Rosberg takes pole as engine problem halts Hamilton

2016 Russian Grand Prix qualifying

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With the two Mercedes drivers exchanging record-breaking lap times, the scene was set for a dramatic conclusion to qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix.

However another power unit problem for Lewis Hamilton prevented him from taking part in the final phase of qualifying – and guaranteed another pole position for Nico Rosberg.


Russian GP grid: Retro animation
The Mercedes pair picked up where they left off from final practice as qualifying began, swapping fastest times with each lap on the super-soft tyres. Hamilton seized the early initiative, lowering the track record to a 1’36.006, leaving him a tenth of a second ahead of Rosberg.

However he also fell foul of the stewards. During the sessions it emerged he was being investigated for failing to respect the new rules regarding the run-off area at turn two.

Sebastian Vettel got closest to the pair of them but was still around half a second off in the Ferrari, followed by team mate Kimi Raikkonen.

Both Haas drivers claimed places in Q2, Romain Grosjean pulling out a quick run with his final effort to move out of the drop zone. That put pressure on Felipe Nasr, and the Sauber driver missed the cut after running wide at the final corner. However, in a reversal of their recent fortunes, he was half a second faster than his team mate who lined up last behind the two Manors.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

17Kevin MagnussenRenault1’38.914
18Jolyon PalmerRenault1’39.009
19Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’39.018
20Pascal WehrleinManor-Mercedes1’39.399
21Rio HaryantoManor-Mercedes1’39.463
22Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’39.519


Rosberg produced a stunning lap in the second phase of qualifying, leaving Hamilton almost half a second behind and moving the benchmark time to a 1’35.337 – 1.7s faster than his pole position time set just six months ago.

The two McLaren drivers lapped within the top ten times early in Q2 but with Ferrari and Williams leaving their runs until last it always seemed likely the MP4-31s would struggle to hold onto their top ten positions. And so it proved: Button slipped to 12th and Alonso 14th.

The only home driver on the grid was the last one to claim a place in the top ten. Daniil Kvyat pipped Carlos Sainz Jnr with his last run to claim a spot in Q3. Team mate Daniel Ricciardo accompanied him despite having to cope with a broke wing mirror flapping around as he set his final time.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Ferrari1’37.652
12Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’37.701
13Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’37.771
14Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’37.807
15Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’38.055
16Esteban GutierrezHaas-Ferrari1’38.115


As Q3 began it quickly transpired Hamilton would not be taking part. With no pressure on him, Rosberg duly took pole position despite locking up at turn 13 and spoiling his final run.

With Vettel already facing a penalty for a gearbox change the contest to join Rosberg on the front row was between Kimi Raikkonen and the Williams drivers.

Valtteri Bottas took third place from Raikkonen initially, and held on to the position as the Ferrari driver had a scruffy end to his final lap. Vettel and Bottas both out-qualified their team mates by half a second.

Sergio Perez split the two Red Bull drivers and will line up sixth on the grid after Vettel’s penalty. Max Verstappen was last of those to set a time, with just a disappointed Hamilton behind him on the Q3 times sheet.

Top ten in Q3

1Nico RosbergMercedes1’35.417
2Sebastian VettelFerrari1’36.123
3Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’36.536
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’36.663
5Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’37.016
6Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’37.125
7Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’37.212
8Daniil KvyatRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’37.459
9Max VerstappenToro Rosso-Ferrari1’37.583
10Lewis HamiltonMercedes

2016 Russian Grand Prix

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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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147 comments on “Rosberg takes pole as engine problem halts Hamilton”

  1. All that mileage in testing and nothing. Here after 3 races – 2 failures and to the same driver.
    I hate conspiracy theories but what’s going on here? Bernie is finally getting his mixed up grids.

    1. You mean there is pressure on Merc and Ferrari to demote their best drivers ??

      1. No, what @ivan-vinitskyy is getting at is that when Bernie makes a whole load of noise about shuffling the grid and having the fastest driver start further back than where he qualified… its amazing how often what Bernie wants… Bernie gets !!

    2. I said it weeks ago after noticing the pattern that was developing. the powers that be are using Lewis Hamilton as a guinea pig to spice up the races according to Mr Eclestone’s wishes. Even a blind person can see what is happening. The sad part is that they are handing a championship to a less than deserving driver in that process.

      1. @pking008 You’re not serious are you?

        1. (@xtwl I’m dead serious

          1. ColdFly F1 (@)
            30th April 2016, 17:40

            And you’re probably still wondering why that flag on the moon was moving! @pking008

          2. @coldfly hahahaha! brilliant! *takes a bow*

          3. *applauds @coldfly

          4. hahaha, great :D @coldfly

      2. “The powers that be are using Lewis Hamilton as a guinea pig to spice up the races” – How exactly? We’ve experienced a driver having terrible luck for no reason before – we’ve all had a crisis of some kind or another in life. It fixes itself after a while.

        “The sad part is they are handing the championship to a less than deserving driver” – hmmmm. Let’s just say I strongly disagree with this statement

        @xtwl – I very much much hope he’s not serious

        1. @jojobudgie Over the last 3 and a half years, I really i’m struggling to remember how many times Rosberg has beaten Lewis in a straight fair fight. If Rosberg wins the championship without challenge from Lewis (4 races in and no challenge yet), then he would be less than worthy a champion for me. Does that make sense to you or still don’t?

