Is Rosberg really a better qualifier than Hamilton?


Champion Elect
Rosberg has beaten Hamilton in the qualifying battle this season, and he has the trophy to prove it. He has undoubtably proven that he is a force to be reckoned with. I doubt there's another on the grid who could have taken on Hamilton as successfully as Rosberg has, remember Hamilton won the qualifying battle against a two time world champion in his rookie year.
However, the qualifying battle may not be as clear cut as it first appears, and without wanting to take anything from Rosberg's achievements, I just want to explore a few things.
Firstly the obvious one. Lewis had three issues in qualifying, not of his own making, without which he would likely have had the pole.
Monaco, Hamilton was up when Rosberg went off. He may have had the pole, but it could have gone either way.
Hokenheim and Hungary, without the brake issue and the fire I think Lewis would have had the poles. He aces those tracks and had been on top most of those weekends
So that's two, maybe three poles to come off Rosberg's tally and go onto Hamilton's tally. Already the picture looks different.

The other thing to look at is how the two went about their racing. Lewis is on record during the year saying he was interested only in the big prize, the championship, and if small battles, records were lost in pursuit of the big prizes, so be it. So did Lewis sacrifice qualifying to have a better car on race day? Toto let that cat out of the bag on Sunday, he said that was why Lewis was faster.

Let's look deeper. Hamilton gave an interview on BBC on Monday where he described the intense psychological battle that went on between the two protagonists. I would be one side of the table with my engineers said Lewis, Nico would be the other side with his. Every time we had an idea he would copy it, and vice versa. Things reached a peak after Spa, SO I CHANGED HOW I DID THINGS. And we won.
Here's the whole interview.

So is that the point that Hamilton began setting his car up for the race? But he would have to do so in a way that Rosberg couldn't copy. So did he...and his engineers...switch to the race setting at the last minute? Maybe just before the Q3 run? That would account for the small errors Lewis was making in some q3 runs in the second part of the season. Yet race day his car was generally better set up and Rosberg was making the errors. No pit to car coaching would also hinder Rosberg.
Lewis is good at adapting to car changes, he often does so instinctively, so the switch to a race set up during Quali he would cope with, albeit a few errors were made.

An example of Hamilton dealing with a major car set up change is given in a recent article written by Will Buxton. The year is 2006, Lewis is fighting for the GP2 title. The race is at Istanbul Parc. I was at that race and watched a masterful performance by Hamilton, but I didn't know what had happened behind the scenes. I urge you to read the article by Buxton, it's excellent, but here briefly is what he said about that race. Lewis had won Silverstone, but Piquet had taken the next race. On the Saturday at Istanbul Parc, Piquet had taken the pole and the win and Hamilton could see the championship slipping away. He had to do something. So he asked his engineers to take all the wing off his car and strip it back to Monza spec. The engineers said he would not be able to drive it at this track like that, he'd spin. Hamilton was insistent, so reluctantly they did as he asked. Shortly after the start of the race the engineers fears were realised and Hamilton spun to the back of the grid...but thereafter they watched something very special and engineers up and down the pitlane stopped to watch and applaud. He set about overtaking every car right up to second place, and never again did the car step out of shape. He'd adjusted in one lap to the new limits of the car.
The article by Buxton is a long one,but well worth the read, it encapsulates Hamilton beautifully

So eight years on is Lewis using the same skills to get around data sharing? Is he switching his set up late to avoid Rosberg copying and having time to adjust to Lewis' new set up? Is he sacrificing his qualifying to win the race? To win the championship? It's worth thinking about.
A very good post racecub well thought out and well written but to be honest I really don't care which one is better at this or that, Lewis won and Niko lost end of and I also don't care about any other drivers attributes either I just like the racing when there is some...

And Brogan or FB please do me a favour and do what I asked in my pm to you.

All it proves is that Rosbergs car or Rosberg is not as consistently as quick in the race, though history has shown Hamiltons car is not always as quick against a team mates car in a race though he has won.
Both drivers would be stronger in qualifying and on race day if they could practice openly and full on, not having to hold back for fear of their data traces being pawed over and acted upon. Mercedes pursuit of fairness and openness is flawed in so many gross and subtle ways, it will ultimately tear the team apart. And it will cost them dear when they are challenged by other teams running more conventional number 1 and 2 driver championship strategies.
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A very good post racecub well thought out and well written but to be honest I really don't care which one is better at this or that, Lewis won and Niko lost end of and I also don't care about any other drivers attributes either I just like the racing when there is some...

And Brogan or FB please do me a favour and do what I asked in my pm to you.

I'm guessing you asked them to ban you.
The team did Nico a great disservice when they decided to base their WDC campaign on the he who leads before the first pitstop, gets the optimum race strategy. It induced him to fixate on qualifying... thinking about it... it actually did both their drivers a grave disservice, often inducing Lewis to overdrive during qualifying.
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The season result has proved that Hamilton is more clever driver than many people tried to prove.

Roseberg implemented only 3 his poles of 11 (but 2 technical reason was).
But Hamilton implemented 6 his pole of 7 (but 1 technical reason was) + implemented 3 Rosberg's poles

Early Hamilton was often accused that he cannot realise his qualification speed.
Who is not realise qualification speed in this season?
May be Hamilton deliberately was choosing the race settings in second half of season?
I'm pretty confident they don't know what they were thinking. For some unaccountable reason humans seldom know what they are thinking, let alone what they were thinking after they have thunk it.
You have to say that on this year's evidence, yes - he is. Revisionism, and "well, if Lewis hadn't had x happen..." will not change that fact.

Didn't exactly do him all that many favours though, did it? Not when he had to watch his teammate muscle past him on 3 occasions. Points only get dished out on Sundays, after all.

I expect he'll still be a better qualifier than Lewis in 2015 too. I still don't think he'll come out on top over the course of a season on Sundays though.
Even if you were awarded 10 points for a pole position Hamilton would have still taken the title this year. Would have been down to double points though.
I would welcome a points system for qualifying. Yes, yes, I know that qualifying well is it's own reward but it is also a separate day of competition and has a very different set of procedures and priorities than race day. Plus, a driver who qualifies well but gets punted into the wall at turn 1 may still salvage some points.
I'd say Rosberg is the better qualifier. If Hamilton focused on winning the races instead of winning the pole, that makes him a more competent / complete driver who knows when and how to be fast when needed. It's not a bad thing, not being better at qualifying. Some drivers prepared for Sunday and delivered. Probably it's time for Lewis to retire his yellow helmet and instead start wearing a blue and white one ... just saying
IMO Hamiltons quali woes are down to brakes. His driving style requires an ultra sensitive feel of the brakes and the CIs on the W05 don't give him that. That shortcoming is then exposed most when driving the penultimate Q3 lap where he would often lock up. Didn't he have to ditch his preferred Brembo discs earlier in the season? Also after Spa it looked like he started giving away some Saturday setup to his teammate in favour of Sundays and in an attempt to drive around the setup deficit he ended up overdriving - and with braking already a bit of a problem then its just a vicious circle. Get the brakes sorted and I'm sure Hami will be back to his qualifying best.
This is the first season that Hamilton has run in final qualifying with full power, tyres and fuel in Q3. Maybe that freedom doesn't suit him, the reminder "these may be your race tyres" tends to be on Hamilton's team radio and he is better at getting to the preservation-limit fast than actual ultimate pace.

Which would chime with the fact he's faster in the race despite using less tyres and fuel.
You'd think winning the WDC would be enough but some can't stand the thought that maybe, just maybe Hamilton is beatable, even at qualifying.
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