Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Shanghai International Circuit, 2015

Hamilton’s pace frustrates “compromised” Rosberg

2015 Chinese Grand Prix

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Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Shanghai International Circuit, 2015Nico Rosberg admits that he is ‘very frustrated’ with Lewis Hamilton as he feels his Mercedes team mate compromised his race by backing him into the chasing Ferraris.

Hamilton led the entirety of the Chinese Grand Prix, aside from a handful of laps after pitstops, but Rosberg believes his team mate’s focus on preserving his own tyres during the race left him vulnerable to an attack from Sebastian Vettel.

“The best possible race for Lewis was to back me off into Vettel, so that Vettel would try and undercut me with an early pitstop and I would have to cover him, so I would have such a long stint [on the Medium tyre] at the end of the race that I would be without a chance,” said Rosberg.

“So that was very frustrating that Lewis was taking it as easy as that on the tyres. Interestingly, he said he was just thinking about himself and that says it all.”

Rosberg lapped around a second adrift of his team mate during the first stint, with the gap remaining at around two seconds in the second stint. Vettel came closest to challenging the second Mercedes in this middle section of the race, with the Ferrari able to lap within two seconds of Rosberg.

With the Ferrari in his mirrors, Rosberg was heard over team radio calling on the team to tell Hamilton to increase his race pace – which Mercedes ultimately did.

“What upsets me is the fact that my race was massively compromised and we went through exactly that scenario before the race,” added Rosberg.

“It’s the worst thing for the guy behind – and for the team as a result – and putting me in danger or at risk of Vettel because every time it was close with him coming out of the pits.

“That was a completely unnecessary risk to put me in because we had a pace advantage over him, but we were taking it so easy at that stage of the race so he [Vettel] was right behind me putting pressure on and went to try and get me in the pit stops. That was unnecessary.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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Posted on Categories 2015 Chinese Grand Prix, 2015 F1 season, Nico Rosberg

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  • 127 comments on “Hamilton’s pace frustrates “compromised” Rosberg”

    1. Not sure, but doesn’t Rosberg says in fact, he wasn’t allowed to pass Hamilton? Because if Hamilton was slowing down Rosberg, Rosberg had enough speed to take over Hamilton…

      1. Hamilton was driving slowly such that whenever anyone would try to overtake him, he’d have enough to defend. And he said at the end that he had enough tyre life left while those behind him had destroyed their tires

      2. It isn’t that he can’t overtake him in terms of team orders, it was just he couldn’t overtake him in terms of pure pace. I think, based on history, if the roles had been reversed that Lewis wouldn’t of been telling the team to tell another driver to speed up, he would have simply overtaken him at the right time.

        If there were team orders at Mercedes then Nico would of said by now, besides that’s not how the team or Lewis for that matter likes to go racing.

        1. Man, please, “would of” is cancer for words. Say no to cancer.

      3. Let me play devil’s advocate.

        After the second visit to the pits, after the first what’s the moment when Vettel started to get his best lap times, there was a message where Vettel said he couldn’t get closer to Rosberg because it will destroy his tyres.

        Same with Kimi he didn’t attack Vettel earlier because it will mean getting more dirty air. By Kimi’s own account he was waiting to catch Vettel at the end of thee race , with younger tires, and pass him.

        Rosberg was maybe in a similar situation, couldn’t get near Lewis because it will destroy his tires, putting himself in danger for future attack from the Ferrari guys.

        1. I second this, And from the pattern we saw in australia, it’s kinda clear that hamilton is not pushing to the limit. So do Rosberg cant overtake Hamilton because by the time he use his ers and get into drs zone, Hamilton will use it the next lap while at the same time rosberg is charging his battery. Tyre factor also come to play here as pirelli tyre is easily worn out, few difference of tyre life will be very costly in a full race distance.

          Had Lewis and Rosberg is in different team, he wouldnt have moaning like this.

          Hamilton know how it is important to have a good qualifying and start, so if rosberg want to do what hamilton did to him, he need to work on his qualifying and start.

          I’d say Hamilton is a smart driver, but not a good team player in this case.

          1. @celeste I agree with @hahailham1. If Nico wants to avoid this, he needs to take the lead early on, probably in quali and at the start. The way his head seems to be at the moment, whilst Lewis is ahead, Nico concedes defeat early on and spends the rest of his time looking over his shoulder.

            1. @celeste @splittimes at worst, Nico will do what he did at Spa again.

          2. Yeah Hamilton earned the team a victory, what a terrible team player you are Lewis….

          3. I realize F1 is a team championship, but what matters to millions of fans is who wins the Driver’s Championship. It seems to me like Lewis is trying to take it easy in the car when and where he can – which is understandable after last season’s constant reliability gremlins and even Sepang 2015 where the tyre situation gave him (and Nico) no chance to win the race.

            If they discussed this very situation before the race and agreed to do or not do something only to disregard it an hour later in the race, I can understand Nico’s frustration. But I also roll my eyes so hard when Nico thinks he’s going to win some kind of a motor racing argument with ‘it’s good to know you were only thinking about yourself.’

          4. @hahailham1 Agree in the importance of quali, specially in inter team battles. As you say in the same car it´s easy to come in a circle of passes.

            But maybe I will describe Hamilton more as a instint driver, more than a smart (not meaning his is not smart), for me, he works more in instint than in information and data. This give him a clear advantange over Rosberg, that seem to really need the information on performance and lines. Maybe that´s one of the real reason Rosberg seem to be struggling this year.

            @splittimes true Nico needs to start qualifying or jumping Hamilton at the start, at this moment is the only way I can see him getting a chance on victory.

    2. Nico is losing the psychological battle. Lewis on the other hand, was uncharacteristically cheerful and happy after the race.

      1. Ian Laidler (@)
        13th April 2015, 9:01

        I like Nico, great racing driver with tremendous amount of talent, but come on Nico, if you were so upset about Lewis’s pace, then you should have upped your game and tried to pass him or at least put him under pressure so that he had to increase his pace.

      2. @bahman Here comes the archair psychologists…..

        1. @davidnotcoulthard very close! I am a shrink!

          1. I’m also a psychologist for my day job (and an armchair psychologist on the side). In my (un)professional opinion Nico’s loss of cool is a significant development this early in the season.

          2. @bahman Maybe @keithcollantine should do an article on how (in?)accurate armchair psychologists are (there are many in the WWW, after all :)

      3. The season is still too fresh for Nico to let Lewis determine where and how he-Nico, finishes his race therefore asking the team to tell Lewis to speed up and making a scene out of it is a bit unwarranted.

        If he wants to win, he has to race. The most important thing is to make sure none of them crashes into the other and thus take one out of contention. But in a situation as that of yesterday, Nico should have made an attempt to pass.

        But I suspect that an attempt to pass or Nico pushing Lewis would have resulted to Lewis stepping on the gas and that would have created a gap to the following cars that fans and pundits would not like.

        What we are seeing currently is possibly a 2014 F1 in crisis management mode. Mercedes’ blistering pace is being managed, it seems, lest everyone becomes agitated again.

        1. yes you wrote exactly what I’ve been thinking. Martin Brundle alluded to this at the end when he said it was staged (or words to that effect)

    3. Umm..why not overtake? That’s kind of what you’re supposed to do when racing

      1. I think Rosberg was in a very unique position. Hamilton could control his pace because he was in clean air. Sebastian could control his pace cause nobody was in a challenging 4th position. Which leaves Rosberg, who if too near to Hamilton will destroy his tires and too far away would be vulnerable to Sebastian’s attack.
        I know its racing but given the track conditions, unless you are below 5th, you will not try to attack too much. This was also evident from Vettel’s approach. To keep within 2 seconds and be right there if anything goes wrong but not being overtly aggressive.
        Although my point of view is also biased cause I wanted to see Hamilton win and in my opinion his main competitor in 2015 is Ferrari of Sebastian and I believe Ferrari will play a team game. Yes I know everyone will say Kimi will not play second fiddle, but I think otherwise. I have my reasons.
        So Rosberg if challenges Hamilton then will loose more and it will be bad for both Hamilton and Mercedes.
        If he challenges then his tires will not last in hot air, which will make him fall back event to 4th which would be bad for Hamilton.
        If he falls back, then Vettel can attack and I will put my money on Vettel if he is within DRS range.

        1. @aks-das I think that Kimi was waiting for the final laps to attack Seb, at that moment he has 4 laps younger tires, if Max hadn’t broke down last 4 laps would have been a battle between the Ferraris.

          1. @celeste Well we have to see how the season progresses. But I am on the opinion that Kimi might not attack Seb, I might be proved wrong, but I believe Ferrari will hunt in packs.

      2. Exactly. He had DRS and a very long straight on which to use it. So if he felt Lewis was going too slow he should have put his foot down and passed Lewis or at least force him to drive faster. I don’t understand why Nico expected Lewis to help him out when he was fully capable of doing for himself.

        1. I guess I explained exactly why Rosberg could not attempt to overtake Hamilton, but I answered with the bias of wanting to see Hamilton to win.
          Rosberg challenging Hamilton could have given the advantage to Ferrari or less worse but not so good to second position.
          For me Rosberg holding 2nd position was the best thing to happen. Hamilton backing up for me was like trying to cut the branch on which he was sitting. Rosberg clearly settled in for 2nd and nobody was challenging nobody in the top three.

          1. @aks-das – But Hamilton didn’t lost Rosberg 2nd place. He backed him up a little, protected his tyres and took a bit of life out of Rosberg’s. This meant there was no challenge for the lead but also allowed for Rosberg to comfortably finish 2nd.

            I could understand Rosberg moaning so much if he’d finished 3rd but he didn’t!

          2. How would Nico know why Lewis had slowed? The team can’t tell him what Lewis is doing so from Nico’s perspective Lewis was either managing the pace or he had a problem and the way to find out is to push and close on Hamilton. If Lewis speeds up he was managing the pace and has probably received the message that he is going to slowly. If he doesn’t speed up he’s managing a problem and Nico should try to take advantage of that. We didn’t see Nico do that, he sat back and then complained to the public after the race. If anything, Lewis knew that Nico lacked the aggression to test him and would sit back and settle for whatever Lewis gave.

            1. Exactly this is what I mean. That Nico had already more or less settled in the position. So backing up too much could have put Ferrari in 2nd.
              And for a certain logic I had rather see Nico finish second than Sebastien.
              I put Seb in Ferrari a bigger threat to Hamilton than Nico in Merc.

      3. Nico is getting loads of flak, and it’s mostly justified. But what this issue clearly shows is: those tyres are such crap racers cannot race.

        1. i suppose you would like tyres which last more than 50 laps then?

          just think back to russia 2014 and you’ll find your answer…

          1. Generally I was supportive of the Pirelli’s tires. But China 2015 showed that because of tires we did not have close racing, unless you are in mid-field or car is of superior pace.
            Also the long straights have a significant problems on the car which is following as you are more in the dirty hot air than some other turning circuits.
            China is a good circuit for wet weather.

    4. Nico, it’s China not Monaco. If Lewis was going too slowly for your optimum strategy, then overtake him. Can you imagine Hamilton making the same complaint.

      This year is over. Rosberg is Mercedes’ Mark Webber. He’s already done by a teammate he just can’t match.

      1. @tdog – I can guarantee that if it was Hamilton in 2nd, he would have found a way to challenge. He certainly wouldn’t have followed Rosberg around moaning that he was going too slow!

        Nico instead seems to have accepted 2nd place before the race even started!

      2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        13th April 2015, 13:31

        @rossiegrit

    5. It’s a shame the tires were not strong enough to handle at least one overtaking attempt in the top 4.

      1. If not for the SC, we may have had some action with Kimi taking on Seb in the last couple of laps.

      2. They probably are strong enough, it’s a shame none of them actually tried! The drivers that win most are the ones that ignore the advice about holding back to save tyres (Red Bull are notable for recommending 2 second gaps, something that Vettel was generally not interested in).
        Nico isn’t going to win by protecting second, he needs to have a go!

    6. “Interestingly, he said he was just thinking about himself” – now, that is unheard-of in F1…

      Seriously, I think Rosberg is overreacting here. If he really had lost the second place to Vettel because of Hamilton’s tactics, then it would be unacceptable. But as long as that does not happen and the team is happy, then it is just “racing as usual”.

      No matter how you put it, it sounds weird when the second placed driver accuses the race winner of driving too slowly.

