Will Gray

  • Ferrari ready to step up and race-wheel-to-wheel with Mercedes

    Lewis Hamilton returned to winning ways in Canada, but Mercedes nursed their cars home and Ferrari’s outstanding performance was only undermined by ill fortune. Will Gray asks if there is more to last weekend than the result suggests.

    Ferrari's Sebastian VettelFerrari's Sebastian Vettel

    FERRARI GETTING READY TO FIGHT

    Ferrari have all guns blazing right now and although last weekend their new firepower failed to hit the target there were signs that, given the right place to play, they could genuinely take the fight to Mercedes.

    In the next stage of a strong development process that began with a major aerodynamic upgrade in Spain, the Italian team used three ‘development tokens’ to upgrade the performance of their combustion engine before Canada, which in theory should offer a significant power increase.

    The unique nature of the Monaco and Canadian races, however, means that

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  • Gray Matter: Maturing Lewis Hamilton reacted superbly to Monaco blow

    Lewis Hamilton was robbed by a team brain fade in Monaco but as Nico Rosberg won, McLaren took points and Max Verstappen showed his age, Hamilton’s cool reaction could prove key to the title battle.

    Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg (C) and Lewis Hamilton (R) stand on the podium with Ferrari Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel (L) (Reuters)Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg (C) and Lewis Hamilton (R) stand on the podium with Ferrari Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel (L) (Reuters)

    Hamilton shows Monaco maturity

    Four years ago, Hamilton reacted to disappointment in Monaco with a controversial ‘maybe it’s because I’m black’ quip, mimicking Ali G to hit back at what he believed to be unfair treatment from the stewards.

    Even as recently as last year, he shouted “Nico hit me!” to immediately assign blame in Belgium when the pair collided and in Italy he sent an expletive filled message over the radio when he was slow off the line.

    In Monaco last weekend he was dealt arguably the toughest blow of his career. Yet this time he dealt with it very differently.

    This race means a

    Read More »from Gray Matter: Maturing Lewis Hamilton reacted superbly to Monaco blow
  • 3 things we learned from the Spanish Grand Prix: Nico Rosberg, Ferrari, Red Bull

    The tables turned on Lewis Hamilton as F1 headed to Europe but is Nico Rosberg’s success in Barcelona the sign of things to come, and what has happened to Mercedes’ rivals? Will Gray wraps up the Spanish GP.

    1) Nico Rosberg is back in the game

    In the first four races it has been all Hamilton, with the key to his success being dominance over Rosberg on Saturdays giving him the ability to control the race from the front on Sundays.

    But it only takes the smallest of margins to turn the tables in the battle between the two Mercedes drivers.

    In Australia, Hamilton qualified over half a second ahead of Rosberg, but that equates to just 0.69 percent of the lap time. He closed to 0.42 percent in Malaysia and in China was just 0.05 percent off.

    But then in Bahrain he dropped to 0.77 percent behind, his

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  • Lewis Hamilton doesn't fear Ferrari - he's loving every second of the battle against them

    Another race, another impressive Lewis Hamilton victory, says Will Gray – but on a weekend where Mercedes’ fallibility was shown once again, there were plenty of talking points.

    Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates on the podium after winning in Bahrain (Reuters)Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates on the podium after winning in Bahrain (Reuters)

    Hamilton thriving in Ferrari fight – for now

    If Sebastian Vettel’s success in Malaysia sent a warning shot to Mercedes, Kimi Raikkonen’s performance in the closing stages of the race in Bahrain was a genuine call to arms.

    The Sepang defeat was blamed on the heat, but the fact that Raikkonen put in such a strong performance in the decreasing temperatures as night fell in Sakhir will leave Mercedes much more concerned.

    But for Hamilton, it seems it is just what he wanted.

    “That's what motorsport is all about and that's why we go racing,” he said after the race. “To fight with other teams."

    For

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  • 3 things we learned from China: Nico Rosberg must take action to save his career

    Will Gray identifies three key points from the Chinese Grand Prix, with Nico Rosberg at a vital juncture of his career.

    Mercedes' Nico Rosberg adjusts his sunglasses while walking in the paddockMercedes' Nico Rosberg adjusts his sunglasses while walking in the paddock

    Normal service was emphatically resumed in China with a full house for Lewis Hamilton – and Nico Rosberg now needs to take desperate measures to get to grips with his team-mate before his career takes a nose dive.

    1. Rosberg needs mental magic

    Rosberg is in a career-defining moment. Hammered by Hamilton once again in China, he’s unsettled and uneasy. And his post-race outburst about Hamilton jeopardising his race by driving too slowly showed just how lost he is right now.

