.  I just find it a bit absurd that a presumably non-trivial amount of people will buy one of those watches just because there's a picture of one on the Mercedes F1 team uniforms.

 

I realise all I'm doing is describing the phenomenon of advertising.

 

I think it was someone here who explained it best.  When you see an advert for a Mercedes in a Cinema or a watch on a celebrity, they are not expecting you to go out and buy what you've just seen. They are expecting that if you are ever in a position to buy something like that, that you will think of the brand and go and buy one.  Which is broadly true, if I win the lottery I'd probably fancy a Ferrari. Why? Advertising of course. Of course, it's more complicated than that but the fact that my initial opinion of a luxury car I'd buy if I could if a Ferrari already puts them ahead of other luxury car companies. 

 

On 30/10/2018 at 11:10, morcs said:

 

Would Button have been remembered as anything more than a (Jonny) Herbert if it wasn't for the amazing Brawn story though?

 

Button may not be top top tier but I think he is bloody good. He kept Hamilton and Alonso very honest when racing against them which is more than you can say of their other teammates. 

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Hakkinen was a better driver than Schumache ;) 

Schumacher had the biggest budget and testing advantage in F1 history - Ferrari were shite and he turned them around with incredible investment and testing and he clearly is one of the best drivers ever but to suggest he had it hard is a joke - possibly the most supported driver financially / team bias but he earned that.

 

Like Alonso he has some dodgy championships in cars that clearly broke the rules and a championship literally cheated from a rival so will always have a tarnish to his legend.

 

Im no fan but Schumacher is in that super category that only Hamilton, Alonso, Senna, Clark & Fangio coexist.

 

This is good fun... https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/formula-one-racing/

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The thing that makes it tricky is that (obviously) the best drivers tend to drive the best cars!

 

Alonso being the obvious exeption at this time

 

 

The answer to the Question " Was Schuey an all time great or was his car the best" Has to be a simple. "Yes"

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Surely leaving the field for dead in the changing conditions of the British GP in 2008 when Massa spun 5 times and no one could get close to him would be a similar moment or keeping Rosberg behind him in Bahrain in 2014 is another. 

 

But the gaps between cars and difficulty in overtaking means I cannot think of many, does anyone think Danny Ric winning Monaco when he car was severely down on power was a great drive when no one else was close to him anyway because they were trying to make their tyres last.

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2 hours ago, morcs said:

Another relatively uncelebrated driver who seemed to have something special for this sort of thing was Kobayashi, I think?

 

Absolutely, no-one's claiming he's an all time great, but that's an ability he certainly has.  Another one in that vein was Justin Wilson who made a habit of firing the Minardi up 10 places early in races before physics noticed.

 

1 hour ago, whizzo said:

The thing that makes it tricky is that (obviously) the best drivers tend to drive the best cars!

 

Alonso being the obvious exeption at this time

 

Alonso had a "How did he do that" drive before he ever scored a world championship point. His run to 11th in a 2 year old Minardi with a 3 year old anvil of a Cosworth in the back at the  Japanese Grand Prix is the stuff of legend.  He lapped Panis' BAR, with a works Honda in the back.

 

 

 

The comparison laptimes are to his teammate...

 

And by the end of qualifying he'd found another second.

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I suppose his GP2 car was that much better than the rest as well...

 

 

Guess who wasn’t much cop in the lower formulas, where cars are much more equal? Sebastian ‘beaten by Paul di Resta in the same car’ Vettel. 

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Hamilton has won a lot of races without having the quickest car. Infact, he has never contested a season of Formula One where he didn't win at least one race. From his first to his last. That statistic alone tells you a great deal.

 

In 2009 when McLaren & Ferrari were nowhere compared to the Brawn & Redbulls, he still won races (on merit). During the Red Bull dominance, he still won races. Let's not forget his first year with Mercedes either. They were not super competitive. He still won.

 

Ferrari & McLaren were closely matched in 07 & 08 as well.

 

The point I am making is that he is not successful because he's always had the fastest car. He is a tenacious, fierce competitor with a will to win like no other on the grid today. 

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22 hours ago, Dudley said:

I don't have a single drive of his I can name with "I don't know how he did that".

 

Not even...?

 

 

I was there that day. Drivers were dropping it left right and centre. Ham had a wobble too but his pace... damn. He looked like he was driving an F1 car and everyone else an A1GP. That day he was on a level so far above everyone else it was mental.