      1. I think this is mostly to do with what he mentions a bit later, that the team had discussed exactly this scenario and agreed what to do for the best result for the team, but Hamilton was probably being a bit naughty here @girts.
        It was more of letting the team know, I think its Rosberg seeing a repeat scenario of last year and struggling not to get into that 2nd driver role. Off course winning on Saturday would be what helps him, but an insecure Rosberg is no match for a completely happy and in the groove Hamilton.

        1. @bascb, Remember the team can no longer tell Lewis what Nico is doing or what his situation is, so they can only tell him to go faster, which they did and which he did. So I don’t see how you can think Lewis was being naughty.

          1. @velocityboy – I think Lewis knew exactly what he was doing but he is exactly right – it’s not his responsibility to look after Nico on the track. If the team want him to speed up for the sake of Nico, that’s their job to tell him. I wouldn’t expect Lewis to push and take life out of his tyres to improve Nico’s race though!

          2. He surely was, he managed from lap 1 to the end, knowing exactly what he was doing, but that’s race, Rosberg should overtake instead of whine.

          3. I don’t think I understand why you think being naughty there would be something bad @velocityboy.
            But if you think Hamilton didn’t know what he was doing, I think you underestimate these guys. He knew it, Rosberg saw it, Vettel most likely just as well, and I think its pretty clear the team did so too.
            They see more or less how far the car is behind (if its only a matter of seconds) and would know a driver is closing in, and he could probably see Vettel behind Rosberg on the straigt as well as on shots on the big TV screens.

            It is precisely because they can do this kind of thing while driving faster than most of us could even imagine that they are such great drivers and that Hamilton is a double champion.
            Rosberg knew that his only chance was right at the end after he failed to beat Hamilton on saturday, and he was disgruntled that he never got that chance. But Hamilton knew the same and did what was needed to prevent giving him the opportunity, who says Lewis is just fast, he can think well enough too.

        2. @bascb @bascb Of course, Rosberg is not happy but the fact is that he was slower then Hamilton in qualifying and could not overtake him in the race either even when Hamilton was not driving as fast as he could. Nico also admitted that he was “building up to” fighting Lewis at the end of the race and he basically accuses Hamilton of not helping him to do that. It is very likely that Hamilton knew how hard overtaking on soft tyres would be and was acting naughty, as you say, but you cannot realistically expect anything else in the battle for the world championship.

          Personally, I think that it’s the Mercedes team that had the right to be worried about the possible consequences of Hamilton’s tactics but they also acted accordingly by informing Hamilton about Rosberg’s concerns and pitting Nico earlier.

          1. I wouldn’t hold it against Rosberg that he couldn’t get closer during the race @girts. In reality, apart from a problem for either of them we were unlikely to see a car that has the same pace passing another one, in that respect the top cars are back to suffering from loss of DF and hurting their tyres when following close (in the midfield the drivers were less consistent and all had different issues like brakes, tyres giving up, the car being unpredictable etc or just differing strategies with the tyres).
            Yes, the team did well to tell Hamilton that now was enough and please speed up to avoid unnessicary risk of losing p2 to Vettel. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hamilton had been waiting for that message for a lap or so before it came too. Rosberg was also right to point it out and have the team interfere in time though.

            1. @bascb I absolutely agree with you, I do not blame Rosberg for not being able to attack or informing the team during the race accordingly, I just believe that he should have accepted that these are the rules of the game and that you cannot blame another driver for doing his best to win the race. For sure, emotions during a race are understandable but the grudge at the press conference and later on Twitter was probably unnecessary. It is not bad for the sport though as fans have something to talk about :)

            2. Well if the car behind has the same pace has the car in front then it will never err….. Overtake.

    7. Winners and whiners
      What a stupid assessment by roseburg. He never came close to hamilton, within a drs range (or did I miss it?)

    8. Interestingly, he said he was just thinking about himself and that says it all.

      Tell us Nico, who where you thinking about when you are shouting on the radio.

    9. I am in no way defending Rosberg for what he said in post race press conference as it really showed that he is letting Hamilton get under his skin and makes Rosberg look like a defeated man.

      Having said that, didn’t Vettel also told that whenever he tried to get close to Rosberg, the dirty air prevented him to get much closer and as a result his tyres were being damaged ? So all those people who are bashing Rosberg for saying Hamilton “compromised” his race and saying if Hamilton was slower, Rosberg should have over taken him— doesn’t the same thing applies here? With Rosberg?

      Even Hamilton got messages from pits to increase his speed and he did it, but it was too late for Rosberg as his tyres were damaged. The messages from pit confirms Hamilton was going a bit slower, whether delibrately or not, only Hamilton knows.

      What made Rosberg furious was that the same scenario was discussed in the briefing before the race and despite that his race was compromised. He should have discussed this thing internally with the team after the race, not out in public. Letting it out publicly only showed him more weak.

        1. +1

          Also I think Nico should start asking for alternate strategies. If he had gone soft-medium-soft yesterday he would have been overtaken by Ferrari’s when he was on medium and would have overtaken them again on softs, possibly attacking Hamilton at the end. The safety car yesterday might have made such an attack moot and Nico might have ended up 3rd or even 4th but thats a risk both Nico and the team should be willing to take early in the year.

          This applies to all drivers and all teams. Around mid season say the team can decide to minimize risk, designate a 2nd driver and target constructors and 1-2 finishes but the first half of the season should be about drivers figuring out who is the top dog in the team. Equality does not not mean putting both drivers on same strategy for a 1-2 but giving each driver their optimal strategy for winning the race. Equality for (roughly) the first half of the season and team play for (roughly) the second half will make F1 really entertaining.

          1. It was confirmed last year that they had to run the same strategy after Nico got fortunate with the safety car, I can’t recall Lewis ever using a different strategy than Nico last season? He overtook Nico plenty of times using the same strategy!

            1. They did have different strategies in Bahrain, Spain. There last stint were on different tyres in both these races. These 2 races came to my mind, I dont know whether there were many other examples, so your point isnt valid that Lewis never used different strategy last year.

            2. My point is very valid, from what I remember Nico was the only one that was allowed to use a different strategy out of the pair, he benefited from it everytime too. Why wasn’t Hamilton ever allowed to use a different strategy every time he was behind Nico?

      1. But did the team told Nico not to race Lewis? Why didn’t he put the pedal down to push Lewis?

        There were many overtakes yesterday, if the price of an attempt is damaging your tires, so be it. Tradeoffs will not disappear because Nico wants to have his tires intact.

