Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Monte-Carlo, 2014

Stewards investigating Rosberg’s Mirabeau mistake

2014 Monaco Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Monte-Carlo, 2014Nico Rosberg is being investigated by the stewards over his error at Mirabeau during his final qualifying lap for the Monaco Grand Prix.

Rosberg went into the escape road after appearing to lose control of his car at the corner.

That brought out yellow flags, forcing the drivers behind him to slow down. That included his team mate Lewis Hamilton whose previous time had been less than six hundredths of a second slower than Rosberg’s.

This article will be updated.

2014 Monaco Grand Prix

Browse all 2014 Monaco Grand Prix articles

Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

93 comments on “Stewards investigating Rosberg’s Mirabeau mistake”

  1. ridiculous!

    1. Why is it ridiculous? The least they can do is check telemetry even if it’s to rule it out. The yellow flag affected not just HAM, but also RIC.

      1. Did they check Magnussen’s error there? All the others that drove through there? The article here doesn’t mention anything about the reversing. I agree the reversing is worth investigating. But to investigate the error itself is in my opinion ridiculous ;-)

        1. I disagree.. IF, and yes it is a big if, Rosberg did do it on purpose then he should be penalised. Magnussen’s error didn’t effect the pole position (and potentially the following positions) so I guess that’s why they’re not investigating that.. They are right to investigate the incident, if there is even a hint of suspicion, as a precaution as what if it was on purpose. At the very least, if he’s found innocent, it will put this to bed for good.. – just kidding, there’s those people, who just love a good conspiracy

    2. Yeah, they are investigating it because it is at least suspicious.

      1. The lock up was genuine, but the reverse is strictly incorrect. At the very least, he should have known better and waited until the session was over to re-join (worthy of Kvyat or Ericsson, but not a veteran like Nico). He may get away with it, but I don’t know what the rule book says about the appropriate penalty is. It has the potential to be unfair either way, so down to the individual stewards. My guess is a penalty…

    3. Actually they had no answer but investigate it. Ignoring it would only fuel more controversy. Let them decide and hope everybody is happy with their decision.

    4. I think after what Schumacher pulled of in ’06 its only natural that this gets investigated @gdewilde.

  2. I think that’s reasonable. I think that while he most likely made a genuine mistake, if he was reversing back onto the track while there were drivers still on quick laps behind him, then he should get a telling off for that for sure.

    1. Certainly. If he’d put himself out of qualifying he had no reason to extend the yellow flag period. If he is penalised for doing so, I wonder if he would be given a warning or a grid penalty.

      I highly doubt the error itself was intentional, but it can’t hurt to look.

      1. He’s team should of advised him in this situation. Especially if his teammate was behind him. Where’s Toto when you need him?

        1. Good point. But maybe his race engineer should have said something. Let’s wait for the radio transcript from @keithcollantine.

          Personally I think his mistake was genuine but trying to rejoin when he had no chance for another flying lap and other drivers were there trying to improve… silly

          1. Unless NR thought the yellow wasn’t even necessary since he was well off the track, but since the yellow was there, reversing was not going to change anything.

    2. It definitely appears that the consensus among users here is that it was a genuine mistake. I thought the same, until I heard Rosberg’s explanation of the error to Natalie. He said it was a simple matter of braking too late and locking up. He made no mention of any oversteer that would’ve caused him to take such a strange line into the corner to begin with.

      Compare his line on the pole lap
      to the one he takes before going off

      1. it looks like oversteer because of the fact he braked to late, so he is trying to save the car from spinning.

      2. I dint watch it on tv yet as I missed this quali . But my first impressions are that it looks as if
        a) Nico tried to induce lock up under steer and brake tensions
        b) That mercedes was invaded by aliens for a few seconds like in the mercedes ad .

        I even feel it did not work the first time he twists his steering but ultimately he releases and tries it again and it works … dunno … anybody else feel the same ? I don’t want to sound too judgemental . I may be wrong also

    3. I think it might be inbetween deliberate and error: He knew he could risk everything at that corner as by going off he would cause a yellow.

  3. They shouldn’t investigate his mistake – they should investigate his reversing back up the escape road whilst the session was still happening as he admitted in the press conference. I wondered why the yellows stayed out for so long – this picture of Hamilton’s onboard shows why. Rosberg could have driven to the end of the escape road and been out of the way but wasn’t.

    1. Yes, that would count as part of the Yellow flag period @petebaldwin, so I image the FIA will include that in their investigation as well

    2. Agree, but I think they just investigate the whole thing as ‘the incident’. The error seemed 100% genuine (weird to cite that as a positive) and Rosberg seems like a stand up guy, I have no doubt the stewards will conclude the same. Whether or not reversing was intentional is going to be hard to prove, it certainly was clumsy and warrants some explaining at least.

      I’ve realized this season I’m supporting Hamilton for the championship, but I’d like a close and fair fight to the end. I think there’s a small but fair chance the stewards penalize Rosberg for this, but it would be a shame if Hamilton gets the upper hand this way.

      1. I just don’t see NR doing this on purpose AND being so happy about it with his celebrations. His body language coming out of the car tells me he is confident that all he is guilty of is going for it just as we expected would happen…has been happening…and will happen again. This is what can happen at Monaco.

        I certainly will be very surprised and disappointed in NR if this was deliberate, and given that, I think it says something about NR’s integrity that there is no reason other than MS in 06 doing what he did, to suspect NR of this. He simply has no history of wanting to win this way. Sure there’s a first for everything, but it’s not like this was NR’s last chance to answer to LH or lose the WDC. The likely worst outcome for NR would have been another second to LH with tons and tons of points yet to play for.

      2. @bs I agree. I think the race will be amazing if Rosberg and Hamilton start on the front row of the grid. It would be a real shame to see Rosberg lose a few positions and Hamilton simply drive around on his own in the lead.

      3. @petebaldwin How would LH get any “upper hand” if he lost out on pole (he was going faster than NR) because of the “incident”?
        Numerous times we see drivers make honest mistakes and get penalties for affecting other drivers. Why should a race to the pole be any different? NR should get a penalty for impeding. Do you think it fair that Marcus Ericsson will get 2 points on his Super License, and start from Pit Lane, for messing up Massa’s qualifying, but NR gets nothing?

  4. Before people start jumping to conclusions, I think this is more to do with investigating the reverse back onto the track and not the error itself. As I don’t think Rosberg was supposed to reverse unless it was safe which presuming people were on hot laps, it wasn’t. Although Im not up to date on the rules in reversing in quali

    1. Then it should be mentioned specifically. Investigating ‘going deliberately of the track’ is not the right way to investigate this error.

  5. Must be for what he said about “reversing”, it didn’t look like he tried to pull a Schuey.

  6. Obviously he did reverse, so what will the penalty be, if any?

  7. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    24th May 2014, 14:39

    I think there’s no question the lock up going into the turn was 100% genuine. He was only 0.05 quicker than Lewis so he wasn’t exactly sitting pretty. Had to improve to avoid a repeat of Spain, and pushed too hard.

    I hadn’t noticed he backed up afterwards though.

  8. I think they should investigate his reversing back onto the track, not his mistake.

  9. The weirdest thing, is that just before Rosberg made his mistake, I was thinking..( I don’t know why I thought it…but I did….the situation just seemed very similar)… “this would be a perfect time to do a Schumacher” followed by “nahh, Rosberg would never do such a thing”.

    It is odd, but you could sense the pressure Rosberg was under to get this one, maybe that is why the thought occurred to me.

    Then Rosberg made his mistake, however with him going so far down the escape road I did not think they would bring out the yellows. Did he back out on to the track? The camera cut away at that point…

    I am not saying he did it on purpose at all, I just found it so odd I had that thought just before it happened!

    1. *did he back out (reverse back) on to the track and impede others

    2. I also had the exact same thought just before it happened. I imagine many people did. This is probably what makes it so believable that he did it on purpose

  10. I think the error itself was genuine but the reversing backwards was a bit naughty. Why didn’t he did just wait a minute or two until it was safe to come back on track? Ruined not only Hamilton’s lap but everyone else’s as well, and put himself in a potentially dangerous situation. To be honest it does seem like a bit of a cynical move from Nico, but lets wait and see what the stewards have to say.

