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Featured Belgian GP Debrief: More Beef at Mercedes, Another Ricciardo Win, & Booing Drivers

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Ben Stevens, Aug 26, 2014.

  1. Ben Stevens

    Ben Stevens

    mercedes12.jpg Despite a down-to-the-wire upset win for Daniel Ricciardo, the only thing on everyone's lips is the latest controversy between the Mercedes pair of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.

    Consider Sunday's race just the latest proof: the only thing the F1 media likes more than an upset victory over the dominant pairing at Mercedes AMG Petronas is when said titans are just plain upset.

    If Monday's headlines are any indication, Daniel Ricciardo's victory at the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix matters about as much to the paddock as Marcus Ericsson's skill as a driver does to his race seat at Caterham. The Australian came from fifth on the grid to take an improbable victory at Spa, and yet the biggest story of the race is not Ricciardo crossing the finish line in first, but what transpired 42 laps earlier. It's a story so big you'd almost be forgiven for forgetting who won the race (luckily I haven't), so let's get to that, and the other big talking points to come out of the weekend.

    Hamilton-Rosberg Beef Wastes No Time Going from Bad to Worse

    Something tells me Nico Rosberg should not be expecting a Christmas card from Lewis Hamilton this year.

    After getting off to a first-lap flier that saw him take the lead from his pole-sitting teammate, on lap two Hamilton would fall victim to a passing attempt from Rosberg that can only be described as 'heavy-handed' at best. Trying to beat his teammate round the outside at Les Combes, the German channeled his inner Maldonado as he clipped Hamilton's left-rear wheel, both puncturing the tyre and taking a chunk out of the car's floor. Going from favourite to win to limping back to the pits, the Brit's race was ruined, while Rosberg would be forced to pit on lap eight for a new nose and surrender his lead for good.

    The thing is, whether or not the coming-together was intentional by Rosberg is actually irrelevant to the facts of the case. Rosberg was extremely overzealous in attempting that pass, both where he did it, and when he did it. Coming on lap two Rosberg can't even argue it was a necessity to ensure preference in the first round of pit stops, and being about half a second behind his teammate, the logical move was to line up a pass in the next few laps when he could employ DRS to at least get alongside Hamilton through the preceding Kemmel straight.

    There's little doubt that the incident cost Mercedes a probable 1-2. Their pace all weekend had been just as superior as it had been prior to the summer break, and their closest rivals at Red Bull had a car that was not exactly suited to the track. But besides the obvious loss of championship points, this incident could prove extremely costly for Mercedes in the long run.

    Any trust built up - both between the drivers themselves and the team to each man individually - is now gone. Hamilton believes Rosberg will stop at nothing to secure the driver's championship (he said as much after the team's post-race meeting), and doesn't think Paddy Lowe and Toto Wolff have enough power over Rosberg to stop that from happening. How else would he reason what transpired on the second lap of the race? For someone of Hamilton's temperamental nature, he would have justification to respond in kind any time he saw the opportunity, but more importantly, to ignore team orders. For all the issues on track this season, from both sides, Hamilton can argue he was never the one to actively ruin the other's race. We don't know for sure if Hamilton refuses to be a team player, but it's easy to believe Rosberg does.

    Of course, being a year in which one of them is assuredly going to win the constructor's title, this matters more for the drivers than it does the team. However looking to next year, with the reliability problems, the strategy mishaps and the way this relationship is heading, Wolff and Lowe have some serious work to do if they want keep Mercedes at the top.

    Once Again, Mercedes Misfortune is Ricciardo's Gain in Belgium

    After Sunday's stellar drive, Daniel Ricciardo confirmed that were Mercedes to somehow leave the door open for a spot in the WDC top two, it would be himself who walks on through.