        1. @jcost, no team did not asked Nico to stop racing Lews. But as to why he didn’t put the pedal down to push Lewis – the ans is given very well by Vettel in post race press conference

          Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport) Why is this circuit particularly difficult to follow another car? Why are the tyres, here, in the wake of another car, more destroyed than on other circuits?

          SV: Naturally, I think always with quick corners we struggle to stay close. The corners we have leading onto the straight, the most obviously straight, the long back straight, is initially quite slow but then it gets quicker and quicker, so that makes it quite tricky to really stay close and in general, the thing is if you try to overtake someone who is just as quick as you, maybe slightly quicker or a little bit less quick, you don’t really have that much of an advantage to really stay close. You lose downforce, the tyres start to slide, which means that they start to overheat and you struggle more and more, the closer you get. That’s what makes it tricky. There’s really no difference here to other circuits, I guess.

          Even Martin Brundle suggested during commentary that this year’s nose regulations creates more dirty air which makes the car behind hard to follow.

          Now as to many overtakes which were done yesterday, were there any overtakes done by one teammate on another unless they were on different tyres? I guess not. There was substantial difference in performance of two cars which allowed the overtakes.

          Mercedes pair never overtook themselves, Bottas overtook Massa at the start but when Kimi overtook Bottas, he was slow and as a result Massa took benefit of this oppurtunity and overtook him and for rest of the race, the order was settled. Only Kimi was in a position to possibly overtake Vettel – why? because he had 4 laps younger tyres.

          So Vettel’s point that if someone just as quick as you or is slightly quicker/slower than you, you dont really have any advantage; is proved by the fact that there was no overtakes between teammates.

          Lewis was right in looking after his own race and not worrying about Nico’s, Mercedes got 1-2 this time. But if Lewis applies his same strategy in future races and Mercedes lose 1-2, its going to be really bad for him. Toto said after race that both Lewis & Nico’s first priority is to get maximum for the team, but when further asked whether Lewis was being naughty (something to this effect), Toto was very careful in what he said. He paused for a moment and then replied that nothing of that sort happened.

          My whole point for above two post is just that Rosberg is being slacked way toooo much for his comments after the race, which IMO he should not have said out in public.

          1. @mjf1fan while tech explination given by Seb does help to understand why the race developed the way it did, I think that Nico´s fault was to let his frustration show and go after Lewis in the press conference.

            If Nico would have waith to driver debrief to talk people would be talking about how he couldn´t get close to Lewis, but not about him being “crying”. The fact that Nico isn´t a particular popular isn´t helping him.

            1. @celeste I agree with you. Thats what i didnt like about Nico this time. Like you said, he should have waited for team’s debrief after the race for this matter to arise – but he didn’t. @ Bascb gave a suggestion below that by going public, he is asking for a different strategy next time if he wants to win. I expected Mercedes cars to be on different strategy in this race since Toto Wolff told during the build up to gp about a possibility of different strategies. But it didn’t happen. May be Softs- Medium- soft was not a fast strategy for them this race as @scarlet-fever mentions, but they definitely have to let drivers decide what strategy they want in the race.

              I don’t know what’s wrong with Nico since the season has started. First he invited Vettel for engineer debrief , then tried to block Hamilton in qualifying in Malaysia and now this. He is physically giving his 100% but his mind isnt working at that level. He i trying to play mind games, but everything is back firing on him.

              I hope he could get his mojo back and challenge Lewis in races, coz if he doesnt ups his game or Ferrari reduces their gap to Merc in qualifying, Lewis is going to win the championship without much fight.

      2. I think that what made him furious is rather the fact that he perfectly knew (and knew that Hamilton did so too) what was going on, and he had probably expected it since hearing he did not beat Lewis in Q3 on saturday, but had no way to change much in that situation @mjf1fan.

        Its possible that speaking about it in public showed his frustration, but it might well have been part of asking for the option do do an alterante strategy in the future as @scarlet-fever mentions, because its pretty obvious that its hard to win with copying the same strategy if you are behind.

      3. Even Hamilton got messages from pits to increase his speed and he did it

        No, he did not actually. He waited for Rosberg and Vettel to pit and THEN sped up quite dramatically.

        Which is arguably the best thing he could have done for his own race, but clearly it wasn’t what his team was asking from him and it did jeopardize Nico’s race.

        1. Uh, yes he did, actually. Before Vettel & Rosberg pitted (shortly after the latter whining about it on the radio) the team was on the radio to Lewis asking him to increase his pace by two tenths. He immediately complied. I remember because it sparked a conversation among Hobbs & crew about Lewis’ pace management & how accurate he always is when asked to deliver a specific lap time.

    10. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
      13th April 2015, 9:23

      The best thing about Nico’s comment was the interviewer asking: “But wouldn’t you have done the same in his place?”. Rosberg: “That’s not relevant!”. :-)

      It seems entirely reasonable for the front runner to eke out the life of the far superior option tyres for as long as possible, especially when the rival team is considered better on tyre wear. If the pace was too slow, Nico could have switched to a 3-stopper, or overtaken Lewis on track – either would have allowed hm to run at his own pace.

      1. RB (@frogmankouki)
        13th April 2015, 14:27

        +1
        I thought the exact same. I see this as a non issue, If it wasn’t for Nico bringing this up directly after the race, I’m not sure many would have noticed. People would just see a Merc 1-2 and think it’s business as usual.

      2. If the pace was too slow, Nico could have switched to a 3-stopper, or overtaken Lewis on track

        Mercedes certainly would not allow the first, and probably would not allow the second. They have a known policy that both drivers must run the same strategy, so no making an extra pit stop. And they most likely have a rule that whichever driver is behind after one lap must stay there.

    11. This has got to be the most pathetic outburst I’ve ever heard from a racing driver, yeah Nico Lewis should put the hammer down at the front and risk his own tyres going off early so you have a better shot at defeating him…..

      1. +1
        I really, really dislike this tantrum the more I think about it. Not only reeks of hypocrisy, the fact is Hamilton’s control of the race led to what? A Mercedes 1-2. There was no point when Rosberg’s race was under threat from Vettel. So he’s only possible complaint was that Hamilton refused to compromise his own race to give him, Rosberg, a chance to beat him. Utterly pathetic.

