Lewis Hamilton brushes off furious Sainz after Spanish GP incident

The Mercedes driver secured his first podium finish of the season after a feisty battle with Sainz early in the 2024 Spanish GP


Lewis Hamilton risked angering Carlos Sainz after claiming the Ferrari driver “left the door open” to overtake him during the Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.

The Mercedes star secured his first podium finish of the 2024 season after pulling off a crucial pass on Sainz early in the race under DRS, before outpacing George Russell in the closing stages.

Having qualified third on Saturday, he was forced to recover from fifth to claim his podium prize after a terrible launch off the line. But his impressive drive in Barcelona didn’t go without some controversy after Sainz complained Hamilton forced him off the racetrack with his Turn 1 manoeuvre on Lap 19.

The seven-time world champion closed the gap on the pit straight and made a daring dart down the inside as Sainz covered the racing line. The two drivers did appear to bump wheels but left each other enough room to avoid a heavier contact, as Hamilton moved up into fourth and chased down his team-mate Russell.

Hamilton, who conceded his move was “right on the limit” immediately after the race, elaborated further on whether he felt his overtake on Sainz was legal in the post-race drivers’ press conference.

“It’s not a good feeling when you do get overtaken. I think we had a nice tight battle into Turn 1,” Hamilton told the written press after the race in Barcelona, including Total-Motorsport.com.

“I left him some room and I think he was still on the track, but he left the door open on the inside… [he] didn’t fully close it. And so I went for the inside and tried to make the corner. I think he came round the corner, which is where we touched wheels equally and… [it was] nothing major it was like a small scrub. I gave him some room on the exit.”

Sainz fumes with Hamilton overtake

Sainz was left furious with the move and demanded his team launch a complaint with the FIA stewards. But he was later informed by his race engineer Riccardo Adami that Race Control had opted against taking further action against Hamilton, to which the Spaniard replied: “I don’t understand why there’s a rulebook, and we don’t follow it.”

The 39-year-old was keen to focus on the positives after ending his 11-race run without finishing on the podium, and claimed Mercedes are gradually closing the gap to the cars at the front such as Red Bull and McLaren.

Lewis Hamilton during 2024 Spanish GP weekend | Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton finished third in the 2024 Spanish GP | Mercedes

“We definitely are. We’re definitely getting more consistent and if I can just get my qualifying to be like this weekend, then it makes stuff on Sunday so much easier,” Hamilton said when asked if Mercedes are improving.

“Also, it helps if you get a good start, but my Saturdays have been so bad for the last 15 races, so it’s good to have a clean weekend. And hopefully this puts us in a good position to challenge in the next few races.”

It means Hamilton stays eighth in the drivers’ championship standings with 70 points from the opening 10 race events, although the fact half of those points have come in the last three races shows a significant improvement from his torrid start to the season.

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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