    [HAMILTON REIGNITES WAR OF WORDS WITH ROSBERG]

    Hamilton’s extreme tyre conservation did put Rosberg in jeopardy, but he

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  • Gray Matter: Mercedes' Malaysian meltdown, as Sebastian Vettel remembers how to smile

    Fears of total Mercedes dominance in 2015 were quashed in Malaysia when Sebastian Vettel won for Ferrari last weekend - but what did we really learn from Sepang? Will Gray takes a look.

    Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg discuss their woesLewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg discuss their woes

    Mercedes have an Achilles heel

    It was a shock in Malaysia to discover Mercedes could actually be beaten, genuinely, fair and square, on pace, despite Lewis Hamilton starting from the front of the grid.

    The turn-around was as quick as it was unexpected after such a dominant performance in Australia - but we need to be cautious in reading too much into it. Yes, in retrospect the opening race of the season did not perhaps reflect the true state of play; but what happened at Sepang is likely to be an extreme at the other end of the scale.

    Heat has often caused trouble for Mercedes in the past and

    Read More »from Gray Matter: Mercedes' Malaysian meltdown, as Sebastian Vettel remembers how to smile
  • 3 things we learned from Melbourne: Worrying signs as Mercedes fuel boredom fears

    Will Gray reviews the weekend's action in Melbourne, as Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton began in ominous form.

    Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg spray champagne after the opening race of the seasonLewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg spray champagne after the opening race of the season

    After a dominant Mercedes one-two in Australia with the chasing pack coming nowhere close there are ominous signs that Formula One is at risk of heading towards another period of dull domination.

    Mercedes are even further ahead

    Mercedes were even more dominant than expected, and by all accounts they were not even trying all that hard. Hamilton’s pole was almost 1.5s faster than third placed Felipe Massa’s Williams and both Mercedes cars finished more than half a minute ahead of everyone else.

    In Australia last year, Hamilton’s pole lap was just 0.317s faster than Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo

    Read More »from 3 things we learned from Melbourne: Worrying signs as Mercedes fuel boredom fears
  • F1’s Big Questions - Can Mercedes get a clean sweep? Can Ferrari build ‘Team Vettel’?

    Will Gray ponders the big questions in the wake of pre-season...

    Formula One drivers for the 2015 season are pictured in this combination photo at Melbourne's Albert Park Track, March 12, 2015 (Reuters)Formula One drivers for the 2015 season are pictured in this combination photo at Melbourne's Albert Park Track, March 12, 2015 (Reuters)

    With pre-season over it seems F1 is set for another year of Mercedes domination with Williams and Ferrari leading the chase – but what are the big questions in 2015?

    Can Mercedes get a clean sweep?

    The final test showed Mercedes’ rivals just what to expect and it wasn’t encouraging. The reigning champions have clocked up more miles than anyone and it seems they are an entire tyre compound ahead of their nearest challenger (faster on softs than their rivals on super softs). Mercedes will also benefit from the fact that most of the key competition – Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren - are all in

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  • What have we learned from F1 testing?

    Will Gray tells you everything you need to know about how the Formula One teams are shaping up ahead of the new season.

    McLaren Formula One racing driver Fernando Alonso of Spain leaves his garage during pre-season testing at the Jerez racetrack in southern SpainMcLaren Formula One racing driver Fernando Alonso of Spain leaves his garage during pre-season testing at the Jerez racetrack in southern Spain

    F1 is back on track and although testing is notorious for smoke and mirrors there are already some clear indications of how things will shake out for the lead contenders in 2015.

    So with just four days down, who’s hot and who’s not?

    [SLIDESHOW: ALL THE NEW FORMULA ONE CARS]

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    MERCEDES

    Testing form: A pretty perfect test with only a few minor problems saw them clock up 2,284km, 600km more than next best Sauber. They focused on reliability not pace, limiting soft tyre runs, but Nico Rosberg still managed to beat last year’s top Jerez test in just 11 laps.

    Car: Mercedes has used its

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  • Will Gray's review of the year: Lewis Hamilton reaches a new level

    Our expert writers are giving us their reviews of 2014.

    Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates with his team after winning the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuitMercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates with his team after winning the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit

    We asked our expert writers to give us their take on a memorable year in sport, as well as asking for their hope for 2015.

    Here Will Gray picks his selection.

    - - -

    Best memory of the year

    Hailed as the best World Cup in history, Brazil's festival of football was high in drama, from the never-say-die desire of Team USA to Luis Suarez knocking out England and Brazil being hammered 7-1 by Germany. All made better with a big screen, bbq and good summer weather, it was just a shame the world's best player didn't turn up on final night.

    Sportsperson of the year

    Lewis Hamilton because in a straight

    Read More »from Will Gray's review of the year: Lewis Hamilton reaches a new level