11 MERCEDES DRIV­ERS AT WAR

Motor Sport News - - Top 50: Defining Moments -

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

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