Lewis Hamilton has issued an apology to his Mercedes team-mate George Russell after the pair collided on the opening lap of the Qatar Grand Prix.
The seven-time world champion was starting the race on the unfavoured but faster soft compound tyres, allowing him to launch an attack on Russell at the opening corner on the first lap.
Unfortunately for Hamilton, he didn’t leave enough room for his team-mate with the British duo making contact as they duelled into turn one. The crash sent Hamilton spinning into the gravel and out of the race.
Hamilton initially placed the blame for the incident on his team-mate, stating: “Yeah, I got taken out by my own team-mate,” over the radio, before withdrawing his comment after exiting his car.
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Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after the session, Hamilton said: “I just feel really sorry to my team. It was an opportunity today to get some good points.
“In the heat of the moment, I didn’t really understand what happened, I just obviously felt the tap from behind. But I don’t think George probably had anywhere to go and, yeah, it’s just one of those really unfortunate situations.
“I mean, I’m happy to take responsibility as the older one. It’s massively gutting to have a result like this. It’s very rare that this happens to me. I hope George is able to get back into the points today so I’ll be supporting him.”
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Toto Wolff isn’t present at the Qatar GP this weekend but there will still be some awkward conversations in the Mercedes camp with Russell left furious after the clash with Hamilton.
After the pair came together Russell fumed over the radio: “Come on! What the hell? Guys, come on. Two races in a row!” He later popped up with another message of frustration after watching the incident from the cockpit on one of the big screens.
“Lost for words, honestly,” he continued, speaking during the safety car interval. “I’ve just seen the replays on the TV screen. I couldn’t do anything. I was totally sandwiched.”
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