Before you go any further, have a look at this article by the BBC
, which details Lewis Hamilton's claim that Nico Rosberg deliberately tagged the rear wheel of his car to give him a puncture as he exited Les Combes, meaning he had a treacherous journey back to pits. He damaged the floor of his car to such an extent that he couldn't recover past 16th. The FIA are preparing to severely reprimand Rosberg should these allegations prove true.
The incident seemed innocuous enough. Rosberg went to go around the outside into Les Combes aggressively, and when he realised the move wasn't on, he seemed to turn away a bit before making the corner. He didn't know where his front wing was, there wasn't enough room, and his front wing end fence was gone. To my eyes, Hamilton could have considered where he was more, leaving him more space, or Rosberg could have backed out a little bit more, which suggests a racing incident. Was it premeditated? If it was, it was a pretty dumb idea; it was certain to damage Rosberg's wing, but how did he know it would definitely cause a puncture for Hamilton? If he wanted to put Hamilton out of the race, he may have wanted to review the championship finales of the 1990 and 1994 seasons, with a quick look at 1997 to see what not to do.
How do we read in to these comments from Hamilton? More details will undoubtedly be revealed as the story develops, but the wording is very specific. Toto Wolff's comments in this piece
suggest that Hamilton may well be exaggerating to the media when he says Rosberg did it on purpose. Indeed, Hamilton's comments imply that Rosberg never explicitly said that he admitted it was on purpose, but instead insinuated that Rosberg simply didn't want to back out and that Hamilton should have given him more room, and that was the point he was proving. Rosberg is yet to respond to the media.
So clearly there are two arguments here: (i) Rosberg did it deliberately, and (ii) he didn't. If he didn't, Rosberg has got under Hamilton's skin by complete accident. Psychologically, he's winning the battle. This incident reminds me of Monaco. Rosberg makes an error which inadvertently gifts him the chance to expand his championship lead, and Hamilton has not taken it well.
If he did, he's shown the blackness of heart often required to be a world champion, a side of him the public never thought he had in him. He's never shown callousness in his career before; then again, he's never had to as this is his first season fighting for a championship. The two are former best friends, they've grown up together, but on the track, it's Rosberg showing that he's willing to toss friendships to the wayside for the sake of winning, and that he's willing to do absolutely anything. I am not saying that what he did was right; if he cheated, he should be severely reprimanded. And it does, and should, make us think twice about the incident in Monaco. But he's only doing what his predecessors did before him.
Those on Twitter
and all those who booed him at the podium celebration are being very hypocritical. It really angers me to see the unfair amounts of hate he is getting for a couple of reasons.
Yes, the evidence suggests he left his car there deliberately, but he didn't deliberately hit him or vice versa: the contact was accidental. He made a mistake. In fact, he made the exact same mistake Hamilton himself made three seasons ago in Singapore on Felipe Massa, so it's not like he's never ruined anyone's race. Some people have even speculated the legitimacy of his 2008 title win, creating conspiracy theories over Timo Glock losing 16 seconds
on the last lap to allow Hamilton the opportunity to pass.
Additionally, two of the most beloved champions, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher, also happened to be the two dirtiest players in the game. Senna, for all his brilliance, took Alain Prost out at the first corner at Suzuka 1990
to secure the championship and admitted it was deliberate, and look how dangerous that was. Schumacher drove into Damon Hill to win the 1994
crown, and tried the same trick in 1997 on Jacques Villeneuve, though he wasn't so lucky here. At Monaco 2006, he parked his car at Rascas to prevent Fernando Alonso from completing a flying lap in qualifying.
Two other multiple world champions in Alonso and Sebastien Vettel have also used underhand tactics to try and win. Alonso blocked Hamilton in the pit lane in qualifying for the Hungarian race in 2007, and Vettel has been involved in a number of scrapes, including the famous "Multi 2-1" incident at Malaysia 2013.
These guys have a combined 16 championships between them, and they've had to do some cold-hearted, calculated, and downright dirty things to win them, yet they are still lauded, respected and loved. If Rosberg has to take Hamilton out to win the title, then he's only doing what his peers have done before him. Why is it different this time? Why hate Rosberg for doing the things we loved Senna for? It enrages me.
Hamilton did something during the race we never thought he would do: begged to retire the car. He'd given up hope. He's a broken man, and he only has Nico Rosberg to thank for that. He's winning the battle on track, and he's winning the battle mentally too. And that is the hallmark of a world champion.