World champion Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg’s rivalry spilled over after the pair collided in a dramatic Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday.
Both drivers accused the other of causing the final-lap crash in which Hamilton decisively took the lead and Rosberg suffered damage to his front wing, condemning him to fourth place.
Victory saw Hamilton cut Rosberg’s lead in the championship to 11 points, while the controversial flashpoint heightened an already fierce rivalry between the racers ahead of next week’s British Grand Prix.
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Rosberg appeared to try to force Hamilton off the road, taking a very wide line on Turn Two as the Briton attempted to overtake, and then colliding with him again when he rejoined the track.
Hamilton said Rosberg had “made a mistake”, adding: “I left a lot of room on the inside and I guess he looked up and crashed into me.”
Former Formula One stars Damon Hill and Heikki Kovalainen both blamed the German in comments on social media, but Rosberg appeared to point the finger at Hamilton.
To me, Nico was out of order blocking the track. Hamilton did not deserve being booed. #AustrianGP— Damon Hill (@HillF1) July 3, 2016
“I went a bit deep but that is fine because I am on the inside so I can dictate,” he said. “So I was surprised Lewis turned in and caused a collision. It’s unbelievable.”
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff called the crash “brainless”, while stewards later handed Rosberg a 10-second penalty, which did not affect the race results.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen took advantage of the drama to overtake Rosberg and claim the other podium spots.