|Hamilton's poor start setup an intriguing battle|
At Monza, having been apparently gifted the race after Lewis Hamilton's botched start from pole position, Rosberg gave the race away after twice making the same mistake into the first chicane, the second time handing the lead to his team-mate and championship rival.
Whilst there were whispers of Mercedes engineering the whole thing to pay Hamilton back for the Spa injustice I'm rather more inclined to think that the problems were a result of Nico having a poor setup and being in a less than ideal place mentally.
It appears that Rosberg's car was carrying rather more downforce than Hamilton's - at least from the comparison between their fastest speeds through the trap at the end of the start - finish straight. Or was it?
Given that Rosberg doesn't often make mistakes, two in one race suggests some unusual circumstances. Even though I'm cynical about the team engineering the change of position, I'm not convinced that the team wouldn't have reduced the power available to one driver in order to ensure the correct result. It would fit with Mercedes telling the world that Nico had been punished, explain the gaps between the two Mercedes for most of the weekend and also explain the usually reliable Rosberg's mistakes - braking later into the chicanes to try and minimise the damage the reduced power was causing.
And don't think that such a thing is without precedent.
In 1983, also at Monza, Riccardo Patrese's Brabham was probably sabotaged by his own team after he'd qualified over a second faster than team-mate Nelson Piquet, who was in a championship battle with the Ferraris of Arnoux and Tambay; and the Renault of Prost. Patrese said that he intended to drive for the win, however it impacted Piquet's title bid. Bernie Ecclestone, at the time a lowly team owner, almost certainly took action to ensure Patrese didn't finish. The BMW engine in Patrese's Brabham exploded after just two laps...
By my reckoning the Mercedes team and Nico Rosberg owe Hamilton another win to balance out the points deficit from Spa. It's unlikely to happen in Singapore, where the Mercedes are likely to come under intense pressure from Red Bull. However with the number of races remaining it's not out of the question for the team to 'bungle' a pitstop to allow Hamilton to pass Rosberg and take those points back without raising suspicions.