• Spanish Grand Prix

Drivers call for clarity on blocking after Rosberg incidents

ESPNF1 Staff
May 10, 2012 « Hamilton impressed by Lotus' recent pace | Red Bull not banking on past success - Horner »
Incidents involving Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso triggered debate in the paddock in Spain © Sutton Images

Following incidents involving Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Formula One drivers have called for clarity over the rules regarding blocking on track.

Both incidents occurred between turns three and four with Rosberg moving to the inside to block Hamilton and then, in a separate incident a couple of laps later, Alonso. Hamilton got past by running outside the track perimeters, while Alonso backed off. None of the drivers were penalised.

In a thinly veiled reference to the incident on Thursday, Alonso wrote in his Ferrari blog that drivers no longer have the same levels of on-track respect they had in the past. Questions along similar lines were poised to a number of the drivers on Thursday and several said blocking would be discussed in the drivers' briefing.

"Two drivers raised concerns about it so we need to discuss it," Rosberg said. "If there was a danger, which I didn't cause on purpose, then we need to implement rules so that it doesn't arise again. We could look at implementing more rules in that situation because it is not very clear, but it can be looked at."

Hamilton said he was not dwelling on the incident, but thinks it would be good to tweak the rules to make things clear.

"Baring in mind that it's in the past and I don't really care to even think about it too much ... I think at the end of the day it was great racing and the fans enjoyed it," he said. "Fortunately nothing happened from it and neither of us got in trouble. Hopefully from it we will try to rectify the rules a little bit to make them clearer so that we won't be in that position again.

"Lots of people have comments about it, but the only two people that truly know what happened are me and him because the footage that you have is from the front and it's very difficult to clarify in that footage whether I was alongside or not. Some people were saying I went off the circuit to overtake, but then some people don't realise that I had my front wing alongside the car.

"But it doesn't really matter. Hopefully the stewards made the right decision and this weekend we'll rectify exactly what the rules say and then we won't be in that position again."

Red Bull driver Mark Webber was one of the people who felt Hamilton should have been penalised for overtaking off the circuit.

"All I would say on that issue is that I was surprised that Lewis was allowed to keep his position," Webber said. "For sure, it was a situation that Lewis didn't want to put himself in either - to find himself completely off the track. He stayed with it and ultimately the move was allowed to be kept. I'm sure we'll talk a bit more about it in the drivers' briefing."

However, Michael Schumacher - Rosberg's Mercedes team-mate - believes the FIA's lack of action means the rules on what is and what is not allowed are clear.

"It's always a question of who is criticising and why they are criticising," he said. "In the end should you really ask that question or is the answer pretty straightforward. We have a governing body, the FIA, that will analyse, as they have done after Bahrain, and they clearly stated that they think it's fine. If they think it's fine then I think everybody has to deal with it and has to accept it and that's about it. If it is not within the rules the FIA would have taken action and they did not do that. And I didn't see anything wrong either."

Sebastian Vettel also gave his views on the subject: "I think the rule is clear. You can argue. I think there were two incidents with Nico in Bahrain, one with Fernando and I think Fernando made his point clear afterwards. And with Lewis, and I think Lewis got past, so I think you can talk for hours now, but if you saw the situation in Bahrain, it's exceptional, because you have a kind of asphalt run-off.

"Yes, it's pretty dirty but we always try to go on the limit, the one who is overtaking, the one who is defending. Surely sometimes you need to respect that the guy is there and you need to leave the space. I think if it would have been grass, it would have been a different story. You wouldn't go there in the first place. In Fernando's case I think he would have made the same point."