Date:Tuesday November 29 2016
The duel in the desert was how the finale of the 2016 Formula One World Championship was billed.
In truth, there was no real duel, the battle had already been won.
Whilst Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton arrived in Abu Dhabi level on nine Grand Prix victories, Hamilton's lack of reliability and Rosberg's whole season without issues was the difference.
Rosberg knew that all he had to do was finish on the podium and Hamilton knew that winning the race was simply not enough.
On the grid before the race, everyone assumed that Hamilton would try to back-up Rosberg into a fight with the Red Bull's and Ferrari's, this was his only available tactic.
This notion polarised the watching Formula One public, anyone who doesn't like Hamilton was obviously against the idea, anyone supporting him knew it was his only chance.
The other spanner in the works was Mercedes, seemingly insistent on not wanting any interference for the championship and wanting their drivers to play the team game and finish one-two. This coming despite Mercedes already clinching the Formula One constructors championship and a one-two finish in the drivers championship.
This again polarised the audience who want to watch Motor Racing drivers actually race and saw Mercedes interference as frustrating.
So when Mercedes asked Hamilton to speed up and the Brit unsurprisingly decided against this, the fuse was lit.
In the end, Hamilton was unable to push Rosberg back far enough into the clutches of either the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel or the Red Bull of Max Verstappen and the Mercedes pair finished one-two with Rosberg crowned champion.
Hamilton is supposedly in line for a disciplinary which could be as little as a fine, or as much as a race suspension or even sacking [summary of the papers by Sky Sports].
But did Mercedes really give an impression that they would come down hard on Hamilton?
The final instruction for Hamilton to speed up came from Mercedes chief Paddy Lowe. Hamilton's response was simply “I'm not bothered if I win or lose this race.” as his focus was trying in vein to win a world championship.
So what did Lowe really think?
“This is what makes Formula 1 exciting in a way, we are constructed to have inevitable conflicts between what a team wants and what two individual drivers want, They are two guys who are team players but in the end they each wanna win.
“Our main objective is to win the race and we didn’t like the look of a red car coming though at a far higher pace than our team.” he told motorsport.com.
So in public at least, Lowe remained pretty much on the fence?
What about Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, who often speaks with his heart on his sleeve and is more open on his emotions?
“One half of me says with 1,500 people at Brackley/Brixworth, and 300,000 at Daimler, that creates values and you have to respect those values. Undermining a structure in public means you’re putting yourself before the team – that’s very simple. Anarchy doesn’t work in any team or any company.
“The other half says it was his only chance of winning the championship at that stage and maybe you cannot demand a racing driver that is one of, if not the best out there, a real guard dog in the car, to comply in a situation where his instincts did not make him comply.
“It’s about finding a solution to solve the problem in the future because a precedent has been set. Let me sleep over that and come up with a solution.” again this is quoted by motorsport.com.
So Wolff pretty much just joined Lowe on that Mercedes branded fence.
How about Nico Rosberg? How did his Mercedes team-mate view things? Speaking to Sky Sports he said: 'I can understand the team asking him to speed up, and me also asking, but I can understand his point too. It is the world championship and I understand he wanted to try something,'
Not only did Rosberg understand Hamilton's tactics, he even went as far as congratulating Hamilton on how he implemented them.
'He did it really, really well because there was no chance to overtake him at the same time. In the first sector he was fast and flat-out so I could never got close for a pass and then he slowed down in the rest of the track and the others could come back.
'Lewis is an unbelievable competitor, one of the best of all time, [in the] longest season ever I beat him in unbelievably tough conditions.'
The winter is long, perhaps Mercedes will deal with things internally and we shall never know how Hamilton was punished, if he's punished at all.