    At this point there's no denying that the 25-year-old is the best-of-the-rest in 2014. Snatching one win during the season would have been an accomplishment that confirmed his talent and rightful place in the Red Bull team, yet now he has three - not to mention a comfortable lead on his teammate Sebastian Vettel - and the only question left to ask is how high can he go?

    ricciardowin.jpg Each victory just adds credence to the notion he's a future world champion, and his 2014 exploits certainly fit an historical pattern of drivers making their mark at the top the season before they win it all. Think the four-win seasons of Hamilton in 2007 or Vettel in 2009.

    Furthermore, what made Ricciardo's drive on Sunday particularly remarkable is how unlike his other victories it was. He did his fighting early, and then drove the sort of controlled race from the front that was a hallmark of teammate Vettel's time at the top. From matching the pace of fastest-lapping Kimi Raikkonen to maintaining steady times under the threat of a charging Nico Rosberg, Ricciardo delivered a three-second win that was essentially devoid of drama.

    And while the chances of it happening are certainly still slim, it's fair to ask just what Ricciardo can do in the rest of this season. After Monza, F1 visits two tracks Red Bull has recently dominated in Marina Bay and Suzuka. Two wins there and the Mercedes drivers would have every right to feel nervous.

    To Boo, or Not to Boo? That is the Question

    If Nico Rosberg is to take the title this year, he got an early taste of what to expect as a German champion during the podium presentations.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly in the wake of his incident with Hamilton, Rosberg was greeted by a cascade of boos from the assembled fans several times during the ceremony. And while Eddie Jordan managed to settle them down in his own inimitable way, it seems doubtful that will be the last time this season Rosberg can expect such a reception. But were the fans right to boo?

    For his part, Rosberg dismissed the boos as 'British fans' showing support for their hero Hamilton, but that seems a far too simplistic way to look at things. The real reason was actually hinted at in Jordan's defense of Rosberg - that is, as to why the fans should boo, when he argued Rosberg had been responsible for putting on a 'spectacular race' for the fans. Rosberg's actions had actually deprived the fans of the on-track battle they all came to see, making the race less 'spectacular' than it could have been were we to get more Merc-on-Merc action.

    For my two cents, booing a driver is a sign of disrespect that they rarely deserve, and Rosberg's actions did not qualify as such on Sunday. However, converse to what Jordan wanted, he wasn't deserving of admiration either. As long as a driver competes their hardest they deserve our respect for risking their own health to provide us with a product that we are able to enjoy each race weekend, but when they do something that diminishes or taints that product, we have every right to be displeased. So maybe the best response to Rosberg would have been no response at all.

    Got any thoughts about Rosberg v Hamilton? How high can Ricciardo go? Is it OK to boo drivers on the podium? Let me know below.
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  2. Bram

    Ezekiel 25:17 Staff Premium

    Absolutely not and its a disgrace for the sport imo.
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  3. May not be polite or respectful to the driver....but i am a believer in free speech...and if the people were angry....sound off!! Disgraceful doesnt even come into the picture imho.
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  4. Typical English fans and an English response when a British driver involved, I think if it had being Alonso that clipped the British driver, it wouldn't be made look so deliberate or have a big media frenzy, the booing...well again, as with English fans, as also in football, they always boo when its not going there way or if they are not winning. Disrespectful, frustration, who cares, its disgusting, call it what you want.....Down with that sort of thing!
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  5. For me what it meant was 50% race incident and the other 50 a very strong message for lewis saying "hey if you try to put me out of the track again this time i won't back out" It might make lewis think twice on the moves he does. Let's see on monza :), ahh reminds of prost and senna in someway...great championship this year btw
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  6. I was suprised to hear the crowd booing especially for something as unintentional as that seemed.
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  7. I agree people are allowed to express their feelings on the subject, but they should always remain polite and respectful. Freedom of speech should never be an excuse to boo at someone.
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  8. Lazarou


    Nice bit of stereotyping there, have some of this,

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  9. Wow @Ben Stevens what a top article! Both in contents and writing style!
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  10. Maybe so....but at the same time i WILL NOT stand for someone saying i cant because its disrespectful...thats all.
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  11. I think at the end of the day, its simples, they are race drivers, if i was in that position and up against Hamilton, you cant bet your buns i would be trying to get by him as quick as possible too, end of story, it was 200% unintentional, for a fraction of a centimeter at those speeds they clipped, Rosberg even tried to brake, he didn't deserve the stick he got, and to be honest he did amazing to continue and end up in 2nd place. (by the way, I am an Alonso fan so i am not biased in any way)
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  12. Ben Stevens

    Ben Stevens

    @Georg Siebert, thanks for the kind words, I'm glad you enjoyed the article!

