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What requires more mental strength


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Poll: In actual race situation or video game... (184 member(s) have cast votes)

What gives you more excitment ?

  1. Leading (28 votes [15.22%])

    Percentage of vote: 15.22%

  2. Chasing (156 votes [84.78%])

    Percentage of vote: 84.78%

In which situation would you feel more vulnerable?

  1. Leading (145 votes [78.80%])

    Percentage of vote: 78.80%

  2. Chasing (39 votes [21.20%])

    Percentage of vote: 21.20%

Now for you, what requires more mental strength to deliver?

  1. Leading (138 votes [75.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 75.00%

  2. Chasing (46 votes [25.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 25.00%

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#1 icewest07

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 12:33

OK I want to invite you to answer this poll with the following context in mind, please :
You race in a very tight pack of cars (and unpredictable competition as were the early races of this season). Whether it is in actual race, or video game, what type of drivers are you when dealing with the excitment and the stress of racing with big reward at stake ? Let's say you are within two races from the championship decider like VET & ALO right now...

Well this topic came to me when reading the latest JV's comment where he (as I have seen many on this board do) just sees Vettel as a "leader from light-to-flag" type of driver, hence underestimating the ability that it actually takes to be efficient all the time in these kind of situations. here : http://www.autosport...t.php/id/104210

We may all be different when racing (only video games for me and some karting occasionnaly) but I tend to be more stressed when I'm leading a tight pack because I know I have a lot to lose maybe. But totally more excited and relax when chasing (knowing I have the same speed to challenge the leading guys). So for me 'Vettels' type of drivers are way more strong in their mind because they will deliver more often than not. And I also think that's what made Kimi & Pastor wins more special than Rosbergs this year : the chasing driver (ALO in both case) just had nothing to lose, and could go just flat out when the other 2 had to deal with a lot more pressure...;)

So I dont know, what do you guys think?

Edited by icewest07, 14 November 2012 - 12:40.


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#2 prty

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 13:51

Depends on the performance you are having at that moment. If you are leading or chasing with the best package there is a lot less pressure that if you are leading or chasing without it, as you know that you have to be at your limit and every single mistake would be very costly. If you have the best package you know you will be able to maintain position or you will eventually get there without taking so many risks.

#3 The Kanisteri

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 13:59

What gives you more excitment ?
Chasing
Battling and overtaking and overperforming rivals is always fun

In which situation would you feel more vulnerable?
Leading/Chasing
If grid performance is almost equal leading is more demanding since you have to keep pace, look mirrors and compare pace to rivals, block their overtakign maneuveurs, block their sliptreaming possibilities, block them outsmarting you when braking. Chasing is challenge (for example GT5 seasonal events) when giving situation, you start from back and have few laps time to catch and overtake leader. In some cases ai car has given quite equal car with you and he has minute lead for 3 lap race - you have to drive really insane!

Now for you, what requires more mental strength to deliver?
Leading
For same reasons above but will add maintaining tyres, fuel, time pace for pitstops, strategy to pass backmarkers quickly etc.


#4 Sakae

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 14:03

I think racing in P2 is more stressful, because a driver needs to play several strategies simultaneously regarding chase for P1, defending his P2 from immediate attack, and ensuring that his own survival in P2 on the long run is sustainable, if P1 cannot be attained. This is not as easy job as it sounds.

#5 GSiebert

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 14:08

I think racing in P2 is more stressful, because a driver needs to play several strategies simultaneously regarding chase for P1, defending his P2 from immediate attack, and ensuring that his own survival in P2 on the long run is sustainable, if P1 cannot be attained. This is not as easy job as it sounds.

Why P2 would be different than any other position bellow P1 ?

#6 ali_M

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 14:13

I'm not surprised the results of a poll for such questions are skewed heavily in a particular direction. :)

Edited by ali_M, 14 November 2012 - 14:13.


