It was the first of two incredible stories that birthed themselves during the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix – the collision of Mercedes AMG Petronas teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg set headlines ablaze around the world.
At least they did for an hour or so before Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen did his own bit of news-making, in becoming the youngest winner in Formula 1 history at age 18.
Now, all eyes shift back to Mercedes for Monaco – a place where there’s been drama between Hamilton and Rosberg before, and where Rosberg has won the last three years.
In their pre-race advance, both drivers are opting for pleasantries over consternation, and looking to put the Spain contact behind them.
“Barcelona was the worst feeling but, like I always say, the true test is how you get back up when you’ve been knocked down,” Hamilton said. “It was a tough moment for all of us after the race but it’s now chapter closed and looking ahead to Monaco.”
Rosberg added, “I was gutted after what happened in Spain – for myself, but mostly for the team. We’re in this together and I know how hard everybody works to make these amazing cars, so for us to leave them in the gravel is the worst possible scenario. But we’ve talked it through and now it’s time to leave it in the past.”
Rosberg, who’s German but calls Monaco his home race, seeks to become the first driver to win four Monaco Grands Prix in a row since the late Ayrton Senna in 1993, who won five straight from 1989 to 1993.
“It’s one of my home races next in Monaco – the ultimate driver’s track. It’s where I grew up and where I still live today, so that always makes it a special weekend.
“It’s been amazing to win there for the past three years – but I know it will be tough to repeat that with Lewis, the Ferraris and the Red Bulls all so strong now. I’m feeling confident, so bring on the battle!”
Hamilton’s only won once in the Principality – the year of his first World Championship in 2008.
“It’s an incredible feeling making a car dance through those streets, one of the purest thrills you can have in a racing car,” Hamilton said.
“I’ve not had the best run of results in Monaco in recent years – but last year showed I have the pace to do the job.”