          1. @pking008 Haha getting our tinfoil hats on, aren’t we?

          2. I’m sorry, but in Australia Nico beat Lewis fair and square. Sure he has been getting lucky, but so far this year the only mercedes driver yet to beat his teammate is Lewis.

          3. But… That’s wrong.

            Lewis has undoubtedly had terrible luck. But the idea that he’s being sabotaged is, plainly ridiculous. I’m sick of hearing it. Just, stop. It’s stupid.

      3. Are you new to F1?

      4. Oh. My. God. Are we already invoking tinfoil-hat conspiracy? 4th race of the year? 4th comment into the discussion? I just read over some of the other comments further below, and I can only shake my head. When I sit back and think about what the human brain is biologically capable of, ie the drama of Shakespeare, the music of Bach, the scientific genius of Einstein, Bose, Feynman, or indeed the nanosecond sporting coordination necessary to, say, drive an F1 car with 25+ steering controls at the limit of rubber adhesion at 200+ mph, my mind is frankly boggled. But then, on the other hand, we still have the tendency of some brains to go so quickly to paranoid conspiracy at even this high state of evolution. (I guess those neurons not being used at the limit of performance have to be put to some other use!) Have we already forgotten the beginning of Lewis’ 2014 campaign, when Nico took a 29 point lead as Lewis encountered repeated mechanical and other problems, that convinced so many that Mercedes preferred a German driver to win the championship? How did that work out??

        I propose an F1 corollary to Godwin’s Law, (“as an online discussion gets longer, the probability of a comparison to Hitler or the Nazis increases”). (Bernie makes it too easy for Godwin with regard to F1, so we need a new one!)

        The corollary would go something like this (and I welcome editing/improvement):

        “As an F1 driver’s pursuit of a championship becomes hampered by mechanical, strategic, or tactical problems, the probability that an online discussion by his fans will invoke planned collusion by the leaders of his team, his sponsors, or F1 increases.”

        1. @slowhands:

          The corollary would go something like this (and I welcome editing/improvement):

          “As an F1 driver’s pursuit of a championship becomes hampered by mechanical, strategic, or tactical problems, the probability that an online discussion by his fans will invoke planned collusion by the leaders of his team, his sponsors, or F1 increases.”

          Yes, but I’m afraid for this to be correct “an F1 driver” needs to be replaced with “Hamilton”.

    3. The fact is clutch changes have shuffled the results, exactly as was intended. Only a few people know if specific details, like the design of Mercs clutches, led to the rules changes. Or if Bernie & Co. just got lucky. Or if they finally tried something that kinda worked.

      It seems extremely unlikely anyone could have predicted Hamilton would struggle more with the clutch. But they wanted different results than Hamilton/Merc dominating.

      I’ve read the same thing happened to Schumacher/Ferrari. Maybe Vettel/Red Bull Bull. Jeff Gordon to, with the NASCAR Chase.

      To be a 4 time champion Hamimton will have to overcome not only Mercedes reliability problems, but also rule changes deliberately made to “Shuffle the grid”. Success makes you the target. It’s just racing.

      1. Wise words.

    4. @ivan-vinitskyy Remember Rosberg’s 2014 and 2015 strange mechanical glitches? For 2016 Mercedes swapped the #1 mechanics and also made other changes to the crew.

  2. Hamilton looking downcast said the problem he encountered was the same as the last.
    Question is why does it keep occurring? And to a second engine? Obviously Nico is favorite for the championship but could there at least be a fair fight for it? One more thing. I have always seen no need for the garage personnel swap that Toto did before the championship began. If the team was working well then why swap people?

    Looking at what is happening, I guess Lewis’s problems will soon come to an end and then he will fight for the championship only for Nico to win in the end (having built up an unchallenged cushion of points) and by then we all would have forgotten how the championship began with Lewis at a massive disadvantage.

    Nico is a great driver, no doubt about that but handing the championship over to him on a platter is not genuine.

    1. It’seems racing things happen. This is race 4 of 21 and in the end the best package will win and luck evens out. Luck will not win a title over 21 races. Tomorrow Rosbergs car may break. Have to say the Mercedes engine all of them highest top speeds, Williams from knowwhere this year to right up there. Ferrari seem to at least be forcing Mercs hand but no performance gained but at least it pushes their reliability. It will be next year when engines start to really converge with no tokens so others can redesign unrestricted but even then maybe 2018 before there will be nothing in it on the engines.

      1. ‘Luck will not win a title over 21 races.’

        I totally agree with you.

        The problem here is that it is not luck!

        1. Tell that to Kimi in 2005

      2. – This is race 4 of 21..

        Yeah but little drops of water as they say.. Hopefully you’ve been watching F1 for years to know the difference, come the end of the season, 1 point makes. Regarding the shocking Mercdes unreliability, it is indeed strange that of the 8 or so Mercedes engines bolted unto 8 different cars on the grid, only Hamiltons’ have failed twice (in two different engines) in as many races.

    2. Enough with the crazy conspiracy theories! It’s ridiculous to think the team is undermining their most popular driver, let alone these are professionals. Nobody is “handing the championship on a plate” to Nico…if you look at the last three years alone each driver has had their fair share of mechanical problems, which over time will average out to being the same.

      1. – if you look at the last three years alone each driver has had their fair share of mechanical problems, which over time will average out to being the same.

