Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Monte-Carlo, 2016

Rosberg defends decision to let Hamilton past

2016 Monaco Grand Prix

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Nico Rosberg says he had no choice other than to let Lewis Hamilton past during the last race at Monaco, even though it meant surrendering part of his points advantage over his team mate.

Hamilton cut Rosberg’s lead from 43 points to 24 after winning the race thanks in part to Rosberg letting him by into second on lap 16 when told to by Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monte-Carlo, 2016
Rosberg handed second place to Hamilton
“This is always going to be a part of the championship,” Rosberg told Sky in Canada. “There’s no way around that, we know that.”

“At that point in time it was absolutely the right thing to do. Emotionally, very tough to let my championship rival, wave him past, not something I enjoy doing at all, definitely. But it had to be done. I have a big part in the win that the team got eventually so it made sense for everybody.”

Rosberg finished the race over a minute and a half behind his team mate. He described how a combination of problems caused him to lose confidence in the car. “As a result [I was] staying a bit further away from the limit and other things go cold, so it was a spiral,” he explained.

“It was a bad day in the office,” said Rosberg. “Everything came together, all the bad stuff.”

“And especially in Monaco, when you start having a few issues here and there it spirals downwards, and Monaco’s so unforgiving, that then you just get that massively bad result.”

“That’s what happened. We’ve analysed and gone through, understood it, most of the stuff, that’s it now it’s done.”

Over to you

Should Rosberg have let Hamilton past? Join the debate here:

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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44 comments on “Rosberg defends decision to let Hamilton past”

  1. Life, you win some you lose some.

  2. Clem Fandango
    9th June 2016, 21:45

    What does Brundle say? Ran out of talent??

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      10th June 2016, 8:11

      in his auto-biography?

  3. Lost confidence in the car ? Really ? I hope it rains again and again, changeable conditions shows the real talent, period.

    1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
      9th June 2016, 22:35

      Please see my below comment (22:24 timestamp), which annoyingly didn’t appear in a reply directly to your comment, as I intended.

    2. @abdeliah – So why was ROS faster than HAM last year at Austin, Silverstone etc in the wet/changeable conditions? That’s just 2, plenty of other times ROS has been more comfortable in the wet. What’s with people always trying to put a one liner on everything that happens in life nowdays, and not seeming to care as to its accuracy, only if it sounds good? I blame twitter :-P

      1. You are right, and this applies to you as well. Hamilton has won two years in a row against Rosberg. But even then you can’t acknowledged his talent.
        Maybe this speaks volumes about Rosberg’s ability? :P

    3. @abdelilah he was much quicker than hamilton in changeable conditions in both silverstone and austin last year. he’s a good driver, but needs to prove it with results. otherwise he’ll just be another webber (i.e. didn’t do justice to a great car).

    4. @abdelilah

      Lost confidence in the car ? Really ? I hope it rains again and again, changeable conditions shows the real talent, period.

      Seeing how slow Hamilfon was in Silverstone and Austin last year, I’m not so sure about that.

  4. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
    9th June 2016, 22:34

    Who Hamilton? Lewis needed letting by his teammate & it took a botched pitstop by the team fielding the best driver out there for Hamilton to win.

    Overall, Rosberg has been better than Hamilton since the Houston,Texas 2015 race

    1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
      9th June 2016, 22:36

      This was in reply to @abdelilah

    2. You conveniently forget Rosberg essentially gave Ricciardo a 14s headstart. Hamilton is a better driver than Nico. It’s that simple

      1. Hamilton is better than Rosberg. Except that he simply hasn’t been this season. He has made average to poor starts, so bad he has lost pole every time this year. It is no surprise his first win involves a safety car start, team ordered pass, and blunder from the leader.

        Rosebergs problem is we all know any top self driver would be crushing Hamilton this season.

        1. well lewis has been partnered with 2 world champions in his f1 career so far,,,,did they crush him?
          you are completely ignoring the mechanical issues lewis has had this season,and bottas crashing into lewis.these things have cost lewis points.so its safe to say lewis would now be closer on points if it wasnt for that.

          1. In 2011 he was crushed by Button, though.

          2. @f1infigures
            Yet who was courted by a team looking to oust their 7 times world champion? ( hint it wasn’t Button)
            Who has gone on to win 2 WDC’s at silver arrows? (Hint it’s not Rossberg)

  5. “He described how a combination of problems caused him to lose confidence in the car.”

    What’s the quote there? Where is this article from? It seems like it’s missing a big part of the explanation.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      10th June 2016, 8:25

      Must be from a TV interview Tristan.
      But Nico has said the same (and more interesting stuff) in his Formula1.com interview.

    2. I think we can take it as read that a large part of the real explanation would have been, “I just wasn’t driving very well.”

  6. So in the last race of the season he would do the same if Lewis had more of a chance to win the race? It doesn’t matter one jolt when in the season we are, as all points count towards your total at the end. It was a ludicrous and weak decision by Rosberg to obey the team order. The last time Hamilton was asked to let Rosberg through the answer was ‘No!’ and ‘I’m not there to manage Nico’s race’ or words to that effect. Could you imagine what the answer would have been from Hamilton had the roles been reversed and he was asked to let Rosberg extend his points lead by going on to win? Something similar to ‘no chance !’ and he would be thinking ‘he can squaller behind me’.

    It showed again that compared to Hamilton, Rosberg is weaker and I hope he loses the championship by the few points he gave up so willingly. Judging by the way the season is going it will be very tight at the end.

    1. No it shows ROS knows there is a team of over 1000 people behind him and Lewis, and that he respects those guys and is a team player.

      To me the weaker driver is the one that is too scared to let his teammate through when asked, because of his own fragile ego. Now whom does that sound like I am describing?

      The attitude you aspire to isn’t a ‘winning’ one or a ‘champion’s mentality’ its called ‘poor sportsmanship,’ and if you cannot win without being a poor sport, what did you really prove to anyone anyway aside from your own desperation for recognition at any cost? :-P

      1. I’m sure if the roles were reversed with Lewis in a slow car, he would obey and yield. The money which pays their wages comes from the constructor’s championship not the driver’s championship. If you cost the team points you are committing suicide. Nico was never going to win so he played the game.

    2. Very good point. I always thought Rosberg made the right decision, but when you put it like that I think I probably change my mind.

      Bear in mind though, had he blocked for half the race and they ended up tangling as a result, it could have been a Sauber situation with both drivers and the team looking ridiculous. It’s a tough one.

    3. Every driver who could win the championship is a potential rival. Hamilton is just the most obvious rival. I guess Rosberg letting Hamilton passed could be perceived as weakness, but equally it could be seen as being realistic because it was almost certain Hamilton was going to pass him anyway.
      Ricciardo is currently third in the Championship runnings, and we can’t be sure he won’t win the Championship, or at least be a title contender, so one can’t discount Ricciardo from the championship title either.

    4. “The last time Hamilton was asked to let Rosberg through the answer was ‘No!’ and ‘I’m not there to manage Nico’s race’ or words to that effect.”

      No. Don’t try and put an incorrect slant on him. In Hungary, Hamilton said “i wont slow down to let him pass, if he can catch up, i will let him pass”. In China, he was not asked to let Nico through, Nico was just moaning because he said Lewis was driving too slow, to which Lewis replied “its not my job to manage Nico’s race”

      1. Way to distort the truth
        Have a listen to what Lewis actually said
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIlEEJH4xVA

        He never ever said ‘no’

    5. @GEO
      “I’m not slowing down for Nico, Get close and then he can overtake me.” was the actual answer! He wasnt any slower than Rosberg, and he was fighting for more points, and it wasnt exactly he refused, he sounded to ask Rosberg to speed/pace up so he can overtake, but he wasnt gonna slow down any further, but next race, you saw the real face of Rosberg, crashing Hamilton out of the race! Just like last race in Spain… Not sure, how Rosberg would behave if their points were reversed would be a better question… Rosberg didnt expect to finish that far off from Hamilton, and i think that was the reason he let him past, also the team may have hinted a word or two for him regarding his contract…

      1. Spain and contact renewal was the reason Rosberg behaved in Monaco.

        Because although chair experts fight on who is to blame for Spain, Merc did their investigation of the incident and looked at the telemetry and they know and Nico know’s they know he was the one who caused that accident.

  7. I don’t think Rosberg had much choice after the Spain incident, which I’m not blaming him for, just that Mercedes desperately needed a clean race between the two.

    I remember Wolff suggested late last year that if the tension between the drivers starts hurting the team they might be forced to change the line-up, so I think it was in Rosberg’s best interests to keep the team on side.

    1. Reading too much into it. Merc has always stated that if one car has a chance at victory and is being held up they will move the other car aside if they need to, its just that with the Merc dominance over the last 2 years, and now Red bull etc getting so close on performance at certain tracks, this is probably the 1st time they have had make this decision.

      1. Agreed. Without DR running away with the race, they wouldn’t have given the team order. Even after Spain, that was behind them and they are still allowed to race. Without DR where he was, LH would have had to pass NR on his own.

  8. Has anyone seen an explanation for why he was overtaken after the last corner? That, to me, was an unforgivable driver error that crucially could mean that Hamilton could be winning after Canada if Rosberg retires and Hamilton wins.

    1. After the race Nico said there was no rubber left on his tyres. Less rubber means the less heat the tyre can hold. So cold tyres at the restart basically.

    2. I had red somewhere that Nico’s tires were shot. To make matters worse, with a few laps left there were some rain sprinkles before the end of the race. On the last lap with shot tires they also went stone cold because of the small rain , which allowed Nico Hulkenberg to grab 6th place on the last lap on the straight.

      1. I saw the scene. Tyres had nothing to do with it. Nico slept at the end the end there thinking it was over, he went on the other side of the racing line close to the pit wall and left the Hulk a completely free open straight to accelerate and pass him. If he kept his normal line and Hulk will had to make an overtake maneuver he wouldn’t have manage to pass before the end line even if he was a looooooot faster.

  9. What choice did Rosberg have given the Spain incident? I just hope someone at Mercedes has made it clear to Hamilton that he owes his teammate

    1. I don’t know if Ham owes Ros but I will say, if there’s a similiar situation, Ham should skip the drama and play for the team as Ros did.

      1. lewis would have got past nico after pitting anyway,the speed difference was so massive.
        i mean lewis was about 7 seconds ahead of nico only after 2 laps.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          10th June 2016, 8:32

          Correct! But if Hamilton would have passed Nico only 1 lap later, then even the RBR mistake would not have handed the win to Hamilton.

          I’m not sure if this now means ‘owing’, though to me Hamilton won Monaco based on more than just pure race craft.

    2. You could rest assured that Hamilton does not owe anything to his teammate to his team or to red bull for this win (only in his mind). @saint-jay

    3. You are to emotional for competition. Nico’s reflex error in Spain caused collision. Being the professional that he is I’m sure he regretted it as soon as Lewis was forced off the road. As for Monaco, let’s say Lewis never passed Nico. That means Mercedes would have come in 7th and 8th place. “Any given day at any given time”… On that day in Spain, Lewis was the Mercedes Team Driver that had the right stuff! Nico realizing this reduced the time that Lewis needed to recover from the Red Bull aggressive and growing lead. From that point on a major fight for 1st ensued. And Mercedes other Arrow struck the Red Bull in the Heart. Mercedes, Lewis and Nico do not need our excuses, blame games and tears. Instead, I’m sure that they would much rather prefer our thanks for doing what they do together that has brought their Team and Fans yet another Victory.

  10. I’m curious if Rosberg fought this ‘order’ in any way, but we may not know seeing as the radio transmission wasn’t broadcast.

    1. There is nothing that indicates he fought the order. By all accounts it was a no-brainer for everyone, and TW gave him a ‘hats off’ at the end of the race. They have NR a chance to try to get heat into his brakes and tires and it just wasn’t happening, so, chance respectfully given, then he respectfully ceded the position.

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