THE MISSES OF THE 2016 F1 CAMPAIGN
FLASHPOINT OF THE YEAR
We knew it was coming – the inevitable shunt between Lewis and Nico – we just didn’t know where or when. But we didn’t have long to wait: round five, lap 1, Turn 4 to be precise, the point at which Lewis Hamilton launched an opportunist move on team-mate Rosberg as he fought to make up for an imperfect getaway.
Lewis had started from pole, but Rosberg got the drop on him and passed on the outside of Turn 1, staying ahead through 2 and 3.
Then things got interesting. Rosberg was seen to make a small adjustment to a steering wheel dial with his left hand, in an attempt to rectify an engine mode problem that had left him down on power on the exit of Turn 3. Nico denied he’d been distracted but regardless Hamilton sensed his opportunity and drew alongside. But Nico wasn’t having it. He edged Lewis to the track perimeter and beyond, to the point of no return. Hamilton, gripless, dropped it and both cars crashed into retirement.
Their elimination set up Maxverstappen’s unforgettable first win, but more significant in the context of the championship was that Rosberg had laid down a marker:“no more Mr Nice Guy”.