Did Rosberg deliberately go off at Mirabeau?

2014 Monaco Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Monte-Carlo, 2014Did Nico Rosberg deliberately go off on his final qualifying lap to prevent his team mate beating him to pole position?

The Monaco Grand Prix stewards are investigating whether Rosberg’s skid at Mirabeau on his final lap was a genuine mistake, or an attempt to stop Lewis Hamilton from bettering his time.

Rosberg appeared to lose control of his car, then steered into an escape road. However because of the limited amount of run-off at Monaco, the yellow flags were displayed, which meant the cars following him had to back off. They included Hamilton, who was the only driver likely to beat Rosberg to pole.

Up until that point the two Mercedes drivers had been in one of their closest battles for pole position so far this season, with the advantage to-ing and fro-ing between the pair of them.

First blood went to Rosberg in Q1 – he was quicker by 0.145s. Hamilton hit back in Q2, pipping his team mate by 0.111s.

But the pendulum swung again when Q3 began. Rosberg led the two cars around on their first run and posted a 1’15.989. Hamilton crossed the line 11 seconds after his team mate and posted a time that was 0.059s slower. Here’s how their sector times compared:

Driver Sector one Sector two Sector three Finishing line
Nico Rosberg 19.826 35.241 20.922 1’15.989
Lewis Hamilton 19.973 35.140 20.935 1’16.048

The next quickest driver was Daniel Ricciardo, almost four-tenths of a second slower than Rosberg and unlikely to make the difference with his final run. The contest for pole position was between the two Mercedes drivers.

Rosberg began his final effort with 57 seconds remaining in Q3. Behind him were Jean-Eric Vergne and Sebastian Vettel, followed by Hamilton – who crossed the start line just as Rosberg reached Mirabeau.

The first sector ends just before the corner and Rosberg lost 0.124s going through it compared to his first effort. Approaching Mirabeau he appeared to make several corrections to his car’s steering, then at the last moment swung left and headed for the escape road.

With the Mercedes sitting in a narrow escape road yellow flags were waved in sector six, which covers Mirabeau and the approach to the Fairmont Hotel hairpin.

Vettel, Kvyat and then Hamilton each passed by – Hamilton doing so after setting a personal best of 19.906s in sector one. With that he’d only have needed to replicate his previous times from sectors two and three to take pole position. But as he had to back off for the yellow flag, he couldn’t.

The incident immediately drew comparisons with Michael Schumacher’s infamous manouevre at the same circuit eight years ago. Schumacher had been quickest with his first lap in Q3 but was on a slower time, and deliberately stopped his car at Rascasse to bring out the yellow flags and stop his rivals, including Fernando Alonso, from beating him time. The stewards sent him to the back of the grid.

Did Rosberg do something similar today? Afterwards he insisted his approach to the corner had been little different to before and said the data would support that. His team mate, unsurprisingly, was not impressed.

Over to you

Was Rosberg’s Mirabeau moment fair or foul? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Did Rosberg deliberately go off at Mirabeau to take pole position?

  • Strongly agree (16%)
  • Slightly agree (21%)
  • Neither agree nor disagree (7%)
  • Slightly disagree (19%)
  • Strongly disagree (34%)
  • No opinion (3%)

Total Voters: 539

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Update: Rosberg’s pole confirmed as stewards take no action

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134 comments on Did Rosberg deliberately go off at Mirabeau?

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  1. Osvaldas31 (@osvaldas31) said on 24th May 2014, 16:57

    Nope. That is just food for conspiracy theory makers.

    • David BR2 said on 24th May 2014, 16:59

      Conspiracy requires more than one person. You think Mercedes were in on it?

    • Alex McFarlane said on 24th May 2014, 17:04

      I don’t believe there’s any conspiracy, just the media trying to stir things up and turn it into a rivalry that it’ll never be.

      • aka_robyn said on 24th May 2014, 17:16

        There wasn’t any need in this case for any media to stir anything up — it was pretty much the first thing that occurred to me and many other people, even though I don’t actually believe Rosberg did it deliberately. I’m quite happy to blame the media when I think it’s their fault, but this time it isn’t!