    12. Would somebody please enlighten me on why Nico decided against trying to overtake Lewis?

      Anybdy? Please!

      1. Err because according to him it would ruin his tyres attempting such a thing, it proved evident plenty of times last year….. Oh wait….

      2. simply because Hamilton had been driving in a manner to save his tyres, so whenever Rosberg would try to mount a challenge, Hamilton would just increase his gap on the long straight and keep out of DRS range. if he had done this for 3-5 laps his tyres would have been way worse than Sebastians. Vettel tried to overtake Rosberg during the second stint but all it did was destroy his tyres.

        1. @mim5 that’s the price of trying…

      3. Lewis was in front and controlling the race pace by going around 0.5 sec slower than his target laptime. This forced Nico to go considerably slower than his target laptime. If Nico had sped up and tried to overtake, then presumably Lewis would have sped up to defend. The dogfight between the two Mercs would have worn out their soft tires earlier, particularly Nico’s because of turbulent air and given Vettel an opening to try for the 2nd place, maybe even allowing the Ferrari a shot for the 1st place.

        I am not saying Lewis did anything wrong, he was in front and did what was best for himself. The problem is that Nico could not do what was best for himself and was effectively stuck in 2nd defending Lewis from Vettel.

        The simplest way to avoid this situation would have been splitting strategy when you start 1-2 and giving the lower risk strategy (soft-soft-medium) to Lewis and the higher risk strategy (soft-medium-soft) to Nico for yesterday’s race. The question is did Nico refuse the riskier strategy or did team refuse to split strategy?

        1. Where’s the proof that he was going 0.5 sec than his target time? From what I remember Hamilton matched his delta both times when asked by the team. I don’t see the logic that the second option is the riskier strategy, I suggest you go watch Bahrain again….

      4. What makes you think he “decided” against it? In all likelihood he was not allowed to do so by his team.

    13. Rosberg really doesn’t sound like a racer when he says that Lewis was slowing him down. He should have just closed the gap to Lewis and tried overtaking instead of being apprently ‘held up’. I thought they both were fighting for championship, so I don’t see why Rosberg was playing #2 driver during the race.

      If Rosberg was in front, you know that Lewis would do everything he could to get in front of him.

    14. Where were the thoughts of the team back in 2013 when you were running the race at Monaco at a snails pace which shafted your teammate? or in Germany when you held Lewis up for countless laps whilst in a completely different race???

    15. Rosberg, you big baby. If he’s going too slow, overtake!

      What surprises me a bit was the using the same strategy for both drivers, inevitably leading to situations like this. Didn’t Mercedes say before the race that they would split their strategies to improve the chances against Ferrari?

    16. Rosberg is making troubles for Merc’s management.
      I guess Toto is regretting that he has signed Rosberg with a long and expensive contract.

      1. You’d think so. Everyone seems to have forgotten the last race too where Rosberg clearly tried to slow down Hamilton in qualifying (another one that escaped the stewards because it was intra-team, like last year’s incidents). And worse: his mock interview of Hamilton after the race, humourless and aggressive. Rosberg needs to seriously chill out, accept his own failures last season and move on. His sourness at the start of this season is already ruining his chances.

        1. (* mock interview after qualifying)

      2. Keeping NR was part of LH contract negotiations I think!

    17. There must be more to this than we are hearing for Rosberg to be so upset (personal recrimination aside). I suspect the team brief required both drivers to drive to a delta (Hamilton commented to this effect) with a view to then having enough left in the tyres for a “push” in the dying laps should it prove necessary against a Ferrari. Rosberg appeared to drive on the basis that he would use the opportunity to “push” against Hamilton . The way the race turned out he lost that opportunity as his tyres were not upto it. Rightly or wrongly he blamed Hamilton. But of course this is just me putting yet another interpretation on the issue.

      1. You mean Hamilton used a strategy to ensure he, not Rosberg, won? Unparalleled.
        Had Vettel actually drawn anywhere near Rosberg, he could feasibly have made some case for Hamilton affecting the team’s chances of a 1-2. But the fact is he judged it perfectly. Perhaps what most rankled.

    18. Nico – It’s the same to you know as it was to Hamilton in Monaco last year. You can complain all you want but it’s your job to get it done in qualifying and then you don’t have to worry about what Lewis does. If you’re behind him because you weren’t fast enough in quali, it’s tough if you get held up…

    19. I’m thinking that Mercedes came into the race not really knowing how Tyre degradation would affect the race and as such Hamilton ended up being overly cautious. Whether he did it consciously or not he backed Nico into the Ferarris

    20. I believe we are unfair towards Rosberg. Rosberg was in a very unique position. Hamilton could control his pace because he was in clean air. Sebastian could control his pace cause nobody was in a challenging 4th position. Which leaves Rosberg, who if too near to Hamilton will destroy his tires and too far away would be vulnerable to Sebastian’s attack. This point was also repeated by Sebastian when Ferrari asked him to go faster. Which clearly meant nobody wanted to go aggressive and simply was waiting for others mistake or strategy.
      To keep within 2 seconds and be right there if anything goes wrong but not being overtly aggressive. But don’t go too near or too far.
      I know its racing but given the track conditions, unless you are below 5th, you will not try to attack too much.
      So Rosberg if challenges Hamilton then will loose more and it will be bad for both Hamilton and Mercedes.
      For me Hamilton backing up a bit would be detrimental to both himself and team. If Ferrari was not so close, then it was ok to back up, but given that Ferrari was all the time in tails, it was risky to do.

      1. You’re talking as though his is unique to this race, each and every driver as to run in dirty air at some point in a race. Did that stop Lewis from overtaking Nico on numerous occasions last year? So if Nico would destroy his tyres following Lewis then wouldn’t the same happen to Seb??

      2. This might be the first comment supporting Rosberg I’ve seen on the whole World Wide Web @aks-das :)

        Hamilton for sure ran his race to make frikkin sure he won it and not Rosberg ;) But he ran the pace the team gave him, and didn’t moan when the team pitted Rosberg first, he just stuck in a couple of 1:42.2’s. Then his final stint was only 2 laps shorter than Rosberg’s anyway.

        I didn’t see much support for Rosberg from the team. And anyway the team didn’t need the 3 points. If anything it would have been better for them to finish 1,3 to take some of Bernie’s heat off.

