Start, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

Hamilton: Rosberg was in wrong engine mode

2016 Spanish Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton has confirmed Nico Rosberg had lost power because he was in a wrong engine mode shortly before the pair collided.

Hamilton had started from pole position but lost the lead to Rosberg at turn one. “I got a good start,” Hamilton told reporters at the track, “he slipstreamed me into turn one, I was on the inside so not great grip there.”

However at the exit of turn three Hamilton closed quickly on Rosberg. He tried to pass his team mate but they made contact and retired.

“I was coming through turn three and then he had a derate,” Hamilton explained, “basically made a mistake and started in the wrong engine settings.”

“Before the start we have to decide what engine setting we’re going to start in and there’s only one that’s maximum power. He hadn’t gone to that, he was in a Safety Car mode or something. He derated at that point so it meant he lost like 180bhp.”

Hamilton said he tried to pass his team mate on the side which offered a larger gap and got partly alongside him.

“I was catching him and as I was catching he wasn’t on the racing line but he was just one step to the right,” said Hamilton. “And so the gap to the left was much smaller than the one on the right so I went to the right.”

“There’s a gap there and as a racing driver when you’re going 17kph [10mph] faster you go for the gap which I did. I got my wheel and my wing alongside but I had to avoid a collision.”

Hamilton declined to apportion blame for the collision. “I’m not going to get into it,” he said.

However he offered a “huge apology” to the Mercedes team for the crash.

“When I stopped my heart just sank because there’s 1,300 people in our team who worked so hard for us to be here and this amazing car, this great opportunity. To not deliver for them, it’s honestly undescribable how gutted I was.”

2016 Spanish 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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37 comments on “Hamilton: Rosberg was in wrong engine mode”

  1. I thought it was strange because of Nico was too slow. This is not first time Nico failed with engine mode hmm…

  2. I am sure Hamilton is going to go for it during the remainder of the season. Hamilton didn’t get a bad start, it was just the slipstream that Nico got. Anyway… should be fun for the remainder of the season. However, he is yet to have a clean weekend. Shame for him

    1. @krichelle Yet once again it was Rosberg leading into T1, and most likely would have won the race.

      1. “Yet once again it was Rosberg leading into T1”

        Maybe as a result of the engine mode he was in? For him to be down on power and harvesting at Turn 3 is odd.

        1. Very doubtful mate.

          Also, there is no way to know who would have won the race. Whoever came out ahead would have had a significant advantage and we never got to see that.

        2. exactly my thoughts, Was there an advantage gained by nico when he took a different setting? clearly payed for it in turn three but I kept thinking strange to set it differently for the start.

        3. They were both in the ‘start mode’ engine setting until Nico turned it off in turn 3 and then his engine went into the default engine mode, which in his case was incorrectly set to ‘parade lap’ mode. So there was no advantage gained by Nico. In fact, Lewis said Nico wasn’t in the “maximum power” setting for the start, so at the time I was wondering how he did so well off the start in a lower power setting, but the ESPN F1 page finally had an article about the engine settings that explained everything.

          I too, initially thought that having the ERS harvesting in the middle of the longest, fastest turn on the circuit was stupid and dangerous, no matter what setting the engine was in, but I didn’t know that it was set to full-harvesting ‘parade lap’ mode, which is obviously not meant for race conditions.

      2. @xtwl
        But if you look at the replay, they were both equal, Lewis got a little bit better off, but Nico got into his slipstream and that’s how he reached aside him onto turn 1. If the straight was shorter Lewis would have stayed ahead, at least it shows that probably Lewis has no more clutch issues. Rosberg leading into t1? Just because of the tow, and it’s Nico’s fault if he was in different engine settings that caused the collision. Without it, both of them would have got out of the first lap cleanly. No conditionals here because we didn’t see who was having the pace neither why Nico had his settings like that.

        1. @krichelle In plenty more than 80% of all the races the winner was the one who lead into T1. So it’s pretty safe to assume that would have been the case on a track that is proven to be difficult to overtake.

          There are tracks with long runs and short runs to T1 so that arguement hold no value whatsoever. Fact is Rosberg was fist in T1, end of story. Shame the actual story ended in T4.

          1. But Lewis and Nico had good starts. Which is what I am saying, because Nico benefitted from the tow. Without the tow, he would not have been able to pass. What matters is: both drivers got a good start. End of story.
            We never knew the outcome because of the crash, but we never knew who was faster and better. No conditionals.

