Sunday 4 December 2016

'Extremely gutted' Nico Rosberg ponders clear-the-air talks with Lewis Hamilton after crash

Philip Duncan

Published 16/05/2016 | 13:35

Nico Rosberg
Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg will decide in the coming days whether he needs to hold clear-the-air talks with Lewis Hamilton following their spectacular collision in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.

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Both Mercedes cars failed to progress beyond the fourth turn of a race eventually won by 18-year-old Max Verstappen after Hamilton lost control of his car and crashed into his team-mate.

It marked the latest low in a relationship which has become increasingly strained as the former childhood friends fight for the world championship for a third successive year.

Rosberg, the son of 1982 world champion Keke, boarded his private jet to his residence in Monaco to have dinner with his parents in the aftermath of Sunday's crash.

And it is from there where he will determine if he needs to speak to Hamilton ahead of the next round of the championship, which takes place in Rosberg's adopted home.

"That is something I need to think about in the days to come," said Rosberg. "I can't tell you now as I am extremely gutted.

"It is very tough because it was my race to win. I am not just gutted for myself but I am gutted for everybody because we are one team and we are together in this.

"I know how much they work for these two cars and for us both to end up in the gravel trap is the worst possible thing."

Hamilton, who apologised to his team but refused to accept blame for the crash, attempted to pass Rosberg on the exit of turn three.

With Rosberg in the wrong engine mode and down on power, Hamilton suddenly closed on his team-mate. Rosberg moved to his right to defend the lead, Hamilton ended up on the grass, before slamming into his team-mate.

While Niki Lauda, Mercedes' non-executive chairman, was quick to point the finger at Hamilton, the paddock was divided as to who was at fault. Indeed the FIA, the sport's governing body, declared it a racing incident.

Despite both of their cars failing to make it to the end of the race, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff refused to apportion blame, and instead insisted they would be free to race for the remainder of the season.

Alain Prost, the four-time champion, who formed one half of Formula One's greatest-ever rivalries with Ayrton Senna, lauded Mercedes' decision to allow Hamilton and Rosberg to continue their battle on the track.

But the Frenchman warned that they may be forced into a re-think if reigning champion Hamilton, who remains 43 points behind his team-mate with a possible 400 still to play for, and Rosberg are involved in another crash.

"The consequence is big but thanks to Mercedes to let the drivers be free," said Prost. "When you dominate and you do that once or twice again, for sure, they are going to say you are number one and you are number two because they don't want to lose the championship, which is normal.

"But at the moment it is only the first time in three years they have taken each other out. We have to be careful that we don't overreact."

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