Lewis Hamilton opens up on Imola mistake and sends message to winner Max Verstappen

F1: Can Lewis Hamilton do it again?

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Lewis Hamilton had to settle for second place during the rain-affected Emilia Romagna GP in an impressive recovery drive, after admitting it ‘wasn’t the greatest of days’.

Hamilton made a very rare mistake mid-race, sliding off the race track and into the barriers as he closed in on Max Verstappen for the win, just after changing for slick tyres.

The seven-time world champion seemed to sit in the gravel for longer than he hoped as he tried to manoeuvre the car from the trap, eventually finding reverse and rejoining in P9.

He said: “First congratulations to Max, he did a fantastic job today, and just solid work from him but also to Lando, what an awesome job and it’s so great to see McLaren back up there.

“On my side it was not the greatest of days, it’s the first time I’ve made a mistake in a long time, but I’m grateful I was able to bring the car home still.”

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And reflecting on the crash, Hamilton explained: “There was only one dry line and I guess I was in too much of a hurry to get by everyone, came on to the inside and I could see it was wet. I was trying to stop but the thing wouldn’t stop and sent me off.

“Bit unfortunate but I’m really grateful that we got going again and to get some points for the team was really important today.”

Shortly after the incident the race was then red-flagged as William’s George Russell and Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas were involved in a huge collision, with both drivers walking away.

Debris was strewn across the track, leading to a lengthy stoppage time.

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And when asked if Hamilton at that time was thinking about the fact he could still lead the championship, if he came away with a second place and fastest lap.

He replied: “I wasn’t thinking about it, I was just trying to get over the gutting kind of feeling it is when you make a mistake and just move on from it, and learn from it real quick.

“You don’t have time to dwell on it, so that’s what I did. Get back into racing spirit. I didn’t know if we’d be able to overtake, because again, offline was going to be wet, but still had some good fun battles with all the guys.

Verstappen beat Hamilton to the win, but admitted it wasn’t an easy feat.

He said: “It was very challenging out there, especially in the beginning. It was very hard to stay on track to be honest. It was very slippery and then of course with the tyres degrading in the wet, and then choosing the right moment to go on the slicks is never easy, so I think we managed everything well, then a little moment in my restart but everything else went really well today so happy with that.

“I was surprised myself, last year we had been struggling a little bit off the line but i think we worked really hard to make that better and already, of course you saw it in Bahrian, but in these tricky conditions I think we did a great job.”

And when replying to the fact Hamilton is still leading the championship, Verstappen replied: “It’s a long season, let’s stay calm.

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