It’s a bit difficult to read the comments of Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and not feel that the season ended exactly the way he wanted it to. While most would agree that a man who wins 11 races is more than a deserving champion and the only reason he was under such pressure at the last race was due to double-points, it still can’t digest well for Nico Rosberg when his boss says:
“The fact that we had the problem with Nico’s car means there is a bitter taste and we let him down a little bit.
“But from a rational point of view you could say that it was already difficult to really make it after he had not a perfect start.”
Nico needed something to happen. He needed help from another team—which nearly arrived in the form of Felipe Massa—or a mechanical issue on Lewis Hamilton’s car or even an unforced driver error but in the end, he got what he wanted, he just didn’t want it to happen to him.
Rosberg suffered an ERS failure during the final race of the season and his fate was sealed but taking the high road, he managed to suggest that it wasn’t the mechanical issue because in the end, Lewis had him covered from the very start.
That’s most likely true, as Hamilton seemed to have pace in hand and shot like a bullet off the starting line never to look back at the wake of competitive flotsam behind him. Regardless, if you were looking for conciliatory words from a team who should treat every mechanical failure as their personal responsibility in the race, saying Nico was let down a little bit and marginalizing eh drama for him as compared to if it had happened to his fiercest rival, that may not be healing words.
“Nico not finishing for us is a personal drama because we expect to give them two cars to make it to the end.
“Lewis not finishing, being in the lead of the championship and the lead of the race, would have been a bigger drama.
“Nevertheless it doesn’t make it any more acceptable to have seen Nico’s car break down.”
Nor should it. If Mercedes wish to achieve Red Bull style domination, they’ll need to get on top of their niggles as they have wrought havoc to both Rosberg and Hamilton during the 2014 season. Many thought Lewis was out of the hunt after a string of incidents but the champion fought back and the team seemed to rally around him after the Belgian Grand Prix.
Hamilton surely likes the support of his team and it would be odd if Nico were any different. Sorting out their ERS issues in Abu Dhabi and showing some gravity to the situation might go a little ways to ensure Nico that he has a team behind him but it will go a long way if Hamilton looks to repeat his title-winning performance in 2015.
Nico offered his own “little bit” phrase after the race suggesting that Hamilton did a little bit better than he did in 2014.
Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT