I do not think this is the case.DChemTech wrote: ↑Wed Dec 22, 2021 1:11 pmYes, that is indeed an implicit assumption that can be questioned. Overall, I think they are similar tier although I would, on the past few seasons, perhaps rate Perez a bit higher. He dissapointed in that sense this year. But perhaps the RB is just harder to extract performance from than the MBTNTHead wrote: ↑Wed Dec 22, 2021 12:14 pmAgreed, although you make the implicit assumption that Bottas and Perez are comparable performance indicators. This is unknown because they didn't drive in the same car in a season in the past. Actually I would suggest that Bottas is better in qualifying and Perez is better in race pace. Although the appraised tyre management of Perez was (compared to VER) not obviously clear. So comparing VER to HAM via teams mates is quite difficult if not impossible.DChemTech wrote: ↑Wed Dec 22, 2021 10:42 am
Exactly. In the first part of the season, the balance as to who seemed to have the better car switched nearly per-race. After catching a break with the tire change, the balance shifted towards Mercedes - visible from race-pace (especially the last few races - if Max was ahead, he could not drive away. If Lewis was, he could), but also reflected in Max's ever more aggressive (sometimes overly so) driving style. He very well realised that he would not be able to stay ahead otherwise. He had to extract every little bit of performance from the car to stay ahead, and he needed to take risks.
Of course there is this long standing discussion about "can a driver drive better than the car allows" (as was e.g. said of Alonso in the past), or is the car that wins, by definition, the fastest car? I think the answer to both is no. Of course in a very pragmatic sense, the driver can never drive better than the car allows - but performance is much harder to extract from some cars than from others. And that is where drivers can excel; extracting the most performance from a car, especially one that's hard to perform well in. And this is what Max did exceptionally this year - he got more out of his car than Lewis did. Like e.g. Schumacher did in comparison the the elder Verstappen or initially poor Ferraris, or like Alonso did in several seasons.
I think that is well illustrated from e.g. qualifying data. The qualifying gap between Max and Checo is much larger, both in position and time-gap, than between Lewis and Bottas. Bottas was on the podium much more than Perez, too - again much bigger teammate gap at RB than MB. And there's a reason statistical analysis assigns such a high score to Max compared to all other drivers this year. Sure, I understand some LH fans are angry and find the whole thing undeserved, but the numbers don't agree. Sure, Max went over the line sometimes, but that happens when you need to drive exceptionally continuously to have a shot at victory, and all in all, he harmed his own scorechart with that more than anything else. In the end, that does not take away from what he managed this year - an exceptional drive that squeezed every little bit of performance from the car, which was absolutely championship worthy.
We have a similar situation as with Schumacher or Alonso in the past. The cars were basically undrivable for anyone else because they were tuned to the tip so that these top drivers could extract everything. We see the same at RedBull and Merc today.
So the pace difference is not real.