    • Quant said on 24th May 2014, 17:39

      I’d be curious to see how the balance of answers to this poll changes (if at all), post-stewards conclusions.

    • William Stuart (@williamstuart) said on 25th May 2014, 11:25

      I think it is possible, having knew he was unlikely to improve, he did take a very different line, and made some unneeded corrections, and then reversing as Lewis appeared? I don’t know if he was aware that Lewis was there or not, only Nico know if it was a malicious action. Obviously, if you’re going to do it, you’re not going to do it stupidly like Schumacher, and you’re going to make it look like a genuine mistake so you don’t get punished. I think it is maybe a 30-40% chance it was deliberate, but it was most likely a genuine mistake, Rosberg seems like a pretty genuine guy.

    • Evans said on 26th May 2014, 6:30

      I think that if Rosberg had not yet set a time at all (would have started 10th) then it is extremely unlikely that he would have made that ‘mistake’. Having secured a good position made him not care too much about that lap. He was probably going to take every corner at its very limit or not take the corner at all.

      • drmouse (@drmouse) said on 29th May 2014, 13:35

        I think that if Rosberg had not yet set a time at all (would have started 10th) then it is extremely unlikely that he would have made that ‘mistake’.

        That’s the worst position I can take on it, too. I don’t think he did it on purpose (although only he really knows whether he did), but he may have pushed further than he normally would, knowing that a mistake would not cost him pole as HAM would have to slow for the yellows.

  2. sdtaylor91 (@sdtaylor91) said on 24th May 2014, 16:57

    I’m a Hamilton fan through and through, and i was furious when it happened, especially when Nico had a big grin on his face, celebrating afterwards, But NO, i really don’t think he’s that sort of a driver, even though his inputs did look quite strange

    he should get a penalty for reversing into the track though. F1 engines can easily idle for a couple of minutes. should have waited for the last car to go past, then reversed out and gone back to the garages

    • Sankalp Sharma (@sankalp88) said on 24th May 2014, 17:03

      As has been pointed out. The yellows would have been waved even then.

      • Sharon H (@sharoncom) said on 24th May 2014, 17:10

        There is nothing he could have done about the continued waving of the yellows, but he could have not put his car in a more dangerous position by reversing.

        • Philip said on 24th May 2014, 17:24

          Yup – It’s definitively a media thing – As a racing driver myself, I saw absolutely nothing wrong the moment he went off and I still don’t – It was only once the sky sports f1 commentators brought it up I thought, wow – There is a possibility he made it on purpose, but no – My intuition says that there’s absolutely no fault in play.

        • Grosjean's smile (@testacorsa) said on 25th May 2014, 12:04

          Yeah the reversing was stupid, and unnecessary. I guess he wanted to go back to the pits, to get the glory and celebration for his pole position. I’m a bit undecided yet, as his weaving around in the braking phase, just looked weird, and he was of the line too.
          If I’m being a cynic, it looked like a much better performed Schumacher manouvre, but actually I think he had in the back of his mind, that he would give it all on that lap, and if something happened; no biggie, as he would still have pole.

    • Carlitox (@carlitox) said on 24th May 2014, 18:46

      I think the cars have a security button that prevents them from stalling when stopping? If the driver is quick enough to activate it, the car won’t shut down, I believe. Anyway, totally agree about Rosberg reversing. Though about having gone off intentionally, can’t really believe it. Still, I can’t blame Hamilton for being angry, it looked a bit strange at first sight, and remember the mental state drivers are in those moments. Maybe Lewis has chilled. Maybe not. Only he knows.
      To sum up, I can’t give an answer to the poll question. But Nico shouldn’t have reversed back at all.

      • chris (@9chris9) said on 24th May 2014, 19:16

        +1
        red mist and all.
        Lewis was up on his previous time and sector 2 is his favourite. i’d be questioning Lewis’s sanity if he wan’t upset about having to slow for the yellow flags and thus loosing his only opportunity to better his team mate.

