After reviewing the first lap incident and talking to both Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton after the Spanish Grand Prix, the stewards of the event decided neither driver where wholly responsible for the clash, and as such no penalties would be applied.
The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS drivers collided at turn four on the opening lap at the Circuit de Catalunya, ending both their races, with Rosberg having defended his position on the straight between turns three and four after jumping his team-mate at the start, only to see Hamilton run off track and collect the German as he lost control.
But the stewards deemed neither driver were completely at fault, and in a statement described the thought process about the decision they made.
“The incident concerned started when Car 6 dropped into an incorrect power mode, as set by the driver prior to the start,” said the FIA statement. “This created a significant power differential between Car 6 and Car 44 at the exit of Turn 3 coming onto the straight, resulting in as much as a 17kph speed difference between the two cars on the straight.
“Car 6 moved to the right to defend his position, as is his right under Art 27.7 of the Sporting regulations. Simultaneously Car 44 as the significantly faster car with, at that time, apparent space on the inside, moved to make the pass.
“Art 27.7 requires the leading driver to leave room, if there is a ‘significant portion’ of the car attempting to pass alongside. Car 44 had a portion of his front wing inside Car 6 small fractions of a second prior to Car 44 having to leave the right side of the track to avoid an initial collision, which may have led him to believe he had the right to space on the right. Once on the grass on the side of the track Car 44 was no longer in control of the situation.
“Having heard extensively from both drivers and from the team, the Stewards determined that Car 6 had the right to make the maneuver that he did and that Car 44’s attempt to overtake was reasonable, and that the convergence of the events led neither driver to be wholly or predominantly at fault, and therefore take no further action.”