Mercedes allow pair to keep racing

Nico Rosberg, right, has apologised for his collision with Lewis Hamilton at the Belgian Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg, right, has apologised for his collision with Lewis Hamilton at the Belgian Grand Prix

First published in National Sport © by

Mercedes have decided to allow feuding team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to continue to race this season following clear-the-air talks on Friday.

The Brackley-based marque conceded to taking "suitable disciplinary measures" against Rosberg after he "acknowledged his responsibility" for the collision with Hamilton in Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix.

Mercedes, however, have refused to expand on the exact nature of the sanctions imposed on Rosberg, be it financial or whether he will be forced to yield at some point in a forthcoming race.

For now, at least, a line appears to have been drawn in the sand and the two drivers can continue to go head to head in their battle for this year's Formula One title, providing they keep it clean.

Hamilton, who revealed after a heated post-race meeting the German had declared to driving into the Briton "on purpose...to prove a point", believes the team are owed an honest fight between them.

That was far from the case at Spa when Rosberg wrecked Hamilton's race by causing a puncture to the rear-left tyre of his team-mate's car by clipping it with his front wing.

Hamilton acknowledged other incidents that have taken place this season perhaps led to the campaign coming to a head in Spa.

"Nico and I accept we have both made mistakes and I feel it would be wrong to point fingers and say which one is worse than the other," said Hamilton, via his official website.

"What's important is how we rise as a team from these situations. We win and we lose together and, as a team, we will emerge stronger.

"There is a deep foundation that still exists for me and Nico to work from, in spite of our difficult times and differences.

"We have the greatest team, the strongest group of individuals who have worked their hands to the bone to give us the best car you see us racing today.

"It's important we never forget that and give them the results they deserve."

Upon hearing what Hamilton had said regarding the meeting on Sunday, Rosberg took to his video blog to say his version of events were "very different".

But following a further meeting at the team's base in Brackley involving the two drivers, motorsport boss Toto Wolff and executive technical director Paddy Lowe, Rosberg has been forced to come clean.

Via his own statement, Rosberg has now apologised for the first time as he said: "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 team mates 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."

Crucially for F1 fans, Mercedes have decided not to enforce team orders on their drivers at any stage over the final seven races.

A statement read: "Mercedes-Benz remains committed to hard, fair racing because this is the right way to win world championships. It is good for the team, for the fans and for Formula One.

"Lewis and Nico understand and accept the team's number one rule: there must be no contact between the team's cars on track.

"It has been made clear that another such incident will not be tolerated. But Nico and Lewis are our drivers and we believe in them.

"They remain free to race for the 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship."

As far as Hamilton is concerned, despite falling 29 points adrift of Rosberg, he is convinced he can still win his second title.

"It's going to be a tough road from here, but championships have been won from much further back than I am now," said Hamilton.

"And I promise you I will be giving everything and more to win this for my team, for my family and for my fans."

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