Opinions amongst drivers up and down the grid are mixed towards the FIA’s decision to not penalise Nico Rosberg after he collided with his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton at the Belgian Grand Prix.
The contact between the pair, that occurred on the second lap of the race in Spa-Francorchamps, saw Hamilton suffer a puncture that dropped him to the back of the field, and led to his eventual retirement.
While Hamilton failed to score points in Belgium, Rosberg recovered to finish second behind eventual winner Daniel Ricciardo, collecting 18 points to extend his lead over his team-mate and title rival in the drivers’ championship to 29 points.
Despite Hamilton claiming in the wake of the race that Rosberg had admitted to causing the collision to ‘prove a point’, the FIA race stewards at Spa opted against penalising the German, calling the pair’s clash a ‘racing incident’.
According to Williams’ Felipe Massa, Rosberg was fortunate to escape without a penalty, calling the German’s attempted move around the outside of Hamilton at Les Combes “impossible”.
“Honestly what I saw in the last race maybe wasn’t really so correct from Nico,” Felipe Massa told the media in Monza on Thursday.
“I don’t understand why they didn’t give a penalty to him, because it was impossible to pass Lewis at that place. In the first corner he tried to be on the outside, which was OK, but then Lewis was in front so it was impossible to pass him.
“He needs to brake, but he didn’t brake so they just touched wheels and Nico was behind so Nico destroyed Lewis’ race. So I don’t understand why the FIA didn’t give a penalty to him.
“For me Nico is supposed to have a penalty for what he did. He just destroyed the race for another guy [Hamilton] that is fighting for the championship also with him, so that’s my opinion.”
However, four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, who was running third behind the pair at the time of the clash, claims that the contact between the pair was simply a racing incident and praised the stewards from refraining from handing Rosberg an unnecessary penalty.
“I’m actually very happy there was no action taken because it was a racing incident,” Vettel explained to reporters at Monza. “I was right behind and I don’t think you take off your own front wing on purpose. Equally it is difficult to time and to see where your front endplate is to give a puncture to another guy.
“Fernando [Alonso] ran into the back of me into turn one at the end of the race and I was just lucky not to have a puncture. That’s racing!
“I think it is good to let us race,” he added. “If we get it wrong then we need to be penalised because there needs to be a clear line that you draw, but in that case s**t happens.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic