POLE FOR SPA: Nico Rosberg scored the hole shot in Belgium but by Lap 2 all hell broke loose. Image: AFP
MONZA, Italy - Lewis Hamilton is uncertain about how hard he can race to beat Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg since the fall-out after their collision in Belgium.
They did, however, try to present a united front on ahead of the Italian F1 GP scheduled for Monza on Sunday (Sept 7 2014).
Briton Hamilton, 29 points behind Rosberg in the battle for the Drivers' championship, was whimsical about how their collision was handled by the sport's ruling body after the German had been punished by the team, later admitted responsibility - and apologised.
'REALLY TOUGH JOB'
He said the decision of the International Motoring Federation not to punish Rosberg had left him uncertain as to how it, and other drivers, could race hard against one another.
Rosberg's admission and apology prompted many observers to suggest that the federation should have taken action but the ruling body stood firm and insisted it would not act retrospectively unless there was new evidence to consider.
Hamilton told an at times tense news conference at which he and Rosberg were seated one each side of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso: "I think the federation has a really tough job. Particularly over the last couple of years it has done an exceptional job on a majority of calls.
"Its problem is that the scenario is always different so the same rule doesn't always apply exactly - sometimes it is difficult to say which apply to what situation. It is a good question - 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 speed 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 since lap two of the Belgian F1 GP at Spa. "I haven't noticed that is the case," Hamilton said. "We have a professional team which just wants to win and will be working as hard as they can."
Rosberg, who in the (London) Daily Mail on Thursday morning, apologised and accepted responsibility for the collision, 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."
Hamilton picked up the theme later when talking to reporters. "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 were hired to do. It is not that they will take my side or Nico's... 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 1-2 and it is really important that we do that for them."
Rosberg explained his apology and his decision to do so, 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."
Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 Italian GP this weekend.