SILVERSTONE, 6th July 2014 (F1Plus / Graham Keilloh) - Today’s British Grand Prix once again turned into a Nico Rosberg vs. Lewis Hamilton fight for supremacy at the front. But this time it was resolved early as Rosberg’s gearbox failed, forcing him to quit, and in so doing giving Hamilton a cruise to victory.
It had been shaping up to be a titanic battle, with Lewis behind but due to an ‘offsetting’ strategy due to be on fresher tyres for a lot of the remaining distance. And Hamilton afterwards reckoned that he would have won even without Rosberg’s mechanical stoppage.
‘I honestly feel that I had the pace (to win) today, I was catching Nico in the first stint, and I was able to extend my first stint longer than ever before so I was sitting pretty comfortable. But of course I never want a team mate to fall away, to be able to win like that, I was looking forward to a wheel-to-wheel battle but I’m sure we’ll get plenty in the future.
‘I really felt I had the pace to Nico, and was hunting him down.’
Rosberg however took a different view and believes he would have held out. ‘I’m very confident that I would have won the race, yeah’ he said.
‘Things were going well at that point (of the failure). So I just accept it as a reliability thing and go for the next one at Hockenheim.
‘There was one thing (gearbox problem) already before the start or just after or something like that which was just weird, and after that it got worse and worse from lap 20 onwards.’
Executive Director of Mercedes Toto Wolff meanwhile refused to say which of his charges was correct. Instead he said that had Rosberg kept going it likely would have been a tight battle between the two Mercs at the end, akin to those in Bahrain and Spain earlier in the year.
‘Yeah, in terms of the offset strategy of letting him (Hamilton) run in the middle with the prime, they would have been together at the end of the race, the last ten laps, this is what we were expecting.’
Both Rosberg and Wolff admitted too that Mercedes reliability is something for the team to focus on. Rosberg noted: ‘We need to try to keep on working on any small reliability issues that we’re having as we have done and as we are still doing.’
While Wolff said: ‘Yes, lots of concerns. Having a gearbox failure is a bit of a hit because you wouldn’t expect in 2014 having a DNF because of a gearbox. We have to analyse why...’.
As for the prospect of a tight intra-Mercedes drivers’ title battle Wolff quipped: ‘I’m very happy for the two of them catching up but it’s a couple more grey hairs for us!’