Nico Rosberg pins ‘100%’ blame on Lewis Hamilton for George Russell clash

Henry Valantine
Lewis Hamilton stands by his stricken Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton by his stricken car after colliding with George Russell in Qatar.

Nico Rosberg believes Lewis Hamilton was “100%” to blame for his collision with George Russell at the start of the Qatar Grand Prix.

Hamilton had a better start than his Mercedes team-mate on softer tyres on Sunday and headed into Turn 1 level with Russell, but with Max Verstappen defending for the lead as Hamilton came across, Russell claims he was “sandwiched” and Hamilton was sent into the gravel with a missing tyre after tagging his Mercedes colleague.

Hamilton was forced to retire as a result, but Russell recovered from a spin, a wing change and an extra pit stop to come back and finish fourth and salvage what he could from the weekend.

Nico Rosberg: George Russell collision a ‘100% Lewis Hamilton error’

Rosberg, who had multiple high-profile collisions of his own with Hamilton while they were duelling for titles at Mercedes, including at Spa in 2014 and Barcelona in 2016, believes his former team-mate was fully to blame for Sunday’s incident.

He admitted it was only a “slight misjudgement” on Hamilton’s part, but it was enough to see him out of the Qatar Grand Prix.

“So Lewis had soft tyres, so he just tries to go around the outside, but it’s three people going into Turn 1, and it was 100% Lewis’ error there,” Rosberg stated on Sky Sports F1.

“It’s a slight misjudgement, and it’s not a big misjudgement, a slight misjudgement, doesn’t leave quite enough space for George there, so it’s all on Lewis – which actually he already admitted to, he kind of took responsibility for it.”

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For Hamilton’s part, he initially claimed Russell had taken him out at the first corner, before speaking to the media after his retirement.

He was placed under stewards’ investigation for crossing the track on his way back to the pit lane, but having had time to reflect and see a replay, the seven-time World Champion has taken responsibility for the collision with his team-mate.

As a result, he publicly apologised to Russell and Mercedes.

“I’ve watched the replay and it was 100% my fault and I take full responsibility,” Hamilton wrote on social media after the race. “Apologies to my team and to George.”

Read next: Qatar Grand Prix: Max Verstappen wins with huge drama at Mercedes as drivers collide