Rosberg: “I was faster, and I gave it a go”

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Nico Rosberg is refusing to be drawn into the debate about his clash with Lewis Hamilton during today’s Belgian Grand Prix until he has seen the TV footage, but is set to face the wrath of team bosses Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff tonight.

When trying to pass his Mercedes teammate and championship rival, Rosberg touched the Briton’s left-rear tire, leaving Hamilton with a puncture. He did manage to get the car back to the pits, albeit well down the order, and that is where he stayed until he retired from the race late on.

Both Wolff and Lauda have condemned the incident, and the team is planning to hold a meeting at 1645 local time today to discuss it. In the post-race press conference, Rosberg said that he would not comment on the clash until he had seen it.

“To be honest, I’m not in a position to comment yet,” he said. “I won’t comment on it at all because in the heat of the moment.

“Of course, very disappointing from the team’s perspective, because we could have done a lot better than just finishing¬†in second place with the car that we had, because our car has really been special this weekend.”

Rosberg admitted that the incident was disappointing, but felt that he was faster than Hamilton at that particular moment.

“I haven’t heard it myself from these people you have mentioned, but of course I will respect their opinion,” he said with reference to Wolff and Lauda. “I myself don’t have an opinion until I see it on the TV.

“All I know is that I was faster, and I gave it a go, and the inside was blocked so I gave it a go around the outside.

“Of course, it’s very disappointing.”

This clash allowed Daniel Ricciardo to pounce and claim his third win of the 2014 season for Red Bull.

SMP Racing unveils BR1 LMP1 car in Bahrain ahead of WEC entry

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SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.

SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.

Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.

The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.

SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.

Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.