Races in Spa always intrigue us more than usual. It’s really strange to see this gem among all the Tilke’s tracks, which just blur themselves into some vague shape. Still there are tracks that manage to stay unique and independent: Monaco’s tunnels, Monza’s Parabolica… and, yeah, Spa’s Eau Rouge. The very configuration of the track is a promise of fight for live or death – there’s hardly any third outcome. Undoubtedly there are years when even Spa can’t fight the ultimate boredom, but this season with every new race makes us forget what boredom is.
From the very beginning of this race it was clear that there would be something exciting. We’ve all had our expectations, but I don’t think that it was easy to predict problems with Alonso’s car, which didn’t even wait the beginning of the race to happen. Rules are the same for everyone, and later Alonso will get his share of penalties, but everyone’s attention was turned far away from him as the stoplight shined green.
Hamilton, remembering his past mistakes, was eager to go ahead, and apparently this was something Rosberg hasn’t considered. Okay, this was just a joke. Starts are either bad or good, and today Lewis was better at it. Every second was hammering Rosberg hard, he had to take back the advantage, so having dealt with objectively weaker rivals he came close to his teammate.
I could write a lot of reasons for Nico to be driving up there and being really angry, but that wouldn’t really matter. It’s Spa. When you see how drivers enter Eau Rouge you get just a vague, yet very impressive vision of how fast this all happens. You don’t have to know every single detail of Rosberg-Hamilton rivalry to understand the state in which Nico was approaching Lewis. This was his safe leadership driving farther away with every thousandth of second. There were all the complaints from the past: “Ah, no, he’s too weak of a driver to risk, to overtake, to be passionate, he’s just a robot and that’s why he’s worse even when he wins”.
Most of you will remember Hungary nevertheless, but do you really need anything else? These two know for sure that team isn’t going to deal with their rivalry just yet. Everything is in their hands, and these fractions of seconds might later be decisive when the championship will reach its final stage.
Formula One pilots have too much on their minds. You all blame races for getting slower, “simpler”, but try, just try to put all this in your brain and think what are going to do with that. This is not your mind speaking, these are pure reflexes that decide your fate most of the time. The simplest way of putting yourself to Nico’s or Lewis’s place is to turn off all thinking processes and to trust your instincts. The very first one is not to get killed on extremely high speed on quite a dangerous track. They are kinda used to that, so don’t stop by this point for a long time. The second one is to get the maximum out of any situation. I have a bad memory, so the brightest example that comes up to me right now is Raikkonen’s dangerous driving in Silverstone, resulting in an epic (sort of) crash. I would side such folks as Will Buxton, for example, and call for any sanction, but if we were discussing the reasons to do so I would say that he was acting purely reflexive. That doesn’t cancel the need of a punishment (even reflexes have to be suppressed when they are dangerous to someone else), but that explains what has happened.
So here was just the same. Overtake by any price. Defend the position by any price. They’ve been through loads of troubles this season and so far never really done a single serious mistake. But there’s always a moment for something to happen at first time… and this is what we call “racing incident”.
The line between the attack and the defence is way too thin, the victim’s and the criminal’s actions are way to hard to differ and even determinate sometimes. Not this time, though. This time it was purely Nico’s mistake… or wasn’t it?
I am not going to defend him here, I am not that attentive to judge someone’s blame or innocence. In a typical racing incident there are two people’s actions which matters. One of them might be guiltier than the other, but there can’t be black and white side (I am not racist, in case if you feel like to punch me for that). There’s always a way to either avoid an incident or to make it even worse.
People aren’t objective, and basically we are already aware of what’s going to happen. Unless there is a secrecy policy or some game behind close curtains, Nico gets all the blame and the next step might turn out to be called “team orders”. Unfortunately, subjectivity of a man tends to paint all with black and white anyway, avoiding complicated situations with even more complicated decisions to make.
At least the boys got a chance to play it all nicely right until their reflexes won the battle with reason. Really, think about it. Do you really believe that a smart guy like Nico would do that deliberately? Or that really grown up after all these years Lewis would stubbornly drive on his line unaware of possible accidents?
It’s amazing to watch how driver’s small actions turn out to change situations. Drama is waking up in always smiling face of Dan Ricciardo, whom we were all naming “second Mark Webber” as soon as we knew he’s going to race in Red Bull.
This situation is indeed the worse that could happen to me as a fan (I am totally Mercedes man (or woman, to be precise), which would be nearly equally glad in case of Rosberg or Hamilton winning the championship: just as there are no black-white colors, there is no 50/50 equality, I think). And it’s really sad to think that now everything can change and bring us team orders among that.
The best thing that we can do here is to respect and understand anything that happens. Nico Rosberg faced booing with a sad smile of understanding. I think we will have to do just the same soon…