Lewis Hamilton has apologised to the Mercedes team for his part in the first lap accident with Nico Rosberg that wiped out both cars just seconds into the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Sunday afternoon.
"I have already apologised to the team," he said. "That was the most gutting thing when I stopped, just thinking about all these things that worked so hard in this team to give me an opportunity to race today.
"It was apologies from my behalf that I didn’t score those points for the team. These things happen in racing but it’s the right thing to apologise to all these guys, just like when the engine fails they apologise to me.
"To not deliver for them, I’ve been racing for them for a while so it’s not too often this happens, but whenever it does it’s a very painful experience for all of us. One thing is we’re united and we’ll all come back strong."
The incident was described by Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda as "completely unnecessary, completely unacceptable," and the former world champion had put the blame for the accident squarely on Hamilton's shoulders.
"I don’t have a reaction to [Lauda's comments]. Everyone can have their opinions, whether or not they’re right or wrong it doesn’t matter. I did apologise to Niki as he is a part of this team and a huge supporter of mine for letting him and the team down.
"Basically from me I got a good start, I just got slipstreamed into Turn 1 and then through Turn 3 I was a lot quicker than Nico. Nico just happened to be in the wrong engine mode and he derated, which I didn’t, and I was gaining at him at fairly decent pace.
"Where he positioned the car, I was a car width to the right of the racing line and at the speed I was catching him I had to decide whether to go left, which is a small gap, or right. The inside line is always the one you’d go for, there was a much bigger gap and I went for it. I got there and I had part of my wing and part of my wheel alongside within the white line and then that diminished pretty quickly.
"I did what I could to avoid an incident pretty fast by going on the grass, but it all happened pretty quickly."
While he wouldn't be drawn into criticism his team mate for forcing him onto the slick grass, Hamilton clearly felt that he was justified in going for the gap when it presented itself.
"I’m saying that’s how I drove, that’s what I did, and it wasn’t a case of the door was closed yet decided to go across the grass. I saw a gap and I went for it and that’s what racing drivers do."
There was some relief for Hamilton that a subsequent racing stewards investigation deemed the crash a racing incident with no one to blame.
"Today we’ve lost 43 points [but] we haven’t come out any worse than it already is, we’ve got no penalties which is a good thing," he said. "We’ll just keep racing, we’ll obviously try to make sure this doesn’t happen again. And that’s it."