Mercedes drivers “remain free to race” following meeting today

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Mercedes has released a statement confirming that its drivers are still free to race following a meeting at its F1 headquarters today to discuss the incident during last Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix.

After a dispute over team orders in Hungary, Rosberg went into the race weekend at Spa looking to “prove a point”, and refused to back out of an overtaking move on Hamilton on the second lap of the race. The two drivers made contact, leaving Hamilton with a puncture that ruined his race. Rosberg managed to recover to finish the race in second place, thus extending his lead to 29 points at the top of the drivers’ championship.

In a post-race debrief, Rosberg admitted that he could have backed out of the move and chose not to, leaving team bosses fuming.

The F1 community was then left to consider just how Mercedes could move forwards in 2014, and whether its drivers would remains free to race amid their title fight. However, this appears to have been resolved in a meeting today between Rosberg, Hamilton, and the team bosses.

“Toto Wolff, Paddy Lowe, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton met today in the boardroom of Mercedes AMG Petronas headquarters in Brackley to discuss the events of the Belgian Grand Prix,” a statement from the team reads.

“During this meeting, Nico acknowledged his responsibility for the contact that occurred on lap two of the Belgian Grand Prix and apologized for this error of judgement. 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.

“It has been made clear that another such incident will not be tolerated. But Nico and Lewis are our drivers and we believe in them.

“They remain free to race for the 2014 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.”

Although the team appears to have defused the situation, there will still be questions when Rosberg and Hamilton next go into battle on track. However, it has been made quite clear that a repeat of the fall-out from Spa will not be accepted by the team.

The two title protagonists will next enter battle at the Italian Grand Prix, which takes place on September 7th.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”