An academic view of the Rosberg-Hamilton affair

New statistical research by a group of academics reveals that between 1981 and 2010, when two top F1 drivers compete in the same team, it tends to have a detrimental effect on their individual performance.

The study follows the recent collision between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton at Spa and aimed to discover whether it was better to hire two drivers of the same status, or a top-performing driver with a supporting team-mate.

“We found that drivers who were successful in the past were more likely to perform well in the future. However, when the difference between the past performances of two team-mates decreased, so did their individual results,” says the study’s co-author Dr Paolo Aversa, a lecturer in strategy at Cass Business School. “In other words, it’s good to hire a top-driver, but his average performance declines when his team-mate has a similar level of prior success. This is a phenomenon that affects top managers at public and private organisations, leading scientists in R&D teams and movie stars in Hollywood. Organisations that attempt to establish the perfect team by hiring a portfolio of stars risk putting two roosters in the same henhouse, which evidence suggests can erode the individual performance of team members.”

Why does individual performance decline in teams with more than one star? According to Dr Aversa, one reason is the emergence of internal conflict within a team as two high status employees compete for the same results.
Formula 1 teams deal with this by either favouring one of the two drivers—in order to avoid internal conflict—or by refusing to side with either driver—thus promoting possible conflict.

“The first option tends to demotivate both drivers,” Dr Aversa says. “The favoured driver tends to relax his rivalry, and the second loses his ambitions as he acknowledges that he will not be allowed to overtake his colleague. The intra-team rivalry of Barrichello and Schumacher at the start of the decade is a good example.

“In the second case where the team promotes internal conflict, the resulting antagonism often leads to the failing of any intra-team collaboration, and eventually triggers aggressive duels that often end with one of both cars crashing. This happened in the recent crash between Hamilton and Rosberg in Belgium.”

A second reason for the decline of individual performance in teams with two top stars concerns the inefficient use of resources. When two drivers enjoy similar status, teams might decide to split the available resources equally between the two stars, even when this decision doesn’t maximise the team’s likelihood of winning. Furthermore, the driver’s battle to co-opt the team’s best resources might slow down the internal resource allocation process.

“Teams slow down their decision process as they have to carefully weigh the impact of favouring one driver over the other,” says Dr Aversa. “In hyper-competitive settings like Formula 1, where teams are required to focus their resources and quickly respond to changes in the competitive arena, this behaviour harms both the drivers’ and the team’s performance.”

The study, entitled “Why do high status employees underperform? A study on conflicting status within Formula 1 racing” was written by Aversa, together with Professor Gino Cattani (Stern Business School, New York) and Dr Alessandro Marino (Luiss University, Rome).

72 thoughts on “An academic view of the Rosberg-Hamilton affair

  1. The conclusions and explanations verge on stating the obvious. What I’m interested to know is whether or not high quality research with a statistically significant database went into substantiating their observations

  2. This seems rather obvious in relation to racing drivers as there can only be one winner in a team but I am curious about the other areas mentioned, movie stars fighting for first billing perhaps?

  3. Like two roosters in the hen house, maybe they should let them duke it out to determine the favored status.
    One could only imagine the outcome of such a “Rollerball” scenario. Imagine Vettel and Webber in the square cage! LOL

  4. Very interesting.

    Just thinking logically about this, there are also only a set number of points available to any team per race. If the top team has only one star driver, then that driver will (most likely) earn more points than if he were competing with an equal talent. There will always be occurrences that are out of the driver’s control but they’ll make more of a difference if there is an equal driver alongside or immediately behind. What may not normally cost a star driver a position on the track may well do so if he has another star driver in the same car beside him.

  5. So this year with Neko and Hambone it does not follow the thesis because even with internal conflict they are the constructors champion and drivers are 1&2. And they get the most press/advertisement. What is the point of noting this other than stating the obvious.
    Have you gone from being a journalist to being a fanboy? You need another vacation.

  6. So the answer is……………….well there is no answer, really, is there? There only remains an evaluation of the state of affairs that Mercedes are currently in as a result of their policy

    And that is that they are allowing there 2 drivers to race. That has led to a situation where one of the drivers has gained a points advantage over the other, much of which can be attributed to questionable acts performed in 3 separate races, at least one of which should have been punished externally to account for an unfair advantage gained.

    Mercedes internal punishment, whatever it was, does not change that points advantage. Meanwhile, the other driver is or was understandably pretty pissed off about the state of affairs.

    The only other solution would be to have a no.1 and a no.2 driver. But you try telling that to whoever would be the no.2 driver………….

    From a driver point of view, Mercedes are really a victim of their own success. Not that it’s their utmost concern, because the teams concern is the constructors title. Everything the team does as a whole is towards that aim. So either choice, as long as it fulfils that aim, is viable.

    It depends on which one gets them there the quickest.

  7. Thank you Joe for this perspective on the situation which, without you, I would be oblivious of.

    I believe that Hamilton was slightly favoured under Brawn and that Rosberg is under Wolff and Lowe, possibly to please Stuggart.

    It would explain to me, at least, why Lauda and Wolff were incandescent at Rosberg’s actions. If they had been favouring Rosberg, there is absolutely no evidence that they were favouring Hamilton, it is a betrayal.

    As always you and your colleagues in Grand Prix Plus will know the reality and not be so reluctant as some to tell us.


  8. Interesting article Joe, thank you.

    I wonder how much time and effort went into this research when any F1 cognoscenti could have told them the same thing in a 5 minute interview.

    Sort of validates Ferrari’s approach to things in the recent past and possibly now with Alonso.

  9. “New statistical research by a group of academics reveals that between 1981 and 2010, when two top F1 drivers compete in the same team, it tends to have a detrimental effect on their individual performance.”

    I could have told you that!

  10. Ivy Tower Academics are a bunch of pretentious intellectual idiots . I ought to know … the wife and I both used to be among their numbers . Damn successful ones at that ! With ….. all their Pretense & (BS)Theory vs Reality … not to mention far too many Platitudes & Attitudes finally pushing us both into much more lucrative and enjoyable careers .

    Here’s the skinny … from a former race driver [ Rally , FF , FSV , GoKarts , FF2000 ] … not to mention the overwhelming majority of the F1 drivers on the grid .

    All patriotism .. bias .. love/hate aside …

    Hamilton and Roseberg played a game of ‘ Chicken ‘ with one another on the corner in question . Hamilton coming out the biggest loser … with Roseberg losing a bit as well .

    So … yes …. just like the Prost/Senna argy bargy’s of old …. both were at fault [ if any fault is to be found ] with one losing more than the other every time .

    Period !

    Now … can we all just move on … enjoy the fact that the Hamilton/Roseberg affair made for a better race … [ the best this season ] … and then hope against all hope that the Italian GP will be half as good ?

    1. Couldn’t have lasted long in academia with language skills like that, mate.

      And the expression is ‘Ivory tower’, not ‘Ivy tower’. ‘Ivy’ refers to a group of elite private universities in the USA.

  11. The words “performance” and “results” seem to be used loosely in all stories about this report and in its abstract. Results in F1 are quantifiable. Performance does not always deliver results.

  12. Well that all sounds perfectly logical, but seems to avoid the issue of driver temperament, which I an sure must play a major part.
    Even if a team know how to handle each driver, there is still the problem that the drivers see each other being treated differently.
    Is driver behaviour entirely self initiated I wonder, or do the driver’s managers assistants and PR people have a culpability?

    1. The authors discuss temperament and consequences: “In the second case where the team promotes internal conflict…”

      “Is driver behaviour entirely self initiated I wonder, or do the driver’s managers assistants and PR people have a culpability?”

      I think you raise a valid point. If a driver’s manager signs up a newcomer, and doesn’t act honestly with the driver, the driver will behave differently; s/he may not trust the manager.

      A solution might be that drivers should be more independent when picking a manager. I do not know how I might sign a contract with somebody who has a contract with my foe (beyond a team mate).

  13. Interesting report and it totally makes sense when looking at some of the top partnerships of the past, and was the [only] reason why Kimi R managed to sneak in the 2007 WDC ahead of Alonso and Hamilton.
    I’m not convinced this applies this year to Mercedes however – are Hamilton and Rosberg genuinely drivers of equal stature and ability, or is the fact that the 2014 Mercedes is so head and shoulders above the competition that virtually any two drivers would be always close on the road?
    I still see Roseberg as a fairly talented journeyman driver within F1, and if Hamilton and Rosberg had equivalent luck up to the Spa Race, Hamilton would be way ahead on the points.

    1. Hamilton and Button raced some not-so-good McLarens to victory.

      Alonso has raced hard in not-so-good cars scoring the odd win.

      To suggest that Rosberg is a journeymen is ridiculous. It disregards that Rosberg has beaten Hamilton in a straight race.

    2. Whilst I agree that Hamilton has had more mechanical issues this year, you appear to ignore the fact that Hamilton has also had self inflicted qualifying issues. To me this is the key reason why Rosberg cannot be considered a “journeyman” and that at this point in their careers is the better driver of the two.

      Assuming they receive equal cars, Rosberg has had the mental strength advantage over Hamilton. To me this makes him the more complete driver over Hamilton.

    3. To a certain extent, you make your own luck in F1. There have been a couple of occasions this year (I’m thinking of Canada in particular) where both Mercedes cars were suffering from faults and one driver broke the car completely (Hamilton), where the other was able to drive around the issue and obtain a respectable result in the circumstances (Rosberg).

      It seems to me (IMO, of course), that Rosberg is kinder to the car, and better at driving around issues, than Hamilton.

      Do that a couple of times in a season (and it won’t always be apparent to the outside observer when it has happened) and one driver will be some distance ahead of the other in points.

      Consistency wins in the long run – plenty of finishes with podium points rather than a few wins and more DNFs is usually a strong strategy for a championship decided over 8 months.

  14. Although this study is yet to be presented (it seems it is to be a conference presentation here: and therefore the full details are unknown to me, there is a serious underlying problem that has to be addressed in any such analysis. Specifically, this is an ‘under-determined system’.

    Each year, we get to see how different driver/car pairings perform, but there are many factors that go into this, many of which we cannot measure directly. If we see two top drivers in the same team scoring fewer points than they normally do (e.g., Ferrari this year), we can’t know just based on their results whether that is due to them having a worse car than normal, having worse form than usual, impacting each other’s performances (as hypothesized in the study), or any combination of the above.

    Fundamentally, there are more unknowns than there are equations here. Suppose we have two drivers — Driver1 and Driver2 — racing for TeamA. We can choose some outcome measure of performance (points, finishing position, whatever you like) for each driver, and then we essentially have two equations (assuming the most basic linear model):

    Performance1 = Driver1 + Driver1form + TeamA + EffectofDriver2

    Performance2 = Driver2 + Driver2form + TeamA + EffectofDriver1

    How can we solve this for EffectofDriver2 and EffectofDriver1 when we only know Perfomance1, Performance2, and perhaps estimates of the base levels of performance for each driver (Driver1 and Driver2)? We can’t.

    The only way around this (without collecting new experimental data — “Hey Lewis, could you just swap seats with Fernando for the rest of the season so we can get a better idea of the real performance difference between your cars? Please?”) is to start making assumptions about how some of the variables are related to one another, to effectively reduce the number of total variables. For example, you could assume that team performance (TeamA) in each year is closely tied to the performance of that same team in years before/after. But that is a dangerous assumption, as we have often seen huge changes in team performance from one year to the next (e.g., McLaren in 2013). Or we could assume that the drivers have no fluctuations in their form from year to year. But again, that is a poor assumption, since we have often seen the advantage swing between teammates from year to year (e.g., Raikkonen and Massa across 2007-2009).

    1. I have a desire for greater data release for study. For as much as can be made public, free to access. There must be data for lap times in varying weather and even ways to indicate when drivers run practice or tests with similar equipment. I believe this should be released, after a reasonable embargo, to spur a bit of baseball style handicapping and fan modeling.

      Indirect measurement is the only way for so much of this, so the wish I have is for any and all factors that can be collected to be collected, but more so that a data scientist or statistician can be given access to test some models on unfettered data, to see what can be collected and reported and what might be possibly anonymized or otherwise aggregated to not reveal too much, whilst still providing useful predictor inputs.

      My last paragraph is basically saying similar to what f1metrics says, that there needs to be a bit of human interpretation involved in collection to get useful initial samples.

      That’s probably a pipe dream, but when I ranted on about having a kind of task force or skunk works to see what tracks in the US could be quickly used or adapted, I think there’s a real case to start getting data from the teams. I’m not even asking recent data. I can only guess, but I presume that since there’s a paucity of data available under any conditions to researchers now, even old data would advance the art. For simulating and safety on new tracks, I guess we’d need current data for the new machines. Is this not already done, by track designers? I would assume so, but can anyone say more? The Tilkedromes must have been built on certain assumptions, some of which aren’t as good with the modern cars.

      I suppose also, all of this could become a commercial product, licensed to track promoters and developers, whether interested in hosting F1 or not. I keel wondering why the FIA have never, to my knowledge at least, had any kind of tentacles into the teams, because these data affect the sport when it comes to track viability and even whether tracks are going to give a good show, as well as other research. Maybe it is just unsung effort, or simply happens behind closed doors. It would not surprise me to discover I know absolutely nothing at all and am completely wrong, for I’m in the dark entirely. This surely must happen, to some extent, for computer games licensees.

      Basically, in particular if it’s old data, let’s get it released. I think here’s a way the FIA can advance the whole future.

  15. My 35 years in the corporate world confirms my agreement with the study. Unsaid is the tendency for backstabbing and other time wasting games that derail success.

    1. I totally agree with you and yes Joe indeed I thank you for sharing the more “corporate business” angle.
      Of course politics etc. play a role but KPI’s are there and talk. Interpretation is up to all of us and especially for the teams board and management.

    2. Agree completely. I’ll also suggest that the degree to which corporate politics plays a role in any organization is directly related to the decisions (whims?) of upper management. If they earned their positions through political maneuvering, then the company will be rife with backstabbing and a snake-pit to work in.

  16. The paper is not mentioned on any of the authors’ websites, nor is there a published link. Can we have a source?

    1. I meant journal, but I’m more confused now.,. Cass is the first author’s faculty, Stern the second’s .. all seem reluctant to put up reprints for download of bray of their work.. it’s commonplace for a long while now for copyright release to be given for journal reprints. Or, rather, the journals deem it a generous gift to let authors publish their first drafts or originals, not exact reprint. I don’t know what you’d have done, as a academic, Joe, being told you have to pay hundreds if not more, to have your articles reviewed, and to not own the copyright after publication acceptance… this was a very real reason I forfeit what I believe would have been a academic career, looking back I think I would have defaulted to academia and it was fear of becoming my brother in no small part which infirmed my premature decision. Anyhow, academic publishing practices are close to despicable, no wonder Cap’n Bob started by exploiting them. Just got a email from a mate who was a direct report in house lawyer for Cap’n Bob. A man who used to boast he meant to be the world’s rudest man, for a taste of the fun we had.. very very fine jazz pianist, was how I met him though a band member. My confusion was i’d presume business study academics would negotiate the “reprints” to promote themselves. All three authors have very sparse, nay empty websites, and no citations I can find. I say all this, because I know directly how tight fisted academic publishers are with releasing preprint, and faculties like to control things also, if unpublished release.. hence my question…

  17. Interesting, but it seems this point of view (level of individual performance) needs to be juxtaposed against the level of overall team performance as that’s really what brings home the bacon.

  18. Fascinating. One can speculate about these sorts of things endlessly, but for someone to draw conclusions based on data, rather than anecdote or opinion is always refreshing. I will admit I did not read the article (yet), but hopefully it was done with rigor and integrity.

    Keep up the good work, Joe. I always enjoy the angles of the game that you allow us to see.

    1. f1metrics, above, blogs with substantial references and methodology, solid stuff, his link is on his handle, up the page. I enjoyed a good long thunk over his driver ratings.

    2. It’s not rocket science though is it? Way back around 1985/86, Senna vetoed Warwick moving to Lotus ( at that time still a top team ) because Senna said Lotus was not capable of producing and running 2 race cars of equal quality. Some people were surprised by his forthright comments, but it was just commonsense from a guy who knew what was needed to win races!

  19. So…a team can not possibly give equal treatment to both drivers. Its not just about the driving talent is it!!! Come on, we know that, its not always the best driver wins is it?? It is who does best though, in any way possible.

