Deliberate? I just made a mistake, says Rosberg

Sun Sep 7, 2014 2:09pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

MONZA Italy (Reuters) - Formula One leader Nico Rosberg felt sore enough at losing Sunday's Italian Grand Prix without then having to face conspiracy theories suggesting he had done it deliberately.

The Mercedes driver, who finished second after making a mistake at the first chicane while under pressure from winning team mate Lewis Hamilton, could scarcely believe anyone would suggest such a thing.

"I've heard about that, but what would be the reason for me to do something like that deliberately?," asked the German, who saw his lead cut to 22 points with six races remaining.

"There is no possible reason. There is no reason why the team would ask me to change position, or something like that.

"The only thing in people's minds could be Spa, but Spa was a mistake which I've apologized for," added the German, who hit the back of Hamilton's car on the second lap of the Belgian Grand Prix two weeks ago.

Hamilton said after that race that Rosberg had "done it on purpose" but he was certainly not accusing him of any such intent in Italy.

Rosberg accepted blame for the Spa incident, which led to Hamilton's race retirement, and was handed an unspecified punishment from his angry team who reminded their drivers they could race each other but must not make contact on the track.

If there were some wondering whether a restitution of points might form part of that penalty, an idea that was discussed and swiftly dismissed by some paddock pundits post-race, the driver and team ridiculed the very thought.   Continued...

Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Germany smiles in the box during the third practice session of the Italian F1 Grand Prix in Monza September 6, 2014. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini