Hamilton goes fastest in practice in Malaysia

“Undriveable”. An HRT? Marussia? Nope the Red Bull RB8, apparently and according to intercepted radio transmissions from Sebastian Vettel’s cockpit. Half a second off the pace in Free Practice One this morning, more than twice that in FP2… Make no mistake, this year’s Red Bull ain’t last years Red Bull. And remember Sunday Afternooners: you heard it here first; Adrian Newey’s won everything, but he’s never won three driver’s titles on the trot…

OK. So while you were sleeping. Lewis Hamilton was getting on with what Lewis Hamilton does; driving the derriere of his McLaren MP4 27. Fastest in both sessions, from Seb’ in the first, from Michael Schumacher in the second. With his head down after Oz, Lewis will be feeling better about that. Then again the smarts in Melbourne all said it’s Lewis’ sheer addiction to going as fast as he bloody well can that’s the issue. Jenson Button, who had problems in both sessions this morning, spends more time getting the car right for the race. There are no points for pole. Still, just as we were saying yesterday, that McLaren is one very fast racing car.

We were also saying we reckoned the Lotus was the second quickest car out there. Oh well, you can’t win ‘em all. Fiffth and seventh in FP1, ninth and 15th in FP2, the Lotus E20 doesn’t look to be the car it was in Australia. Mind you, after Romain Grosjean phoned in in FP1 to say the car felt ‘funny’, they’ll be thankful they’re still competing. Last time he made that call, in pre-season testing, it proved to be pretty terminal as the front suspension was about to fall off.

We were right about the on-going brouhaha about Mercedes’s extraordinary rear wing. We are going to have a go at explaining it over the weekend, but we’re going to need to speak to James May about that first so bear with us. Gary Anderson on the BBC website now seems certain that the system does effectively mean the car has DRS on the front as well as the rear wings, uniquely, and that has considerable benefits. And, as befits a man who’s designed real racing cars (Sunday Afternoon Club has never got further than some ambitious Lego projects) he’s also put forward some powerful arguments that the same system explains why the really rather cool-looking F1 WO3 eats its tyres.

(By the way, here’s that film of Schumacher fending off the paddock paps in Australia trying to grab a look at the tech.)

Hats off to those loveable Spaniards at HRT and their greying diver pairing of Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan (combined age 716). Unable to compete in Australia for the simple fact that hadn’t actually finished building the car, they lapped inside the 107 per cent of fastest time rule that should mean they can race on Sunday. That’s McLaren levels of in-season development (albeit from a somewhat lower starting point). Red Bull will be hoping it can match that. Looks like it needs to.

Ok, we’ll be back tomorrow and we promise to keep an eye on that midfield, which frankly is so tight, so close, we can’t really make any sense of it – unlike Sunday Afternooner ‘FastBBBB’, to whom we owe many thanks for telling us exactly what did happen on that last lap in Melbourne…

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Blubb, just for the fun of it, lets have a look what you have written there:
1. How ridiculous is it to compare the first Vettel seasons with Hamiltons? In a few words: BMW (only a part season) and STR were rubbish. Red Bull had the first competetive car in 2009. In that year Vettel already reached place 2 in the WDC.
2. If you start by comparing who got the WDC earlier in their career, which is already complete nonsense because of the extremely different starting conditions team wise, then start with 2008. The first complete season.
3. Alonso most successfull and the best driver of all times??? Seriously – just no. I don’t think even Alonso on a full cocaine trip would think he is the best of all times himself. Most succesfull is just hilarious. He is very good indeed but that’s all.
4. It was an amazing rookie season because he was born with a golden spoon in his mouth. There hasn’t been any rookie in F1 before who could directly enter a car which was competetive enough to win the WDC.
5. Losing the first WDC by 1 point is showing Lewis biggest problem: he can’t handle pressure. He messed it up all on his own. Leading the championship by 17 points the only thing he needed to do was coming home six – at least once – in two races. What did he do? DNF China after a driver fault, Sao Paulo 7th after a driver fault. Always the same problem, not patient enough, not clever enough, killing his material.
6. The comparison on the Top Gear track is entertaining, that’s all. It won’t show who is best in an F1 car. It is showing who is best in the Liana. Get Sebastian Loeb in it, maybe he would even whoop the F1 drivers asses in it, still he wouldn’t be faster in an F1 car.
7. Yes, by fact and simple numbers, Vettel is more successfull than Hamilton. More won WDCs, more GP victories, more poles, more fastest laps in less races with fewer driver based DNF. It’s standing there, black on white, just read it.

Finally, to put in perspective what I said before. I think Hamilton is a great racer, especially on short blasts he is really amazing. I would love to see him in the ROC, I’m sure he would have a great chance of winning it. But in my opinion he has two major flaws that will prevent him from being one of the all time greatest like Senna, Schumacher, Fangio, Stewart or Ascari, which I mentioned above. Not patient enough and not carefull enough with his machine. If it is true that in addition to the two reasons before he messed up the last season also because of his private reasons there is one more, lack of concentration when it comes to private problems. Again, if it’s true, it is a major blow. Every human being has problems sometimes, don’t mix them up with your job.
Vettel is not a god, but so far, yes, he is better than Hamilton. That’s a fact proven by numbers and his behaviour on the track during a race and over the season. By the way, also Button has one WDC and a VWDC and he is better in a direct comparison between both on the same car.
Once again, Lewis is really good, just not as good as the UK media is making you believe he is. If you follow the media in other countries the Hamilton hype is missing and what is left is a really good driver but no driving god. All I’ve written is not about Vettel being better, or Button, or whoever, just to get your feet back on the ground and in the hope your brain is larger than numpty kiddo and his nonsense.

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By the way, my guess for tomorrow: if it stays dry I bet for Button followed by Vettel (Hard tyres, much faster race pace in practice sessions), Hamilton (tyre shredding, couldn’t keep fully fueld car on track in practise), Schumacher (more a wish to be honest) and Webber. But I hope it rains, that could make it possible for Schumacher to win again and we would have for once a new team winning a race since the 2009 season. For me that is the most boring part in the seasons 2010 and 2011 (which were both great in my opinion) – no other team is winning than RBR, McLaren and rarely Ferrari.

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