Hamilton defends ‘dirty tricks’; the asterisk talk begins

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In 2008, very few people, if any, suggested that Lewis Hamilton won the Driver’s Championship purely because Felipe Massa had three DNF’s compared to his one. No one claimed there should be an asterisk beside his name for that season’s title. In 2015, no one argued that Nico Rosberg’s two DNF’s were at all granular to Lewis’s title run.

In 2016, Lewis’s two DNF’s to Nico’s one—along with mechanical issues in qualifying, but not his poor starts—are being used as justification by Hamilton fans of not only an asterisk besides Rosberg’s name, but downright conspiracy theories implicating the team as being intent on thwarting Hamilton’s fourth world title. Lewis even dog-whistled as much in the Abu Dhabi post-race press conference saying the team radioed him to pick up the pace and they had a clear thought process as to why they were doing that and not just letting them race.

Reading Twitter and the outrageous commentary by #TeamLH, it has become clear that the mobocracy is in full meltdown over Nico Rosberg’s 2016 championship and feel that it was Hamilton’s had he not had the DNF’s and the team working against him.

This all started over the weekend when Lewis suggested, once again, that the changes the team made with the mechanics and engineers swapping sides of the garage was possibly a bigger issue than just moving team members around to keep parity amongst the employees. He said we’d all have to read about it in his book when he writes it ten years from now.

It also emerged that Lewis had threatened to quit Mercedes after the Spanish Grand Prix debacle that saw he and teammate Rosberg collide and retire from the race. According to Sky Sports F1, Lewis had a meltdown and threatened to walk away and this is why the team very quickly brought Pascal Wehrlein in for the testing session that immediately followed Spain as they were concerned they’d need him to sit in for Lewis for the balance of the season.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was a case of simply controlling the pace, backing Nico Rosberg up into the clutches of Red Bull and Ferrari in order to shake Nico off the podium—which is exactly what Lewis needed in order to win the title. You could argue that this exactly what he needed to do and it is his right to dictate the pace but it was also clear that Sebastian Vettel thought little of the strategy calling them “dirty tricks” and in the end, the German wasn’t going to make any lunges down the inside and spoil what he felt was rightfully Nico’s title. He even said there were a few moments he may have tried it but Lewis was too close.

In the end, Lewis Hamilton said he did nothing wrong:

“I don’t think I did anything dangerous, I don’t think I did anything unfair,” said Hamilton. “We were fighting for the championship, I was in the lead so I control the pace. That is the rules.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff didn’t see it exactly the same way saying:

“I’m in two minds: one half of me says undermining a structure in public means you’re putting yourself before the team – that’s very simple,” said Wolff after the race.

“Anarchy doesn’t work in any team or any company.

“The other half says it was his only chance of winning the championship at that stage and maybe you cannot demand a racing driver to comply in a situation where his instincts did not make him comply.

“It’s about finding a solution to solve the problem in the future because a precedent has been set.

“Let me sleep over that and come up with a solution tomorrow.”

Clearly Toto’s face immediately after the race was not one of sheer joy for Nico’s title win and Lewis’s race win. He was not a happy boss and his comments reveal that he expects drivers to comply with team instruction.

What is, perhaps, more perplexing is that given Lewis’s personality and style, was Mercedes living in a dream to think that Hamilton wouldn’t back Rosberg up into traffic? Red Bull’s Christian Horner thinks so:

“With where they were at, it was just down to those guys, so it was only ever going to be that kind of battle between the two of them,” said Horner.

“Congratulations to Nico, he’s driven a great season, he’s a very worthy world champion but it was naive to think that there would be any different approach with what’s at stake.”

That’s not the case, according to Toto Wolff, who said they anticipated it:

“It was clear that it was one of the possible ways for Lewis to win the championship, if Nico could come under threat from behind, and that’s exactly what happened so it didn’t come as a surprise.

“We weren’t quite sure which direction he’d go, whether he’d go flat out, or chose the other way. But we calculated it.”

Perhaps Nico Rosberg said it best when he explained in the post-race press conference that it is clear to see both sides of the issue. The team has its perspective and Lewis has his perspective of the race. The point being that the team are not engaged in allowing Nico to be sacrificed to Ferraris and Red Bulls to tip the points lead back in favor of Lewis Hamilton winning the title by orphaning Nico to 4th place or worse. For Lewis, that’s exactly what he needed to happen and he was trying everything he could, including ignoring team instruction, to make it happen.