  11. I don’t think it was a Schumacher, but that smug grin on his face, and his only getting pole because he screwed over Hamilton while embarrassing himself in an alley tells me he just doesn’t get it. Just like qualifying in the wet doesn’t count to him. He doesn’t have what it takes, and that’s why he doesn’t know he shouldn’t be happy about that performance.

    1. Because by comparing the first run in Q3 he was the fastest, all the rest is just speculating about things that unfortunately didn’t happen because of the yellow flag

      1. Hamilton’s times sure look good enough to nip pole.

        I just think regardless or whether he would have won pole anyway, the gentleman racer doesn’t take satisfaction after crashing and spoiling everyone else’s runs. He can be privately pleased with his result, and a good lap earlier in the session, but he doesn’t show elation– it made him look like a complete D

        1. +1
          he knew it was his & thus everyone’s last lap, and that where he was would likely bring out the yellows. he also knew lewis wasn’t far behind him.
          I’d be interested to know who lodged the complaint with the stewards.

        2. So, assuming my mistake is genuine.
          If I make a mistake in my first run, spoil everyone else’s first run in the process, and then I go on to take pole, It’s fine to celebrate.
          But if I do THE EXACT SAME THING on a final run, I’m not a gentleman racer and I shouldn’t celebrate.
          And that’s even though the only difference is the number of the run and even though everyone still had the chance to beat me on the clean one, and failed.
          I don’t buy that. Either we decide every driver causing a yellow flag (which it’s higly unlikely it won’t affect at least one driver) at some point doesn’t get to celebrate, EVER, or just shut up.

  12. Making a mistake on the hottest lap of the weekend is plausible and logical.

    Reversing back onto a street circuit during a live session doesn’t make sense. What was he trying to acheive? At that point in the session, he had nothing to gain by rejoining the circuit. He wouldn’t’ve had time to do another lap so what was he playing at?

  13. what will be penalty if found guilty ? disqualification from qualifying ?

    1. Probably 5 place grid drop. Perhaps disqualification from Q3 or even disqualification from qualifying altogether like they did to Schumacher in 2006.

      1. It wasn’t really a Shumi though was it? The reversing was dodgy but it followed a genuine mistake. I don’t know what the rules on reversing are…..?

        Shumi just stopped on the track right at the end to ensure no-one could get a quick lap in. It was pre-meditated cheating at it’s worst.

  14. Love the picture choice. He looks sneaky in that one.

  15. If he had driven to the end of escape road the yellow flags would still be on though.

    1. @geekracer2000 – For me, that is 100% what should decide if a penalty is warranted or not. If him being at the end of the escape road would have kept the yellows out, then there should be no penalty because I don’t think the initial mistake was at all deliberate.

      This isn’t a Hamilton vs Rosberg thing though – Rosberg’s mistake affected most of the top 10 so I’m sure there will be plenty of people pushing for a penalty if it turns out him staying at the end of the escape road would have allowed the yellow to be brought back in.

    2. People keep parroting that one, but why would that be so?

  16. Let’s just say Nico’s choice of backing up was just bettered by Hamilton lack of professionalism. That kind of behaviour despite the circumstances does not match Lewis’s comments of late. How will Niki handle this one?

    1. How do you juxtapose those two….one had a direct impact on the outcome and the other was just personal preference and after the fact….I would have been ballistic if that had happened…I thought with the stakes as high as they were he handled himself in a measured way, meaning he let his disdain and suspicions be known while not saying anything overtly unprofessional.

      1. I could be wrong, but I believe by your comments you believe Nico did this on purpose. I can understand Hamiltons frustrations and disbelief, but that’s what separates the good, the bad and the ugly. That was ugly.

        1. What, because he was annoyed in the heat of the moment and had a strong suspicion Rosberg did it on purpose, the mistake and the reverse into the track? You can’t just screw up everyone else’s shot at pole and then celebrate in front of them like that, and then expect everyone to be happy, come on.

    2. What do u know about being professional in motor racing business, especialy when your team mate just cheated you out of your chances of standing on pole position. If the mistake was so honest what was he (Nico) trying to achieve by going on reverse gear to put his car back to the racing track.

