Chance at ‘perfect season’ for Mercedes ruined on opening lap

What had been a “perfect season” for Mercedes turned into a disaster on the opening lap of today’s race in Spain.

After locking up the front row in qualifying, the Spanish Grand Prix had the makings of another runaway race dominated either by Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg. On the initial start, Rosberg got off the line better and drove by Hamilton on the outside to take the lead in turn 1. Hamilton pulled back up to his teammate exiting turn 3 and dove to the bottom to make the pass going into turn 4.

Rosberg moved down to block his advance and he ran onto the grass. Hamilton lost control of his car, spun out, crashed into the back of Rosberg and sent both of them into the sand trap.

Toto Wolff, executive director of Mercedes AMG Petronas, said that Hamilton and Rosberg were “both upset for themselves and the team. They were both apologetic to the team. We lost a potential one-two, lost 43 points. It was just thrown away.”

In response to whether Hamilton or Rosberg were fully to blame for the incident, Wolff said “No. It was a very difficult situation and difficult to analyze. There was not a clear cut thing. Coming out of the corner, Nico closed up the door, and then Lewis went on the grass. Definitely not 100% for one and zero for the other.”

Niki Lauda, three-time world champion and non-executive chairman of Mercedes, laid the blame largely on Hamilton.

“Lewis was too aggressive,” Lauda said after the crash. For both to be out after two corners is completely unacceptable.”

Despite the wreck, Rosberg leaves Barcelona as the championship leader. Reigning world champion Hamilton fell to third with a 43-point deficit on his teammate.

Neither driver has to leave his current residence for the next race, as Formula 1 heads to the streets of Monte Carlo. Rosberg goes into Monaco having won the last three races in one of the crown jewel races of the sport and not having finished worse than second in the last four.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Tucker White
Tucker White
I've followed NASCAR for well over 20 years of my life, both as a fan and now as a member of the media. As of 2023, I'm on my eighth season as a traveling NASCAR beat writer. For all its flaws and dumb moments, NASCAR at its best produces some of the best action you'll ever see in the sport of auto racing. Case in point: Kyle Larson's threading the needle pass at Darlington Raceway on May 9, 2021. On used-up tires, racing on a worn surface and an aero package that put his car on the razor's edge of control, Larson demonstrated why he's a generational talent. Those are the stories I want to capture and break down. In addition to NASCAR, I also follow IndyCar and Formula 1. As a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, I'm a diehard Tennessee Volunteers fan (especially in regards to Tennessee football). If covering NASCAR doesn't kill me, down the road, watching Tennessee football will. I'm also a diehard fan of the Atlanta Braves, and I lived long enough to see them win a World Series for the first time since 1995 (when I was just a year old). I've also sworn my fan allegiance to the Nashville Predators, though that's not paid out as much as the Braves. Furthermore, as a massive sports dork, I follow the NFL on a weekly basis. Though it's more out of an obligation than genuine passion (for sports dorks, following the NFL is basically an unwritten rule). Outside of sports, I'm a major cinema buff and a weeb. My favorite film is "Your Name" and my favorite anime is "Black Lagoon."


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