Rosberg and Hamilton raise their game as championship battle intensifies
Mercedes
Posted By: James Allen  |  12 Jun 2014   |  9:11 am GMT  |  128 comments

They may not have won in Canada, but there was evidence that both the Mercedes drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, produced performances which illustrated how much the pair have developed as drivers in recent times, as their title battle intensifies.

Rosberg surprised many by taking pole on one of Hamilton’s strongest circuits, but in the race his management of a car, which had series problems with ERS, brakes and fuel consumption was impressive and it was noticeable how Hamilton nuanced his driving, by planning waves of attacks on his team mate, rather than driving all-out, as he might have done in the past.

This is perhaps to be expected in two drivers who are now entering the peak of their careers; Hamilton is 29 and Rosberg will be too, shortly.

But it also shows how, when there is a championship at stake and everything is raised to a higher level of intensity, drivers find new depths in themselves.

XPB.cc
Hamilton’s drive was noted internally at Mercedes as something of a milestone; he would not have driven like that a year ago. Faced with an on-form and confident Rosberg, he had to regroup after the shock of losing out in qualifying. He didn’t win the start, despite the better getaway off the line, Rosberg shut him out into Turn 2.

So then it was down to attack plans and strategy. What was most noticeable was that he did not sustain the attacks, but built up and pushed, retreated at times, to regroup on energy, fuel and tyre saving and then came again. He was trying to break Rosberg’s rhythm.

Rosberg made a mistake, going straight on at the T13/14 chicane for which he was lucky not to be punished, as he broke the DRS tow by doing so.

This was an interesting marker for the season, as it was clear that in a finely balanced decision the stewards didn’t want to affect the outcome of the race and the title battle. Hamilton came again and observers and insiders were of the view that had both cars remained healthily, the Briton would probably have prevailed in the end.

That said, Rosberg’s drive also took him to a new level. The team were amazed that the car came home in one piece after hitting problems around half distance. It was the first time this season that a car has finished a race without the MGU-K unit working.

This year the engineers give the drivers messages every lap on settings changes for many parameters of the car as a matter of course. When trouble hit, Rosberg was making multiple changes every lap to solves problems, like something out of the movie Apollo 13.

When both cars hit problems with electronics on the Energy Recovery System, this meant three main things: the car was down on power with no electric boost; the fuel consumption increased as a result; the rear brakes were being asked to do something for which they were not designed.

XPB.cc
Rosberg dug in and made it happen for himself; as long as the car kept running, there were points to be scored. He was helped by the Force India cars one-stopping which slowed their advance and that of the Red Bulls. Without that he would have finished lower down the order.

“All of a sudden, our ERS just stopped – on both cars at the same time – which is crazy,” said Rosberg in his post race You Tube video review of the Canadian Grand Prix.

“So then I was pushing so many buttons trying to get the thing going again and at the same time battling Lewis, who had the same problem.

“I thought my race was over and he would easily pass me.

“From then on I just lost out at the pit-stops because we had a problem with the left-front so I lost a position to Lewis there, which was really unfortunate. Then he had the brake failure so I had to be even more cautious with the brakes as we had been saving them all race and that made it really challenging because we put the brakes even further forward, just using the front brakes and doing qualifying laps because I had the whole train of cars behind me.

“It is unbelievable that it worked out with a second place, it’s a great points finish but obviously a really bad result for the team in general because we want to win, but there you go.”

One way of looking at it is that Hamilton’s two retirements have now handed 43 points to Rosberg. Hamilton seemed quite calm about it after the race, presumably believing that some day soon, the law of averages will mean that Rosberg will have a reliability setback.

But as the cars develop and the new technology finds better reliability, that may be questionable.

And the driver himself has shown that he knows how to keep his head in a crisis.

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1

There is one overiding thing to remember about this championship battle, and that is Rosberg’s lead has been inherited by default whereas Hamilton’s lead albeit short lived was generated on the track by successive wins. While this is an unfortunate state of affairs it is F1 and the trailing driver (Hamilton in this case) rather unfairly then has the unenviable task of attempting to rack up the points again. I do feel that the fans at Montreal had the right jist of it when they held up a banner to say Lewis is fast, Nico uses tricks! – And seems to have been the most fortunate. The Monaco debacle perhaps should be left unsaid, but we all know who gained out of it, and I don’t believe in coincidences of that nature.

2

– The two Merc drivers definitely seems close from the outside.

– However 2 DNF for Hamilton out of 7 races and he is only 22 points behind while Rosberg no DNF tells a different story.

3

“Hamilton’s drive was noted internally at Mercedes as something of a milestone; he would not have driven like that a year ago.”

Good article, balanced assessment based on facts rather than subjective commentary on personalities.

It’s going to be really interesting to see how this battle develops over the season.

I do feel Lewis has the egde despite Rosberg’s recent good form. After all, HAM has one championship under his belt, very nearly won another. That experience could prove the deciding factor.

And he is keeping himself focused, despite the setbacks, this much is clear.

4
kenneth chapman

sorry to double dip chaps, but wouldn’t it be interesting to have one race where there was no communications from the pit wall other than a board telling them where they were running and the gap to the nearest competitor. they could all have fuel readouts and the number of laps left to complete. they could choose when to change tyres and what tyres they wanted.they could then drive their own races! or could they?

5

but wouldn’t it be interesting …

not for me or, if replies are any indication, anyone else 😉

6
kenneth chapman

@ rob newman…isn’t that a major part of the current F1 problem? the drivers are to a large extent just ‘puppets’? sure, they have to actually control the car, but it is all under instruction..fuel save/lift &coast, go to mod 5, save brakes,conserve tyres, short shift, cool brakes, drop back, maintain 2 sec gap……”who am i racing”? call charlie, he crashed me, maintain station, multi 21, learn bite points etc etc etc. and on it goes.

surely there is something wrong here when the drivers just do as they are told like highly paid automatons. when they are,rarely, left to actually race, like the last ten laps in bahrein/montreal then we see what we should see all of the time. racing….

7

It is true that both drivers are doing a good job. But they are being massively helped by a team of talented people who tell them when to push, when not to push, what settings they should use, etc. etc. So it is not just the drivers; more credits should go to the people who do most of the driving behind the scene.

In my opinion, it is not that Hamilton doing something differently or he has improved. He is just doing mostly what the engineers are telling him.

8

Like all drivers then, eh? The RBR pitwall did most of the driving the last 4 years, is that what you’re saying?

It’s a team game … drivers aren’t out there all alone. They’re alone in the car of course, but they each have entire armies behind them figuring out when’s the best time to stop, when to push, when the tires are in the right operating temps, etc.

9

I hadn’t realised how hard done by hamilton is, or is this just a Hamilton fanboy thread?

I’m not a Hamilton or rosberg fan, but am enjoying watching two closely matched drivers battling, and preventing the Mercedes domination of the season being too boring.

10

It’s fair to say there are a lot of Hamilton fans on this site – it’s UK based and Hamilton is a popular driver, what do you expect?

It’s also fair to say Hamilton has had the sh#t end of the stick more than once this season and that Rosberg has been very fortunate (more than once).

As a self professed neutral, would you disagree with these two statements?

BTW , I agree with you – the competition between the two Merc drivers has saved everyone from what would be a very boring domination. Ferrari and Red Bull please take note 🙂

11

Hi c63, I’d agree Hamilton was unlucky in Australia, Rosberg may have been lucky at Monaco (we’ll never know if Hamiltons lap would have been faster), and I think Hamilton’s driving style may have contributed to his dnf in canada.

So I wouldn’t disagree with your statements, but wouldn’t think any of that is unusual in any team or f1 season.

The nationalistic focus on the drivers theme irritates me – its an international sport, with multinational teams funded by multinational corporations. I find it hard to get too nationalistic about that -love the technology, strategy and speed though 😉

12

How about 2012.. The guy just cant catch a break!.