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Wilson :( I have huge regrets about being an investor and never going to one of the meets. I went on ebay shortly after his death to order a photo of one of the champcar drives he had, got talking to the guy that snapped the photo and in an act of enormous generosity he sent me a plethora of images he'd taken during his career! Has pride of place in my semi used gaming pit. The tragedy for me is that you just knew the moment he was hit that it was game over. Massive potential that never found it's way into the right car at the right time, and when it looked like he might finally get the right seat....

 

Anyway, will we have a different slant on Mr Button if he manages to win the Super GT title in the final round?

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On 01/11/2018 at 09:28, morcs said:

I feel a bit of this with Lewis in terms of how often he makes split second "risky" moves work, as if he knows where to place the car and what grip he's going to have before the events even unfold. i.e. The thing that Vettel seems to miss. Alonso and Ricciardo seem to have this ability too.

 

I also don't think it's because he has a reputation (like Senna or Schumacher) which causes drivers to believe they have to choose either to get out of his way or get taken out.

 

Another relatively uncelebrated driver who seemed to have something special for this sort of thing was Kobayashi, I think?

 

I think Hamilton is very good at extracting the best from his cars.  Bottas, and Rosberg aren't exactly slow drivers, yet he has shown he can be much quicker in the same machine.  Part of this is having the confidence in the car, and this leads to watching others and knowing where his car can be and others perhaps don't have the grip levels, or performance to match.

It's a great skill when you have a leading car.

 

Kobaybashi - perhaps he did have the talent, but he was definitely a driver others got out of the way of because they didn't want to be taken out...  I loved watching him race mind.

 

 

On 01/11/2018 at 10:56, whizzo said:

The thing that makes it tricky is that (obviously) the best drivers tend to drive the best cars!

 

Alonso being the obvious exeption at this time

 

The answer to the Question " Was Schuey an all time great or was his car the best" Has to be a simple. "Yes"

 

But the best drivers walking into the best cars straight away is a rare thing.  Schumacher started in a Jordan, Senna's performances for Lotus and Toleman before that were amazing, Alonso with Minardi, and I think (hopefully) we are witnessing the same with LeClerc in the Sauber.  Hamilton has always been in a front running car.  Even Max had a term in the Toro Rosso.

 

22 hours ago, PC Master Race said:

I suppose his GP2 car was that much better than the rest as well...

 

Guess who wasn’t much cop in the lower formulas, where cars are much more equal? Sebastian ‘beaten by Paul di Resta in the same car’ Vettel. 

 

Of course his GP2 car wasn't that much better, but, from watching F2, it's clear that some teams have better budgets / staff / whatever, so equal machines do not equal race cars make.

But of course, that's not the point.  The point is that in GP2 he was racing drivers who may be the next best thing, but at that time, aren't.  The big kids league was still ahead at that time.

Di Resta did ok in F1, I think he gets a hard time.  He was keeping up with Hulkenberg for the most part, who many think / thought was the next big thing for a while, and was likely dropped due top lack of funding / availability of pay drivers more than anything else.

 

21 hours ago, LowCostMonkey said:

Let's not forget his first year with Mercedes either. They were not super competitive. He still won.

 

Once, to Rosberg's twice ;)  2013 is an Alonso year.  An under performing Ferrari, and still ahead of Mark 'almost half the points of my teammate' Webber  (Ok, Multi 21, but still...)

Or was it just a "how bad is Webber" year?

 

3 hours ago, marsh said:

Anyway, will we have a different slant on Mr Button if he manages to win the Super GT title in the final round?

 

What is his car like compared to all of the others?  Button was always a very quick driver.  A qualifying driver if you like, his race craft matured well though, and he did show it sometimes.

I think he was a deserving champion, but in ability, he was never more than a 1x world champion..

 

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Rosberg had been with the team for years, and i'll give you the fact he made Schumacher ordinary. But Hamilton rocked up and made Rosberg look ordinary that first year. 

Anyway. I look at it this way. Vettel starting at the back of the grid, there's a good chance he'll either hit someone or give up and sulk.

Hamilton starting from the back, he'll be up to 5th inside a handful of laps and will drive his wheels off racing for the win. Then have a big sulk about things. 

 

But hey, show me a multiply championship winner who isn't a self absorbed wanker a lot of the time and i'll show you a loser. Winning a championship over 20 races is not an easy thing, it takes a lot of luck and determination. the driver has to be consistent, hold the team together on the bad days, direct and focus them on the good days. Race for points when the car is shit, and not bury the thing when leading by a country mile. And this is now over a whole year pretty much. Rosberg couldn't face doing it again, he was a mess at the end of his championship run. 

 

 

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I think Rosberg also recognised it simply wasn't going to happen for him again, even if Mercedes maintained their 2014-2016 level of dominance which I think it's absolutely fair to say they did not.

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34 minutes ago, Freeman said:

 

I think Hamilton is very good at extracting the best from his cars.  Bottas, and Rosberg aren't exactly slow drivers, yet he has shown he can be much quicker in the same machine.  Part of this is having the confidence in the car, and this leads to watching others and knowing where his car can be and others perhaps don't have the grip levels, or performance to match.

It's a great skill when you have a leading car.

 

Kobaybashi - perhaps he did have the talent, but he was definitely a driver others got out of the way of because they didn't want to be taken out...  I loved watching him race mind.

 

 

 

But the best drivers walking into the best cars straight away is a rare thing.  Schumacher started in a Jordan, Senna's performances for Lotus and Toleman before that were amazing, Alonso with Minardi, and I think (hopefully) we are witnessing the same with LeClerc in the Sauber.  Hamilton has always been in a front running car.  Even Max had a term in the Toro Rosso.

 

 

Of course his GP2 car wasn't that much better, but, from watching F2, it's clear that some teams have better budgets / staff / whatever, so equal machines do not equal race cars make.

But of course, that's not the point.  The point is that in GP2 he was racing drivers who may be the next best thing, but at that time, aren't.  The big kids league was still ahead at that time.

Di Resta did ok in F1, I think he gets a hard time.  He was keeping up with Hulkenberg for the most part, who many think / thought was the next big thing for a while, and was likely dropped due top lack of funding / availability of pay drivers more than anything else.

 

 

Once, to Rosberg's twice ;)  2013 is an Alonso year.  An under performing Ferrari, and still ahead of Mark 'almost half the points of my teammate' Webber  (Ok, Multi 21, but still...)

Or was it just a "how bad is Webber" year?

 

 

What is his car like compared to all of the others?  Button was always a very quick driver.  A qualifying driver if you like, his race craft matured well though, and he did show it sometimes.

I think he was a deserving champion, but in ability, he was never more than a 1x world champion..

 

 

Webber really struggled with the car a d tyres in his last year iirc, he and Button seemed to tail off at roughly the same time (with Button having the "advantage" of being able to blame the McLarens going to shit before he gave up his seat) with their height and weight being a factor in how the car performed.

 

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This ‘well he might be a 5 time champion and all time pole record holder along with having won the second most races of all time but how do we really know if he is any good because he has never driven a 3 wheeled Minardi’ hand waving is amazing. 

 

Hamilton is going to go down in F1 history as one of the all time greats. Best of all time? Hard to say anyone is. Top 3? Yea, I’d say so. 

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To judge a champion I think you have to see who they beat each year for the title. 

I'm on my phone at the moment so I can't do it easily. I shall report back over the weekend. :sherlock:

 

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1 hour ago, PC Master Race said:

This ‘well he might be a 5 time champion and all time pole record holder along with having won the second most races of all time but how do we really know if he is any good because he has never driven a 3 wheeled Minardi’ hand waving is amazing. 

 

Literally no-one has said anything that even approaches this.

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Does anyone think Vettel is among the all time greats? Looking at the numbers he should be, he's a four time World Champion, has won races with three different teams and despite Hamilton's dominance has 52 race wins and isn't that far behind.  He's also never lost a world title to a teammate when the car was competitive, has dominated on a level Hamilton can only dream of winnings 13 races including 9 in a row in 2013. But then you look at him in the last two years and wonder if he was just lucky to be better than Webber in the best car on the grid.

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Er....

 

 

 

He's German.......?

 

 

And that requires some explanation. You know it's like having an insane and ingrained dislike of the German football team, how we all cheer when they get knocked out of the world cup or lose a friendly. In that vein it's ok to go 'he's a knob' while active, yet when he retires we'll all go 'dude was exceptional' etc like we look back on the National football team and go 'blimey they were awesome' yet loathe any active squad.

 

I recall the grandstand at copse going fucking mental when Hakkinen overtook the cobbler at the British GP in 2000. In reality a total non event and certainly devoid of any national pride, but the whole crowd went mental because, well, ze german......

 

And I regard him as the best of his generation. The cheating bastard :)

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Maybe Webber wasn't that good.

 

Vettel's another that's a great driver when out in front and normally useless when asked to actually race, he gets rash and jumpy even trying to get through the field in a good car.

 

That's something Lewis certainly doesn't share with him.

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