The race in Belgium may be over but the controversy isn’t. Lewis Hamilton has been sharing his thoughts on the collision between himself and his teammate suggesting that Nico Rosberg admitted that his actions were deliberate. Hamilton says he isn’t sure how to approach the upcoming race at Monza as his trust in Rosberg may be eroded.
Lewis has shared details on the team meetings and says that Nico was still upset over Hungary and even intimated that Rosberg was furious with team bosses Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe.
Now, all of this is certainly one man’s view and you can assume it’s meant to destabilize Rosberg and the team by heaping scorn on the German after his own team bosses publicly expressed disdain for Nico’s actions on the second lap of the Belgian Grand Prix. Fair enough, fans always say they want drivers to be less corporate-gagged shills and more vocal like they were in the past so I say good on Lewis for kicking some sand and ramping up the rhetoric.
What I do find interesting it the difference in the way the team are handling the situation versus other drama or scandals in the past with other teams. If you consider 2013’s Multi 21 incident by Red Bull teammates Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, you get a distinctly different approach from the team on how to handle a scandal.
In the aftermath of the the Multi 21 incident that saw Vettel ignore team orders and pass Mark Webber for the win in the Malaysian Grand Prix, team boss Christian Horner was balanced and even though he may have not been happy with Vettel, he kept the temperature cool and offered some balance to both sides of the equation suggesting that Webber knows it is not a conspiracy and Vettel knows he was in the wrong.
Mercedes, by comparison, immediately lashed out at Rosberg, apologized to Hamilton then tried to put a can on Hamilton’s public assertions that Nico deliberately crashed into him and have now backpedaled to the point of suggesting they will wait until things cool down before making further comments.
Hamilton, feeling emboldened by his team bosses actions, was not going to let this incident drift into obscurity as he took the opportunity to tell the world what he really thought about Nico’s actions and intent. Again, they are locked in a battle for a world championship so unsettling your teammate and having the bosses assumed endorsement and favor helps those matters quite nicely.
Nico has responded by trying to take the high road on the issue but that leaves him looking even guiltier than he already is of making a move that wasn’t going to stick. Hamilton said he was deliberate and now is questioning his integrity as a man via the “trust” comment and Nico is sitting still. I say let them at it. Refute Hamilton’s allegations and let’s get this all-out war for the title on the road!
Didn’t we, fans, say we wanted less corporate sterility in our drivers and more panache? If so, then Lewis is living up to expectations but Nico isn’t. Lewis is nailing it! On the flip side of the coin, Nico may be very cunning in that he’s not taking the bait from Lewis and refuses to get rattled over a move that he took which didn’t quite pan out the way he had hoped. Just like Lewis did on Mass in Singapore in 2011 or Button last year. In his mind it’s a racing incident so why allow Lewis to make it something more than what it was.
Either way, pop some popcorn and watch the fur fly as the 2014 season boils down to a war on track and a war in the press as Hamilton and Rosberg try to beat each other on and off the circuit. Merc needs to be slightly careful here, they have a three-year deal with Nico they just signed and Lewis only has one year left on his contract.