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

Total Voters: 542

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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?

  1. Dion (@infinitygc) said on 24th May 2014, 17:07

    When I originally saw the incident I was sure people would think of it as “Rosberg delibirately causing yellow”, and I thought he just made a mistake, no biggie.

    Then, after rewatching the incident a few times, I found it a bit suspicious, especially him wiggling his steering wheel that much. There’s no real reason for him doing that, which is why it caught my attention.

    All in all, I’d say I slightly agree. It was just looked a little bit too deliberate to me. Then again, that might just be me getting slightly bored at the domination and even as someone who’s generally quite skeptic of stuff like this, also just likes some controversy.

    • Dion (@infinitygc) said on 24th May 2014, 17:09

      It was just looked a little bit too deliberate to me.

      That “was” shouldn’t be there, oops!

    • tvm (@) said on 24th May 2014, 17:16

      +1

      The 0.1 he was down in sector one is more than enough that he new he wouldn’t beat his previous time.

      IMO In the spur of the moment he executed plan B probably only half knowing what he did but it definitely looked more or less deliberate.

      But not necessarily something he set out to do when he started the lap, more a “f— it, Ill park it here then”.

  2. geekracer2000 (@geekracer2000) said on 24th May 2014, 17:08

    He did not reverse on track.
    Well he did eventually but this was after session was finished.

  3. F1Bobby said on 24th May 2014, 17:08

    He deliberately reversed back down the escape road so to prolong the yellows. Five place drop will suffice. Not as bad as Michael’s parking but he shouldn’t be gifted pole after cracking under pressure.

    • Dave (@raceprouk) said on 24th May 2014, 17:13

      To prolong the yellows that would have stayed out regardless?

      • F1Bobby said on 24th May 2014, 17:19

        Would they? Not if he’d stopped at the end of the escape road. Be sporting, that was no way to win pole.

      • tvm (@) said on 24th May 2014, 17:25

        don’t be naive, he knew Hamilton was following, he knew he was stiring the pot. Enough for a penalty?
        Not sure, but LH did get a penalty for donut’ing on track unsafe back then so don’t see why NR should not get one for attempting to join the track unsafely, that would require consistency though.

  4. If he was pushing the limit (and therefore made the mistake) he would have been even more so up against the left hand barriers, when you push the limits you are trying pinch track, Rosberg was doing the exactly opposite by giving himself much less room for movement by staying more to the middle of the road.

    • David BR2 said on 24th May 2014, 17:14

      Am I right in thinking the incident would have been shortly after knowing he was down on his first sector time? If so it would be a question of his reaction after, push harder or…?

  5. dam00r (@dam00r) said on 24th May 2014, 17:15

    We need to see a zoomed in footage from the camera on that corner up towards the casino to see if Rosberg started to jerk with the steering wheel before over braking (pushing too hard on the brake pedal to loose control of the car). If so, it then was intended.

    But.. if he braked too hard and then started to swirl around with the steering wheel, it means that he locked the wheels into the corner.

  6. zippyone (@zippyone) said on 24th May 2014, 17:16

    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.

  7. Lias said on 24th May 2014, 17:19

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

  8. Chaz (@chaz) said on 24th May 2014, 17:23

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

  9. zippyone (@zippyone) said on 24th May 2014, 17:23

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

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

  11. magon4 (@magon4) said on 24th May 2014, 17:24

    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.

  12. Dave said on 24th May 2014, 17:26

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

  13. malc1110 (@malc1110) said on 24th May 2014, 17:26

    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.

  14. nidzovski (@nidzovski) said on 24th May 2014, 17:33

    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.

  15. David not Coulthard (@davidnotcoulthard) said on 24th May 2014, 17:35

    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.

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