13

I’m not a Mercedes fan, nor a Rosberg fan, and neither a Hamilton fan, but Perez sure made Rosberg work for his position just as did Hamilton. Rosberg sure did earn his second place on the podium, he had to fight the whole way through and I’ll take my hat off for him, great job!!….. but Hamilton broke him. Rosberg got pressured into breaking late and ran the chicane after several laps of Hammy on his back end, but it must be noted, he just didn’t run that chicane, he matted the accelerator and kept going as if his mortal life depended on it!! Rosberg didn’t let up! Hamilton chased him down and due to many laps trying to wear Rosberg down. Hammy’s car broke but Rosberg broke before then! It took a few laps for Hammy to break the advantage that Rosberg gained by cutting, but in the end Hammy did it and I think he paid the ultimate price for it. I wish I could really feel bad for Hammy but the FIA had been ever so kind to him in the past, (and on more than several occasions!), so there’s no tears for him on that note but, saying that, I feel we were well cheated from a well deserved race, even if the results possibly would have ended the same.

Rosberg chumped out and deserved a penalty, while Hammy also deserves a hats off for a great race.

14

Hamilton was ‘allowed’ to win four consecutive races so that Mercedes could force Rosberg sign another contract for a lesser money. Now that Nico has extended his contract he will be the only one to win the championship. It’s becoming more and more obvious: this is a German team, and there is no way a British driver could be allowed to become a champion.

15

Hamilton suffered an unlucky failure at the first off the back of testing and then both drivers suffered the same problem in Canada – Rosberg was just very, very lucky to bring it home.

I’m not a huge Hamilton fan, but I think it’s a bit insulting to him to say he was “allowed” to win.

16

i like watching him out of hairpins, the car shoots out like its on rails. rosberg is yet to copy hamilton’s sling shot out of hairpins. i don’t know how he gets so much grip in tight bends like that.

17

Nico rosberg at this moment in time must be considered the luckiest driver in f1 history. he is driving what may turn out to be the greatest f1 car ever produced. and by taking every bit of data possible from one of the fastest drivers to get in a f1 car. he has given himself the opportunity to drive in a way he thought he could never do. he is driving faster and better now and its got nothing to do with his own natural driving ability. the only thing we can credit him with is having the foresight to realize beating lewis Hamilton on a regular basis in the same car is going to be impossible so if I cant beat him I will just become him as a driver hence the all consuming need for Lewis’s data. now I know your all screaming but lewis has access to nico’s data but lets be fair what could he learn after all he would of already viewed it once as his own.

18

But have u noticed everytime Ros comes under the pressurevl from HAM he makes mistake like Montreal and the chicane.

IF he wants be champ he will havd to deal with pressure from behind.

19

@flesh, Lol…. true dat

Button benefited in the same way.

Its odd but Hamilton did get the jump on Rosberg before his brakes failed.

No one mentions that.

20

it didn’t last very long though. his brakes failed in the first hairpin, effectively the first corner.

21

Come On Lewis you can do it.

Roseberg has had the luck & cutting chicanes & getting only a caution from the officials still stinks.

Lewis just needs to Kick Ass & show zee Geeman some Dunkirk spirit 😉

COME ON ENGLAND 🙂

22

he doesn’t need to do that. he needs to pray that things don’t go wrong for him for the rest of the season. he has a cross tattooed on his back and he says he believes in god so i guess he will pray.

23

Finally! Someone notices that Hamilton is driving fantastically this year. Thank you James.

24

I’m struggling with the maths, but am trying to work out what Hamilton’s two retirements really cost him.

He lost two wins, so 50 points, but in addition Rosberg gained 7 points of his own by taking a win where the best he’d have got is a second, and let’s say he got a second where the best he’d have got was a third in Canada, so another 3 points there.

… But if that’s right Hamilton’s two retirements have cost him 60 points, but that doesn’t make sense somehow. What have those two retirements really cost Lewis?

25

Given he was in the lead both times you would say 50 points

26

if hamilton had earned those 50 points, rosberg wouldn’t have got the points he has so andyfov is right in his analysis.

