Minimal Contact, Maximum Chaos – Where Do Mercedes Go From Here?

There was minimal contact but a huge amount of controversy sparked at Spa-Francorchamps after a second-lap collision between Mercedes colleagues Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton dominated the headlines.

Daniel Ricciardo went on to win the race but that isn’t the story that has the legs at the moment. This is my take.

The incident

Was Nico Rosberg at fault for the incident? Yes.

The aftermath

Coming out immediately with the line that it was ‘unacceptable’ for their drivers to collide with each other and that Rosberg was in the wrong, as Toto Wolff and Niki Laudu did, was a good thing. It made it clear what their position was and that should have been that.

Hamilton was very well briefed before his post-race interviews, praising the fans, explaining why he was keen to save the car’s engine and not fanning the flames too much.

Unfortunately, after that, both Hamilton and Rosberg have commented on the subsequent debrief which has led to the possibility of further action from the FIA.

If they deem that Rosberg did cause a collision, then he’s liable to face a penalty. I don’t think he really caused a collision, it was more of a case of not doing everything in his power to avoid a collision that, let’s not forget, did his team-mate far more harm than himself.

The future

So where do we go from here? It is looking increasingly like it is now Rosberg’s title to lose, unless Mercedes decide that his actions are so unacceptable that they drop him for a race or two, which would give Hamilton the best chance to close up on him.

But long-term, do the pair have a future at Mercedes together? Where would either go if they were shown the door? Do Mercedes prioritise having a German driver over having the quickest driver?

And is it now time for them to impose even more rigid team orders on their drivers?