        What “conspiracy theories”? Of all the Merc engines on track, his keeps failing, consecutively occurring to two different PUs. Maybe there is a mechanic who isn’t good enough? Again, what’s the purpose of disturbing a balance that worked by swapping personnel? I quite admire Toto’s performance so far and work ethics but I think the decision to swap personnel is a failure. It was not warranted as they had a perfectly working scenario, unless he felt, having looked at all evidence, there was an employee from Lewis’s side who may be of greater help to Nico hence the switch at the beginning of the season. I don’t think it is proper to disrupt a successful team that has coalesced around one person on a whimsical excuse of improving team spirit. I mean they were already winning the championships having cleared the entire table for 2 years running so what extra team spirit was left there to lift?
        No “conspiracy theories” here as you choose to call it, just a matter of pointing out obvious questions which I find intriguing.
        In the beginning of the championship, I said here my money is on Nico to win this one, basing my judgement on the historical similarities both Lewis and Nico have had all through their career. I remember saying 2-1 is more representative of that than 3-0. But I had hoped for there to be a fight off the line for that trophy, for Nico to prove himself against an unencumbered peer. I guess I failed to realise there could be some who want Nico’s championship win so badly.
        Nico to his credit is performing well on his own but how can one give due credit if the only other person to challenge him is handicapped off the line.
        Your point about averaging of misfortune is pointless in that you are no fortune teller, unless you are:)

  3. Reliability issues for the same driver at Mercedes has become a joke. What was the point of all that mileage in testing if such small issues keep harming their best driver? Mercedes need to sort this out pronto and ensure Lewis Hamilton is able to the best he can to haul back the points lead Rosberg has built up.

    1. If he is indeed the best driver, surely he doesn’t have to start from the front of the grid to win. The mercs are almost a second a lap faster than their nearest competitor. So, hamilton should easily be able to win tomorrow’s grand prix. Unless ofcourse, if Rosberg is faster.

      1. I take it you don’t watch F1?

      2. That’s some weird logic. Being the best doesn’t mean somebody can recover from any set-back and beat anybody.

        1. Look at the qual times. Aside from the Ferrari’s, the Mercs are 1.7 seconds ahead of the entire pack. In race trim there’s still a full second gap PER LAP.
          And LH can’t work his way up through the field?
          Only the blind Hammi-fans can’t see how lop-sided this sport has become. 2017 can’t come soon enough.

          1. Formula 1 one has always been “lop-sided” for majority of her history hence Ferrari, Mclaren, Williams and a few other teams are historically the most successful. “Only the blind Hammi-fans” are rationally seeing the sport as it has always been.
            As for your take on Ham not being good enough if he does not win from behind since “Mercs are 1.7 seconds ahead of the entire pack”??, power and speed is not everything. At least not in every circuit. Now, could he work his way to up to second? That is an absolutely possible but very difficult task as this is not 2014 when the new formula cam into play and Mercedes had a massive advantage. A lot of teams have since improved their PUs, chassis and race pace.

          2. “And LH can’t work his way up through the field?”

            I never said that. I quite obviously meant that the time necessary to work his way through the field would likely leave him with a gap to Rosberg that would be unrealistic to close.

            Putting words in my mouth to fit your own agenda and closing with a “blind Hammi-fans” remark in response to my comment doesn’t make your opinion look particularly balanced.

      3. @rojov123, being a second a lap faster in clear air is a lot different to being faster in the pack.

        1. @hohum – Last year it was ‘Rosberg can’t overtake like Hamilton can, that’s why he gets stuck behind other cars even in a Mercedes,’ etc etc everytime someone said what you have in defense of Rosberg rather than Hamilton. HAM fans can’t have it both ways, you reap what you sow. :-P

  4. Fully expect the tin foil hat conspiracy theorists to milk this one, despite the fact that Rosberg had just as much bad luck as Hamilton from 2013-2015 and probably a bit more.

    1. @kingshark They’re fun to read but oh so sad to think someone actually also believes it.

      1. Sad and pathetic

        1. Trenthamfolk (@)
          1st May 2016, 17:31

          @johanness Jeyzus, I agree with you on this… and I was just about to start watching chess… for the thrills, totes obvs…

    2. see abvove @kingshark.

      I think its a sign that Mercedes really believe that Ferrari is breathing down their necks and that they cannot leave as large a margin as they were able to have in hand most of last year.

  5. Unreliability is unreliability, I cannot stand these “conspiracy” theories. Tomorrow is what counts but, considering his latests starts, Hamilton could have yet more issues this weekend.
    This is exciting in a sense because it will push LH further but this Championship is starting to look Nicos to throw.

    1. By the end of the season, Rosberg will have undoubtedly had just as much bad luck. Possibly not the starts, but a DNF or two in summer or early Fall wouldn’t surprise me.

  6. Sviatoslav (@)
    30th April 2016, 14:24

    This is a terrible qualifying. I was expecting some fight between the Mercedes guys. Then, I wanted to see some fight tomorrow, when Ham+Ros are close on the start. Now, this is a failure, another gifted win for Rosberg. No real fight, because Kimi is sooooo slow, and Vettel/Hamilton are far behind.
    McLaren are dreadful, Honda is the biggest fail in the latest F1 years. I have a feeling that after the next year’s fail with a “completely new redesigned engine”, Honda will leave F1 before 2018. No need to be in F1 for years without a real possibility to fight for anything.
    I am hugely disappointed with Ferrari, too. They just cannot deliver. 0.7 sec from the pole-sitter after a “great update”, this is another big fail.

    1. Unrestricted Ferrari could redesign everything in time for the early races but could not due to token rules. It’s taken a while but at least no tokens for next year, remember 2014 where even if you knew what to change on the engine you could do nothing until 2015. Merc have done well but their advantage has been ring fenced. No need to artificially even engines out just let every manufacturer have a fair chance to do their best.

  7. This is Rosberg 2016: very, very fast (that Q2 lap was mindblowing) and having all the luck. We can say what we want about the lack of fight at Mercedes but Rosberg isn’t putting a foot wrong, he’s doing the right things. Good for him.

    Hopefully Hamilton gets it all together during the season and starts taking points off Nico so we have a good fight until the end.

    1. Hamilton spends little time with his engineers and mechanics especially after winning his third WDC…while Roseburg goes to great lengths to understand what the mechanics are doing to the car all the time…this could be the difference in approach that will make or break Hamilton this year. anyway am just guessing….

      1. And you know this how? How long have you been working with MercedesAMGF1 to know who does what?
        Like you said, it is all guess work.

      2. Is this the same rosberg who got Mercedes to switch his mechanics with lewis at the end of last season? Yeah he treated em great

        1. Is this true or just something you made up?

  8. It happens sometimes. In 2013 Rosberg suffered two race-ending failures in the first three races, while Hamilton had no problems whatsoever.

    1. @michal2009b Indeed, plus team orders hampered Rosberg in the other race. But less conspiracy theories were flying around from the likes of @xsavior of course.

      1. Ross Brawn ordered Nico to hold position because of the strategy THEY put Lewis on which effectively ran him low on fuel.

        As for the conspiratard stuff, good luck proving that one. The only thing I am guilty of is pointing out the “interests” floating around in the sport, which is more than enough a “lead” to cause people to question what is REALly going on. Not this dishonest show Mercedes are making with a guy who keeps saying Ferrari are catching up. Honestly, Ferrari are catching up. When people lie, it is telling of people’s interests and motivations. Understanding those lies and deceptions, alongside some critical thinking and addressing people’s interests are a pretty neat way to figure out what people are hiding.

        1. As for the conspiratard stuff, good luck proving that one.

          You posted a wall of text in order to defend @stubbornswiss notion that “MB desperately want a German driver to win the WDC in a German car with a German team.”. Claiming that “it’s in their interest” to see “Lewis fall by the wayside”. Because “Lewis will never be allowed to dominate F1 like his teammate or Vettel”. All while “F1 is a joke, on people who can’t see the writing on the wall.” (unlike you, apparently). So forgive me, @xsavior , for my assertion that you believe Mercedes are doing something to Hamilton deliberately.

          1. the great wall :)

            it’s not in the interest of Mercedes to see Lewis win. It’s in the interest of Mercedes to promote their brand and improve the spectacle. A Lewis Hamilton come back is much more entertaining than Lewis Hamilton dominating his teammate and winning another championship. That is a fact.

            Now, if we ignore all the lies that Nico and Toto have been spewing, one could say, Merc have a serious quality (production/maintenance) issue. Yeah, that is probably the right answer, but effectively Merc are ruining Lewis Hamilton’s championship hopes, in what is clearly an improbable display of unreliability.

            Don’t hate me for dropping the bate, because guess what, the reality is, F1 is a giant marketing exercise, and it’s full of holes, rhetorically speaking. People should question the motives of Mercedes, they have no competition, and the rules are keeping it that way, even for 2017.

          2. @xsavior It is only a fact in your mind that Merc would prefer an LH comeback to an LH domination. Who is to say their preference is not that both drivers exchange wins while shutting out the competition, thus getting in their marketing impact, while seeing the Championship go to the last race.

            The reality is you are inventing your own story line based on pure speculation, while claiming it is fact. A claim you do not have all the facts to make.

            We’ve only had 3 races so far, and tomorrow NR could dnf and LH could win for all we know. You seem way over anxious to create a conspiracy. Why?

          3. lolz. Is that the best rebuttal you can muster?

            anyone who thinks domination is better than a proper show, is kidding themself. You really think Vettel’s domination in a RB was good for ratings? Why do you think Pirelli kept bringing softer and softer tires? Why do you think Vettel won 9 in a row when they went back to the ‘better’ tires.

            You must think I am really obtuse if you think the TV producers and the rights holders, and the peeps wanting more eyes on the prize want to see something predictable. Really dense man. Really. Boggles the mind.

            The reality is we all speculate, I just happen to apply reason and use a little evidence when I put forward a proposition/claim.

            BTW, I am absolutely certain Lewis luck will change, and I am not saying Merc won’t allow him to come back, what I am saying is Merc have no competition, Merc are unchallenged, and in that circumstance, ANYTHING goes, there are NO CHECKS AND BALANCES keeping Merc from doing what ever they want, because it will not hurt them in the slightest. That is what competition is for, it keeps people honest, something Toto and Nico have a real problem doing when they get in front of the camera.

