Rosberg in "wrong" engine mode before Hamilton crash

Toto Wolff says a "wrong setting" on Nico Rosberg's Mercedes W07 was the catalyst for the collision between the German and teammate Lewis Hamilton on lap one of the Spanish Grand Prix.

Rosberg in "wrong" engine mode before Hamilton crash
Toto Wolff, Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director in the FIA Press Conference
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 on the grid
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid leads team mate Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid at the start of the race
Start of the race, Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 Team and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team
Start of the race, Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 Team and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid leads team mate Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid at the start of the race
The Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid of race retiree Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 is craned away from the gravel trap at the start of the race
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 in the FIA Press Conference
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 in the FIA Press Conference
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid

According to Wolff, Rosberg was down on power as he exited Turn 3 in the lead, a warning light illuminating on the back of his car/

The slowdown allowed Hamilton to close in rapidly before Turn 4, where the two drivers' races ended at once.

"Nico was in the wrong setting - and that's why he lost power out of 3. He didn't have as much energy as Lewis had," Wolff said.

"I wouldn't say [Rosberg's to blame], but it explains why everything went so quickly - because there was such a discrepancy in speed that they needed to make a decision in a split/second.

"He had a setting on the steering wheel which should have been changed at the start - and he didn't."

Despite the issue of the setting, Wolff refused to apportion blame for the incident.

"Coming out of [Turn] 3, Nico closed up the inside in what looked to be a clean maneouvre, Lewis chose to go that side and was out on the grass and then lost the car.

"A racing incident, a very unfortunate racing incident, triggered by various circumstances.

"[Hamilton's] manoeuvre was fair enough even though the result was unfortunate. I think seeing that and going for it was what he should have done - and you can’t blame Nico for closing the door but the difference of speed triggered the incident."

Rosberg's mistake forced overtaking move - Hamilton

Interviewed after the debrief, Hamilton said that Rosberg's lack of speed due to the wrong engine setting was what forced him to attempt the ambitious overtaking move.

"I was coming through Turn 3, and he derated - basically, he made a mistake starting with wrong engine settings.

"Before the start, we have to decide what engine starting we got to start in and there was only one that had maximum power and he hadn’t gone to that - he was on an SC mode or something, I think.

"So he derated at that time, meaning he lost about 180 horsepower - so I caught up. And as I was catching, he wasn’t on the race line, he was just on the inside, one step to the right, so the gap to the left was much more than what was on the right side.

"And I went for the right one as there was a gap there and, as a racing driver, when you are going 17ks faster, so you go for the gap, you try to do that."

It is understood that the wrong setting didn't affect Rosberg earlier in the lap because of the W07 having been in an automatic launch mode over the first two turns.

Rosberg "fully concentrated" despite setting mishap

Rosberg himself conceded that a mistake had been made with the engine mode, but said it was fixed quickly - and did not affect his awareness of where Hamilton was.

"There is a button I have to push [to fix it], and I know where it is without needing to look - because it is my overtake button that I always use.

"I just pushed that. But I was fully concentrated on the battle with Lewis."

Responding to allegations that he was looking down and not at the road ahead, Rosberg said:

"That is not correct. I was well aware of where he was at all time. I was fully aware of the battle.

"The way for me to get more engine power is from my overtake button, which you will see on the onboard I was pushing , and I don't need to look where it is as I use it very often and I know where it is. Top left hand corner."

Additional reporting by Jon Noble

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