Following today’s massively controversial Belgian Grand Prix, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has claimed that team mate Nico Rosberg hit him on purpose. The incident which happened on lap 2 caused Hamilton to suffer a puncture and Rosberg a decent chunk of his front wing. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo won the race ahead of Rosberg whilst Hamilton retired late into the race as a result of the damage to the floor on his W05 Hybrid.
Rosberg was on pole but Hamilton led into turn 1. Rosberg attempted to make a pass into the tricky Les Combes chicane on lap 2 but the contact happened as Hamilton went to take his normal racing line. The incident seemed as if it was a racing incident with no malice. “it looked quite clear to me but we just had a meeting about it and he basically said he did it on purpose.” Hamilton told the written press. “He said he did it on purpose. He said he could have avoided it. He said I did it to prove a point.” These comments come after Rosberg extended his lead in the Drivers’ Championship by a further 18 points to 29, more than a race win. Hamilton even said that Rosberg even tried to blame the British driver for the incident, “he just came in there and said it was all my fault. Just came in there…”
This incident comes after another controversial race last time out in Hungary, where Mercedes used team orders to try and get Rosberg in front of Hamilton, but the 2008 World Champion refused to give way. Both Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff said that the entire charade was “unacceptable.” The two Mercedes drivers were also involved in a controversial incident in Monaco, where Hamilton accused Rosberg of cheating in qualifying. Both Mercedes drivers also used an engine mapping which the team told them to not use in the Bahrain and Spanish Grand Prix.
This sort of incident has been on the cards all season. We have seen excellent racing between the two drivers all year long but there was almost certainly going to be a time where the two would come together on the track with these consequences. This incident leaves Ricciardo 64 points behind Rosberg with 200 points available, so if the two continue to collide as was the case today, Mercedes could gift the Drivers’ Championship to Red Bull.
In the event that Rosberg did indeed hit Hamilton on purpose, he will without doubt suffer more stick than what he got today from the “British fans” who booed him on the podium. It seems as if that the team are on the side of Hamilton too as Lauda said that it was Rosberg’s fault for the collision in the first place.
One thing is for certain though: the racing gloves are off. This is all-out war. Brackley is now a battlefield.
Toto Wolff believes these comments on Rosberg are not as true as they seem. While Wolff confirmed that Hamilton’s phrasing of the events of the debrief were correct, he has confirmed that Rosberg did not crash into Hamilton on purpose. Instead, Wolff said that Rosberg simply “didn’t back down” when going wheel-to-wheel with his team mate.
“What we saw there was that Nico was not prepared to take the exit, and that caused the collision.”
Wolff did say that Rosberg was at fault for the collision however: “we had a collision that could have been avoided, a second lap collision, it was Nico who attacked and he shouldn’t have done it.” “Maybe a slap on the wrist is not enough.” said the Austrian.
We will bring more news and reaction as and when it comes.