Mercedes allow warring F1 rivals to race

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Mercedes allow warring F1 rivals to race

Mercedes Formula One drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will remain free to race each other for the world championship after their costly last lap collision in Austria last week.

Championship leader Rosberg was leading in Spielberg entering the final lap but collided with pursuing Hamilton, who went through to win the race while the German dropped back to fourth with a broken front wing.

Furious Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff had raised the possibility of bringing in team orders to avoid another incident after three already this season, but has ultimately stopped short for now.

“This morning at the headquarters of the Mercedes team … positive meetings were held between Toto Wolff, (technical director) Paddy Lowe, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg,” a team statement said on Thursday.

“Our drivers were informed that they remain free to race for the World Championship.

“We believe this is the essence of Formula One, including between teammates.”

However, the statement made clear that no repeat of the three incidents this year would be tolerated, given the collisions have cost Mercedes over 50 points.

“We have therefore strengthened our rules of engagement to include much greater deterrents to contact between our cars.

“With these in place, we will trust our drivers to manage the situation between them on track. Their destiny is in their own hands,” the statement added.

There were no details about what the greater deterrents are.

German Rosberg, who has never won the F1 drivers’ title, leads three-times world champion Hamilton by 11 points after nine of 21 races.

Hamilton, speaking in a press conference at Silverstone ahead of his home grand prix, welcomed the team’s stance.

“We’re still able to race which is a positive and great for the fans.

Everyone should be excited by that,” he said.

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