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Rosberg says sorry for Spa
This week’s heated debate in Formula 1 rumbles on. Almost a week has passed since Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton came together at the Belgian Grand Prix, where the German’s apparent lunge ended the Brit’s race early. The result? An 18-point extension to Rosberg’s championship lead over his fierce rival, and plenty of drama and debate about team orders.
After a meeting between the two drivers and Mercedes F1 bosses which we would have loved to witness, Rosberg has admitted guilt in a public statement and received an unspecified punishment from his team. Whether today’s developments draw a line under matters or further fuel the fire remain to be seen.
Here’s the meat of Rosberg’s statement:
‘The number one rule for us as teammates 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.
‘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.’
That last point is important: it means Mercedes will continue to allow the drivers to race each other, rather than deploying draconian team orders, which would have rattled fans of hard racing, but helped ensure the team’s enviable one-two in the drivers’ standings remained as safe as possible.
Hamilton has responded with his own statement, though how accurately it reflects his genuine feelings is up for debate. ‘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’, he says.
‘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.’ Do you believe him?
The official team statement, on the other hand, leaves no room for ambiguity: ‘Nico and Lewis are our drivers and we believe in them. They remain free to race for the 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship.’
So, over to you: if you were boss of the Mercedes F1 team, how would you deal with your squabbling drivers? And which one is going to reign supreme come the end of the season?