Q: I have a burning question about a video of Nico Rosberg blasting around Silverstone in a Porsche 918 (https://youtu.be/7nEp8fHCGGU ). His counter steering is so immediate, quick, and almost violent. The question is: are these almost full-opposite lock “twitches” managing potential oversteer, or are the front tires being driven just over the limit and “letting go.” Any analysis would be much appreciated, Ross.”

A: Great video, isn’t it? He really does look like he’s having fun (even his passenger)!

To your question… a few thoughts:

  • First, this is for video, and overdriving the car looks more fun, and probably drives up YouTube traffic. So when drivers like Nico do things like this, they have fun overdriving the car.
  • Yes, he’s catching both oversteer and correcting for understeer. The tires are spending a lot of time over their limit – again, it makes for good video.
  • Finally, remember what kind of car Nico is accustomed to driving. When he gets in a street car on a track he’s driven an F1 car on – even one as fast as this Porsche – he’s faster than the car. He would actually have to deliberately slow his hand movements down if he was looking to drive the fastest lap time. He can easily overdrive it, and his steering movements are overly-fast. Again, makes for fun video.
  • If Nico wanted to turn the ultimate lap time, he’d smooth out his inputs. The fastest driver in that type of car on that track would not have as many corrections, or make them as violently. Having said that, to drive that car fast, the hands are not being held in one place – they are moving, just a little smoother and less than Nico is showing in this video.
  • Finally – again – Nico is having fun, and I bet that’s contributing to his “fast hands.” Again, if he wanted the ultimate fast lap, he’d tone his steering input down a bit – but still be making the corrections you identified.

And yes, Nico can drive a car!