Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton believes he may not be able to trust teammate and world championship rival, Nico Rosberg, on the track after Sunday's Belgian GP collision
Spa: Lewis Hamilton revealed yesterday that he may not be able to trust his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in their future on-track duels for the drivers' world title.
Mercedes' Nico Rosberg (right) collides with teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Belgium Grand Prix in Spa on Sunday and (Inset) Lewis Hamilton. Pics/AFP
Hamilton was forced to retire from Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix after suffering a puncture when Rosberg drove into him on the second lap, said he was uncertain how to approach the next race, the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on September 7.
He had claimed that Rosberg admitted he had deliberately hit him 'to make a point' in their collision, but the German, who now leads the title race by 29 points, said it was only a racing incident.
"Well, when you're out there you have to trust the people to think with their heads and don't do things deliberately," said Hamilton.
"I don't really know how to approach the next race, but all I know is that I've got to push, I've got a long way to come back from it.
Hamilton and Rosberg have been involved in a series of incidents this season, but none raised the stakes as high, or so dramatically, as Rosberg's decision to hold his line and allow his front wing to clip Hamilton's left rear tyre.
Hamilton said: "I can't imagine what the team would do now. We came into this weekend with a really positive mind-set — I really was excited.
It's interesting because we had that meeting on Thursday and Nico expressed how angry he was (about the Hungarian Grand Prix where Hamilton ignored a team request to allow him to pass).
"I was thinking 'it's been three weeks and you've been lingering?'
"He expressed how angry he was and he literally sat there and said how angry he was at Toto and Paddy.
"But I thought we should be good after that... And then this result? It's interesting..."
Hamilton was clearly pointing to the connection between Rosberg's smouldering mood and his aggressive misjudgement in Sunday's race when he could have lifted and steered his car out of danger.
Instead, Rosberg chose to keep his speed and his line and the team, as well as both drivers, paid the consequences.
Nico Rosberg (GER) 202
Lewis Hamilton (GER) 191
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) 131
Fernando Alonso (SPAIN) 115
Valtteri Bottas (FINLAND) 95
A look at some incidents Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have been involved in this season:
Bahrain GP (April 6)
> It was captivating stuff from Hamilton and Rosberg as they went to wheel-to-wheel on numerous occasions, at one point brushing rubber, but for the most part they kept it clean, with the former winning.
Spanish GP (May 11)
> Hamilton triumphed again, by just 0.6 seconds, from Rosberg in what on the surface was another stunning struggle for supremacy, only for it to later emerge Hamilton turned up his engine mode to keep Rosberg at bay. Hamilton claimed it was retaliation for Rosberg doing the same in Bahrain that allowed him to attack.
Monaco GP (May 24)
> With Spain in mind, and on provisional pole, Rosberg headed down the only run-off area of Monaco's famed street circuit at Mirabeau after seemingly out-braking himself. In opting to reverse in a bid to get back on track, the yellow flags were brought out, forcing Hamilton to slow, so missing out on pole. A furious Hamilton suggested he would drive Rosberg off the road if given the chance.
Canadian GP (June 8)
> Hamilton reeled in leader Rosberg and was right behind him at one point, only for the latter to cut straight across the final chicane. Because Rosberg did not gain a place, no penalty was handed out, but it doubled his slender time advantage on track. Hamilton eventually retired from the race.
Hungarian GP (July 27)
> "Panic", according to non-executive chairman Niki Lauda, set in on the Mercedes pit wall due to the complicated nature of the race. The team told Hamilton to yield to Rosberg with the duo third and fourth, believing the latter to have a better chance of victory. Hamilton refused to yield, rightly claiming Rosberg was never once in a position to make a move. Rosberg fumed after the race, and again in a meeting a few weeks later as the team favoured Hamilton on this occasion.