#7 prty

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 14:55

Very surprising results indeed... from the little experience I have in karts or online, being in the lead is more comfortable, usually means you are going quicker than the rest, have a cleaner race and can manage the tyres. You already have the result, and the rest have to fight for it. And even if you are not quicker, the guy behind still has to come up with a decent overtake attempt, which might not be easy and gives you more margin.
If you chase you have to maintain the leader's pace, which is probably hard since there is a reason of why you are behind, AND endlessly think about how to pull safely the necessary overtakes as soon as possible, all while still taking care of the tyres.

#8 icewest07

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 14:58

I'm not surprised the results of a poll for such questions are skewed heavily in a particular direction. :)


well, care to develop... ?


#9 icewest07

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 15:01

Very surprising results indeed... from the little experience I have in karts or online, being in the lead is more comfortable, usually means you are going quicker than the rest, have a cleaner race and can manage the tyres. You already have the result, and the rest have to fight for it. And even if you are not quicker, the guy behind still has to come up with a decent overtake attempt, which might not be easy and gives you more margin.
If you chase you have to maintain the leader's pace, which is probably hard since there is a reason of why you are behind, AND endlessly think about how to pull safely the necessary overtakes as soon as possible, all while still taking care of the tyres.


It could well be the result of a messy start...
And as I have stated in the opening post, you are racing in a tight pack and more or less have the samed pace as the leading guys... So it's about you putting the pressure on them, or (if you are leading) holding off their attempt to pass :well:

#10 mnmracer

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 15:11

It depends on the car's race pace.

People yowl how the Red Bull is light years faster, but overlook that it's only that fast in qualifying (coincidentally, also have two of the best qualifying drivers on the grid drive it). Try being in front when you know that the guy coming up behind might have faster race pace and most certainly has higher top speed when he tries to attack.

JV's standpoint is skewed because he has only ever been in the front with an outright fastest car, in both qualifying and racing trim. There is no such Williams in the field now though.

#11 bub

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 15:17

I'd say in general leading requires more mental strength.

#12 Sakae

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 15:21

Why P2 would be different than any other position bellow P1 ?

Good question, still, I think P2 has most to loose or gain, because delta in awards between P1 and P3 or lower is massive.

#13 CF22

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 15:27

It depends, leading by a few tenths, specially with DRS is more stressful. Leading by 10 seconds not at all but there's always a chance of a safety car.

#14 Kucki

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 15:30

From the iRacing experience I would say:

What gives you more excitment ?
Chasing

Hunting someone down who is just slightly slower then you and then going by cleanly, AND then be able to slowly get away from him is the best feeling you can have.




In which situation would you feel more vulnerable?

Leading.

Every single corner could be the place you make a mistake or only slightly miss your brakepoint / line, and the car behind you would have an advantage and the momentum. If you are behind you could get away with a slight mistake


Now for you, what requires more mental strength to deliver?

Going by a situation were you are almost equal to your opponent I would say chasing. Because when leading you can concentrate on defensive driving and just hang onto it as long as possible.
When you are the one who is chasing and only slightly faster or equal to the car infront, you will have to risks not only with your own line and braking / accelerating marks, you also have to consider the car infronts marks which could be slightly off your own marks, so you have to consider that while still sticking to your own driving mentally.

#15 boldhakka

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 15:32

Great poll. It looks like a pretty clear consensus is emerging. I would have expected a little more variation.

I definitely do best with a visible carrot in front of me.

#16 F.M.

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 15:39

When I'm leading I go for fastest laps every single lap, so yeah, that's more stressfull as I'm more prone to making mistakes pushing all the time.

When in the pack I just follow and go for my chances. In games like Codemaster's F1 I know I can win every single race in every single car at the highest difficulty, so no pressure when behind other cars. I just know I'll get through eventually.

IRL: it all depends on the performance you have and the results you need. If you are leading with a super dominant car (speed wise) but you need that win to win the WDC I'd way more stressful than when I'm the slowest in the pack but it doesn't matter if I pick up a point or not.

#17 stillOrange

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 15:47

My racing experience is also rather tiny and I actually voted leading in all three questions

1. I agree that chasing in itself is extremely exiting but actually after all the hard work chasing my excitement is at its top level when I overtook everyone and I'm leading. I hope you understand what I mean.
2. I feel much more vulnerable when there is no one in front of me. I find it much easier to evaluate significance of my own mistakes or how I'm doing when there is someone in front of me. If I'm behind someone I feel 'in charge' of the situation.
3. I race only for fun so it is kind of hard to answer this question but I think I would find it more difficult mentally to deliver when leading from start to finish. I wouldn't want to miss all the fun behind :D

#18 Skinnyguy

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 16:42

Leading is easy when you have a healthy pace advantage. If it´s close, or you´re slower, the leader is the one under more pressure.

#19 joshb

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 16:51

I'd rather be leading like Vettel is in the championship- he could just about afford a bad race if he got a bit lucky- Alonso realistically can't.
But i'd rather be chasing if I was gaining on the guy leading and would not like to be leading but getting hunted down.

It takes more metal strength to lead i think because if you're chasing, you know your target whereas if you are leading, its a bit of an unkonwn, even if it is more in your hands

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#20 sopa

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 16:57

Competition experience I have only from computer-games. Of course, in the text below I am arguing from that point of view, when both the leader and chased have roughly similar speed and strategy. Which means that the leader is more likely to win if he races perfectly till the end. Not like Perez-Monza style stuff that the chaser on fresher tyres is gonna pass you anyway sooner or later.

Without a doubt I get more excitement from chasing. When I can see the rear wing of that car in front, it really motivates and inspires to get 100% out of my car, especially if I see I am able to hunt him down. While in the front, it is "easy" to get slightly lazy in terms of max attack, unless you are under immense pressure.

However, in terms of vulnerability, there is more to lose in the lead. Because you are in front and know that the race is your'sif you play it right, so have to make sure you play it right to deliver the win. While chasing, you can go flat-out and crashing out doesn't feel that bad, because I know winning was a bit of a long shot anyway and only way to win was to take big risks.

Mental strength? You can argue from both sides. For me it is chasing, because I know that I need to be absolutely perfect to even catch the car in front, let alone pass. While the leader can lose tenths here and there in terms of laptime and still hang onto the lead.

But when there is a direct wheel-to-wheel battle, for me defending in the lead requires more mental strength, because a) I have to trust the driver behind that he doesn't crash into me, which I can't control - chaser can control it better, b) I know if I lose the lead, it is likely game over. While as a chaser - as explained in the first question - there is simply more adrenalin and excitement, and I don't feel that much pressure. Maybe except the final lap, when you really need to make the pass stick immediately. But of course it all depends, how easy it is to pass on the track. I was arguing from that point of view, when the chaser really can get a run on the leader and it is truly open, who is gonna win. Not Monaco-style racing, where unless the leader makes a big mistake, there is no change.

Edited by sopa, 14 November 2012 - 17:00.


#21 Ravenak

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 17:02

I'm not like you, OP.

I did several races in karting some years ago, and whenever I was not in front, I used to get angry and discouraged, knowing I was losing time behind, letting the leader escape.

That's particularly frustrating when you know you're one of the best and you should be leading, but for some reason you are not.

So yes, chasing is more exciting, but only if you're really climbing up the hierarchy fast enough. Chasing is for me the most nerve wrecking.

I also get impatient when I feel I don't eat away enough time from the leader, as the laps go by, towards the end of the race.

Edited by Ravenak, 14 November 2012 - 17:03.


#22 ali_M

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 17:17

well, care to develop... ?


Well, from personal experience and the drivers always say this too.... it's always mentally more difficult when you have everything to lose than to be chasing for it.

For instance, an average driver's mental attitude in the advantaged position that Vettel is, would lead to a personal feeling of embarrassment and accentuated failure if he were to 'drop the ball in hand' as it were and lose the championship. Same for the race. Look at how Fisi felt in Suzuka 2005 or how Trulli felt when he was overtaken at the last corner in France 2004. Can you imagine how Hamilton would have felt if he lost the championship in Brazil 2008??? In fact, it was his mental state that made him have such a close shave with not actually putting the championship win together.

OTOH, look at how if Kimi had not passed Fisi at Suzuka in 2005, he'd still have been praised for his efforts. He had nothing to lose really.

The same for Hamilton when he joined McLaren in 2007. Alonso was seen as the more experienced .... the one leading in terms of ability, experience etc. Hamilton set out to chase him over the season. To see if he could better him. Alonso was supposed to have the advantage based on his experience and the fact that he had already won two championships. Hamilton had nothing to lose while Alonso had everything to lose if Hamilton bettered him. It turns out that Hamilton's excellence flustered Alonso quite a bit and certainly contributed to the interpersonal tensions he experienced while at McLaren.

I also think that Raikkonen's downward spiral in performance relative to Massa in 2008 had a lot to do with the mental pressure of losing the upper hand.

Same for Button with Hamilton in 2011.

I don't know if you're referring to races only, but I do feel the same principle happens since the championship fight is about a race on points. The same for intrateam battles between teammates.

#23 ali_M

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 17:25

I'm not like you, OP.

I did several races in karting some years ago, and whenever I was not in front, I used to get angry and discouraged, knowing I was losing time behind, letting the leader escape.

That's particularly frustrating when you know you're one of the best and you should be leading, but for some reason you are not.

So yes, chasing is more exciting, but only if you're really climbing up the hierarchy fast enough. Chasing is for me the most nerve wrecking.

I also get impatient when I feel I don't eat away enough time from the leader, as the laps go by, towards the end of the race.


This is true. I only referred to one aspect of a chase and the context of the chase.

For example, Vettel knew he was starting at the back. He went hell for leather and put on quite the chase. Nothing to lose there really.

I'm sure that he'd have been mentally very different during the race if he had started third but had a botched start that was his fault, leading to him losing 12 places and he then now has to chase. In fact, we got a glimpse of this sort of mental state kicking in when he damaged his front wing again during the safety car period in Abu Dhabi.

Alonso's mental state had to be challenging in Abu Dhabi 2010 after the pitstop that decided his race. Being stuck in traffic must have been crushing. That's no chase there...... that's already a drop of the ball and loss of the lead after having had it.

So it's really down where the chase or lead is mentally being contemplated. If you're chasing when you think you should be leading, then you've already mentally lost the lead. However, if you're chasing when you haven't yet gotten a lead, whether it be in a particular race or it's a race in points, then it's a lot easier to deal with such a situation.

#24 icewest07

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 19:07

So it's really down where the chase or lead is mentally being contemplated. If you're chasing when you think you should be leading, then you've already mentally lost the lead. However, if you're chasing when you haven't yet gotten a lead, whether it be in a particular race or it's a race in points, then it's a lot easier to deal with such a situation.


This sums it up pretty well indeed... And I do understand the feeling of being frustrated when stuck behind a slower car when your main opposition is flying away with the lead; it clearly takes away any kind of excitment ):

But my topic was more about a situation where you are directly racing the opposition where you belong i.e drivers with the same pace as yours and fighting for the same stakes in the championship or whatever reward... Seems that most would like to be chasing him, whether in the hope to pass him with the classiest fashion, whether to make him crack under your pressure (which also gives a lot of satisfaction)!

I remember a topic here (with a poll maybe) where it was asked which driver one would most fear to be chased by between Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel and probably someone else... and it was quite interesting ;)

#25 Seanspeed

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 19:14

Totally depends on your pace compared to the competition. Leading can be easy sometimes, other times its very tough.

Best situation is leading while having a pace advantage. Even if you've got a lot to lose, you're typically pretty comfortable. It only starts getting really stressful if others close behind are matching you or are faster than you. Then you know that you've got to be inch-perfect if you want to salvage a good result.

#26 choyothe

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 20:33

On average:

Chasing

Leading

Leading


Looks like this is one of the few polls the forum got right, good job. :D


#27 ali_M

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 22:39

Totally depends on your pace compared to the competition. Leading can be easy sometimes, other times its very tough.