    21. “It didn’t compromise the team result but put unnecessary risk to the one-two and we went through that scenario before the race, which is frustrating.

      “We’ll have a discussion and see how it goes. I’ll let you know.”

      I think the bold part is what needs to be focussed here. The battle between the Mercs would have proposed to be happen after they cleared Ferrari by some distance. For this they needed to lap to their limits to put a gap to them. But Rosberg found himself in the clutches of Ferrari during 1/2 stints. He was lucky that Ferrari didn’t have the performance on meds, else it wouldn’t have been a Merc 1-2, IMO.

      If Lauda thinks its every man for himself, things might not end well for Mercedes. They will need Rosberg or Hamilton (*depending on who has the best chance at WDC) to be the rear gunner in case Ferrari close in.

      This will be interesting as the season progresses. Frankly I think Mercedes don’t have control over their drivers and their pace advantage is saving their backs for now.

    22. Lol, so Hamilton was saving his tyres and Rosberg is blaming him for that?

      I’m assuming Hamilton even gave him the right to stop first when it was Hamilton in the lead and therefore his right to stop first. We have seen a few situations where Hamilton was struggling with the tyres and Rosberg refused to let him stop first .

      How was Rosberg’s race compromised anyway? He simply finished second without any real threat from the Ferrari’s.

    23. I do think it is overly tempting to be tempted into assessing the situation in terms of armchair psychology and forget that we see the lives of the drivers through very specific, often thoroughly orchestrated situations. For me, this is not a waning Rosberg, but a strategic Rosberg. Throughout his career it would perhaps be fair to say Rosberg has been the more mentally stable, so he perhaps feels that an air of tension could unsettle Lewis, but this is, as I said, is dangerous armchair psychology: it is therefore best to deal with the facts.

      I feel a dispassionate look at the facts makes Rosberg’s actions more understandable:

      Fact I) The pole margin was minute. Rosberg knew he could have quite easily reciprocated the situation had he taken pole.

      Fact II) Hamilton lapped 1.5 seconds faster in the closing laps of his second stint than his mid-stint pace: he was flagrantly enjoying the advantages of clear air.

      Fact III) Hamilton’s 2014 season took a dip after the tension of Monaco: it is possibly reasonable for Rosberg to expect that that is a repeatable pattern.

      Fact IV) Rosberg has not beaten Hamilton to the chequered flag without Lewis experiencing some turbulence since 2013; and is therefore forced to destabilize Lewis’ season.

      I don’t think it is necessarily accurate to understand the later point in terms of a psychologically waning Nico: Prost was very open to the fact that Senna was the faster driver during their partnership, it didn’t mean he didn’t couldn’t beat him though. I would be surprised if Rosberg isn’t fully acquiescent to the fact that Hamilton is on a level he cannot consistently reach.

      The fact that Rosberg’s case is largely invalid misses the point: for me it shows a driver pragmatically deploying a diminishing arsenal of weapons.

      1. So you give us the “facts” and then dismiss them?

        1. @patrickl – Dismissed them? How?

          On the basis that the pole margin was so small, I asserted a) that much of Rosberg’s frustration was derivative of the ease with which the situation could have been reversed.

          With reference to Hamilton’s late stint pace I asserted b) that Rosberg’s argument was empirically substantiated.

          With reference to Hamilton’s difficult 2014 European season I asserted c) that Rosberg may have perceived this to be a product of the Monaco incident, and that he may attempt to destabilize Lewis again.

          With reference to Nico’s failure to beat Lewis unaided since 2013, and in support of my previous point, I asserted d) that Rosberg is likely to start to deploy other strategies: i.e. he may attempt to strategically destabilize Lewis.

          Now, were those not rational leaps of logic, Mr Patrick?

          1. My point was that your last sentence has nothing to do with the “facts” that you point out.

            I was gonna reply explaining how your “facts” are actually invalid, but you then proceed to never use them anyway.

            For instance, the only reason the gap in Q3 was so small was because something went wrong with Hamilton’s second attempt. I guess we would have heard more from it if Rosberg had actually gotten pole, but I’ve read that it had something to do with wrong tyre pressures. Hamilton also said something about the wrong preparation for the lap.

            Hamilton’s 2014 season only took a dip when a whole slew of mechanical failures hit. That’s not something Rosberg would be able to replicate other than sabotaging his car or punting him off again.

            Hamilton never claimed he was going flat out. He stated that he was pacing himself, so you don’t need to “empirically substantiate that assertion”.

            The question is if it was his intention to push Rosberg back into the clutches of Vettel. Hamilton claimed it wasn’t and I’d say this assertion it’s empirically substantiated by the fact that Hamilton opened up the gap by 1.5s over the last 5 laps before Rosberg’s stop.

            He could have just ignored the teams request to speed up. In fact he did exactly what the team told him hitting lap times with incredible precision.

            And what did Rosberg do? Nothing.

            He simply stayed just ahead of Vettel instead of opening up the gap like he said he would have done if only Hamilton would just speed up.

            Rosberg has only himself to blame for the situation he put himself in. Hamilton was well out of his way when he needed some space.

            1. @patrickl – You fundamentally fail to understand the rationale of my post. I do not especially set out to cast judgement over what was a largely ill-formatted allegation on Rosberg’s part (as you demonstrate vis-a-vis Hamilton following team orders), nor do I seek to defend Nico’s motives; I am merely stating that such allegations almost certainly have strategic underpinnings. This would also be congruent to Rosberg being instructed to be more aggressive off-track.

              In terms of my evidence, I fail to see your issue. Hamilton made errors in qualifying in Canada, Austria and Silverstone: the three races after Monaco. Having just watched the weekend’s pole lap, I will admit that Lewis misses the apex of the hairpin, which accounts for Rosberg’s final sector gains. That said, the pair of green sectors Lewis set at the start of his second lap are only missed by Rosberg by 0.068, and a pair of improvements don’t suggest preparatory lap issues. Do you have a link for the tyre pressure issue?

            2. Well you should be more clear then …

              Both drivers made qualifying errors over the 2014 season. So what? That’s somehow more important than a whole slew of technical difficulties.

    24. I don’t really see his point here. Does he pretend Lewis to race in a way that would make him anyway stronger? The purpose of Lewis is to beat his main competitor, wich is Rosberg. Why would he want him to do… Oh man I have no words, it’s just nonsense buy this frustrated guy, now.

