Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2015

Rosberg’s misfortune brings Hamilton within touching distance of title

2015 Russian Grand Prix review

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Nico Rosberg could be forgiven if he was the one Mercedes employee who didn’t fully enjoy his team’s constructors’ championship success in Russia.

Because while their latest success had decided one championship, a failure on one of the team’s cars effectively ended the competition in the drivers’ title fight too.

While Rosberg’s W06 let him down within a few laps of the start Lewis Hamilton’s took him to his ninth victory of the year, and he could wrap the drivers’ title up as early as the next race.

Throttle thwarts Rosberg

Start, Sochi Autodrom, 2015
Rosberg resisted Hamilton at the start
For a few minutes it looked like we finally had a fight on our hands. Just as in Japan, Rosberg had made the best use of a curtailed practice programme and beaten Hamilton to pole position. But unlike in Japan he came out of the first corner still in the lead.

Hamilton was tucked up in Rosberg’s slipstream as they came out of the awkward turn two. But around the long, 180-degree turn three Hamilton washed out wide and his attention turned from attacking Rosberg to protecting his position from Kimi Raikkonen, who had claimed third place.

Suddenly the fight was off. Nico Hulkenberg had dropped his Force India at the first braking point and been collected by an unlucky Marcus Ericsson. Rosberg reacted fractionally quicker than Hamilton to the Safety Car boards and the two Mercedes almost made contact.

For the first time since Austria, Rosberg made it to lap two in the lead of a race with Hamilton still behind him. Unless Hamilton could ‘over-cut’ him in the pit stops or – even less likely – overtake him on the track, he was surely on course for a win.

But before the Safety Car period was over Rosberg’s throttle had begun to stick. When the race restarted the problem worsened to the point that he had to lift his leg entirely clear of the pedal, which interfered with his steering.

With the fault worsening, Rosberg headed for the pits, leaving his team mate to inflict maximum damage on his fading championship hopes.

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Hard hit for Grosjean

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Sochi Autodrom, 2015
Grosjean posted his fifth retirement of the year
Bottas made a textbook restart and, aided by the superior straight-line speed of his FW37, reclaimed third place from Raikkonen. Vettel also tested his team mate’s defences, but that came to a stop when the Safety Car made a second appearance.

Romain Grosjean’s race had come to a violent end against the barrier in turn three. The Lotus driver had tangled with Max Verstappen on lap one and pitted for a new front wing. Meanwhile Jenson Button, having attained the heights of ninth soon after the start, inevitably found his gutless McLaren being passed by car after car.

By lap 12 the man on his tail was Grosjean. The Mercedes-powered Lotus was hauling in the McLaren in the long turn three, but a combination of the disturbed air and slippery off-line marbles did for Grosjean. He slammed sideways into the Tec-Pro barrier, and the Safety Car was summoned while the marshals patched it up with tape.

The final restart came at the end of lap 16 and Vettel struck immediately against Raikkonen. His team mate initially held the position by cutting across turn two, but after initially asking his team if he should give the place back Raikkonen swiftly decided it would be the prudent thing to do.

Last-lap tangle puts Perez on podium

Hamilton set about restoring his lead over Bottas, pursued by the Ferrari pair, followed by Daniil Kvyat. Before the Safety Car period the Red Bull driver had been giving chase to Sergio Perez while the second RB11 filled his mirrors, but Kvyat saw both his companions make for the pits when the race went yellow.

Kvyat now had the two Felipes behind him, Nasr ahead of Massa, the latter having started on the harder soft-compound tyres and therefore having recovered useful ground when the Safety Car came out. Behind him was Perez – and it soon became clear Force India had played a blinder by bringing him in.

Bottas only made it to lap 27 before he had to pit. He lost time passing Carlos Sainz Jnr and that ultimately allowed Vettel to jump him when he came in four laps later. Ferrari almost managed to get their second car ahead when Raikkonen pitted on the next lap.

Vettel immediately passed Perez to get himself free of the Safety Car stoppers, but Bottas and Raikkonen were queued up behind Ricciardo as well as Perez. It took Bottas until lap 45 to squeeze past Ricciardo, after which he rapidly gained on Perez. When the Red Bull driver’s suspension failed Raikkonen also went by, and joined Perez and Bottas in a three-way fight for the final podium position.

Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Sochi Autodrom, 2015
Taking Bottas out paid off for Raikkonen
On the penultimate lap, with the aid of maximum power boost from his engine and the DRS zone approaching turn 13, Bottas got by Perez for third. Raikkonen followed the Williams through, and it seem Perez’s delicate coaxing of his tyres would not yield a podium finish.

That would surely have been the case had Raikkonen not made a rash move to pass Bottas at turn four on the final lap. It never came close to coming off – the Ferrari’s front-left wheel hit the rear-right of the Williams and sent Bottas into a barrier. A gleeful Perez reclaimed his lost third place while Williams urged Massa to salvage fourth from the Ferrari.

Raikkonen took the chequered flag in fifth place but a 30-second penalty after the race relegated him to eighth. Despite that, clattering into Bottas had paid dividends for the Ferrari driver. Had it not been for the collision Bottas would have closed within five points of him; as it was, Raikkonen was three points better off.

Vettel dodges a marshal

A minor worry over his rear wing was all that troubled Hamilton as he collected his ninth win of the year: Mercedes briefly warned him not to use DRS, not that he ever needed it. Behind him Vettel might have had a flashback to Singapore when he spotted a marshal on the track at turn 14.

The marshal was collected part of Sainz’s rear wing, which had dislodged after he spun off at turn 13 – the same place where he crashed at huge speed on Saturday. Sainz had been on course for a solid points finish but despite several warnings from his team he was unable to keep his brake temperatures down. They cried enough with eight laps to go.

Sainz’s demise was one of five places Massa picked up in the last nine laps. Behind him Kvyat was promoted to fifth by Raikkonen’s penalty, which also benefited Nasr (sixth) and Pastor Maldonado (seventh).

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2015
Hamilton needs 27 more points to guarantee the title
The two McLarens initially completed the top ten but Fernando Alonso lost the final point when he was given a five-second penalty for cutting turn 16, something he had been warned about during the race. Verstappen was the beneficiary.

Mercedes clinch the team’s title

It wasn’t until an hour and half after the race, when Raikkonen’s penalty was handed, that Mercedes learned they had successfully defended the constructors’ championship title which they first won at the same venue 12 months ago.

While that championship is settled, the drivers’ contest now looks a foregone conclusion. All year long Rosberg has had the equipment to rival Hamilton but his performance has too often come up short. Unluckily for him, this time it was the other way around.

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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...

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73 comments on “Rosberg’s misfortune brings Hamilton within touching distance of title”

  1. Do we know what happened with Sainz? Two spins in two minutes. Was there an issue with the brakes? Why were they too cold? He was doing an outstanding race before that.

    1. Break failure. He’d been struggling with an issue since lap 20.

      I’m honestly surprised he tried to carry on after his first spin. He should have parked it.

      1. Do we know what happened with Sainz?

        It says in the article.

        1. I guess some people are so busy writing comments that they don’t have time to read the articles!

    2. He had brake failure.

    3. @albrecht

      Why were they too cold?

      They weren’t, they were WAY too HOT……

  2. It’s looking pretty nailed on for Hamilton now.

    1. Seems like if he wins at Austin only Vettel winning second would prevent a celebration.

      1. @slotopen I’m not sure I want Hamilton winning it in US. There’s a very high chance he might bring the Kardashians in for that one and I can’t stand them. Hope he seals it in Mexico though. Tequila all around.

  3. I wish Alonso had won in 2010. Three each would have felt right.

    Anyway I can only hope Ferrari and McLaren can make big steps with their 2016 cars. In principle they should converge, I suppose.

    1. Let it go, at the end of the season those with the most points win. That’s all that matters. Should we strip ALO of his 2006 WDC, as MSC had that in the bag, if not for Mechanical issue in the last two events (JAP and then BRL). MSC retired with his head held high

      With hindsight, the right person won in 2010, being VET, when you strip out the mechanical issues, Korea the main one, which flattered the gap at the end of the year.

      2010 was Alonso’s best year/chance – the cars (RBR, SF and MCL) were very evenly matched in racetrim, Ferrari had the upper hand over RBR in the first half of the year and they did not capitalize on mistakes of others eg: Turkey when RBR drivers clashed VET = DNF , where was ALO? Midway through the year he was getting positions given to him on Team orders when he was simply not quick enough (Germany).