        • michael pearson (@michael123) said on 24th May 2014, 19:44

          rosberg is german the team is german of course lewis is puttiong thjeir noses out of joint????,if he wins they play the british national anthem, and the old croutskyus dont like that, nor does angela merkel, stuff the team and get back to the brits, cos whatever happens you will never win with them:::: ever ,,, as long as rosberg is in the team,, you are great lewis fantastic, but the team will centre on rosberg::::: get out soonest

          • Paul (@frankjaeger) said on 24th May 2014, 20:17

            I really doubt any aspect of F1 is truly dominated by nationalism in this way

          • Dave (@raceprouk) said on 25th May 2014, 0:15

            The team’s German in name only. The cars are designed and made in Brackley, a 15-minute drive from Silverstone. Their engineering director is Italian. Their technical director is British. Their chief aero guy comes from Belfast.

            So drop the xenophobic garbage.

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 25th May 2014, 2:22

      I’m a bit on the middle, really. I don’t think Rosberg would do such thing, but the steering movements were VERY odd. In comparision, Ericsson’s accident showed a clear lack of control, but in Rosberg’s case it was a bit of a weird moment.

      But what do I know, really? going into Mirabeau, shooting for a pole position, must be tricky enough…

    • Alpha said on 26th May 2014, 7:28

      Some of you didn’t understand the situation. Rosberg has to drive back with the car’s own power, otherwise he would have been disqualified, unless he crashed. Remember 2 years ago with Hamilton’s Pole at Montreal where he famously pushed the car on the straight? The rule was clarify afterward. So if Rosberg turn the engine off without a proper crash he would have been disqualified, and he knew that very well, and this is why he reverse, instead of park and go.
      As to why he reverse at the time he did, I must agree to some of you that, he should get a penalty for it. You cannot stay in the driving line of a driver behind who is doing a hot lap, let alone reversing into the track….. Sometimes just make me think who were the stewards….

      Rosberg probably can get away with the “lost control” part, but reversing back into the track, seriously? The FIA can tolerate this?

      I always think that, if something like such happen, or like red flag with a couple minutes to go, the session time should be extended to give driver at least 1 proper lap. No to mention some other would be disadvantaged as the best of their tyre has already gone…. at least it is better than nothing. The rule needs to be changed.

  3. matt90 (@matt90) said on 24th May 2014, 16:58

    How do you agree or disagree with a question?

  4. Eddie (@wackyracer) said on 24th May 2014, 16:58

    No but should’ve reversed

    • Eddie (@wackyracer) said on 24th May 2014, 16:59

      shouldn’t have reversed

      • Albert said on 24th May 2014, 17:10

        What has that to do with anything? The yellow flags would have been waved anyways. Stop looking for reasons to complain about.

        • anon said on 24th May 2014, 17:25

          The reason why people are complaining about Rosberg reversing towards the track is because the Sporting Regulations explicitly forbids drivers from driving against the direction of the traffic, unless it is the only way a car can be removed from a dangerous position.
          The indication is that Rosberg should have driven to the end of the escape road, where there is a mobile crane unit, in order for the marshals to remove his car from the circuit (which was how they removed Ericsson’s car from the circuit so quickly).

          • The stewards don’t seem to see it that way.

          • Agree with you 100%

            Shocked nobody is seeing the real danger the reversing into Hamiltonian corner as he approached the corner (even with yellows).

          • choltz (@choltz) said on 24th May 2014, 19:57

            The regulations about forbidding drivers from driving against the direction of the traffic has nothing to do with reversing onto the track, that is only if the driver is going forward (nose first) the wrong way.

          • David BR2 said on 25th May 2014, 12:37

            The ideal response by Rosberg (and the stewards) would have been to do that. His car was undamaged but he had no immediate reason to join the track with his own qualifying finished. Parking the car at the end of the run-off would have been safe for everyone and his own car would have been removed quickly.

