Now that Niki Lauda has come right out and condemned Lewis Hamilton for his catastrophic crash with rival Nico Rosberg, Jackie Stewart is intent on dealing his own blows. He’s declared that Hamilton should have been fined for knocking both himself and Rosberg out during the first lap at the Spanish Grand Prix.
“It was all emotion. First lap! Desperation. That’s not the way to win, not consistently. Hamilton is to blame. Rosberg was allowed to protect himself. You don’t go for it in the first lap.
“Two cars from the same team can’t possibly have an accident on the first lap. One of the major assets for all of the great drivers has been mind management. Don’t get wound up and excited. I think Lewis could have won this race but it didn’t have to be on the first lap. The accident was almost ready to take place.”
🏁 Incredible scenes in the F1 as Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton collide 🏁 pic.twitter.com/1gcIYZAYk9
— 10 (@10appofficial) May 15, 2016
However, we don’t think it’s as clear cut as all that and neither did Mercedes or the stewards. Nico Rosberg doesn’t come off completely innocent when we review what actually took place. During the first lap, Hamilton had attempted to overtake Rosberg from the inside, but Rosberg actually attempted to block him from advancing. Rosberg’s gesture sent Hamilton spinning onto the grass and subsequently took him out as well, leaving Max Verstappen’s path to victory unblocked.
Because both drivers had been markedly aggressive towards one another, neither ended up being penalised. But Jackie Stewart continues to fiercely dispute the justness of this outcome.
“It was a tremendous faux-pas for Mercedes to take both cars out. They are so much better than any other team. It’s just completely wrong – and then for Hamilton to throw the steering wheel out of the car. Probably $40,000 – $50,000 worth of steering wheel. Emotion is a very dangerous thing.
“It’s unacceptable. Lots of people make mistakes. What you’ve got to do is come out of the mistake but you’ve got to admit it and think about why you would have done such a thing on the first lap, when you’re so much quicker than everyone else. I don’t think Lewis understood that. I don’t think Rosberg did anything wrong.
“I think there’s a need for discipline – maybe financial. I would certainly have penalised the driver who made that mistake on the first lap. It would have to be financial. At the moment Lewis is making such a lot of money that it might not be a very big penalty.”
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) May 15, 2016
We’re not so sure that Nico Rosberg wasn’t acting out of emotion himself. An attempt to actively prevent your opponent from getting ahead of you in a race doesn’t sound entirely like fair play either. We can see why tensions might have been running high between the two. Hamilton and Rosberg have had quite the longstanding rivalry to become Mercedes’ top driver and this has become even more the case after Hamilton’s troubled start to the Russian Grand Prix. It looks Hamilton might have been harbouring much more anxiety than he led on when he told us all to stop accusing Mercedes of sabotaging him in favour of his rival