In another outburst following the Chinese Grand Prix last weekend, Nico Rosberg criticised his Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS team-mate Lewis Hamilton, insisting the reigning World Champion was driving ‘too slowly’ and backing him into the following Ferrari’s.
During the early stages of the race at the Shanghai International Circuit, Hamilton controlled the race at the front, with Rosberg behind him, just ahead of the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.
In the post-race press conference, Rosberg was obviously unhappy with the actions of his team-mate.
“It’s now interesting to hear from you Lewis that you were just thinking about yourself with the pace at the front,” said Rosberg. “Unnecessarily, that was compromising my race, because driving slower than was maybe necessary at the beginning of stints meant Sebastian was very close to me.
“That opened up the opportunity for Sebastian to try that early pit stop to try and jump me, and then I had to cover him.
“First of all it was unnecessarily close with Sebastian and also it cost me a lot of race time as a result, as I had to cover him. And my tyres died at the end of the race because my stint was so much longer. So I’m unhappy about that.”
Hamilton was nonplussed about the whole thing, and insisted that Rosberg wanted to get by he “could try, but he didn’t”, and that it was “not my job to look after Nico’s race.”
What has become clear is that Hamilton’s domination within the team – he has beaten Rosberg three times out of three so far in 2015 and took eleven wins to Rosberg’s five in 2014 – is becoming an issue for Rosberg.
Since the beginning of 2014, Rosberg has yet to make an overtaking manoeuvre on Hamilton stick, whereas Hamilton has been able to catch, pass and remain ahead of his team-mate on a number of occasions.
Last year Rosberg had the edge in qualifying, but unfortunately for the German, a race is won or lost on Sunday not on a Saturday, and the fact he could only convert three of his eleven pole positions into wins was a telling factor in him losing the championship in 2015. Indeed Hamilton won five of those races when his team-mate was on pole, another damning statistic for Rosberg.
It is clear that Rosberg has been rattled by Hamilton, but rather than open his mouth to criticise others, maybe it is time for Nico Rosberg to stand up and be counted on track, and take the fight to his team-mate?
It is time for him to let his driving do the talking for him, and not point the finger at his team-mate or anyone else. It is time for Rosberg to take control of his own destiny, especially if he has genuine ambitions to follow in the footsteps of his father Keke Rosberg and become Formula 1 World Champion.
If Hamilton was intentionally driving slower in China than he could have done, then it was up to Rosberg to do something about it, and that does not complain about it.
A quote from the past from one of the legends of the sport, four-time World Champion Alain Prost, says: “I always say that my ideal is to get pole with the minimum effort, and to win the race at the slowest speed possible.” Juan-Manuel Fangio had a similar philosophy when he was racing in the 1950’s, and he was a five-time World Champion…
Whatever happened in China happened, and it’s now in the past, water under the bridge. But now it is time for you to become a man once more Nico Rosberg.