There was nothing wrong with the Merc race pace. They were running the first stint with a one-stopper in mind. NR stayed with this far-far too long, judging by his post-race comments, He has been too stubborn to dump the strategy, while MS timed his pit stop perfectly for a strategy swap. From than on, Both Merc drivers were consistently fast in free air, NR, in fact, was consistently fastest, and MS could stay on pace after he battled through quiet a few cars, so tyre management has took a great step forward too, as already indicated by the team. Sorry, but your lack of insight is slightly disturbing.
Reading Martin Whitmash's comments about developments and how every little thousandths matters is fasinating.
Dropping a second in the pitstops would be a race winner for someone. Getting Q3 right, getting your best gues estimate set up for Sunday's temperatures right-before 2003 this wasn't a issue as we had sunday warm up. So many more variables now. No testing, so your effectively trying out compounds knowing certain conditons on certain tracks still will bring unknowns.
Searching for a tenth in aero, gains in merchanical. Reliability a must. Driver having a clean run to the first corner. Safety car timing - strategy.
With so many variables it's easy to see why we've had so many winners and why any little misstake or any bad luck, any misfortune can change the outcome in a flash.
Fasiinating season the more I think about it. Many things must go right.