Rosberg has apologised for the error of judgement that wrecked Hamilton’s Spa-Francorchamps race, and following a team meeting on the matter at Mercedes’ UK headquarters on Friday, Hamilton insisted it is now time to move on.
“Today we came together as a team and discussed our differences,” said Hamilton on his official website. “Nico and I accept that we have both made mistakes and I feel it would be wrong to point fingers and say which one is worse than the other. What’s important is how we rise as a team from these situations.”
The two men have been friends and rivals since their karting days, and although their relationship has become increasingly strained as their battle for the 2014 drivers’ championship has intensified, Hamilton believes they can still work well together.
“There is a deep foundation that still exists for me and Nico to work from, in spite of our difficult times and differences,” he continued. “We have the greatest team, the strongest group of individuals who have worked their hands to the bone to give us the best car you see us racing today. It’s important that we never forget that and give them the results they deserve.”
Mercedes have taken what they described as ‘suitable disciplinary measures’ over the Spa incident, which cost the team a potential one-two finish, and though they do not plan to issue team orders, they have laid down clear guidelines on driver conduct - guidelines both Hamilton and Rosberg have promised to follow.
“Today, Toto (Wolff) and Paddy (Lowe) told us clearly how we must race against each other from now on in a fair and respectful manner,” explained Hamilton. “The fans want to see a clean fight until the end of the season and that’s what we want to give them.”
“As drivers, we have a clear responsibility to the team, the fans of the sport, our partners and Mercedes-Benz to deliver clean racing,” said Rosberg. “We take that responsibility very seriously. I look forward to concluding the season with hard, fair competition on and off track right up to the final lap of the season in Abu Dhabi.”
Rosberg’s second place in Belgium - and Hamilton’s retirement - means he now leads the driver standings by 29 points. However, with seven rounds remaining - and with double points on offer at the season finale - Hamilton is upbeat on his title chances
“It’s going to be a tough road from here but championships have been won from much further back than I am now,” he said. “And I promise you that I will be giving everything and more to win this for my team, for my family and for my fans.”