Mercedes will continue to let Hamilton and Rosberg fight

2016 Spanish Grand Prix

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Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff insists the team will not clamp down on Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg’s freedom to race each despite their collision in yesterday’s Spanish Grand Prix.

The pair crashed while disputing the lead on the first lap of the race at the Circuit de Catalunya and retired on the spot.

“By letting the drivers race as we do this kind of eventuality can happen,” Wolff admitted, “but we won’t change our approach.”

“We owe it to Formula One and the fans to let them race.”

“But it was the work of the whole team that finished in the gravel trap, and this isn’t what we want to see happen – both of the boys know how much hard work goes into each race weekend and that they have the responsibility to bring that home.”

Wolff agreed with the stewards’ ruling that the collision was a “racing incident”. “I don’t want to start blaming one or the other,” he added.

“Both Lewis and Nico are upset and we talked with them, looking at the pictures and the data, to determine exactly what happened.”

The pair previously clashed during the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix with less destructive consequences: while Hamilton retired, Rosberg continued to finish second. However Wolff says the team are better equipped to handle the fall-out from the latest collision.

“We have matured as a team over the past years,” said Wolff, “so we will be able to move on from this and, hopefully, fight back in a positive way in Monaco.”

2016 Spanish Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
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    107 comments on “Mercedes will continue to let Hamilton and Rosberg fight”

    1. Hamilton spent more than 2 years having set the bar that he is the assertive one and won’t back out of an overtake attempt, therefore opening the windows of opportunities that legend Senna spoke of in his days.

      I sometimes thought he did some stupid stuff that way, but from his results it’s difficult to argue that it isn’t a part of what makes him a great driver. (unrelated, but also as a long time Rai fan, that seems to be one area where the ice man has lost his cool)

      The question is now if that is starting to balance out a bit between Ham-Ros, I can’t help but think that if the exact same situation happens again, will Hamilton be more apt to lift off? at the moment Hamilton stands to lose more from a racing incident than Rosberg, and that’s a factor that every driver has to keep in mind in every move they make

      1. Can somebody explain to me how Hamilton got into car 6 and not 44 – see video. A certain moment you see that with the helm 44 he comes out of car 6

      2. @dr-jekyll

        at the moment Hamilton stands to lose more from a racing incident than Rosberg

        I’m not sure. The current scoring means Rosberg is far from assured and whilst he won’t admit it, if Lewis isn’t going to win the championship this year, he would definitely rather it be someone other than his teammate!

        1. @optimaximal

          I meant an incident between the two of them

      3. Exactly, Hamilton has been doing the ‘let me through or we’ll crash’ move that Senna pioneered (and that Schumacher perfected) on Rosberg for the past two years. Now that Rosberg is starting to do the same (Australia and Spain this year), problems are starting to appear.

    2. Looking back at Hamilton’s manouvre, it wasn’t particularly clumsy, and the collision occurred while he was a passenger. As per Mercedes – it was an unfortunate set of circumstances that led to the incident.

      The thing is, if the roles were reversed, I don’t think Rosberg would have gone for it. Both cars would have been fine in that scenario, but it’s Hamilton’s willingness to fight that’s part of what makes me a fan. So while it was disappointing for me to see him out of the race, I’m certainly glad he went for it.

    3. geoffgroom44 (@)
      16th May 2016, 8:47

      I, as an LH fan, am naturally disappointed that neither Lewis nor Nico (who I also respect) delivered points for the fans and the Merc team.
      I feel Nicki Lauda’s immediate comments were not ‘helpful’ and that Toto’s comments were more realistic.
      I bow to the superior knowledge of the Steward’s verdict, that ‘neither driver was wholly or predominantly at fault’.
      I agree with Dr. Jekyll and altitude2k, and would be further disappointed if the aggressive ‘Hammer’ were to moderate his style to take account of Nicki Lauda’s political ‘correctness’
      All that being said, I am very thankful to see that both drivers were uninjured. A major tribute to the safety of these cars.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        16th May 2016, 18:28

        @geoffgroom44 Noone could be a fan of any driver who was able to come out of that corner with more speed and not try to pass. He would have shot past Rosberg had he not blocked him – he had to pass him there especially on this track and given Rosberg’s wrong setting.

        You and I would not have passed Rosberg but we are not F1 drivers… The stewards didn’t know the story – had they known that Rosberg defended with a slower car, he would not be driving the next race.

        1. I agree with the two comments above. The bad luck was that both were going for the inside, Lewis to pass and Nico to cover. I think they moved right at the same time and given the high speed differential, Lewis had no time to react and switch.
          Bad luck for them, though it made for a close and edgy race for the rest of us watching.
          And being a fan of both Ferrari drivers, I smiled a bit (on the inside); and then i smiled a bit more at the end for Max, although i was on the edge of my seat for Kimi the last half of the race.

        2. geoffgroom44 (@)
          17th May 2016, 9:25

          As much as my heart would like to see Lewis totally exonerated and Nico punished, I am not so sure that the stewards were not aware of all the circumstances as you seem to imply. Is there any evidence of this? Do you mean that Lewis would not have told the stewards that Nico was in battery recharge mode and was much slower?
          I do most sincerely hope that Nicki will restrain his immediate comments in the future and not rush headlong into the gap of confusion caused by such circumstances and try to overtake logical investigation with emotional reaction.Maybe we should have a ‘public stewards inquiry’ about that,huh?

        3. Stewards reviewed all the telemetry before judging, so you are wrong. They have access to all data from Mercedes. Down to the smallest fraction of change on steering wheel angle, any button setting or pressure on any pedal. They know EVERYTHING !
          The Stewards are not relying on verbal feedback from Mercedes team engineers, their pitwall staff or the two drivers.

