Nico Rosberg disciplined by Mercedes for Hamilton collision

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Rosberg clips Hamilton in Belgian GP

Mercedes have taken disciplinary action against Nico Rosberg following his collision with team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the Belgian Grand Prix.

Championship leader Rosberg accepted responsibility for the collision, calling it an "error of judgement".

The team handed out an undisclosed punishment to Rosberg, likely to be a fine, while agreeing to let them continue racing for the world title.

They have been warned another similar incident "will not be tolerated".

While Rosberg apologised to Hamilton in a statement on Friday, his British team-mate responded by admitting "we have both made mistakes".

The two drivers collided on lap two of Sunday's race as Rosberg attempted to overtake Hamilton at the Les Combes chicane.

Rosberg's front wing hit Hamilton's left rear tyre, damaging the wing and giving Hamilton a puncture which eventually caused the 2008 world champion's retirement.

Andrew Benson's analysis
"Mercedes have tried to draw a line in the only feasible way after team boss Toto Wolff and adviser Niki Lauda came out so strongly against Rosberg after the race. These actions put Hamilton firmly in the right, but what they have not done is fix the damage done to his title hopes by the incident. Hamilton, sources close to him say, remains confident he can close the gap given a few trouble-free races. But trouble-free races are exactly what he has not had - not since the Spanish Grand Prix in early May, amazingly. And any incident that damages both their hopes in a race also helps Rosberg in the championship. It remains, therefore, a combustible situation, and it remains highly likely that this will not be the end of it."

Rosberg recovered to finish second behind Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, moving into a 29-point championship lead over Hamilton with a maximum of 200 still available over the remaining seven races.

The incident was the culmination of ever-building tension between the two over the preceding 11 races.

It was a consequence of Rosberg wanting to prove a point to Hamilton that he would not be intimidated in wheel-to-wheel racing, after being forced to back out of passing moves in previous battles in the Bahrain and Hungarian Grands Prix.

But in the meeting on Friday Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff and executive director (technical) Paddy Lowe made it clear such actions were unacceptable and laid down strict guidelines for future racing between the two.

The statement said: "During the meeting, Nico acknowledged his responsibility for the contact that occurred on lap two of the Belgian Grand Prix and apologised for this error of judgement.

Remaining Races
VenueDatePoints for winner
Italian Grand Prix (Monza)5-7 September25
Singapore Grand Prix19-21 September25
Japanese Grand Prix (Suzuka)3-5 October25
Russian Grand Prix (Sochi)10-12 October25
United States Grand Prix (Austin)31 October-2 November25
Brazilian Grand Prix (Sao Paulo)7-9 November25
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Yas Marina)21-23 November50

"Suitable disciplinary measures have been taken for the incident.

"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 1.

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

"They remain free to race for the 2014 FIA Formula 1 world championship.

Rosberg released a statement on Friday on his Facebookexternal-link page, issuing a further apology.

He said: "After meeting with Toto, Paddy and Lewis, 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. I also want to say sorry to the fans who were deprived of our battle for the lead in Belgium.

"Lewis and I have been given clear instructions about how we race each other.

"As drivers, we have a clear responsibility to the team, the fans of the sport, our partners and Mercedes-Benz to deliver clean racing. We take that responsibility very seriously."

Eddie Jordan - BBC F1's chief analyst
"Two drivers of this calibre, they're like two spoilt kids. This was destined to happen. This was inevitable. You can't run an operation of this size and just leave it to two fairly young people to have enough intelligence not to run into each other when emotions and egos are running high. The parameters should have been laid out for them. This has failed and I put that down to the team. I do want to see racing between them but not in the way it happened last Sunday."

Hamilton then issued his own Facebook statement,external-link which said: "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.

"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.

"The fans want to see a clean fight until the end of the season and that's what we want to give them."

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