27

I think I got a handle on it in the end. You have to think about how it affects the gap between himself and Rosberg.

If he’d won the first race he’d have had a postive gap of 7 points, but ended up with a 25 point deficit, so that failure effectively cost him 32 points.

Canada’s tricker to quantify because Rosberg had a failure too.

28

That they are both doing a good job is obvious. Hamilton has better speed, not by much, but he has. He also seems not to be the luckiest of the two to date. In a situation where all goes well for both, I would think Hamilton would win in most cases in present form. If Rosberg manages to up his game at a greater rate than Hamilton, it would become so close between them that even small errors would decide who the champion is. While not so please to see a team dominate again, as the drivers are allowed to race and are closely matched it will still be a season to follow till the end. I always liked the underdog, so I hope it happens for Nico. To whomever the title goes to, i hope we won’t find out before the last two races. Marc

29

rosberg might have upped his game tremendously since hamilton joined mercedes however am not sure hamilton has improved as much. he seems to be driving at the same level as he did last season. the gap between him and rosberg last season was a lot bigger than it is this season although hamilton struggled with the brakes. this season, rosberg’s performance is a lot closer to hamilton’s. it appears as though the engineers have studied hamilton’s parameters and passed them onto rosberg to adjusts his. even his seating position was changed to enhance his driving.
hamilton seemed a lot better than rosberg on the brakes in canada though, rosberg couldn’t believe how hamilton braked so much later than him without locking up and questioned the team to find out hamilton’s brake bias and they told him hamilton’s was more to the rear so he adjusted his accordingly.
the stewards made the right ruling on rosberg cutting the chicane in Canada after all hamilton was behind him as they approached the chicane and he hadn’t done that on any of the preceding laps.

30

Maybe its because Lewis has been on top of his game for a few years now. Not saying he cant improve – because he says he continually aims to do so but He is the benchmark -Rosberg always had to make up ground but he seems to be doing just that.

31

The luck seems to be with Rosberg, so far. If you noticed in the race he got lucky in the race earlier on when he barely missed hitting the wall under pressure from Hamilton. Combine that with the break he got on straight lining the chicane, and then getting the break with the systems going bad and not ruining his race. It kind of smacks of Vettel when all the bad breaks went to his Aussie teammate last year.

People say that it all evens out……but I don’t think that is the case…..by the end of the season we will know. Hamilton needs some good luck, because he has the speed, but so far this season, no luck.

32

I would agree luck does come into play if chasing for the WDC. Look how Vettel’s luck helped him out sometimes. How in 2010 he was lucky Alonso could not get past the Russion. And 2012 (i think) when he spun and faced the opposite way in Brazil!!! and still managed to finish the race.

In both occasions – if it wasn’t for a bit of good fortune he wouldn’t have beeen WDC.

For the WDC -you need 1. a good car 2. Good driver and 3. Lady luck…..

33

“Hamilton needs some good luck, because he has the speed, but so far this season, no luck.”

Karma.

34
Scuderia McLaren

It always boggles the mind how far we have come as humans in our understanding about a great many things, yet we still can not quite comprehend ‘chance’ and try to apply a flawed logic of ‘law of averages’. That’s as ridiculous as thinking the world is flat or leeches cure aliments.

*Stands on soap box*

Come hither Lewis Hamilton fans, hear me. Nico is not ‘due’ reliability issues and Lewis has not nessecarily had his ‘share’ of reliability issues. In a broad and general sense, both Nico and Lewis have a 50-50 chance of suffering the next Mechanical DNF. If you like, you can sacrifice a virgin to the sun god Helios, but that’d be just a waste of a good virgin wouldn’t it?

Cheers,

SM.

35

@SM

or leeches cure aliments…..

They do!

Doctors use them to stimulate blood flow when a severed finger (for instance) has been re-attached.

