Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

Rosberg “very surprised” Hamilton tried to pass on inside

2016 Spanish Grand Prix

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Nico Rosberg said he was “very surprised” Lewis Hamilton tried to pass him on the inside when the pair collided at the start of the Spanish Grand Prix.

The crash, which put both drivers out of the race, began when Hamilton closed on Rosberg quickly as the leading Mercedes was using the wrong mode for its power unit.

However Rosberg told reporters he was “not distracted” by being in an incorrect engine mode.

“I was aware of the situation and saw Lewis coming closer,” he explained, “so I went for the usual racing driver action of closing the inside line and closing the door as early as I could.”

Rosberg said he approached the corner “in a way of making it very clear that I wasn’t going to leave any space on the inside” for Hamilton to overtake him.

“I was very surprised that he did go for the gap anyways,” Rosberg added.

“The stewards have now decided that it’s a racing incident which we have to accept like that, which we will accept.”

The championship leader said he was “not thinking about” having maintained his points margin over Hamilton as a result of the race.

“I was here to win the race, that’s what I was looking forward to and that’s what I was really excited about after turn one,” Rosberg said. “I was leading the race, got past Lewis who was on pole so I was really ecstatic about that, and so just absolutely gutted that it ended up the way it did.”

Rosberg added he accepts the stewards’ view of the collision. “I will go with the verdict of the stewards who say it’s a racing incident,” he said.

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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81 comments on “Rosberg “very surprised” Hamilton tried to pass on inside”

  1. I find that very disingenuous. If he didn’t think Lewis would have overtaken him on the inside, then why move all the way over? He knew he was slow out of Turn 3 and Lewis was behind him and, naturally, the best place to overtake is on the inside. He may not have been fully aware of how much slower he was, but the comment makes him sound like a pretty unobservant driver which, with his experience, he has no excuse to be.

    1. @wildfire15 He didn’t expect Lewis to overtake him on the inside BECAUSE he had moved over.

      1. @keeleyobsessed The whole incident was a game of fractions and Lewis had started to move fractionally before Nico did, seeing as that was the only place he could go to overtake. At that point he couldn’t bail out of the maneuver as he had too much momentum to avoid hitting Nico, even if he braked, and couldn’t switch back to the other side, so he could only carry on. He got enough of an overlap to warrant being given space but Nico gave none, so he could only take to the grass or just run into Nico.

        1. @wildfire15 A drive such as Alonso or Button would’ve known better than try to go up the inside of a driver who was moving to the right in such a tight place. Hamilton could easily have lifted off for 0.2s and tried around the outside like Rosberg did in Turn 1.

          1. Any other driver would have done exactly the same as Hamilton in that situation. You wouldn’t back out if you had a huge amount of momentum on the driver in front and the only option being to go to the inside. Speaking of turn 1, Hamilton knew when he’d lost the place, while it seemed Rosberg either didn’t know or refused to acknowledge he was about to lose out.

          2. Aditya (@adityafakhri)
            16th May 2016, 7:42

            @wildfire15 no. Alonso and Button would have backed off, then fuming in their radio. which should be irritating for us too see, but they would prefer that to race-ending crash.

        2. @wildfire15
          Exactly
          Lewis’s car didn’t hit Nico’s until Nico slowed for the corner, by which time Lewis’s car was sideways as a result of him being squeezed onto the grass and having no where to go or a surface to break on.
          Lewis expected Nico to give him room as Lewis would gave, and indeed did do at turn 1.
          If Nico was not so petulant both cars would gave got through that corner.

      2. you don’t completely go off the racing line, to the edge of the track if you don’t think someone is going to over take you. That is called a BIG RISK, because Nico knew Lewis would pass him on the inside, otherwise he wouldn’t have wasted the time to move over so far, and so far off line.

        your argument is false, it falls on it’s own arguments.

      3. Just because the car behind didn’t have overlay initially doesn’t mean you can mush them off the track. Lewis clearly had overlap before he was pushed off track, so Nico violated the following rule. However the coward stewards didn’t enforce it.

        “Manoeuvres liable to hinder other drivers, such as deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track or any other abnormal change of direction, are not permitted.”

        1. James Coulee
          15th May 2016, 19:12

          Hamilton does it frequently, thought…

          1. No he doesn’t. Defending the race line is not the same thing. Not at all.

        2. it’s not just the stewards, apparently nobody is responsible for the MGU-H failures, for which the cause of failure is unknown.

          There is a quote and it goes, Ignorance is Strength. I think it fits, at least when people are not held accountable for their words and actions… When it is too easy to turn a blind eye and nothing of consequence ever happens for it.

          You can’t run people off the track, Lewis was beside Nico before he left the track, Nico elected to go to the edge of the track, completely off the racing line to defend. At least Nico found himself in the gravel trap with Lewis. That is called JUSTICE. When people are held accountable for their actions. At least Nico’s own actions held him accountable today, unfortunately the stewards, and most likely the ‘team’ won’t.

          1. Rubbish- he wasn’t along side. He had his nose peeking up a bit. He had to back out of it. Nico telegraphed his move clearly- LH called him on it and he pressed on anyway. The stewards made the right call.

      4. I think it’s more fair to say Lewis would not have expected Nico to move right when you consider the racing line for the upcoming right hand corner is to the left….Nico only moved right to block his teammate, as moving right at that point on the circuit is certainly not the quickest way through the upcoming right hander. And to top it all off, Nico juked right far too late, in front of his teammate who had a clear run on him and was going to pass due to Nico’s own mistake. If Lewis had gone left, which is where the natural racing line is, Nico would have juked left and then you would be saying the same thing you’re saying now, only reversed. The problem is that Nico left Lewis no where to go…and that would have been the very same no matter which side Lewis chose as Nico was determined not to be passes right there.

        1. Spot on.

          Whatever way Hamilton went, there was going to be a collision. If Hamilton opt’d for the outside line, Rosberg would have just ran him wide off the track at the next corner into the gravel. Rosbergs ‘i won’t be settling for 2nd’ before the race shows what kind of mood he’s in now that hes breezed unchallenged into a points lead.

    2. Yeah, but hes not terribly inconsistent with the lack of respect he shows the people he offers his rubbish to… The ‘paying’ audience. The two sides to Nico ROSberg is an interesting thought experiment…

    3. I can understand that he’s surprised. He was in a slower car, OFF the racing line, and then made a “strong move” to defend the inside line. He was basically giving Lewis room to go around the outside, ON the racing line, just hoping that he could recover in time to take the inside of the next turn.

      If you look at his on-board footage in the analysis on the official F1 page, he pretty much keeps turning right as he comes out of the corner, then goes straight for the edge and then straightens out. As Lewis was BEHIND him for the majority of that time, he was well within his rights to block the full width of the track. Lewis kept pushing to get his nose into a gap that he knew was closing, on the dirty side of the track.

      I assume Hamilton would know how to overtake a slower car that’s off the racing line, especially knowing that he had 180bhp advantage at the time, and especially since he was already on the racing line and all he had to do was continue and he probably would have driven past Rosberg before turn 4. There was plenty more run-off room on the left too, no grass or gravel until turn 4. It’s just very odd that he chose to go right, onto the dirty side, towards the grass. Bad judgement.

      Even when he saw Rosberg start to move right, at the same time as him, he was still behind, so all he had to do was jink to the left. Rosberg would have made his one move, and Lewis would have been in the clear. We’ve seen overtaking moves like that many times in the past.

  2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    15th May 2016, 17:34

    We’ve seen this so many times from Nico. He slows down, he pushes you out, he drives in front of you with a broken wing to take you out, he slows you down on different strategies, he parks the car in quali, he slashes your tires and that’s all I can remember off the top of my head.

