Nico Rosberg said he had to run off the circuit to avoid colliding with his team mate at the start of the Japanese Grand Prix.
Rosberg, who started from pole position, lost his advantage to Lewis Hamilton at the start when he went wide.
“It was very close throughout the corner,” said Rosberg. “On the exit I had to go off the track to avoid a collision, which cost me speed and pushed me back to fourth place.”
Mercedes motorsport director Toto Wolff said the close moment between his two drivers was a worrying moment. “That was pretty stressful to watch as they drifted out towards the edge of the track, with Nico forced to run up on the kerb,” he said, “and Lewis complained about some understeer in turn two straight after that.”
Rosberg said he was “fighting for P2 today rather than the win” after losing the initiative at the start.
“I was able to push then and overtake Valtteri [Bottas], which was great. The team did also a great job with the undercut of Sebastian [Vettel], this worked out perfectly with a really hard out-lap on the new tyres.”
“So second place is damage limitation for me, as I had to win here in Japan to close the gap to Lewis.”