2016 Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg offered his thoughts on the clash between current title rivals Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton in Baku, believing himself to be in the “best position” to pass judgment.
Rosberg fought Mercedes teammate Hamilton for the drivers’ championship in 2014, 2015 and 2016, eventually claiming his first crown last year before retiring from F1.
Rosberg and Hamilton enjoyed a tense relationship that saw their rivalry spill over with on-track clashes on a number of occasions, contrasting the early stages of this year’s title battle that – until Baku, when the pair collided behind the safety car – seemed cordial.
Vettel accused Hamilton of brake testing him and slowing deliberately behind the safety car that meant they touched and reacted by swiping towards him, causing contact. Vettel was penalized in the race and could be penalized further by the FIA.
Rosberg appeared at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England on Sunday, taking part in a public interview with ex-F1 driver Mark Webber, who asked if he had watched the race.
After confirming he’d watched the race, Rosberg quickly asked: “So what was your opinion on that one, Mark? Who was to blame, Lewis or Sebastian? Be honest now…”
Webber said it was “very easy”, pinning the blame on Vettel before asking Rosberg for his thoughts.
“My opinion? I’m German. I’ve got to be careful now…” Rosberg joked, before giving his view on Hamilton’s alleged brake test.
“It’s pretty simple. To be honest, I’m the guy who knows Lewis best in the whole of the racing industry, so I think I’m in the best position to judge it.
“For sure he didn’t do that on purpose, definitely.”