      I never rated VET, but this year is as good as ALO’s 2010 campaign – I mean he has 3 wins (where he had genuinely better pace/gameplan in the races). I can only recall one driving mistake this year from him, in the BAH GP, and he admitted it. We can all agree that MGP dominance is greater than RBR – this stats don’t lie (Poles, front rows, fastest laps, wins and pure pace differential)

      2010 ALO had 5 wins (but 1 inherited in Korea after VET engine blew and the one in GER gifted to him by MAS (proof that Ferrari was not a bad car at all – Aldo Costa penned it ))

      1. Did you only watch the 2010 season in F1 ?

        1. I just said I wish Alonso had won @robert, so they’d each have three. No need for a thesis.

          1. +1 I got what you meant and agree. Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso all on 3 championships would be much more balanced and reflect more accurately the best of what is, in fact, a superb generation of top drivers (these three plus Verstappen who undoubtedly will be, and a lot of other excellent drivers). And 2010 was where Ferrari and Alonso could and should have achieved that.

      2. Well put. Not to mention the fact that Alonso then should also thank McLaren (or better yet Mercedes) for the miserable reliability Raikkonen had.

  4. I’m not so sure it really was a misfortune. Did you see the look exchange between Lauda and Wolff after Hamilton failed to beat Rosberg’s time in Q3? They want to clinch that championship as soon as they possibly can.

    1. I don’t understand what persuades people like you that Mercedes think it a worthwhile business case to spend hundreds of millions of pounds developing a car and then nobble it.

      1. And on top of that they almost had to bin the WDD t-shirts!

    2. You do realise that the prize money is determined by the Constructors championship, the winning of which would have required both cars to finish had Raikkonen not been penalised?

  5. At this rate, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes (sans Rosberg) could beat Ferrari in the constructors championship. It’s 302 Hamilton vs. 359 Ferrari.

    1. Yes, I think the easiness of Merc year 2 prompts me to say that the only “misfortune” this weekend is to have clinched the title. Clinching the constructors in the US would’ve made much more sense marketing wise. Anyhow they will probably seal the drivers in the US as Ham 1st and Vettel 2nd is just enough.

    2. @RL actually, at this rate he won’t. He would need to gain an extra 57 points in 4 races, that’s 14 points per race, whereas he hasn’t even been making that on Vettel alone throughout the season (4.4 points/race) let alone on both Ferrari’s together.

      It would take Hamilton to win all races, Vettel to not do better than one fourth place and three fifth places (while he’s , and Raikkonen to not finish in the points at all.

      1. I guess the only conclusion we can draw from Ham vs Fer is that Kimi has been ‘less than impressive’!

        1. The only conclusion we can draw is that Rosberg and Kimi have been less than impressive for their respective cars while their teammates drove like champions. Vettel is already beating Williams all by himself.

          1. Reminds me of 2013:
            1. Vettel-397
            2. Mercedes-360

  6. Is it possible that Rosberg has taken over the mantle from Mark Webber in terms of random machanical failures?

    I’m sure the conspiracy theorists have already started on “the team has nobbled his car to favour Lewis”. Mind you – it’s strange how the “second driver” ( Rosberg, Webber, Raikonnen, Button) seem to get more than their fair share of “mechanical failures” and pit lane stuff ups.

    Tin foil hat off now :)

    1. Erm, Rosberg has always have a faster pitstop than Lewis, last season Lewis had more DNF than Rosberg, Lewis started twice from the back of the grid

      1. last season Lewis had more DNF than Rosberg

        No he didn’t.

        Rosberg has always have a faster pit stop than Lewis

        That’s obviously not true either, and nor is it the case that a slow pit stop is never the driver’s fault – for example there were occasions when Hamilton failed to stop close enough to his marks, which slowed his pit stop down.

        1. Lewis had a DNF at Australia, Canada and Spa, Nico had a DNF at Singapore and Abu Dhabi, also starting twice from the back

          1. You’ve overlooked one of Rosberg’s (see the link). And it’s obviously disingenuous to discount Abu Dhabi on the technicality that he was classified when his race had clearly been ruined by an ERS fault.

        2. Actually he finished at Adu Dhabi its Silverstone he had a DNF

      2. Abu Double helped correct for Hamilton’s extra point loss due to technical difficulties . In the end it was pretty even.