Backing your teammate up into the claws of competitors is within the rules but ignoring Mercedes team instruction may not be in the Mercedes AMG Petronas rule book. It will be interesting to see if anything is said publicly from the team regarding Lewis’s refusal to obey team instruction.

Regardless, Nico Rosberg is not an unworthy or asterisk champion just because Lewis had one more DNF and some mechanical issues earlier this season. The series of poor starts seems to remain out of the conversation when arguing for an asterisk next to Nico’s name. It was an extra DNF that allowed Lewis to win his first title and it was an extra DNF to cost him this season’s title. That’s Formula 1 and that’s all part of the season.

Sebastian Vettel said:

“I think in my point of view you don’t win a championship by luck, Nico won today and he is a deserved champion,” Vettel added.

“Sometimes you might have unfortunate or fortunate situations with your car, but sometimes you have better years or worse years, and it is Nico’s day – we owe it to him as a deserved champion.”

Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT and AUTOSPORT

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Johnpierre Rivera
Guest

I am so glad that you have put this post up so quickly…. Shame on Lewis for the dirty play. I have been a big booster of Lewis in his new guise at Mercedes, but day he has varnished his championship shine in my opinion… And as for the the engine failures you and Vettel hit the nail right on the head. engines where not Lewis issue, starts were… Rosberg is the deserving champ and sadly Hamilton has reminded us (again) why while he is one of the best drivers in the history of the sport and generally faster Rosberg… Read more »

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

and also being one of the most disliked drivers in F1.

Samouri
Member
Samouri

Being disliked by other fellow F1 drivers is nothing new for Lewis, because he had experienced that same kind of animosity by some going back to his karting days.

Samouri
Member
Samouri

Let’s be perfectly clear. Engine failure was the main reason for Hamilton’s loss of the 2016 WDC, and not his starts. Lewis no question lost many points this season due to his poor performance during the start of several races. Engine failures were the main culprit though, especially that engine failure at Malaysia. Lewis was comfortably leading that race with only 16 laps to go, and on towards an easy victory, when his engine decided to call it a day. Without that failure, and a Lewis win at Malaysia. Rosberg would have gone into the last race at Abu Dahbi… Read more »

Andreas
Guest
Andreas

Christian Horner is of course right – Lewis’ only chance was to win the race, and to do it as slowly as possible, giving the others a chance to get in front of Nico. It was a longshot, given the Merc pace shown over the season, but it was his only chance. And expecting him to do anything else was never going to be anything but wishful thinking on Toto’s part. They are racing drivers, after all. And human beings, not robots… so I don’t blame Lewis for using the tools available to him (within reason – I don’t condone… Read more »

Member
Fast Freddy

It was an act of desperation that many in the field would probably do as well. That don’t make it right. Admit to it, congradulate your team mate and thank the team for a great effort all year. Now go on to your playboy life style and get ready for next year.

Johnpierre Rivera
Guest

exactly…

Michael
Guest
Michael

Well said! The first, and likely last, well balanced and thoughtful article regarding the self induced Hamilton saga.

Royce Amatique
Guest
Royce Amatique

I didn’t see the race so I’m speaking from ignorance here, but I don’t see anything wrong with the tactic of backing Rosberg up, because Hamilton would have to have put himself at risk of Rosberg overtaking him by doing it.

Gram
Guest
Gram

There’s nothing wrong with it. However, we are talking about Hamilton here. These guys are always on a witch hunt when it comes to Hamilton. Apparently, its dirty to control race pace and hope your main title rival loses points. Who knew?

Andreas
Guest
Andreas

I have to ask – who are “these guys” you talk about? If you’re referring to FBC or Todd in particular, you need to go back and read the op-ed again. And do take special care to note where quotation marks are used. The term “dirty tricks” is a quote, not an opinion. It was Sebastian Vettel who talked about “dirty tricks” (most likely in tounge-in-cheek fashion, knowing that he would probably have done exactly the same thing, in the same situation). I can’t see Todd himself saying anything other than that Lewis was fully entitled to do what he… Read more »

mini696
Member

I don’t see how anyone can complain about what Lewis did. Mercedes couldn’t lose, and if you don’t do everything to try to win the championship you didn’t try at all.

His spoiled child syndrome on the other hand…

Max Johnson
Guest
Max Johnson

Mercedes has said they will allow the drivers to race, it was unfair to Lewis to radio him in the middle of the race and gave him team order.

The only asterisk I want to add is that Nico never passed Lewis competitively on track during the season, as far as I recall.

Negative Camber
Guest

If Mechanical failure or other competitors were your only hope, then backing your rival back into the claws of competitors is the option he chose (so would I as Mercedes hasn’t had consistent failures) and it nearly worked for one position but even if Seb got past, I’m not sure Max had the tires to do it. One could argue that the way these cars work when in the wash of a leading car makes the strategy even more difficult. Regardless, he did what he had to do…win the race and try to dislodge his rival from the podium. It… Read more »

J. Doug Patterson
Editor

It was indeed a situation where the driver and team were as oppositely positioned as possible. There was no way that Mercedes wanted Lewis to endanger their 1-2 finish in the season finale, but there was no way that Lewis was going to cede the championship when there was still a possibility, albeit not a probability, of his winning the title. Both sides were strongly motivated to their respective positions and there is no way that one was going to move the other from their position. There’s no way that one should expect them to move. Lewis did what he… Read more »

Zachary Noepe
Guest
Zachary Noepe

“It was indeed a situation where the driver and team were as oppositely positioned as possible.” Except, as I said above, Merc pays Lewis to drive, Lewis does not pay Merc to supply him with a car. So they’re in opposite, but not at all equivalent, positions. Lewis is simply wrong and if this were last year, I’d just fire him and save myself 50 million euros because my car is going to win the championship with Susie Wolff in it so who cares. But I have no idea how good Merc feel about the 2017 car, maybe they need… Read more »

MIE
Editor

Hamilton passed Rosberg only twice this year (Monaco where Rosberg obeyed a team instruction to let Hamilton pass, and Austria after the two collided on the last lap). I don’t think we can use the lack of wheel to wheel racing to determine who is the more deserving champion.

Gram
Guest
Gram

Oh yes we can! See last 4 races. Rosberg collected 2nds happily even though he had every opportunity to take the fight to Hamilton. If it wasn’t for Red Bull’s mistake’s he probably would have come home 3rd a couple of times. To be fair to him, that’s all he needed to win the title. And that’s also the same reason people question him as a racer. But he is a good driver no doubt about that. Now let me flip it back to you: How many times in their three years together fighting for the title has Rosberg ever… Read more »

MIE
Editor

The championship is over one season. All Rosberg had to do in the last races of this season was follow Hamilton home. Why risk the championship? It encourages processional races, but drivers race to the current rules. Hamilton is probably still better at wheel to wheel racing, but the limited times the two Mercedes have been close to each other this season there handed contact. However that doesn’t make him the champion. If anything having a world champion as a team mate should answer those critics who said Hamilton’s last two championships were only there because he had a dominant… Read more »

Zachary Noepe
Guest
Zachary Noepe

I agree it was less exciting to watch Rosberg happily accept the 2nds he needed to become champion, but watching him race, qualify and pass (Verstappen!) over the last few races any time he needed to in order to protect those second places showed me that he’s every bit as capable and fast as he needs to be, he’s just a more measured racer in style. The truth is Rosberg knows what everyone except you and the BBC seem to realize – that Lewis Hamilton is a filthy soul and would do anything up to and including smashing Rosberg out… Read more »

Gram
Guest
Gram

What’s the point of this article: 1. To bully any Hamilton supporter whose opinion does not match Todd’s. 2. To create a false perception of who Hamilton is inside and outside the car. Notice the use of the word “Dirty”. Please explain to me what is “dirty” about the race leader controlling the pace of the race? 3. Damage control on Rosberg’s worth as World Champion. It’s very obvious that many journalist are uncomfortable that some fans are willing to acknowledge that Rosberg is the 2016 Champion but view it as Champion by “default” as he did not fight for… Read more »

yoshif8tures
Guest
yoshif8tures

Todd nailed it with this piece.
Maybe you’d fit in better over at the Mercedes facebook page instead of here or go start your own blog.

Gram
Guest
Gram

What’s the matter? you can’t stomach the fact that you’re being fed false garbage?

yoshif8tures
Guest
yoshif8tures

You’re entitled to your opinion, but in my opinion you’re wrong and Todd is right.
Nico deserved this title and I’m glad Lewis lost it.

