Updated: Friday, 05 September 2014 06:48 | By Agence France-Presse

Hamilton uncertain of rules of combat

Lewis Hamilton said he was uncertain about how hard he can race to beat Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg following the fallout from their Belgian crash as the pair tried to present a united front on Thursday.


Hamilton uncertain of rules of combat

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton holds a press conference at the Autodromo Nazionale circuit in Monza on September 4, 2014 ahead of the Italian Formula One Grand Prix - by Giuseppe Cacace

Briton Hamilton, who is 29 points behind Rosberg in the battle for the drivers' championship, was whimsical about how their collision had been handled by the sport's ruling body after the German had been punished by the team and later admitted responsibility and apologised.

He said the decision of the International Motoring Federation (FIA) not to punish Rosberg had left him uncertain as to how they, and other drivers, can race hard against each other.

Rosberg's admission and apology prompted many observers to suggest that the FIA should have taken action.

But the ruling body stood firm and insisted it would not act retrospectively unless there was any new evidence to consider.

"I think the FIA have a really tough job and particularly over the last couple of years they have done an exceptional job on a majority of the calls," Hamilton told an at times tense news conference where he and Rosberg flanked Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

"Their problem is that the scenario is always different so the same rule doesn't always apply exactly - sometimes it is difficult to say which rules apply to what situation. It is a good question to be honest. How do we move forward from that?

"Does that mean we can now all say we can race a lot closer and if the guy in front comes off and is out of the race nothing will happen, so they will be more relaxed about it? Or does it mean if it happens again there will be a penalty?

"We are always asking to be able to race. It is hard out there to manoeuvre a car at high speeds without sometimes having contact, but there is a fine line….I don't have the full answer to it."

Both men rejected talk of a team garage split by their title duel following their second lap crash in Belgium.

"I haven't noticed that is the case," said Hamilton. "We have a professional team, and they just want to win so they will be working as hard as they can."

Rosberg, who had apologised and accepted responsibility for the collision in the Daily Mail on Thursday morning, said: "In general there has been all season a healthy rivalry. We have the best car out there, we are the best team and that is because we work well as a team.

"And if you can't work as a team you don't dominate the sport as we do at the moment."

Hamilton picked up the theme later when talking to reporters. 

He added: "It is important for us to keep a good rapport between us so we can keep the team lifted up – we don’t want one side of the team to want to do one thing.

"That is our job and we have to remember we are ambassadors for one of the biggest brands in the world, Mercedes Benz, so it is really important how we shine a light on that and that is what we are paid to do.

"I genuinely feel that at least my side of the garage  will always take the teams’ side – that is their job, that is what they are hired to do.

"So it is not that they will take my side or Nico’s side they take the teams’ side -- they are like ‘hold on guys we want to win together’ so that is why the last race we could have had a one-two and it is really important that we do that for them."

Rosberg explained his apology and his decision to do it, denying he was persuaded by the team.

"They can't make me apologise, it was definitely a decision that came from me. After looking at it again, I felt that it was my responsibility," he said.

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