“Final warning? Those words have not been used…,” said Nico Rosberg when quizzed on the threat of sanctions hanging over himself and Mercedes-AMG F1 team-mate Lewis Hamilton should they crash into each other again.

When the journalist asking the question during the team’s pre-British Grand Prix press briefing at Silverstone pointed out that team boss Toto Wolff had used those exact words not more than 10 minutes before in his own media scrum, Rosberg glanced at the team’s press officer, who nodded in confirmation. Then with a raised eyebrow and a schoolboy grin, the world championship leader said: “That doesn’t sound good!” Cue laughs all around.

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For Mercedes the fact that its drivers are frequently colliding is no laughing matter. The accident on the final lap of the Austrian Grand Prix, where Rosberg forced Hamilton long into the outside of the hairpin at turn two, whereby the two of them then made contact, infuriated the Stuttgart hierarchy.

Not so much because of the points it cost Rosberg by dropping to fourth, nor even the 10sec penalty and reprimand he received. “We didn’t like the manouvre because it could have ended up in a double DNF and we would really have looked silly and they know that,” said Wolff.