• European Grand Prix - Qualifying

Rosberg left fuming at Hamilton

ESPN Staff
June 23, 2012 « Frustrated Button pessimistic over race chances | Webber explains DRS failure »
The gloves come off: Nico Rosberg was left fuming after being blocked by Lewis Hamilton © Sutton Images
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Nico Rosberg said Lewis Hamilton's slow driving in the final sector of the lap during qualifying for the European Grand Prix had a "big impact" on his eventual grid position.

Rosberg and Hamilton were summoned to the stewards' office following qualifying to give evidence after the Mercedes driver accused the McLaren man of slowing in the final sector. Due to a series of blind corners at the end of the lap and the propensity for accidents in them, drivers are not allowed to take the last few turns "unnecessarily slowly", but Hamilton was driving significantly slower than Rosberg when they started their qualifying laps.

The stewards decided not to take any action against Hamilton, but Rosberg said it was dangerous and compromised his qualifying position.

"It had a big impact [on my qualifying] but that's beside the point really," Rosberg said. "The point is that there's a rule that states very clearly that you are not allowed to slow down in those last couple of corners unnecessarily. That's the rule, it's very clear and it's because it's dangerous. In this case me and Maldonado were arriving flat out and Lewis was driving extremely slowly all of sudden into the last corner. It's a very dangerous situation and that's what the rule is there for. That was not ideal and I hope that the stewards will have a look at that. And at the same time, as a side point, yes, it did ruin my lap because I started the lap stuck right behind him."

The stewards gave two reasons for not taking any action:

  • The sector time for Car 4 [Hamilton] was actually faster than a time set previously in that same sector by Car 8 Nico Rosberg, which is an indication that Car 4 was not being driven unnecessarily slowly between turns 21 and 25.
  • The smallest gap between Car 4 and Car 8 was 18 metres and 1.1 seconds.

Rosberg qualified sixth but believes second on the grid was possible had he not been held up by Hamilton.

"In Q2 it was looking good and in Q3 there was a good chance to do very well, but not enough for pole today. Anything after that was possible, but everything has to go perfectly and it didn't quite go that way. But it's still a small positive to take from today that the car is there or there abouts and quick in general."

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