September 24, 2023

Nico Rosberg lifts lid on Mercedes fallout to Lewis Hamilton Spain 2016 crash: PlanetF1

Watching the collision between George Russell and Lewis Hamilton during qualifying for the Spanish GP, Nico Rosberg was reminded of their shunt in 2016, which was followed by encounters with Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda.

It was in the closing stages of Q2 at the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix that Mercedes teammates Hamilton and Russell collided in a strange way.

Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes’ track engineer director, has since revealed that both drivers were chasing a tow from Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz ahead, which led to Russell going across and hitting Hamilton, unaware that the seven-time world champion had alongside him driven.

Hamilton would advance to the final qualifying stage, but Russell dropped out in Q2 and took off to start the race P12.

Naturally, this got people mentioning the 2016 Spanish GP again, where Hamilton and Rosberg, teammates and title rivals at the time, took each other out of the race on the first lap.

The immediate and difficult debriefing was then led by team principal Toto Wolff, while the presence of Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche added impact.

Speaking to Sky, Rosberg brought up the similarities between his shunt with Hamilton and Russell’s, claiming: “I didn’t see Lewis coming. How was I supposed to know he was behind me? Very similar actually.”

He then added: “First of all, a roaring Toto came in. Rightly so, logically. He then said the first word on Sunday, very consistently, and then there was absolute silence for us, which was very, very difficult.”

That was then the first round of the fallout, after which both Hamilton and Rosberg both had to go to Ibiza to speak individually with the late Niki Lauda, ​​then non-executive chairman of the Mercedes team.

It’s safe to say that relations between the drivers were far from great at the time, although Rosberg laid out how Lauda could at least ensure they could move forward after the incident.

“On Monday we still had to get to Niki’s in Ibiza,” Rosberg continued. “First one, then the other.

“But Niki has done very well as a mediator. Then we kind of got back together. Niki was always trying to find small concessions on each side to get you closer. Until you are very close and then you can say ‘okay, now we can really move on’.” recommends

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Did Mercedes predicament stop 2016 replay?

At that point in Formula 1 history, Mercedes was in a very similar position to the one Red Bull is in now, where a huge portion of luck is needed for another team to get a sniff of victory. Ironically, it was Max Verstappen who took advantage of the Mercedes carnage that day to win on his Red Bull debut.

Meanwhile in the current times it was clear that both Hamilton and Russell made sure to quash any suggestion of bad blood following their qualifying shunt, the duo continued a very harmonious partnership since they became Mercedes teammates before the start of the 2022 campaign.

Is that because, unlike in the Hamilton-Rosberg era, winning chances are now rarely at stake?

Both Hamilton and Russell spoke highly of the improved feel in Mercedes’ 2023 challenger, the W14, with its B-Spec upgrade after Hamilton achieved a P2 finish on race day at the 2023 Spanish GP with Russell P3, but Hamilton was 24 seconds behind runaway race winner Verstappen.

We have yet to see how this Hamilton-Russell dynamic will fare when wins and titles are on the line, rather than just the team’s relentless push to win again. So Mercedes cannot yet be sure that such incidents as the one between Hamilton and Rosberg belong to the history books.

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