Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff says neither Lewis Hamilton nor Nico Rosberg are to blame after the team-mates crashed into each other and out of the Spanish Grand Prix on the first lap on Sunday.
Australian Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo found himself in first place behind a safety car as the dust settled following the crash.
“You can’t give one driver exclusively the blame,” Wolff told Germany’s Sky television after a meeting with Hamilton and Rosberg following the crash.
“We spoke to both drivers and they are of course annoyed with the situation,” Wolff said.
All the hard work of the past few weeks to improve performances and eliminate mistakes was “thrown away on the first lap,” he said.
The talks with the drivers were held separately and Rosberg and Hamilton had not yet spoken to each other about the crash, Wolff said.
Stewards were investigating the crash but Wolff said it was “a racing incident” and he did not expect either driver to be punished.
Niki Lauda, non-executive chairman of Mercedes, in a first reaction blamed Hamilton for the incident.
“It is stupid, we could’ve won this race,” Lauda told BBC Radio 5 live. “Lewis is too aggressive. I need to talk to them and hear their explanation and then we will see what happens.”
Formula One world champion Hamilton started on pole but was overtaken on the outside by Rosberg.
In attempting to regain the lead Hamilton was forced onto a grass verge and lost control, spinning into Rosberg’s car. Both ended in the gravel bed.
Rosberg had won the first four races of the season and seven in a row including the last three grands prix of 2015.