    2. @dbradock In as much that Webber was always incorrectly said to have much worse reliability than Vettel, and now the same is being applied to Rosberg and Hamilton?

      1. @keithcollantine It always amazes me (that even as a Webber fan) I have to point that out when people bring it up but that very article always works. I got it straight in my favorites.

        1. It’s not so simple though. You can’t just count technical issues and say that there were the same number.

          For instance both would have DRS issues, but Webber’s were much more severe and prolonged than Vettel’s.

          1. Probably because you don’t use DRS much when you’re already in 1st.

          2. Well then, there is also the fact that Vettel lost more lead due to technical issues than any other champion on the grid. Someone should calculate just how many points all that adds up to. Can Webber match that I wonder. Maybe more maybe less.

          3. @david-a, I meant KERS not DRS.

    3. A stat than will shock you, VET had more unenforced mechanical failures than MW over there 2009 – 2013 campaigns, which made the 2010 and 2012 WDC much closer than they actually were. (mainly engine blow ups and Gearbox seizures)

      Some mechanical failures are caused by driving errors/style, you can often break stuff. Example is RIC, last year he had no PU related issue the entire year, but two wing breaks and a suspension in Malaysia (1) and Brazil (2) caused by aggressive riding of the kerbs. I would guess his suspension failure yesterday was also due to that

      1. Riding the curbs hard can also damage the gearbox and engine though.

    4. Except that last year Hamilton had more issues, and this year he also had a DNF-causing issue at Singapore, as well as a huge strategy error at Monaco. Doesn’t add up at all.

      1. Except that last year Hamilton had more issues

        Are you sure?

        1. Darn; forgot to state that they had about the same number of issues

        2. Well he did all through the season. Rosberg lost the bulk of his points in the last race where scores were doubled and he had lost the championship already anyway. So people overlook that and technically I’d say they are correct.

          Without Hamilton’s technical difficulties he would have clinched the title before Abu Double.

  7. Not nice to wish something like this and also think he deserve to win the champ this year without many doubts… but I wish it was HAM the one to retire, simply to keep the suspense ’til the end of the season. Knowing the champ when there’re 4 GPs left it’s not that good for the sake of the show. Mathematically it’s still possible to win the champ for VET and ROS, but something really bad must happen to HAM in order to lose all that advantage. So, math operations aside, we know already the name of the 2015 champ.

    1. Did anyone believe Rosberg stood a chance of winning the championship, even a couple of weeks ago? Most people thought Hamilton was a shoe-in unless he had a streak of freak failures. Rosberg just hasn’t produced enough competitive race performances to give anyone the belief that he’s capable of overturning the deficit. If it was Alonso or Vettel in the Merc alongside Lewis then I think we would have a lot more excitement.

      Personally I’d like to see Lewis finish it as soon as possible just to put Rosberg out of his misery. The excitement this year is further down the grid anyway.

  8. I wonder why Red Bull didn’t call Kvyat to the pits first during the safety car. Perhaps that’s what happened: it looked like Ricciardo was held up a bit by Kvyat before the safety car, but Red Bull didn’t want to give a blatant team order to move over at Kvyat’s home track. And when the opportunity came, they made the call for the second car, not the first one, deciding on the outcome in the pits.

    1. They split the strategy….

      1. Yeah, and it amazes me Ferrari did not do the same as both cars were driving behind each other anyway. It seemed to me like they could have made it work with Kimi. Or at least force Hamilton to push his car a little harder to catch Kimi to secure the win which might result in Vettel being closer.

  9. Possibly one of the worst events I have seen so far since 1994, regardless of the race. We had the Diesel leakage which resulted in drivers on a track which was dangerous at best. Sainz undercutting the barrier. We had a GP3 race run in (near) dark due to the Diesel leakage. Which for some reason was OK’d by the FIA to go ahead, even though Bianchi’s crash had happened in similar conditions with the Diesel on the track only making things worse. We had the huge crash of Grosjean caused by the excessive marbles that these tires are producing but I doubt that will even be looked into. And let us not forget the bit of news that Kvyat’s TR had an illegal fuel flow ‘issue’ last year in order to promote the grand prix.

    All in all the whole weekend had an atmosphere of forced pressure on it. It HAD to go ahead at times even though the conditions were often sub-par and downright dangerous. The GDA is a joke right now and the FIA is laughing all the way to the Russian bank. ‘Thanks for a great event’. Hamilton must have been watching something else this weekend.

    1. @tamburello The race wasn’t bad at all (see the voting) and there never was a really dangerous situation going on where the FIA did not have control.

      We had the Diesel leakage

      That happpens, not much anyone could have done. The cleaning of it however was indeed terrible.

      the excessive marbles that these tires are producing

      Was pretty clear a driver error. He lost grip on the racing line due to the dirty air.

      1. Did you actually see the GP3 race and FP1 with the Diesel and rain? The Diesel thing CAN happen but letting the GP3 FP continue in those conditions, should never be allowed. The FP1 for F1 was dangerous as almost all the drivers went off track which would have made Sainz’ crash even worse. Also, I voted the race a 7, but that does not take away that the weekend as a whole was a shambles and the FIA should have taken control. If you need to be reminded: http://www.crash.net/gp2/news/223949/1/gloomy-end-to-practice-casts-a-shadow-over-gp3.html. I am glad the FIA showed their loyalty to safety there..

    2. @tamburello

      the FIA is laughing all the way to the Russian bank

      FIA? What do you mean FIA?

      Delta Topco? CVC? BE?

      1. I assume all governing parties but BE in particular.

  10. “Rosberg’s misfortune brings Hamilton within touching distance of title.” True, nevertheless it does not detract from the fact that Hamilton still had to win on top of which who’s to say Hamilton would not have won even with Rosberg still in the race. That’s racing!

    1. If Rosberg had taken P2 he would be 18 points closer to Hamilton though. Hamilton wouldn’t not be able to get the WDC by simply winning in Austin then. He needs to end 75 points ahead and that would not happen in Austin unless Hamilton won and Rosberg got less than 5 points.

      As is, Hamilton just needs to win in Austin with Rosberg in P2 and Vettel in P3 and he’d be WDC.

      1. And based on the season so far, that’s the most likely podium

      2. @patrickl Yes but it you average everything out in terms of how many points each driver has lost because of issues then Hamilton would still have quite a commanding lead. It’s not like Rosberg’s misfortunes are the reason he isn’t right in the championship hunt. To be fair apart from physiological perhaps the only effect the DNF’s have had is he can lose the championship sooner. Even if you remove both drivers DNF’s or issues then Rosberg would of still always had to rely on winning every remaining race and Hamilton either scoring less than 12.25 points in all of them or retiring from one one and coming 2nd in 3 of them and 3rd in another.

        ROS –
        Bahrain 3 points (Break issue, not his fault, but then again Hamilton had similar issue but had managed to build enough of a gap that he would survive the issue and reset BBW system, nevertheless we will give Nico this)
        Monza – 18 Points (engine failure)
        Russia – 25 points – (if you assume he would of held Hamilton off for whole race, which for this we will assume so.)
        Total – 46 Points

        Hamilton –
        Monaco – 10 Points (whatever peoples view the team took the responsibility for this one where it was a certain win for Hamilton)
        Singapore – 12 Points(Engine failure)
        Total – 22 Points

        Current Points Difference: 73
        Adjusted Points Difference : 49

        1. @woodyd91, Sorry, I didn’t mean to say Hamilton wouldn’t be miles ahead of Rosberg if neither had without technical/strategic mishaps. Surprised the gap is still so big though even though you are being rather generous to Rosberg :)

          Just trying to point out that Rosberg’s DNF instead of finishing in P2 does mean that now Hamilton can clinch the title in Austin even with a normal and indeed over this season the most likely, race outcome.

          1. @patrickl Oh no wasn’t saying you were was just more of a general point to highlight how things would stand without the DNF’s etc as I’ve saw a few comments online since Russia claiming some crazy thing in terms of points differences.

  11. Where does Rosberg go from here?

    Last season left some lingering doubts but this season has eliminated them. Rosberg is undoubtedly a decent driver but slower than a very good team mate.

    There are two difference in 2015 over 2014. 1) it is more visible. 2) his awareness of it and his undeniable acceptance of it is more visible. That is exacerbated by mechanical failures.

