Webber questions Mercedes’ future after Spa bust-up

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Former Formula 1 driver Mark Webber has become the latest figure to question what direction Mercedes can head in following the fall-out between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton at the 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, leaving the Briton with a puncture. Rosberg finished second whilst Hamilton retired, allowing the German to extend his lead at the top of the drivers’ championship to 29 points.

In a post-race debrief, Rosberg admitted that he could have backed out of the move and chose not to, leaving team bosses fuming. However, he has now accepted the blame in a meeting held today in England.

For Webber, the team must rein its drivers back in to ensure that another on-track clash does not happen.

“Now we have a very difficult situation at Mercedes where the drivers are not enjoying a good relationship,” he explained on Red Bull’s in-house TV channel, Servus.

“It’s going to be interesting, not just for the rest of this year but can they drive together in the future? Is it okay for 2015 for the team to have the two guys together?

“The thing is, who is now going to try to put this back together? Is it the people who pay Niki’s and Toto’s wages? Because at the end of the day, if the drivers are not listening to these guys, do they have to say, ‘Lewis and Nico, you go chat to the big guys at Mercedes, because they’re paying you guys to get the job done in a team environment.’

“At the moment it’s not a team, it looks like the drivers are doing their own thing.”

Hartley says debut F1 point would be ‘a dream’ from last on grid

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Brendon Hartley says scoring a point on his Formula 1 debut would be “a dream” after being resigned to last place on the grid for the United States Grand Prix following an engine penalty.

Porsche factory driver Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso to replace Pierre Gasly for the USGP when the Frenchman was ruled out due to clashing commitments in Super Formula.

Despite having not driven an F1 car since 2012, Hartley came within one-tenth of a second of making it through to Q2 on Saturday at the Circuit of The Americas, ultimately qualifying 18th.

“Obviously I’d love to be quicker but we knew we were starting at the back, so we put a lot of focus on long runs, getting the peak performance out of this Pirelli tire I didn’t get today,” Hartley told NBCSN after the race.

“In FP3 I had a good feeling. There’s a lot of quirky things to manage with these tires. Honestly I should be happy with how the weekend’s gone so far.”

The New Zealander will start last due to a 25-place grid penalty for changes made to his power unit ahead of practice on Friday, and is daring to dream of making the top 10 in his first race out of a sports car for more than five years.

“I don’t do the 24 hours completely alone!” Hartley joked. “It’s quick. It’s physical to drive. I’ll be happy to be done after an hour and a half.

“A point would be a dream starting from the back. If I can move forward and put a race together, I’ll be happy.”

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 2pm ET on Sunday.