    4. Toto has been very reasonable about it I think. Niki shot his mouth off before he knew really what had happened, doing his loose cannon thing. But overall I think the team comes out of it with credit. Of course it must help that they can afford a pair of dnf’s.

      1. @lockup This is why Niki occupies a non-executive position… All mouth, not a lot of trousers.

        1. Yep @optimaximal, Lauda is fun. Sincere, but…

          I can’t believe Mateschitz took his hand as the deal-maker for an engine, or that some people were suggesting he should be part of running F1 post Bernie. Anyway it seems clear Toto is in charge, in his agreeable way.

          1. Did Lauda change his mind? Hope not. He was right.

            1. No, Lauda did not change his mind.
              Neither did Jackie Stewart…

        2. M. Constable
          17th May 2016, 18:00

          Lauda has a lot of respect from me BUT this time he should of aired on the side of caution instead of shouting the odds this time he got it 100% WRONG and a little bit of respect has gone from me, as for my belief Hamilton went for a gap a slower car was leaving, the slower car saw it to late and tried to shut the door, even though the faster car was past his rear wheel, onto grass passenger BANG.

      2. Oh and ‘before he really knew what happened’? You know that how? You sure it wasn’t merely before YOU knew what really happened?

        1. Well the team came to the conclusion that it was a 50/50 incident, so clearly Lauda “shot his mouth off” before he knew all the facts (telemetry etc).

          1. No I think that even Toto acknowledged that Niki had his opinion from a racer’s standpoint as did each driver have their opinion on it. I envision that within the team it was 50/50 overall and with the stewards decision it should be relatively easy to move on. Ie. Niki and half the team had his opinion, the other half had the opposite. So I don’t see how Niki was ‘shooting his mouth off’. It was close to 50/50 here too, with a small percentage more blaming LH than NR, like Lauda did.

          2. Mercedes will at all costs try and get this story calmed down. Ideally with nobody being blamed (in public!). Internally they may then come to another conclusion and act accordingly but keeping it private.

    5. Bernie: “10 basis point up on historical payment for every mercedes clash, ok?”

    6. I’m glad Mercedes haven’t taken the Red Bull à la 2010 approach over this. We have seen cracking battles between the two before, but on this occasion both just went over that limit. Hopefully a good talking to will resolve this, they’re not children after all.

      1. Do you mean RedBull in 2010 or Mercedes in 2014???

        The last time these two had a coming together it was WAY more insignificant and they both continued in the race. But that didn’t stop Mercedes from publicly blaming Rosberg, raking himnover the coals and fining him! In an incident that the stewards also deemed a racing incident remember.

        What a complete joke!

      2. M. Constable
        18th May 2016, 14:54

        Craig SPOT ON, gutted it happened but IT”S RACING.

    7. So now I await news of Rosberg’s contract. What are they really thinking behind closed doors? Is the report about Zetsche’s comment true, that Nico is already signed for next year? Or is that just German TV?

      Would Alonso have swerved across blind like that, right to the edge of the track? I reckon not. I also have an idea that if Hamilton had gone for the gap on the left instead, Rosberg would have taken him off that side too. That’s why he was in the middle of the track, surely. Knowing he was travelling much, much slower, but determined to block left or right. I wonder if this is what Toto was waiting to find out, whether the Monaco/Spa Rosberg is ingrained.

      And after yesterday’s repeat Honda fiasco, for sure Alonso must be available, with his vastly superior mix of aggression and judgment and long history of fair driving.

      1. There’s generally no smoke without fire, when it comes to contract rumours.

        1. The words I read were slightly equivocal @altitude2k, like “Nico and Lewis are signed for the upcoming season”. It’s not exactly “a three-year contract”. Not sure of the particular German word he used and its nuances tho.

      2. And again, Wolff already said a few weeks ago that signing him was a formality at this point. And now they are a better team at handling incidents such as yesterday that saw Nico do nothing wrong in defending himself. Swerve blindly? Lol pure speculation by commentators that have decided Nico was distracted when he himself said he was not. Nico and all drivers in his position have every right to make their one move completely across the track at any rate they want, if they so choose. LH went for a window that had to have always looked like it was closing, and at such a speed that NR could not have been reasonably expected to avoid as the leading person with far less vision of what the speed differential was than the trailing driver always has. Hence the stewards ruling and why things will be fine at Merc.

        1. You don’t agree with me about NR @robbie?? This gp has been one surprise after another :) Nevertheless the contract is not signed, and since we live in a cause-and-effect universe there has to be a reason for that. If there were no reasons they’d just sign and not have to bother with the speculation and risk undermining one of their drivers who’s looking across at his teammate with a concrete 3-year deal.

          Btw it seems to me that if Rosberg was not swerving blindly but looking in his right mirror then it makes things worse rather than better. I reckon he understood exactly what the speed differential would be, since he’s completely familiar with how F1 cars accelerate with and without the 180 bhp. And he claimed he was always going to defend to the right, tho I think he was looking in his left mirror ready to go either way.

          Anyway I am curious to see about the contract. One of us will be right, I guess. The team could see it my way, or not. If ‘not’, they won’t be tweeting about it, sadly. They’ll say “it’s a formality” and then sign someone else and the new signing will take the attention away from their ex, especially if my wish were to come true.

          1. Yes I think the reason NR has not been re-signed, as a I have suggested before, as has the team, is that drivers are not usually being distracted by their own team with this sort of thing this early in the season. Because it is a mere formality there is no urgency, and as the season goes along the team can take comfort in where they sit amongst the competition and can then sit down and negotiate the fine details and cross all the t’s. Why did it take LH most of the season, ask yourself. Answer, because even when it is a mere formality it still takes time and patience due to the minutia of legalese.

