Nico Rosberg explains his accusations against Lewis Hamilton
German said race victor had driven too slowly; Rosberg says post-race debrief contained "constructive criticism"
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 21/04/15 1:02pm
Nico Rosberg has explained why he accused the victorious Lewis Hamilton of deliberately compromising his race in the Chinese GP by driving "unnecessarily slowly".
Rosberg’s post-race complaints have been met with widespread incredulity and bewilderment given that Hamilton not only won the race but never appeared to be under discernible threat from the German. Before the Safety Car was deployed in the final stages, Hamilton’s Mercedes had cruised eight seconds clear of the sister W06.
According to Rosberg, however, Hamilton had effectively driven him between F1’s version of rock and a hard place – cruising at a speed through his second stint that allowed Vettel to close in on the two Mercedes' but with Rosberg unable to increase his pace due to the fear his tyres would be shredded in the hot air churned out by Hamilton’s car.
In an admirable attempt to explain his dilemma, Rosberg responded directly to a tweet from a Lewis Hamilton fan as he prepared to fly out from Shanghai on Sunday night to Dubai ahead of this weekend’s Bahrain GP.
“You said I was crying? I respect your opinion. I’ll keep it in mind and try to show respect when it is due,” responded Rosberg in a video blog.
“Why didn’t l attack? I can understand why you are asking that because it’s maybe not so easy to understand from outside. The reason is, I did try to attack him during the first stint and it just didn’t work, all l did was destroy my tyres.
“So in the second stint there was no point doing that again because Vettel was right behind and it would have really risked my second place if l had tried that as l would have just ruined my tyres completely again and Vettel would have had a really good shot at overtaking me.”
Before heading into a Mercedes debrief which concluded with the team absolving both drivers of any blame, a bemused Hamilton dismissed Rosberg’s complaints, telling Sky Sports’ Rachel Brookes: “It’s not my job to look after Nico’s race. My job is to manage the car and bring the car home as fast as possible and that’s what I did. I didn’t do anything intentionally to slow the cars up."
But in a remark that will be seized upon as acknowledgment that Hamilton was right to protect his tyres through his final stints, Rosberg admitted the he had hoped a similar strategy would enable him to hunt down his team-mate at the end of the grand prix.
“My only chance to win the race, or to fight Lewis or to try to overtake him, would have come at the end of the race and that’s what l was building up to,” Rosberg said.
“It was very intense after the race but we had a very good sit-down and a good discussion. There was a lot of constructive criticism and now for everyone it is a thing of the past.”
Still only 17 points behind Hamilton in the nascent World Championship, Rosberg has been beaten by his team-mate in every qualifying and race so far this season. His undoing this weekend, however, was measured at less than a tenth of a second with the German within a whisker of beating Hamilton to pole during a dramatic finale to qualifying.
“The worst part of the weekend was losing out to Lewis in qualifying, that compromised me the most,” added Rosberg. “It’s all down to me to be five-hundredths quicker next time.”