The Mercedes team battle of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton has been compared to the Ayrton Senna/Alain Prost rivalry with McLaren in 1988 and 1989, but according to Mercedes’ Toto Wolff, that’s an incorrect comparison.
“There have been a lot of comparisons to the Senna/Prost scenario, which is a kind of compliment to both Lewis and Nico,” the Mercedes-Benz Motorsport president said on the team’s official website, “but the situation here is very different.
“The racing philosophy of Mercedes-Benz is to allow our drivers to compete: we let the boys play with their toys, unless they break them.”
Thus far they haven’t – in fact only a mechanical failure for Hamilton at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix has been the only time where a Mercedes hasn’t finished first or second this season. They have amassed 240 of a possible 258 points this season.
In Bahrain, Hamilton and Rosberg engaged in a titanic scrap for the lead, but didn’t overstep the boundaries. The battle reached its zenith at Monaco this past weekend with Rosberg’s qualifying mistake, Hamilton’s less than positive comments about it, and Rosberg controlling the race from start to finish.
Niki Lauda has vowed to get them back on civil terms before the Canadian Grand Prix next weekend.
So much of Danica Patrick’s fame can be traced to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
It’s where she became a household name 13 years ago when she became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 and emerged as a transcendent athlete.
It’s where everything started. This Sunday, it’s where everything will end, too.
In her last warmup before starting the final race of her career, Patrick had a bumpy final practice Friday on Carb Day. She was eighth fastest, but her Dallara-Chevrolet was in the garage most of the session because of an electrical problem in the engine. After returning during the final 10 minutes of the session, Patrick’s No. 13 seemed to be OK.
“At the end of the day, these are things you’re actually glad for, because if this had happened Sunday, we would have been done,” she said. “I’m glad to get the issues out of the way early on. Overall, today felt good. We made some changes when I went out the second time, and I’m feeling good about starting seventh on Sunday.”
Though she has had her share of success – along with a fourth in her debut, there was a third in 2009 and six top 10s in seven starts — Patrick has learned well how to handle frustration at the 2.5-mile track, too.
Fuel mileage might have kept her from winning her debut, a pit collision ruined 2008, and an unstable setup made 2010 a wild ride.
For a review of her up-and-down history at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and her legacy in racing, watch the video essay above that ran during Friday’s NASCAR America Motorsports Special on NBCSN.