36
Scuderia McLaren

Of course they do…

-rolls eyes-

37

@SM

roll your eyes all you want. It doesn’t change the fact you are wrong.

here is a link to a BBC article regarding the use of leeches in todays hospitals:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-23656101

I look forward to your apology 😉

38
Rubinho's Keyfob

This very topic was covered on TJ13 this week (although in an article that’s being pedantic about a particular subject, it’s particularly annoying that the use of the term “inter team battle” is still being used (*)):

http://thejudge13.com/#When%20will%20Lewis%20luck%20improve

To be fair, the drivers themselves tend not to fall into this trap – they say things like “if it happened to me this weekend, it could happen to him next weekend”, which is of course quite correct …

(*) It’s “intra-team” 😉

39

Well in a fair battle with no reliability woes Lewis will easily see off Nico and win WDC by a bigger margin. I do smell the issue within MB. Do they really need only a german to win WDC? I hope the this is not the case, yet if we consider the rotten luck lewis had this season thus far. We can see Mercedes do have a favourite they may not sabotage lewis and his chances yet if given a choice MB will pick rosberg over lewis all the time

Lewis have unbelivable speed compared to Nico and rest of the grid bar Alonso. Nico afterall rode his luck in montreal couple of times to keep the lead over lewis before prblems have hit both cars. Lewis will come back stronger and i fancy lewis to win the WDC irrespective of the reliability woes and mental pressure which he suffered in Monaco and Montreal

Lewis is easily miles better than vettel/Nico and co…

40

why would mercedes benz favour rosberg and sign hamilton while rosberg on contract with them? i don’t think they favour any of the drivers, they just want to get the best possible results every race.

41

Yes but its not inconceivable – look at how the Germans/Austrian openly backed Vettel. Stealing parts from Webber and blaming Webber fo any collision between them. And how about Prost and his French support at the race directors…

You cannot blame them everyone has a soft spot for his fellow countryman

If it comes down to 1 point/race for the WDC – I wonder which way the balance may lean @ MB….. (lets hope not)

42

@silver arrow, mercedes have no reason to want to favour any driver. they said they will not favour any driver and i believe them. hamilton is incredibly strong mentally and will not allow himself to be bullied like that. rosberg wouldn’t accept any form of bullying either.

43

Is it just me, or does aveli not sound, uh, like aveli?

44

Is that really a fact though, aveli? We fans cannot possibly know the exact truth. Not that I’m in any way insinuating that Mercedes is/plans on sabotaging Lewis, but to say that they won’t favour either driver with such certainty is a bit naive.

45

why didn’t they just make it easier by signing two German drivers? they do not and will not favour any of the drivers. they have told us the truth about their racing philosophy.

46

@ Aveli

Mate, I did stated MB will not sabotage lewis and his chances intentionally, yet all the rotten luck have been endured by lewis and not Nico. People here speak about the law of averages yet there is no gurantee that rosberg will have reliability woes later in this season. Instead rosberg may have a perfect season which could be the difference between WDC win/loss when the season concludes.

Yes MB want perfect result every race for the team, yet if a 1-2 with rosberg being first followed by lewis will surely put more smile on their face rather being the other way around

Anyways my point is if lewis does not have any more relaibility woes he will win the WDC for sure.

47

we don’t know what will happen in future races but we certainly will find out at the end of each one of them.

when was the law of averages passed?

48

+1

49

Failure on the stewards’ part for not enforcing track limits. Rosberg locked up, ran off, gained time, broke DRS, and set fastest lap.

What’s there NOT to penalize?

50

When I was watching the US coverage the commentators mentioned that another driver ran off at the same point earlier in the race and gained time, and the driver was not penalized. I can’t remember who they said the driver was. But the commentator thought because the stewards did not issue a penalty then, they may have felt they should not penalize Rosberg to keep their decisions consistent.

51

Think it was JEV in the Torro Rosso whilst Kimi was alongside him trying to pass – this was later in the race to the Mercedes pair-. Again there was many compkaints about this. Bottom line – stewards failed & should have done job-Very very poor weekend for decisions

52

they are not meant to make up the rules as they go along. they will only penalise a driver if the cut the corner to prevent being overtaken or to overtake.

