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Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton takes 'full responsibility' for first-lap Russell incident

Lewis Hamilton retired on the opening lap at Lusail after contact with team-mate George Russell.

Hamilton Russell crash Qatar
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To news overview © XPBimages

Lewis Hamilton feels that Mercedes team-mate George Russell is not to blame for their opening lap collision at the Qatar Grand Prix.

At the start in Lusail, Soft-tyre shod Hamilton get a better start on the racing line than P2 Medium starter Russell on the run down to Turn 1.

Hamilton attempted to go around the outside of Russell and pole-sitter Max Verstappen, but the left-front of Russell collided with the right-rear of Hamilton.

The tyre was plucked from the rim as Hamilton retired on the spot with Russell spinning around, but was able to continue after pitting for repairs.

Hamilton was also placed under investigation by the stewards for crossing the track while the Safety Car was deployed, something prohibited by the regulations.

Hamilton's declaration

"In the heat of the moment, I felt so frustrated because I felt this tap from the rear, but I don't think George had anywhere to go," Hamilton told media including RacingNews365.

"It was just an unfortunate scenario, but I am happy to take responsibility because that is my role. I need to go back at look at it, but I don't feel like it was George's fault.

"Before the race, we knew that we'd have different tyres so he was like: 'Why don't we work together today', so we are talking about working together.

"It was not our plan to come together, it is just really gutting for the team who has worked so hard to be in that position and it is just really sad for everybody.

"It is frustrating whoever you touch with, but it is [more so] when both of us spun out and went down the order."

In a later tweet, Hamilton admitted "full responsibility for the incident" for his first first-lap DNF since the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix.

F1 2023 Qatar Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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