Date:Tuesday November 29 2016
Blog: Sochi Qualifying (Saturday April 29 2017)
2017 Russia GP - Qualifying (Saturday April 29 2017)
2017 Russia GP - FP3 (Saturday April 29 2017)
2017 Russia GP - FP2 (Friday April 28 2017)
2017 Russia GP - FP1 (Friday April 28 2017)
Wehrlein reveals severity of neck injury (Thursday April 27 2017)
Blog: Sochi Preview (Wednesday April 26 2017)
Honda to hand McLaren duo more reliable engine? (Tuesday April 25 2017)
F1 prediction competition open for Russia (Monday April 24 2017)
Who will win in Russia? (Monday April 24 2017)
Formula One loses long standing Grand Prix (Friday April 21 2017)
Grid penalty for Sainz in Russia (Thursday April 20 2017)
Mercedes to implement team orders? (Wednesday April 19 2017)
Vettel celebrating second win of the season (Tuesday April 18 2017)
Blog: Bahrain GP Report (Monday April 17 2017)
2017 Bahrain GP - Race (Sunday April 16 2017)
Blog: Sakhir Qualifying (Saturday April 15 2017)
2017 Bahrain GP - Qualifying (Saturday April 15 2017)
2017 Bahrain GP - FP3 (Saturday April 15 2017)
2017 Bahrain GP - FP2 (Friday April 14 2017)
2017 Bahrain GP - FP1 (Friday April 14 2017)
Button the only suitable replacement for Alonso (Friday April 14 2017)
Alonso targets Indy 500 and Le Mans 24 victories (Thursday April 13 2017)
Blog: Sakhir Preview (Wednesday April 12 2017)
Who will win in Bahrain? (Tuesday April 11 2017)
F1 Prediction Competition open for Bahrain (Tuesday April 11 2017)
Hamilton loving battle with Vettel (Tuesday April 11 2017)
Blog: Chinese GP Report (Monday April 10 2017)
2017 China GP - Race (Sunday April 9 2017)
Blog: Shanghai Qualifying (Saturday April 8 2017)
2017 China GP - Qualifying (Saturday April 8 2017)
2017 China GP - FP3 (Saturday April 8 2017)
2017 China GP - FP2 (Friday April 7 2017)
2017 China GP - FP1 (Friday April 7 2017)
Formula One's V6 Turbo-Hybrid era to end (Thursday April 6 2017)
Blog: Shanghai Preview (Wednesday April 5 2017)
Honda to supply Sauber? (Wednesday April 5 2017)
Hamilton enjoying Vettel and Ferrari contest (Tuesday April 4 2017)
F1 Prediction Competition open for China (Tuesday April 4 2017)
Bottas on par with Rosberg says Lauda (Monday April 3 2017)
Who will win in China? (Monday April 3 2017)
Mixed feelings for Red Bull (Friday March 31 2017)
McLaren worst car on the grid according to Alonso (Thursday March 30 2017)
Were Ferrari quicker than Mercedes in Australia? (Wednesday March 29 2017)
Vettel hoping for love affair with new Ferrari (Tuesday March 28 2017)
Blog: Australian GP Report (Monday March 27 2017)
2017 Australia GP - Race (Sunday March 26 2017)
2017 Australia GP - Qualifying (Saturday March 25 2017)
2017 Australia GP - FP3 (Saturday March 25 2017)
2017 Australia GP - FP2 (Saturday March 25 2017)
2017 Australia GP - FP1 (Saturday March 25 2017)
More calls to ban the shark fins (Friday March 24 2017)
Renault call for engine budget cap (Thursday March 23 2017)
Blog: Melbourne Preview (Thursday March 23 2017)
McLaren would be winners if paired with Mercedes (Wednesday March 22 2017)
Mercedes to show true hand in Australia (Tuesday March 21 2017)
Who will win the opening race of 2017? (Tuesday March 21 2017)
European tracks are the heart of F1 fan base (Monday March 20 2017)
Lowe to become shareholder in Williams (Monday March 20 2017)
Renault can improve - Hopefully (Friday March 17 2017)
Red Bull can catch Mercedes, but not yet (Thursday March 16 2017)
McLaren looking shaky (Wednesday March 15 2017)
Surtees dies aged 83 (Tuesday March 14 2017)
F1 prediction competition returns for 2017 (Monday March 13 2017)
Ferrari end second test on top (Monday March 13 2017)
Alonso bigs up McLaren but lambasts Honda (Friday March 10 2017)
F1 ratings in UK collapse (Friday March 10 2017)
Canada sign new race deal with Formula One (Thursday March 9 2017)
Mercedes sitting pretty on day two of second test (Thursday March 9 2017)
Williams rule on first day of second test (Wednesday March 8 2017)
Brawn pushing for cash race for teams (Wednesday March 8 2017)
Bottas is my best teammate ever says Hamilton (Tuesday March 7 2017)
Sauber announce Columbian as development driver (Monday March 6 2017)
Ferrari on top in the wet (Friday March 3 2017)
New deal for Russian Grand Prix (Friday March 3 2017)
Merc and Ferrari pick up the pace (Thursday March 2 2017)
Teams set for wet weather test in Barcelona (Thursday March 2 2017)
Ferrari faster than Mercedes? (Wednesday March 1 2017)
Bottas sees Hamilton as great challenge (Tuesday February 28 2017)
Horner calls for shark fin ban (Tuesday February 28 2017)
Hamilton and Mercedes happy on test day one (Tuesday February 28 2017)
Alonso held talks with Mercedes (Monday February 27 2017)
Some drivers don't deserve to be in F1 says Lewis (Friday February 24 2017)
Bottas targets F1 title (Friday February 24 2017)
Renault take Red Bull aero expert (Thursday February 23 2017)
Pirelli already making excuses? (Thursday February 23 2017)
Williams adds new head of aerodynamics (Wednesday February 22 2017)
Renault engine can beat Mercedes (Wednesday February 22 2017)
Allison announced at Mercedes (Tuesday February 21 2017)
McLaren heading into another year of the unknown (Tuesday February 21 2017)
New deals for Wolff and Lauda (Monday February 20 2017)
Wehrlein sidelined due to back injury (Monday February 20 2017)
Williams backs F1 budget cap (Monday February 20 2017)
Sauber launch 2017 car (Monday February 20 2017)
Hamilton sends warning shot to Bottas (Friday February 17 2017)
F1 to break the US market (Thursday February 16 2017)
Rosberg doesn't agree with his replacement (Wednesday February 15 2017)
F1 pecking order unlikely to change (Tuesday February 14 2017)
Important Pirelli tyre test ends early (Monday February 13 2017)
Red Bull confidence builds as momentum grows (Friday February 10 2017)
|7.||Push The Button||497|