Rosberg punished for Hamilton crash

Nico Rosberg, right, has apologised for his collision with Lewis Hamilton at the Belgian Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg, right, has apologised for his collision with Lewis Hamilton at the Belgian Grand Prix

First published in National News © by

Mercedes have taken "suitable disciplinary measures" against Nico Rosberg after the German admitted his responsibility for the controversial collision between himself and Lewis Hamilton in Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix.

Hamilton's race at Spa was wrecked in the second lap when he suffered a puncture to his left rear tyre after a collision with team-mate Rosberg's right-wing endplate.

Hamilton was apoplectic and claimed Rosberg admitted in a team meeting afterwards that he had deliberately caused the incident. The Formula One championship leader has, for the first time, apologised.

Mercedes said in a statement: "Nico acknowledged his responsibility for the contact that occurred on lap two of the Belgian Grand Prix and apologised for this error of judgement.

"Suitable disciplinary measures have been taken for the incident."

Hamilton, 11 points behind Rosberg before the start of the race, is now 29 adrift after he was forced to retire late on while his championship rival finished second behind Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo.

Rosberg, who was roundly booed while on the podium, had been on pole but Hamilton took the lead in a flying start before the first corner.

It was on the next lap that there was contact between the pair for the first time this season, which threatened all out war at Mercedes, who had been previously happy to let their drivers battle it out for the championship.

There were rumours the incident would lead to the Brackley-based marque imposing team orders and banning them from racing each other to prevent a repeat occurrence.

However, Mercedes have said - after a meeting on Friday between motorsport boss Toto Wolff, executive technical director Paddy Lowe, Hamilton and Rosberg - that would not be the case.

The statement added: "Mercedes-Benz remains committed to hard, fair racing because this is the right way to win world championships. It is good for the team, for the fans and for Formula One.

"Lewis and Nico understand and accept the team's number one rule: there must be no contact between the team's cars on track.

"It has been made clear that another such incident will not be tolerated. But Nico and Lewis are our drivers and we believe in them.

"They remain free to race for the 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship."

With seven races in the season remaining, it promises to be a fascinating ending to what has already been a dramatic year.

Hamilton has already indicated he will not seek retribution on Rosberg, who was blamed for causing the collision by Wolff and non-executive chairman Niki Lauda immediately after the race.

Hamilton was agitated even further following a heated team meeting on Sunday after Rosberg apparently revealed he had purposely hit Hamilton "to prove a point".

Rosberg admitted his regret but had still refused to apologise up until Friday, although having done so now will draw a line in the sand for Mercedes.

Hamilton had questioned whether he would be able to trust his team-mate again, but has himself opted to move on from the incident following the team meeting, admitting both of them are to blame for their relationship turning sour.

"Nico and I accept that we have both made mistakes and I feel it would be wrong to point fingers and say which one is worse than the other," Hamilton said on his official website.

"What's important is how we rise as a team from these situations. We win and we lose together and, as a team, we will emerge stronger.

"There is a deep foundation that still exists for me and Nico to work from, in spite of our difficult times and differences.

"We have the greatest team, the strongest group of individuals who have worked their hands to the bone to give us the best car you see us racing today.

"It's important that we never forget that and give them the results they deserve."

Hamilton was adamant that his title chances are not over, despite the sizeable gap he must overcome.

"It's going to be a tough road from here but championships have been won from much further back than I am now. And I promise you that I will be giving everything and more to win this for my team, for my family and for my fans," he added.

Rosberg has also released a statement, publicly apologising to Hamilton.

"In the days since the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa, I have spent a lot of time thinking about what happened during the race and discussing it with the team," he said on his Facebook page.

"I have already expressed my regret about the incident but, after meeting with Toto, Paddy and Lewis today, I wish to go a step further and describe it as an error of judgement on my part.

"The number one rule for us as team-mates is that we must not collide but that is exactly what happened.

"For that error of judgement, I apologise to Lewis and the team."

He is now turning his focus back to racing, saying: "I look forward to concluding the season with hard, fair competition on and off track right up to the final lap of the season in Abu Dhabi."

Comments

Post a comment

Remember you are personally responsible for what you post on this site and must abide by our site terms. Do not post anything that is false, abusive or malicious. If you wish to complain, please use the ‘report this post’ link.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree