Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff admitted that the Belgian Grand Prix was probably the race where Nico Rosberg’s Formula 1 championship campaign came undone.
The German famously collided with his Mercedes teammate and eventual champion Lewis Hamilton at August’s race at spa-Francorchamps while the pair disputed the lead of the race on Lap 2. The contact caused a puncture for Hamilton and front wing damage for Rosberg, which allowed Daniel Ricciardo to claim his third win of the season for Red Bull Racing.
Mercedes punished him with an “internal” penalty and according to Wolff, Rosberg took it hard. From that point on, Hamilton went on to win all but one of the remaining races that year, beating Rosberg by an eventual margin of 67 points after Hamilton won (and Rosberg retired from) the season-ending ‘double points’ finale, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
“Spa was very difficult for Nico,” he told Germany’s Sport Bild. “Maybe it even confused him because he didn’t know anymore what is right and what is wrong. We might have to sit down and discuss the situation again, as we want to handle these situations better in 2015.”
Wolff added that although Hamilton is now a double World Champion, there is no reason why Rosberg cannot return to top form and beat him next year.
“Nico beat Lewis in his prime discipline this year. He has all the ingredients you need to take on Lewis and become World Champion [himself],” the Austrian added.