Many are asking: What happened to the Kimi-Lotus pace?
This is a race with high complexity. It is not as if they all are not of intensive complexity, yet this season’s continued challenging tire management variability seems a confounding incremental bundle of variability to the otherwise complicated endeavour.
I feel intense complication into the first corner, with intense intra-team, and extra-team rivalries creating powerful stressors, increasing probabilities of destruction.
But if the safety car doesn’t have to come out…
I would normally expect Vettel to lead by the second corner, and a Ferrari. Normally the knee jerk reaction would be to assume Fernando; but Filipe lines up behind Vettel, who, according to this theory, out-drags Rosberg to the first corner; Alonso behind Rosberg. If one assumes the Ferraris and Vettel to get the better of Rosberg-Mercedes, Rosberg can block, one, or the other, but not both, and possibly neither. This scenario continues with an intense Vettel-Alonso battle to Vettel’s first stop, around… what, lap 10 of 11? Alonso drops the hammer for two, possibly three more, and likely, Massa having passed a topping or going Rosberg, by lap 14, certainly, takes the lead on the harder rubber. In this hypothetical scenario, Massa holds his victory’s chances in his own hands! Can he drop the hammer, and reel off faster and faster laps, from the front, maximum tire preservation, to what? lap 22, maybe 23? Expect Massa to be on a two-stop strategy, possibly to cover Kimi?!? Kimi must pass Massa in the first stint to ave a viable chance of winning on a two stopper, which other close observers must have concluded, also.
After the first stop, there re just too many variables to really get a handle on a pattern of performance. For example, the Force Indias are THE FASTEST down the straights, and they have been pretty darn good on tire management; a Force India could win tomorrow! But…. there is such an intense, searing rivalry, burning beneath the surface, wil they get past the first corner intact, from a start where they are so close?
Their day could be here; maybe if good enough, a double podium?!?
And after all, why not Rosberg holding everybody back, take control of the race, manage the tires as far as anybody else starting on mediums, and advance dramatically on Massa still out on hards in a long-running first stint? Go Nico, go!
But maybe Lotus has maximized Kimi’s already best preservational use of the primary constraining variable of this race, the rear tire wear. Maybe that means he has a harder time, ‘digging-in’, on a single lap jam; then again, maybe he’ll go as far on the mediums as Massa on the hards.
There is just so much at play here, enjoy!