Mercedes non-executive director Niki Lauda has laid blame with Lewis Hamilton for the crash that saw the German marque lose both of its cars on the first lap of the Spanish Grand Prix.
Nico Rosberg made the better start from P2 on the grid, sweeping around the outside of Hamilton at the first corner. Hamilton fought back and lined up a move down the inside of Turn 4, with Rosberg shifting his car to the right-hand side of the track to block him off.
Hamilton refused to back down though, moving onto the grass and losing control. His car clipped the barrier before then careering into Rosberg ahead, eliminating both drivers on the spot.
The drivers were shown trudging up to a Mercedes unit in the paddock still wearing their helmets, with team bosses Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe following them in minutes later.
Although Mercedes is yet to say anything official on the crash or issue comment from either driver, non-executive director and three-time Formula 1 world champion Lauda felt that Hamilton was to blame.
“Lewis was too aggressive,” Lauda said soon after the crash.
“For both to be out after two corners is completely unacceptable.”
The clash means that Rosberg will retain his 43-point advantage over Hamilton in the drivers’ championship, but – more importantly – it will stoke the fire of their tenuous relationship yet again.