    And great discussion everyone, I don't think we'll be done talking about all this anytime soon! :)
  13. Robert vd Heide

    Robert vd Heide
    Piloting RC Helicopters and sim Racecars

    come on guys
    in an Arena you can CHEER and BOOO

    thats the concept of doing sports in arenas
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  14. kcheeb

    Tuning? I'm so confused ... Premium

    Should Rosberg have attempted the move? Sure, I don't think he had much of a chance getting past Hamilton at that point, but putting pressure on the leader is what second place does.

    In my opinion, two mistakes lead to the coming together of Hamilton and Rosberg.

    1. Rosberg not realizing till too late his attempt was not on. Had he been more aware, it would have been easy for him avoid Hamilton by not overlapping his nose with Hamiltons car.

    2. Hamilton had to know Rosberg was there. It should have been easy for him to leave Rosberg room and still have the inside on the right hander out of Les Combes and into Rivage.
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  15. these drivers all look like a bunch off children, all that winning, I say no more gadgets just a wheel manual gearbox and no carbon chassis and a v12, lets see who has the balls then to overtake, f1 sucks these days moto gp make more noise these days then f 1
  16. kelaroost

    @ Simberia @Simberia

    seems everyone defends nico for his mistakes.
    Monico to ensure pole and im sure there is more.
    Anything to ensure a world championship win is not a mark of a champion.
    If he wins the championship this will be the 4th year in a row where it wasn't deserving...

    Daniel Ricciardo destroying his team mate deserving champion who races clean.
    Would of been 4x world champ if he had marks drive.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2014
  17. kcheeb

    Tuning? I'm so confused ... Premium

    I wasn't defending Nico, after all if he wasn't in a bad place to begin with, we wouldn't be discussing it.

    Just thought I'd point out that Hamilton could've saved the situation but he went with track rights and ended up, as my dad is fond saying, dead right.
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  18. The weekend was kind of a mess for Mercedes...even with a second place finish.
    As to the incident itself, it was completely avoidable.
    It was a bit silly of Nico to attempt that pass in that location, since he was on the outside and would have been out of position for the next corner had he even made the pass.
    He'd also have to run wide to complete it and most likely would have lost a few places or worst broken the suspension, since that runoff area is extremely uneven.
    I think Toto was left 'scrambling' a bit.
    He was forced to come out and confront the media in an attempt at damage-control after Lewis spoke out.
    You could see by his body-language he was clearly not very comfortable.
    He did it in an attempt to head off any potential story driving the possibility of the FIA opening an investigation and possibly determining wrong-doing.
    If there's any punishment by Mercedes, we probably won't get specifics since they'd be keen not to put Nico in the spotlight of the FIA or tarnish a potential WDC winner.
    That would not be good for Mercedes branding or advertising.
    On booing....I don't agree with it either. Fans can show displeasure by not cheering when he's announced, if they genuinely feel he did something unfair.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2014
  19. Can't really say anything more than what has already been said.


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  20. Andi Goodwin

    Andi Goodwin

    for me its just F1, its moving away from sport (with all of those sporting/fairplay gestures ) and is a product a spectacle its theatre, carefully managed and directed just like football (soccer for those who use the derivation) ... i try to watch it and believe in it but with the vast amounts of money and the technical regulations being changed every two minutes to keep the richest teams at the top (as far as i can see) doesnt make for a great series . F1 is creating its own problems , trying to be a global brand at the cost of its viewers and the idea of sports core values .....

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