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Hamilton accepts mistake as title hopes slip again

Lewis Hamilton admits it was his own mistake that led to a woeful getaway at the start of the Japanese GP as his title hopes take another hit
RESULTS: Japanese Grand Prix – Race results

Lewis Hamilton has admitted it was his error that led to a woeful getaway from the line in the Japanese Grand Prix as his run to third place sees him cede more crucial points to Nico Rosberg in the standings.

Needing to get back to winning ways in Suzuka having now not won a race since July's German Grand Prix, Hamilton's hopes were all-but-scuppered immediately at the start when his Mercedes bogged down and was swallowed up by the chasing pack.

POINTS: The F1 World Championship standings after the Japanese Grand Prix

Though some speculated a damp patch in his grid box, the product of overnight rain, may have played a part, Hamilton instead insists the mistake was down to him solely.

“I don't think the damp patch had anything to do with it, I made a mistake. I just got wheelspin.
Working my way up from there was tricky but I did the best I could.”

Though Hamilton would claw his way through the order with a blend of canny strategy and a rapid charge in the closing stages, he couldn't quite limit the damage entirely as he came up against a robust Max Verstappen in the final laps and couldn't pass.

Power & Picasso: The bizarre tale of Japan's lost 'Autopian GP'

With an attempt to pass at the chicane on the penultimate lap firmly rebuffed by Verstappen – leading Hamilton to complain about his moving under braking -, the defending champion chose not to dwell on it when he was asked on it.

“The middle stint the car felt good, generally the car felt great throughout the race so it wasn't really a problem. I'm not really quite sure if I was overtaking backmarkers or not but I was just overtaking whoever I could. So I had the run there and fought hard at the end but just couldn't make it. It doesn't really matter now [about Max's defence]. It has happened and we move forwards.”

With Rosberg's win adding 10 points to his swelling margin over his team-mate, the German now leads by 33 points with four races remaining.

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