• Australian Grand Prix

Rosberg 'surprised' he was hit by Barrichello

ESPNF1 Staff
March 27, 2011 « Button frustrated by penalty | »
Nico Rosberg in action before he was hit by Rubens Barrichello © Getty Images

It was a doubly frustrating weekend for Mercedes as Michael Schumacher was forced to retire after 19 laps as a consequence of a first-lap collision, and soon after Nico Rosberg was taken out by Rubens Barrichello.

In neither case was the Mercedes driver to blame, but while rookie Jerome d'Ambrosio could cite the usual early melee for rear-ending Schumacher, the experienced Barrichello had no such excuse.

"It was a tough race until my retirement with the cars behind me pushing hard," Rosberg said. "I saw Rubens in my mirror and he was quite far away so I was surprised that he hit me. I immediately thought that was it and I had to pull over to stop the car. It's very sad for the team as they have worked so hard this weekend and throughout the winter."

But even though pundits apportioned all the blame to Barrichello, he claimed the clash was a result of Rosberg braking too early.

"I had a good rhythm going and was doing quite a lot of overtaking until the incident with Rosberg," he said. "I wasn't planning on overtaking him at that point, I was defending from Kobayashi. I think we have one tyre with grip and one with less and so we have different braking points.

"Rosberg braked earlier, and was already in the middle of the corner before I could stop the car."

The stewards were unimpressed and Barrichello was handed a drive-through penalty for the incident.

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