53

@ Gaz Boy

Golly, I had forgotten Sound of Music was filmed in Austria, hopefully the fans will love the sound of the new engines as they bounce off the hills.

Wet race in Austria would be another rival teams prayer answered hehe.

54

“The hills are alive with the sound of………………..GET OUT OF MY WAY NICO ROSBERG!”

Go on Youtube and check out footage of the 1975 Austrian GP. It was won by Brambilla in the March-Cosworth, his only victory. It was sopping wet and the race was stopped early because the conditions were so dangerous – bear in mind this was the original O-ring, with long straights, mega fast corners and no run off areas at the curves……………..

Also check out footage of the 1980 Austrian GP when Derek Daly spun off into the infield at one of the sections of the old track where there was actually run off……………but in the fields there was barbed wire! Fortunately for Mr Daly he went into backwards, otherwise he would have been decapitated!

Barbed wire at a grand prix circuit??????? What were they thinking of?

55

Well that’s one way to stop people cutting chicanes…

57

It’s very hard to be a Hamilton supporter sometimes. His luck is just unbelievably bad, 2012 included.

I would put money on Lewis clawing back the defecit only to suffer reliability issues at Abu Double. 🙁

58

The law of averages does not apply to luck; luck is indiscriminate. Lewis could just as easily face several more DNF’s due to mechanical issues whilst Rosberg romps away with ‘free’ unchallenged wins. Of course it could equally work the other way. Both drivers have driven excellently this season and either would be worthy of winning the WDC. I can’t help but feel, given how close the driving has been between Nico and Lews, that the title battle may run until the double-points finalé in Abu Dhabi. Clearly, the WCC will be wrapped up before then, but a DNF by either Lewis or Nico in the last race would almost certainly lose them the championship.

59

we will find out at the end of each race.

60

I say there is no law of average as to reliability problems, their chances of being hit with reliability problems will always be 50/50 for both of them.

The law of average were reliability is concerned is just the gamblers fallacy.

PS, Trying to get used to the new site format.

61

Statistically, when you flip a coin (assuming everything else is the same) there is a 50/50 chance it will come down heads or tails. No matter how many times you flip the same coin, even if there have been100 heads in a row, the next time you flip it the odds are still even on how it will land. Reliability problems are not the same as tossing a coin – everything is not equal. How the car is being driven, weather, road conditions, other drivers mistakes, something in the drivers eye, pit crew mistakes etc…

62

armed with all that knowledge, you still do not know what will happen in the future, learn to wait to find out the outcome.

63

sorry c63, i thought you assumed you could tell the future. as you know very well, it’s all possible so we’ll have a much better idea in november.

64

??

Not sure what your point is. Of course I don’t know what will happen in the future – I didn’t say I did. Just pointing out that reliability is not a random occurrence like the previous poster (Sunny S) suggested.

65

If you’re talking about the next race, or the next few races, this is right. Past results have no bearing on future results. But if you look at the 19 races as a whole, while you can’t expect the DNFs to even out, you can expect that Rosberg will see some over the entire season.

I hope that the DNFs are only plus/minus 1 at the end of the season. The last thing we want in a season like this, is for reliability to trump ability.

66

Isnt that what Bayesian theory is for? To use previous data to help calculate probablity?

Surely, we can assign a value based on past failure rate over the whole of the season for past 10 – 20 years.

Is this acceptable?

67

why should rosberg see any problems? ask chilten.

68

Mercedes obviously have to talk up the positives out of a bad situation, but was this really a great/noteworthy drive by Rosberg? After Hamilton was out he didn’t have to push the car nearly as hard, and the fact that a Merc can still come second without the ERS just underlines the dominance of their car more than anything else. Sure, he held of Perez for a long time, but it’s not like he was dancing in the braking zones to do so.

69

I think rosberg drove out of his skin to finish second. if you noticed, he bent right over with his knees straight on the podium at least once, stretching his fatigued leg muscles. a clear indication how hard he had to work in that car.

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