Following a meeting with Mercedes bosses in England today, Nico Rosberg has issued a public apology to teammate Lewis Hamilton and Formula 1 fans for his part in the incident that marred last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.
On the second lap of the race at Spa-Francorchamps, Rosberg tried to overtake Hamilton around the outside of Les Combes, and refused to back out of the move despite there being plenty of run-off area to use. The two made contact, leaving Hamilton with a puncture that ruined his race. The Briton ultimately retired with six laps remaining.
Rosberg managed to continue in the race and finished second, extending his lead in the drivers’ championship to 29 points. However, he met the wrath of the team bosses when he admitted that he chose not to back out of the move so that he could “prove a point”.
The drivers and team bosses met in England today to discuss the incident, resulting in Rosberg accepting responsibility for the incident and being disciplined by the team.
Rosberg has released the following statement this afternoon:
“In the days since the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa, I have spent a lot of time thinking about what happened during the race and discussing it with the team.
“I have already expressed my regret about the incident but, after meeting with Toto, Paddy and Lewis today, I wish to go a step further and describe it as an error of judgement on my part.
“The number one rule for us as teammates is that we must not collide but that is exactly what happened.
“For that error of judgement, I apologise to Lewis and the team. I also want to say sorry to the fans who were deprived of our battle for the lead in Belgium.
“Lewis and I have been given clear instructions about how we race each other. As drivers, we have a clear responsibility to the team, the fans of the sport, our partners and Mercedes-Benz to deliver clean racing. We take that responsibility very seriously.
“I look forward to concluding the season with hard, fair competition on and off track right up to the final lap of the season in Abu Dhabi.”
The German driver will not face any sanction from the FIA, but has been disciplined internally at Mercedes. The team has not gone into any further detail on the matter.