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Published: 14:51 | 7/7/16

Hamilton and Rosberg free to race

Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton are free to race but have been warned they will face punishment if they collide again.

The team-mates collided on the last lap of Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix with Hamilton going on to win the race as Rosberg dropped to fourth due to a damaged front wing.

Race stewards ruled that Rosberg was at fault for the accident and handed him a five-second time penalty as well as two penalty points on his race licence.

Sunday's incident was the third time in five races that the pair had made contact and, following a meeting with team boss Toto Wolff, they have been warned they face punishment if they crash into each other again.

"This morning at the headquarters of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team in Brackley, UK, positive meetings were held between Toto Wolff, Paddy Lowe, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg," a team statement read.

"Our drivers were informed that they remain free to race for the World Championships.

"We believes this is the essence of Formula One, including between team-mates. As passionate racers, we want to see them racing, and so do the fans of Formula One."

The statement went on: "This freedom comes with a duty to our drivers to respect the values of the team.

"In the past five races, there have been three incidents which have cost us over 50 points on the Constructors' Championship.

"We have therefore strengthened our Rules of Engagement to include much greater deterrents to contact between out cars. With these in place, we will trust our drivers to manage the situation between them on track. Their destiny is in their own hands."

Mercedes has been reluctant to impose team orders but this could be imposed 'as a solution of last resort'.

"The drivers were also reminded that we may issue instructions during the race to protect against a potential loss of Constructors' points, such as we did at this year's Monaco GP when Nico was instructed to let Lewis pass.

"If the drivers do not honour the revised Rules of Engagement, we may impose team orders as a solution of last resort."

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