            The issue seems to be ‘regulations’ i.e. where sensible responses become mired in rigid rules nobody’s sure are applicable. Rosberg may have thought that he had to reverse (out into the track, more dangerous, completely unnecessary in practical terms) or the yellow flags would continue. Or he knew full-well it would ensure they did at the crucial moment when Hamilton was due to pass. I guess we all take our pick on that one.

  5. craig-o (@craig-o) said on 24th May 2014, 16:58

    It’s not in Nico’s nature to do a foul like that. It definitely wasn’t in his father’s.

    I think he simply went in too hot into the same corner where Chilton, Sutil, Ericsson and even Alonso got it wrong this weekend.

    However, I feel like he rejoined the circuit in an unsafe manner, when he knew he would not have been able to set another quick lap.

  6. djdaveyp85 (@djdaveyp87) said on 24th May 2014, 16:59

    I strongly disagree, the mistake wasn’t deliberate. The reversing however was unnecessary. He had no opportunity to do anything so he should have moved his car as far out of the way as possible and stayed there until he got a message saying there was nobody else coming on a lap. I feel he should be penalised for the reversing.

  7. Swindle94 said on 24th May 2014, 17:00

    I think it was an honest mistake. And I don’t want the stewards to do anything. I would much rather see a RACE tomorrow with two people going at it than a group of stewards deciding the race tonight. This would be the last thing F1 needs in an era of already too many technicalities

  8. Alex McFarlane said on 24th May 2014, 17:01

    No.

  9. PeterG said on 24th May 2014, 17:01

    I don’t believe it was deliberate, He was clearly pushing at the limit & simply made a mistake.

    A lot is been made of the steering movements but I don’t really see that as been a big deal as I’ve seen similar many times before with drivers braking on the limit.

  10. Sankalp Sharma (@sankalp88) said on 24th May 2014, 17:02

    I’m going to sit on the fence on this one. His corrections were fishy, but then I looked at some other on-boards from previous years and turns out several other drivers who overcooked that corner, made similar adjustments to save their lap.

    • Greg-c said on 25th May 2014, 1:45

      What we cant see from on board is what the rear us doing , his twitchy inputs are probably a result of catching the rears, remember , this is split second stuff

      • Clive Allen (@clive-allen) said on 29th May 2014, 0:32

        It was the front of the car that would not turn in as Rosberg wanted it to and that is why he has two or three bites at the cherry before reaching the point at which he had to take to the escape road. Any driver worth his salt knows when the fronts are not gripping sufficiently to make a turn and there is very little time to decide what to do about it. F1 drivers have quicker reflexes than we mere mortals and so they have just a little more opportunity to get the car around the corner. This is why Rosberg starts to turn in, straightens the wheel, tries again and opts for the escape road. There is nothing suspicious in his steering motions – they are typical of a driver who has been a little too optimistic about his car’s ability to enter a corner at speed and who has to abandon the corner altogether.

  11. Adam Kibbey (@kibblesworth) said on 24th May 2014, 17:02

    Don’t think he had any intention of going off track, that looked like a genuine mistake, but I’m not to sure what his motives behind reversing were. But did he actually prolong yellows by doing so or would they have remained out anyway? If it’s the latter than no penalty should be given. But if it’s the former, then the only fair thing to do is to penalize.

    • PeterG said on 24th May 2014, 17:06

      But did he actually prolong yellows by doing so or would they have remained out anyway?

      They would have stayed out anyway.

      In the past when drivers have run straght on into the runoff at that corner, Yellow flags have remained out until the car was moved behind the barriers by the crane.

    • When he stopped there were around 30s left. How exactly did reversing “prolong” the yellow flags?

  12. hunocsi (@hunocsi) said on 24th May 2014, 17:03

    It was deliberate in a sense: he deliberately went into the run-off area, because else he would have crashed into the wall.

    I’m pretty sure he didn’t do that on purpose, and I don’t see any problem with him reversing onto the track either because the yellow flags were waved anyway so the other drivers must not have been at full speed, so it wasn’t such a dangerous situation, and he also pulled to the left so there weren’t any trouble.

  13. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 24th May 2014, 17:05

    I don’t think Rosberg did it on purpose.

