Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Monte-Carlo, 2014

Did Rosberg deliberately go off at Mirabeau?

2014 Monaco Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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 (8%)
  • Slightly disagree (19%)
  • Strongly disagree (34%)
  • No opinion (2%)

Total Voters: 545

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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. Really not sure, doesn’t seem like Rosberg to do something like that, but he has put himself under alot of pressure trying to beat Lewis… I’ll reserve judgement for now.

  2. Rosberg knew he was 2 tenths down on first sector already, he had nothing to loose

    1. He had nothing to lose so he thought he’d try and better his previous time by taking a line that would give him _less_ chance of doing so??

      If he was trying to push harder then he would have been more over to the _left_ than normal (risking his wheel up against the left barrier) not right.

      1. It’s the reversing back onto the track that gives it away.

    2. The first sector time measurement thingy is mere meters in front of the braking zone. If he can make the decision to go off on purpose in such a short amount of time, we shouldn’t be mad, we should be impressed!

  3. Did Rosberg pull a Schumacher? Hmmm… well… the second I saw this it flashed through my mind so I would say yes.

  4. No further action- so guess it was not on purpose like most of us thought.

  5. I insist, this is just too awesome :D

  6. I am rooting for Nico. But I think he knew what he was doing (risking too much with nothing to lose) and wasn’t honest in the press conference.
    He simply didn’t go to the left before the curve, comparing to his pole lap. And him not talking to Lewis immediately also raised some eyebrows.
    Sorry to say so, but it seems Lewis might have a point this time.

  7. Sky Sports News just announced no further action will be taken against Nico Rosberg and his Pole Position stands.

  8. Of course it was deliberate. Drivers of his capability are well able to compute the consequences of their actions and acting upon them in a split second. He just made a better and less obvious job of it than his countryman Schumacher did. I certainly do not think that the team had any part in what happened and find it interesting that all the mechanics and team principals that the TV commentator spoke to also thought it was a calculated act.

  9. Hamilton is now soooo pumped up that he could ether end his race earlier with a crash or he could have the greatest win ever tomorrow. As far as Rosberg concerns his body language seamed to me like he was totally scared of another 2nd position by the way he was euphorically happy after the finish of the qualifying. Did he went off on purpose I don’t know and I don’t care as this situation fuels the fight between the two of them which could last through the rest of the season which is the only thing that matters to me. It will be epic season regardless the fact that it could be dominated by only one team.

    1. Damn, not only do we have racing and psychology experts around this parts, we also have BODY LANGUAGE experts!

      I insist, I love F1 fans on the internet.

      1. Yeah I’m crazy F1 FANatic mate :D

  10. Slightly disagree. From the onboard I saw it looked accidental, but I haven’t taken a 2nd look at it.

    And I think (I think I was the only one who drew this particular comparison prior to leaving for dinner) that Fernando Alonso was somewhere centre-stage in the race-stopping Brazillian accident that secured 3rd place for him (though not neccesarilly the champagne that comes with it) a bit earlier than MSC’s qualy drama and I think he was cleared (rightly so as far as I know). Having said that, though, I didn’t watch the race as I didn’t watchthe World Championship until 2008.

  11. I believe that it was intentional in the heat of the moment, despit thinking that rosberg isn’t the kind of guy that does that, but he’s under huge pressure from 4 straight wins from hamilton.

    But that steering wheel movement is just non-sense. That kind of corrections could hapen when the rear is stepping out, but you can see perfectly for the outside camera that the rear is not stepping out, and from onboard view it looks like those steering movements are just trying to unsetle the car or lock the wheels on purpose…

    1. “That kind of corrections could hapen when the rear is stepping out, but you can see perfectly for the outside camera that the rear is not stepping out, and from onboard view it looks like those steering movements are just trying to unsetle the car or lock the wheels on purpose…”

      Exactly, i wish more people could see this, is pretty blatant.

      1. This video is pretty clear with 2 outside cameras plus onboard

        1. Seriously?! I hadn’t seen that angle. Ridiculously clear that was deliberate.

        2. After watching that video from @oliveiraz33 I feel that Nico was doing strange things all the way down that straight approaching that corner.
          This looks really fishy to me after seeing those angles over and over again.

    2. And he was way too nervous in the post qualify interviews, with weird body language wich didn’t help. Is a shame, because I was rooting for Rosberg, since I wasn’t keen on recent Hamilton’s mind games.

    3. @oliveiraz33
      Yeah I agree with this. A lot of people are saying ‘oh he’s not that kind of driver’, but he’s desperate to break Hamilton’s run so it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he took a leaf out of Schumacher’s book. All it would take is seeing his delta was off his previous lap, at that point he knows he cant beat his previous time so the only thing in his hands is stop Hamilton from improving.

  12. Nico’s celebration says it all.

    1. @jason12

      “Coward”? Does the 12 in your name stand for your age?

      1. It was cowardly. Fist bumping and all after he ruined qualifying for everyone behind him. What was he thinking? Hollow pole, no need to gloat.

  13. I don’t think there is a right answer. He knew had the banked lap and that Hamilton was behind him with no time for a second lap, so had incentive to push really hard-if he succeeds he gets pole, if he crashes he gets pole. But notice he did not crash. It is a case fierce competition and doing anything it takes to get an advantage.

  14. One word:

    Bilderberg Group.

    (If Hamilton did it; Illuminati. If Kvyatt did it; Putin. If Alonso did it; Franco. If Vettel did it; Marko. Etc.)

  15. Lewis should not worry because he knows he is faster and will make quick work of this German fool tomorrow.

  16. I don’t think it was intentional at all. But whether it’s fair that a driver can secure a pole position through a driving error is a completely different question.

  17. What’s all this about the reversing. The yellow flags would have been out whether he stayed where he was, did a 180 or indeed reversed.

    1. The point is why was Rosberg trying to reverse into on-coming traffic on hot-laps, when theres only seconds left in the session??? Whats he trying to achieve???

      Ask yourself those questions, i think the answer is pretty obvious.

      1. Exactly! Sure he was found innocent of any FIA wrong doing. But lest not forget drivers have their own unwritten rules outside the technical rules. Nico did himself no favors. Where there is smoke, there is fire. If could he an honest mistake, but you can’t deny he was making strange moves before and after the incident. Had he just ran off and accepted what had happened, he would have gave the marshalls assurance that everything was under control. He would just go to the end and park it. He did none of that and kept moving around, eventually reversing on track WHILE OTHERS WERE QUALIFYING!

  18. There could have been a possibility that Lewis was really 2.5 tenths up on his fast lap as he said in the press conference. He might have backed off before the end of the 1st sector but still set a personal best. The yellows were waving since the start of Lewis’ lap. Only he knows the deltas.

  19. Nope just an honest mistake

  20. The way he was punching the air, celebrating with a thumbs up, says everything about the man’s character. He did it on purpose.

    1. I have to agree. I think the body language and his reactions throughout all the post race looked odd. I feel really uncomfortable with Nico right now…a bit of a character questioning moment.

      Let’s say for a minute, that it was all a big mistake: I sure don’t celebrate a pole by virtue of the fact I did something that gave it to me artificially over my teammate. I expected more character from Nico if nothing else.

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