          4. I reject your obtuse attitude on this. Domination has always occurred in F1 and has always been curtailed after a sense that change is in order. We’ve all seen that time and time again. But I reject your notion that Merc is doing this to themselves. What is your ‘evidence’ again? You’ve decided a story line for yourself that suggests internal sabotage for the sake of an LH comeback? And TW and NR (might as well add LH and the rest of the team) are liars for their approach of not taking Ferrari for granted, and of showing them respect by publicly deeming them a threat? Which they may yet be, so early is the season. So unreliable is one Merc right now. You think the correct, sporting, and professional thing to do is for them to publicly say they are dominant and Ferrari and everyone else has no chance?

            Sorry but I think your approach on this is wrong, and cynical, and you can do better than paint this kind of picture for yourself and try to convince others based on your ‘evidence.’ Or…you’ve already gone past that and will be seeking out pking008 for the tinfoil hat fitting. With your take on F1, I don’t know why you watch. In your mind you’ve lowered the winning team to unsporting, immoral, race fixers…NR merely a no-talent pawn then?…which then makes a mockery of the rest of the field, so what are you watching for? Perhaps stop.

  9. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Go write this in stone…..

    MB desperately want a German driver to win the WDC in a German car with a German team.

    Say what you want. The writing is on the wall.

    1. Rubbish. They do everything to maximise performance they do not spend hundreds of millions a year to hold back a driver that maybe their fastest.

      1. Like I said……. say what you want.

      2. out of all the deflections that people put out there, this is my favourite one.

        Merc spend millions of dollars a year for people to see their brand excelling, and they have that with the rules and they have more ‘fan interest’ with Hamilton having to fight his way through the field. It’s more sense than letting someone dominate F1 like Vettel.

        Merc achieve two aims when Lewis has to struggle. Nico gets to look equal-pretty, the brand is secure (performance is unquestioned & People like to see Lewis struggle, fight his way through the field.

        F1 is a joke, on people who can’t see the writing on the wall. Lewis will never be allowed to dominate F1 like his teammate or Vettel (for obvious reasons), and Mercedes are not throwing money away by letting Lewis fall by the wayside, it’s actually in their interest, because nobody is around to keep Merc honest or compete with them.

        1. “the brand is secure (performance is unquestioned…)”

          Since when does poor reliability help a brand’s image?

          1. ColdFly F1 (@)
            30th April 2016, 17:45

            In tinfoilhatland!

          2. lolz. To take a line from Toto, they are “pushing” to stay in front of Ferrari. Of course they will have issues, and Nico, he will do what hes told, and wear a nice smug smile :)

            How long do you think Nico will keep repeating the line Ferrari have a chance, if he keeps pulling away from them big style during the race?

    2. On which wall, if I may ask? @stubbornswiss

    3. @stubbornswiss: If they wanted a German WDC, they simply could have hired a second german driver or giving Schumacher a contract expansion. The advertising effect of a potential WDC fight by Schumacher in his FOURTIES would have been amazing. And a lot cheaper than hiring Hamilton for 30+ million per year.

      1. @xenomorph91
        BTW they did offer Schumacher a contract extension, it was Michael’s decision to retire at the end of the year

    4. Prove it.

    5. “Martha! Where is my tin foil hat!??”

    6. Alex McFarlane
      30th April 2016, 19:48

      So how did Mercedes orchestrate two consecutive first corner incidents to affect Lewis?

      Lewis has had rotten, rotten luck which fans are right to curse, but that’s all it is at this point.

      Even if Merc were favouring Nico at this point, he is the one at the top of the standings with what is currently the best shot at winning the title. They’re not going to undermine Nico just to let Lewis catch up as that would be no less dubious, morally speaking.

      1. Duncan Idaho (@)
        30th April 2016, 22:56

        I don’t clutch onto the conspiracy theories but putting him in traffic at turn 1 would be the easiest to engineer.

    7. @stubbornswiss MB doesn’t seem to me to be desperate about anything let alone for a German driver to win. They seem to be doing just fine having had LH win the last two WDC’s. We will continue to say what we want, and the majority will not buy your conspiracy theory.

  10. I think the small collisions Ham has had have damaged the integrity of his car. It runs but is still damaged in some sort of way. I think he should take a full penalty and just get a new car, then he looses just 1 race as opposed to being disadvantaged on all races.
    This is Rosbergs year, no doubt, but I’d rather he fought for it than it just come to him like we are currently seeing. Although I guess , its his way of driving that sees him in front while the more aggressive drivers keep getting into trouble.

  11. Honestly. If Rosberg doesn’t win this championship with the amount of good luck in his court right now I don’t think he ever will. He won’t get such a perfect start again. I don’t even like Hamilton but I feel bad for his misfortune!

    Great to see Bottas on the front row though. I’d love Bottas, Ricciardo and Vettel on the podium but hey, one can dream.

    1. I have not seen Rosberg have much luck so far this season. He is merely just doing everything right, and very consistently so. I find it OK Rosberg is reaping the rewards for that.
      You can however say that some of Rosberg’s typical rivals have had some bad luck so far.

      1. I don’t understand your comment, wouldn’t all rivals having bad luck translate to good luck for yourself. Fairly simple.

        1. Actually not so. Others having bad luck doesn’t mean that you will be lucky. Everybody else having bad luck at the casino does not mean that you will be lucky yourself. Luck for Rosberg would be like he is staying out for a couple of laps more than the others for first tire change and then ‘with no warning’ floodrain comes pouring down, just as Rosberg is 15 seconds before he dives into the pits from the front. So he is the first to come out on full wets while everybody else now will need to go in for a second time. Rosberg has not been lucky so far this year. He has just gone on with his business very seriously and not made any mistakes so far this year. At least not any mistakes of the kind that have cost him any points.

          1. Alex McFarlane
            30th April 2016, 19:21

            The casino analogy is a bad one, the players are competing against the house house as much as other players and the house doesn’t have to guarantee a winner.

  12. @keithcollantine
    That retro animation is epic! :D

    1. @huhhii @keithcollatine: Absolutely. May I ask which song this is? :-)

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        30th April 2016, 17:48

        Ivory Tower by Giorgio Moroder. @xenomorph91

        1. Tommy Scragend
          30th April 2016, 21:05

          It was used by the BBC in their “Grand Prix” highlights programmes.

        2. @coldlfy: Thanks!

    2. FlyingLobster27
      30th April 2016, 20:05

      Why are there so few comments about this?! I laughed when the music started, absolutely brilliant! Is it going to become a regular feature, with different Easter eggs or styles @keithcollantine?

      1. Just this one for now – I’d like to do a nineties-style one next though!

  13. Rosberg’s stunning lap difference to Hamilton in Q2 was surely already an indication of Ham’s engine problem, though, right?

    1. Why are some people even presuming it was stunning? All we know is that it was 4 tenths quicker than what Hamilton did. We don’t know that Hamilton gave it his all on that given lap, or had traffic, or made a little mistake. Hamilton had been a tenth up on Rosberg all weekend

    2. Getting scared?

    3. Nope. The onset of Lewis’s failure was just as abrupt as the one in China. His first attempt was trouble-free, just not very tidy. He went out for a second attempt later that session, and that was when the problem appeared.

      1. Hmm, okay, thanks, I didn’t get to see it.

      2. Went out for a second attempt after safely qualifying for Q3 by a large margin? That is quite a strange thing to do in this era.

        Lewis said it was to check (which sounds equally odd; the effect of the failure is not exactly subtle).

  14. Strangely, I can’t remember people complaining when LH was winning and was clearly favoured by Merc in the last two seasons.

    Thing is, Merc’s position in F1 nowadays is so dominant (I can’t remember that kind of domination by a single team for so long), they can literally choose which one of their drivers should come out on top in a given season, so I wouldn’t be surprised if an absolutely average driver as Rosberg becomes WDC this year.

    1. Absolutely average enough that he just beat Stirling Moss as the driver with most wins without a WC. That’s average.

    2. A) LH was not clearly favoured.

      B) NR is not average.

      1. Thank you Robbie for having a brain. It seems to be a rarity this days.

  15. Hamilton needs to get new chassis and electronic wiring …or else he is doomed …he can not win the championship at this rate. but who knows what will happen on race day…Botas may knockout Roseburg on the first corner

    1. don’t forget who manages Bottas :)

      1. Exactly. A certain Herr Toto

      2. Ehm, right. So Mercedes would want to bolster the chances of the guy who is out of a contract by the end of a year by making him champion while trying to hold back the driver that just won a second championship and is signed for 2 more years by the team.

        And all of that to give Bottas a good shot at joining Mercedes? Wouldn’t it be far easier to just carry on having HAmilton winning and just ditch Rosberg at the end of the year for lack of results to make room for Bottas in that case @xsavior, @tifoso1989, @pking008??

        1. Nico just signed a new contract today.

          1. or maybe Monday? can’t put my finger on it. Maybe not. At any rate, still trying to figure out why his name is coming up in the ‘panama papers’. Lolz.

  16. I miss qualifying. Open F1Fanatic at the first change. Intrigue by the headline and looking forward to read the article. But I stuck for 15 minutes in your 16bit animation @KeithCollantine
    What a treat. Thanks…

  17. Okay, but can we appreciate the 80s style grid Keith put up?
    Like, that is probably the nicest surprise I’ve encountered on this site and I’m lovin’ it!

  18. I’m not going to be a conspiracy theorist here but with Hamilton and Vettel, Rosberg’s two most dangerous opponents in this race, or any races for that matter, starting on their backfoot, things are looking bright for Rosberg.

    Kimi is so slow though, I doubt Ferrari will keep him after this year.

  19. Good luck Lewis, shame about Q2 and the power unit problems. Hope the idiots in charge of F1 allow for someone to challenge Merc in the next few years, certainly won’t be next year either with the wider tires and draggier cars favoring Merc’s engine.

    1. @xsavior There are simply too many variables for you to make a claim like next year favouring MB. Nobody knows yet the makeup of the new tires, just their dimensions. Nobody knows who might nail their package from an aero standpoint. The tokens concept for engine development will be lifted to help create equivalency amongst the makers. Those are just a few main points that point to a mystery as to what next year will look like. Most people thought RBR would remain dominant in spite of this whole new chapter of turbo hybrid PU’s coming in 3 years ago.

  20. I’m a Hamilton fan, but now with this I think Rosberg should win the title. He’s won far too many races and started from pole so many times that I think he needs a world championship, regardless of circumstance, to truly cement his legacy.

  21. All these comments about Mercedes…. Take a look at the other things going as well, please! Lot’s of interesting stuff.