    25. I think that Nico’s problem was that Lewis didn’t follow the aggreed strategy at the team meeting before the race, he just didn’t want to put it that way.

      He was probably aiming to attack at the end with the Medium tyre, with which he had a pace advatage over Hamilton, however with Lewis going slower than he should, he was forced to pit early for his second stop to cover Vettel. In fact, that was one of the few times the leading Mercedes driver didn’t pit first. That allowed Lewis to put in some extra fast laps with the soft tyre and get comfortably ahead after his final stop.

      1. Lewis “the thinking man’s driver”…After Spa last year, Lewis GIVES NOTHING AWAY.

    26. You know I could’ve made it to formula 1.

      The only problem was that everyone in front of me was slowing me down and I couldn’t win.

    27. Rosberg is just being alonsonian here, folks…..

    28. NR has settled for 2nd place but wants the prig brother protection plan Lewis keep me safe the bad guys are close. If NR had gotten by LH off the line Lewis would have been leading in short order not whining that the bad guys are coming.

    29. By accusing Hamilton of deliberately backing him into Vettel, Rosberg appears to be assuming that Hamilton considers Rosberg to be his main rival. That may be the case, but I don’t think it is totally clear cut – Vettel was ahead of Rosberg in the championship before the race.

    30. To me it was clear that Hamilton knew perfectly well what he was doing, as is his right when it’s his race to control. If Rosberg wants to send a message, he needs to do it on the track – that he didn’t is only part his fault, the rest of the blame is with tire preservation strategies rather than all out racing – but even if he would’ve eaten up his tires, Rosberg needs to make Hamilton doubt at least for a moment or two on the track, rather than go crying in public about Lewis the big meany.

    31. In my opinion is very important that Rosberg get the pole on the next race. Even if he does not win the race, that will boost his confidence.

    32. I think there is some unfair criticism toward NR here. I think what is being ignored here is the fact that something new is now happening. Ferrari. After they won the last race, all the talk was that it was game on now and Ferrari has shown themselves to be genuine contenders to Merc. A heroic performance that has saved F1 by disrupting the Merc runaway. Suddenly now, some around here are saying NR was never under threat? Hmmm, SV was within a half a second of DRS. They won the last race. Why else would the team have discussed this scenario? It has not happened until these last two races that LH and NR, in their WDC level cars, have a challenger. So it is new to both these drivers and the team that they are now managing a rivalry that has someone knocking on their doors pace-wise.

      While almost everyone seems to want to happily point out NR is LH’s ‘Webber’ let’s not forget he very nearly pipped LH for pole. By that I mean NR is certainly not thinking he has no answer for LH or that the history going back through last season and this season so far precludes NR from finding something more and truly reversing the situation. It’s on to the next race for NR with 100% belief that he can do it.

      I don’t know if LH did anything on purpose. NR does think so. I also think there is a chance NR would have done the same thing…slowed LH just enough. I do wonder what the reaction would have been from the fans and the team if in fact LH caused NR to get DRS’d by SV. Or if NR had in fact risked his tires and went after LH, would he then be criticized for risking both cars and a 1-2 for the sake of him taking the win? Going by the negativity toward NR, I get the impression even if he had done something impressive and hauled in and passed LH, that too would be derided as being ‘anti-team.’

      And this is my main take away from this race. What an utter shame these tires don’t even allow a driver to get within DRS anymore, DRS being bad enough as it is. These drivers are not allowed to be gladiators out there. F1 wonders why viewership is down? How about the quality of the racing, which is practically non-existent in favour of tires that are way too limiting, and the fear by the likes of an NR that all it takes for someone to get by is to be backed into someone else pace-wise, someone with a handy push to pass button.

      This is not racing. This is pacing around under conditions that are too restrictive for racing. Sure there were passes, as much to do with discrepency between drivers’ tires than anything. This is not hand to hand combat. This is all about control and conservation. Racing is harmful to one’s race these days in F1.

      1. This is racing. Lewis showed last year passing Nico on the track several times.
        Well, Webber pipped Seb from poles several times…
        NR is trying to get some kind words from his fans in other to creat some atmosphere around his “fight” with his teammate, i don’t think it will do any good for him.

      2. @robbie A fair comment if ever there was one. Rosberg is used to be beaten at races by Hamilton and has not reacted this way until now. There must be valid reasons for his outburst especially since they now have a challenger in Ferrari to take advantage of any mistakes done by Mercedes.

      3. I dunno @robbie. DRS wasn’t the threat, it was the potential undercut by Seb at the second round of stops, and Lewis did under the 1:43.7 he was asked for in all the preceding 9 laps so it wasn’t really an issue.

        The team pitted Nico first to protect him and Lewis didn’t complain. Nico was complaining he had to run his last set of tyres too long but it was only 2 laps longer than Lewis, so his ‘I was sooooo gonna attack’ doesn’t exactly ring true. Whatever stint Nico ran Lewis could cover it, with his carefully preserved options.

        I can see it was a frustrating race with the aero the way it is but Nico didn’t really have a case to accuse Lewis of not looking after him with enough tender loving care.

        For the team it tempted Ferrari onto the primes early and that was an advantage. Maybe that’s why the team gave Lewis a target of only 43.7? Why didn’t they ask for 43.3 or something?

        Notice Nico didnt really get any support from the team, again. It was a mistake to criticise him for his charm offensive.

        1. @lockup Fair comment. I do think DRS is always a threat though, any time someone is within a second of course. Sure SV didn’t get within a second but he nearly did, which was when NR was complaining of LH’s pace. So I think at the time NR wasn’t thinking about undercuts, but rather a bloke coming up behind him with a free pass at hand if he got to use his DRS.

          And I note, in fairness to NR, he was asking the team to ask LH to speed up. Hardly the comment you would normally expect from a rival. Lol, he could have said something like ‘let me by LH if he’s going to go this slow,’ or something more selfish than tell the leader to speed up. And they did. And he did. I hardly think NR need be castigated for telling the team to get his rival to speed up, and if LH was doing anything sneaky at all, then it was actually NR that was being the team player in trying to ensure a 1-2, and LH the selfish one in risking a 1-3 for the team. Methinks NR has more support from the team than you are speculating.