    The consequences of the latter are probably very difficult for a driver to accept. You either pocket the money, stay where you are and accept it, or you make the only change you can. You can’t upskill enough so you change your environment – get a better car. Unfortunately for Rosberg there isn’t likely to be a better car around until 2017 at the earliest, and the chances of him getting in it are remote.

    Tough position to be in. Too many factors outside of his control. Not everyone can be a WDC but Rosberg now looks destined to join the much larger group of also-rans.

  12. @gregkingston Disagree. Nico is no slouch. He’s just up against a top driver at one with his car. They didn’t hire LH thinking he wasn’t a great driver capable of winning them a WDC. So where does Nico go? He’s going to put his nose to the grindstone for the rest of the season to keep showing himself and the world that he is no slouch. Then he’s going to work in the off-season to improve. Then he’s got another glorious opportunity next year in what may once again be the best car, to answer to LH.

    Most didn’t bet on NR for the WDC immediately upon the announcement of LH going to Merc. After last year’s WDC win, who bet on NR for the WDC this year? Anybody? So I don’t think there are any real surprises here. Nico is a valued member of the team up against someone Lauda claims is “driving like a God”, not that I agree with that as I don’t think these cars lend themselves to god-like driving.

    And that to me is part of the problem. Even in the best car NR is a shade off LH, no real shame in that, and kudos to LH, and with the nature of these tires and the dirty air effect on the fronts handcuffing a driver in tow, as LH himself experienced a few times this year, if you’re not it front or at least in clean air you’re practically toast. So I think NR is closer to LH than it appears, but somewhat handcuffed to do much about it. Not taking anything away from LH here, but I think NR would be taking more of the fight to LH if the technical regs would allow more of that. They’re just too close on pace…way closer than MW was to Seb.

    1. Have there been races @robbie where we think Nico would have been faster if he could have run closer and got past? I can’t help thinking if the formula rewarded aggressive driving more it would only increase Lewis’ advantage. On paper this is about the worst set of regs there could be for Hamilton.

      Anyway for me as you kinda say Rosberg has to settle for being who he is. He’s in the same position as Berger, Patrese, Irvine, guys like that, even though he’s pretty quick. For me he’ll be happiest if he stops talking about beating Lewis and how he’s going to try to and really hates losing – yes I know it’s the journos who ask him all the time – and just is there when things go wrong for his teammate.

      He doesn’t need any more dubious incidents like Sepang qualy and then the abrupt slowing yesterday that nearly had Lewis knock his front wing off. Can you imagine the fallout if that had actually happened? Gracious No2’s still gain plenty of respect. He’s unlucky to be in an era of FA/SV/LH, with Max prowling in the wings, but there it is.

      Not that he should give up, of course. This household had a little smile at how he took care not to let Lewis stitch him up coming to the grid this time. But he has to know where the line is, and I’m not sure he does, instinctively. It’s like he lurches from too far inside to too far outside.

      1. @lockup I’ve tried not to imply NR has to settle for who he is, so I don’t know where you’ve seen that I ‘kinda’ said that. I think it is easy for some in their armchairs to use words like ‘settle’ etc but I highly doubt NR is doing that. I don’t know what else he can say right now, whether asked by journos or not, since LH is his main rival, with SV there now too, but to insinuate he’s just going to keep trying. He’d be dishonouring himself and the team to just settle. Thank goodness for them he hates losing. Berger and Patrese I’m sure never did settle, whereas Irvine likely did due to his situation as MS’s teammate, but that’s more a case of one’s hand being forced by contract. I think next season will be a new chapter for NR, as it always is for all drivers, and whether or not he actually has the instinct, or enough instinct, he’ll unquestionably have another year’s experience, as will they all, so I look forward to seeing what NR can do for the remaining races, not just having come off a pole and leading LH while healthy, but for next season too. Maybe he’ll ‘never’ this and that, but I prefer he have the chance to show it rather than make assumptions. We shouldn’t just hand LH the 2016 trophy, I’m sure you’d agree. He will also have to go out there and earn it rather than we just assume he is 2016 WDC because he just won it in 14 and 15.

        1. I’ve tried not to imply NR has to settle for who he is, so I don’t know where you’ve seen that I ‘kinda’ said that.

          Okay sorry @robbie I misinterpreted what you said. Next season I’m hoping to get a Lewis vs Seb fest, I don’t see Rosberg changing things, personally. We’ve seen ‘next year’ resolutions over the years, like DC’s, and they never work.

