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Pointed discussions in wake of lap-two crash

Lewis Hamilton accused Mercedes team-mate and Formula One championship leader Nico Rosberg of deliberately colliding with him to wreck his Belgian Grand Prix hopes "to prove a point".

The incident on lap two yesterday left Hamilton with a puncture and ultimately led to the Briton's retirement from the race, while Rosberg went on to finish second and extend his lead to 29 points.

Hamilton told reporters that the German, whose car's front wing clipped Hamilton's rear tyre in a failed attempt to overtake, had done it on purpose. "We just had a meeting about it and he basically said he did it on purpose. He said he did it on purpose," repeated the Briton. "He said he could have avoided it. He said 'I did it to prove a point'."

"You don't have to just rely on me, go and ask [Mercedes team managers] Toto [Wolff] and Paddy [Lowe]who are not happy with him as well," Hamilton added. "I was gobsmacked when I was listening to the meeting. You need to ask him what point he was trying to make."

Rosberg, whose relationship with Hamilton has deteriorated this season as their boyhood friendship fragments, told reporters that the collision was a racing incident.

"We had a discussion, as is important after such circumstances, because obviously what happened cost the team a lot of points. That is the main focus and the biggest issue with such a happening as today," said the Mercedes driver, who stepped on to the podium to boos and whistles from the crowd. "I'm not going to go into any details, that wouldn't be the right thing to do. We need to review and discuss how we move forward."

Wolff later attempted to clarify what had happened in the meeting.

He said: "Nico felt he needed to hold his line. He needed to make a point. He [Rosberg] didn't give in. He thought it was for Lewis to leave him space, and that Lewis didn't leave him space. So they agreed to disagree in a very heated discussion among ourselves, but it wasn't deliberately crashing. That is nonsense."

Wolff had, however, in the immediate aftermath of the race - which was won by Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo - said: "You don't try to overtake with the knife between your teeth in lap No.2 and damage both cars," adding that the incident was "absolutely unacceptable".

Retired triple champion and Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda, speaking before the meeting with drivers, said Rosberg was at fault since Hamilton was in front. "We lost the whole race, we could have been first and second … he provoked it, no question," he said.

"Accidents can happen, and I have foreseen them anyway if two guys are fighting freely all the way to the end, and it is accepted - but not on the second lap."

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