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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.

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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.
  • Ground Effect

    So here are my two birds with one stone… eliminate most topside aero like big front wings… open up ground effects again including up to at least the front axle if not further forward… no more big front wings the drivers cannot see cutting down tires of opponents.

  • re: “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.”

    God bless Nikki but he is a pompous, self righteous ass. Toto tries to come across as the ‘every man’s boss’ but is in fact a ruthless, self promoting Luca D wannabe. These two guys need to do “a check up from the neck up” (thanks Zig), quickly, before they kill their golden goose. Mercedes AMG Petronas in its current iteration is clearly not a team for the ages.

    Nico made a move. It didn’t work out. Lewis slammed the door. That, too, didn’t work out. They both are racers; that is what is expected. They were racing to win. The race starts at lights out, not 3-4 laps later. Their gamesmanship is also expected; which one can best get inside the other guy’s head. But, Toto and Nikki, they need to butt out in public and take it to the back room. Unless their goal is to piss off Nico, they simply look like out of control, amateurish, Lewis sycophants.

    Phew. . . I feel better now. :)
    Onward, into the fog.

    • Natthulal

      Well said sir.

      Of course the other possibility is that the post race reactions from both Toto, and Niki maybe by design, to berate Nico in public, and play to the emotions of Lewis.

  • Rapierman

    This is what happens when you have two alpha males on your team: It all implodes and comes to tears. They’re going to have to decide which one they want to keep. Clearly, they can’t keep both.

  • dude

    They went too public about, but also this is the issue with a multi-boss team, it’s confusing for both the team and the fans. Ross knows how to handle situations like this and doesn’t mess around.

    • Natthulal

      but also this is the issue with a multi-boss team, it’s confusing for both the team and the fans.
      >> In that case one really need to tip hat to Christian Horner, after all he has to deal with Helmut Marko, Dietrich Mateschitz ( the guy that Webber always claimed to have had word with after every time he felt persecuted by rest of the team bosses), and of course Adrian Newey ( The guy that left McLaren, because, he didn’t like the micromanaging Ron Dennis, and wanted to run team his own way).
      And bear in mind Christian Horner came to F1 as a junior formula racer/team owner, and transitioned into the rule, plays to the egos of his team management, drivers, takes crap from the British F1 media, every time his English speaking driver uses them to vent out his persecution theories.

  • So glad that Mercedes has worked out their driver issues and that the number 2 driver now will give way when necessary. Lewis, Nico is faster than you.

  • jiji the cat

    i’ve been looking forward to something like this in F1 since the days of Prost / Senna. All i can say is i am enjoying it, now lets turn the heat up a notch, sit back, put your 3d specs on, and enjoy.

    Preferably with an ale or wine in hand.

    • that’s my point…why all the outrage and anger? Isn’t this what we want? Drivers going at it hammer and tongs and mouthing off in the press to get in the head of their main rival? Last I checked, that’s what F1 fans said they wanted anyway.

      • Jiji the cat

        Been waiting for this for a very very very long time. Really enjoying it. To all those people who are arguing over who was in the right or who was in the wrong just ponder this, would you rather seen Nico overtake Lewis in the DRS or would you rather see two drivers going for it and occasionally getting it wrong? I know which I prefer.

      • Rapierman

        I didn’t want this. In fact, I warned against it. It’s two alpha males fighting for control, and one of those alpha males happens to be one that will take his gripes out publically to attempt to manipulate the Human Race to side into his corner, and I’m not falling for it.

        That isn’t to say that Rosberg isn’t at fault. This is to say that dirty laundry should not be aired out in public, and only those with Machiavellian mindsets would stoop so low to do such a thing. Hamilton just happens to be one of them. Remember the “McLaren Tweetgate”?

        • Jiji the cat

          I understand, I really do, but….

      • Yup! More, please.

        The outrage and anger comments have beenpretty tame here on F1b compared to some of the, especially British, other sites. :-o If this was Formula E the fans would have voted to remove Nico’s power unit.

        • Being outraged is my God-given right as a fan. It we weren’t allowed to be angry and express our outraged opinions, then this would be any fun! Obviously we find talking about it as entertaining as watching it, or none of us would be posting comments.

          As Johnny Storm might say.. “Flame On, my fellow F1 fans!”

  • Chuck C
  • Rik

    Lewis is loosing the Jedi mind tricks I believe. He pubically puts out what seems as lies constantly or the media are constantly putting words in his mouth.

    Lewis should just shut up and drive. He closes the door, right or wrong and it’s as simple as that.

  • John M

    Like Eddie Jordan once said about racing drivers “It’s easier for them to ask for forgiveness than permission”. Now I’ve perceived Hamilton as the aggressor (atleast publicly) throughout the season. He’s talked trash in the media (going as far as to compare his rivalry with Rosberg to Prost-Senna), aggressively shut the door on Rosberg in Bahrain and disobeyed team orders in Hungary. I find all of this highly entertaining and have no problem with any of it but I think this should all be considered because I think Rosberg’s move was a racing move but overly aggressive meaning I don’t think he didn’t it intentionally but I don’t think he cared it happened either. I agree with Toto Wolff that Rosberg did it to send a message which to me is that Rosberg thinks this is his time and he’s not going to relent. Maybe Hamilton had it wrong when he stated he’s hungrier for the championship earlier in the season. If this rivalry boils too hot and explodes maybe Hamilton won’t renew his contract thickening the plot even further. Even if it gets a little ugly at times drama makes for compelling television. Considering this has been a two driver race for the championship all season long and this inter-team drama has let Daniel Ricciardo creep back into contention which is giving us a finish that should be both very competitive and entertaining. Which is I believe is what we all want.

  • PM

    For me, despite the fact that mercedes management doesn’t condone his actions, Nico is the big winner of the day. He has a lead of 29 points in the championship, has made Hamilton even more paranoid than he already was, and has forced Hamilton to think twice before driving aggressively around him, taking away one of Hamilton’s biggest weapons. Sure, Mom and Dad aka Niki and Toto (you can decide which is which) aren’t pleased with him at the moment, but they will be the first ones to jump up and down after Nico finishes as world champion at the end of the season. Nico couldn’t have planned it better if he had tried….

  • Keenan

    You have to give credit where credit is due, Nice played it perfectly. Front wing damage gives you a longer pit stop but not significantly long enough to take you out of the points. A popped rear tire on the other hand, at the beginning of the lap at Spa gives you a non points finish, rattled head, and a long pit stop. Rosberg already has the benefit of a few Hamilton DNFs and poor luck in qualifying. He just has to be consistent and keep Ricciardo in check and this championship is his. He made a calculated risk taking out Hamilton because he knew he could keep

    The way I few this rivalry is like Prost V Senna or even a larger comparison Brazil V Argentina. Rosberg is the calculating German. Doing just enough to place himself well, yeah of course he wants to win but that’s more because the person that often beats him is Lewis, his teammate. No one really falls in love with Nick but fans like him because he does enough to win and he seems like a nice guy. Lewis on the other hand, is the wear his heart on his sleeve Brit. You love him or you hate him, but you can’t deny his raw talent and you would love to have him on your team. If you didn’t get the comparison Nick=Prost/Germans and Lewis=Senna/Argentina. Rosberg does what it takes and you know he will be there consistently. Lewis awes you with moments of brilliant race craft but has a roller coaster path.

    We love the drama its what we thrive on. It draws fans to the sport. Yeah it probably won’t last much past this season but we should enjoy it while it lasts, before we end up doing the practical things and have proper 1s and 2s.

    • Rik

      I believe your implying malice on the part of Nico, which is no more accurate than Lewis intentionally closed the door.. Each wanted the same piece of track for each own’s benefit.

      Hamilton wants the drama and Roseburg doesn’t apparent by each’s comments. I believe though that Hamilton is not actually liking the effects of the drama but Niki certainly does or he’d stop with the comments as well.

      While we like the drama, it has absolutely zero value for Mercedes which are the ones paying the bills and this might be the ultimate problem. How much does Mercedes like to win vs how much does Mercedes like the drama, both from within and on the outside?

      All comparison’s to Senna/Prost are really a disrespectful jab towards Senna/Prost as the President of the FIA does not share the same nationalistic origin as either of these two and effectively Senna was fighting the organization more so than Prost himself. Hamilton has Niki in his pocket and Rosberg has himself in his corner but there is no mass conspiracy of changing the rules, moving “pole position” on the grid, etc. in favor of either of these two drivers.

      To date, Hamilton/Rosberg haven’t had any real drama other than Hamilton’s running off at the mouth. Now it can always get better though and we are certainly watching to see what happen’s in Italy. Will Lewis ram Nico? Will Lewis ruin Nico’s race? Will it backfire on Lewis and he take’s himself out? Stay tuned.

      • F1derbar

        Um, yeah I guess Lewis better give in to Nico in Italy, hope he learned his lesson (smh) – that is, if you don’t let Nico pull a move on you you’ll be accused of ‘getting even’. Well played Mr. Rosberg.

  • JayBurd

    Bring it on! It’s probably much ado about nothing but it makes this championship interesting. Is love it if Daniel just snuck on them and took the championship at the Abu double, double points or not, it’d be great either way.

    • Lol. That would be a disaster for Merc. :)

      • MIE

        So will we get a situation where Mercedes introduce team orders ar Double Dhabi even if both their drivers are in contention, just to ensure the lead driver beats Ricciardo?

  • I agree it’s exactly what people have been asking for. Would they prefer Mercedes adopted the old Ferrari line, keep their drivers in formation, create a boring race, then mumble a few platitudes afterwards?

    Funny to think we’re looking at Multi 21 in a positive light now. At the time, Horner was slammed for being weak in his handling of the affair, while further down the order, Mercedes was praised for firmly putting Rosberg in his place as he complained Hamilton was holding him up. The tables have turned!

  • Julian

    Let’s start speculating on where these two will be driving next year. I expect one of them will surely be leaving at the end of the year, but which one.

    From the outside, I think that Mercedes prefer Lewis, they seem quick to criticize Rosberg, and you have to consider if you take Hamilton’s technical issues out of the equation he would surely be ahead in the WDC.

    On the other hand Rosberg seems more likely to win the WDC, and already has a longer contract in place.

    Look at it this way, in spite of all the terrible luck that has afflicted Hamilton he is only 29 points behind. Rosberg has had far better fortune with reliability, how will he be doing if the Mercedes car is not so dominant next year?

    My guess is Mercedes will end up sticking with Rosberg, Hamilton goes back to McLaren to reunite with Ron, Mercedes pick up Magnussen, JEV goes to McLaren and Button retires. Although I could be wrong…

  • Andreea

    Spa-Francorchamps 2014 – Rating pilots on the results and the intra-team battle Why? Because you need to see the value of drivers also where the car is not competitive. And because your teammate is the first you have to defeat in Formula 1!

    http://news.playf1.net/analysis/spa-francorchamps-2014-rating-pilots-on-the-results-and-the-intra-team-battle