29 August 2011
Hamilton accepts blame for Belgian GP exit
Lewis Hamilton has reversed his opinion on the lap 13 accident that ended his Belgian Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton has reviewed the accident that took him out of the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday, accepting that he was entirely to blame for the contact with Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi on the run to Les Combes.
Neither driver was reprimanded by the stewards for their part in the incident, which sidelined Hamilton as he was attempting to regain a podium position after his first tyre stop, but the Briton initially believed that he was the victim of a mistake by his rival.
“I was in a good position and I'd already got past one of the Ferraris, but then I was hit by Kamui [Kobayashi]," he said in McLaren's post-race statement, "I don't really know what happened, but I hit the wall pretty hard and my race was immediately over. I was ahead, so I don't know why I got hit."
However, having had time to review replays of the race, the 2008 world champion decided to revise his opinion, accepting that he had allowed his car to drift back across to the outside of the circuit in preparation for the Les Combes chicane without realising that Kobayashi was still attempting to fight for position.
“After watching the replay, I realise it was my fault today.... 100 per cent," he wrote on his Twitter account, "I didn't give Kobayashi enough room, though I thought I was past. Apologies to Kamui and to my team. The team deserves better from me.”
Although he recovered from being passed by both Nico Rosberg and Felipe Massa on the opening lap to assume the lead when Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso pitted for fresh tyres, Hamilton told TV interviewers that the McLaren did not have the straight-line speed to have won the race - a factor that he also believed allowed Kobayashi, who was running less downforce on his Sauber, to have a look at retaking fourth place when they clashed.
While he was running fourth on merit when Hamilton came steaming past under DRS on lap 13, Kobayashi eventually fell to twelfth in the final result, blaming a late pit-stop while the safety car was out to clear up the debris from the clash with the McLaren.
“Of course I expected to score some points today," he admitted, "My start was good and I had a couple of nice fights. On the straights, I was actually slower than expected, but I don't know yet why this was. It was also hard to survive with the soft tyres and I was under pressure from Vitaly Petrov. When I pitted on the second lap behind the safety car, I lost an awful lot of positions. The long stint on the medium tyres in the end worked well, but then I was too far away from the points.”
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