F1 Italian Grand Prix: Nico Rosberg dismisses conspiracy theory that costly error was Mercedes order to make up for Lewis Hamilton crash

Both Rosberg and Toto Wolff have laughed off claims that Hamilton's victory at Monza was due to Rosberg making a mistake on purpose after their Spa collision

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The Independent Online

Nico Rosberg and Toto Wolff have laughed off conspiracy theories suggesting Lewis Hamilton's Italian Grand Prix triumph was fixed.

A mistake by Rosberg on lap 29 in out-braking himself into the first chicane - Variante del Rettifilio - allowed Hamilton to seize on the moment and claim his sixth victory of the season.

It was Rosberg's second error of the day at the same chicane as he had done similar on lap nine, but on that occasion without penalty.

With Hamilton breathing down his neck at the midway point, Rosberg seemed to crack under the pressure, forcing him to take the escape road.

That immediately prompted rumours Rosberg's act was deliberate and ordered by Mercedes as payback for crashing into Hamilton early in the Belgian Grand Prix, an incident that cost the Briton dearly.

 

Aware of the gossip, a dismissive Rosberg said: "They (the incidents) might look a bit strange, but it happened in practice.

"I could have made the corner, no problem, but there was an extremely high probability my tyre would have been square afterwards, and so I would have needed to have made two pit stops and lost a lot of time.

"With Lewis I should have tried to see how it went. I don't know, I just messed up.

"And I've heard about the theory, but what would be the reason for me to do something like that deliberately? There is no possible reason.

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Hamilton celebrates his victory with the Mercedes team

"If you're ordered by the team to do it then you would do it, but there is no reason why the team would ask me to change position, or something like that.

"The only thing in people's minds could be Spa, but Spa was a mistake which I've apologised for.

"It's not something where I have to give back something. Mistakes happen and that's the way it is, (I make) an apology and on we go.

"It's not like we now start shuffling and things like that."

Wolff was also disbelieving as he said: "Only a paranoid mind could come up with such an idea."

A camera shot of Wolff smiling immediately after the incident only added to the paranoia, with the Austrian adding: "Whoever picks that up and tries to interpret such a picture must be out of his mind.

"First of all, it's not live. So whenever the camera is pointing at you, the signal comes later. It wasn't synchronised with the picture.

"I feel like Big Brother is watching you, so maybe I will hide in the engineering office next time!

"There was a smile. I think it was when the two were close to each other, or closing up on each other. It was a smile for 'here we go again', a close battle."

The theory failed to detract from a much-needed win for Hamilton who has closed the gap to Rosberg to 22 points with six races remaining.

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Hamilton (right) stands victorious on the podium ahead of second-placed Rosberg

A poor getaway, due to an issue with the race-start mode, dropped him from pole to fourth by the first chicane, but after that he drove a faultless race.

"I managed to keep my composure, not lose too many places and recover from that," said Hamilton.

"Naturally, I'm really pleased with the win, it feels like I have some momentum back as we go into the final races."

Felipe Massa scored his first podium for 16 months, and first since joining Williams this season, with third, while team-mate Valtteri Bottas was fourth.

McLaren's Jenson Button was eighth and Max Chilton crashed out on lap six in his Marussia.

PA

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