LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One championship leader Nico Rosberg has apologized for colliding with team mate Lewis Hamilton during the Belgian Grand Prix and been disciplined, his Mercedes team said on Friday.
Rosberg hit Hamilton on the second lap at Spa on Sunday and the Briton later retired from the race with a damaged floor after picking up a puncture.
Hamilton told reporters that Rosberg had admitted in a team meeting to hitting him on purpose to “prove a point” although the German later dismissed it as a racing incident.
“(Team bosses) Toto Wolff, Paddy Lowe, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton met today in the boardroom of Mercedes Amg Petronas headquarters in Brackley to discuss the events of the Belgian Grand Prix,” the team said in a statement.
”During this meeting Nico acknowledged his responsibility for the contact that occurred on lap two of the Belgian Grand Prix and apologized for this error of judgment.
“Suitable disciplinary measures have been taken for the incident,” the statement read.
”Mercedes-Benz remains committed to hard, fair racing because this is the right way to win world championships. It is good for the team, for the fans and for Formula One.
“Lewis and Nico understand and accept the team’s number one rule: there must be no contact between the team’s cars on track.”
Rosberg was blamed by the team following the race for causing what was an avoidable collision.
No action was taken by the stewards or the world governing body FIA.
Mercedes said they would not change their policy of allowing the pair to race each other freely.
“It has been made clear that another such incident will not be tolerated,” the team added.
“But Nico and Lewis are our drivers and we believe in them. They remain free to race for the 2014 FIA Formula One world championship.”
Rosberg holds a 29-point lead over Hamilton with seven races remaining. Red Bull’s Australian Daniel Ricciardo claimed his third victory of the season at Spa.
Reporting by Josh Reich, editing by Ed Osmond