11 MERCEDES DRIVERS AT WAR
WHEN: MAY 15 WHERE: BARCELONA, SPAIN
This incident had been brewing for a while, a few seasons in fact.
Remember the collision at Spa in 2014, where Nico Rosberg clipped Lewis Hamilton’s rear tyre and punctured it? We’d not seen many flashpoints like that between the two title protagonists since then, when Mercedes firmly cracked the whip to get both to behave.
Then came the Spanish GP, when Mercedes’ utopian mask shattered.
Hamilton and Rosberg started together on the front row, but when Rosberg jumped ahead Hamilton attacked into turn four.
Rosberg had started the race in the wrong engine mode, meaning Hamilton got a run on him, just as Rosberg moved across to defend.
Both cars ended up in the gravel trap after Hamilton lost control on the grass and hit Rosberg.
“He made a mistake with his engine setting, I was catching,” said Hamilton. “When you are going 9mph faster you go for it.”
Rosberg countered: “I was aware of the situation so I closed the door early and made it very clear I wasn’t going to leave space.”
Mercedes shut both drivers away for talks on the clash, and neither said much when they were released, but the body language suggested massive tensions bubbling under. Sources claim Hamilton even threatened to quit the team if he wasn’t backed over the clash. Hamilton hasn’t denied that conversation took place…
They also tangled on the last turn in the Austrian GP, with Rosberg taking the blame, but not happily. RL