    Vettel once again half a second faster than his teammate.
    Great, great, great performance by Bottas, Ricciardo and Perez, all about half a second faster than their teammates

    From no.3 to no.10 all within a second of each other. And on to no. 16. The whole midfield is very close and very large this time around.

    The stars seem to be set for another race where lots of battles could take place.

    I noticed many drivers doing multiple runs on the same tyre set. It even looked like Mercedes were doing a race simulation during Q1.

  22. I wonder if these failures are Mercedes “winding things up” with their engines. Not because Ferrari are close… More because this is a good opportunity to find the limits of the engine in a real life situation. (Simulations and the dyno can only show you so much)
    With the new engine rules coming into effect in 2017 and 2018 maybe this is an opportunity for Mercedes to find out just how much “headroom” they have over their competitors… This might help them decide their approach to future engine development and secure their dominace in the next few seasons.
    Maybe Lewis’ style is enough to just “tip” the “wound up” engine over the limit? Maybe Nico is a little “softer” within his management of the power unit? Merc are extremely innovative and ruthless… These failures seem uncharacteristic after their faultless pre season testing. Something is going on there…

  23. Not a conspiracy, but maybe some rookie mechanics or something like that on Lewis’ side of the garage, I also remember mentioning the same last year when all the bad luck was on Nico, and didn’t Mercedes swap the crew members from each driver this year?

    1. I think Mercedes might really be feeling Ferrari is closing in and are therefore forced to leave less luxorious safety margins to keep ahead @mantresx.

      In 2014 the bad luck was more or less even over the course of the season, last year hit hit Rosberg more painfully/costly and so far we have seen HAmilton hit a bit of bad luck, but its quite possible that in the next race (or even tomorrow!) its Rosberg with a car issue losing out again.

      Mercedes exchanged a few (2-3) mechanics between the crews, but I don’t think that is as significant.

  24. This Merc is starting to be as reliable as 2015 McLaren.. And very similar from Ferrari.

    All good signs they are really pushing, up and beyond reliable power range.

    Anyone has a GPS trace? How much more HP do Mercedes develop in quali? Nico got that pole to easy, first run and then relaxing in garage.

    Vettel was comftably 0.8, and finally 0.7 seconds behind.

    And Lewis again took one for the show, where will he start? Pitlane this time? P20? I hope Mercedes does pitlane start having learned from last race. Sort him a perfect overtaking setup and unleash him upon the field.

    Guy has potential to be atleast driver of the weekend…

    But Indeed race is Nico’s to loose.

  25. Positives: that epic retro animation, the competitiveness across the mid and rear parts of the field.

    Negatives: lack of a fight at the front, reliability (from both the red and silver sides) impacting this championship at this stage, silly conspiracy theories.

    1. @craig-o:
      “Negatives: […] silly conspiracy theories.”

      Quoted fo truth.
      It is unfortunate that one-sided bad luck is affecting the World Championship, but that’s hardly anybody’s fault, is it?
      All these childish allegations do is stinking up the atmosphere.

    2. Hm, not too sure about the reliability being a negative @craig-o. I remember quite a few of us lambasting how nowadays the cars have rock solid reliability and we never see a backmarker get on the sharp end of the grid or finish in the points purely by surviving to the end. Now we have reliability mixing up the grid and its still not good?

      I take it as a signal that both Ferrari and Mercedes are really pushing and cannot leave as wide margins in hand just to be on the safe side. In other words its a tightening competition.

      1. @bascb I just want to see a fair fight at the front. Rosberg has driven flawlessly so far this season, but it is not through driving alone that Hamilton, Vettel and Raikkonen are letting Rosberg get a healthy lead in the championship. I do like seeing an unlikely result, but some of them can be a bit hollow when a driver simply lucks into one.

        1. Fair comment but this is just racing right? I wouldn’t be surprised if NR would rather be beating a ‘healthy’ LH and not be thought of as having lucked into his situation, but what can he do? He’s just played the hand he is dealt. As LH must. Meanwhile NR still has to keep it together mentally…still has to actually perform his task at hand, which includes completing his race reliably and without incident to maximize his points, like all the other drivers. I’m not an NR fanatic but I pull for him, and I almost hope he has some reliability issues but still wins the WDC so that it can’t be said it was a cakewalk for him. But even if it were to end up a cakewalk (way too early for this talk) it still just is what it is and he will be WDC in the books regardless.

  26. If I would run a team and would like one of my drivers to win, I would pace myself. First, don’t want the ferraris to snatch the title by accident, so go lightly on the season start. Just enough to give my golden boy the edge. Then just hold it there, a loose nut in a wheel in a pit stop if needed goes a long way.

    Why would I completely crush the other drive early on? Waste of money and image.

    1. Just watch.

      When the points gap between Nico and Lewis is wide enough – and Nico is assured of the WDC – Lewis’ performance will improve, ensuring exciting racing between Nico and Lewis once again, but more than that, ensuring that Nico wins the drivers championship and MB win the constructors championship.

      Most people will forget what happened at the start of the season. No wasted money and no damage to brand image.

      1. It’s simply laughable, no, it really is.

  27. I am surprised about the popularity of the idea that someone deliberately breaks Hamilton’s car parts just to make Ecclestone happy or make sure that Rosberg becomes world champion. I pasted a quote from one of the comments above (“the powers that be are using Lewis Hamilton as a guinea pig to spice up the races according to Mr Eclestone’s wishes”) on my Twitter account and it seems many took it seriously and agreed. There are many similar (very liked) comments on Facebook, too.

