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Rosberg on another collision course with Hamilton

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Formula One - Grand Prix of Austria - Spielberg, Austria - 3/7/16 - Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Germany reacts after the race. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler
Formula One - Grand Prix of Austria - Spielberg, Austria - 3/7/16 - Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Germany reacts after the race. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler

By Alan Baldwin

SPIELBERG, Austria (Reuters) - Championship leader Nico Rosberg set himself at odds with Formula One stewards and his Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton after another costly collision at the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday.

The German, who had led before he and Hamilton drove into each other on the last lap, was handed a 10-second penalty -- which did not change the finish order -- for causing the collision.

He made clear to reporters, before the officials' decision, that he considered race winner Hamilton to blame for their third coming together in five races.

"I’m just extremely frustrated because I had the win in the bag," said Rosberg, who limped home in fourth in a damaged car.

"The collision completely took me by surprise. I didn’t expect Lewis to turn in... I can say that for sure I didn’t drive into anybody, because I had the car fully under control at all times," added the German, whose lead over Hamilton was slashed to 11 points.

"Apparently he said in a TV interview that I was in his blind spot so maybe that is why he turned in."

Rosberg's comments contrasted with those of some British television analysts who laid the blame at his door and even questioned whether there was some deliberate intent as he struggled with brake problems and Hamilton closed in.

Hamilton, who has now won three races to Rosberg's five this season, did little to defuse the situation.

"I don't want to get into any negatives," said the Briton, who was booed and whistled on the podium, when asked whether he felt there had been any deliberate action.

"I just want to focus on the fact that I won today. I have got to enjoy that. You guys can see it, you can see the manoeuvre, how it evolved, and you can take your own opinion from that.

"For sure, I have my own opinion on it but would rather keep it to myself."

While the team's non-executive chairman Niki Lauda found fault with Rosberg, telling Reuters that "Lewis did nothing wrong", team boss Toto Wolff made clear he was angry with both his drivers.

"It’s not black and white," he told reporters. "Nico was with a car that was handicapped, trying to brake late and not on the line that was the normal line, and Lewis came from outside where first contact was made. It takes two to make contact."

(Editing by Clare Fallon)


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