  14. Fixy (@fixy) said on 24th May 2014, 17:05

    It certainly looked confusing from the on board camera, but I don’t think Nico is the type of driver to certain things. From the on board I knew he was going to run deep well before he locked up, he stayed in the centre of the track and adjusted the steering before he reached the braking zone, but I’m confident – and hope – he just made a mistake.

    • mateuss (@mateuss) said on 24th May 2014, 18:37

      As I was watching his onboard live, I was sh… brix just watching, he was going for it. He almost crashed at Massenet, went of at Mirabeau, but that’s just how it is in Monaco, all of the drivers who are on it almost crash all the time, sometimes crash, or go off, that’s Monaco, and that is why this is my favorite session of the year I always look forward to.

      His off was no surprise to me, nor did it seem intentional. Anyone who claims to know his intentions must must be able to read minds.

      And a couple of things to add, Rosberg did look like he was going to get it anyway, and I find the close on-track battle and all these hurt feelings absolutely amusing to watch.

  15. I dont have the ability to vote, but i would vote yes, deliberate.

    I dont think its takes a genius to see he took a very strange line down that straight and had some bizare steering wheel movements WAY before the corner. I thought it was out of character while it was live, even more so having re-watched it.

    PS. i think hes done his reputation no favours by getting out of his car and fist pumping after ruining everyone elses qualifying. Terrible.

    • Jules Winfield (@jules-winfield) said on 24th May 2014, 17:20

      I don’t think it takes a genius to see that he was going far too fast and was trying desperately to gain control of the car and stop it going into the barriers. He locked up and ended up going down the escape road. Sky F1 in the UK showed the previous part of the lap, and it was already a lot scruffier than his previous attempt that (eventually, as it turns out) got him pole.

      As for his celebrations, he got pole at one of the trickiest tracks of them all. Had he cheated as you seem to think, he probably would have been a little more circumspect.

      Nico Rosberg has no history of doing things like this. More often than not, his driving is very clean.

      The only person whose qualifying he might have ruined was Hamilton. No-one else was going to get on pole.

      • “I don’t think it takes a genius to see that he was going far too fast and was trying desperately to gain control of the car and stop it going into the barriers. He locked up and ended up going down the escape road.”

        He locked his wheel long after he’d missed the corner, and it only locked because he had alot of right handed steering on the wheel which un-loads it, making it easy to lock. Im talking about his strange steering long before the normaly braking zone for the corner.

        and PS, the only person whose qualifying he might have ruined was Hamiltons??? You do realise other cars are fighting for positions right, its not just about pole. Jesus.

        • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 24th May 2014, 19:58

          The fact that he locked his wheels so late is more “proof” that Rosberg didn’t do it deliberately though. Or at least I think so.

          It’s much easier to go off in a corner when slam on the brakes and lock up. Much less grip that way and it’s more obvious to the viewers that you’re in “trouble”.

          Like Schumacher did in Rascasse. But then the stewards could tell that he faked it because the date clearly showed that he intentionally locked the wheels when there was no apparent need to do so.

          • David BR2 said on 25th May 2014, 12:41

            I’m guessing he overdrove into the second sector knowing he was down, felt himself losing adherence, ‘corrected’ with his eye already on that nice escape road and ‘ended up’ heading off track with some suddenly not so great steering corrections and brake applications, decided he quite liked that idea, then realized his line would damage the car, corrected to avoid collision and caused the wheel lock at the end. Could be wrong though.

      • AlienSexGod said on 26th May 2014, 3:15

        Definitely deliberate with a weaving cover……. if he was on the racing line and kept straight then locked up at he braking point no problemo… but thats NOt what happened … he was WEAVING left and right about three times before the braking point when it was a STRAIGHT with zero obstacles, then he braked and locked up then dived left. Telemetry would have shown the weave and shown that there was no reason for it but for working out a way to lose the way … thinking about it in his indecision. I race and a race drive guns it STRAIGHT to his braking point… none of the weaving hmm let’s see how I can lose the car stuff!!!!

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