|Rosberg's front wing end plate flies through the air after contact|
As he positioned his car on the outside of Hamilton at the corner entry, he had enough space to get the front of his car alongside. However as Hamilton took the normal racing line into the corner, Rosberg fell back slightly. Within a matter of a seconds it was obvious that a move was off the cards. For whatever reason Rosberg chose not to come off the throttle. His right front wing end plate met the right rear tyre of Hamilton causing a puncture. As Hamilton limped his car to the pits, Rosberg also headed to the pits at speed to replace his damaged front wing and recover to 2nd place. Hamilton was less fortunate, his tyre had delaminated and continuously battered the floor of the car, robbing him of downforce. After spending the majority of the race at the back of the field with no performance to chase for points, he decided to retire before the end of the race and save his engine.
Going into this weekend it was clear from Jean Todt that after much criticism, the FIA would be taking a less intrusive approach to on track incidents. Fans have been critical of racing incidents often ending up in penalties and a fear that such an environment is not healthy for risky over taking. But was this a racing incident? And if not have the fans and the FIA somewhat shot themselves in the foot?
What is a fact is the harsh reality that this was no way a fault of Lewis. He was fully entitled to take his racing line as per the code of conduct of motorsport. What also is a fact is that even if there was no intention, as in Monaco, Rosberg's actions have cost Hamilton valuable world championship points. In my mind that is unfair and unjust, and indeed why we have such rules in the first place. When it is so clear who is at fault and its cost a championship contender a race, a penalty needs to be applied and it does not classify as a racing incident.
|Better days, karting as team mates|
Was Rosberg's actions intentional? It may be hard to see that Rosberg hit Hamilton with malice and calculation a-la Schumacher on Villeneuve in Jerez 1997. Hamilton later revealed on Sunday night at a post-race crisis meeting at Mercedes "[Rosberg] said he did it on purpose. He said he could have avoided it. He said 'I did it to prove a point".
There is a difference between intention and aggression. With the likely hood of damage to his own car, its unlikely that Rosberg 'intended' to make contact with Hamilton. However Rosberg may 'have a point' to prove by not lifting and not giving an inch to Hamilton, whatever the circumstance. Even if that circumstance means contact. With team orders now on the horizon for the two drivers as the season hots up, this inter team war flames are being fanned yet again..