          I see people (not saying you) urging Nico to be more aggressive and it just invites trouble IMO, just as Ferrari urging Kimi to ‘divebomb or bust’ was asking for trouble, because Kimi is a clean racer by nature and only instinct is fast enough in those situations.

          So I’d much, much rather Nico didn’t try too hard to win, but finished his career with a reputation like Berger’s or Patrese’s or Coulthard’s, which would be a fine thing afaic.

          1. @lockup Fair comment.

    2. @robbie you’re agreeing with me. Where does Nico go from here, is the question I asked. He can either be a WDC or he cannot. This season proves he cannot win in a competition with Lewis Hamilton in the same car, as do the previous seasons. So, does he:

      1 – accept that and accept that that is his standard, his level. I didn’t say he was a slouch, I just said that he’s not as quick as Hamilton; or
      2 – find another car that’s as faster or faster with a team mate slower than him and push for a WDC

      Putting his nose to the grindstone, as you put it, is option one. He stays, tries harder, and most likely as already proven over the past couple of seasons will accumulate fewer points than Hamilton.

      Equally I didn’t say that there was any shame in it, although I’m sure Rosberg probably feels differently. That’s just the way it is. The question is, what if anything is he going to do about it? It doesn’t look like he can make himself faster than Hamilton.

      1. @gregkingston No I don’t think your two options are his only one’s, is what I was trying to say. You and others (likely most) say this is proof yet again that NR cannot beat LH, but it should be about what is in NR’s mindset and I’m sure ‘can’t’ and ‘will never’ are not part of his current vocabulary. ‘Accepting’ defeat I’m sure is not either. Nor is finding another car a solution right now either, as he is with Mercedes right now. Nor do I believe NR is feeling shame as you suggest. He just finished getting pole and leading LH until his technical issue. He should take nothing from that?

        I think athletes in all sports are well trained to deal with the fact that sometimes even their best effort, having just played their best game, still doesn’t bring a win. This is why the don’t get too high on the highs nor too low on the lows. Game is over, put it behind you as there’s nothing you can do about the past, keep digging, and hold your head high that you made gains and will do more with each day. Right now that is NR’s only option. If he were to take your opinion to heart he might as well just leave F1 such would be his lack of self-belief, and I just don’t think that is what he and most F1 drivers are made of.

        So I just think NR deserves to see his career out, including the rest of his Mercedes tenure. It’s easy for armchair blokes to say accept, never, can’t, change teams, etc etc. I think NR is made of bigger stuff than that.

        1. I didn’t say he didn’t deserve to see his career out @robbie – in fact that’s probably precisely what he’s going to do. He’s failed to beat Hamilton 9 times out of 10 on the track when they compete for position, and if he still believes he can then he’s probably in denial. There’s no need for a drama queen departure from F1, but if he wants a WDC then he isn’t going to get it whilst he’s racing Hamilton. There’s no doubt about that now.

          1. I do not think his in denial as much as people think. He actually has a decent chance of winning against Hamilton even if he lost so many times.
            People says his Patrese or Irvine or Webber or Massa etc but unlike those guys Rosberg is seriously closer in terms of speed and he is always there behind Hamilton. Rosberg is the kind that could make lot of others look like number 2 because he has some serious speed. Hamilton is really strong and fast and that is why he hasn’t managed to win over him until now but as we saw last year he can still get some qualifying etc.
            So if he manages to just get more pole positions from him next year and a few better starts then he could actually manage to win the championship just by keeping Hamilton behind. And seeing as Merc have the priority and same strategist thing going too then is not that hard to keep one behind.

  13. Seriously, this ‘what if’ over Rosberg is a non-issue. He has seldom turned up fighting this season and has been trounced in qualifying and races most of the time. He lost the championship long, long ago. A ‘late surge’ may salvage some dignity, but it should also be viewed with some caution given that Hamilton’s objective now is to score just enough points to seal the championship, he doesn’t need to push to win every race.

  14. Lewis is simply a better driver than Nico. And since he beat both Alonso and Button in the same car, he’s arguably the best driver on the grid.
    It’s not for nothing that he’s the only driver on the grid to have won a race every season he’s been in F1, good car or bad.

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