Rosberg says he chose to apologise for Spa crash

2014 Belgian Grand Prix

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Nico Rosberg says it was his decision to apologise to team mate Lewis Hamilton for the collision between the pair during the Belgian Grand Prix.

Asked during today’s press conference whether the team had ordered him to take responsibility for the crash Rosberg said “no – they can’t make me apologise”.

“Definitely it was a decision that came from me. After hearing people’s opinions and having looked at it myself again I felt it was my responsibility.”

Rosberg said he wanted to live up to the responsibility of being a championship contender.

“In Spa definitely I was not proud of the way it went because in general I really want to contribute to my sport – in inverted commas – because I want it to be the most entertaining sport in the world. If I am able to contribute to that in many ways throughout the season I’m very happy about that.”

However Hamilton resisted the urge to draw comparisons with past Formula One title battles.

“I don’t think I have a responsibility towards history,” he said. “History is created every day. I just love racing and I’m proud to be amongst all the drivers here and trying to enjoy every days as it comes.”

“Everything becomes history eventually. I personally don’t put us in the same ranking as the greats ‘back in the day’.”

“We always get a big slap on the wrist”

Asked whether, like Rosberg after Spa, he had been punished for refusing to let his team mate past in Hungary, Hamilton answered: “We have meetings always, we always get a big slap on the wrist. But as I said I’m moving forward.”

“In actual fact in Hungary I didn’t say ‘no’ to the situation, I said ‘if he gets close I’ll let him by’ so I wouldn’t hold him up. Afterwards I sat with Toto [Wolff] and Paddy [Lowe] and they said ‘you made the right choice’.

“As human beings we have the right to question things that are said to us, or orders, just to make sure that it is the right one and it turns out that wasn’t the right one and the team said that to me in the meeting.”

And Hamilton conceded it was unclear what precedent the collision set for future incidents between the pair, when asked whether the FIA should look more closely at incidents involving championship contenders.

“I think the FIA have a tough job and particularly over the last years they’ve done an exceptional job, I think, on the majority of the calls. I think the problem is that rules don’t always… the scenario is always different so the same rules don’t always apply exactly. Sometimes perhaps it’s difficult to say which rule applies to what situation.

“But I think it’s a very good question, to be honest, because how do we move forward from that? Does that mean that we can all now say OK, we can race a lot closer and if the guy in front comes off and is out of the race, nothing is going to happen, so then we will be more relaxed towards it? Does that mean if it happens again there will be a penalty?

“I think we’re always asking to be able to race. It’s very hard out there to manoeuvre a car at those high speeds without sometimes having contact. But it’s a fine line.”

2014 Belgian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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38 comments on “Rosberg says he chose to apologise for Spa crash”

  1. “I’m really sorry that I took out my main rival and gained 18 points on him.”

    Somehow I don’t think Rosberg would mind making one of these apologies again.

    1. gee, sorry Lewis for barging you out of the last race. I know you might have won otherwise – let me just put this big throphy away – but cheer up, it really hurt my feelings more than yours

      Or something like that.

  2. How do you make your apology seem more legit? Keep talking about it as if it were a business decision.

    1. I doubt many would believe it was genuine anyhow now, would we @npf1?

      Actually the way he presents this, it does seem to fit his character to think things over and come to such a conclusion – i.e. its better to take the blame because it makes Nico feel better about himself.

  3. Like my dad always said and it’s still true, actions speak louder than words.

  4. In all the discussions about the Belgian incident I haven’t seen it mentioned that by Rosberg leaving his wing in the path of Hamilton’s car it actually endangered him more than Hamilton. It’s only in hindsight that everybody views it as a premeditated act.
    I think the apology is a PR stunt devised by Lowe and Wolff to prevent one of their drivers from becoming one of the most unpopular sports people on the planet.
    He made an error yes but that’s common place in a sport where you travel at 200mph+ and need to be accurate to the nearest micron. The appology is not genuine because there is no need for an apology, other than to appease the F1 mob, thirsty for blood, in a sport now devoid of any off track drama.

    1. +18.
      Thats been my point since the crash, but it doesnt seem to be the popular opinion.

      1. Its been mentioned many times…It does not change the result.Hamilton DID NOT run into Rosberg.If Nico did not apologize the feud would just be beginning.Why do Rosberg fans feel no apology is needed when Nico apologized?

    2. Yeah pretty much agree with you.

    3. I think you’ve missed the point. Not many see it as a premeditated act at all. It was however a very poor attempt at an over ambitious pass. Rosberg made the mistake which cost his team mate a lot of points. Why don’t you feel he should apologise ?

    4. I’ve seen it mentioned.

      But I think most F1 fans, and NR, understand that a nose change would cost 8 seconds whereas a puncture there meant DNS. Add the steering into Hamilton’s wheel and it was all a bit obvious.

      I’m interested what Brundle has to say about it this weekend, after his Sky article where he called it ‘an instantaneous moment of anger and petulance‘. He wanted it to be non-deliberate as we heard in commentary, but changed his mind later.

      For me, anyway, it’s actually to Rosberg’s credit that his apology was so unconvincing.

    5. you are under the presumption that it was some sort of deliberate attempt to endanger Lewis, take him out (framed by the commentators, reaching, looking for a way to obviate the obvious). Fact is Nico did deliberately turn in to his teammate, nobody knows whether or not he was trying to deliberately take out his teammate, and that really doesn’t matter because what happened happened. And if Nico is not responsible for deliberately steering in to his teammate, what does that say about the FIA, stewards and the integrity of the sport.

      Actions do speak louder than words, but don’t pretend you can use an invalid argument to discount what Nico actually did. Thats really not what happened, what happened is clear for everyone to see on replay.

      1. There is no question that after what he said about making a point he really did cause a collision deliberately. Maybe he didn’t plan on specifically ruing the tyre and Lewis race in that way but he is responsible for causing a collision deliberately.
        Basically he just wanted to play the hard man that wouldn’t back out but from the moment he lost the corner it was his responsibility to back out of the move and he didn’t not because he didn’t manage to do so but because he wanted to keep his nose there to “prove a point” then he really did cause a deliberate accident.

    6. Makes Rosberg look pretty silly doesnt it

    7. Yet the “I did it to prove point” statement that Rosberg made says otherwise.

  5. Hamilton is spot on here – “But I think it’s a very good question, to be honest, because how do we move forward from that? Does that mean that we can all now say OK, we can race a lot closer and if the guy in front comes off and is out of the race, nothing is going to happen, so then we will be more relaxed towards it? Does that mean if it happens again there will be a penalty?”

    This was and is my issue.. I don’t think Nico should have received a penalty. Problem is, he caused a collision and in-effect ended someone else’s race (yes I know Hamilton drove fairlyquickly back to the pits, but he had to do so on that insanely long track, if he wanted a sniff at WDC points). What do the stewards do going forward? My guess is leave as is.. But as I said before, it’s causing a collision, and ruining someone’s race which at the very least warrants some looking into in the future.

    1. I hope it doesn’t set any precedent and the stewards consider every collision on its own merits, or lack of them. I’m just glad the FIA haven’t overreacted to this, and announced they’re going to dish out penalties for everything. There’ll be enough penalties anyway for clapped-out old engines and hybrid bits towards the end of the season.

      But I would have preferred to see messages that the stewards were investigating, followed by no further action (that may have given them more options for punishments after the race, or this weekend).

    2. I think it’s important that the stewards show some consistency at the very least. They handed Magnussen a penalty for an almost identical incident earlier this season at the Chinese GP.

      Pirro (one of driver Stewards in Belgium) was reported as saying “We needed less than 10 seconds to decide that the contact was innocuous and not worth pursuing”. How they can hand out a penalty at one race whilst not even properly considering an investigation for an almost identical collision at another and be so nonchalant about the decision is beyond reason.

      1. That’s the problem with the moronic FIA Andrew! Having a whole new panel of stewards at each race weekend is so dumb it’s almost funny. That’s why there hasn’t been consistency in stewards’ decisions for years, and why there most likely never will be. Get people who do this week-in, week-out and life would be much better.

