But after they banged wheels in America previous year – an incident which provoked Rosberg to throw a cap at Hamilton – Sunday’s collision marked the fourth time the Mercedes cars have been involved in an on-track altercation in just 13 grands prix.
The latest Mercedes driver incident has prompted Wolff to consider implementing team orders on Rosberg and Hamilton, something Horner has experience with having stopped using team orders after Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber clashed in 2013.
Rosberg still leads the Drivers’ standings though his cushion over Hamilton has been trimmed from 24 to 11 points in the wake of the Austrian GP.
Sunday’s collision was their third in five races and came only four races on from their crash in Spain, where both men were forced into retirement on the opening lap.
“I’m gutted. That’s sport sometimes, but unbelievable”, Rosberg said.
“There’s more than just me and Nico and Toto, there are 1,300 people on the team that are watching us, and even through this hard time it’s important how we project that energy as leaders because we are the leaders of this team”. But I’m sorry, if I were the Mercedes-Benz chairman, or head of marketing, I’d be saying “Guys, we need to finish races”. “I was sure to win the race and lost it on the last lap, that’s pretty intense”.
Hamilton said: “That was intense at the end”.
Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff is threatening to impose restrictions to prevent Hamilton and Rosberg from racing freely and in an effort to reduce the possibility of another crash. As Hamilton took to the outside, and appeared to move ahead of Rosberg, the German appeared to lose control of his auto under braking and slide into his championship rival.
He added that he had the inside position and went a bit deep in the corner, but he is surprised that Hamilton turned in an in his view, that caused the collision.
“I don’t want to get into any negatives”, said Hamilton, who was booed and whistled on the podium, when asked whether he felt there had been any deliberate action. Speaking in the days leading up to that race, Hamilton had told the Daily Mail how much his relationship with Rosberg had improved from the bitter days of 2014. “With the speed we had I feel we didn’t really get what we deserved”. This is what we are going to discuss, because maybe it’s the only way we can manage the situation.
“This was bodywork contact and Nico paid the price for what I believe was his fault”.