Mercedes GP team boss Ross Brawn has insisted that Michael Schumacher did not make any deliberately dangerous movements when trying to block Rubens Barrichello in the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Schumacher will have to take a 10-place grid penalty at Spa as a punishment for impeding the Williams driver, who squeezed through a narrowing gap between the Mercedes and the pit wall to take 10th place.
Brawn was adamant that Schumacher's driving was within acceptable limits.
"Pretty tough - a tough move by Michael and a tough decision by the stewards," said the team chief.
"I don't think for a moment that Michael was trying to put Rubens in the wall - but he was trying to discourage him from coming down the inside because he thought that was where he would be vulnerable.
"But at the end of the day he gave him enough space. You can argue that it was marginal but - tough racing."
Brawn believes Schumacher was caught out by Barrichello getting alongside him so soon after the exit of the final corner and had not been trying to deny him space.
"Later in the maneuver you can see he moved away from Rubens, I don't think he expected Rubens to be exactly where he was at that time because it is a sort of maneuver that happens when you enter a corner not that far up a straight," said Brawn.
"Rubens got a very good run out of the last corner with his new tires so I think there is lots of way arguing it - but these things happen in a fraction of a second."
He added that he was certain there was no dangerous intent in the move.
"It may have ended up in a dangerous way but that wasn't the intent I am sure by Michael," Brawn said.
"Michael was defending his position, trying to encourage Rubens to go around the outside. I don't think for a moment that he saw Rubens there and thought 'I will squeeze him'.
"But it is a pretty tough business F1 and if you open up every time someone tries to attack you then you know the drivers in F1 who don't defend and those that do."
He also denied any suggestion that Schumacher's driving had been particularly brutal because Barrichello was an ex-team-mate.
"Certainly not from Michael's perspective!" Brawn replied when asked if the 'history' between the two drivers had been a factor.
"Michael didn't comment on that. I know Rubens has commented on the history between them, but Michael hasn't at all. It is obviously something that is paramount in Rubens' mind."