Best situation is leading while having a pace advantage. Even if you've got a lot to lose, you're typically pretty comfortable. It only starts getting really stressful if others close behind are matching you or are faster than you. Then you know that you've got to be inch-perfect if you want to salvage a good result.


We've seen this year that having the fastest car isn't all it takes to win a GP. Alonso's mental stability now has to do with how he basks in the praise for doing so well in a car not quite at the front in pace. However, McLaren keeps going into race weekends, put the car on pole and then fumble under the mental pressure of doing well in the race when the car pace makes it obvious that they really should be winning. It's then that the pitwork cockups can arise etc. In such situations it's about experience anyway and being able to suck up the pressure of taking and maintaining a lead and not getting all flustered when the lead is threatened.

Vettel vs Button in Canada 2011 anyone?

Edited by ali_M, 14 November 2012 - 22:40.


#28 Skinnyguy

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 23:14

In such situations it's about experience anyway and being able to suck up the pressure of taking and maintaining a lead and not getting all flustered when the lead is threatened.


Yeah, all you have to do is to concentrate in keep driving as fast as possible without thinking too much about what´s happening around you. If you start thinking too much or fearing to come second you mess up. When they start showing up in the mirrors you´ll have time to start racing, while that doesn´t happen, just keep lapping as fast as possible like any other lap.

#29 travbrad

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 23:53

Totally depends on your pace compared to the competition. Leading can be easy sometimes, other times its very tough.

Best situation is leading while having a pace advantage. Even if you've got a lot to lose, you're typically pretty comfortable. It only starts getting really stressful if others close behind are matching you or are faster than you. Then you know that you've got to be inch-perfect if you want to salvage a good result.


Yep that has been my experience in race sims. If you have a 5+ second lead with 3 laps to go it's not that hard, but if you have a 1 second lead and the cars behind are faster than you, it's a lot harder.


However, McLaren keeps going into race weekends, put the car on pole and then fumble under the mental pressure of doing well in the race when the car pace makes it obvious that they really should be winning.


Mclaren has screwed up some leads this year, but that wasn't down to the driver's mental strength. It was down to mechanical or pitstop problems. I think Hamilton has had more mental strength this year than he ever has before, but it doesn't help much when your team keeps screwing it up.

Edited by travbrad, 14 November 2012 - 23:55.


#30 Nahnever

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 00:10

This sums it up pretty well indeed... And I do understand the feeling of being frustrated when stuck behind a slower car when your main opposition is flying away with the lead; it clearly takes away any kind of excitment ):

But my topic was more about a situation where you are directly racing the opposition where you belong i.e drivers with the same pace as yours and fighting for the same stakes in the championship or whatever reward... Seems that most would like to be chasing him, whether in the hope to pass him with the classiest fashion, whether to make him crack under your pressure (which also gives a lot of satisfaction)!

I remember a topic here (with a poll maybe) where it was asked which driver one would most fear to be chased by between Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel and probably someone else... and it was quite interesting ;)

Link?

#31 TheWilliamzer

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 00:15

It depends on the circumstances!

but I'd go for chasing being the hardest situation that requires more mentel strength as you're driving and following another car that can distract you or do a sudden surprising maneuver or even crash in front of you. you need to be more focused than when you're in clean air and visibility, and with nobody taking a part of your attention. Yet there's another factor which is the pace, if you're chasing in a quicker car then it's not that hard, otherwise you'll need some extra attention and focus to take the perfect lines and wait for the mistake from the guy ahead.

but, in changeable conditions, you're the leader = you're the guy who will be the test mouse. The 1st to face the changing grip and others will use you as a reference which is a big disadvantage even with the clear view. So you'll need some mighty focus to keep your feet on track while keeping the chasers behind.

#32 Craven Morehead

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 03:00

I always enjoyed the chase more. Slowly realing someone in can be very satisfying. I recall feeling particularly calm in those cicumstances.

Conversely, I clearly remember my heartrate rising when somebody was filling my mirrors looking for a way past.