            Nico was fully within his rights to cut across the whole track at whatever rate he so chose. It is of course speculation as to where he was looking and projecting that to what he was thinking but from what we have seen and what he has said, he figured he had the right side covered, and LH would have seen only a closing door on that side but strangely went for it anyway, so he was looking in his left side mirror to look for LH which would then determine when he would end his one move and go back to his racing line. Nico might have suspected LH would have a comparative head of steam on, but that didn’t mean to NR that LH should or would forget about his brake pedal. The ruling of racing incident indicates NR could not have reacted and left a car width for LH given LH’s rate of attack.

            1. Well if they didn’t want to be distracted @robbie, why didn’t they just get the contract done over the winter? As it is they’ve guaranteed they’ll have to do it in season. Tho with 2 weeeks between each race I don’t really buy the distraction argument. They have time to kill, and lawyers, and an existing contract they could just roll over.

              I don’t think it works to talk about ‘rights’ on track. They all have rights. It’s not the move itself that was the problem. Rosberg was supposed to leave a car’s width if Hamilton’s wing was going to be there. If NR had a reasonable estimate of the speeds and positions then he knew there was a risk it would be. Not a certainty, fair enough, but a risk. And at risk was the total loss of the weekend for the team.

              Of course it was also a risk for LH to go for it, but do his team really want a driver who wouldn’t have? From his point of view he just needed to get there in time to get his wing alongside, and he did.

              So I think it was about priorities, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the team end up feeling Rosberg’s priorities were not what they wanted. They might look at Lewis giving it up when he needed to, at T1, and Nico not doing that when he they needed him to.

              And I’m guessing they’d agree with me that Alonso would have. They might be going from thinking FA+LH=war to thinking it would actually be more respectful.

        2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          16th May 2016, 13:37

          @robbie yesterday Nico moved out and then in and he left no room knowing Lewis would be forced out and because of the speed, he would have probably ended up in a crash… I have no clue how Nico got away without a race ban – Senna got 6 months for doing the same thing… As Alonso said in Bahrain 2012 he was lucky to be alive… Ditto for Lewis yesterday. His car could have gone the other way and smashed into the wall.

          1. @freelittlebirds Here’s your clue. Nico and any other driver in his position was fully within his rights to cross the whole track at a rate of his choosing. When it comes to a driver closing in at such a rapid rate as LH was, the stewards can then be used to determine if NR could have reasonably been expected to leave a gap. I think LH’s mistake was assuming that door that always looked to be closing was going to be somehow open. All Nico was doing was his one move that he is entitled to. As the guy behind, LH is the one that could have controlled the situation better and not tried to win the race right then and there by trying to stay right of a guy who was obviously moving right at a fair clip.

            1. Here’s your clue. Nico didn’t leave enough space for Lewis per the regulations. It doesn’t matter what you think, or what you think anyone thinks. Nico broke the rules. It is reasonable to assume Nico wouldn’t have expected Lewis to close so fast on his position, but you are assuming Nico had no awareness of his fk-up on the engine modes.

              Nico was desperate, Nico admits to knowing what he was doing, and he pushed his teammate off track while Lewis was technically alongside him.
              The stewards again gift Nico after breaking the rules. Lewis only mistake was assuming his teammate wouldn’t run him off the road, which he did. Nico’s maneuver, pushing Lewis off the track, caused an avoidable collision.

              It’s easy to pretend Lewis is impulsive, emotional, and all the cultural stereotypes you want to apply to Lewis, because he looks different, and all ….. yeah, it’s pretty obvious … but the fact is Nico was slow out of the corner, and tried to cover Lewis off in a desperate move that caused an accident.

              Most of the posts going on right now are people trying to normalize their expectations, it’s fairly common with in groups of people who try to accept circumstances/events/etc… I just find it difficult as to how far people will go to justify their own opinions/prejudices.

            2. Wow quite a mouthful there. You are completely wrong of course, as Nico broke no rules, as indicated by the deeming by the stewards of it being a racing incident.

          2. @lockup I’m not going to sit here and try to figure out answers to your ever reaching speculations that have you looking for a story that doesn’t exist, regarding NR’s contract.

            As to the move. Nico would have been reasonably expected to leave a car width if LH’s attack wasn’t so sudden, but it was. From what I have read the stewards look at situations like this for a reason. I would suggest that they don’t expect you to move out of the way from anyone coming up from behind, for example just simply overcooking it intentionally just for the sake of them expecting to be handed an opening. Not saying LH did that, but NR could not have been expected to predict LH would keep trying to stay to his right while he continued going right himself…no doubt why he was looking in his left mirror.

            So I reject that it is just a matter of getting your wing in there and then you’re good to go. That’s not reasonable to do that suddenly on a driver who is still legally doing his one move. Hence the non-call and the deeming of a racing incident.

            1. Fair enough @robbie, there was hardly any time for them to react to each other as you say. Yes I am just speculating how the team might see it, as Nico taking an excess of risk, it is open to interpretation as we are demonstrating. The contract … will prove out one way or the other in the fullness of time and that will be a clue. Probably my hopes will be dashed, but for now they live on :)

            2. @lockup Fair comment. As you said above, LH went for it, and does Merc really want a driver that wouldn’t have, and I think the same can be said of NR. He too went for it. He gained the first corner on the outside on LH, and LH obviously doesn’t take NR for granted and felt urgency to try to get by him asap.

            3. Ah well @robbie we know Toto said Lewis had to go for it. And I daresay he liked T1 where Nico went for it and Lewis made sure to avoid contact. The $64,000 question is whether he thinks when Lewis went for it out of T3 Alonso would have blocked like Rosberg…

            4. Lol key question to you re: Alonso. Most likely they’re not sitting there saying ‘What would FA have done’? Btw NR didn’t block. Wouldn’t have been deemed a racing incident if he had. Personally I would not be surprised if both FA and LH would have done the same as NR did. Certainly MS would have.

