Date:Wednesday December 24 2014
Lewis Hamilton added his second Formula One title to his CV in 2014.
The British driver, proved all the doubters wrong following his switch from McLaren to Mercedes at the end of 2012.
A lot of the so-called experts claimed that the move was solely down to money and that Hamilton had been ill-advised to leave McLaren.
Hamilton and Mercedes clearly disagreed and often pointed to the engine regulations in 2014 as the reason behind such a move.
That proved correct with Mercedes dominating the 2014 season, winning all but 3 races all year.
But that still left a fierce rivalry between the two Silver Arrows team-mates of Lewis Hamilton and German team-mate Nico Rosberg.
There was three clear flash points on the track between the two, the first came during qualifying for Monaco, the second came during the Hungarian Grand Prix and in third was the race in Belgium.
On two of the occasions fingers were firmly pointed at Rosberg, whilst the third was seen as an error within the team.
In Monaco, Hamilton believed that Rosberg deliberately parked his car to bring out a yellow flag and prevent Hamilton from a run at pole position.
With it being notoriously difficult to overtake around the streets of Monte Carlo, that move all but decided the race result that weekend.
24/05/14 - Blog: Escape road to victory
“Nico took it to another level in Monaco which definitely made it very difficult for us, for me,” Hamilton told Sky Sports.
But that incident appeared to have bubbled up following both drivers breaking inter-team rules regarding engine settings.
It was widely known that Hamilton had done this in Spain, but Hamilton has now revealed that it was Rosberg who set the precedent for this by making the switch during the epic Bahrain tussle.
“Barcelona was a period of time – and actually Bahrain before that – discussing the plan going into the season about the engine switches that we were able to use and not able to use, a couple of times in Bahrain the other side of the garage used a couple of the switches you are not allowed to use to enable him to get past,”
“Then when we got to Barcelona a similar thing happened on my side of the garage, but it happened in a moment when we weren’t particularly racing and later the engineers calculated everything and said it wouldn’t have made any difference anyway, but it was still not allowed. So it was really stressed between both drivers that this was not allowed to happen: 'unless we tell you what engine mode to use you cannot change'.
“From then on neither of us changed any of our switches without prior consent from the team. It was just a learning process that Nico went through and I went through. It was a little bit harder for me, but that is how my whole life has been so I just took it on the chin and dealt with it and I think ultimately we came out stronger as a team.”
It all adds to the tension off the track and on it.
The next flash point came in Hungary.
Hamilton had suffered an engine fire during qualifying and had to start from the pit-lane.
On cold tyres he spun off and scraped the wall, but eventually recovered and fought his way back through the pack.
A safety car and different strategy brought Hamilton back into play by lap 27 and on lap 47 Rosberg was behind Hamilton on a quicker tyre strategy.
Despite failing to get within a second of Hamilton, Mercedes asked Hamilton to pull over for Rosberg. Hamilton refused, stating that if Rosberg gets close enough he will let him past.
This angered Rosberg as it had compromised his race, but slowing down that much for Hamilton would have also cost Hamilton numerous places and afterwards Mercedes admitted to the error.
The situation was inflamed further on the final lap when Rosberg failed to get past Hamilton again, with the Brit aggressively defending his position.
28/07/14 - Blog: Hungarian GP Report
28/07/14 - Lauda backing for Hamilton
All of this apparently played its part in the reason why the two drivers came together one race later at Spa.
With Hamilton leading, Rosberg went for an impossible move around the outside, eventually clipping Hamilton with his front wing.
The result was a retirement for Hamilton and despite front wing damage a second place for Rosberg which at the time extended Rosberg's F1 lead to 29 points.
26/08/14 - Blog: Belgian GP Report
25/08/14 - Crash was deliberate claims Hamilton
25/08/14 - Finger of blame pointed at Rosberg
01/09/14 - Rosberg finally takes responsibility
But despite it at the time, seemingly denting Hamilton's title aspirations it was the catalyst to some devastating form which saw Hamilton win six of the final seven races of the season.
Speaking about the collision in Belgium, Hamilton said: “Nothing has changed about my opinion of what happened, it is the same for Monaco, I know how I feel about them and that hasn’t changed. But that is cool because I am world champion now.”
Date:Wednesday December 24 2014
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