            Ps: This time unlike in SPA, he didn’t get away with it

  3. Although a 7 race win steak is pretty impressive, it’s frustrating because it easily could have been 10 or so. Car failed when leading in Sochi, safety cars and gusts of wind in Austin, and now this engine mode problem in Barcelona when he’d just done Lewis around the outside of Turn 1.

    1. Apart from Sochi ’15 both are mistakes made by Rosberg.
      You want to win, don’t make mistakes. Simple.

    2. It could much easier have been a whole lot less if Hamilton didn’t have issues with the car pretty much every race before this one though.

      You should have put the /s behind the “gusts of wind” remark though. I think the sporting term for that is “choking”.

  4. I don`t think it was “wrong” mode, it was better for a getaway, probably, but draining more energy from the batteries, than Lewis mode, that`s why he had better run toward T1, but lost it later. So question is, if team has decided to use certain mode, and one driver misused it and it caused a crash…was it overstretch of team loyalty or not?
    Perhaps same stuff as Vettel/Webber few years ago, when team has told to use conservative mode, but Vettel pressed on and passed Webber….

    1. The start mode ends and at that point Rosberg’s engine setting was wrong.

  5. carbon_fibre
    15th May 2016, 16:44

    I’m not doubting Hamilton, but how did Rosberg pass him if he had so much less hp?

    1. Slipstream and more grip on the outside at turn 1…

    2. Ant Davidson said it with pictures to prove before Lewis interview… Nico messed with his engine mode and it probably drained energy faster than Lewis, i.e., after he passed him

  6. “gusts of wind in Austin”

    lmao, that’s still hilarious. One of the best excuses to date.

    “and now this engine mode problem in Barcelona”

    The ‘problem’ of putting it in the wrong mode from the start line? Watch the onboard footage.

  7. Sounds like Mercedes PR: “Let’s all blame it on an incorrect engine mode setting…”

    1. yeah i mean we see that closing speed all the time…..

    2. Actually Ant showed it on the Skypad about an hour before Lewis even came up with this explanation. Not everything is a conspiracy.

      1. I did watch right after the podium ceremony.

  8. Thanks for the leakage information (again) Lewis..
    So guys we are short 180bhp from Merc.

    1. It’s hardly an important “leak” is it ? The car has less power when in a lower power mode…

    2. Isn’t 180hp the standard power output permitted from the hybrid element? So he’s not really divulging any secret info, just saying that Rosberg didn’t have any hybrid power available at that point.

  9. What struck me from Hamilton’s explanation and Rosberg’s is you can discern the PR script both were given to read from:

    • Apologise to the team
    • Explain your actions as being a normal example of what racing drivers do
    • If asked, don’t blame the other guy

    You can see all three in Hamilton’s quotes above and in Rosberg’s here.

    1. @keithcollantine With recent accusations towards the team I don’t blame them. It’s always interesting to have a healthy working environment in such an operation. If the drivers go about accusing each other it will only be a matter of time before engineers do the same, staff start choosing sides and in the end that leads to an uneffective team.

  10. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
    15th May 2016, 18:01

    Hamiltons fault – there was no way he had the room to make it through.

    1. Well he would have had the room if Rosberg hadn’t pulled across his path so suddenly despite being 180bhp down!

      Both drivers acted aggressively but Nico was going too slow to pull off that blocking manoeuvre without Hamilton being run off the road.

      That said I think racing incident is the right assessment as it’s very harsh to say it’s 100% Rosberg’s fault. Both drivers actions were risky in the circumstances.

  11. @keithcollantine Does Hamilton’s explanation ring true? With Rosberg slowing down so much and moving off the racing line one would think “car in trouble, maybe out of the race and trying to go off track” and go on the outside rather than risk going on the inside. I think Hamilton’s judgement was affected by the 1st corner overtake, he was over eager to take the place back and misjudged the opportunity badly to cost of both Merc drivers.

    1. Nope, because there is a great big red light on the back that flashes when the car is in recovery mode – as Lewis said he was aware of the reason for the loss of pace

  12. Omg, do you guys realise significant of this Hamilton Leak? Without ERS and KERS Mercedes is down 180hp. Ted Kravitz reports ICE alone produces 800hp. Essentially am I right in thinking they are then at 980hp?

    1. @jureo – ERS AND KERS? Now we know why Mercedes are so much quicker (when they’re both working at least!)

  13. Totally irrelevant if Rosberg was in a wrong engine setting or not. Both made risky moves and both paid the price.

  14. I (and probably others) was always made to believe just how ‘clinically’ clever and scientific – genius almost – Rosberg was.

    Pretty amazing to see he can make such a ‘mistake’.

    1. You tried to fiddle with those tiny turn nobs with racing gloves on?

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