By Hillary Chinyere
Durban, 26 August 2014, 20.00 CAT
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?”