“Selfish” Hamilton wins Chinese Grand Prix

BY CHARL BOSCH - APRIL 13, 2015

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg has accused defending champion and teammate, Lewis Hamilton, of being selfish after the latter won yesterday’s Chinese Grand Prix, which ended under safety car.

In a heated post-race press conference, Rosberg said that Hamilton backed-off too much and not only comprised his race, but also put him in the firing line of four-times champions Sebastian Vettel, who scored his second third place after a maiden victory for Ferrari in Malaysia two weeks ago.

“It’s interesting to hear that you were just thinking about yourself with the pace. Unnecessarily that was compromising my race, because driving slower than was maybe necessary at the beginning of stints meant that Sebastian was very close to me and that opened up the opportunity for Sebastian to try that early pit-stop, to try and jump me,” Sky F1 quoted Rosberg as saying in response to Hamilton, who stated that he was controlling his own race.

“I was unnecessarily close to Sebastian as a result and it cost me race time as a result”.

A surprised Hamilton, who last year came to blows with his German teammate on numerous occasions, maintained that he was not fault, saying Rosberg could have attempted a pass at any stage during the 56-laps.

“It’s not my job to look after Nico’s race. My job is to manage the car and bring the car home as fast as possible and that’s what I did,” he said in responding to Rosberg.

“I didn’t do anything intentionally to slow any of cars up. If Nico wanted to get by he could have tried, but he didn't.”

Speaking an interview with Sky afterwards, Hamilton stated that he had been 4.5 seconds ahead of Rosberg before the deployment of the safety car, triggered when the Toro Rosso of Dutch rookie Max Verstappen broke down on the main straight with two laps to go, and that this couldn’t have made impact as the German claimed.

“If he wanted to get closer and he was right up my tail and I was going the pace I was going then perhaps they could say something. But he wasn't, I was on my own so if they wanted to pit him early or before me they could have done that as I had life in my tyres to keep going,” he said, adding that he was looking forward to the post-race debriefing session

Told of his teammate response, a visibly annoyed Rosberg told the broadcaster that Hamilton’s slow progress had made him vulnerable to Vettel, and that Hamilton’s statement that he was controlling his race was “interesting”.

“That was the best race for the guy in front, but not good for the team as it puts the guy in second into an unnecessary risky position. Did Lewis do it on purpose or not? I don’t know,” remarked Rosberg.

“That is it and I am frustrated as a result and my race was compromised. In the end, my final stint was too long because I had to cover Sebastian because he had to attack me with an early pit-stop and my tyres died at the end of the race”.

Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff, later told the BBC that both drivers had sorted their problems out during the debrief, and that “no animosity was shown”.

“There wasn't any intention from Lewis to slow Nico down in order to make him finish third or worse, 100%,” Wolff told the broadcaster.

“He didn't know the gaps behind Nico. What he knew was that he had to take that tyre longer than we had ever run it the whole weekend. This is why he decided to slow down in the way he did."

With the podium finishers remaining the same for the third race in a row, Vettel’s teammate and 2007 World Champion, Kimi Raikkonen, continued the Scuderia’s revival by finishing fourth ahead the Williams’ of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas.

A terrific mid-field squabble throughout much of the race eventually ended in the favour of Romain Grosjean with the Frenchman scoring his and Lotus’ first points of the season in seventh ahead of the Sauber of Felipe Nasr and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who endured a miserable race after a half-stall at the start relegated him to ninth. The former champion’s lack of form continued when Danill Kvyat retired on lap 15 with a blown engine.

Nasr’s Swedish teammate Marcus Ericsson, rounded out the top ten while McLaren managed to bring both their cars home despite a incident in the latter half which saw Jenson Button ramming the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado, who had been running as high as sixth before overshooting the pitlane entry and spinning twice, at turn one.

The former champion managed to continue but was slapped with a five-minute time penalty and two points on his super license for the causing the crash dropping him one place to 14th, while Maldonado retired not long after.

Round four takes place in Bahrain this coming weekend.

 

CHINESE GRAND PRIX RESULTS

Position Driver Team Gap
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:39:42.008
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +0.714
3. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +2.988
4. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +3.835
5. Felipe Massa Williams +8.544
6. Valtteri Bottas Williams +9.885
7. Romain Grosjean Lotus +19.008
8. Felipe Nasr Sauber +22.625
9. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull +32.117
10. Marcus Ericsson Sauber + 1 Lap
11. Sergio Perez Force India + 1 Lap
12. Fernando Alonso McLaren + 1 Lap
13. Carlos Sainz Jr Toro Rosso + 1 Lap
14. Jenson Button McLaren + 1 Lap
15. Will Stevens Manor + 2 Laps
16. Roberto Mehri Manor + 2 Laps
DNF Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 52 laps, engine
DNF Pastor Maldonado Lotus 50 laps, accident
DNF Danill Kvyat Red Bull 15 laps, engine
DNF Nico Hulkenberg Force India 9 laps, gearbox

 

 

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Position Driver Team Points
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 68
2. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 55
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 51
4. Felipe Massa Williams 30
5. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 24
6. Valtteri Bottas Williams 18
7. Felipe Nasr Sauber 14
8. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 11
9. Romain Grosjen Lotus 6
10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 6
11. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 6
12. Carlos Sainz Jr Toro Rosso 6
13. Marcus Ercisson Sauber 5
14. Danill Kvyat Red Bull 2
15. Sergio Perez Force India 1
16. Jenson Button McLaren 0
17. Fernando Alonso McLaren 0
18. Roberto Mehri Manor 0
19. Will Stevens Manor 0
20. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 0
21. Kevin Magnussen McLaren 0

 

CAPTION: Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning yesterday's Chinese Grand Prix IMAGE sourced from ibtimes.co.uk