Austrian GP Debrief: Hamilton Overcomes Rosberg in Last-Lap Drama

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Ben Stevens, Jul 4, 2016.

  1. Ben Stevens

    Ben Stevens

    hamiltonaustria.jpg Stoking the flames of controversy once again in Spielberg, Lewis Hamilton got the better of teammate Nico Rosberg in more ways than one.

    If there’s been any constant for F1 fans in this era of Mercedes domination, it’s that inevitably, teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have found themselves coming together. Such is the competitiveness and nature of both drivers that such incidents have become a somewhat regular part of the sport. However, Sunday’s addition is sure to stand out as instead of opening the race with such a particular bang, this time they saved it for the last.

    Going from a sure-fire 1-2 to a man off the podium, the Mercedes pair’s clash on turn 2 of the final lap was perhaps their costliest yet, with Rosberg sustaining massive damage in his attempt to ward-off the closing Hamilton. And while only Rosberg was penalised, the incident has reignited a war-of-words that has accusations being lobbed from both sides.

    And while their latest incident is sure to dominate headlines, this was a race that had its fair-share of intrigue and excitement throughout, so read on for a closer look at all the big stories from the 2016 Austrian Grand Prix.

    mercaustria.jpg Hamilton and Rosberg end ceasefire in dramatic fashion

    For a relationship that is supposedly “better than ever”, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have a funny way of showing it.

    49 days since they last came together at the Spanish Grand Prix, the Mercedes teammates found themselves at it again on the final lap in Spielberg. Unsurprisingly, both drivers placed fault with the other, as Rosberg alleged the on-the-outside Hamilton turned into him, while the Brit maintained his teammate went too deep into the corner.

    From the stewards’ perspective, the incident seemed to be a fairly open-and-shut case, with Rosberg penalised for what was seemingly a very late attempt to turn into the corner. Onboard footage certainly backed this up, and in a vacuum at least, it would seem the German wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.

    However, it’s understandable that Rosberg would feel aggrieved, given the context provided by a similar incident with Hamilton in Austin last October. There it was Hamilton defending on the inside, running the German out of space at the first corner, and it wouldn’t be surprising if that’s where Rosberg got the idea to try such a move.

    Unfortunately for Rosberg, there is a difference between the two incidents, namely the line of the leader into the corner. Compared to Hamilton in Austin, Rosberg was neither ahead, nor turning anywhere near the apex in what could at least resemble a racing line. The move itself isn’t penalty worthy, it’s just brake-problems-or-not, the German really cocked it up.

    Not for the first time, team principal Toto Wolff has brought out the threat of team orders if such incidents continue, but if they haven’t been introduced by now, it’s hard to see this changing anything before Silverstone at the least. Could Wolff be sure ordering a faster Hamilton to hold against an ailing Rosberg after losing out on strategy would be any better for team harmony? Probably not, at least with these two particular personalities.

    wehrp10.jpg Wehrlein delivers valuable point for Manor

    Points in Formula 1 are a funny thing. For the top teams, a single point is a disappointment – if not meaningless altogether – and yet, for the sport’s lesser teams it can be the difference between life and death. No team knows that better has than Manor, who thanks to Pascal Wehrlein’s 10th-place on Sunday, may once again be able to keep the dream alive.

    At one time last and a lap down, Wehrlein came back to finish tenth and score the team’s first championship point since the late Jules Bianchi’s ninth at Monaco in 2014. In doing so, the 21-year-old German has put Manor in the 10th-and-final prize-paying position for the 2016 championship, and while the season is far from over, with the struggles of both Manor and 11th-placed Sauber it could prove the difference. In either case, Wehrlein’s result is indicative of a star on the rise.

