Lewis Hamilton has said that his opening lap collision with Mercedes teammate George Russell which took him out of the Qatar GP was his fault.
Hamilton, starting from third on the grid, attempted to go around the outside of Russell into Turn 1 on the first lap as he looked to use his soft tyres to his advantage before the mandated early pitstops amid concerns about degradation around the Losail International Circuit.
However, Russell was himself battling with polesitter Max Verstappen into the first corner, and as the three went into the space, the two Mercedes came together, spinning Russell around and causing Hamilton to fly into the run off missing his rear right wheel.
Russell was irate on the radio after the incident, but Hamilton put his hands up and took full responsibility for the incident after a frustrating early retirement as he seeks to chase down Sergio Perez for second in the Drivers’ Championship.
“Yeah, I think in the heat of the the moment, it felt so frustrating because I got, I felt this tap from the rear end. But I don’t think George had anywhere to go,” Hamilton told media.
“I think it was just an unfortunate scenario. I mean, I’m happy to take responsibility, because that’s my role. I need to go back and look at it.”
Hamilton added that the split strategy from Mercedes, with Russell on the more durable medium compound tyres, was designed for the pair to work together to try and fend off the challenge of the McLaren drivers.
But that approach went quickly out the window after the agonising Lap 1 crash.
“I mean, before the race…we knew that we have different tires. So he was like, let’s just work together today. So we were talking about just working together,” he said.
“And again, it was not our plan to come together, just really getting close team will work so hard to be in that position.
And it’s just really sad for everybody, for my partner, George and your teammates. It’s definitely frustrating whoever you touch with, but it’s frustrating when both of us possibly spin out and went down the order.”