Gram
Guest
Gram

This is what it all comes down to. There is a huge fan base of Hamilton haters that will support anyone that can beat him. You’re motivated more by what you hate rather than what you support. Which is why support for Rosberg is always up and down. One weekend he is the greatest, next weekend he is a chump.

Royce Amatique
Guest
Royce Amatique

I had to re-read this article because I don’t actually understand how you think Todd is bashing Hamilton at all. I still don’t.

I haven’t commented on this site for many years but I recall there being something about decorum and civility, is that still in effect?

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

It sure is, Gram are you listening?????????

Negative Camber
Guest

Indeed…i’ve said that if I were Lewis, I would have backed Nico up too. The bigger question is the internal team dynamic and disregard for team instruction but that’s Merc’s issue, not mine. I am not sure what they have in place and to be fair, I doubt anyone on the outside does. IF Lewis nearly walked out of Merc earlier this season, things may not be that good internally and one could be forgiven for wondering if the relationship will survive this team instruction order. I’ve said it many times, Lewis is here to win, not play wet nurse… Read more »

Haggis
Guest
Haggis

Please children…grown ups are talking with the other mature adults. Move on and quit attacking Todd. If you disagree then you disagree, but this trash talk is completely unnecessary.

Johnpierre Rivera
Guest

@ Gram have you taken a chance to give the comments sections a look over at James Allen’s site in regards to the final race and in particular the last 10 laps or so of the finale race? I have, all 575 of them and still counting. whether you agree with Todd (or myself – I happen to share Todd’s view and btw I have contributed many articles praising Lewis an this site) the break down of the comments about this very subject are about the same. Many people saw how Hamilton slowed down as not becoming of their idea… Read more »

Gram
Guest
Gram

I don’t read James Allen because his website is heavily edited. If you say something that does follow the narative, your commend will not be posted, even if you don’t use foul language or disrespect other commentators. James is an F1 insider and very much wants to keep his insider access privileges. Hence why his site is so vanilla and heavily edited because his staff controls the narative to stick in line with the F1 mainstream press while trying to presenting it as Independent. If Todd is trying to present the case that Rosberg is a deserving Champion, he can… Read more »

Johnpierre Rivera
Guest

Well if you don’t read JA of late then how have you come to the conclusion that it is vanilla? maybe you should give it a read, the comments are definitely not for the faint of heart and I often wonder how the sites moderator/s allows them to be posted, but is not so much the point. Sure some of the people just want to have a feel good time, but if you filter out that then you get a pretty comprehensive look at what many well informed and sometimes overly aggressive fans think and have to say about F1.… Read more »

Johnpierre Rivera
Guest

ps Matthew makes a pretty good argument no???

Gram
Guest
Gram

Wow…you need help. That’s all I can say. Trying to correct your wicked interpretation of events would be a total waste of time.

Johnpierre Rivera
Guest

I would expect that kind of reply in light of the fact that it is so painfully obvious from the litany of points this other F1 fan makes in the case against Hamilton which you just can’t seem to accept… clearly you have a stead fast opinion and I nor Todd nor anyone else can change it. That is fine, but those facts are pretty convincing to me and I am a neutral Hamilton fan in general. I generally like him and all the jet setting and the way he drives driving people off or not. but what is good… Read more »

Zachary Noepe
Guest
Zachary Noepe

I’m not going to say I always agree with Todd but one thing he is is fair and, when in doubt, gives the benefit to the racers rather than criticising them. I personally have a problem with attacking him on grounds of bias, I actually think fairness is the thing this site does best.

There’s talk about conspiracy because Lewis has created and encouraged that talk.

The Captain
Guest
The Captain

“But when your response is to use your site as a platform to bully those people”

I don’t think you know what the word “bully” means.

Member
Dr T

So – question for you then

Was Wehrlin looked over for Force India with the view to Mercedes in 2017 in place of Lewis???

TheFaust
Guest
TheFaust

Oh Baby, say its so, say its so! I would love to see it. Lewis could go to Nascar and race with the Bubbas.

Negative Camber
Guest

If I am correct in my Sky Sports F1 interpretation of Ted’s comments, that’s what the team were doing when they brought him in for the test that Lewis sat out of early this season.

yoshif8tures
Guest
yoshif8tures

It was a good race and the better man won in the end.
What interests me more is if itd been two different teams at the front fighting for the championship.

If it were Vettel or Max backing up Lewis instead or Lewis backing up Alonso etc.

I just think since they’re in the same team people don’t mind as much and if it wasn’t there’d be more of an outcry of dirty tricks to win it.

Gram
Guest
Gram

What you’re doing is called a false equivalency by equating 2007 to 2016. 2007 was two drivers from opposing teams going head to head. You can’t make a apples to apples comparison between a Ferrari and a McLaren. However, what you can do is compare a Mercedes to a Mercedes. This is basic stuff we should all have learned in 5th grade. Applying basic science and statistic’s principles, reliability imbalance between car #6 and car #44 should make to think something was up, but statistically a very reasonable outcome when you have a sample of two drivers and ten power… Read more »

Johnpierre Rivera
Guest

BTW Hamilton has driven Nico off track so many times without out any mention from the team (at least non that we know of) that is a meaningless argument.

Gram
Guest
Gram

Has Hamilton ever been penalized for hitting Nico? Has Nico ever been penalized for hitting Lewis? I rest my case.

You’re insinuating Hamilton is a dirty racer, while Rosberg has in fact been indicted and penalized by the stewards for “dirty” driving. Multiple times actually. For running people off track and for causing a collision. See how your hate is preventing you from seeing things logically?

Johnpierre Rivera
Guest

it is a weak argument to use the stewards as the basis for whether or not Ham vs. Ros in the hitting department because those stewards and the penalties they hand out are oh so even and consistent race to race country to country right???

Gram
Guest
Gram

Sure. I’m not going to waste my time trying to teach you about racing lines and what happens if you decide to hang your car around on the outside of a corner.

MIE
Editor

Like in Austria?

Gram
Guest
Gram

Close, you had the first 4 letters right.. Like in AUSTin. Austria is where your boy had a complete melt down and realized he doesn’t know how to defend or race. So he did the only thing he knows how to do-cause a collision. Thankfully the stewards weren’t having it and penalized him. Try again.

TheFaust
Guest
TheFaust

You sound like a sore looser. Websters Dictionary Definition; A sore loser is someone who loses in a fair competition but whines about
it on a constant basis, blaming everyone around them for their loss
except themselves.

Zachary Noepe
Guest
Zachary Noepe

Gram you’ll want to avoid the New York Times Monday article about the championship, in which they celebrate Nico as the cure to all that’s wrong with modern sports, as embodied in LH. It will not tickle you.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

Thanks for the heads up Zachery. The NY Times F1 articles are good reading, better than the UK papers I’ve looked at, and just having F1 coverage makes them wayyyyyy better than the NZ papers.

Negative Camber
Guest

Gram, I grow weary of reading your digs and slights about being a 5-year-old and insults. If you can’t share your opinion and do so with decorum and civility without mocking or insulting others to try to highlight your superior intellect, then please go comment somewhere else mate. I appreciate your points, when made, but do not appreciate being called a 5-year-old. I have’t made it 51 years on this planet to get mocked for an opinion my friend. My sand box, my rules. Go make your own podcast and F1 website in which people can stand to continually be… Read more »

Haggis
Guest
Haggis

You adult well Todd. Maybe he’ll take the time and listen to your podcasts to understand that you don’t have a hatred towards lewis. Cause there’s no stopping him…

Negative Camber
Guest

Indeed. I don’t hate Lewis at all. the things people are critical of him for are the very things I like him for. He’s aggressive, he’s a very fast driver and one of the best for sure. I didn’t have a major issue with his backing Nico up, that happens in F1 and it was one of the few things he had in his arsenal to wrest the title away from Nico. For me, and I may be wrong, but I think Nico would have done the same if rolls were reversed and that’s the new and improved Nico…the one… Read more »

Haggis
Guest
Haggis

I still remember the third podcast of 2015, and even Paul had agreed that you could just write Nico off of the chase. He was broken and seemed like he had a team working against him. This year however he stayed solid from day one and didn’t let his mistakes phase him, and that was the biggest difference between the two drivers. After Spain is when I’d say that lewis showed signs of pressure, and his off track life getting to him. Nico pretty much stayed solid even after the Austria debacle. And that proved he was ready.

Gram
Guest
Gram

Where did I call you a 5 year old?

Todd, don’t take it so personally. You keep asking for civility. Please show me where I have called anyone names or disrespected them. You seem to take it as hostility when someone does not agree with you. Again, what exactly did I say that was not civil or rude? Please be specific and stay on topic.

Negative Camber
Guest

“This is basic stuff we should all have learned in 5th grade.” I was close, okat, so a 7-year-old. Close enough. ;) You can disagree all you want Gram, I’m perfectly fine with that my friend. I’m wrong a lot but what I am not willing to endure is belittlement for an opinion in order to trump up the dissenter’s opinion. Gram, I like your thoughts and opinion—when I can wade through the belittling commentary and rhetoric—and I would love to have your participation but we’ve had this one rule since 2005 when you didn’t even know we existed and… Read more »

Gram
Guest
Gram

Stop ducking, Todd. Do you agree comparing reliability of two teams with two separate powertrains is a fallacy? Is that your technique? Someone points out to you that you are comparing apples to oranges and your response is be civil or I will ban you? Nice, Very classy!

BTW, 5th graders are usually 10-11 years old.

Royce Amatique
Guest
Royce Amatique

SERENITY NOW!!!!!! SERENITY NOW!!!!!

Member
Mike

Wow, hats off to a great commentary on the rule of civil discourse! Appreciated Todd. To be honest, as a F1 fan for 40 years (omg, that is frightening) let me say that every single post i read here i think about, because i have learned that we have a brilliant community of thoughtful fans here and i learn something all the time even if not agreeing, we have the freedom here to listen, think, share and consider. Something that is lacking in the world for sure. Thanks NC!

Member

Now that the season is finally over, let’s hypothesize this: swap the results that Nico and Lewis had. Would there be fans still calling for an asterisk to that championship?

No doubt that Lewis can best Nico 2 out of three times. This just happened to be that third time. I’m very sure that Lewis has more championship wins ahead of him. I’m looking forward to good hard racing and good civil debates. Join us won’t you?

hex
Guest
hex

As a scientist I disagree with your use of “basic science” and “statistics”. I think you need to factor in the fact that two different drivers, with very different driving styles were driving the car. I agree that a “greater power” could be the cause, but it would be very difficult to pull off without the entire team being involved…and why would Mercedes do such a thing to their best driver. The other possibility is that LH drives the car, PU or their parts, closer to their tolerance limits and that yields a higher percentage of failures. I am a… Read more »

Gram
Guest
Gram

“It was not the DNFs that cost LH the championship. He was out qualified five times by NR.” Who are you fooling? You’re no scientist. I would try to refute everything you just said but you won’t believe it coming from me. So go to f1.com and looking at the starting and finishing results. You will notice Hamilton has finished off the podium only 2 times. Talk about consistency! Rosberg: 4 times. You will also notice Hamilton has started from the back of the grid 2 times and a couple times in 10th because of power unit penalities and gear… Read more »

MIE
Editor

He qualified in tenth at Baku because of a driver error. He crashed.

Stop insulting people. Use some decorum and civility, it really is quite straightforward.

Gram
Guest
Gram

???????

hex
Guest
hex

Hi gram, I was not trying to fool anybody, just giving my opinion: that conspiracy theorists fail to take into account the fact that there are different drivers driving the car, with their own driving style. I believe that when you talk about “samples” you are actually making a mistake, because these are not equivalent. Your argument actually falls into a class of fallacies called “false equivalence”. I have a PhD and twenty five or so papers to my name, most of them using quantum statistical mechanics and some of them using information theory. But I’m no real expert in… Read more »

Johnpierre Rivera
Guest

that was very well said Hex. Both parts, the scientific part and the part of civility….

Sid
Guest
Sid

Well said, and fair play to Vettel for not making a lunge down the inside of Rosberg on the last lap there, when he was tantalizingly close. As his comments indicate, I think he was fairly aware of the WDC battle up ahead, and his driving at the end was indicative of that. Of course, that doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t have gone for the gap if it existed, but very glad that he didn’t go for a kamikaze lunge at the end.

