Hamilton’s championship fightback begins

2016 Monaco Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

On the evening of November 27th in Yas Marina, when we tot up the totals and figure out who has become the 2016 drivers’ champion, how dearly will Nico Rosberg’s decision to let his team mate past in Monaco have cost him?

Formula One Management did not broadcast any of the radio discussions between Mercedes and their drivers as the position swap was orchestrated. According to Lewis Hamilton he did not ask to be let past even as race leader Daniel Ricciardo pulled away at over two seconds per lap.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monte-Carlo, 2016
Rosberg let Hamilton by
Rosberg was struggling to get his wet weather tyres into the correct operating window in a problem the team’s executive director for technical Paddy Lowe believed was “related to brake temperatures”.

“It came to the point where we told Nico he would either need to pick up the pace or let Lewis past,” Lowe explained. “One lap later, he hadn’t managed to find that extra pace, so we asked him to move aside – which he did immediately.”

While Lowe applauded Rosberg for “his team ethic and playing for the overall team result”, it begs the question whether Hamilton would have done the same in identical circumstances. Or, more to the point, whether Hamilton would have ended up in the same situation to begin with.

At the time the exchange of positions potentially cost Rosberg just three points. But by the time the chequered flag fell – as a still-struggling Rosberg lost sixth place within sight of it – the result was a 19-point swing. That has brought Hamilton back within striking distance of his team mate in the championship.

Go ad-free for just £1 per month

>> Find out more and sign up

The call from the Mercedes pit wall to swap positions was the first of two cards which fell in Hamilton’s favour on Sunday. The second, of course, was Red Bull’s shambolic pit stop for Ricciardo. But this was a mistake Red Bull made under pressure applied by Mercedes and Hamilton.

Twelve months earlier Hamilton had suffered a defeat in Monaco so galling the team had to cajole him into attending the post-race podium ceremony. Hamilton had a hand in the fateful decision to make an extra pit stop during a Safety Car period which cost him the victory.

Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, 2015
Hamilton avenged his bitter 2015 Monaco defeat
But this time Hamilton urged his team not to bring him into the pits, eager to run as long as he could on the wet weather tyres early in the race to bring him into contention with Ricciardo.

“Fortunately I was quick enough in the wet as I usually am here,” Hamilton explained afterwards.

“I think with the strategy it was really just about that the track was drying so quick, but unevenly across the lap, so the first and middle sector were drying up really quick and the last sector was going quite slowly. So it was really kind gauging that and I noticed other people when they came out – Nico I heard had pitted and Sebastian and they weren’t lapping much faster than me, if at all.”

“My tyres weren’t really degrading, so I was like ‘I got to stay out’. The team were saying we should move but I knew I would drop behind Daniel, so I eked it out as far as I could and luckily right at the end… I switched just at the right time.”

Hamilton managed his wet weather tyres to perfection and ran a savvy final stint on ultra-softs as well. When the rain returned in the final two laps he drew over three seconds clear of Ricciardo.

All had seemed lost for Hamilton the day before when another Mercedes power unit problem in qualifying cost him the chance to get in a vital banker lap during Q3. “I don’t really expect too much from tomorrow,” said a glum Hamilton on Saturday.

But he put himself in a position to win and took full advantage. From here the teams head to one of his strongest venues. Hamilton has already won four times at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and another victory there would be proof his bid for a fourth world championship title is back on track.

2016 Monaco Grand Prix

    Browse all Monaco Grand Prix articles

    Author information

    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...

    Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

    Posted on Categories 2016 F1 seasonTags ,

    Promoted content from around the web | Become a RaceFans Supporter to hide this ad and others

  • 96 comments on “Hamilton’s championship fightback begins”

    1. “While Lowe applauded Rosberg for “his team ethic and playing for the overall team result”, it begs the question whether Hamilton would have done the same in identical circumstances.”

      Cast back to the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix, Hamilton was asked to let Rosberg through, and he didn’t oblige. Circumstances were different of course, Rosberg had another stop to make, Hamilton didn’t, but it arguably cost Rosberg a shot at victory as he was lapping up to 3 second quicker than the leaders.

      Would Hamilton have done the same for Rosberg in Monaco? I don’t think so.

      1. Cast back to Nurb 2013 and Rosberg took quite a lot of laps before he complied with the order to let Hamilton through. And in Hungary ’14 Rosberg was never that close so Lewis would have had to slow right down and lose a lot of time.

        It’s just speculation anyway, about Monaco. A what-if. People can imagine it for or against, according to their predisposition.

        1. If Hamilton know he is a beaten man, he would pull over. He has done it for Nico in the past and he would have no problem doing it again – the circumstance is the decider.

      2. i think he would. After spain, where they both ended with 0 points, the team would have made it very clear that there is a bigger picture. Even Lewis would not go against the team the very next race if he knows he has a problem.

        1. Exactly, people need to put Rosberg moving over into actual context. If Hamilton was in contract negotiations, after both cars crashing out in the previous races, while the parent company big bosses are at the circuit, yes, i think Hamilton would have moved over too.

          1. Also another part is, Nico had an actual car problem. So he was 2s off pace.

      3. Fudge Ahmed (@)
        31st May 2016, 13:32

        2015 Hamilton I think would have complied.

        2016 Hamilton having seen Rosberg push him off track twice already this year and have all the reliability thus far, probably not.

      4. I was surprised when Rosberg moved so easily. I think this was an unprecedented event in that Rosberg was woefully slow – he was no chance of winning with the pace he had.

        The race I clearly remember where the two Merc drivers had tension was at the Hungaroring. In that moment, Rosberg could’ve been let through but Hamilton was not in the same position Nico was last Sunday i.e. lapping more than a second to an opposing team’s driver in the lead.

      5. There is NO WAY that Hamilton would let Rosberg through, especially in Monaco.

        1. I think it is quite clear that this was an unusual circumstance for Nico, as it would have been unusual for LH too. Would LH have moved over so readily? I’d like to think so, but then I can see it in him to not. Given his lagging in points due to hard luck perhaps he would have at least put up a fuss with the team and delayed it more to try to put his teammate further back. I’m only saying that because LH has shown way more stubbornness at obeying team calls than Nico has. But if it was LH leading the WDC and simply handcuffed with cold tires in the wet? Yeah I’d like to think he would also consider it a no-brainer like NR did. Maybe if it was LH with the points lead NR would have put up a fuss with the team, and tried to delay as long as possible.

          Anyway, it’s up to Nico now to make sure he keeps on top of LH in Canada which will be no easy task.

      6. In the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix, Hamilton said to the team:”I’m not slowing down for Nico. If he can get close and overtake, then he can overtake.”
        How do you think about this?

        1. If Roberg wants to be world champion he must make it difficult for Hamilton and not let him pass. Constructors is a forgone conclusion so he should be selfish. No way Hamilton would return the favour. Hamilton is merciless and would happily have slammed Ricciardo into the wall rather than let him pass when Ric tried to overtake.

          1. “Hamilton is merciless and would happily have slammed Ricciardo into the wall rather than let him pass when Ric tried to overtake.”

            Well that is some grade A bull excrement right there!

          2. Absolutely not! Hamilton is a racer, the shut the door to late moves are left to Massa and Rosberg. They are not bad drivers but their racecraft is very low compared to Ham, Alonso and Ricciardo.

      7. Two things… In Hungary, neither car was having problems producing speed, and Rosberg never got close enough to Hamilton to make the pass (Hamilton said he was willing to let Rosberg past, but not park the car to make it happen).

        Two, Mercedes has a standing agreement that if one car is jeopardizing the team’s ability to win the race, then the slower driver gets out of the way.

        This was a very unusual situation, in that the car was seemingly OK, but the driver had a problem– Something we’ve never seen from Hamilton (or Rosberg for that matter).

        1. Agreed. As to Hungary, I agreed with LH that day. It was up to NR to get on LH’s bumper and then LH would have complied, but by no means should he have backed off to let NR by, and nobody was expecting him to. I believe the problem for Nico was the same that LH has expressed…once in an equal car’s dirty air, you’re handicapped. So winding the clock back, while I was in agreement with what LH did, I also felt for Nico. Most were saying it was ‘simply’ up to him to pass LH. LH told us in no uncertain terms in the last 3 races of last year, how that can be much more easily said than done.

        2. In fairness, the chance of Lewis being in a position to pass was low at Monaco also.

          1. Agreed that the situation was vastly different and Nico wasn’t near Lewis that day…

            In response to @mike Lewis may not have got into a position to actually pass (it’s practically impossible at Monaco without risking a crash) but he was climbing all over the back of Nico for lap after lap. That’s the big difference between the two incidents.

            1. Oh, no doubt the differences make the examples pretty unrelatable. I just want to address that “and Rosberg never got close enough to Hamilton to make the pass” was as much true in Monaco as it was in Hungary.

      8. @brickles

        That’s quite a lot of time to cast back, but if I’m doing it correctly then so was the amount of time Rosberg was back from Hamilton. Hamilton wasn’t even defending against Rosberg that race, Rosberg just couldn’t catch him. He wasn’t even getting close enough you could argue loss of aero efficiency was the problem he was so far back there wouldn’t even have been blue flags if Hamilton was a lapped car.

      9. 3 seconds faster than leaders? He couldn’t even get his car close to Lewis…

      10. In Hungary we had radio messages on air. The team said to Lewis to let Nico and Lewis answered “I ain’t slowing down, if he comes close he can pass”.
        Basically saying he will let him pass if he came behind him but that he was unwilling to sacrifice seconds of his time to slow down to let Nico that was keeping a 3 seconds distance from him.
        In Monaco Lewis was stuck in Nico’s gearbox.

        Therefore i hardly see how Lewis denied letting him past. What he denied is ruining his race just to let him past. Nico was asking too much for Lewis to just slow down and lose seconds like that.

    2. I don’t know why people made a big deal of Hamilton’s 43-point deficit in the first place.

      That’s less than two race wins, less than 20 points in the old system and that’s the number from which people have often had trouble coming back from.

      But even so, we all know Hamilton is quicker than Rosberg and that the Mercedes is still the best car on most tracks so, naturally, he should win every no-drama race and take the title.

      It is very rare that the better driver in the best car does not take the title.

      1. Fair enough but unless you’re willing to hand LH the trophy right now, I’d like to see the season through and see if we have a ‘new Nico’ on our hands. LH might still be the better driver but that doesn’t have to mean NR isn’t stronger than ever. The good news for us is that both drivers have the capable equipment and the green flag to race each other, so it’s going to be great to watch.

        1. @atticus-2 @robbie Add Ricciardo in the RB to the mix. This season really looks promising.

        2. @robbie – Indeed, I’m curious to see if he can keep cool after a DNF followed by a 19 points loss. I think I could appreciate his atittude of letting LH by if I was sure that his reasoning was something along the lines of “The car is not 100% and I suck in the rain anyways, I’ll just gather a few points instead of a 2nd DNF (or even worse, take both out again while defending) and go back to winning in Canada”. Like a strange mix of humility and self confidence.

      2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        31st May 2016, 15:21

        @atticus-2 yeah but for some reason Lewis has very dramatic seasons:-) anything you can possibly think of can happen and will most likely happen. Even his qualifying days are dramatic – I can’t remember how many times we’ve seen Hamilton without fuel, not being sent out, coming in because of rain, flames etc. He has the perfect home race then tyres explode, he’s crushing it at Monaco then he’s P3, his car is being rolled in in Q3. It’s even possible that Daniel could win this like Raikonnen did in 2007. The possibilities are endless – it’s what makes the sport a lot more fun to watch.

        1. MG421982 (@)
          2nd June 2016, 7:03

          You’re obviously exagerrating. 2007 was pretty matched, especially machinery wise: 9 victories for Ferrari, 9 for McLaren. Kimi was at the top of the game at that very moment too. You’re placing RBR suddenly on the winners table based on just 2 very good performances at certain tracks. Ferrari won some races too last year, and based on performance, not some lucky wins like RBR had because both Mercs retired, in 2014 too, but in the end Ferrari was nowhere close to be a threat to Mercedes. If things go well for Vettel from now on, I say he’ll be 3rd at the end of the season. Raikkonen is pretty much finished, don’t expect something too good from him.

      3. @atticus-2: I do enjoy watching Hamilton drive, but I think you’re overstating the margin between him and Rosberg. Given a little bit of “noise in the system”, Rosberg could easily be the next WDC. Margins are wafer thin between them. All other things being equal, I think Hamilton is clearly the stronger driver. But F1 is a fickle mistress and fortune (and misfortune) can be unevenly distributed. Another WDC for Hamilton is nowhere near a done deal, I’m with @robbie on this one.

        1. I struggle with this ‘wafer thin’ analogy we keep hearing.

          LH year on year has won twice as many races as NR.

          He won 22 races before he got to Merc and that was in the RB years. Nico? Well just 1 in 19 more races?

          Now we can fuss with stats, gaps, cars frankly whatever you want given the rather fact that generally through whatever factor Nico has had a number of wins while it’s hard to find a single one in the LH portfolio.

          Bottom line. He wins in any given year in the dominant car twice as many races.

          But like you say – a fickle mistress can make it look different..

          1. Sorry – should say Nico has inherited a few wins. LH – not so much.

            1. Russia 2015 and Silverstone 2014 come to mind. USA 2015 was also incredibly lucky with the safety car timing. Lewis also inherited the win in Monaco last weekend (from Daniel, not Nico).

            2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
              31st May 2016, 18:36

              @kingshark Lewis did not inherit the win at Monaco. He was ahead before and after the pit stop -Red bull simply failed to capitalize on Merc’s mistake by making another mistake.

            3. @freelittlebirds
              That is some serious mental gymnastics. Ricciardo had a 14 second pit stop yet emerged right behind Hamilton. That pit stop, which was outside of Ricciardo’s control, quite clearly gifted Hamilton the win.

            4. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
              1st June 2016, 3:47

              @kingshark you are forgiving Mercedes’ mistake of pitting Lewis before Ricciardo on lap 31 and making a slower 4 second pit stop – there was no way Lewis was going to put in a faster lap than Daniel on cold ultra softs versus inters on a damp track. Did Lewis inherit the victory? Well Daniel would have certainly inherited the victory had the pitstop been faster… For me the pitstops were a wash and I’m glad they were because this race should not have been determined by pitstops and ultimately it wasn’t – they came in together and they came out together with Ricciardo on better rubber for the stint. Yes, Ricciardo can be upset with Red Bull but that’s a different story. I think Ricciardo should have attacked at the end like Hulkenberg did but anyway just pointing that a) Lewis did not inherit a victory since he had to fight for it and b) after Lewis was in front, Daniel did not inherit the victory through a blunder by Mercedes.