  20. Interesting post and one that makes absolute sense. If Merc had either Nico or Lewis plus a solid number two they would be very close to a WDC already and due to the superiority of the car still odds on for a WCC. The most intriguing issue is that the authors state this can also apply to management teams. Therefore are Niki and Toto performing as well as a duo in comparison to Ross Brawn?

  21. Remember the phrase “united we stand, divided we fall” a phrase that has been attributed to the Greek storyteller, Aesop (620-564BC) – a phrase that still holds true today

  22. I think this study applies even better to the merc management. They need one big cheese in charge (Brawn), not the three headless chickens they have now.

  23. “You can’t put two bulls in the same field” so said Frank Williams.
    Is the Mercedes garage starting to split because of this?

  24. How many Top Drivers in the same team have we had since Prost/Senna?

    Obviously the authors believe that top top status drivers are not uncommon in F1. But tbh I can’t think of any prior to the current Ferrari duo.

    Lewis / Fernando 2007 can’t count as Lewis was a rookie not a Top.

    Lewis / Nico may be regarded as equals on this year’s performance, but not previously. Some might say, not even now…

    We’ve had second drivers matching/exceeding a Top team mate in the course of a season. Ricciardo and Magnusson… It happens.

  25. In my memory, Colin Chapman, Ken Tyrrell, Enzo Ferrari, and Frank Williams seldom allowed even the possibility of such a situation to arise. I was gonna include Jack Brabham, but then remembered he’d hired Dan Gurney, Denny Hulme and Jacky Ickx as his teammates. (Today they’d have to pay for the privilege!)

  26. Very interesting. Needs to be published and properly peer reviewed. But if the theory is true, Mercedes hiring Hamilton instead of a decent but cheap rookie would turn out to be a really bad business decision. ROS would have turned out on top, without any bad publicity (and without any blight on his image) and the season would have been really boring.

  27. It’s the standard old academic ‘red wine is bad for you….red wine is good for you’ bollocks. It has no real meaning in sport and even less in F1 this year. Mercedes have it in the bag. Refreshingly, it’s not Schumacher and Barricehello. It’s more Prost v Senna and what years they were.
    We all know that a clever winning team has a number 1 and a docile number 2, but we hate them for doing it. Good on Mercedes for not taking the piss.

  28. Joe – would you agree that having a strong teammate pushes a driver to a higher level of performance (noting that it may increase conflict)? Or do you think that drivers are highly motivated already and do not need this added “pressure” to achieve their best?

  29. Well, duh… of course it’s true. How could it not be true?

    If you have 2 stars in the same machinery, each one will lose points to the other star simply because each one is not racing a 2nd-stringer, he’s racing a more-or-less equal star. Just like a top heavyweight will more easily defeat a welterweight than he will another top heavyweight.

    Where’s the mystery? Does anyone think it could be otherwise?

    As someone who spent more than a few years professorin’, I can assure you that this is the problem with research into human phenomena: academics can do a fine job of investigating whatever the hypothesis is… but where does the hypothesis come from? That’s the key thing. Most likely it comes from somebody who wants to tackle a problem that’s easy enough to produce publishable results without too much uncertainty, that’s where. And so we get lots of solid-but-boring data that provides very little useful or interesting information.

    Example: my undergrad dept. chair did work that demonstrated beyond any doubt that the pupils of the eyeballs of probably-sophomores dilate when said probably-sophomores look at dirty pictures. Whoopee. Of the top-million things we might wonder about sex-related phenonena, this is not one of them.

    IMO, this won’t change, and thus the human sciences won’t ever become actual sciences, until we have better methods for hypothesis generation. Some former colleagues of mine are doing good things in that regard by working hard using Bayesian models to generate Worthwhile Hypotheses (they wouldn’t call it that, but I do…)

  30. Since he hasn’t sung his own praises, i’ll just say again that reading f1metrics’ review of top drivers, and understanding how that’s been compiled, might be the best thing to click on, next, if this article interests you.

  31. Seems to me that Rosberg has raised his game and that Lewis has lost a bit of his – not a case of both dropping off in form. Same surely with Mansell and Piquet.

  32. Brings to mind the situation in the Yamaha MotoGP team a few of seasons back when team-mates Rossi and Lorenzo (then brand new into the top GP class) had a ‘difference of opinion’ which resulted in an actual physical wall being built between the two halves of the pit garages at each race and the mechanics, engineers, etc. effectively operating as two separate teams!

    Not very constructive behavious (no pun intended)!

  33. Interesting. Barrichello may have been demoralized by his role (who wouldn’t have been?) but while I was never a great fan of Schumacher did his level of performance really drop? He seemed to be able to drive away from the competition pretty convincingly.

  34. Interesting. At the start of the season people were saying it was going to be like ’88 with Merc winning everything. Now its starting to look a bit like ’86 – Mansell & Piquet tripping each other up enough to let Prost take the title in a clearly inferior car. Not sure Danny Ricc is quite ready to be mentioned in the same sentence as the Professor just yet, but let’s not forget that Red Bull won every race from here on out last year. Stranger things have happened in F1 …

  35. Nice to see the following from Nico today:

    ‘In hindsight, the collision was my responsibility because I was the car trying to overtake, so I have to accept that I made a mistake and to apologise.’

    ‘I really hope my apology will be accepted by the Formula One fans who have been critical of me. I was booed on the podium – which wasn’t a nice feeling – but I understand that people had travelled a long way to see a great race between Lewis and myself, and they did not get that. I totally respect their opinion and I hope that in time they will accept my apology.’

    Apologies all round. End of matter.

  36. Did the study also show if the combined performance of two top drivers in one team is better than that of a team made up of a top driver and a supporting one?

  37. So, what’s the best way to deal with this as a team owner? Have one great driver and one that’s mediocre at best? Would this benefit the team and bring world titles? If that’s the case, should Mercedes pair Hamilton with Max Chilton or Esteban Gutierrez?

  38. On that basis,here’s a simple solution to Ferrari’s problems. Just put Pastor Maldonado in Raikkonen’s car for next year.

  39. Hamilton only beats Rosberg when Rosberg has bad luck of his own like damaged gearbox or badly timed safety car while Rosberg was leading the race which hands the lead to the fifth placed guy. 2 of the 4 in a row race wins by Hamilton over Rosberg at the start of this year have a big question mark hanging over them as well as you know, cue engine mode and crowding. I don´t know what some members of the british press keep smoking but Hamilton got a one point last corner championship over Massa back in 2008 out of all his 8 years in F1 top teams. Rosberg is faster in qualifying and if not for Hamilton messing up Rosbergs Q3 run in Austria would have been on pole position for every race since the Spanish Grand Prix ! One more bad race for Hamilton and the question after the meltdown will not be if he can still beat Rosberg to the title but how many other drivers apart from Rosberg will be infront of Hamilton again after Abu Dhabi. Ricciardo is very likely, with Alonso, Vettel and Bottas also not out of the question, so Hamilton might indeed end in his usual 4. or 5. place again. The reevaluation of his F1 career can finally happen if the british press would end the one sided pro Hamilton excuses or do we have to wait until he retires to get a fair unbiased assessment ? Anyway Rosberg makes it look easy what seems to be so hard for Hamilton for all these past years and when the Mercedes boys wake up they will realise they don´t need Hamilton and his issues, more like Hamilton needs them to look any good. And if Ron wants him back so be it, whoever his teammate is will just be sacrificed on the Hamilton altar and McLaren and the british F1 press will be one big happy family again !

  40. Put two alpha males of a species in the same cage and they’re going to fight. I hope someone got paid well by the government to work this out.

  41. It this not an obvious statement.

    Driver A in team A beats his fellow team mate 90% of the time.

    Driver B does the same for team B

    These top two ‘top’ drivers join a new tem C

    Neither driver is going to beat the other 90% of the time.

    This is a very simplistic example to explain my point that by any measure you performance must drop if you have someone of a similar skill ina similar car. The nature of racign means thatboth can not improve. As one get points, positions, etc it must take fromt he other.

  42. Two quick points: first, that the Nico/Hammy kerfuffle has completely overshadowed a wonderful race. I look forward to watching Spa every year, and this year was no exception. Great weather, good racing and one of the truly exceptional venues for F1 in the world.

    Second, the study that you cite, Joe, raises the question of why any F1 driver would be interested in going into a team as a #2? The history is not good, in terms of their morale and performance. Rubens Barrichello, Mark Webber, Felipe Massa — all fine drivers who gradually declined under that type of system. It’s a pact with the devil.

  43. Perhaps like a lot of academic studies this is a statement of the obvious? Didn’t do Ferrari much harm with Rubens and Michael though and Rubens for the most part seemed to go along with it – as Felipe and Eddie did – I am sure squillions of $ helped

    At the risk of being ‘chewed up’ I am fed up with this ‘Nico in the wrong’ thing and he should stop apologising IMO – Hamilton is not entitled to win at any price.

    Yes of course Nico should not have hit his tyre but it was a spur of the moment thing (and most of the drivers have those) and Lewis has lots of form – Bahrain for example – of moves on Nico and others that without cooperation/aquiescence mean the end of his race.

    Nico has also probably contributed a tremendous amount to the current MB superiority as well which is being forgotten in favour of Golden Boy – I am not anti Hamilton – he is probably the best of the older generation out there (Alonso poss better but that’s it IMO) I just think he needs to do his talking on the circuit – and I think he is going to do so more than he has in the past.

    Bernie also – as usual – has a great script developing for the rest of the season to keep the interest up

  44. Joe

    I believe that Ross Brawn hired Hamilton to make sure that any shortfalls in the car could be made up by a top flight driver. Taking the car from the Pit Lane to third in Hungary would confirm that he was correct in that belief if that was indeed his reason.

    It is not totally without significance that in the three races that Red Bull have won Hamilton was unable to finish in two and and in the third he started from the Pit Lane in each instance through no fault of his own.

    The WO5 is so superior that Hamilton is not such an essential asset and Mercedes have the luxury of facilitating a good but second tier driver to win the world championship. A German in a German car. If that is really their thinking then they are incredibly naive.

    That driver is now busted. For purely self centred reasons he chose to make a point. A fact undisputed, except for some who do even believe Mercedes own statements. Piquet was doing it to remain in the team. This individual was doing it for himself. Not for the team, not for his nation, whichever that is, but for himself.

    It worked for him. I do not believe that he set out to puncture Hamilton’s tyre. I think he was trying to reduce the chance of Mercedes F1 carrying on with a ‘free to race’ philosophy as he knows that he will always come second to Hamilton. He got a bonus, well more than that, another DNF for his biggest threat.

    Rosberg was unlucky with the safety car in Hungary but he did not cope with it well. Alonso another top flight driver coped with it so much better in an inferior car.

    That the FIA have chosen not to investigate this so far, says much about them. They seem to still be in the 20th Century when they only investigated things that suited them not what F1 followers require.

    I believe that James Hunt had some ripe things to say about Mr Pirro when he was driving. Unfortunately I cannot remember the detail but I think it was something along the lines of “clown by name clown by nature”. Certainly said gentleman’s revelation that it took 10 seconds for them to decide that there was nothing to look at further would seem to support his comments. How can anything so significant be dismissed so quickly without proper consideration particularly with ‘after event activities’.

    If it is not to be considered a joke, F1 and particularly the FIA need to substantially up their game.

    Finally on a positive note we have another Grand Prix this weekend. If the previous races are anything to go by it will not be boring.

    It is one of the very best seasons, enhanced by the brilliant performances of Ricciardo and Bottas. The previous world champions Alonso, Vettel, Button and Raikkonen have given us breathtaking exhibitions of skill. The changes made this year have made it a vintage year.


  45. Hamilton has only ever had Number 1 status with one team mate and he won a world title. If Mercedes can’t keep their advantage next year it seems folly to keep an equal status driver line up. Look at McLaren in the Button/Hamilton era. Two WC and no titles to show for it. Had they focused on just one they may have got that elusive constructors title.

  46. Rather than judging the study (which brings up great points but like all studies is just one study of many), I’d like to pose a related question:

    In hiring Hamilton, did Mercedes think it was hiring a peer to Rosberg, or a superior / lead driver? In other words: does Merc management subscribe to this theory and just got caught underestimating Nico’s speed? (Or overestimating Lewis’?) Or did they know they’d have equals and decide it was worthwhile?

    To me that’s a very interesting plane to analyze this on.

    (Joe, thanks for the quality content as always)

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