Hamilton ignores boos over Rosberg shunt at Red Bull Ring
Nico Rosberg accused Austrian Grand Prix race winner Lewis Hamilton of causing the accident that decided Sunday’s race at the Red Bull Ring, with team orders being threatened by Mercedes chief Toto Wolff in a bid to try and control the two drivers as the championship battle turned bitter.
Despite all the evidence suggesting Rosberg was to blame, the championship leader claimed he was “surprised” that Hamilton chose to turn in for the second corner on the final lap.
Rosberg suffered enough damage to his front wing for it to detach and become lodged under his car, dropping the German to fourth as a result, while Hamilton emerged unscathed and completed the lap to take the chequered flag and seal his first win in Austria.
A stewards’ investigation into the action deemed that Rosberg was to blame for the accident, with the German receiving a 10-second time penalty as well as two points on his licence and a reprimand for driving back to the pits.
However, the time penalty wasn’t enough to change the result, with Rosberg holding on to fourth place.
“I went a bit deep into the corner, but that’s fine because I’m on the inside — I dictate,” Rosberg told reporters after the race.
“I was very surprised that Lewis turned in and caused a collision. We were battling, I was struggling a little bit with my brakes because they got a bit hot in the end.
“My tyres were degrading, so that gave Lewis a chance.
“Nevertheless I was confident I could defend and bring it home. I had the inside position, a strong position.
“Very gutted, it’s unbelievable this sport sometimes. I was sure to win that race and then I lost it on the last lap. That’s pretty intense.”
Where Rosberg felt Hamilton should have turned is unknown, but the three-time world champion was already against the white line and would have needed to leave the circuit in an attempt to avoid Rosberg.
Wolf was furious at the time of the accident, with the Mercedes head of motorsport angrily beating the table in front of him in the pit lane when the threat of a double DNF became real, but Hamilton wanted to focus more on the race victory that puts him to within 11 points of the title lead.
“I don’t think anything will be said,” Hamilton said after recording the 46th grand prix victory of his career.
“I don’t have a great picture of what went on. I know where I was on the track.
“But there is no problem, we were racing hard. Sometimes these things happen.”
Despite the blame being laid at Rosberg’s door, Hamilton faced loud boos on the podium from a partisan Austrian crowd, with a large number of Germans among the thousands in attendance.
However, Hamilton was eager to shrug off the jeers, though he did admit his surprise at the reaction he faced.
“Of course it’s not great, especially with how much I love it here,” he said.
“But I forgive them. They have the right to have an opinion. I’m not sure why they have done it, but it doesn’t really make any difference to me. I won the race fair and square.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital