The qualifying incident at the Monaco Grand Prix will hang like a black cloud over Formula 1 for a while but the Daily Mail decided to go to the source of the stewards inquiry and find out what they thought, saw and decided.
Derek Warwick, the ex-driver steward for the race, shared his thoughts on the issue and knew very well the implications:
“You could argue that as president of the BRDC I would have a reason to come to a decision that would have favoured the British driver, but obviously that is not how I would approach it. I am there to be independent,” Warwick said.
“It is a big decision to make when you are deciding to move a driver to the back of the grid. It was doubly important to get it right because it could affect many things – probably the outcome of the race and possibly of the world championship.”
If there were a reason to vote for your countryman, the opportunity was there but that isn’t how Derek saw the issue. He saw something else that prevented voting along national lines:
“We had all Mercedes’s data, including Lewis’s data to overlay on Nico’s. We had the FIA data. We had onboard shots, overhead shots, circuit shots. We had throttle traces, braking traces, everything we needed to make, hopefully, the right decision,” Warwick told The Daily Mail.
“It was not black and white. It took a long time. We wanted to be sure and thorough. The driver is a massive component in what we end up deciding. So Nico was in the stewards’ room for a long time with the team manager [Ron Meadows]. I wouldn’t say I interrogated him; I interviewed him. I made sure I asked him all the right questions.”
Warwick has seen a thing or two in the world or racing and felt this wasn’t a hoodwink:
“I have been around a long time and seen people try to pull the wool over my eyes. Did I have doubts in my mind, of course I did. But he gave me the answers I needed. I know there are conspiracy theories but you will not find a more honest driver in grand prix racing than Nico. He said himself that he made a mistake, came in too fast, braked too late and locked up his rear tyres.”
What about Lewis and his actions, comments and thoughts about the incident? Warwick has some advice:
‘I understand that Lewis was upset. Possibly he would have gone faster than Nico on that lap. Arguably the incident cost him the Grand Prix.
‘I don’t want to give him advice really — he has won umpteen races and a world championship — but if I were to say anything it would be to man up and concentrate on the next race in Canada.’
The advice comes at a good time as team now head to Canada and Lewis has a lot to consider for the remainder of the season. One race does not make a season and Lewis has the pace to bring home his second title…even though he said last year that he wouldn’t want to win like Vettel did—dominating everything. I assume that sentiment will change because winning in F1 is winning, no matter how you do it.
For Warwick, the decision was the right one and there was no foul play in qualifying. Ex-driver John Watson felt the same. Once Lewis decided it was on purpose, I’m not sure anything anyone said was going to change his mind and that’s not a sign of maturity rather an inability to see things in total. Everyone likes to be the victim these days…even the culprits.