#33 ali_M

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 03:50

Mclaren has screwed up some leads this year, but that wasn't down to the driver's mental strength. It was down to mechanical or pitstop problems. I think Hamilton has had more mental strength this year than he ever has before, but it doesn't help much when your team keeps screwing it up.


I'm basically making the point that the mental pressure involved does not only involve the driver but also the rest of the team.

Alonso's race management in Abu Dhabi 2010 comes to mind too. Yes, the driver and pressure is often taken center stage, but what of the rest of the team managing the race? They are similarly subject to pressure created by the same circumstances.


#34 Dmitriy_Guller

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 03:56

In my online racing experience, leading was always a lot more stressful. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I was never a fast driver, but rather a very consistent driver with a lot of racing smarts. If I was leading, it was probably because a number of faster cars screwed up, and I was at a higher place than I had business being in.

#35 Kingshark

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 04:30

And I also think that's what made Kimi & Pastor wins more special than Rosbergs this year : the chasing driver (ALO in both case) just had nothing to lose, and could go just flat out when the other 2 had to deal with a lot more pressure...;)

Perhaps Nico's win would've been better had he held off a charging Button with fresh tyres and without a typical early-season Mclaren stop at the end? :wave:

Either way, my answers are quite generic: Chasing - Leading - Leading.

#36 Juggles

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 04:32

I voted Chasing, Leading, Leading.

The questions combined with the original post seemed quite leading(!) though, almost an attempt to make Vettel appear an ice cool, composed machine.

As others have said it all depends on the type of chasing or leading a driver is doing. I can't seriously believe that Vettel's wins in Japan, Korea or India were mentally draining because even though he was leading there was never the feeling of him being hunted down. Would an antelope fear a cheetah as much if it knew it could outrun it every time? That type of leading is completely different to his win in Bahrain this year (although Raikkonen's challenge fell off a bit at the end) or Spain last year. When I say leading is more mentally draining than chasing I am thinking of the latter examples rather than the former ones. When you are able to win by driving within the limits of yourself and the car it is no longer exhausting in the same way.

#37 icewest07

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 09:16

My racing experience is also rather tiny and I actually voted leading in all three questions

1. I agree that chasing in itself is extremely exiting but actually after all the hard work chasing my excitement is at its top level when I overtook everyone and I'm leading. I hope you understand what I mean.
2. I feel much more vulnerable when there is no one in front of me. I find it much easier to evaluate significance of my own mistakes or how I'm doing when there is someone in front of me. If I'm behind someone I feel 'in charge' of the situation.
3. I race only for fun so it is kind of hard to answer this question but I think I would find it more difficult mentally to deliver when leading from start to finish. I wouldn't want to miss all the fun behind :D


This is even so true with me when learning a new circuit in Codemaster F1 games. As it was the case for Indian GP (F1 2011) and this year Austin, I tend to be a real mess when i try to learn a circuit on my own (Time Trial), and I happen to be often quicker in my first couple of laps in race mode vs AIs... That's how i learn my braking points and limits better when it comes to new tracks, by "chasing"... And then when I go back to TT mode, I am much more comfortable and aware of where I can put my car and gain more time. :smoking:

Weird, isnt it :drunk: lol

Edited by icewest07, 15 November 2012 - 09:18.


#38 Peat

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 09:25

In karting, chasing is easier. But i also find that when out in front i can concentrate and pull away.

In online racing though, i usually fall off when in the lead as i let my mind wander and lose immersion.

The most stressful thing/thing requiring most concentration is running in packs on an oval (from my online experiences). Having to be mm perfect for fear of wrecking 20 guys around you. Makes me sweat!

#39 Junky

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 09:28

Mental Strenght? Wenger is that you?

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#40 icewest07

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 09:31

Link?


Sorry I can't find it anymore... :|
But maybe others on this board remember that topic as well, and might wanna help us here :wave:

#41 Nonesuch

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 09:50

In karting, chasing is easier. But i also find that when out in front i can concentrate and pull away.

In online racing though, i usually fall off when in the lead as i let my mind wander and lose immersion.

