Lewis Hamilton says he apologized to Oscar Piastri after the Italian Grand Prix for causing a collision that stopped the rookie from scoring points.
The Mercedes driver was overtaking Piastri for eighth place on the run to the second chicane when he moved back towards the racing line under braking and clipped the front left wheel of the McLaren, damaging its front wing. Piastri had to make an extra pit stop and dropped out of the points, with Hamilton handed a five-second time penalty and taking full responsibility.
“I apologized because it was obviously my fault,” Hamilton said. “And it naturally wasn’t intentional. I got up alongside and just misjudged the gap that I had to the right, clipped him and it could happen anytime. But I knew shortly afterwards, it must have been my fault. So, I wanted to make sure he knew that it wasn’t intentional. And that’s what gentlemen do, right?”
Piastri accepted the apology, saying he was satisfied with Hamilton’s reaction to the incident.
“Obviously not the afternoon we were looking for,” Piastri said. “I don’t think a whole lot went right, to be honest with you. The contact with Lewis was the biggest point. He apologized and the stewards gave out a penalty. I can’t ask for anything other than that. It’s cool.”
Hamilton still managed to negate the time penalty he received as he overtook Lando Norris and Alex Albon to run sixth, pulling over seven seconds clear of the Williams, even though he’d felt it would be a tall order to make his medium tires last to the end of the race after his pit stop.
“I definitely wasn’t upset. I was just supposed to go to lap 35 and the pace didn’t feel that great at that point,” he explained. “But they stopped me. The lap I pitted they said that I was going to target and then all of a sudden they boxed me. So, I was a little bit confused with that, that’s all.
“And then I was definitely concerned that I might not make it to the end. The gap was large between myself and the McLarens, I dropped back behind an Aston. So, I didn’t ,at that point, realize what my trajectory might be. But I took care of the tires, closed the gap and had that good battle.
“Races are pretty straightforward for me, so I’ve just got to do better in qualifying, so it’s not such a difficult day. And just living with the car that we have at the moment. (In Monza) it’s the third fastest car and it’s obviously painful for all of us. We wish we were quicker. But we’re just counting down the days to February.”