Nico Rosberg’s rivalry with Lewis Hamilton was arguably the biggest talking point last week, with their coming together at the end of the Austrian Grand Prix before Hamilton then stormed to another win Sunday in the British Grand Prix.
In the wake of all this, as we’ve chronicled throughout the year, Stefan Johansson, has then recapped it in his latest blog entry with Jan Tegler.
Here’s Johansson on the Hamilton/Rosberg dust-up:
“Poor old Nico seems to come up on the short end every single time the two of them have a get together. He seems to always have his car in the wrong place. It’s tricky, Lewis obviously has terrific race-craft there’s no doubt about that. He gets in a dogfight and generally comes out ahead. I guess the fact is that Lewis will simply not back down, under any circumstance. So, the only result is that he will either come out ahead or there will be contact, or sometimes both like in this case. It could have just as easily gone the other way where Lewis would have ended up with a wounded car. This makes it even more difficult for Rosberg as he knows by now that his options are very limited and there’s a very good chance they will make contact if they are fighting for the same piece of road.
“But sometimes you’re the windshield and sometimes you’re the bug. You can have a year where every time you make a move it sticks and the other guy comes out on the short end. Then you do the same thing the next year and it goes wrong every single time. You end up with a broken car or a spin or whatever.”
On whether the Rosberg/Hamilton rivalry is approaching the standard “benchmark” of Prost/Senna:
“It’s incredibly difficult because you’ve got two guys who are so close competitively in the best equipment, fighting for the win pretty much every race. It’s a perfect storm really. I don’t actually remember a dynamic quite like this – having two drivers in a team who are so close, always dominating and fighting for the win.
“There was Prost and Senna of course but even that didn’t get as serious apart from one occasion at Suzuka.
“But most of the time their battles sorted themselves out with one or the other being further ahead and separated in the races they each won. In 1988, McLaren were as dominant as Mercedes has been but it was never quite like this.”
Suspension failures were a big talking point in Austria and Johansson noted how most, if not all, F1 circuits are billiard table smooth.
“Four big accidents from suspension failure is highly unusual. The thing is, every single track on the F1 schedule is like a dance floor now. There are no bumpy, rough circuits left. That’s part of how Formula One is today, every track is more or less perfect in every way. I’d like to see what would happen if they ran a current F1 car around a place like Sebring for example. It would probably have no wheels left after 10 laps! I’m only joking but it definitely adds to the challenge.
“Dealing with the imperfections of all the cool old circuits used to be a big part of the racing and that’s what made them great. The fact that they were bumpy and horrible made them unpredictable and difficult. It made it a great challenge to get your set-up right and a great challenge to drive.”
Johansson also touched on Scuderia Corsa’s win at Watkins Glen International with Christina Nielsen, Alessandro Balzan and Jeff Segal, and also Chip Ganassi’s induction into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.
“You’ve got to admire and respect what he’s accomplished over the years. His team has won pretty much every major racing event and series in the world, in every category except Formula One,” Johansson said of Ganassi.
There are several more great nuggets within Johansson’s latest blog, which you can view in its entirety here.
Previous linkouts to Johansson’s blog on MotorSportsTalk are linked below:
- 7/1: On Le Mans finish, F1 back-to-back in Canada, Baku
- 6/9: On Indy 500 and Monaco GP
- 5/26: On Verstappen, Mercedes and more
- 4/29: On rules, regs and female drivers
- 4/7: F1’s power struggle, Haas’ rise
- 3/24: Addressing fixes for F1, IndyCar
Additionally, a link to Johansson’s social media channels and #F1TOP3 competition are linked here.