    I get that Hamilton fans are frustrated and I fully understand why they ask Mercedes “What is going on?”. However, the idea that a team, which pays its very popular driver tens of millions of dollars every year and has spent hundreds of millions to build a dominant car that has brought the same driver already two world championships, are suddenly sabotaging him for whatever reason is beyond ridiculous.

    1. That’s my quote you’re using right there, you better start paying up buddy, lol

      1. @pking008 I included a link to your comment in my tweet :)

        Seriously though, two, three or even four races where Hamilton has had bad luck are definitely not enough to make any conclusions. I do not know almost anything about probability theory but I am pretty sure that a couple of examples do not let you make any credible conclusions. Just because you toss a coin three times and get heads every time, you cannot conclude that you have been cheated ie. both sides of the coin are actually equal. By the way, that is a common problem in discussions about F1. We often see ‘trends’ that are probably not there simply because the number of examples is too low.

      1. Was meant for @girts.

  28. Hamilton is just being beaten, deal with it. Rosberg won 3 races in a row beating Hamilton fair and square at the end of last year, beat him fair and square in Australia, was denied beating him in a straight fight in Bahrain and then reliability last race and today but race is tomorrow and Rosbergs car may well break tomorrow then where are the conspiracies? What I want to know is why Ferrari are sabotaging Vetted car to let Rosberg win? …..nah definitely not, Hamilton and Vetted are having the same kind of seasons after 3 races but still tomorrow and another 17 races to go.

  29. Am I the only one who gives ROS due credit ??

    For such an *average* (from many of the comments above) driver, he never took a a comprehensive beating from Lewis, who is considered by many to be the best in F1 (myself included) along with VET, and has managed to pick himself up and come back every single time he was beaten consecutively in the last two years.

    1. Then you weren’t looking hard enough, were you? Every single season where Lewis and Nico have competed directly against each other, Nico was trounced by Lewis. This year it’s now unlikely and not because Nico comprehensively outraced him.

      1. Did you miss the point ?? Nico was defeated sure, not ‘trounced’, and yet he always managed to come back up.

      2. So that 2013 season, where Nico had more wins and alas more retirements, counts as a trouncing to you? Good to know.

  30. Mercs will be crucified by FIA and other teams by virtually making Nico champion by the end of the first quarter of a season, why bother and bring all the cars for the rest 15 races if champion is already established?

  31. Whenever things don’t go as expected these daft conspiracy ideas come out. I recall when vettel was beating Webber, many were saying it had been fixed within the RB garage .

    1. the way I remember it, Webber had a lot of issues with his ERS, and general over-all reliability, while his teammate pretty much had a iron-clad set of kit. Sure, things were different in 2010, but after Webber lost it in the final race, then lost it again with his #2 stuff, I am pretty sure he was done ‘winning’ for RBR. Mark’s biggest problems were he did what he was told and expected something in return, like the hand me down at Brazil or the Multi21 thing. Still have to say I don’t mind the guy, but he’s too much of a ‘team player’ for me to really like. In a way hes like ROS, except he seems a lot more down to earth, and doesn’t have that privileged complex going on.

      I don’t really see how anyone can believe Mark wasn’t a clear #2 at RBR for the last few years. Are team orders considered a conspiracy? Priority on development and material plus man hours, a conspiracy? Conspiracy is really just code for shame, or rather a shaming technique used to promote political correctness.

      1. the way I remember it, Webber had a lot of issues with his ERS, and general over-all reliability, while his teammate pretty much had a iron-clad set of kit.

        Well, you remember wrong. They had a similar extent of failures. I suppose Vettel was just better at dealing with them:

        1. That article is wrong though because it never measures Webber’s KERS qualifying issues etc.

          1. That article is wrong though because it never measures Webber’s inferior speed etc.


  32. Still 18 race to go.Hamilton has all the bad luck in the world now.Rosberg cant survive a whole season with good fortune.Hamilton dosent need any good fortune to win title but just need neutral circumstances instead of misfortune.He is not a world champion by luck the best driver on the grid along with Fernando Alonso.

  33. Was I the only one who was actually thinking how good elimination qualifiying (do you remember it….the strange version of quali used in the first 2 races :P) might have been with these tyres?

  34. I will never buy another mercedes seeing as half their f1 engines break!

  35. Looking at the pole times, what’s the main reason the 2016 cars are so much quicker compared to last year? Assuming the engine power is more or less the same, is it mainly the tyres?

  36. So much negativity everywhere which is helping no-one… Lewis has had two engine failures, yes. Stranger things have happened.

    Our first three races have been great, and we have unpredictability. Lacking in a challenge for the leader yes, but they’ve been great. I challenge anyone to pluck a beginning of a season from the early 2000s/so called glory days which is any better. We should be relishing the inevitable fightback from Lewis this season, and how this is actually shaking up the fight for the championship between two great rivals…

    1. Where is the ‘unpredictability’ when the season is already over. Nico has won every race so far, unchallenged, basically with his eyes closed. It is not Nico’s fault -he is just doing his job, but he has certainly benefited massively. I may as well not bother watching the rest of the season. Unpredictable??!!!

  37. ” Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” :-p

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