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GP Week : Issue 208
I'm possibly going to upset a (British) reader or two here, but I'm finding the 'blame Rosberg' post-race tide a little premature and driven a little too much by his team-mate's interpretation of what transpired when the two discussed life in a team debrief. The suggestion in the immediate post-race media chat, based on media interpretation of Lewis' interpretation of what was said at that meeting, was that Nico Rosberg deliberately hit Lewis and, effectively, put him out of the race. I note that Toto Wolff has been quick to counter that, stating clearly that nothing was deliberate. Clumsy maybe, aggressive maybe, ill-advised maybe, but not deliberate. Think about it for a momemnt – and view the video again if you can. Nico was entitled to have a go around the outside under braking. That's called racing. When he pulled out of it and his front right wing touched Lewis, the immediate loser was Rosberg. There was no 'guarantee' that the touch would terminally damage Lewis' tyre (as later in the race when Fernando Alonso made an even more clumsy error and hit Sebastian Vettel's tyre much harder). So, in the second or so after contact, Nico was the loser. A broken wing, and everything that goes with that. Okay? So it wasn't deliberate and, I reckon, the Stewards got it right. Racing incident. Couple of blokes arguing over whose is bigger ... So what did Nico mean when he (reportedly) said he was "making a point"? To be honest, I think he was making the same point that he's made a couple of times since Bahrain in particular. Think back to that race and the brutal carve-ups that Lewis handed out to Nico in order to stay in front. On that day, Rosberg relented. He pulled back. Someone had to or they would both have crashed out. However, I think that was a turning point in Nico Rosberg's attitude – and his relationship with Hamilton. I can almost hear him saying to himself that "okay Lewis, we've raced each other for years, they all say you're the fast one, the natural and so on, and it's got to the point where you do assume that I'll be the one to back off in the crunch ... Well, guess what, things are going to change. Nico's not going to be the nice guy any more. I'm not going to back down." That's the message that I think Rosberg was re-sending to his lifelong rival on Sunday. Lewis was quick to point the finger, but guess what – the incident could have been avoided, by Lewis himself. He knew Rosberg was there; you can't simply pretetnd he's not there. So why not move that couple of feet to the right? Why not avoid the potential for contact yourself? You were going to have the line into the next right-hander anyway. As it happens, Lewis was unlucky. Rosberg's wing did cut his tyre – there was plenty of contact in other dices throughout this race that didn't cut a tyre. But maybe, just maybe, Lewis assumed that Nico would, as he usually has done, be the one to blink. When the dust settles, Rosberg's choice, to not comment publically in the immediate aftermath until he saw the video, may well start to swing the pendulum back his way. Lewis, on the other hand, weighed in immediately, publically. Of course – he was the one out of the race, the aggrieved party. And I think that he believes that, verbally, attack is the best form of defence. But, like I said, I reckon the Stewards got it right. Racing incident. And Lewis might just be starting to understand the message Nico has been trying to get through to him since Bahrain. It might be too late ... Regardless, it's fascinating isn't it? Despite the rhetoric, Daniel (brilliant mate) isn't going to catch them. It's still Nico versus Lewis for the title and there are several rounds to go. Seconds out; round 13 .... Despite all this, I'm really hoping that Mercedes has the nerve to still allow them torace,butIfearwecouldbeinfora McLaren-esque 'pole man wins' internal arrangement until it's mathematically impossible. I hope not ... I'm neither a Hamilton nor Rosberg fan really, but the contest and the tension is just what F1 needs ... ThE POINT, lEWIs, Is ThAT NICO's NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANy mORE OPINION CHRIS LAMBDEN ABOVe: Nico, Bahrain, pensive ... 21 GPWEEK.com // 21 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: OPINION