RESULTS: Malaysian Grand Prix – Race results
Toto Wolff has slammed the decision to give Nico Rosberg a ten-second time penalty during the Malaysian Grand Prix as 'nonsense' following his contact with Kimi Raikkonen.
Rosberg was charging back through the field after Sebastian Vettel tapped him into a spin on the first lap when he made a robust pass on Raikkonen at turn two on lap 37 of 56.
Cutting to the inside of the corner as an unawares Raikkonen turned in, the pair clashed wheels – causing minor floor damage to the Ferrari – and allowing Rosberg to snatch fourth place.
However, stewards would take a dim view of Rosberg's conduct, handing the title contender a ten second penalty to be added to his race time. Despite this, Rosberg would go on to build a 13secs lead over Raikkonen behind to maintain the position and retain what would become a third place finish.
POINTS: F1 World Championship Standings after the Malaysian GP
Even so, it is a punishment Mercedes F1 boss Wolff dismissed as 'nonsense' and against the spirit of the team's own rules to allow its drivers to race one another.
“The penalty is just complete nonsense,” he said. “Over a couple of months ago we decided altogether that we wanted to allow the racing between all the cars and if it wasn't 100 percent clear that someone was at fault then we would let them race against each other … and then this. I don't know, it is for others to comment.”
With Raikkonen proving typically taciturn about the incident – saying he didn't think it made a difference to the end result -, Rosberg nonetheless says he 'accepted' the penalty.
“I accept it. I'm fortunate that it didn't cost me a position in the race, of course. I had to give it everything lap after lap again in the end there to re-gap that 10 seconds to make sure we had a 10 second gap, and at the same time save the engine because of Lewis's problem. We were a bit hesitant to run it all out until the end so it's a bit of a two-pronged.”
It is Rosberg's fourth in-race penalty of the 2016 season after he collided with Lewis Hamilton in Austria, was informed on how to manage a gearbox problem at Silverstone and eased Max Verstappen off course in Germany.
Rosberg heads into the final five races with a 23 point lead over Lewis Hamilton in the standings after his main rival suffered a technical DNF in Sepang.
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