The continuing feud between Mercedes teammates Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton took a new turn for the worst during last weekend’s Belgium Grand Prix as the two collided on the track during the second lap resulting in a damaged tire after Rosberg’s front wing clipped Hamilton’s left rear wheel.. The incident took place as Hamilton led heading into the Les Combes chicane after overtaking polesitter Rosberg at the start. While Hamilton claims Rosberg is still harboring resentment against him for ignoring team orders to let the German overtake him at the Hungarian Grand Prix,At the previous race in Hungary, Rosberg claims the collision was not done on purpose.
Although Hamilton returned to the race after having the tire replaced, he was forced to quit with only 4 laps remaining. In the meantime, Rosberg finished second behind Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, which gave him a 29-point championship lead over his disgruntled teammate.
The Mercedes team has dominated the season. However, it has also become increasingly disturbed by the growing rift between Rosberg and Hamilton, which boss Toto Wolff has denounced as “unacceptable,” and blamed Rosberg for causing it. He also said that despite Hamilton’s comments that the team would just give Rosberg a “slap on the wrist,” for Sunday’s clash, Wolff was quick to let the public know that “he's not aware of what consequences we can implement.”
Rosberg’s performance was booed by the crowd as he approached the podium. At the same time both former world champ Niki Lauda (now a pivotal member of team Mercedes) and former F1 driver David Coulthard voiced their agreement with Wolff’s criticism of him.