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I’m sure there is context behind Lewis Hamilton’s latest commentary on the battle between his teammate, Nico Rosberg, and why it has become a big issue. Lewis offered much of the commentary over the Monaco Grand Prix weekend himself so his most recent quote from AUTOSPORT is a bit of a non sequitur. He was asked what escalated the situation over the weekend and he replied:

“I don’t know. I’m not entirely sure,” he said. “Just competition, that’s what we have this weekend.

“One weekend is one way and one weekend is another and this weekend went a direction I wasn’t expecting, but it’s a good experience.

“I’m aware of it now and I’ll make sure I’m aware of it for the future.”

I’m assuming the qualifying session, in which Hamilton has all but said that Nico deliberately went off at Mirabeau on the final hot lap of the session, has something to do with it. Lewis said they had a meeting to discuss the situation and he looked at the telemetry and then stated that he wished we could all see it. The implication there, if you choose to read it that way, is that he wasn’t convinced that the telemetry absolved Rosberg of any wrong doing and he felt that we would also draw that conclusion upon reviewing the data.

If you’re Nico, that may be one thing that could ratchet up the friction between you and your teammate when he’s telling the world he believes you ran wide on purpose. Perhaps, as team boss Toto Wolff revealed, it was the ignoring team protocol and turning his engine up to maximum in Spain that tweaked Nico’s sense of fair play?

Regardless, Hamilton had been the chatter box in Monaco and the allegations and recriminations have come from his side of the garage. His behavior on the podium was bereft of common Formula 1 sporting considerations usually afforded to all drivers such was his frustration with the situation and it was clear, by alleging that his old team would have handled the race better, that he was a frustrated man. That and the fact that while spraying champagne, Lewis dawdled off to the right and sprayed a few press photographers while Nico and Daniel sprayed the teams and crowd gathered.

If Lewis is unsure of what amped up the battle over the Monaco Weekend, he may be one of the very few people who didn’t here his own voice, accusations and behavior over the last few days. There is little doubt, however, that is is “aware of it now” and will react accordingly in Canada.

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • rapierman

    If he wasn’t aware, then he’s either the most naïve, the most “blind”, or he’s lying through his teeth. Either way, it’s on like Donkey Kong. How long do you think it will be before it ends in tears?

  • He’s aware, but he doesn’t care. In Lewis’s interview with Bill “The Kill” Buckston he talked about having grown since his title in 2008… understanding that he wears his heart on his sleeve, I understand, but if he was truly grown he would have risen above it, bit his lip, and just congratulated Nico on his win.

    In my opinion Nico out-braked himself in quali trying to boost a sector time. He had issues with the same turn in the race, and he seemed to be battling with self-created pressure that won’t likely surface at every race on the calendar. A nice side benefit is that it plays into the mind games that Lewis is so susceptible to.

    Lewis is a different story. I think the press is really psyching him out on this “epic battle” between teammates. I think by not throwing his arm around Nico on the podium, even if two-faced, he is prolonging and showing weakness that will ultimately be a hurdle to his second title. Maybe at the end of this season he will finally realize all of this…

    • It’s somewhat interesting that no one I’ve heard yet mentioned that Nico locked up no less than three times during the race at Mirabeau with Lewis behind him. tire smoke and all. Everyone has said, including our own Adam, that they hadn’t seen him take that braking zone wrong all weekend and that simply isn’t the case. He did three times during the race when really pushing it. Is it conceivable that he pushed it in quali with a banker lap in hand and got it wrong? I’m inclined to think yes.

      • Andreas

        And don’t forget Alonso outbraking himself in the same place in FP1, as well as Adrian Sutil and Marcus Ericsson having offs there. Mirabeau may not be the trickiest corner around the Monaco circuit, but it’s still no picknick.

      • Maybe playing the devils advocate but Nico didn’t take the run off in the race I wonder why…

        • My hunch is that tire temps were where they need to be during the race and he knows the limit there after running wide in quali. Just not sure they would try a move like that after 2006 but Mark brings up a way to solve that on our most recent podcast.

        • UAN

          because in the race you’re not quite on the same edge. Also context is key. Lots of drivers go off in free practice in areas and at times that if it were a race they wouldn’t have. Same with qualifying.

          In qualifying, when he made the mistake, the session was over, why risk planting it in the wall? Whereas in the race it’s worth the risk.

          No one ever says of a driver, “he made that mistake in qualifying, backed off and trundled back to the pits for new tires, I wonder why he’s not doing that in the race?”

          I’d agree with Todd’s point that Nico lost the feel for that part of the track. Monaco is about getting into the zone, and it seems in areas was having a harder time.

          Don’t forget Lewis was pushing him incredibly hard until the “eye” problem. Within a second most of the time, so he was hanging it out a bit in areas, locking up and so forth, around the whole track at times.

