mario wrote:Are you saying that, prior to the 2018 German GP, Vettel and Ferrari were not challenging Mercedes that season? Vettel certainly seemed confident, even rather cocky, about his performances until then (just take his radio message after the British GP that year, for example). Also, wouldn't some point out that it's a little misleading to say that Red Bull was only dominant in 2013, leaving out 2011?
It does raise the question of what might be considered an acceptable level of "dominance" though - at what point does it switch from being seen as an acceptable level of domination to then being unacceptable? We might consider 2010 as being competitive in terms of the World Drivers Championship, but on the other hand Red Bull won almost half the races that season (over 47%) - is that performance considered "dominant" or not? How do perceptions of dominance shift over time? Would we consider that "too dominant" now, or would it seem acceptable after the current performances of Mercedes?
Looking back at it, I don't think that we necessarily always thought of those seasons as being quite as even a fight at the time as we might think of it in retrospect. Do we recast our view of the past and skew our perception of what we might consider acceptable in the future based on what is happening now?
Maybe it won't be quite as one sided as now - but we don't need the sport to be as one sided as it is now for us to have complained about a team being "too dominant" in the past.
Honestly Mario, I never bought Ferrari's hype lol. The way Rob feels about RBR, I feel about Ferrari, they WILL bathplug something up, usually at a key point. I think overall you saw more people adopt this attitude this year, as I noticed the Sky team, especially Karun, were very sensitive of the criticisms of them anointing Ferrari (and this year Red Bull) too early, and made quite a few defensive comments about it during testing.
You may have a point about 2011. I have to go back and watch some of that again. I remember it being relatively close, (VERY close by 2014-2020 standards) but it could just be the rose-colored glasses of the year earlier and the year later blinding me. I 100% disagree about 2010 though. Webber and Vettel both were competitive. That makes a world a difference. If Merc had ever let Bottas compete, it would ease the sting quite a bit (see 2016).
But as to your question of what is "too dominant"? It is like the legal definition of obscenity. We just know it when we see it. And considering this week marks the first time in the hybrid era Merc has gone four races in a row with a win, yeah, we're seeing it all right.
Vettel didn't have as long a winning streak in 2011 that he did have in 2013, but Vettel was a long, long way ahead in 2011.
Whilst you say that "we know it when we see it" in your response to the question of the perception of dominance, given you then go on to say that you "remember it being relatively close" in 2011 does raise the question of whether it really is quite as obvious as you might think.
To give a contrast, if we take 2019 as the most recent undisrupted season - I believe that you have commented about 2019 being a dominant season by Hamilton, but by pretty much any metric you choose, Vettel's 2011 season was more dominant.
At the end of a 19 race season in 2011, Vettel was 122 points clear of his next nearest rival (392, versus 270 for Button) - that was the second highest winning margin that Vettel achieved over a title rival, with only 2013 outstripping that. Hamilton won in 2019 with a lead of 87 points over Bottas, and 135 over Verstappen - even with a longer season, he only won by slightly more points.
Vettel won the 2011 season with four races to go - he won it at the Japanese GP, which was round 15 out of 19 - where his lead was 114 points over Button, with a maximum of 100 points left. Going into the Japanese GP, Button had been the only driver who could even possibly be in mathematical contention, as he was 124 points behind Vettel with a maximum of 125 points available.
In 2019, if you then take a similar point in that season - the 2019 Japanese GP - then Hamilton went into that race with Bottas 73 points behind him, Leclerc 107 points behind and Verstappen 110 points behind.
In 2011, out of the 19 races that season, Vettel won 11 of them, meaning he won 58% of all races - more than the 52% that Hamilton won in 2019. In terms of finishing position, Vettel's average in 2011 was a finishing place of 1.3, and he only failed to finish on the podium twice that season - once due to a DNF, and one 4th place.
In qualifying, Vettel took 79% of all pole positions - 15 out of 19 - in 2011, as opposed to only 5 for Hamilton in 2019 (Leclerc, with 7, actually took more poles than Hamilton in 2019). As a whole, Red Bull took 95% of all possible poles in 2011 - in terms of pole positions, Red Bull's 2011 season ties with Mercedes for the maximum percentage of poles that could be taken in a season.
In terms of laps led, Vettel led 739 laps in 2011, or 65% of all possible laps that season - even with two more races, Hamilton led only 511 laps in 2019 (40.5%). In raw number terms, the 739 laps that Vettel led in 2011 is still the record for the most laps that any driver has ever led in a season, and percentage wise, only two drivers have ever bettered Vettel's 2011 season (Clark in 1963 holds the record, at 71.5%, with Mansell's 1992 season next at 67%) - I am leaving Verstappen and 2021 out for for the moment, though that would narrowly better Vettel's percentage too (66% laps led so far for Verstappen in 2021).
It's a strange thing, as you recall 2011 as being "VERY close by 2014-2020 standards" - but, statistically, Vettel really did dominate that season just as much, and indeed in some areas even more so, than anything Hamilton or Mercedes have done from 2014-2020.
That is why I raise the question about perception and about how we consider competitiveness between teams and within a team, and how both beliefs about what is an acceptable level of dominance changes over time.