Nico Rosberg has defended his actions against Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the Austrian Grand Prix after the pair came together, claiming he 'had the line' and 'went a bit deep'.
Rosberg appeared on course for a hard fought win after a strategically canny performance hauled him into lead after the first round of pit-stops, an advantage he maintained through the second round in the closing stages.
However, Hamilton would close the gap down heading into the final lap, culminating in him attempting a pass around the outside of the team-mate into turn two, only for Rosberg to 'run deep' and make contact with his team-mate.
Sending Hamilton wide, it was Rosberg that would ultimately come off worse as damage to his car would allow Hamilton past to snatch the win, while he would also lose places to Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen on the run to the finish line.
With Toto Wolff claiming Rosberg had a brake-by-wire failure coming into the last lap, Rosberg was rather more defensive of his own actions, insisting he had the right to dictate the line and that Hamilton had in fact turned in on him.
“I am absolutely gutted, it is unbelievable,” he told Sky Sports F1
. “I was sure to win that race and then I lost it on the last lap. It is pretty intense.
“We were battling and I was struggling a little bit with my brakes because they got a bit hot in the end and my tyre were degrading, so that gave Lewis a chance and nevertheless I was hoping I could defend and bring it home.
“I had the inside position, a strong position and I went a bit deep into the corner which is fine because I dictate and I was very surprised that Lewis turned in and it caused a collision. I am absolutely gutted.”
Meanwhile, Rosberg's fourth place finish is also under threat having been placed under investigation for driving his damaged car to the finish line, rather than pull over.