Things are getting interesting at Mercedes AMG Petronas these days. The Nico Rosberg USGP cap-throwing incident was followed by a victory in Mexico by the German only to be met with some not-so-veiled backhanded comments from his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, who had just secured his second world title for the team in Austin. When asked if the team had orchestrated the result in Mexico to keep harmony within the ranks, Lewis said:
“I never think those kind of things. But I know the team has felt the need to be extra warm [to Rosberg].”
“I do know what I mean but I’m not going to say what I mean. You should ask Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda.
“You should put those questions to them about how they feel about it, and what they have to do behind the scenes to keep him happy.”
Now there are reports in the British press about a row between team bosses Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda that could see the departure of the latter at the end of this season. Apparently the press were told in Mexico that Lauda was not an official spokesperson for the team and that only Wolff was to be sought for comments.
I’ve seen this act before and as it happens, Lewis Hamilton was at that team when it came to a grinding conclusion back in 2007 at McLaren. People often make note that Hamilton’s then teammate, Fernando Alonso, seems to be at the heart of many F1 controversies and while that may be true, Lewis has seen his share with difficult teammates and team politics.
Hamilton, having just won his third driver’s title, seemed to still be taking the stuffing out of Rosberg in Mexico suggesting that he had made a good run and luckily there was no :gust of wind” which was the reason Nico gave for running wide in Austin and handing the win to Lewis.
Getting in your teammate’s head is perfectly fine in my opinion but to be honest, I’m not sure why Lewis really cares at this point other than he can’t stand to lose and that’s part of why he’s a champion. Still, grassing up your teammate in Mexico, challenging your teams strategy publicly and then suggesting they are coddling Nico seems a bit heavy handed if I’m honest given he’s got his feet on the desk at Mercedes and two titles with the team to prove it. At this point, why open yourself up for criticism by commenting and kicking a guy when he’s clearly been bested two years on the trot? Why aggravate things further?
Now you have rumors of tumult within the leadership of the team and things could get ugly before they get better. It depends on what changes are made at the top as to what changes will be enforced down below. Ron Dennis could share a few things about this kind of difficult scenario.
I will say that there is a tremendous amount of bravado coming from the team of late. From the team bosses to Lewis down to their tweets and press releases. They have every right to be proud of what they have achieved and they have my utmost respect but a little humility goes a long way with fans. It seems the division between drivers could be causing a division within leadership and who knows, possibly each side of the garage.
Certainly something the team needs to get on top of an stay out front of so let’s see what unfolds over the next few days shall we? Perhaps it’s all “total Bulls**t” as Lauda is want to say.
Hat Tip: James Allen