    Thank god, they don’t meet more often on track with Nico able to pull another stunt like that cause we’d have 60 incidents like that one. Come on, just accept responsibility Nico!

    1. Got to be honest, Bahrain 2012 came to mind when I saw the manoeuvre.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        15th May 2016, 19:58

        @deej92 @chaddy

        Indeed Bahrain 2012 – I have no clue how he got away with it and did today as well especially since he knew that Hamilton would have to crash to avoid him since he was 170bhp down. The stewards are insane…

        http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xqbljq_f1-bahrain-2012-rosberg-hamilton-and-rosberg-alonso-situation_sport

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          15th May 2016, 20:00

          I hate to say this but the stewards should be held accountable by the FIA for their decision.

        2. He so clearly wedged Lewis right off the track, and there was nothing he could do to respond because he was going so much faster and already beyond the rear wheels. And it’d be one thing if Lewis were competitor, but this was Nico’s teammate!

        3. If we look at the start…….it doesn’t seem like Rosberg was 170- 180hp down on Hamilton.

    2. Peter Fletcher
      15th May 2016, 22:47

      I 100% agree. If you listen to Toto Wolff, his coded response blames Rosberg

    3. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
      16th May 2016, 3:11

      @freelittlebirds and what about the many times Lewis pushes other drivers out of the track? So maybe that’s why, even if I agreed with your point of view (but I don’t) that it’s Nico’s fault, maybe stewards took into account the many times Lewis has escaped free of similar incidents.

      1. There is a fundamental difference between defending a racing line through a corner and pushing somebody off the road on a straight bit of track.

        1. I really wish F1 would deal with the ambiguous rules on crowding/cars width etc. A racing line is only a racing line when there is one car – when there are two you should leave room. But it is NEVER penalised. Ditto crowding on a straight – it’s always allowed.

          If there were any penalties people would shout about them being held back from racing – but I think this holds back racing, as drivers know not to get too far up the outside or they’ll be pushed off track.

          Loo at the incident a few laps later – Sainz at t1 pushed Kimi off track. Kimi was actually in front going into the corner. Sainz should have left room. But in the comms boz Nico was treated like public enemy #1, while Sainz was praised.

      2. No, when defending in corners you don’t need to leave space. So he didn’t get away wi th nothing.

  3. I thought Lewis was a stupid to try and over take that’s why he can’t win race’s this year.

    1. I agree with David. Nikki Lauda summed the whole thing up in his comment about Hamilton being peeved because Rosberg out drive him off the line. Hamilton is immature and a sore loser. Hope he gets a hiding this year. Dennis

      1. That is completely unfair to Hamilton. He’s there to try to win races. You can not in any way expect him not to go for it. And then also, you can not expect him not to be upset when things go wrong.

        1. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
          16th May 2016, 3:21

          @mike I agree with you when you say that Hamilton is there to win races… so, shouldn’t he be more careful when he looks for inexistent gaps, as when he collided with Bottas in Barhain? At least that time he managed to keep racing. But not always drivers are going to let him do whatever he thinks he is entitled to do.

          1. @omarr-pepper Yes, he probably should be more careful. But he did nothing against the rules.

            The gap did exist when he started moving. Rosberg closed it. I don’t think he should have. Should Hamilton have held off? In hindsight, of course. But when you have a driver closing on another at such a pace, they are going to try and pass. You can not be surprised by that.

            On both incidents I think it’s a racing incident, but the idea that he was a fault for the collision with Bottas is farcical.

          2. That was clearly Bottas’ fault. Not Hamilton’s.

  4. It is very well explained why it was Nicos’s fault here http://goo.gl/iSykpi
    Nico was in the wrong setting (rain light flashing).

    1. Here’s an even better analysis of the crash: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVfKaOU2l50

  5. Very surprised?

    *insert Senna quote here*

    1. +1 same thought too !