        Indeed @bullfrog driver caused a collision so the graphic should’ve popped up and the stewards should have taken a look. If they took no action then fine, it’s the exact same outcome but why not at least have a look into it? It’s not like they were massively busy or anything

    3. @timi what Hamilton says here is what they call “Moral hazard” in insurance industry.

      When you’re insured and your bad behavior is not penalized you will be more to taking risks…

      Like you said, Lewis was spot on.

  6. Causing a collision normally gets the driver a penalty, so why not here? Nico should get at least a 10 place grid penalty in Italy, that would just give Hamilton a head start. Nico would soon get back to second as long as he did not have contact with the cars in front and lose a front wing end plate.

    1. I think they look differently at incidents between team mates. Like when Button put Hamilton in the wall in Canada.

      It would have been terribly awkward if Hamilton had gotten Button a penalty for that incident and caused Button’s win to be taken away. So the Stewards didn’t punish Button for the incident because he “hadn’t seen” Hamilton overtake him. As if that “normally” is a good enough excuse for causing a collision.

      Makes sense that the stewards let the teams deal with those incidents themselves. Although they could (and do) intervene if it gets too bad.

      1. That was stupid too. The guy threw him into the wall and no punishment. It was stupid. Can you imagine if instead of Button it was Schumacher? People will be screaming. It doesn’t matter if he wanted to do it or not. What matters is that he did. The same goes here. Rosberg should have gotten something even if it as just a 5 second pit stop delay because saying it was a racing incident alone isn’t an accurate description because it may have been a racing incident(all of them are) but one was clearly at fault and one wasn’t.
        But the stewards excuse is that they think the guy didn’t really want to do it in both occasion which is stupid because what he wanted is irrelevant.

        I’m certain in 2012 Grosjean didn’t deliberate cause the chaos at the Spa race start and he didn’t really want to hit Lewis and Alonso and all the others but he still got a race ban. Well if we are judging based on intentions and not incidents then Grosjean shouldn’t have been penalized at all because he definitely didn’t intend to cause that chaos.

  7. Hello –
    I read an article this morning of an interview on another site where Alonso and Vettel each stated that Rosberg had done nothing wrong in their opinion. I don’t intend to stir any trouble up, I just thought that this was an interesting point of view from other F1 drivers. It is refreshing to see that this point of view is shared by others besides myself. I couldn’t help but wonder if the public opinion, which seems to be that Rosberg crashed into Hamilton for no reason, is shared by any other drivers. To me, it is why it is called racing. I am no Lewis Hamilton, but if it were me that had been in Lewis Hamilton’s shoes on that 2nd lap, I would have held to the inside line and not risked anything since it would be me with more to lose.
    Alonso also stated that he felt Hamilton was the best driver in F1, and that it was not Vettel. I wish he would have said where he thought Alonso was in the list.

      1. Apologies, I didn’t know if posting links were frowned upon. was where I read the article.

      2. This is the article in which Alonso “rates” Vettel and Hamilton.

    1. Emm…They don’t say that he had done nothing wrong at all. They just say they don’t believe he planned the whole thing to go the way it did(basically aiming for Lewis weak tyre wall to give him a puncture). They still think he was the one to blame for the incident it self.

  8. How about an actual practical apology?

    Move out of Hamilton’s way in the final lap/corner if you are leading in any of the coming few races and hand him a +14 points difference.

    Hamilton (if grown up yet) may become a real friend of yours and Mercedes Team gains the world in driver harmony by showing grown up respect for each other’s desire to win the Title.

    Action speaks louder than words as above said.

    PS: Make sure the fans know that before you do it, so they credit you for it and no say it was a mistake or Mercedes ordered that.

    Good luck to both. May the most deserving guy wins (where are you Alonso :)

  9. I don’t think I have a responsibility towards history,” he said. “History is created every day. I just love racing and I’m proud to be amongst all the drivers here and trying to enjoy every days as it comes.”

    Everything becomes history eventually.

    BREAKING NEWS For the first time ever, Lewis Hamilton says something wise in a press conference

  10. Ham sounding good in this press conference. Good man.

  11. I still can’t believe that the mistake Nico made deliberate or not didn’t emir a penalty, it cost a driver a race finish for gods sake!

    1. While I do see that side of the situation in terms of costing a driver a race finish, I think it should always matter if it was deliberate or not. Simply, a racing incident should be left as just that, or else racers in the pinnacle of racing will be inhibited from racing. Deliberately whacking a guy to me should always instill a maximum penalty. But even then, we’ve seen that called ‘instinctual’ and the bloke let off with a slap on the wrist.

      Like it or not F1 has always used discretion in enforcing the rules when it comes to helping shape the season, and I think having just come off backing off on administering so many penalties, combined with probably not wanting to appear to be meddling in the WDC fight that is operating fine on it’s own in terms of generating headlines, and knowing it (the WDC) is only between these two drivers, they left this one alone.

      1. Should not carelessness or negligence be penalised? What about sheer belligerence? “I’m coming through, move over or we crash”

        I’m struggling to think of instances where a driver has deliberately crashed into another. Maldonado on Perez in Monaco 2012 recently, then back to Schumacher in the 90s and Prost/Senna in the 80s. If “deliberate” were the criteria then there would only have been a handful of penalties in the past 30 years and Maldonado would have an almost spotless record.

        Its baffling that Rosberg wasn’t penalised for something that was at the very least extremely careless, very possibly petulantly stupid.

        1. I think it is a fine line at times. And I don’t think NR was careless nor belligerent. He was racing, and wanting to should LH that he was not going to make it easy for him. They only just touched and nothing suggests to me it was NR’s plan all along to hit LH. Just stand his ground. And remain healthy to go on and win the race.

          So I think that depending on the person and how they saw and interpreted the incident, or even whether or not they pull for LH or NR or neither or both, that is what will determine the level of ‘crime’ by that person’s perspective. MS was given a slap on the wrist for whacking JV at Jerez 97 because Moseley decided to call it ‘instinctual.’ So based on a decision like that, that kind of a precedent where a hit is about as blatant as it gets, yet deemed instinctual, why aren’t all contacts merely instinctual? Why shouldn’t NR’s move simply have been deemed the same?

          1. I think we have very different ideas on what constitutes a `slap on the wrist`. Schumacher was actually disqualified from the championship for crashing into Villenueve.

            In fact Moseley had warned there would be sever consequences if a driver attempted to deliberately influence the course of the championship through this kind of action. Although initially deemed a racing incident it was only after post race investigations the truth was discovered. Sound familiar?

  12. Laughs just never stop !

  13. Rosberg needs to just stop talking about the incident.

    He did what he did, on track, where it mattered most. It was not acceptable and the F1 world let him know and gave it back to him with very vocal criticism.

    Even his team publicly denounced his actions and penalized him, in their own internal way.

    Now, after that, to come out and make statements of apology which don’t really sound/feel like that. Why?
    If he hopes to win back fans with this or this is a planned PR exercise in damage control, he is doing it wrong.

    If I remember right, on the podium he said that he did not know who was at fault. He would have to “see” it.

    Then there was that issue where Hamilton and Mercedes said that “broadly” putting it, he had caused the accident on purpose.

    And then, after being penalized by his team, with his first public apology, he added that Lauda had apologized to him. And that Lauda should not have said what he did. The fact of the matter being, his decisions on track led to that.
    If someone is disappointed with their employee, they have the right to talk about it. And since the employee publicly harmed the team and it’s image. He must face the music.

    And now to come out and say that he apologized not because the team forced him to, but because

    “After hearing people’s opinions and having looked at it myself again I felt it was my responsibility.”

    Peer pressure, anyone? He felt it was his responsibility? Responsibility to apologize? Not his fault?

    “In Spa definitely I was not proud of the way it went because in general I really want to contribute to my sport – in inverted commas – because I want it to be the most entertaining sport in the world. If I am able to contribute to that in many ways throughout the season I’m very happy about that.”

    So he is apologizing because he robbed the fans of a duel by his actions? Because as a championship contender it his responsibility? Again, not his fault? Very roundabout way to go about giving his apology.

    All of this does not sound heart-felt.

    The name Britney for him is very apt, it seems. Very ‘Toxic’ to work with.

    I just hope we don’t have a “Oops! I did it again” scenario.

    These statements from Rosberg have not convinced me though.

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