    First on the radar of F1 fans after signing as Mercedes’ reserve driver in late 2014, Wehrlein first proved his worth in winning the 2015 DTM title. However, with both seats at Mercedes firmly occupied, it was clear he’d have to wait a bit longer to reach similar heights in F1, with his seat at Manor allowing him to gain more experience in the meantime. And yet while his wait looks to be extended a bit longer with Nico Rosberg’s impending contract renewal, there’s a very real possibility Mercedes could end-up with a similar situation as Stoffel Vandoorne’s at McLaren a bit further down the road. It might be hard to envision with both Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton ahead of him, but Wehrlein is a home-grown talent Mercedes have expended considerable resources on, and was labelled a “special talent” by Toto Wolff as recently as Saturday. Wehrlein’s point on Sunday showed exactly why Mercedes thinks so highly of him, so while Wehrlein will remain in the shadows for now, with more performances like Sunday’s his call to the big time could be sooner than you think.

    verstappenaustria.JPG “Tyre-whisperer” Verstappen gives Red Bull best-ever home result

    With a chance to impress at his team’s home race, Max Verstappen was sure not to waste it.

    In what may be his most impressive drive yet, the 18-year-old managed to extract 56 laps out of the soft tyre to achieve a team-best second since the race’s reintroduction to the calendar in 2014.

    It was essentially a flawless drive for Verstappen, so good that it couldn’t even be tarnished by his hideous lederhosen-themed overalls. Compared to teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who started P5 to Verstappen’s P7, the Dutchman was a more assured figure, besting him on-track as well as for tyre life, as the Australian failed to gain any positions by race’s end while having to pit an additional time. If Ricciardo was disadvantaged in Spain on strategy, he couldn’t make the same claim on Sunday, and while he still holds an advantage in pure pace, Verstappen continues to prove a match to the man eight years his senior.

    Sunday was a perfect example of just why that was the case, and moreover showed Verstappen’s versatility as a racer. At Toro Rosso he was defined by his ability to pass others, but with his transition to the more static front of the grid, this previously unheralded talent of his has begun to shine. Like it or not, contemporary F1 puts just as much a premium on tyre management as it does on passing for those looking to win races, and Verstappen has already proved that to be the case. What’s more, it’s a testament to how quickly the Dutchman has adjusted at Red Bull that it’s no longer an issue of waiting for him to deliver race-winning form, but for the car to catch up. Red Bull clearly has two elite drivers, and if the RB12 can make any significant gains at all, Mercedes won’t be the only driver battle with some serious sizzle on offer.

    Does Rosberg have any defence given the context? What does the near-future hold for Pascal Wehrlein? How do you compare Verstappen and Ricciardo in their head-to-head? Let us know in the comments below.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 6, 2016
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  2. Colin Knowles

    Colin Knowles

    :inlove: Great drama...intriguing 2nd half of the season for sure :thumbsup:
    When is it coming to console ? :barefoot:
  3. Christian Moreau

    Christian Moreau
    Pretty Fly (For a French Fry) Premium

    Lots of action, happy moments for some, bad moments for others. Congrats to Pascal on the 10th place finish, that was well deserved. It was also fun to see Jenson do well, haven't seen that in a while. Hopefully McLaren can keep up the momentum at Silverstone!
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2016
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  4. Alex Townsend

    Alex Townsend
    Pro-Am racing driver... virtually Premium

    Nico has no defence. It's so clear from the multiple replays on offer. Lewis had nearly completely passed Nico on the outside, Nico the broke way too late approaching the corner and pretty much straight lined into Lewis who turned in after giving quite a few cars width of room. If you see Nico's cockpit replay he wasn't even turning the wheel enough to even see the apex...

    Werhlein is top talent. Nothing was more evident from his 2015 DTM season. I think he is easily one of the quickest of the new drivers. He will be a grand prix winner one day soon especially if he takes one of the Mercedes seats.

    Verstappen and Ricciardo they're both quick but I think Max has the edge on him at the moment.
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  5. Omer Said

    Omer Said
    Weresloth Premium

    Verstappen voted DoTD again? Wehrlein and Button did a better job than him imo. Stayed out of trouble and brought home some reat points with their smooth drives.
    • Agree Agree x 4
  6. Alex Townsend

    Alex Townsend
    Pro-Am racing driver... virtually Premium

    Must say that driver of the day for me would be out of Button and Wehrlein too. Was very nice seeing Jense up there challenging for points. Here's hoping McLaren will be up there on the podium before the year is out. (Long shot I know...)
  7. ouvert


    hmm .. I rather watch Wehrlein in DTM than not watch him in F1 :)
  8. paracletus


    Well done jenson button and hopefully more positive races for mclaren. Best team still under-performing at the moment.
    • Agree Agree x 2
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