NICO Rosberg apparently admitted deliberately crashing into Mercedes team-mate and world championship rival Lewis Hamilton in Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix Jalen Reeves-Maybin Jersey , according to the 29-year-old British driver.

Hamilton, who was leading the race when Rosberg drove into him on lap two of the 44-lap race, suffered a puncture to his left rear tyre and, after struggling to recover at the back of the field, retired with four laps remaining.

After a team meeting at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in the aftermath of their most explosive and controversial clash of a dramatic season, Hamilton said Rosberg had said he hit him 'to prove a point'.

Hamilton told reporters: "It looked quite clear to me, but we just had a meeting about it and he basically said he did it on purpose.

"He said he could have avoided it. He said 'I did it to prove a point', and you don't have to just rely on me -- go and ask (Mercedes team boss) Toto [Wolff], Paddy [Lowe] and all those guys who are not happy with him as well."

Hamilton said he was "gob-smacked" at Rosberg's reaction in their team discussion, held just three days after 'clear-the-air' talks to improve their relationship.

"You know, and you can ask Fernando [Alonso], and you can ask all drivers, when a car is less than half a car length alongside you -- and you are on the inside -- it's your racing line," said Hamilton.

"It's not your job to go massively out of your way to leave extra, extra room. And it wasn't one of those corners where there's a wall there or anything."

He added|: "I was gob-smacked when I was listening to the meeting. You need to ask him what point he was trying to make."

- Harmony -

Hamilton said Rosberg had tried to blame him for the incident.

"He just came in there and said it was all my fault."

Hamilton shrugged: "I can't imagine what the team would do now."

He added: "We've got eight races (to go) and we're close - there's only 11 points in it - and I thought it was going to be good for all of us. Good racing, I thought this was going to be a track that was going to be exciting.

"It's interesting because we had that meeting on Thursday and Nico expressed how angry he was..."

Earlier, Rosberg had told reporters that he felt their crash would not spoil their relationship and harmony would be restored.

He said: "I am confident that we can keep it. It is always going to be an intense battle, that was clear from the outset and there will always be difficult moments."

After being booed on the podium, Rosberg defended himself, saying: "First of all, what I hear is that Toto Wolff said it was unavoidable, which doesn't put the blame on me, and the fans that were booing me were the British fans.

"Of course, I am very unhappy for the team because we have the fastest car and we should have had first and second."

(Agencies)


BEIJING, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- Growth in China's August rail freight volume and a surge in industrial profits are among the encouraging data that reinforce a message of economic stabilization, analysts said, but risks remain.

In August, rail freight volume rose 0.1 percent year on year to 277million tonnes, reversing drops since September 2013, said the National Development and Reform Commission on Wednesday.

Tracking indicators of rail cargo volume, electricity consumption and bank lending used to be important alternative ways to measure the Chinese economy, Shanghai-based financial news and services provider WallStreetcn quoted Hua Chuang Securities' Qu Qing as saying in a report on Wednesday.

A total of 563.1 billion kilowatt hours of electricity was consumed last month, up 8.3 percent year on year. Growth accelerated from 1.9 percent a year ago and 8.2 percent in July.

Meanwhile, power production increased 7.8 percent year on year to 561.7 billion kilowatt hours. The momentum is expected to continue in September, according to Qu Yongzhong and Chen Yin from Northeast Securities.

Official data released Tuesday showed that China's industrial profits jumped 19.5 percent year on year to 534.8 billion yuan (about 80.3 billion U.S. dollars) in August, adding to signs of business stabilization.

The Chinese economy is shifting toward a growth model driven more by new engines such as consumer spending and services as policymakers tried to wean the economy from reliance on exports and investment.

Performance of the new growth engines has been even better than that of the old economic drivers.

China's consumer goods retail sales grew 10.6 percent year on year in August, accelerating from the 10.2-percent growth posted in July on the back of robust online sales. In the first eight months, the country's retail sales of consumer goods rose 10.3 percent year on year to 21 trillion yuan, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

"New services, including online medical services, education and taxi-hailing are mushrooming," NBS spokesperson Sheng Laiyun said at a press briefing earlier in the month. Output in high-tech industries rose 11.8 percent from a year ago in August. New business registrations surged 28.9 percent in the first eight months.

Investment is also on a steadier path. China's fixed-asset investment grew 8.2 percent year on year in August, a huge increase from 3.9 percent in the previous month.

Amid encouraging data, overdependence on the property market, which risks causing asset bubbles, is still a major concern for the economy.

The property market has seen prices and sales increase substantially over the past months, boosted by growth policies such as interest rate cuts and lower deposit requirements.

The central bank data showed that M2, a broad measure of the money supply that covers cash in circulation and all deposits, had grown by 11.4 percent year-on-year as of the end of August.

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