Lewis Hamilton accepts blame for Qatar Grand Prix crash with George Russell

Lewis Hamilton accepted the blame for a collision with Mercedes team-mate George Russell at the start of the Qatar Grand Prix.

Hamilton, who was trying to overtake Russell and race leader Max Verstappen around the outside, said: “I’ve watched the replay and it was 100% my fault.”

Hamilton, writing on social media, added: “I take full responsibility.”

Russell said: “I definitely appreciate him apologising for that. In every incident, it involves two people.”

The seven-time champion appeared to miscalculate as he turned into the corner that Russell could not move further to the inside because Verstappen’s car was next to his.

Hamilton’s right rear wheel tagged Russell’s left front and both spun off the track. Hamilton retired on the spot but Russell was able to continue and he fought back from last at the end of the first lap to finish fourth.

Hamilton’s desire to make progress from third on the grid was heightened by the fact that he was starting on soft-compound tyres while Verstappen and Russell, who were on the front row, were on mediums.

This was a result of Hamilton having a less advantageous tyre selection available following the imposition by officials of mandatory tyre-life limits because of safety concerns.

The Mercedes drivers had discussed before the race that Hamilton was likely to pass Russell in the early stages before making a pit stop after just eight laps.

Hamilton said: “We knew we had different tyres, and he was like: ‘Let’s just work together.’ We were talking about working together.

“It was not our plan to come together. (I’m) just really gutted for the team, and we have all worked so hard to be in that position, just really sad for everybody for my part in it.”

Both drivers insisted that the incident would not damage their relationship.

Hamilton said: “The relationship isn’t broken. I don’t have any problems with George. We have a great relationship and we always talk about things.

“It is definitely unfortunate and I’m sure he was frustrated in the moment, as I was. But we will talk about it off line and we will move forwards.”

Russell said: “Of course frustrated because it was just a missed opportunity for both of us.

“We have one goal and that is to finish second in the constructors’ championship.

“We had a lot of discussions this morning about how we would work together. The fight wasn’t with each other, the fight is with Ferrari.

“We came away with more points than them, nothing was intentional from either side.”

Russell finished one place ahead of Charles Leclerc, the only Ferrari driver to start the race after Carlos Sainz’s car suffered a leak in the fuel system.

Mercedes lead Ferrari by 28 points in the team’s title chase with five races remaining.

Kesh Awefada

Kesh Awefada

Read Previous


Read Next

English Football League sides make environment pledge