Hans
Guest
Hans

Good post NC, thanks. I’m really not a great fan of both Merc drivers. I admire the pace shown by Lewis and the resilience against a strong opponent by Rosberg. All events made for a great final to the season in my opinion. I really cannot see any dirty tactics here by Lewis. It reminds me of the story of the scorpion and the frog: A scorpion asks a frog to carry it across a river. The frog hesitates, afraid of being stung, but the scorpion argues that if it did so, they would both drown. Considering this, the frog… Read more »

Zachary Noepe
Guest
Zachary Noepe

I agree that it is legitimate to use tactics to screw your opponent as much as to elevate yourself, though it’s not in keeping with my idea of sport that’s one of many reasons I’m no champion at anything so fine. But when Paddy Lowe comes on the radio and says ‘this is an instruction do the following’ you have to realize you’re an employee, they own the car and team, do what you’re told. Lewis Hamilton can feel free to build his own car and do whatever he wants like Briggs Cunningham but until then Merc have a right… Read more »

Dominic Goff
Guest
Dominic Goff

I’m a Hamilton fan, but not one of the hysterical conspiring #TeamLH ones that gets such a rap here, am I the only one? I think Nico had a strong season and is deserving of the title. It would have been a boring race if the Mercedes had gone off into the distance for a one two finish. Instead having the possibility of the outcome uncertain, almost up to the last corner made it so exciting to watch. Had Lewis pulled it off, I think it would be a tainted title, not as bad as taking out a driver but… Read more »

Member
Mike

I’m with you, a Lewis fan from earlier than F1 days, and not a #TeamLH fanboy. What I have noticed in F1 passion (which i love, btw) since following the sport since 1970, is that everyone throws their arms up in the heat of the moment of what is unfair, not right, dirty tricks, dangerous, callous, rebellious, etc., only to have it settle into a fond memory of warm sunset F1 years once past. Anyone that is a Michael Shumacher, Vettel, Senna fan knows what i mean. These guys are hard-wired to be champions, doing anything, even ignoring team orders… Read more »

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

I guess that when you’re totally immersed in ‘fighting for the WDC’, and are being rewarded with huge amounts of money and uncritical praise from those close to you, any way to ‘win the fight’ will seem justified. So whether you’re Schumacher punting Hill, Senna or Prost blatantly taking your team mate out, Vettel disobeying team orders, Rosberg reversing up an escape road, or Hamilton backing up his team mate. Some fans see a ‘win at all costs’ approach as the mark of a ruthless and admirable champion, others (including many on this site, not you Gram, but many others)… Read more »

Johnpierre Rivera
Guest

well said….

Johnpierre Rivera
Guest

and that is the skinny of it. do you fall into the clark stewart or hill type of f1 pilot or the senna shumy vettel and hammy type of pilot. many would included alonso in the latter as welll…

Zachary Noepe
Guest
Zachary Noepe

Excellent fair post by Todd and excellent grown up job by Vettel.

Member

A fine article. While I didn’t really like Lewis backing Nico into Vettel, I totally understand why he did it. There’s a World Championship at stake and he wanted it just as much as Nico. I were rather surprised to hear the team orders over the radio and not so surprised to hear Lewis dodge those orders. All this season, Toto Wolff has been telling everyone that “we let our drivers race each other”.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

Maybe in Toto’s book, in nine years time, he’ll tell us what ‘rules of engagement’ the drivers signed up to.

gsprings
Guest
gsprings

i like what lewis did,any champ worth his salts,is not going to make it easy for his teammate,and thats what lewis did,nico was cruising to that wdc,lewis made nico work a little harder for it,as it should be,people calling it dirty ,ha,i have seen a lot worse

Member

Consider this:

Didier Peroni, John Watson, Alain Prost, Niki Lauda, and Rene Arnoux all won one more race than Keke Rosberg in 1982, and he still won the season because he finished more. He also happened be disqualified in Brazil.

Stirling Moss won 4 races to Mike Hawthorn’s 1 in 1958. He still gained the championship because he consistently made it to the podium.

In 2008, Felipe Massa had 6 wins to the champion’s 5. He had one more retirement and a few lousy races compared to the eventual title winner. Which was Lewis Hamilton.

Negative Camber
Guest

I did enjoy Keke’s comment that he feels Lewis lucked in to two titles and Nico only one. :) He has a way with words does our Keke. ;)

Samouri
Member
Samouri

In 2008, let’s not forget that at Spa. The race win was given to Massa who wasn’t anywhere in the running for victory, and taken away from Lewis, which was one of the more outrageous decisions felt by fans world-wide.

Gram
Guest
Gram

Lets do a quick exercise. Rosberg is champion of 2016. That is a fact and I’m not here to discredit him as champion. However, can we agree he became champion due to poor reliability on car #44? Many do not want to acknowledge this. Instead they want to say the problem was poor starts. Not true of course, but if you’re willing to do the math I’m all ears. Understand this: If you want to speculate about where Hamilton should have finished with a good start and move him from 3rd to 2nd or 1st, you will have to do… Read more »

MIE
Editor

Rosberg won the title because he won more points than anyone else.

Haggis
Guest
Haggis

It’s also about having the right machine and being there at the right time. Even lewis has admitted to having that on his side for wins especially with coming back from last with all of the engine change penalties. You can push out numerous products at the same specs, but that doesn’t mean they will always react the same. With having the top mechanics in Mercedes, it still doesn’t put out the possibility of human error, and I still don’t see where any of the mechanics would benefit from it. I don’t believe there is a conspiracy as I believe… Read more »

hex
Guest
hex

How about the few (four?) times NR beat LH to pole fair and square and converted pole position in a race win.

Gram
Guest
Gram

How about you stop fighting facts because they are inconvenient truths for you?

Graeme Fuller
Guest
Graeme Fuller

Great editorial by NC. In an interview on F1 official site Lewis said the odds were stacked against him. So if having the fastest car, best team is having the odds stacked against you, how does anyone else in F1 even get to the grid?

Congrats to Nico as the 2016 WDC of F1.

Andreas
Guest
Andreas

I didn’t see that interview, so what was the context? If Lewis was talking about the season as a whole, I’d definitely agree that the odds weren’t exactly stacked against him. At least not in relation to quite a few other drivers, in less developed cars. I suspect Alonso would have an opinion or two about who the odds are really stacked against… :-)

However, if talking specifically about the last race of the season and his chances of winning the championship, I’d absolutely say that the odds definitely were in Nico’s favour.

Graeme Fuller
Guest
Graeme Fuller

The interview was on F1, on Facebook. I believe it was about this race, though it was only that 45 secs that I saw. Zero doubt about Lewis driving ability (back to back WDC). Lewis qualified pole as was and is allowed to drive as he did. Whether he should have is another question that will cause debate. Both drivers had the same cars, equipment and I think some times things go your way and sometimes no. Would i have Lewis if I ran a F1 team, no, not because of talent, but the other side of Lewis is a… Read more »

Andreas
Guest
Andreas

That makes two of us – one could say we have the odds stacked against us, with respect to our chances of becoming team principals :-) Anyway, it does make sense if he was talking about the race – he really didn’t have very many options, while Nico had many more avenues to the end goal. As for the headaches, I see them as largely of Mercedes’ own making. Their stated goal is to finish every race 1-2, which means running two of the absolute best drivers, while making the box they are “free to race” within as small as… Read more »

Member

Asterix talk?comment image

Member
Fast Freddy

One thing not mentioned here is Vettle’s comment at the end of the race saying he wanted no part of crashing either Rosberg or Hamilton out and effect the championship. With Verstapen behind him it could of been a real mess. Then we really would have something to talk about!

FryDaddy
Guest
FryDaddy

Foolish Mercedes: Leaders don’t give orders they know won’t or can’t be followed. Mercedes broke that rule and it cost them credibility. Irrespective of the arguments for or against Lewis’s tactics, Toto and Paddy have worked with Lewis for years; and with the experience at McLaren, Paddy especially (!) should have known exactly what was going to happen when he gave that order. There was no way in the world that Lewis was going to do what they wanted. Given the cringe on his face as he said it, I suspect that Paddy had a certain feeling. You know: tfw… Read more »

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

As you say Frydaddy, Fry and Wolff are smart operators, so I suspect that they wouldn’t have made that call randomly, in the hope that Hamilton would comply. More likely, this would have been something in line with the Team and driver’s terms of engagement, possibly something discussed with the drivers before the race.
We’ll have to wait for those Hamilton and Wolff books to find out the details

Schmorbraten
Guest
Schmorbraten

While I feel Hamilton’s driving in Abu Dhabi was perfectly legitimate, emotionally and regarding his social behaviour he’s on the level of an 8-year old. I have no respect for his bitching and bickering and whining and disrespecting his team-mate. Threatening to reveal something in 10 years’ time … really? Is that all you’ve got?

A lot of F1 champions share this pathological trait of feeling entitled to whatever they aspired to. Schumacher, Alonso, Vettel, Senna, … but that doesn’t make it right, not even slightly.