Williams driver Sergey Sirotkin says Lewis Hamilton did nothing wrong in the incident between the pair of them in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix.
“The only tyres that I had were a scrubbed set from the end of Q1,” Sirotkin explained. “We didn’t have it in the blankets long enough so when I left the pits the tyres were minus 20 degrees [to target].
“So I had to push very hard all the way on my out-lap. I was really as quick as I had the grip for all the way around and I was still pushing all the way from turn 11.
“And then Lewis was there, he was obviously very slow, preparing his lap. Because I was coming so quickly I didn’t expect him to give me the room as we were both on out-laps and I had such a big speed difference between him that I just moved myself to the left, trying to get through. I think at the last minute he saw me and tried to move and I was like 200[kph] quicker than him on that point on the left so it was quite difficult to get around and avoid the contact.”
Sirotkin said he didn’t blame Hamilton for the near-miss. “I don’t think there is anything he did wrong, it [was] just the situation that I had to push, which is quite unusual for the out-lap. These things can happen.”
Hamilton said the incident was “completely unnecessary”.
“We had a space behind. Behind him there was a bit of a space so ultimately his lap and my lap weren’t great from that so hopefully he can learn from it.”
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff called the near-miss a “non-issue.”
“This was a warm-up lap and a misunderstanding between two drivers,” he said. “Sergey came out and said he didn’t lose any time and it was a misunderstanding.
“And for Lewis it was a misunderstanding, he tried to get out of the way whilst thinking that somebody was on a quick lap and wasn’t flagged to him. It could have ended up in an accident but it didn’t. So for me, a non-issue.”
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