Hamilton-Rosberg Feud: How it Started

By Hillary Chinyere

Durban, 26 August 2014, 20.00 CAT

Nico Rosberg makes contact with Lewis Hamilton's left rear tyre

Nico Rosberg makes contact with Lewis Hamilton’s left rear tyre during the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix.

Championship contender Lewis Hamilton and Championship leader Nico Rosberg made contact yesterday at  Spa-Francorchamps during the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix in the second lap of the race, costing Hamilton his third DNF of the season. The German was the one in fault in this incident but however, it is worth noting that Hamilton has trespassed on many weekends this season. The following is a list of the talking points in the Mercedes garage so far this year.

Bahrain Grand Prix, April

During the third race of the season in Bahrain, Hamilton cut across Rosberg, almost causing a crash. Rosberg appeals to the team over radio, saying ‘Tell him that was not on!’. Lewis Hamilton held on to win the race, with Rosberg second.

Spanish Grand Prix, May
Merceds chief Toto Wolff revealed that the tension dates back to the epic battle between the two in Bahrain where Rosberg was using engine modes that Hamilton was not and then Hamilton did the same when the pair were racing in Spain in two weeks ago. Wolff downplayed the significance of the two incidents, but said it had added to the tensionthat would later develop later in the year in Monaco.

Monaco Grand Prix, May
On pole position by just 0.059secs from Hamilton after the opening laps in the final qualifying period, Rosberg locked up on the entry to Mirabeau on his second and final attempt, and was forced to take the escape road. Behind the German, Hamilton was on a quicker lap, but with yellow flags being shown by the marshals due to Rosberg’s incident, the championship leader had to abort a lap he has since claimed would have secured him pole regardless. The incident brought back memories of Monaco 2006 as Michael Schumacher deliberately crashed his 248 F1 car at La Rascasse, in an attempt to prevent Fernando Alonso from completing his flying lap. However, the more illustrius German was stripped off his provisional pole position by the race stewards.
When asked about what Mercedes could do to rectify the situation Wolff had this to say,

“I’m not going to comment on this right now. Today we’ve seen the limits of the slap on the wrist. Maybe the slap on the wrist is not enough. If Lewis has said that it’s going to be a slap on the wrist, and that there’s going to be no consequence, then he’s not aware of what consequences we can implement.” – Toto Wolff

Belgian Grand Prix, August
Rosberg had qualified on pole, with Hamilton and Vettel behind him. As the lights went off, the Briton had a head-start and nipped Nico to take the lead. The Mercedes made contact on the second lap of the race, leaving Hamilton with a puncture on his left rear tyre and with it another retirement, and Rosberg with a damaged front wing which made him make an extra pit-stop. Hamilton claimed that he gave Nico space as he took his racing line but the German hit his team-mate’s car “to prove a point“.

“Nico’s hit me!” – Lewis Hamilton

“I lost the front end.” – Nico Rosberg

Hamilton does seem by nature to be a very competitive and aggressive driver. It did appear to me that it his usual style he cut across Rosberg’s nose and collided with him as a result. One can only be sure by examining the vector diagrams prepared from the telemetry. It was his decision to take that racing line across Rosberg, and he suffered the consequences. Rosberg seems to get away with anything in Formula 1, considering that Hamilton was previously handed a drive-through penalty for the same move on Fellipe Massa during the 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix. This is the time when Hamilton pulls his famous line, “Is it because I’m black?”

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Wet Conditions Deny Hamilton Pole at Spa

By Hillary Chinyere

eThekwini. Sunday 24 August 2014, 11.00 SAT

Pole Trio

A front brake disc malfunction in the final sector denied Lewis Hamilton his pole and had to play second best to Nico Rosberg for the seventh weekend in a row.

 

After topping the times in the first and second free practice sessions, Lewis Hamilton was edged by his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg by two tenths in a thrilling Q3 session. The championship leader took his tally to four consecutive poles, the first quartet in his career.

Wet conditions which prevailed at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps punished even the most trivial of drivers’ errors. Perhaps the biggest victim on the day was British Hamilton as he ran wide after going purple in the first sector of the track in his flying lap. Had he gone purple again in the final sector, he could have took the pole position but Rosberg increased the gap instead.

“I had a glazed front left brake disc so the car was pulling to the left or to the right, and there was nothing I could do to get rid of it. I had to bring the brake balance further back, losing massive amounts out of Turn One.” – Lewis Hamilton

Nico Rosberg appeared to be going wide intentionally in order to brake late and gain more time on the exit of the second turn of the Bus Stop chicane. But almost every driver had a lock-up or other handicap in negotiating the chicane and other turns. For this reason, it gave the impression that rules had been relaxed to allow the drivers to breach the track limits.

Ever the consistent driver, Fernando Alonso qualified fourth, sharing the second-row with Reigning champion Sebastian Vettel.

 

Hungarian Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo will start the race behind Alonso, after his final flyer was ruined by running wide on the exit of Blanchimont. The Williams duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa only managed sixth and ninth.

See the full results below.

1. Nico Rosberg    Germany               Mercedes-Mercedes 2m 05.591s
2. Lewis Hamilton  Britain                   Mercedes-Mercedes 2m 05.819s
3. Sebastian Vettel Germany             Red Bull-Renault 2m 07.717s
4. Fernando Alonso Spain                 Ferrari-Ferrari 2m 07.786s
5. Daniel Ricciardo Australia              Red Bull-Renault 2m 07.911s
6. Valtteri Bottas Finland                    Williams-Mercedes 2m 08.049s
7. Kevin Magnussen Denmark         McLaren-Mercedes 2m 08.679s
8. Kimi Raikkonen Finland                  Ferrari-Ferrari 2m 08.780s
9. Felipe Massa Brazil                        Williams-Mercedes 2m 09.178s
10. Jenson Button Britain                  McLaren-Mercedes 2m 09.776s
11. Daniil Kvyat Russia                      Toro Rosso-Renault 2m 09.377s
12. Jean-Eric Vergne France            Toro Rosso-Renault 2m 09.805s
13. Sergio Perez Mexico                    Force India-Mercedes 2m 10.084s
14. Adrian Sutil Germany                   Sauber-Ferrari 2m 10.238s
15. Romain Grosjean France            Lotus-Renault 2m 11.087s
16. Jules Bianchi France                   Marussia-Ferrari 2m 12.470s

17. Pastor Maldonado Venezuela      Lotus-Renault 2m 11.261s
18. Nico Hulkenberg Germany          Force India-Mercedes 2m 11.267s
19. Max Chilton Briton                        Marussia-Ferrari 2m 12.566s
20. Esteban Gutierrez Mexico           Sauber-Ferrari 2m 13.414s
21. Andre Lotterer Germany             Caterham-Renault 2m 13.469s
22. Marcus Ericsson Sweden            Caterham-Renault 2m 14.438s

 

An Explanation of F1 Race Day Jargon

By Hillary Chinyere
Durban, 3 August 2014.

Fernando

Daniel Ricciardo with Fernando Alonso at the podium after a thrilling 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix.

This is one of a series of articles I will use to explain Formula 1 terms which are vital in understanding race reports, commentaries and team radio conversations. In this article, I used excerpts from a number of Formula 1 websites as they reported on the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo captured the chequered flag for the second time this season at end of astonishing Hungarian Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton claims magnificent third. The inclement weather made picking a winner an almost impossible task. The favourite to take the chequered flag changed on countless occasions.

Capturing the chequered flag is winning the F1 race. Depending on the occassion during the race, a digital flag will be displayed on a screen mounted to the car’s steering wheel. The first person to finish the race will have the chequered flag appearing on his car first, and thus “captures” it.

Rosberg, from pole, streaked off over the horizon. But he was badly hurt by rookie Marcus Ericsson’s crush and the introduction of the first safety car, which not only cancelled out his 10-second advantage but penalised the leading four drivers, because they did not have time to pit like the other cars behind.

The driver who makes the fastest qualifying lap on the Saturday of a racing weekend will start the race ahead of the rest of the drivers, or on pole position. After a potentially harzadous obstruction to a race, the F1 cars enter a safety period when they are driven in a formation at a speed that will not allow their tyres to cool down too much. A safety car, currently a Mercedes Benz SLS AMG, leads such a formation.

A downpour less than an hour before the start of the race made it a nightmare for the teams when it came to choosing their rubbers, with the choice between intermediates and full rain tyres.

Rubbers are tyres as they are made primarily from rubber. Tyres are still a race car’s biggest single performance variable. Full rain tyres have more extensive tread patterns, necessary to expel standing water when racing in the wet.

Both Force Indias retired for the first time since the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix. Nico Hulkenburg’s race was ended when he was taken out by team-mate Sergio Perez. Mexican Perez then saw his race end in the wall when he spun coming out of the final corner.

A retirement is when a driver withdraws from the race before going through all the laps, usually due to mechanical failures with the car.

Nico Rosberg spent eight laps behind Lewis Hamilton and will have lost a bunch of time. Had he gone past Hamilton, he may well have won the race, having finished just six seconds behind winner Daniel Ricciardo.

In this race, Nico was faster than Hamilton but due to the latter’s defensive driving, he had to be content with being stuck behind him. As a result, Rosberg theoretically lost a huge amount of time as he had been gaining a couple of seconds each lap.

Heart in mouth moment as Daniel Ricciardo tries a gung-ho pass around the outside of Lewis Hamilton at Turn Two! But he out-brakes himself and runs wide. Hamilton lives to fight another day. Alonso gets some breathing space.

Smoothly transitioning from acceleration to braking to turning is key in going around a corner the fastest way possible. This is achieved by late breaking, a skill every Formula 1 driver needs for survival. However, if a driver brakes too late he’ll be in trouble and likely go off the track, also known as out-braking yourself.

Engineer to Daniel Ricciardo: “You are catching Hamilton very quickly but think about how you use your tyres so they are fresh when you catch him.”

Fresh tyres are usually those on a car that has recently pitted but in this scenario, Ricciardo was being instructed to preserve the grip on his tyres so that they could be helpful during an attack on the Briton.

Engineer to Nico Rosberg: “You are racing until the end now, there are 13 laps so quali laps every lap until the end.”

Qualifying laps refers to making the car go as fast as it can, without worrying about tyres or fuel as is done during flying laps on a qualifying session.

The problem for Rosberg is that when you are in that one-second range, you’re in dirty air from the car in front and you can’t get on the throttle, so you can’t stay close enough to overtake, so you do need a little help from your team-mate.

Dirty air is air which has been “disturbed” by a car closely in front of a car in question. The dirty, or more accurately turbulent air, due to the various aerodynamic appendages in the lead car tends to unbalance the trailing car, causing drastic changes in the downforce. This leads to less aerodynamic and mechanical  grip, speed and thus difficulty in overtaking.

Nico Rosberg gets a reasonable start, with Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas going with him. Bottas goes around the outside of Vettel at Turn One to take second, with Fernando Alonso taking advantage and nabbing third.

Going on the outside of a driver means attempting to overtake them using the furthest route, further from the apex of the turn.

This is by no way a complete of all terms used in Formula 1 but were the most-used during the race at Hungaroring.