Lewis Hamilton’s victory was mostly due to his own fighting spirit and raw talent. But rival Nico Rosberg played a much larger role in it than you’d think and Hamilton couldn’t be more grateful.
After everything that’s happened between Mercedes’ two star drivers, you’d think it would be the worst kind of humiliation for one of them to just hand a victory over to another. But that’s exactly what it came down to in Monaco when Rosberg was unable to maintain a competitive pace on the track. After he fell ten seconds behind Daniel Ricciardo, he was ordered to pull over and let Hamilton go past him to cinch the race for Mercedes. And he did exactly that in a complete reversal of his behaviour in Barcelona, when he blocked the Englishman from taking over.
Don’t think Hamilton didn’t appreciate it either. He demonstrated equally classy behaviour, staying respectfully silent as Rosberg solemnly went over his issues with the car at the team’s press-briefing. Right afterwards, he approached the German and exchanged a few quiet words with him. Don’t worry. The last thing he was doing was gloating.
“I said, ‘Thanks for being a gentleman’. We have an agreement. When the team ask you to push and are not able to and it hinders the team’s chances of winning the race, we have that agreement.”
"I had to let Lewis past to give him the chance to win" >> I respect ROS but this could be misconstrued as a dig https://t.co/sinfSHhH1U
— GridPasses (@GridPasses) May 29, 2016
Nico Rosberg, on the contrary, felt like his act of generosity was no major sacrifice on his part. His race car felt far more like a sinking ship, with low tyre temperatures, slow laps and cool brakes locking him in a vicious cycle. Letting Hamilton through was an inevitable outcome of his disastrous predicament.
“…the feeling in the car – a complete lack of confidence – was more painful. The second thing [being instructed to let Hamilton through] was just a consequence of that. It was pretty obvious I didn’t have the pace to win.”
A bitter admission to make, no doubt. But there are definitely upsides to this incident and that is that the two have finally found a way to resolve their differences. There’s nothing like having to cooperate with someone you resent and we’re glad both men were big enough to demonstrate good sportsmanship when it counted. The Mercedes crash has now truly become a thing of the past, just as everyone had hoped it would be.