    2. @david-a @tifoso1989 Isn’t Senna the guy who absolutely tried to pass where there was obviously no gap?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMbsfkQsrd4

  6. This is the battle we hoped for. Here is Nico sticking one to Lewis.

    First he got on ahead after first two corners… Despite being in engine harvesting mode (180hp down), also got a better start. And then he gavr no quarter, to Lewises desperate attempt at overtake.

    It is simply a marker to Lewis: “thou shall not pass”.

    Lewis did the usual and went for it anyway. Nico however improved from his previous whimpy self. In my humble oppinion he now has a fair shot at title.

    Good enough qualifier, good starter class leading car amd ruthless racer.

    Lewis will have to improve a lot to save this season. I recommend a sports psychologist, this year he had way to many bad starts and first lap incidents. He now has 8 poor races in a row. Could benefit from professional help, to get back in winning stlye. For sure Kardashian clan and Barbados wont improve his racing.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      15th May 2016, 18:40

      @jureo or it could be that Lewis is simply faster than Nico and Nico knew that he would blow by him on the next turn:-) As we all witnessed on TV. just a point of view to consider:-)

    2. @jureo just to clarify, what likely happened is Nico being in the engine mode made no difference through turns 1-3 – he had full power, but the various ERS systems weren’t charging up his ES.

      After 3, the MGU-K shut down because the ES was empty, hence the slow down. Nico was likely concentrating on his start and racing to notice until he suddenly lost power exiting the corner.

      It’s fairly similar to Kvyat collecting Vettel in Russia – the sudden speed differential essentially caused the problem, not either drivers actions.

  7. “I was very surprised that he did go for the gap anyways”

    Hahaha, That’s the natural reaction of a racer and Lewis is one of the best in that aspect. Maybe his racing skills were hurt due to winning races easily in that dominant car without having to fight (i’m not a lewis fan BTW)

  8. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    15th May 2016, 18:41

    “It was my race to win” – Nico Rosberg

    Well said Nico! Of course it was Lewis’ fault for trying to overtake a slower driver. Didn’t he read the memo that it was your race to win?:-)

  9. I was at Circuit de Catalunya for this race having flown into Barcelona, hired a car and paid 4 nights in a hotel within striking distance of the track. I only saw the incident on the trackside screens as we were in the main start line grandstand. What a total waste of many hundreds of my pounds when two, supposedly world class racers, pull a stunt like this between them. Get a grip Toto and sort this situation out. It has been festering too long between these two. Especially, in my opinion, Rosberg.

    1. If Verstappen becomes a world champion in the future, you’ll have a great story to tell: that you were at his first ever win.

      Even if he doesn’t, he set several ‘youngest’ records that will probably not be bettered for a long time, if ever.

      And finally, this race has a good chance to be the highest rated race of the season.

      But you ‘wasted’ your money because your favorite crashed out…. Ok, I can see that…if I do a ton of drugs first.

      1. @aapje surely people are allowed to have favourites or be annoyed that a good battle has been spoiled by an accident?

        For example, Spa 2014 became a damp squib after Nico’s wing kissed Lewis’s tyre.

        1. @optimaximal *Spa 2014 became a damp squib after Lewis chose to make the corner without leaving any space for Rosberg.

          I don’t understand why you would like any of them. They both love to push their team-mate off the track.

          1. @paeschli I wasn’t attributing blame, rather stating the case as it was.

            Still ruined the race, because it could have been good.

          2. @paesschli
            You realise in that incident Nico was not along side Lewis when Nico crashed into Lewis’s tyre.
            This year Lewis was well alongside as Nico squeezed him. It wasn’t during the squeeze that accident occurred, It was as Nico slowed for the corner that Lewis’s sideways car collected his.

        2. People are allowed to have favorites, but it’s a bit silly to complain about a ‘total waste’ when there is so much upside to take from this.

          When someone ask for sympathy after getting a bag of silver instead of gold, they deserve a little smack with the reality stick.

