Hamilton on Rosberg dustup: ‘He said he did it on purpose’

Mercedes-AMG's drivers Lewis Hamilton (left) and Nico Rosberg collide at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on Sunday during the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix.

JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton has caused a stir by revealing that Nico Rosberg admitted that he could have avoided the controversial contact in Belgium – but didn’t to prove a point.

Hamilton said that the conversation occurred in a post-race meeting with Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe. The news is bound to have further repercussions within the team, and possibly with the FIA. The stewards gave Rosberg the benefit of the doubt and classed it as a racing incident.

“We just had a meeting about it and he basically said he did it on purpose,” said Hamilton. “He said he did it on purpose – he said he could have avoided it. He said ‘I did it to prove a point.’ He basically said I did it to prove a point. You don’t have to just rely on me, go and ask Toto about it and those guys, who were not happy with him as well.”

He continued: “What we’re told to do is we have to finish for the team. The team has priority, always. Even if they say we can race, the team has priority, it doesn’t mean that we can go out there and crash into each other.

“I thought today was going to be a good day. When I started second I knew that I was on a different strategy to him, like we’ve had in the previous races, I knew that I would be on the prime in the middle stint, so I knew that I had a chance if I didn’t get him at the start, I’d have a chance later. I knew that if I overtook him at the start, he would have that chance. I knew that it would be a long race, a hard race, and I thought we’d have a good one.”

Hamilton was adamant that the contact was not his fault.

“This year the team have allowed us to race and we’ve been good at racing wheel-to-wheel closely. I think I heard someone say that it was inevitable that we were going to crash one day, I don’t feel that today was that inevitability. I took the inside line, I had the corner, we braked very deep into the corner, because if I’d braked early he would have come down the outside. We went in very deep but I still made the corner on the same normal line that I would do normally. He was in my blind spot… Well I can see actually quite far behind me, I knew that he was behind, so then I continued my line.

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“I thought for sure there would be an investigation. I’m mostly disappointed for the team, of course for myself because I lose points, and that makes my championship a lot harder. Coming into this weekend the team – I don’t know why because we were already racing hard with each other – but they said we want you to be able to race. I don’t know how literal he took that differently, because for me the priority was still for the team to finish.

“You can ask Fernando and all drivers, when a car is less than half a car length alongside you, and you’re in the inside, it’s your racing line. It’s not your job to go massively out of your way to leave extra room. And it wasn’t one of those corners where there’s a wall there or anything.”

Rosberg was asked by the media about the incident soon after the finish of the race:

”It’s not my position to comment on it at all because I haven’t seen it,” Rosberg said.

Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff called the situation ”absolutely unacceptable” and blamed Rosberg.

Rosberg looked visibly uncomfortable in the post-race news conference when asked to respond to Wolff’s comments.

”I respect their opinion,” Rosberg said. ”The inside was blocked and I gave it a go on the outside.”