      1. I am not disputing what happened on track, that is for the stewards and the team to discuss. I just that Lewis could of and would of handle it better considering the banter of late.

  17. Rosberg doesn’t seem like the type of driver to pull dirty stunts like that (unlike another German driver I could mention). There was some tough/borderline driving in a race last year (against Alonso?) but he doesn’t really have a history of doing this sort of thing.

    Meanwhile, Sky F1 (mainly the oaf Croft, Mark Blundell Version 2 (Herbert) and the halfwit Lazenby) were hyping it up like it was the Kennedy assassination.

    1. This thing is Shumacher (best wishes) didn’t have a history of doing dirty things until the first time he did it, 1994 season if i’m not wrong because simply he has never been in a position to fight for WDC before
      Same goes for Roseberg

      1. Actually MS whacked Mika Haakinen for the win in a series which escapes me at the momemt, previous to them being in F1.

        1. Graham (@guitargraham)
          24th May 2014, 15:25

          Macau F3 1990

        2. @robbie,thanks @guitargraham but still he was fighting for the F3 championship at the time which he won after that race

      2. There also was an incident in his Mercedes days before F1.

  18. If you watch the onboard footage of Rosberg, he started to turn his steering wheel left and right before even the lockup. Something does not look right here. Hopefully it is not a Schumi because Rosberg has come across as a great guy so far.

    1. It is really really suspicious …

      But maybe it’s better he doesn’t get a penality. It will be a pretty boring race if Lewis is alone on the front row tomorrow.

      1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
        24th May 2014, 15:04

        @paeschli – Think about a Merc that has a >1 sec advantage, charging up through the field on Sunday trying to make up spots all the way from 22nd place. That’d be interesting I think.

        1. Maybe, I think a battle for the lead is more interesting and better for the championship.

          We haven’t seen a battle between the two Mercs drivers where Hamilton was chasing Rosberg so I think that would be interesting.

    2. With the torque of the engine and the bumpy street surface, it’s plausible the car was unsettled over a bump which then triggered the mistake under braking.

  19. Wow! I have to say that it passed my thoughts that the “error” in the last 25 seconds was too perfect for Nico, and a huge anti-climax for us fans, but even so I can’t believe that it was a conscientious error. No way.

  20. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    24th May 2014, 14:52

    I’m not one for conspiracy theory, but a) it conveniently happened on one the few places on the track where Nico could have caused a yellow without damaging his car, and b) the steering erraticism under braking appears to me to be an attempt to induce a lock-up. For me a likely scenario is that Nico thought that there was not much more lap time on offer from his car, and ensured it wasn’t beaten; I am quite sure whether it was deliberate. The language of the car speaks volumes, and I am sure the telemetry would testify that Nico braked unduly late on that lap relative to his provisional pole lap. That said, Nico is a clever guy, and would have known that the telemetry would uncover any deviance, but equally, the extent to which he braked later appears greater than merely brain fade. The stewards can’t ignore the convenience of the chain of events for Rosberg, but equally, Hamilton can take solace in the fact that Nico appears to have needed to drift below the line of acceptability to beat him.

    1. That said, Nico is a clever guy, and would have known that the telemetry would uncover any deviance

      He already said that the telemetry will prove that it was a mistake, which tells me something…

    2. I didn’t see the incident. Could the marshals have signalled to him not to back onto the track?

      1. Braking later than usual only indicates to me that he was going for it and trying to make up time on LH where LH has been faster than him at that segment of the track.

  21. I thinks that’s reasonable, honnestly, knowing how FIA works, it would be no surprise Nico beeing penalised, for me it was a honest mistake, but under the pressure of Hamilton, and external facts, Nico will probably be penalised…

    1. Hmmm…if you go by ‘knowing how the FIA works’ I would have thought they would clear NR so that he keeps pole, as well as his chances to win the race, and keep the see-saw battle going longer into the season rather than risking yet another LH win and a runaway season for one driver in a dominant car.

  22. It wouldn’t be the first time this year that Hamilton has pressured Rosberg into making a mistake. Rosberg spun in Q3 in China, for example. He could easily have just blown it again.

