Monday 16 October 2017

Nico Rosberg apologises for Lewis Hamilton collision and is disciplined by Mercedes

Nico Rosberg is set to be disciplined for the collision that forced his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to retire from the Belgian Grand Prix. Photo: Clive Mason/Getty Images
Nico Rosberg is set to be disciplined for the collision that forced his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to retire from the Belgian Grand Prix. Photo: Clive Mason/Getty Images

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.

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