            5. @kingshark I don’t agree your point in Silverstone 2014 ,HAM pit in lap41 only because he had a free chance.I think a driver can run 24 laps by used mid-soft tyres,and yes,he can run 28 laps use new hard tyres.And ROS must pit one more time because he only used two set of mid-soft tyres.

            6. @freelittlebirds
              for starters, a 4 second pit stop is not exactly slow. Hamilton spend 9 less seconds than Ricciardo in the pits when both pitted for dries around lap 31-32:


              Secondly, Lewis came in on the crossover point (a lot of other drivers also came in for slicks when he did). His outlap was just really slow. Lewis just isn’t very good with dry tyres on a wet track. We saw it at Monaco where Daniel was much faster than him in damp conditions. We saw the same thing in Silverstone and Austin last year where Lewis was outclassed by Nico in the changing conditions. He just isn’t very good in those conditions.

            7. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
              1st June 2016, 18:52

              @kingshark Ricciardo’s 31st lap was 91.683 – I estimate his 32nd lap to have been around 90. No outlap even on softs was done in 90. Ultra-softs were in 95+. Incidentally Rosberg posted a 103.3 second outlap while Hamilton posted a 101.8 outlap. So Hamilton did push too hard but he still did a better lap than Rosberg by 1.5 seconds.

              Incidentally you are wrong and I’m wrong – Mercedes made 3 mistakes on lap 31:

              1. Slower pitstop
              2. Brought Lewis in before Ricciardo
              3. Put him on Ultra Softs as opposed to Supersofts or Softs.

              Granted Red Bull made the right call to keep Ricciardo out for another lap but then they bungled it but I think they realized the ultrasoft was slow and causing trouble for the Mercs and that’s what tripped them up. Had they gone to Ultras, they would have won unless Hamilton had passed Daniel on track.

              So in effect, Red Bull made 1 good call and 2 mistakes:
              Good Call
              1. Chose to keep Ricciardo out for another lap
              Bad Calls
              2. Chose to switch to Super Softs
              3. Bad communication – Delayed pitstop because of 2

              Ultimately Daniel was behind and he stayed behind and the real question is should he have waited to make his move considering he was on more durable tyre. That for me is the question for Daniel as a driver – now as for his team, different question altogether.

            8. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
              2nd June 2016, 3:30

              Oh and since we are analyzing this, had Red Bull brought Ricciardo in on the same lap as Hamilton, Ricciardo would have beaten him coming out assuming Red Bull did a fast pit stop and also put Ricciardo on ultras. Their good call was sadly, in retrospect, a bad call…:-)

              Ironic isn’t it? It’s almost as if fate dictated that the race be won on track…

            9. As much as Daniel got screwed on raceday Lewis got screwed on qualy, this does not mean he was guaranted pole. Just that he could have had pole and in that case this discussion would´nt happen, looking at the whole thing both teams screwed up costing theirs drivers places.

              Had Hamilton beaten Rosberg to 2nd place, Ric would´nt have a 14 sec head start and RedBull would have to adotpt their tactics. I think this is obvious but everbody is only talking about the most recent event RB screwup as if it was the only deciding factor.

          2. If that’s the case then 2-1 in championships is about right then ;)

          3. @DRG – The comparison between LH and NR is much closer than you lay out. I only use their years together at Mercedes because comparing mid/late 2000s McLaren with Williams is not a fair comparison.

            So, since they started together in 2013, the gaps are:
            Wins: +6 to LH
            Podiums: +4 LH
            Poles: +3 LH
            Retirements: +3 NR

            I took out the double points idiocy and when you average it out over 4 seasons (this will shift as this year is underway) you get the average season difference of:
            Wins: +1.5 LH
            Podium: +1 LH
            Poles: +0.75 LH
            Retirements: +0.75 NR
            Points: +23.75 LH

            Again, a race win’s worth of points difference per season. Considering Nico averages about 1 more retirement per season, there is your margin. I would agree that LH has had the edge on NR and may continue to do so this season (we will see). But it really is “wafer thin” in my opinion.

      4. @robbie @x303 @freelittlebirds @tribaltalker Thank for all the replies, guys – all basically had the same message that we should not count out ‘drama’ races to continue.

        That’s a relatively good point – as much as no-ordinary races are the ‘norm’ compared to ordinary races. I think we have been spoiled by unexpected twists and turns this year, many of which, I think, were rather incidental.

        Like Ferrari’s one-off monster start and Alonso’s one-off huge crash and red flag in Melbourne, Hamilton’s lap 1 crash in Sakhir and Shanghai, the rare Mercedes crash in Barcelona or the rare Monaco rain (which actually helped Hamilton in the end compared to a dry race) – and so I don’t really expect it to continue. Even Hamilton’s engine issues; there have been SO many that it’ll surely stop very very soon.

        One positive is the standings still – Rosberg still have a 24-point margin. (Which, considering Montreal is one of Lewis’ best track, is practically a 17-point margin, I reckon.)

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          31st May 2016, 17:29

          @atticus-2 don’t jinx it – Rosberg might collide with Verstappen or Ricciardo at Montreal:-)

      5. @atticus-2

        Exactly. I was pretty confident that within 5 to 6 races the points deficit would be under 10 points. Let’s see if my prediction of Lewis leading the championship by race 11 comes true

      6. How do you determine that Lewis is quicker? Behind in qualifying several times of late. Beaten off the line every time of late, beaten by Nico every race for a while except when he took Nico out or Nico moved over for him and still behind in points. Oh, of coarse, obviously Lewis is quicker! No logic there?

    3. A lot of people have been debating whether Hamilton would have done the same thing if the rolls were reversed… But I think a better question is whether Rosberg would have let Hamilton pass if he was the one behind in the championship by 43 points?

      It’s easier to follow team orders when you have such a big championship lead and are only expecting to lose 3 points by letting your championship rival through… However I don’t think he’d have done the same if the championship positions were reversed, and I certainly wouldn’t expect him to do the same again this season, that’s for sure.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        31st May 2016, 17:27

        @sparkyamg if the rolls were reversed – would it still be a hot dog?;-)

    4. Well some people saying that Lewis victory was a gift from RB, but they forget, that it was Nico who allowed Ric to pull away almost 13 secs until he moved out of the way for Lewis, same 13 secs were lost on Ric`s pit, meaning that Lewis was a strong contender all the time, and if we took away Nico`s stubborned and RB chaos from the chaos (perfect conditions)-he still would be a winer…

      1. MG421982 (@)
        31st May 2016, 19:48

        Jesus, guys, this is getting ridiculous!! Nico allowed Ric to pull away almost 13 secs?! I’ve noticed many started to look at HAM’s victory based on the time he completed that number of laps. What’s this… rallying? The driver who completes the given number of laps in the smallest amount of time wins the race?! I thought F1 is not only about being the fastest, but having the skills to pass some other cars too. Verstappen was very fast too, but he couldn’t win the race because his limited skills sent him in the wall before the race finished. When Ferrari ordered Barichello to give up his place in Austria 2002 to MSchumacher because he was fighting for the champ and was faster too at that stage of the race… MSchumacher and Ferrari were put against the wall and stoned. Now, suddenly, team orders to give up the position for free is simply correct, wise etc etc.

        1. @corrado-dub To me, team orders have always existed in at least one ‘innocent’ way that is understandable. If one driver on a team is in a WDC potential position it only makes common sense that the driver who has no shot, as the season winds down, shouldn’t give his teammate that does have a shot, a hard time. It’s only common sense and shouldn’t even need an order.

          Another time when it makes sense is like what happened to Nico on Sunday. A no-brainer really. So there are times when a team order makes sense and should be understandable for everyone involved and everyone watching.

          But what happened in Austria 02 was night and day different. It was already common knowledge that RB was on the team to not race MS. MS was the one rooster. But finally on that day RB owned quali and owned the race, and yet he still had to obey his contract, which is what he said in the post-race interview, but out of frustration he delayed letting MS go until meters before the end of the race. It looked ridiculous, the crowd hated it, MS tried handing RB the trophy on the podium, and it was a terrible day for F1.

          So there are sensible team orders, and then there are ones that simply take the racing out of the pinnacle of racing and that is what we had in the MS/Ferrai era, especially while they dominated. Unless you were an MS fan, it was very frustrating, which is why I honour Mercedes for taking the high road and honouring the paying and viewing audience by letting these guys race and managing them well.

          1. MG421982 (@)
            2nd June 2016, 8:29

            Give me a break….. so much unreal stuff!!!

            1: exactly what you said: RBarichello had a contract where he signed for a 2nd position driver. He did not respect the contract… if you want to go this way too! So, it’s exactly the opposite to what you consider to be normal: back then we knew about the contract, that MS is #1, so we kinda expected to see RB give up his position to MS when necessary. So, indirectly, we’re prevented stuff like that might happen.

            2: there’s no contract at Mercedes where another driver is favoured as far as I know. So, the difference should be made by their performances and the on-track fights. At least Ferrari tried to shed some light of legality into their acts by creating an internal contract with specified #1 and #2. Not the case at Mercedes, they’re just “better”.

            3: again, the “normality” it’s exactly the opposite to what you said. You say Mercedes is letting these guys race, then we have some team order where 1 of the drivers is told to make room for the other driver. Yeah, big racing indeed!

            4: I know some won’t agree, but RB was a tier 2 driver, never a real threat to MS. Which is not the case with NRosberg, he’s obviously somehow better. That’s exactly the reason Ferrari hired RB, to be a #2. Proof he was just a tier 2 driver and Ferrari did not trust him to be their title fighting driver (and that’s why a guy like MS was needed): even when the car was top, but not dominant, and MS won the titles, RB finished 3rd or worse in the champ. But hey, we know that MS raced a better car than RB, RBR sabotaged Webber, Mercedes sabotaged LHamilton car,… also that Mercedes tries to help a lot NRosberg because he’s german, but he’s just a weaker driver, even weaker in wet conditions.

            5. related to 4th point, Ferrari team orders are more excusable than Mercedes’, simply because Ferrari had tier1+tier2 drivers, that means only MS could fight the drivers from other teams. So, in case something happened to MS, their fear of losing the titles because the other driver is not strong enough was a lot more realistic. Proof: only in 2002 and 2004, when Ferrari was indeed dominant, RB managed to finish 2nd in the champ.

            1. @corrado-dub Not entirely understanding your points but here goes…
              1) RB had a contract. He obeyed his contract. Specifically for Austria 02 he got frustrated and decided to wait for metres to go to let MS by which he normally would have tried to hide more by not being so blatant about it. It was terrible and the crowd booed.

              2) If you are suggesting we should at least be ‘glad’ that Ferrari were up front about it, I disagree…we were still robbed of a real rivalry on a top team.

              3) Obviously the two Mercedes drivers are allowed to race but an occasional exception, like when one guy’s car acts like it is broken, can change that. They are also a team after all. This is a far cry, and would you prefer, if by contract NR had to let LH by every time he lead him? You’d prefer that kind of non-racing on the one team that is capable of winning the WDC and WCC?

              4) The point is it is a shame Ferrari intentionally hired a tier 2 driver and even moreso put him under contract to be subservient.
              With an actual contract in place, they therefore built MS a designer car. Otherwise, sabotage by RBR and Merc? Please. You can do better than that.

              5) Ridiculous. MS/Ferrari was completely skewed toward one driver every day, which robbed us of a rivalry on track, especially when they were dominant. At Mercedes on 99.9% of the days there is excitement and suspense at what might happen between them. Monaco was an exception that everyone but you has accepted as a no-brainer, a unique circumstance. There’s every possibility that if it wasn’t for DR having pole and taking off with the lead, they would not have asked NR to move over for LH…LH would have had to pass him on merit…which of course would have been easy anyway.

      2. I believe Nico would have thought a lot more letting Hamilton pass if he knew the end result. He probably thought he would end up third with Hamilton 2nd or something and not lose too much of his lead but then he was jump at the pits and lost to a Force India and Hamilton took a risky strategy that ended paying off along with Red Bull’s mistakes etc.

    5. I love races like this where drivers manage to flummox armchair pundits like me. I was screaming at the screen for Hamilton to go in for inters – ‘OMG. What do you think you’re doing?!?!11! … Oh, alright, so you ended up in first.’ Still, all that really did was put him in the window where he could capitalise on RedBull’s screwup.

      1. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
        31st May 2016, 16:09

        LOL! Me too: “What is he doing? He’s nuts… look he’s squandered all that time against Ricciardo and Rosberg! Is he going to switch straight to slicks? … If this works he’s a genius!”

        He needed a bit of luck too, but if he hadn’t stayed out on wets, he wouldn’t have put Red Bull under any sort of pressure. Clever and lucky.

        1. @charleski @thegrapeunwashed Guys, I was more like “Wow, he’s going directly for the slicks. He’s going to suffer a lot, but that’s the only way to fight for the lead. Very clever” and then I was all over my place when Ricciardo made his attempts.
          I was more worried about the US tyres “He’s never going to go to end, what are they thinking?! He’s pulling a gap on Ricciardo? What a masterstroke!”

          I was really impressed by Mercedes’ strategic choices. They get everything right for Lewis which put them in the position to capitalize on Red Bull’s pitstop fail.

      2. I’m a better armchair expert because i realized what he was doing by staying out on wets. I knew he was betting on track position and going directly to slicks but where i failed is when i thought super-soft was the tyre because i had doubts ultra-soft could last.
        But then i saw Hamilton getting attacks after every restart from a safety car and i realized the Merc had a problem warming the tyres fast and that they had a good reason for putting the ultra soft.

    6. “Hamilton’s championship fightback begins”. Or he hits another spot of 4 bad races which Rosberg all wins. Please let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

      1. No in fairness the fight back has begun, since the points gap has shrunk. Doesn’t mean the fight back will be successful, just that it has begun.

      2. I guess you have a fundamental misunderstanding of the definition of the word “begins” then @turbof1

        1. A beginning of a fightback would imply he has a run of 2 race weekends taking points back. I wouldn’t call this the beginning yet. Having this one good race is for now just a drop of clean water in the mud. Let’s see if there are going to be signs it’s going turn into a lake.

          1. “A beginning of a fightback would imply he has a run of 2 race weekends taking points back”

            You what? Er no, just no.

            “Begin: perform or undergo the first part of (an action or activity).”

            First part! Not second part or arbitrary part. Come on guys this isn’t hard ;)

            Think of it this way, if Hamilton continues in this fashion and overhauls Rosberg in the championship, where will people say is fightback to lead the championship began? I’ll give you a clue: Monaco!

            1. A “part” can just as easily be further divided. One part does not imply one race. And that’s why I am lamenting the title: he won one race to Nico’s four races. That’s not a beginning of a fightback yet: that’s potentially one.

              The Monaco GP could be the beginning of the fightback if he succeeds setting up a consecutive run of winning races. In the future. In the present it is nothing more then a race win.

              That’s for all intent and purposes no critic towards Hamilton. The guy had his fair share of bad luck. I’m just rather staying pessimistic. And in my eyes Keith Collantine is getting too optimistic with the title. A fightback that happened and consequently had a beginning, can only be flagged as one if it already happened. It’s trying to predict the future. If, emphasis on if, Hamilton hits another spot of bad luck and eventually looses the WDC, this is not going down as the “beginning of the fightback”. It’ll be “an ultimate futile attempt to resist”. Not that that is necessarily going to happen either, I’m just saying.

            2. So the beginning of the season is the second race?

            3. A beginning of a season can just as well be the first 4 races. Although subjective, would the beginning of the season be over if these 4 races weren’t all driven yet?

              For the record: I only lamented the title in its whole. Somebody else started about the meaning of “begin”,

          2. Split hairs much?

      3. In fairness, an appropriate title would also have been “Still He Rises.” But both Hamilton-haters and possibly some neutral Maya Angelou fans would have had their heads explode. All I know is that thanks to Keith I have an awesome new desktop background.

      4. The ‘fightback’ could still go incredibly poorly though. Like Alan Partridge ‘bouncing back’.

      5. He’s outqualified Rosberg in every quali session where he hasn’t encountered any mechanical problems. I really doubt he’s going to keep taking pole and finishing behind his teammate. He had a couple of poor starts and some bad luck, that’s it.

        I would be shocked if Rosberg beats him in Canada, and even more shocked if we go in to the last 5 races of the season with Rosberg as the points leader.

      6. @turbof1 …get ahead of ourselves? What, like Max winning 100 races kind if ahead? Lol…

        1. I missed that oppertunity to be picky about it!

    7. This race could be pivotal. Lets hope a grid pen and start at the back then will see the right WC. Nico must be gutted the gap should be way bigger

    8. On the evening of November 27th in Yas Marina, when we tot up the totals and figure out who has become the 2016 drivers’ champion, how dearly will Nico Rosberg’s decision to let his team mate past in Monaco have cost him?

      This is a bit of an odd start to the article, doncha think, on reflection, @keithcollantine? If on the evening of November 27th Rosberg has a contract to drive for Mercedes in 2017 then I think we can say he made the right decision! Cos Dr Dieter was right there in the garage and if Nico had caused his cars to finish 7th and 8th by stubborn disobedience it’s a fair bet Nico’d have been out on his butt.

      Formula One Management did not broadcast any of the radio discussions between Mercedes and their drivers as the position swap was orchestrated.

      This is a good point. Where has all the radio gone? Not just the ‘driver-coaching’ but a lot of the legal stuff too. Does Bernie find it too complicated? Do they speak too fast for him now?

      1. Yeah I just can’t look at this as ‘Nico Rosberg’s decision’ like it is something he will regret. It was plain and simply the right and only thing to do. Doesn’t matter what anyone thinks as to whether or not LH would have done the same thing. Won’t matter in the end if 2 points make the difference. Nico will not look back at the season and say to himself ‘if only I had screwed the team at Monaco’

    9. Surely Hamilton’s almost guaranteed a three strikes penalty for reprimands, two already!

      Add in picking up at least one late-season engine penalty as a direct consequence of the previous engine issues and it all very much still favours Rosberg from where I’m sitting.

      1. @Calum I posted somewhere in these forums a couple months back, that when the points difference between Lewis and Nico was large enough, Lewis would start to win again, but that going forward he would not be able to take the champinship.

        With almost guaranteed penalties waiting ahead for Lewis, I too totally agree that it all still favors Nico, and unless something dramatically catastrophic happens to him, the championship is his for the taking.

        It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

        1. Given the threat of looming penalties currently more on HAM’s side, overall signs still favour ROS. All HAM can do is knuckle down and go on a winning run of his own. Red Bulls’ revival and an overdue improvement by the disappointing Ferrari going forward, however, point to there being a more spicy championship in store. Hopefully we see more than a two-horse race.

      2. In India a few years ago Lewis got a 3 place grid penalty instead of a reprimand because the stewards felt that a 3rd reprimand would yield a bigger penalty (10 places) for a small offence. The same could happen IF he gets another one. Given the possibility that he can go the rest of the year without incurring another reprimand.

        The engine situation can be managed Lewis has only used 2 engines so far I believe so it isn’t too bad. The MGU-K and Turbo he has used 4 so the team would have to reuse some of those components or take 5 place penalties in certain key races where overtaking is relatively easy. Until then Lewis needs to make sure, while he doesn’t have a penalty to make up as many points as he can.

      3. RP (@slotopen)
        1st June 2016, 4:58

        I agree Roseberg is in a good position. For sure reprimands and engine penalties could hurt Hamilton.

        The best news for Roseberg is Hamilton still hasn’t nailed a start this season. Even when he got away clean in Spain Roseberg was still in the lead coming out of turn 1.

        In fact, this season has been all about who makes the biggest blunder. Hamilton/Merc have been losing at the start or before. Roseberg and Red Bull gave away Monoco in the middle.

        Given Hamilton’s form this year I suspect we’ll need another blunder from Rosberg/Merc to make it a real contest.

        1. We’ve been watching a different season then. Sure Hamilton had issues with starts but it’s not just the starts- Hamilton got clattered by Bottas and again in China which meant he hard car handling issues. On tracks were you can overtake I am sure Hamilton will have no issues passing Rosberg for the win even if he loses the start. Sounds to me like you are suggesting all of a sudden Rosberg is the superior driver at Merc after 3 years of being in Hamilton’s shadow?

          1. I think the combination of poor starts and bad luck have put Hamilton in a very difficult position, even if he normally betters Roseberg.

            His problem is Roseberg is a very strong driver. Hamilton has not crushed Roseberg like Vettel did Webber. Over the last few seasons they have been closely split in qualifying and not far apart on race day. At some point the point gap becomes insurmountable.

            Like Keith said, November will tell. Is this Vettle vs Webber or Senna vs Prost? Probably somewhere in between.

    10. I think it was a highly admirable but rather silly decision by Rosberg, assuming the ultimate goal is the championship. Lewis is, if not the best in F1 right now then damn close to it. Rosberg, really can not afford to give anything away.

      Will Lewis’ return the favor later in the season? I think, honestly, probably not. Nico needs to nurse his points lead for all it’s worth. It’s a very, very long season and winning Monaco just gave Lewis the jolt in motivation that he’s arguably been lacking up till now. Which might be worth even more to him than the points.

      1. @mike Imho, you’re not getting it. Even Nico said it was a no-brainer. There was no decision to make for him. It’s a team, and the team including NR knew exactly what they had to do. It’s not a question of having the will of a WDC. His car was like it was broken so to try to hold LH back would have been extremely unfair, selfish and unpopular. NR may not yet be a WDC but he’s also no fool.

        If LH takes motivation from being released by NR, having the luck of RBR’s plunders, and keeping his car in control while overcooking it and cutting the chicane so be it, but NR, the only rival to LH, can only ever assume as usual that LH is always 100% motivated and a complete threat. If you think LH has lacked motivation until now I think you are mistaken.

    11. Really like that photo of Rosberg and Hamilton shaking hands. Rosberg looks magnanimous, Hamilton looks humble. Could easily have been Rosberg looking dour and Hamilton crowing. Very classy on both parts.

      1. On second glance, that appears to be from last year!

        1. Michael Brown (@)
          31st May 2016, 22:01

          I assume by now you’ve read the caption. It’s from last year. They’re at the podium.

        2. @amail It is – Rosberg wasn’t on the podium this year! And the caption does indicate it’s from 2015.

    12. ROS moving over for HAM cost him 3 points. RIC pit stop blunder made the difference to 6. Rest of it is simply that car #6 did not have the pace. That cost them 13 points.

      1. lewis would have got past nico after the first pitstops.youre forgetting lewis was so much quicker.

    13. The decision for Rosberg to let Hamilton past should always have been a no brainer. His finishing position showed Nico was nowhere near the pace, and if he hadn’t yielded the position to Hamilton earlier on then Hamilton would have had a go anyway, and no-one in the team wanted to risk a repeat of Barcelona. Time will tell wether the points difference from Monaco will be crucial at the end, but Nico’s lack of pace was the problem, not any team decision. Besides, the team owe Lewis a Monaco win from last year anyway.

      1. @swh1386 Spot on, twice over!

    14. Mercedes would have scored fewer points in Monaco had Rosberg not moved over. The other option would have been to pit Rosberg. This instance was unusual because Rosberg was just too slow on the track that letting Hamilton past actually freed him and made the team able to manage his race more easily.

    15. With an ounce of luck had Riciardo won last 2 races he’d be second in the standings and only 20 behind Rosberg, who showed at Monaco he’s not an elite driver. Would love to see Ric in that Mercedes in 2017!

    16. Mercedes took too long to instruct Ros to let Lewis through.

      Such indecision will cost them race victory in future.

    17. Well so far Nico has won a lot more this year.

      But super important Lewis got atleast one win… Last time was in Austin 2015. Ages ago considering he was in fastest car since.

      Best he can do now is win every race and hope Riciardo and co, get inbetween Nico and him.

      But come unreliability those guys will be in his way.

      For start he has to win a dry regular race now. Retake and establish his dominance over Nico.

    Comments are closed.