The last Formula1 race at the RedBull Ring in Austria was a sight for most racing fans. The last lap drama between Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg fighting wheel-to-wheel is what every F1 fan wants to see.
Toto Wolff, part owner and Executive Director of Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One team, however, had his heart in the mouth moment as both the drivers were on the verge of DNF as they collided robbing Mercedes a vital 43 points in the constructors championship. Clearly, he was pissed off at the drivers when the TV feed showed his reaction after the contact between the two drivers.
With such domination with a superior car, Mercedes had the luxury of not issuing team orders when it came to teammates racing each other. That was a part that helped Mercedes win fans as most other teams who have ever been on top have clearly had Number 1 driver who got preferential treatment. But with both, individual as well as constructors championship at stake Toto has talked about imposing team orders from next weekend onwards as the lead pair has crashed twice in past couple of months.
2016 Austrian GP Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton crash
In Barcelona, this year, at Turn 3, Nico Rosberg was on the wrong engine mode and down on kinetic energy deployment which Lewis tried to take advantage of but ended up on grass losing traction carrying Nico along with him into the gravel trap. As both drivers ended up with DNF, there was speculation that team orders might rob fans of real racing but Mercedes decided against it.
In the aftermath of the race, Toto Wolff talked about some hard decisions to be made in the coming days as the drivers have erred too soon after the Barcelona incident. Lewis was wrongly booed on the podium as he celebrated his Austrian GP win. The stewards put Nico Rosberg under investigation for causing a collision and put a 10-second penalty to his time. However, he was lucky to keep the 4th place as 5th placed Daniel Ricciardo was 14 seconds adrift making no difference to the time sheets.
Rosberg and Hamilton in happier times
With the restrictive nature of Formula1 where there are rules look like are made to make the car slower, wheel-to-wheel racing is hardly ever seen these days. Mercedes have a far superior car compared to the grid and it will seal the constructors championship this year unless they start driving with only three wheels. So with such a strong position, team orders are uncalled for. Let the guys race hard. It might end up with another crash this year but Mercedes can certainly afford it. But the greater thing will be the adrenaline pump ardent Formula1 fans get. Mercedes will earn the respect of fans world over and make take this rivalry a talked about aspect in the coming years.