            5. Well we can only assemble the shreds of evidence to base our guesses on @robbie. It’s not very long since Toto was saying publicly he wasn’t sure the LH+NR partnership could continue, and now this. He’s avoided giving Nico a contract. He mentioned Alonso to gee Lewis up over his contract.

              Add in some other factors:
              Red Bull are coming and they have 2 A class drivers.
              Wehrlein hasn’t set the world on fire so far.
              Lewis and Nando were being super cuddly over the weekend – in the PC, karting, signing and who knows what… bromantic dinners perhaps omg.
              The reason not to pair them again has always been WWIII, but now things look like WWIII with Nico.
              Bernie would love it and take some pressure off. Less hassle, more coverage.

              So I think I have some reasonable straws to cling to.

              FWIW I can’t think of Nando doing anything like Nico’s exploits. Schumi? We see eye to eye in that respect don’t we, and you’re tempting me to mention Rascasse. Just because Toto isn’t saying doesn’t mean he doesn’t know. In fact I’d say it’s unlikely he’d have fined Rosberg over Spa if he thought that was an isolated incident.

            6. @lockup lol sorry man, I don’t see your little shreds as ‘evidence’ let alone anything to add up. But you could try writing for soap operas. Example, you are the only one who thinks they are ‘avoiding’ re-signing Nico, when it sounds like they have an exact plan to do just that, at the appropriate time. And WWlll with Nico? Over a racing incident? Nah they’re bigger than that. That’s nothing compared to spygate and accusations over favouritism. Toto’s got it easy compared to LH/FA at Mac. Now there’s your soap opera.

            7. But they are facts @robbie. Inconvenient but there they are dude. The team fined Rosberg in 2014. That is unprecedented. Toto after Mexico last year said he might have to split them up. Nico does NOT have a contract and Lewis does. Alonso is not 25 any more.

              Meanwhile I don’t think you have a good definition of “an appropriate time” to actually sign an actual contract. As in, why is right now not appropriate, when they’ve had 3 years to be ready?

              Anyway we each have our prediction and mine is that Toto was waiting to see if something like this might happen, and it did. Let us see.

              Maybe Ron will do a swap, for some freaking engine technology :)

            8. @lockup The fact is the team is so past Spa 2014 that it is irrelevant. They were past it when NR cut the cheque and he went on to show this was not some habit of his. He heeded the warnings to not take his teammate out, even by accident.

              Toto, spoke of a driver change in what context please? Was it because of LH moving NR off the track in the US? It is moot because here we are with Nico leading and with 7 straight wins and with an incident that has been deemed neither drivers fault and which Toto could have immediately used to take LH’s side and castigate NR, but he didn’t. Only said they’re already better as a team at handling these types of things within a great rivalry and that within such a rivalry this kind of stuff is likely to happen. You don’t think it would between FA and LH?

              As to the contract, the appropriate time is the time that this team in this year has decided they will start to deal with it. They have months. You asking me when the appropriate time is is irrelevant. Wolff has already said there is no rush as it is a formality. That is the right answer in this situation. They are doing it their own professional way and you just can’t help but try to read more into this. You choose to look for something suspicious for NR yet when it took LH forever last year to cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s well that was just a mere formality. Your ever reaching stretch for the adding up of ‘facts’ to support your position only reveals your wish to see Nico gone from the team and it is too transparent and too much of a stretch. Even you seem to admit that.

              But since you like to dwell on he past and assume teams don’t move on but instead hold grudges and add things up like you like to, why would Wolff then, assuming he thinks like you, want someone on the team who will immediately disrupt it by claiming they favour LH? Oh right, because FA and LH were being buddy buddies this past weekend. There’s a fact to hang your hat on for sure…guaranteed.

            9. I don’t think it qualifies as a ‘fact’ that the team has forgotten Monaco and Spa 2014 @robbie. I think it’s quite unlikely, personally. It’s not a question of holding grudges it’s a question of recognising patterns to predict the future.

              Have you seen this?….

              Toto: “”Fernando is one of the best drivers in history and I like his character, but our priority now is Nico.

              “If he (Rosberg) does not want to renew, then we will consider other options, like Fernando. His (Alonso’s) age is not a problem — his speed and his motivation are still there,” he added.


              If Nico does not want to renew??? Well Nico has said he wants to renew, as he obviously would. Of course he might not want to renew for €1, or some other unattractive term. He might suddenly discover he’s had a burning ambition to drive for McLaren all this time.

              I’m not hiding my wish to see Rosberg out of the team, or F1 altogether. I think he’s a disgrace as you know. Not that I don’t respect your support him, but while you and I agree about ethics we disagree about the deliberateness of a few of his actions.

            10. @lockup Fair enough, and there’s no pattern.

              The start of the article explains Nico is their priority. I think there are huge odds he would move from a team that is providing race and WDC and WCC winning cars right now.

              So where is the ‘evidence’ after reading such a recent article, that there is latent suspicions of patterns that might dissuade them from keeping NR?

              Answer: there isn’t any.

              I’ll just add too, and I know we’ve touched on this before, if you think Nico is a disgrace then that makes MS something really really bad. After all MS practically invented and certainly perfected the chop and got away with it countless times, amongst his many other antics. Nico is an angel by comparison and if anything just taking a page out of some of the Greats books. I think you admire MS so admire Nico too, lol.

            11. Hmmmm, the patterns I see @robbie are

              He’s crudely aggressive especially at T1.
              He puts his car in fail positions then complains.
              Lewis can’t stand him now and they need Lewis to counter Seb, Ric and Max.
              Monaco ’14 was a premeditated cheat, Spa was a cheat, Sepang ’15 Q3 impeding was suspicious and so was Sochi’s sudden braking.
              Now he made a settings mistake and rather than accept the consequences he risked everything by taking the middle of the track, waiting for Lewis to move then, knowing Lewis would be going a lot faster, veering to the edge of the track to block, as though he was in GP3.

              What’s he got going for him? He’s German, kinda. Depends how important that is to Zetsche really.

              By contrast Alonso has a long history of being fair on track, is much more popular and would be electric for F1 and the team promotionally. It seems clear that any tensions would at least not be worse than what they have now.

              Plus we have the irrefutable evidence that so far Merc could have re-signed Rosberg, but haven’t. Of course the team aren’t going to give us any evidence they’re going to sign someone else, until they do. What we have are empty words with acres of wiggle room.

              Are you kidding about me admiring MS? Though at least he only did it once every few years, and apparently on impulse.

            12. Lol I know you see patterns, because you want to. Your ignoring of Nico’s pattern of winning seven races in a row until LH took him out, is glaringly missing. When LH is not winning, Nico is, so what more could Toto want? What is relevant is that Toto sees what he needs to see, including LH’s patterns, and he seems to have chalked it up to being what comes with the territory of this unique rivalry.

              As to MS and his once every few years impulsive moves…once or twice per race intentionally would be closer to accurate. Pretty much every race he started he would cut straight across the track off the grid. When drivers complained they were told he was doing nothing illegal, and as ugly as it is, neither did Nico, obviously.

            13. Well MS is one of the many things we agree on @robbie :)

              Another is Rosberg’s pace, tho of course Alonso can match it. As for our respective predictions about the contract, let’s resume after the announcement? I suppose a third option is they want to see Wehrlein in a few more races, and they might be thinking 43 points is 3rd instead of second for 14 races.

      3. Just because you feel and state “swerving blindly” is the best description of Rosberg’s legal move does not make it fact.
        I saw Rosberg make 1 move, which is legal. What Hamilton needed to do was “swerve controllably” back to the left and the pass was his. Had Rosberg made a move back to the left to cover this move, that would be an illegal move. You are allowed to commit to one move.

    8. Anyway, I expected nothing less from Mercedes who are racers and continue to honour the viewing audience by not being a one-rooster team particularly while they dominate. BE wants to stop them, but this is night and day better than the MS/Ferrari era that BE was fine orchestrating and prolonging until records were smashed for Ferrari.

      1. @robbie and similarly for Red Bull, who BE courted until they signed up till 2020 with massive break clauses.

        “Don’t worry Dietrich, you let me sort this out. I’ll get you and me a better say in the rule making. I’ll handle Jean. Just sign up till 2020. I’ll make sure the engines work in your favour. Just sign here…”

    9. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      16th May 2016, 13:50

      This is simply BS. It’s unacceptable because the crash was extremely dangerous. Had Lewis’s car gone in toward the wall, he may not have been alive today. That’s exactly what Alonso said when Rosberg did the exact same thing in 2012 in Bahrain and if you recall Rosberg did it twice. Rosberg pulled out as he was coming out of the corner to defend the outside, then pulled in knowing he didn’t have speed and forced Lewis to crash…

      The last driver to do that was Senna and he got a 6 month suspension. This is absolutely ridiculous. There’s no excuse for forcing a driver into a deliberate crash. There should be a petition on to ban Rosberg.

      1. If proportioning blame is a deciding factor , then: There should be a petition on to ban Lewis Hamilton. (Either of which is simply absurd.)

      2. @freelittlebirds
        Hamilton put himself in that situation.

        Look at the angle of Rosberg’s line. He’s likely going over 200 km/h. Lewis was still fully behind Nico at this point. He was driving into a wedge that was about to close within the blink of an eye.

        1. An F1 car is an agile thing @kingshark. In that photo Hamilton is clearly in Rosberg’s mirror, clearly starting a pass, and Rosberg knew that Hamilton would be going a lot faster with full power. Rosberg did look in that right-side mirror I see on the Sky replay, and he decided to keep coming.

          Rosberg created the situation with his mistake, and he simply didn’t care enough about the risks of veering right to the edge of the track. He was clearly willing to dive left or right from the middle of the track, GP3 style.

        2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          16th May 2016, 18:15

          @kingshark well, I think we should just ban overakes then once the other car moves in the same direction as the overtaking vehicle. Simple rule – very easy to implement. You have to make the pass before the other driver moves!!!

        3. It really seems like he’s actually aiming at going outside the track, but once the tires hit the green, he’s in panic mode because he realises this isn’t some Tilkedrome but a track with actual grass and gravel.

      3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        16th May 2016, 18:16

        @dbhenry I agree we should definitely have a petition because no car should try to overtake a slower car and slower driver. FIA rule X.IX in the Absurd Appendix – do not pass a slower car or slower driver…

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          16th May 2016, 18:19

          Rosberg decided to drive Kamikaze style – he knew he had the slower car and Hamilton was either going to stay behind or crash – period!!! He said it in the interview. The precedent now and it has to be accepted in any situation any car that is slower for whatever reason, tyre puncture, engine issue, wrong gear, GP2 engine, HAS THE RIGHT to defend at any cost and at any outcome. They also are allowed multiple maneuvers to overcome the speed issue. If the other driver dies in the process, maybe they get a 5 spot penalty depending on the Stewards’ flip coin that day.

          1. How ridiculous. The fact is NR as the leader had every right to cut across the track at whatever rate he wanted. As does any driver in his position. He was making his one move to defend.

            As to LH, when it comes to an attacking driver attempting a move on a driver ahead, if the attack is sudden enough then a leader in the process of his one move can sometimes be deemed to not be expected to react and leave a car width.

            So if you want to present silly scenarios like a slower car can do anything to prevent a pass from now on, without penalty, let’s take the other side of the coin…let’s envision that any kamikaze move, as long as you get a front wing in there somehow, even if you’re going way way too fast, should give any driver the right of way. Is that the F1 you want? Just go for any opening, even the ones that are only closing, at any unreasonable speed, call that permission to take a spot, and call that good racing? Come on, get realistic. Think about why the stewards called this a racing incident.

            1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
              16th May 2016, 19:36


              Actually Nico pulled to the left to cover the outside as he came out of the corner so it’s a double move…

              There’s a difference between
              1. Making the car wide
              2. Defending
              3. Sending your teammate to his death

              I think it’s hard for Nico to assume that he wasn’t aiming for option #3. Had he defended and even slightly pushed him out, then fine but he pushed him ALL the way out to the point that the car couldn’t even be driven straight by Lewis… Like I said Lewis was lucky yesterday, this is how drivers die and amount of safety regulations can help.

              In fact, I do believe that tracks should be redesigned for Rosberg so he can defend the way he likes… I think the FIA should focus on that rather than cockpits and other ridiculous shenanigans.

            2. @freelittlebirds I see where you got your nick. You’re high.

            3. @robbie
              I can’t agree that nice has the right to veer across the track at whatever rate he wants. Have you seen what he did in Bahrain in 2012? There has to be Asperger of common sense too, surely?

            4. Ah, autocorrect, sorry. That should of
              Have been Nico and ‘a degree’

            5. @paulguitar Can’t recall visually that race or the incidents you’re citing but I just read about it in Wiki and I note that he was not penalized for anything.


              @paulguitar Was taking that from the article I have referenced here regarding a leader being allowed to use the whole track to cross at a rate of his choosing, and the need for stewards to intervene if an attacking driver is coming at such a rate that the leader could not have been expected to react in time to leave a gap.

            7. @robbie

              It is true he was not penalised. I just re-watched both 2012 swerves and it is alarming stuff. I remember being very shocked at the time as I did not think back then that rosberg was that kind of driver.

              I think the legal wild swerve rule needs adjustment. It was brought in due to m schumacher’s regular antics bit I worry someone may be seriously injured or worse if this carries on.

            8. @paulguitar Did the complainants ever have any part of their cars beside any part of Nico’s? Without seeing it I would think the answer is either no, or not enough that Nico could have been expected to react.

            9. @Laura Thanks for that. So the Sky crew certainly thought Nico was deserving of some sort of penalty, and yet nothing.

              I found the incident with LH the more questionable one, as they did, but I have to conclude it was very similar to this weekends situation…he didn’t really own enough real estate beside Nico and decided himself to go way off track rather than back off. Alonso simply was never beside Nico at all.

              Another thing I’ll take away from this video is that LH shouldn’t have been surprised this weekend that Nico moved across the track as he did, as there was a precedent in 2012, and Nico was not penalized then, so no wonder his (Nico’s) tone was that he was the one taken out and not at fault
              this weekend.

            10. @robbie

              I can’t argue with what you say. I think the swerving needs to stop though, and for that a look at the rules is
              In order. It is all very well defending drivers who do this kind of mobe, until a car ends up in a grandstand…… I can’t recall seeing Hamilton or alonso swerving down a straight.

            11. @paulguitar Well said. I sure struggled with ‘the chop’ as it had become known, in the MS/Ferrari era. It looks hideous and reeks of blocking, but I do think F1 has it right in the sense that I don’t know how they can stop it. How do you control the rate at which a driver can move across the track during his one allowed move? The one allowed move had to be clarified on more than one occasion, so by now drivers certainly know they can’t block with a second move. So to police further that one move? Especially when the guy in front is truly in front? I think the best they can do is use stewards to review the reasonableness as each incident arises. Mistake by Nico with a setting or not, it was still up to the stewards, and I’m convinced completely that they decided Nico was always moving right rapidly and legally and so Lewis was over eager to expect a gap to remain there.

              As to others doing this one a straight, a few things…this was a very short straight last weekend, so perhaps a little different? But I can think of a few other times off the top…Button ‘squeezing’ LH down the grid straight in Montreal, and MS when he was at Mercedes moving Reubens off the track at really high speed at…I forget the venue.

              How a driver defends will, I suppose, always be contentious. With DRS passes the driver in front interestingly often doesn’t even try. Or can you imagine the carnage if they did?

            12. @robbie

              Yep, I agree with all you say. I was all horrified when the chopping started. I suppose it was Senna with the swerve on Prost which so shocked everyone. I think now that would hardly raise an eyebrow. Then, Michael
              Schumacher took it to new extremes including the incident you mentioned which was in Hungary I believe. That one made me cry out in horror…

              As you say, the question is, what to do? I think all that can be done is an incident by incident assessment, and the hope that the drivers will drive with common sense. A situation with interlocking wheels on a straight does not bear thinking about.

      4. The last driver perfecting that swerving discipline was Schumacher.
        He was even the reason why the FIA Racing Regulations was rewritten on that very subject.

    10. Rosberg has increased his aggression since Austin last year, but that doesn’t mean he has the same level of control over the car or spatial awareness as someone like Hamilton. Think back to his problems under heavy braking in 2014, or indeed at Austin 2015. Or accepting that Spa and Monaco 2014 were mistakes not deliberate: again a lack of control under pressure. That adds up to more collisions due this year with both the Mercedes drivers fighting for position.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        16th May 2016, 14:36

        I agree – I don’t think Nico can handle pressure well – he seems to panic and do crazy things when split second decisions are required. He’s shown that his decision making is definitely up to par with the rest of the drivers. In fact, the driver he has the most in common with is Maldonado who also had the worst judgment possible under similar circumstances. These types of drivers are very dangerous.