          1. @aapje: ;-) We all got so much Gold with this race instead of bronze or just another “meh”-race, where Lewis and Nico lets the rest of the pack fight for 3. place. This race was absolutely historic and even if Alan Meyern won’t realize it before Max has taken maybe a few titles, it must have been fantastic to be there and follow Max’s first win, the battles between Vettel and Ricciardo and a good race, not destroyed by DRS. I’d gladly pay him double to have swapped places with him;-)
            Problem is that some fans are so focussed on only one driver, that they can’t appreciate the show, when he has an early DNF, which naturally happens every now and then. For Lewis more often this season than usual. The lesson is that if You only have Your eyes set on one driver, then watch the race on TV and use an App to follow the driver. Then it is cheap and easy to switch off, when he has a DNF.

  10. “I will go with the verdict of the stewards who say it’s a racing incident,” he said

    A welcome relief for Nico.
    When a rule was made clearer because of your repeated efforts to drive people off tracks you have to heave a sigh of relief when stewards deffer punishing you to your team after running your team mate off track again.

    Either Mercedes get their house in order with this equal racing nonesense or they fire the two guys and find others to do equal racing for them.
    Lewis has beaten Nico every year since they raced together. What is equal about them judging from their relative performances?
    No big team have their drivers taking each other out or running the other off track the way these guys have been, especially Nico.
    The bosses at Mercedes should grow a pair and tell these guys, if you start on pole, the next guy should not attempt overtaking the team mate until after one full lap or two.
    What a mess.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      15th May 2016, 19:48

      @tata – Nico’s the issue, not Lewis. Lewis loves racing, he has no problem letting Nico by and passing him over and over again for 66 laps if he could;-) Nico’s very fast but he’s a much weaker racer so he tries to avoid racing with Lewis by pushing him back or taking him out.

      1. Pretty much bingo’d the whole situation in a couple of sentences.

      2. @freelittlebirds That’s what I’d call smart from Rosberg. Seems to be working as Hamilton would probably had lost a 8th successive race anyways. If Hamilton thinks he has a right to only race against teammates who move over like Button, then he’d better get himself prepared for this new 2016 Rosberg.

    2. As long as Mercedes are so superior, they can afford this and still win both titles. Therefore they shall let them race, otherwise the Mercedes dominance would become even more boring for those of us, who loves F1, without being fan’s of Merc, Lewis or Nico.

  11. I think “very surprised” says a fair bit about his attitude towards fellow racers (he did the same to Alonso and Hamilton before) but not enough to attribute this one solely on Ros. Racing incident is fair on this occasion and I am glad we have been gifted the opportunity to watch this accident waiting to happen to a degree. If Mercedes were to remove this racing element from us, okay we would not have had an accident but, watching these two drivers would have been as boring as watching RB and MS during the Ferrari times. As uncomfortable as it was to see the accident I prefer to watch two drivers push each other to the limit than a scenario where a Mercedes number one driver forces the team to dictate what his team mate is allowed to do during the race.
    I stopped watching F1 because of the MS/Ferrari era and only started watching again when Alonso won his first world title broke that unhealthy winning partnership. Well now I have two long weeks ahead because I cannot wait to see what happens in Monaco. Let the racing begin.

  12. So Nico slammed the door again taking out both drivers. It doesn’t make you look brave, Nico. It makes you look like a coward.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      16th May 2016, 3:26

      @david-beau +1

      I prefer the term weasel for Nico.

  13. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
    15th May 2016, 20:34

    Rosberg did well to get Hamilton at the first corner, regardless of the mapping setting being wrong, it was still his corner. Hamilton went for a gap that was never going to be there. So are Merc going to swap him with Werhlein…?

    1. They were on a straight between turn 3 and 4 and Rosberg rammed into Hamilton on the opposite side of the track from where the race line is. How on earth does “it was still his corner” apply?

      Did you even see what happened?

      1. “Rammed into”? I didn’t see a touch until after Hamilton spun off the grass. He was quite “lucky” he managed to collect Rosberg, wasn’t he?