    As for the reversing, well, I’ll be interested to see what the stewards have to say about that. I think even that was more likely muddle-headed than cynical.

  23. I don’t think Rosberg’s actions at any point were done deliberately to hamper anyone. However, the reversing itself, whilst not to hamper, may well have hampered, and that would make it just like any other penalty, intentional or not. It’s the same with backing up and holding up drivers.

  24. “Sorry Lewis, i was so hungry I wasn’t thinking straight.”

  25. I don’t think it was deliberate. By doing that Rosberg was not guarranteed of yellow flags. If I was doing it deliberately, I’d have clipped my front wing a bit into that barrier.

    And I don’t think stewards can read something from telemetry. You can fake it very nicely – who can distinguish if you braked a bit later due to error or deliberately? So I expect stewards taking no further action.

  26. I don’t see how him reversing makes any difference, it was still a yellow flag no matter what and that’s what ruined Hamilton’s and Ricciardo’s laps.

    It looked to me that he did indeed park it intentionally. That wavering he did with the steering wheel doesn’t look realistic at all and the driving line was well off to start with. And probably if the stewards agree, for a violation of that magnitude, it will be an exclusion from the quali.

  27. Since some question NR’s backing up as meaning a deliberate attempt to extend the yellow, are you sure that would have done it, or is it the case that just by virtue of being in that run-off spot the yellow was on. Would it be reality to expect for example the marshals to signal NR to stay where he was so they could remove the yellow quicker for the coming cars? Ie. if being further up the run-off area made a difference, why did they throw the yellow at all then since he was initially quite far off the track.

    I think NR made an honest mistake and was celebrating as he was because to him it was not his fault that they threw the yellow, when he was actually quite out of the way.

  28. That’s it !
    Now HAM will go nuts now, the rich boy robbed him a WDC, when according to HAM himself he deserves it more for being new rich and poor hungry.
    Talking about psychological games ROS apparently is no novice,
    but again to me seems to good to be truth all this Senna-Prost marketing of a parody to cover of once again uncompetitive f1 racing.
    Good laugh anyway, entertaining.

    1. …and by his words, the 1st black pilot

  29. It remains to be seen what the stewards make of it in their wisdom. In the meantime, I think Nico’s biggest tactical error was in not apologising to Lewis as soon as he got out of the car. Even if it was all genuine mistake, common decency demands that Nico recognise that his team mate’s chance at pole was ruined by his error. Oh wait, I was forgetting: decency isn’t common anymore, is it?

  30. Let’s face it, while we can all sit here and be experts in the armchair Grand Prix, I don’t think anyone commenting has driven a race car, let alone an F1 car. So we’re none of us qualified to analyse the subtleties of what a GP driver is doing behind the wheel.

    Yes, sawing at the wheel isn’t, according to conventional wisdom, a normal thing to do. But who knows. Maybe he was trying to introduce some lateral motion to help slow down the car. Maybe he was trying to induce oversteer to get the car turned in. Maybe he was trying to feel out the grip at the front end to decide whether or not he was able to make the corner before backing out and taking the escape road. Maybe he was reacting to some subtle feedback which you’d only understand if you had your hands on the steering wheel at racing speeds. Or maybe he really was trying to induce a mistake to deliberately hold up those behind him. We simply can’t say conclusively because we aren’t F1 drivers. Even Derek Warwick will have no real idea what it’s like to drive these cars, though he’s undeniably better qualified than any of us to pass judgement. And of course he can absolutely be relied upon to judge the situation fairly.

    Regardless, what an intense and exciting season this is shaping up to be.

  31. Now Nico has resorted to Kangaroo tactics of hiding into the porch (Mirabeau) only to pip out to see how he messed up every other person on the grid. That’s not the mark of a champion!!

  32. He reversed but it still would have been a yellow flag regardless of whether he did or not.

    1. Unless there are specific regs against reversing back up the escape road, I can’t see why it would be a problem. He didn’t go back onto the track until the track was clear, so I don’t see what the problem would be.

      1. The problem is that by reversing down the escape road, he was putting others in danger because there were other drivers on hot laps too and if they made a similar mistake, where would they go? Into him?

        1. This is why they have yellow flags – if a driver has gone off, they wave flags to tell the other drivers to slow down so they don’t make a mistake and hit the car sitting on the runoff area. When they have double waved yellows the cars on track are expected to slow right down or even stop.

          I’m surprised this hasn’t come up before.

  33. I don’t see that anyone could say in a proven way his action to cause a yellow was deliberate. I don’t believe he did.

    The issue is how he rejoined the track.

    There is no rule with regards to reversing back on track.

    Cars may not reverse in the pit lane, but must be equipped with a reverse gear so they are able ‘to reverse at any time during the event’ so technically Nico did not break any rule there.

    However, a driver may only rejoin the track when it is deemed safe by the race director.

    Depending on how Charlie sees that I guess will depend on the result of the investigation.

    If guilty, the penalty is a grid drop.

  34. Rosberg made a mistake – and went to espace road.
    he reversed on the escape road – I believe this is why he is being investigate.
    from what I know you can not reverse an f1 car on the race track, but is it ok on an escape road? and also does if matter if under yellow flag?
    some people think what Rosberg did was deliberate and comment of rosberg’s “instinctive steering of the car to a straight path after breaking to late” as some weird fake weaving. cmon people, grow up, if Rosberg wanted to be like that he would have hit the wall or locked up to nearly hit the wall, instead of running down an escape road where a yellow flag was not guaranteed. I was surprised a yellow flag came out at all – unless it came out when he was reversing – which again shows the initial error was not on purpose.

    1. The recovering driver is allowed to reverse if it’s safe to do so. Which it was because it was covered by yellow flags and he only rejoined the track once it was clear. As far as I can see he recovered the car pretty much according to procedure. There’s some debate as to whether or not driving to the far end of the escape road and parking it would have cleared the yellow flag, but it’s all speculation and either way, there’s no regulatory obligation for him to do so, so no reason why he would receive a penalty for it. But who knows, the stewards will have a better understanding than any of us.

  35. According to Anthony Davidson on Sky, Hamilton was behind Rosberg’s pole time when he arrived at Mirabeau, so it’s not certain it was the “pole lap” LH claimed it was in the interviews. But then we’ll never know, will we? Either way, the incident itself seemed to me like Rosberg just overcooked it. Anthony Davidson said – and I agree – that had Rosberg wanted to make sure to bring out the yellows, he’d have (ever so gently) stuffed it in the barrier, or parked the car at the beginning of the escape road. From what we could initially see, he seemed to carry on further down the escape road, bringing him farther from the point where he’d be an obstruction. That far, I couldn’t see any clear signs of foul play.

    But the reversing back towards the track wasn’t initially shown – that only came to light a little later. To me, that move was stupid, and pointless. It may not have made any difference in the end – I’m not sure the marshals are allowed to retract the yellows when there’s a car on the escape road, however far down that road it is sat. But even so, he shouldn’t have started reversing.

    Possible outcomes? Well, it might well end up as a “no further action”, if it turns out that the reversing didn’t actually make any difference to the yellow flag period. He could end up with a reprimand (or whatever’s this year’s equivalent) for the needless reversing. I doubt it will be anything more severe – for that, they’d need to find solid evidence of the initial incident itself being deliberate, and barring any pit-to-car radio instructions to that effect, I can’t really see that kind of evidence turning up. This was not a simple “park it at Rascasse” job… :-)

  36. Neil (@neilosjames)
    24th May 2014, 16:53

    It’s right that it’s being investigated – if deliberate (can’t see it) we’ll know, and if it was a mistake (can see it), we’ll know.

    Removes doubt from both sides.

  37. REALLY? He didnt know he started his final lap before Hamilton so he says.

    Anyone with a little bit of knowledge from formula one can see on the video
    that he started shaking his steering wheel on purpuose way before the braking
    point and to put it in reverse to go back on the track is a joke.

  38. Graeme Marshall
    24th May 2014, 17:34

    There are any amount of “unintentional” or ill judged actions in F1 that get penalised, unsafe release in the pits being the most obvious. The only gear NR should have been in was neutral, to select reverse was intentional and I suspect the act of a cheat

Comments are closed.