Ricciardo reigns supreme as Mercedes cracks start to show
Nico Rosberg has called for an internal discussion after his team mate Lewis Hamilton ignored team orders to let him pass during Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
A lively race saw Rosberg start from pole, only for a timely Safety Car following a crash for Caterham’s Marcus Ericsson, drop him down the order, as the four leading cars had already passed the pit entry, costing them the chance to make a free pit stop, and allowing the rest of the field to get the upper hand with fresh rubber.
That deployment also handed a lifeline for Hamilton, who had spun off and damaged his nose on lap one, to come in and make a change without ruining his race.
After the race a furious Rosberg said it was “Wrong from the race officials” and blamed it for losing him the lead of the race.
All of that meant that the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso were fighting for the lead whilst the Silver Arrows’ made their way through the field.
Mercedes’ afternoon then got worse as the same rear brake problem that lost them victory in Canada started to hamper both cars again.
That left the Mercedes pair fighting over third and fourth, with team principal Toto Wolff asking Hamilton to allow Rosberg through, a request that fell on deaf ears.
After the race Rosberg admitted: “I’m still annoyed by it actually” as it was role reversal from Malaysia a year earlier when Rosberg was told he couldn’t pass Hamilton by then-boss Ross Brawn, and obeyed the team order.
Rosberg tried to fight his way through on the final lap only to find the door firmly shut as he was pushed wide by his team mate.
Something that the 29-year-old went on to describe as “The most frustrating thing, but the thing he did was ok [forcing him wide]”.
Ricciardo went on to win the race ahead of Alonso, with Hamilton joining them on the podium despite starting from the pit lane, whilst a frustrated Rosberg came home fourth.
The result means Rosberg still leads the championship heading in to Belgium after the summer break.