“Rosberg apparently forgot to look in his mirror,” Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko told German television Sky.
In the end, Vettel’s deficit to pole was a mere five hundredths of a second.
Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda hit back at Marko, claiming picking out a formula one car some few seconds behind amid plumes of rain spray is “not like when you’re driving on the highway”.
And “I think there is traffic all over the roads, even in Austria,” Lauda added.
“Such things can just happen,” said Lauda.
Seated next to Rosberg in the post-qualifying press conference, Vettel said: “Nico couldn’t see much in his mirrors, I guess.
“Obviously I was pissed off – sorry, angry – at the time because although it was a two or three second gap it was enough that the next corner was completely blind.”
Rosberg, however, immediately professed his innocence.
“I don’t think that was me,” he insisted. “I never had anybody behind me.”
Shortly after, when polesitter Lewis Hamilton was discussing his session with reporters, the 2008 world champion became frustrated because teammate Rosberg and Vettel were still privately debating the ‘block’.
“Hey guys, I can’t even hear myself talk,” said Hamilton.
Later, Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport quoted Rosberg as explaining: “Sebastian was two and a half seconds behind me, so I couldn’t see him at all in the spray.
“Besides, I was too far in front of him to be in his way,” he insisted.
Nonetheless, it emerges that Red Bull’s team manager Jonathan Wheatley took the matter to the stewards, who promptly dismissed the complaint.
Lauda shook his head: “Why would Helmut get in a bad mood about this rather than rejoice that Vettel is next to a Mercedes on the front row?”