        Rosberg defended the inside line with one decisive move to the right. He was already off the racing line on the left, which he left open for Hamilton. To be honest, I think Hamilton’s judgement and reaction time were seriously flawed. It’s a shame he’s missed out on testing for the rest of the season, as he clearly needs more track time.

  14. Everything that either driver did in previous races has nothing to do with this incident. Nico’s car, at that corner, was much slower, and both drivers knew it. Hamilton reacted accordingly, and tried to pass. Nico reacted like an amateur and blocked. A more mature driver would have accepted the fact that, at that moment, he was simply an obstacle until he got the engine setting sorted.

    He should have maintained his original line, let Hamilton by and then attempted to catch and pass him. That’s what any of the great drivers of the past would have done if they had missed a shift or whatever. Trying to block that late when your car has temporarily lost power is a childish move, especially when the car trying to overtake is on the same team. Nico’s first priority must be to his team, and not to himself.

    1. Lol, I hope you were laughing when you were typing this!

      1. Why? He makes total sense. Perhaps you are new to f1, but back in the days when it was possibly to miss a gear, you got out of the way the prevent an accident with the following driver.

        1. He DID get out of the way. He was OFF the racing line. Slowing car, off the racing line, what do you do, drive by on the racing line, or dive down to the right and try to go around it? No wonder he was surprised.

  15. It’s funny how everyone seems to know it better than the stewards who had access to all the data.

    Can’t we just accept the stewards decision and call it a day? The championship has only become more interesting after this race.

    1. No we know the same as the stewards do. The TV footage is pretty clear. They simply decided not not hand out a penalty when from the TV footage it’s clear that Hamilton was indeed alongside and had the right to that bit of track.

      Sometimes they decide there are mitigating circumstances. For instance by claiming Hamilton wasn’t alongside for that long yet.

      Most likely they assumed it better to let Mercedes handle this.

      1. Watch it in real-time (F1 page analysis). Hamilton had no chance of staying on the road by not backing out of the manoeuvre. He was “alongside” for a split second. Rosberg made his one move when Hamilton was still well behind him, with plenty of time to go left – or stay left in the first place.

        His explanation that there was “more room” on the right was a bit stupid. Does he not know the track off by heart like we were told all weekend that they all do? He was on the left of Rosberg, knew he was slower, that he was off the racing line by “one step”. He knew that the outside racing line was faster than the dirty inside line (as per his comments about the move at turn 1). There was grass on the right, plenty of run-off room on the left. Yet he went right. Why?

        If anything, the stewards were being lenient to HIM. They said Rosberg had the right to do what he did, as the leading driver. They said that Hamilton’s move “may have led him to believe he had the right to space on the right.”

        Lauda, Stewart, and Prost all agreed that there was nothing wrong with Rosberg’s defensive move. 10 titles between them. I trust their experience more than the Sky TV pundits.

  16. Chris Leslie
    15th May 2016, 23:39

    This is so tiresome from Rosberg and this incident has shown him up again as a driver with inferior racecraft.

    He was in the wrong engine mode, panicked when he saw Lewis and moved to the inside far too late.

    Given that he was in the wrong engine mode, he shouldn’t have been in the least surprised to come under pressure.

    1. Yes I more or less agree with this.

    1. Sorry dude, but that picture is equating Ham-Nico instances *during cornering* to Nico-Ham *on a straight*. What this is, is false equivelancy. Not impressed by your “analysis”

      1. So in cornering battle no need to leave space for other car or you just bend a rules if is in favore for Lewis?

  17. :D
    “Very Surprised”

  18. I don’t think its fair to apportion outright blame either way really. I think Nico got off to a great start but then made an error by selecting the wrong setting. We then have a collision of two forces. Nico probably thought, oh hell he’s going to come down the inside and moved across. Lewis was probably peeved about the start and went for a small gap that was not really there, to make up the place.
    Both acted on instinct. Nico should really have given Lewis more room but Lewis should probably have bided his time.

  19. Hahaha what a clown.

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