Hamilton owns up: Crash with Russell was '100% my fault’

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Lewis Hamilton acknowledged that the crash between himself and Mercedes teammate George Russell at the start of the Qatar Grand Prix was “100%” his fault.

Hamilton enjoyed a good launch off the grid thanks to his soft tyres and approached the first corner in third positions behind Max Verstappen and Russell, but the stronger momentum than his teammate.

However, as he pulled up alongside Russell and entered the corner, he tightened his line and clipped the front left corner of his teammate’s car, a contact that sent both drivers off course and into the gravel trap.

Hamilton came off the worse for wear and was forced to retire on the spot while Russell able to rejoin the track and pit at the end of his lap. He eventually fought his way all the way back up to P4 after a well-executed race.

In the heat of the moment, Hamilton said on the radio that “I’ve just been taken out by my teammate”. An angry Russell however said that he had nowhere to go.

But upon watching a replay of the action, Hamilton immediately took responsibility for the incident.

“I’ve watched the replay and it was 100% my fault and I take full responsibility,” he tweeted. “Apologies to my team and to George.”

“I think in the heat of the moment, it was obviously frustrating because I felt this tap from the rear end, but I don’t think George had anywhere to go, it was just an unfortunate scenario,” he told the media as he elaborated on the clash

“I’m happy to take responsibility because that’s my role. I need to go back and look at it, but I don’t feel like it was George’s fault.”

Hamilton also said that he had discussed the start with Russell before the race, and that “we were talking about working together”.

“It’s not, our plan to come together, really gutting for the team because we’ve all worked so hard to be in that position and I feel really sad for everybody, for my part in it,” he added.

Asked if the run-in would affect his relationship with Russell, Hamilton said: “The relationship isn’t broken.

“I don’t have any problems with George, we have a great relationship, we work and we always talk about things.

“So this is definitely unfortunate and I’m sure he was frustrated in the moment like I was.

“But we’ll talk about it offline and we move forwards. As I said, just apologies to all of the team.”

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