Rosberg glad Perez got puncture after “dangerous” move

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Nico Rosberg said he was pleased Sergio Perez suffered a puncture after making a “dangerous” move during the Japanese Grand Prix.

The pair made contact at the chicane on lap 41, Rosberg’s front wing damaging Perez’s tire.

Rosberg told Sky: “The rules are clear if you brake and close the door you can’t move out again. I was there and he didn’t leave space so…”

“But it worked out perfectly,” Rosberg added, “he broke his tire, I was through. So that was good there.”

But McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh defended Perez over the incident, telling the BBC: “If you’re that far behind – [Rosberg] wasn’t alongside, he wasn’t even half alongside – if you hit someone from behind and give them a puncture you don’t often complain about it.”

It was the second run-in between Rosberg and Perez during the race. On lap 13 Rosberd was waved out of his pit-box in front of Perez, forcing the McLaren driver to avoid him. Rosberg was given a drive-through penalty.

The Mercedes driver said the stewards’ decision was “well deserved” and he “knew it was coming too”.

“It was obvious, a dangerous release so that was that and just a pity that happened and from then on it was always going to be difficult,” he added.

Neuville wins Rally Australia; Ogier takes FIA WRC title

Sebastien Ogier. Photo: Getty Images
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COFFS HARBOUR, Australia (AP) Belgium’s Thierry Neuville won Rally Australia by 22.5 seconds on Sunday as torrential rain added drama to the last day of the last race of the World Rally Championship season.

Neuville entered the final day with an almost 20 second advantage after inheriting the rally lead Saturday when his Hyundai teammate, defending champion Andreas Mikkelsen crashed and was forced to retire for the day.

His lead was halved by Jari-Matti Latvala early Sunday as monsoon-like rain made conditions treacherous on muddy forest stages on the New South Wales coast. The rain stopped on the short Wedding Bells stage where Neuville was almost 5 seconds quicker than his rivals, stretching his lead to 14.7 seconds entering the last stage.

COFFS HARBOUR, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 17: Thierry Neuville of Belgium and Nicolas Gilsoul of Belgium compete in their Hyundai Motorsport WRT Hyundai i20 coupe WRC during Day One of the WRC Australia on November 17, 2017 in COFFS HARBOUR, Australia. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images)

That stage was full of incident. The driver’s door on Neuville’s Hyundai i20 coupe swung open in the middle of the stage and Neuville had to slam it closed as he approached a corner.

Latvala’s Toyota then crashed seconds from the end of the stage, allowing Estonia’s Ott Tanak, in a Ford, to take second place overall and New Zealalnd’s Haydon Paddon, in a Hyundai, to sneak into third.

Sebastian Ogier was fourth after winning the final, power stage but the Frenchman had already clinched his fifth world title before Rally Australia began. Neuville’s win was his fourth of the season, two more than Ogier, and was enough to give him second place in world drivers’ standings for the third time in five years.

Ogier owed his drivers’ title to his consistency: he retired only once and finished no worse than fifth all season.

Neuville admitted the last day was touch and go as the rain made some stages perilous, forcing the cancellation of the second to last stage.

“That was a hell of a ride,” Neuville said. “Really, really tricky conditions.

“I kept the car on the road but it was close sometimes. I knew I could make a difference but I had to be clever. You lose grip, you lose control and the car doesn’t respond to your input.”