Mercedes drivers react to crunch talks
29 August 2014 – Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have publicly responded to the clear-the-air talks staged at the team's Brackley factory on Friday, in the wake of their collision at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Rosberg inflicted a puncture on Hamilton when he clipped the rear of his team-mate's car on the second lap of last weekend's race at Spa-Francorchamps, resulting in the latter's retirement and leading to Executive Directors Toto Wolff (Business) and Paddy Lowe (Technical) organising the talks to lay down the law moving forward.
Whilst Mercedes confirmed that Rosberg "acknowledged his responsibility" for the clash, the German has spoken out to make clear his apology to both Hamilton and the team, admitting that he made an "error of judgement".
Hamilton, meanwhile, says he feels it would be "wrong to point fingers" after numerous controversial moments throughout the season, and explained that there is "a deep foundation that still exists" between the pair.
Nico Rosberg's full statement:
'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.'
Lewis Hamilton's full statement:
'Today we came together as a team and discussed our differences.
'Nico and I accept that we have both made mistakes and I feel it would be wrong to point fingers and say which one is worse than the other.
'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 that we never forget that and give them the results they deserve.
'Today, Toto and Paddy told us clearly how we must race against each other from now on in a fair and respectful manner.
'The fans want to see a clean fight until the end of the season and that's what we want to give them.
'It's going to be a tough road from here but championships have been won from much further back than I am now.
'And I promise you that I will be giving everything and more to win this for my team, for my family and for my fans.'