          Playing Devil’s advocate, what about that “eye” problem? Brundle couldn’t remember anything like that (on Sky). But his eye didn’t look red or anything when he got out. But he did come good when RIC came up behind him. Hmmm. :)

          • I agree, maybe “eye problem” is code for “pushed too hard & tires have gone off”

          • jonnowoody

            I had an eye problem like that when I wasn’t picked for the team in the sixth grade – it wasn’t fair then, either.

      • UAN

        Don’t forget how much Nico was locking up behind the SC before the restart.

    • rapierman

      That just might send him into depressive mode. We’ll see what happens during the next race.

  • Christy

    Well said 4kbeast

  • gsprings

    oh well, Hamilton will get that 2nd wdc I believe, this year, no matter what comments him or his teammate makes,I guessed he was supposed to be physced out last time Nico won,we saw how that went

  • Rick T

    So with lewis acting like vettle of 2012 does that mean we should go buy #teamnico shirts?

  • Dave P

    Machett told the US audience that Nico might be in trouble on his final Q3 attempt because he had slowed up a bit ahead of the lap (to create a bigger ago to the traffic ahead). Machett explained that the supersofts were showing a tendency to lose their temperature rather quickly, and thus their grip. Seconds after Machett finished the sentence, Nico lost control of the car. Clearly no big conspiracy.

    Perhaps Mercedes should have Machett on the radio to Lewis instead of his engineers. Parish’s Lewis would trust him more…

    • Sizziano

      Matchett has an uncanny ability to predict these sort of things. It is quite extraordinary.

  • Hamilton is exhibiting Mansell Simplex 10; nothing is ever easy, I overcame gargantuan obstacles to achieve the smallest of successes, everyone is out to get me, and it is only my own innate greatness that prevents them from succeeding. And, as we see here, utterly tone deaf to how their own comments are perceived. I hated it with Nige, and it’s growing really weary with Hamilton.

  • SpannersReady

    Again no mention of Rosbergs behaviour post qually.

    • What was it, exactly, that Nico did post quali that you are referring to? He celebrated his pole position in Monaco? I guess if you believe he did it deliberately, then maybe his celebration could be viewed as crass but he said he didn’t and the FIA agreed with him so I’m not sure what you might be referring to here.

  • Rosberg’s handling of the press was really mature IMHO. Hamilton should take notice. For instance, this bit from the post race press conference:

    Q: (Christian Hoenicke – Der Tagesspiegel) Nico, do you think it was fair what Lewis said about you not being hungry as him because you were growing with boats and jets and all that stuff?
    NR: I didn’t hear Lewis say that and so I’m not going to comment because it’s easy for you to just invent something and so I’m not going to comment on that, and even if something like that was written – which I don’t know because I don’t read the media – then still, between what Lewis says and what’s written, so much can turn around so it’s better I don’t say anything and I know that Lewis wouldn’t say something like that, especially not to the press, maybe to me if he feels like it but not to the press.

    More here:
    http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2014/5/15886.html

  • Rik

    Nico, who I have never rated as much of a racer ( he simply doesn’t push every lap of ever race like a Vettel or Alonso, Shumacher does) yet he certainly has rung Hamilton’s bell.

    The comments from Lewis are his childish attempts at a Jedi mind trick as it’s hard to cry poor with a 200 mil net worth, private jet and so on and so on. He certainly doesn’t handle pressure well, or at least in the radio comments he is far from cool and collected.

    Possibly Nico should walk around Canada wearing a Nicole Scherzinger T-Shirt just to psych out Lewis.

    • Yeah, at this point you have to give the on-track nod to Lewis and the off-track nod to Nico. :)

  • Honestly, Nico makes mistakes in Q3. He did it at China, where he really should have gotten pole. My only fear here is that Lewis takes it as license to start playing dirty. Even if Nico did do it on purpose, you kind of have to give him the benefit of the doubt. If he does something else morally questionable, well, then you know, and the gloves can come off. But Lewis will just lose everyone’s respect if he throws his integrity out after one incident.

    I was listening to Sky F1’s Senna podcast the other day, and they were lamenting Senna’s partially negative legacy, of having introduced the sort of no-holds-barred aggressiveness and the loss of fair play.

    I’ve really been enjoying the on-track battle between Nico and Lewis, and I hope they continue on that way, with decorum and civility!

  • David in seattle

    So, merc has one strategist for both sides of the garage. This must make it simple for the team, but rather frustrating for the driver. “Letting the drivers race” has limited meaning if the team is calling the shots on strategy for both. Lewis implied that McClaren gave him his own strategist which offers much more independence.

  • It must of been so fustrating for Lewis as the hardworking, hungry for the win man that he is, when he couldn’t match the level of that rich kid Niko, who didn’t have to work as hard as Lewis to get into F1. Imagine how Niko would dominate Lewis if he had his level of hunger.