NB: Unlike Wehrlein it’s not enough for Nico Hulkenberg to be really good on Saturday.
Well, all of this might not have happened if the stewards penalized Wehrlein for reversing on the grid prior to the start of the race. Moreover the stewards could’ve cancelled the start, giving the drivers an extra warm-up lap, and then there would’ve been a race with only 70 laps. And everything might’ve ended differently for everybody including Mercedes duo.
If top teams haven’t pay attention to Wehrlein yet, from now on they will look closely on a young German’s progress. But (there’s always a ‘but’): Pascal Wehrlein would make an awful ‘number 2’ driver. The German’s teammates and rivals in DTM might agree with that statement. On one hand there’s nothing criminal in the driver’s desire to be the leader and the winner. Only this way one can become a champion. On the other hand, the management of every top squad must decide very thoroughly which driver they see as a leader and which as a good team player. For example, if Mercedes decides to replace Nico Rosberg with Pascal Wehrlein, they might find themselves in a situation very similar to the battlefield we saw in McLaren in 2007.
Ok, Mercedes. I think the problem inside the German squad is that they cannot control both their drivers. The team can control only 1 of their drivers – and it’s Nico. Rosberg is a great team player. Everything goes wrong when Nico starts to bare his teeth. After the collision between Rosberg and Hamilton on the last lap of the race in Austria Totto Wolff was terribly disappointed. Instead of a guaranteed 1-2 the team almost got the second double DNF this season. Wolff even threatens to introduce team orders. But Mercedes have already used team orders: this season in Monaco Rosberg was told to let Hamilton through. And Nico obeyed. Moreover after the race Rosberg said that was the right decision to make.
What about Lewis? The Brit doesn’t ‘like’ team orders and I don’t think he will obey any orders. He is here [in F1] to win no matter what the price is. Well, actually nobody can blame Lewis for that. He is talented, quick, impertinent. He is the triple world champion for God’s sake. He sets himself above the team and above his teammate. He can do whatever he wants, the team will always find excuses for his actions. After all people don’t worship Patrese, Barrichello, Coulthard or Berger. Team players don’t win the championships. But people do worship Senna, Schumacher, Prost and Vettel.
Probably this season is the last chance for Nico Rosberg to join the Hall of Fame. And the only way to do so is to continue to fight with Lewis, with the team, to continue to ‘bare his teeth’. He has no time and real opportunities to start all over again in any other team. There are no vacancies and every team already has their lead driver.
It’s good that Nico fought with Lewis in Austria. He lost that battle, he even got a penalty for his actions afterwards. But it doesn’t matter. To keep fighting is the only way to stay ahead in the championship. And if Nico lets the Monaco situation repeat, or if he cannot stand the outside pressure (like we saw after Spa’14), or if he lets Lewis force him out of the track (remember Canada’16 or USA’15)… Well if let any of these happen he’ll lose the championship long before the last Grand Prix of the season.