          1. I suppose the team has to either support him or dump him @robbie. I think it was fine for him to ask for Lewis to speed up, anyway. The thing was the team asked for 43.7’s and Lewis did them. It was a bit tight so I don’t know why they didn’t ask for a bit more. But in the end he gave him a quick lap before the stop and there was the margin.

            In my mind it was a bit of a wind-up by Lewis. A bit controlling and dommy, and that’s what Nico hated about it. But really, it was insane for Nico to make it pay off quite so theatrically.

          2. I suppose the team has to either support him or dump him @robbie. I think it was fine for him to ask for Lewis to speed up, anyway. The thing was the team asked for 43.7’s and Lewis did them. It was a bit tight so I don’t know why they didn’t ask for a bit more. But in the end he gave him a quick lap before the stop and there was the margin.

            In my mind it was a bit of a wind-up by Lewis. It was insane for Nico to make it pay off quite so theatrically.

    33. I think Hamilton is speaking genuinely when he said his tactics had little to do with Rosberg. Rosberg seems to think Hamilton ideally wanted him pushed down into third. But it’s just or even more likely Hamilton considers Vettel his biggest rival this season and Rosberg in second is better for now. He knows he can beat Rosberg in the same car. Ferrari is an unknown factor.

      The real story is that in the previous race, Malaysia, Mercedes pitted Hamilton (and Rosberg) from the lead and they lost control of the race. Hamilton’s frustration was precisely that he couldn’t dictate the race in anyway after the Mercedes tactical blunder (which it was) and was left chasing. In China, Hamilton had control of the pace of the race and proved throughout he could keep the tyres going and speed up when necessary. He was happy precisely because he kept control tactically. Rosberg was a minor issue.

      And it remains the case: Mercedes scored a 1-2 with Hamilton’s pace setting. Vettel didn’t catch Rosberg. There is no issue.

    34. “My only chance to win the race, or to fight Lewis or to try to overtake him, would have come at the end of the race and that’s what l was building up to,” Rosberg said.

      This says it all really, so Nico is miffed that the driver he was trying to beat prevented him from doing so…. Nico I feel for you I really do…

    35. The whining has started already, in only 3 races!
      If Nico felt compromised, all he needed to do was chase and overtake Hamilton. If he couldn’t do that, the he needs to shut up. Lewis is driving his race and not concerned about Nico’s. I don’t understand what Nico expects from Hamilton ?!? To make things easier for him, c’mon son this is racing!

    36. Simon (@weeniebeenie)
      13th April 2015, 15:35

      What I notice about this whole thing is how Rosberg has managed to divert the attention away from the fact he had no answer for Hamilton himself. His whole complaint is with regards to Vettel, and that Hamilton was supposedly pushing Rosberg back into him and risking his second place position.

      Nobody has seemingly asked why he didn’t have the pace to win the race and he hasn’t had to explain why either. No “Lewis was just too quick for me today”, no “He had the better strategy”, instead it’s “He slowed me down and nearly cost me my 2nd place”. Quite clever from Rosberg really, because it seems he doesn’t really have an answer to the real question.

      1. Exactly. It’s all mostly blame shifting. Perhaps he doesn’t even realize though. It’s always easier to blame someone else for your problems.

        I do get that Rosberg might have been fuming in the car when Vettel was only 1.5s behind halfway through the second stint. The reality is though, that Hamilton did speed up to create a gap during the laps before the pit stop and that Rosberg failed to stay close behind Hamilton

        Hamilton pulled 1.5s away from Rosberg. If Rosberg actually was able to go faster like he claims, he could have matched that pace and opened up at least a 3 or 4s gap to Vettel. He could even have stayed out and let Hamilton take the stop first.

        1. I think if there is any diversion, it is by folks ignoring the fact that NR was asking the team to have LH speed up. That is a comment made by someone just looking to not be third…just looking to keep it a Merc 1-2. That is not a comment made by someone trying to sell the team on his better pace. He simply couldn’t do anything in LH’s dirty air even from 2 seconds back. He obviously was not on LH’s heels. Nor was he asking for anything other than a faster pace for both drivers to keep Ferrari behind, and sure, maybe even a shot at LH near the end of the race. But telling the team to tell his main rival to speed up? How do you castigate a guy for that?

          1. He asked for Hamilton to speed up and Hamilton did just that. One can’t expect Hamilton to keep track of Rosbergs race. The team is responsible for that and Hamilton followed the team directions after Rosberg told them he was in trouble.

            So there really should be no debate whatsoever.

            The problem was that Rosberg wasn’t actually able to speed up like Hamilton did, because of that he got into a tight spot just ahead of his pitstop and then tried to blame Hamilton for his own fault.

            Rosberg rightfully gets castigated for trying to blame someone else for something he only has himself to blame for.

    37. Nico Rosberg is not the “Thinking Driver” in the Mercedes team, Lewis Hamilton definitely is? If Rosberg was such a great thinker then how come he cant think himself past Lewis Hamilton in a race. I repeat Rosberg is yet to beat Hamilton in a wheel to wheel confrontation, and just does not know how to make a lasting pass on Hamilton.
      Rosberg is all style NO SUBSTANCE. He is like a beautiful woman with no brains. Sure he talks a good fight, but what millions of fans around the world want to see is action not WHINGING, because actions speak louder than words. If Rosberg regards himself any kind of a skilled and intelligent racer then let him prove it. The thing about Rosberg is that he comes over as all ELECTRIC but all he is IS GAS.

    38. What I really not like from Rosberg in this situation is how he bring it to the public. Starting with sarcasm on the podium interview (he always try to having a joke in podium, but in China is really not sounding like one) and openly attacking Hamilton in press conference. I get it if he lose out to Vettel and finished 3rd, but its all work well. Hamilton is speeding up when asked by the team, he got the first pit to cover Vettel undercut and emerge with even larger gap to Vettel than before the stops. The only thing he loses out is gap to Hamilton and he’s crazy to think that Hamilton or Mercedes will handed that 1st place to him. You should pass your teammate on your own.

      Talking like this in public only make him sounds like a sore loser. In this situation, any complain he had should be talked in private during team debrief. I bet Vettel want to come on this one ;)

    39. Lewis “the thinking man’s driver”…After Spa last year, Lewis GIVES NOTHING AWAY.

    40. Somebody needs to tell Rosberg the golden rule that go as fast as possible to get to the front and stay there and finish there as slow as possible. This I think applies to all forms of motorsport.

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