Lewis Hamilton says “it was kind of cool” saving his FP2 slide from the barriers as he escaped a penalty following an FIA investigation for his run-in with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen ahead of the French Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver lost control coming around Turn 4 midway through FP2 during his first soft tyre run and drifted towards the barrier, narrowly avoiding contact with the wall, before coming back on to the track slowly.

That saw Verstappen avoid contact with the reigning Formula 1 world champion, having been on a fast lap himself before sliding wide at Turn 5, which the FIA race stewards investigated suspecting Hamilton of unsafely re-joining the track in front of the Red Bull driver.

But after being cleared of any wrongdoing having gained support from Verstappen, Hamilton felt he was fortunate to avoid a bigger incident in the barrier.

“It was a serious moment, I’m surprised I caught it,” Hamilton said. “If I had gone around I might have gone off into the wall.

“I got it under control but drifting, then I had to apply the brake, and come off the brake and apply the brake and a bit of gas to try and keep the balance, it was kind of cool.

“So I am definitely happy with the save. It didn’t really damage the tyres either. I went off, tried to trundle back onto the track, away from the racing line, but then naturally you get to the racing line.

“I was looking in my mirror, but being along the white line, you look behind you, and there’s nothing there – because Max was quite far on racing line on other side, I was just trying to go slow to stay out of the way, I saw him all of a sudden come round.

“Luckily I didn’t stop him going into the corner, think he had a big snap on exit. It’s practice, sometimes these things happen, it wasn’t intentional or anything like that.”

The French GP FP2 incident follows a very similar crash he suffered last time out at the Canadian Grand Prix, also in FP2, when he slid wide and hit the wall which wrecked his session.

 

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