Four years on, and the Mercedes team still cannot exorcise the demons of the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix. That race bore witness to the rise of Red Bull star, Max Verstappen, and the cracks in the Mercedes drivers’ relationship. Back in their early racing days, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg got along well.
So, when they were partnered in 2013, many believed that it was a match made in heaven. Little could anyone predict what happened in their relationship next. The 2016 season was when everything reached a boiling point and whatever was left of their relationship hit an all-time low.
Recently, the two met up once again, this time with Rosberg representing the media and Hamilton still racing. In the times of COVID-19, the two observed social distancing norms during their talk. Of course, the Mercedes team could not resist a bit of self-deprecating humor with a jab at their 2016 Spanish Grand Prix incident.
For the uninitiated, Hamilton and Rosberg locked out the front row, with Max Verstappen behind them in 3rd. Bear in mind, this was his first race for the Red Bull team after Daniil Kvyat got demoted. On the very first lap itself, the two Mercedes drivers did not even make it past Turn 4.
They tangled with each other and crashed out, while a gleeful Max Verstappen was not about to decline an invitation. From there, he never looked back and went on to take his maiden victory.
Four years later, the qualifying scene is deja vu, as Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas locked out the front row. Once again, Max Verstappen lines up third and waiting to pounce on an opportunity. Meanwhile, Toto Wolff will be praying that history will not repeat itself or Niki Lauda would be rolling in his grave.