Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says blame for Lewis Hamilton and Formula 1 teammate Nico Rosberg’s collision on the first lap of the Spanish Grand Prix is “not clear cut.”
Hamilton got a run on Rosberg on the exit of Turn 3 after losing the lead at the start but as the German defended, Hamilton ended up on the grass, spinning out of control and collecting the sister car.
In the wake of the incident, Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda blamed Hamilton and described the accident as “unacceptable.” But following a debrief that involved both drivers, Wolff, Lauda and Paddy Lowe, Wolff said “no one is to blame entirely.”
“We’ve spoken to both drivers – it’s not clear cut,” he said. “It’s not 100 percent pro one and zero for the other, which is why I wouldn’t want to attribute any blame.
“It’s a very difficult situation for the team because we’ve lost 43 points after huge effort in the last couple of weeks. But you know we let the drivers race and sometimes this happens.
“The stewards are going to make a decision. In our opinion no one is to blame entirely, let’s see.”
Wolff spoke to the media after leaving the debrief with both drivers still in the motorhome and he described the atmosphere as “not good.”
“It’s a very difficult situation and they’re both pretty upset because they know about the effort and of course they have their perspectives,” he said. “So we need to then talk to them again, look at the pictures, look at the data and not under any circumstance allow this to happen in the future.
“The atmosphere is not good because we had a potential one-two, we lost many points for the championship.”
Regarding Lauda’s comments, Wolff said: “Niki is a racing driver, he has the instinct and as a racing driver it’s black and white. It’s his opinion. It’s fair enough, it helps to see that side of the picture. [But] when you look at all the data and talk to the drivers, it’s a bit different.”
When asked if this felt like a repeat of the Spa 2014 clash between the pair, Wolff replied: “This is Spa all over again from the result but we have matured as a team.
“We knew at a certain stage this could happen and here we are.”