Interesting point. I'd generalise it a bit to 'slower' cars. Karting, or online racing with small GT cars or F3-like single seaters, usually matches what you've described for me. It's then quite easy to get into a rhythm regardless of the the position in the race.

In faster and lighter cars that are more and more outside my talent-range, so to speak, I tend to get overly cautious when in a good position, but - interestingly enough - usually only in the latter laps of a race. I suppose it's that 'too much to lose' aspect that comes into play when you realise that when you make a mistake and lose a position there's likely no longer enough laps to correct it.

Perhaps ignorance is sometimes indeed bliss. :)

#42 PretentiousBread

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 12:42

Very good idea for a thread :up:

It's something i've thought about before. I've done a lot of online racing, of quite a competitive nature in F1 2011 & 2012 and this is something that I encounter first hand all the time. My opinion is that the person chasing always has a psychological advantage, because they have a constant target to aim at, a reference point. It's like the difference in results you'd get aiming at 2 dart boards, one with a bullseye and one without - even if you aim as centrally as possible on the one with no bullseye, the results invariably won't be as accurate as on the board with the bullseye. Similarly, with driving it's easier to get into the zone with a car directly ahead, a tangible target to aim at.

Conversely, the guy in front is at a psychological disadvantage himself. The reason is that your conscious thought takes up more of the workload from your subconscious. Doubt creeps in, processes that are normally automatic become manual, classic penalty shootout syndrome. Not only this, but the subconscious mind is simply faster than the conscious mind. I've witnessed this first hand racing online, being extremely wary of someone following closely behind, lap times becoming inconsistent, mistakes becoming more frequent despite trying harder than usual to avoid them. Then I would make a mistake and lose position, but suddenly i'd completely stop thinking about my inputs, which gear i'm in etc. and just drive so automatically, and the lap times would not only be more consistent, but they'd also become faster chasing the opponent down.

It's a little different in real F1, as being in the leading car you have the comfort of knowing your dirty air behind you is acting as a shield, but I believe the same basic psychological principles apply - you only need to take Vettel's last lap spin at Montreal in 2011 as an example - if the roles were reversed you could almost guarantee that he wouldn't have made that mistake.

Interesting topic nonetheless :up:



#43 Seanspeed

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 13:19

We've seen this year that having the fastest car isn't all it takes to win a GP. Alonso's mental stability now has to do with how he basks in the praise for doing so well in a car not quite at the front in pace. However, McLaren keeps going into race weekends, put the car on pole and then fumble under the mental pressure of doing well in the race when the car pace makes it obvious that they really should be winning. It's then that the pitwork cockups can arise etc. In such situations it's about experience anyway and being able to suck up the pressure of taking and maintaining a lead and not getting all flustered when the lead is threatened.

Vettel vs Button in Canada 2011 anyone?

Mclaren drivers are fumbling under pressure during the races? I dont think so. The car clearly just hasn't been as 'switched on' during race stints as it is in qualifying during many of the weekends this year. This is not something you can go blaming the drivers or mental strength on.

And having the fastest car may not be all it takes to win a GP, but it makes the job soooooooooooo much easier.

#44 Afterburner

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 17:20

Whether it is in actual race, or video game, what type of drivers are you when dealing with the excitment and the stress of racing with big reward at stake ?

I play a lot of racing games competitively (certainly not top-level, but I'd like to think I get close sometimes! :p), so I'd like to delve into this one.

I have the most fun playing when I'm at or near the front, but most of all when I'm running in the lead. Seeing the little '1st' or 'Pos. 1/x' gives me a bit of a thrill like nothing else. In the lead, you control the race--in a closely run event, everyone has their eye on you, everyone is comparing themselves to where you are, and everyone modifies their lines to counter what you do. Defensive driving while in the lead is critical, and probably one of my strong points, which is why I think I like leading so much.

