Niki Lauda has backed Lewis Hamilton after the first corner collision that Nico Rosberg admits left him “p—-d off” in Canada.
After the crash and double-DNF of Barcelona, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had warned that more contact between the silver-clad pair may result in team orders being imposed.
Then in Montreal, Hamilton and Rosberg banged wheels in the first corner, resulting in the German tumbling down the field and ultimately seeing his championship lead shrink to just nine points.
And now, Hamilton wants that remaining gap to be gone completely by his home race at Silverstone next month.
“I need to win every race,” he told British newspapers on Monday. “I want to win every race.”
Wolff, however, sounds wary of the tactics deployed to achieve that, insisting that “If we start the race 1 and 2, we do not want to come out of the first corner 2 and 9.
“They touched and we don’t want to see that, so we will discuss it again,” he is quoted by Speed Week.
But F1 legend and team chairman Lauda made clear he saw nothing untoward in Hamilton’s racing in Canada.
“It was just a very normal racing incident,” he told Bild newspaper. “There was no one to blame.
“Lewis drove well — he has regained his form but I’m also sorry for Nico,” Lauda added.
He admitted that Rosberg’s championship chances took a major hit in the difficult races for the German in Monaco and now Canada.
“The battle for the title is now harder and Nico has to win in Baku, there’s no question about that,” said Lauda.
Even Rosberg’s current contract negotiator, Gerhard Berger, backed Hamilton’s racing, telling Tagespiegel newspaper: “Lewis just defended his line.”