Reigning quadruple Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel has backed compatriot Nico Rosberg in his row with teammate Lewis Hamilton over their crash in Spa 10 days ago.
Rosberg was disciplined by his Mercedes team after admitting he was responsible for crashing into the back of Hamilton on the second lap of the Belgian Grand Prix.
It was an incident which eventually forced the Briton to retire from the race and cost Rosberg the chance of victory as he trailed in second behind Vettel’s Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo.
But although Rosberg has since apologised after initially suggesting he felt he was right to have a go at the overtaking manoeuvre, Vettel has given his backing to the son of F1 great Keke Rosberg.
“I think it was just a normal race accident which did not deserve to provoke a discussion about intention,” Vettel told weekly newspaper Sport Bild, referring to Hamilton’s claim in the immediate aftermath that Rosberg had admitted he “basically did it on purpose”.
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Vettel added: “No-one tries to break a wing on purpose and no-one wants to be guilty of disloyal driving because most of the time that doesn’t work.”
It is not just Vettel backing his countryman, fellow German Nico Hulkenberg of Force India feels the same way.
“Nico did everything right: he tried to overtake because he thought he was faster,” he said.
Hamilton’s retirement left him 29 points behind Rosberg in the championship race with seven GPs left.
Vettel has endured a miserable title defence and sits down in sixth place overall, 58 points behind Ricciardo who only joined the team this season.
The next race is at Monza in Italy on Sunday.