The nature of the lead changes depending on the game you're playing. In any form of racing, I like being in the lead because I can focus on pounding out the best leps I can until the chequered flag drops. You don't have to worry about catching anyone, just distancing yourself from the pack--and you can do that very quickly with a string of hot laps. You can afford a mistake or two if you get enough of a gap. In a sim racer, this is a fairly straightforward way to win a race. If raw pace isn't enough, then you can go on the defensive--braking a little differently or gradually and accelerating unexpectedly on exit to keep people behind you guessing, or taking a defensive line into a corner and putting your car just where it needs to be to stop them from taking the optimum line. If you can't win on pace, win on defence; you can take the pressure to overdrive off of yourself with good defending moves that are within your car's limits. Knowing the track is essential to preempting your attacker's advances.

On an arcade racer, the lead can mean everything. When you're in the lead, your goal is generally to create enough of a gap to absorb the obligatory leader-targeting powerup. When leading, you don't often have to watch the corners for debris left by others (just your own), and you're at liberty to play mind games with rear-fire projectiles or traps. You control the lines around the corners when you're leading in most arcade racers, and this is an extremely powerful advantage because it gives you the ability to lap faster than everyone else--you're not worried about taking a blind corner and careening into a banana peel that could end your charge for the win. You also get to use items defensively against the people following you--taking a slightly slower line can even be good because it will keep the people behind you guessing as to where the 'safety zone' is.

I'd rather be leading than following, to be honest. I think leading is probably tougher than chasing, even if I'm better at defence than offence. Psychologically, leading calls for an entirely different mindset. When you're following someone, generally all you have to do is react to them--you have the advantage of a slipstream in most cases, and you oftentimes only need to wait to see the space they've left open (be it in terms of track space or item usage) to seize the position. When you're leading, however, you're more often than not the one who has to act, whether it's in the form of defending or choosing a race strategy--everyone's targeting you. For me, it's always been quite easy to say 'here's the target, go like Stig until you've got it'--but in the lead, you are the target, which means you have to think on your feet more often than you do while attacking (at least, in my opinion).

Of the two, I'd say it's harder to hold onto the lead of a race in competitive battles on arcade racers than it is in sim racers. In sim racing, it's often as simple as pounding around 'til you're out of sight (again, at least in my experience if you're quick enough). If you can get some distance between you and the pack early on, your only enemy out front is often yourself. In a tightly-run race, there's the pesky matter of slipstreaming to contend with, but most tracks only have a few good overtaking spots--if you're quick on your feet, you can ensure your opponent never even has a realistic chance to attack at any of them. On arcade racers, though, this is never enough, as one conveniently-placed Blue Shell is enough to undo most of your hard work. It takes more than just simple hot-lapping to keep the lead on an arcade racer--in most cases it takes a tactical use of racecraft and items against an enemy following several seconds back. You're always on your toes because powerup strategy is as important as your out-and-out pace; you never know when disaster might strike from behind because you're never out of range until the chequered flag, unlike in a sim racer.

Either way, I love leading a race from lights-to-flag in either an arcade or sim racer. To me, it's the sign of a job well done--no drama, no conflict, just raw pace from start to finish. Overtaking and catching up from behind is fun, but nothing says 'victory' like leading every lap on the way to the finish line, in my opinion. My favourite way to win a race--especially when holding someone else off for the whole trip. :)

#45 Miggeex

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 17:33

When chasing another car which is very difficult to overtake, you really need good mental strength to control the frustration that could lead to desperate and stupid overtaking attempts. In a good lead you can focus just on your own race. (If the lead is just growing)

#46 prty

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 17:50

Also, staying behind might be easier while chasing because of having a reference, but when it's necessary for you to make a move, and it will be necessary sooner or later when you need the result, it can be nerve wrecking if the pace is similar, and also depending on the circuit.
And we see all the time there is a lot more hot-headness while attacking than when defending, that's why I think it requires more mental toughness and discipline, it's not easy to have controlled aggression when under pressure to deliver.

#47 ViMaMo

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 08:53

Was there ever a driver great at leading, poor at chasing?

#48 icewest07

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 13:08

Was there ever a driver great at leading, poor at chasing?


Ralf Schumacher springs to my mind... very difficult to beat when leading a race but "average" at putting pressure when in a middle pack!  ;)
Maybe Trulli as well I would say