      2. That was the 1st thing I thought! Nico is fast , He just can NOT race.
        He chopped Lewis. And took him out himself out in the process.Racing incident.
        Many more to come,hopefully.
        Once I got over the shock it was a Cracking Race! The different strategies at the end were great to try and figure out.

        1. I disagree. I think NR’s ‘spatial awareness’ is just fine. He knew exactly what to do in that situation, and did it legally. He was fully within his rights to cut across the track at a rate of speed of his choosing. If you are going to question spatial awareness of anybody, perhaps it should be LH’s, who tried to go for a gap that was always closing.

          1. Nope. As it says in the regulations, one must leave a cars width if another car is alongside. As stewards said they thought Nico had too little time to react when Lewis was alongside, so this was excused. So the stewards itself thought that Nico was simply too slow to react. So would be I, but i am not a F1 driver…
            You can’t have both ways. Either Nico was breaking rules (and getting away with it) or he has problems with spatial awareness.

            1. @nmsi You can’t have it both ways. You’ve acknowledged the stewards said NR didn’t have time to react. This was due to LH’s sudden attack. You are shaping your words to claim the stewards said he was too slow. If you can show me where they say that fine, but I doubt it. What they would have decided was that LH’s attack was too quick for any leading driver to react to. It is not an indictment of NR and his abilities, it is a question of what is reasonable for a lead driver to expect to react to.

              And Nico was found guilty of nothing. His spatial awareness is fine as well as his awareness of the rules.

    11. Merc should not renew Rosberg ‘s contract and hire somebody else for next year.He seems to be bigger ego than Hamilton’s.Never ever a match for the world champion.bottas or pascal vherlein would be a right choice for merc.

    12. Merc should not renew Rosberg ‘s contract and hire somebody else for next year.He seems to be bigger ego than Hamilton’s.Never ever a match for the world champion.bottas or pascal vherlein will be a right choice for merc.

    13. I think this turned out in the best possible way.
      Rosberg finally overtook Ham on track- which people are constantly denying he’s capable of.
      Rosberg finally showed Ham he’s not his playball–Ham has developed a habit of doing overtakes (especially on Rosberg) which only work if the second driver complies.
      And Mercedes (and the public)seem to see it as racing incident or slightly ham’s fault- which means we won’t see a late-2014 downbeat nico making it a boring season.
      Also, see it as racing incident, ham’s or ros’ fault, it was clearly a BIG mistake from Ham, as he’s the one who’s harmed most by this. he should simply be smarter than that.

      1. Fact 1: Rosberg made an error with his engine mode and lost speed.
        Fact 2: Hamilton saw the error and went for a pass (file under: racing).
        Fact 3: Having made an error, Rosberg chose to defend aggressively rather than accept he’d made a mistake and allow Hamilton space to attempt the pass cleanly.

        You can come to a number of conclusions, but given the error and the decision to defend aggressively (i.e. deny track space while being slower) were Rosberg’s, you’d have to be against drivers racing on principle to put the blame on Hamilton.

        1. Mostly, you make a good point.
          Fact 1 is spot on.
          Fact 2 is questionable. I’m not sure Hamilton saw the error as much as he knew had an advantage. I’m sure he saw this in the post race debrief.
          Fact 3 is 50% correct at best. Rosberg defended with the move but it didn’t seem aggressive. He left plenty of room to pass on the left.
          And to add one ….
          Fact 4 There was plenty of room to pass on the left of Rosberg.

          I am not sure what you mean by “racing on principle”. I proportion more blame to Hamilton but I don’t think I would blame either of them but who am I? I favor neither Rosberg nor Hamilton. I think it’s called racing.

          1. By the time Hamilton had clocked Rosberg’s issue (and he likely did) he had already committed to moving right. To move back left without backing off would have possibly taken Rosberg out, as Hamilton himself acknowledged.

            1. The stewards also remarked that Hamilton did not lift or reconsider the validity of his own action though they considered he should have had. They considered Hamilton’s attack valid but not that Hamilton continued despite the expected defense from Rosberg to defend the inside line was happening and Hamilton did nothing to counter. As much as I love Hamilton’s brilliant racing at times, you do not win a race by being a bully on the first lap. Especially not when you are not the leading car…

          2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            16th May 2016, 18:32

            @dbHenry – it would have been racing if Rosberg had left space and Hamilton and Rosberg collided. That’s racing. Not intentional by either driver. Not avoidable either.

            Rosberg covered the outside and then dove into the inside and unfortunately Hamilton’s move was very fast and the only way to stop him was to send him to the graveyard which is exactly what Nico tried to do but thankfully failed.

            Not a racing incident by any means – a torpedo intended to kill Hamilton? Perhaps a more accurate description.

            1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
              16th May 2016, 18:37


              Nico even said it was his race to win publicly as if he had a godgiven right to win 8 in a row… No one was allowed to pass him and he made that known on the track by breaking every racing rule possible.

              Like I said the closest thing we’ve seen was by Senna and he got a 6 month suspension. Should Nico get anything less? In the interviews, it’s obvious that he was NOT going to let Lewis pass him under any circumstance. And his action on the track show that…

            2. Lol it was ‘his race to win’ because he beat LH on the outside of T1. I’m sure that’s all he meant. Same reason LH wanted back in front so badly. These cars handcuff each other once one is in the dirty air of the other.

            3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
              16th May 2016, 19:44

              @robbie I’ve never heard a more preposterous thing in my life – Lewis could have easily blocked Nico on T1 but he chose not to – look at the replay. Lewis slows down to avoid colliding with the front wing. Now that was an aggressive move because Nico turned in… Lewis’ move was not aggressive – it was a simple pass of a faster car versus a slower car. Nico could have easily defended by leaving space and then tried to get back in the race or gotten him on the other lap. If everyone blocked Lewis the way Nico did in MotoGP, Valentino Rossi would have died 10 years ago with his masterful passes. In fact Lewis’s pass was a masterclass pass unlike Nico’s T1 pass where he undercut Lewis risking disaster.

            4. You’re entitled to your opinion.
              I’d guess that you haven’t competed in any actual open wheel racing though. Why in the world would the leader want to leave space on the inside line going into a turn? It is not on the lead car to make way for the guy behind him.

    14. Yeah, this does go down as a racing incident….. However, I would place blame on nico. I get that Nico has the right of way, but nico also has the ability to make stupid decisions & suffer the consequences. LH had a heck of a run coming out the last corner & saw the traditional passing opportunity on the right available & went for it. Was LH supposed to lock up his brakes? There was no slowing down for that speed differential.

      Nico has pushed people off the track, as he has done so in the past & did it @ a race; for which i cant recall, numerous times & was reprimanded by the stewards for repeatedly doing so in a similar manner. Same excuse of: “i have right of way, im the car in front” BS.

      I’m happy for max…. hell of a drive & he channeled his inner Nostradamus & called the Mercedes outcome!

      1. As the rearward driver LH had more control over the situation. Nico could not have known LH’s pace nor intentions and could only do what was available to him…his legal one move across the track. Nico could not have been expected to react to such a sudden attack like LH’s. Lock up his brakes? Sure if that’s what it took to avoid going onto the grass and taking both cars out then yeah, locking up as the driver more in control of the situation would have likely seen them both finish the race yesterday. LH misjudged for an opening that was never guaranteed to be there. He had to have seen Nico’s direction of travel across the track and known it was risky to expect Nico to stop that trajectory, as the leader.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          16th May 2016, 19:50


          What you’re saying doesn’t stand to reason – Nico knew Lewis’s pace because he had the wrong setting. He could not have been expected to reach to such a sudden attack? But the collision happened because Nico reacted. Had he stood still, there would have been no issue. The issue is how he reacted and what he did knowing that Lewis would have passed him simply based on speed differentials. The decision to push him off track with a wall next to him was a life and death decision. I would have apologized simply for tossing a coin with my teammate’s life… F1 is an absolute joke – Nico should have had a 6 month ban here and instead he’s running around saying he knew he was slower, it was his race to win, the stewards got it right, I was surprised and I did nothing wrong…

          1. Lol the collision happened because LH went for a hole that was never going to remain, and then he steered onto the grass and became a passenger and took Nico out. As the leader Nico did everything right. It was up to LH the follower to react to Nico, not up to Nico to stand still and let LH past. It’s called racing. It’s called defending. LH got over aggressive after being taken in T1 and tried to win the race ahead of T3. Your argument, if there was any reason to it, could just as easily be put on LH. One could just as easily say LH is lucky his over eager behaviour didn’t cost him anything penalty wise let alone his or NR’s life. But enough of soap operas. It was a racing incident so your arguments hold no water. They are without basis. The horse has already left the barn. If there was something to what you are saying it would not have been deemed a racing incident so ask yourself the tough questions and come to terms with why they and the team would see this as a racing incident.

            1. He had to leave space. That’s it. The rest is pointless.

            2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
              16th May 2016, 22:34

              @robbie I’m actually less strict and I would have been ok with some space – at least then he could have said “hey one his wheels was partially on the track” – Nico can’t make any claim other than I pushed him out cause it was mine to win.

    15. There seems to be a lot of blinkered Hammy fans.There have been many times that Hammy has forced drivers off the track and no one says a thing. He finally gets a dose of his own medicine and everyones having a nervous breakdown. It was a racing incident both at fault, Hammy for getting the red mist as he’d just been overtaken and Nico finally growing a pair. Well done to the pair of them because this made the race a lot more watchable and not a bore fest like they have become.Finally well done to Max on his first win all be it unusual circumstances or readings some comments more conspiracy theories.

    16. “There have been many times that Hammy has forced drivers off the track and no one says a thing.”

      No, actually, there hasn’t. You’re mistaking what is race craft through car positioning in corners, to flat out forcing someone off the track on a straight, (a-la Schumacher on Barrichello in Hungary 2010 – to which Schumacher was subsequently punished)

      Go and watch Rosberg’s antics in Bahrain 2012, where he was punished for forcing Hamilton, no less, and Alonso off track, watch his movements on the straight, there is an uncanny resemblance to his actions in Spain 2016. He was punished then, and thus should have been punished this time.

      In Bahrain, he got lucky that Hamilton had tarmac run-off to keep control of his vehicle at 160+mph, in Spain however, Rosberg found out to his detriment just what pushing people off on straights can do.

    17. The day Hamilton becomes a ‘processional driver’ like Button or Nico is the day I stop supporting him. The risks, the occasional crashes, the pure racing instinct – that’s what turns the fans on. You can be sure the next time he dives down the inside, Nico will think twice before trying to push him off the road.
      Bring on Monaco!

    18. Of course they want them to fight,obeying team orders means no TV coverage.

    19. I have never heard so much dribble in my entire life.
      Rosberg chopped Hamilton and got taken out as a direct result. Racing incident.
      Either stop the chop, or stop these darn racers trying to race! Who do they think they are ??
      Nigel Mansell??

    20. As a regular on F1 Fanatic, you quickly begin to pretty much sort out who is who, vis-a-vis which contributors support which drivers – and even which ones are outright against which drivers!

      Its always so funny when there is an incident like this to see how the blame game goes. All the supporters of one driver blame the other driver, and vice-versa.

      I guess its always been like that in sports and any competion really, and thats what brings out the fanatic in the fans.

      Go F1Fanatic……. and may the best driver win!

    21. Is this forum very much pro Hamilton?
      Or just anti Rosberg?
      Or both? ;o)

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