Mercedes plans talks to end driver feud

Austin Mercedes are set to hold talks with new world champion Lewis Hamilton about his first-corner incident with Nico Rosberg in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix.

Hamilton, who sealed his third Formula One world title after a thrilling race in Austin, was accused of going “one step too far” and “extremely aggressive” driving by Rosberg after their slight coming together at turn one on the opening lap.

The Briton emerged in the lead following the incident – which evoked memories of their collision in Belgium last year – while Rosberg, forced on to the run-off area, dropped to fifth.

Rosberg fought back to take the lead of the dramatic race and it was his unforced error with only seven laps remaining which ultimately gift-wrapped the championship to Hamilton.

But the German was angry with Hamilton’s actions at turn one and threw a cap back at his team-mate in the green room prior to Sunday’s podium celebrations.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff seemed to side with Rosberg after the race and will seek a prompt resolution to avoid a repeat of the fall-out from last season’s collision at Spa.

“It’s never easy for things to cool down,” said Wolff. “It wasn’t easy the first time around, but we have some experience.

“I think Nico has reason to be upset for that particular incident. It was too hard and we need to pick it up and discuss it.

“Nico made that one mistake that cost him the race win. So I think it is important that we sit down in a couple of days and discuss it – because we don’t want it to escalate in to something bigger.

“I don’t want to take anything away from Lewis, as he deserves the title. But obviously we need to talk about it at a certain stage.”

Hamilton, who became the first British driver to successfully defend his Formula One crown with the third title of his career, insisted he did nothing wrong in the incident.

“There are always those kind of comments that come afterwards but I would never do something like that intentionally to my team-mate,” said Hamilton, who joined his idol Ayrton Senna and Britain’s Jackie Stewart with a hat-trick of Formula One titles.

Explaining the banging of wheels, Hamilton added: “The outside is always the grippier side, so Nico had the grippier line, but I was ahead so it was my line.

“We went in, I started to turn but I just understeered into him. We touched but I don’t feel like I was aggressive. Everyone has the right to their own opinion but it doesn’t matter because I won the race so I feel pretty good about it.”

Hamilton and Rosberg have been friends and rivals since their karting days but went through a glacial phase last year when the title battle went down to the wire.

They mended fences and there have been fewer flare-ups since, with Hamilton leading this year’s championship all the way, but the rivalry remains fierce.

“They are enemies in the same team and it is clear that we cannot expect him (Rosberg) to cheer up in such a situation,” said Wolff.


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