First and foremost, are you judging this as a neutral or as a specific drivers fan? Sometimes people can be heavily influenced by their favoured driver and ignore all the other factors.
Monaco is a circuit that often highlights the exceptional drivers from the good drivers. It showcases not only car control, but also a drivers raw talent and confidence. Car manufacture plays less of a part as power and down force are the crucial ingredients to pull together a competitive lap.
Nico Rosberg jumped to the top after setting a time 0.059 seconds faster than team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Both drivers were able to circulate again, however as the German approached Mirabeau he broke too late which resulted in a lock up sending him into the escape road.
When cars take to the escape road, it’s not guaranteed to bring out yellow flags as the car is well clear of the track. Hamilton was behind Rosberg on the circuit and was improving his time until he reached the yellow flagged zone, where he had to back off. Throughout the weekend Hamilton’s best sector has been sector two, which is where Mirabeau is located.
Hamilton was on a personal best, however he was not going quicker than Rosberg’s provisional pole time in that sector.
If (emphasis on if) Rosberg wanted to deliberately bring out yellow flags, he would have put his Mercedes into the barriers or parked it on the track. Instead, he took it down the escape road out of harms way. He couldn’t park it there because he had to get back to Parc Ferme or else risk his pole time being stripped. Perhaps he could have waited longer to reverse, but the yellow flags were out anyway.
There’s no rule on whether you can reverse out of an escape road, but if he were to be punished then Fernando Alonso and Marcus Ericsson were also guilty of the same manoeuvre. The former doing so in FP1 and the latter in FP3.
These ‘dodgy’ steering motions were merely corrections for being out of shape at Casino Square which resulted in the German out-braking himself into Mirabeau. Rosberg was bettering his time up until that moment – why would he sacrifice his own hot lap, that could have potentially been better than his previous time, just to ruin Hamilton and everyone else’s lap? He wouldn’t, and Hamilton shouldn’t be so grumpy about being less than a tenth behind him.
It just shows how close this pair can be.
The drama has, unfortunately for Rosberg, overshadowed just how good his pole lap was. It similarly hid the efforts of Jean-Eric Vergne, who put in a lap just 3 tenths behind Kimi Raikonnen’s Ferrari to put him in seventh place for tomorrow’s race.
I think the real culprits here are the media who are over-hyping a story whilst trying to force a rivalry similar to what was seen between Prost and Senna in 1988. A rivalry which will almost certainly, never be matched.
Hamilton made some comments towards Rosberg, and insinuated that he may have purposely done it. But when you’ve lost pole in those circumstances, it’s understandable to be frustrated. What’s not understandable is the comments that his fans have left Rosberg. Some including death threats – which, regardless of F1’s history, is disgusting behaviour.
What needs to be mentioned is that pole position does not get you points. It’s an achievement, but it doesn’t help you in the championship at all. The race is more important. And instead of banging on about qualifying in P2 – which must be a ’terrible’ place to start – the main focus should be on his race start tomorrow. A place where Rosberg has been struggling.
The FIA have taken no action on Rosberg and rightly so. Tomorrow’s race is getting ever-more interesting with tensions rising high. Will Hamilton take the lead? Can Rosberg keep Hamilton behind? What can Ricciardo or Vettel do? Only time will tell…
What are your thoughts?