Nico Rosberg was surprised by the move that Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton made on the first lap of Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix that ultimately caused them to crash out of the race.
Rosberg made the better start from second on the grid in Barcelona, 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.
Both the team and the stewards cleared either driver of causing a collision, deeming it to have been a racing incident.
Hamilton claimed after the race that Rosberg had been going slowly into the corner as he was running in the wrong engine mode, which was backed up by the stewards.
Speaking after the race, Rosberg gave his version of events, saying that he was surprised Hamilton had tried to pass on the inside.
“I was aware of the situation, I saw Lewis coming closer, so I went for the usual racing driver action of closing the door as early as I could,” Rosberg said.
“I was making it clear I wasn’t leaving any space, so I was very surprised that he went for the gap anyway.
“The stewards decided it was a race incident, so we will accept that – we will leave it at that.”
The retirement ended Rosberg’s run of seven straight victories, and although he remains 39 points clear in the drivers’ championship, his frustration was evident.
“It was my race and our race to win,” Rosberg said.
“I was here to win, that’s what I was looking forward to and what I was really excited about at Turn 1 after getting past Lewis.
“So for us to end in the sandtrap like that, it is as bad as it gets.”