Mercedes in turmoil after Hamilton and Rosberg collide

Sun May 15, 2016 9:29am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Formula One championship leader Nico Rosberg's hopes of an eighth win in a row disappeared on Sunday after a collision with Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap of the Spanish Grand Prix.

Britain's triple world champion Hamilton had started on pole position, with Rosberg alongside on the front row at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The German, aiming to make it five successive wins for the season, passed Hamilton around the outside of turn one and the Briton was then squeezed on to the grass as he tried to regain the lead at turn three.

His car skewed sideways and smashed into Rosberg's, with both drivers ending up in the gravel and the safety car deployed.

Watching Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche shook his head in dismay, while Hamilton threw his steering wheel out of the car.

The pair returned to the paddock on scooters and trudged up the stairs for a debrief with Mercedes team bosses, motorsport head Toto Wolff hot on their heels. The drivers were also summoned to see the stewards after the race.

The team's non-executive chairman Niki Lauda, a triple world champion himself, blamed Hamilton before going to see the drivers.

"It is stupid, we could've won this race," the Austrian told the BBC. "Lewis is too aggressive. I need to talk to them and hear their explanation and then we will see what happens."   Continued...

Formula One - Spanish Grand Prix - Barcelona-Catalunya racetrack, Montmelo, Spain - 15/5/16 Mercedes F1 driver Nico Rosberg of Germany leads pack during Spanish Grand Prix. REUTERS/Albert Gea