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GP Week : Issue 150
Nico Rosberg was fortunate to leave Bahrain on Sunday night with his fifth place finish still intact after escaping without penalty from two post- race stewards investigations for some highly- suspect defensive driving during the Grand Prix. The German was under investigation for pushing Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso off-track as they tried to overtake his Mercedes during the race. Both incidents occurred on the straight between Turns 3 and 4, with Rosberg moving across the track to defend his position and prevent his rival from taking the inside line into Turn 4. It took the stewards over three hours after the end of the race to decide not to penalise Rosberg. The four-man panel published a detailed explanation along with their verdict, reasoning that Rosberg should not be penalised because he had only made a single, constant, continuous move across the track. “The driver of Car 8 commenced his move to the right after the exit from T3 and moved to the right in a constant and continuous straight line manner, not making any sudden movements,” read one part of the stewards’ explanation for both investigations. In the case of Rosberg’s move on Hamilton, the stewards added: “Had a significant portion of Car 4 [Hamilton] been alongside that of Car 8 [Rosberg] whilst Car 4 still remained within the confines of the track, then the actions of Car 8 may not have been considered legitimate.” It is GPWEEK’s opinion however that Rosberg’s actions constituted a clear and unequivocal breach of article 16.1 e of the sporting regulations, which makes it illegal for drivers to push another competitor off-track. Speaking after the race, Alonso said he had the extensive run-off areas of the track to thank for avoiding a nasty accident: “I can only say that if, instead of such a wide run-off area there had been a wall, I'm not sure I'd be here now to talk about it,” he told the press. Alonso then took to Twitter to voice his dissatisfaction at the stewards’ decision when it was published: “I think you are going to have fun in future races! You can defend position as you want and you can overtake outside the track! Enjoy!” he wrote, referring to Hamilton overtaking Rosberg while off the track. AGGRESSIVE ROSBERG ESCAPES PENALTIES FROM STEWARDS Blind eye turned to Hamilton and Alonso incidents 27 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> BAHRAIN