Lewis Hamilton was involved in a serious collision with team-mate George Russell just after the start of the Qatar Grand Prix, and the record breaking former world champion retired as a result.
Ex driver Nico Rosberg blamed the veteran but also criticised the team’s strategy. Meanwhile, TV pundit Ralf Schumacher urged caution in the heat as he reacts to heat battle in Qatar.
Lewis Hamilton wasn’t about to beat around the bush after his botched start in the desert. “I watched the replay and it was 100 per cent my fault. I take full responsibility. I apologise to my team and to George,” the British driver wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
Rosberg criticises Hamilton & Mercedes
Former team-mate Nico Rosberg also blamed the 38-year-old for the contact between the two Mercedes drivers. He “just left too little space” for Russell, he told Sky.
However, Rosberg also laid the blame at the door of the Silver Arrows’ pitwall.
“Maybe you have to blame the team a little bit – they put the driver back on soft tyres. Lewis Hamilton has to try something with these tyres,” explained the 2016 World Champion.
Schumacher urges caution
Meanwhile, Germany Sky Sports TV pundit Ralf Schumacher also blamed Lewis Hamilton for the crash.
“He turns in and doesn’t give George Russell enough space because he can’t get over. It’s a shame because both Mercedes were strong and scored good points,” said the ex-driver after Sunday’s race.
Ralf Schumacher urged caution in the light of the almost health-threatening conditions in which the drivers had to race in Qatar.
“It seems to have been almost over the limit – Max Verstappen had to sit down and rest first,” said the Sky pundit:
“Maybe we need to be a bit more careful in the future and analyse the conditions for the drivers…”
Drivers critical of Qatar
Many drivers were highly critical after the race. “It was far too dangerous,” said McLaren’s Lando Norris after the brutal ordeal in Qatar.
“I thought I was going to pass out. It was crazy how hot it was, like an oven,” said George Russell, describing his ride in the Mercedes.
Williams driver Logan Sargeant even had to be taken to the track hospital after vomiting in the car.
Even towards the end of the race, at around 21:30 local time, temperatures were still in the high 30s and humidity was close to 80 per cent.
The previous days had been even warmer, with temperatures reaching over 40 degrees during the day.
MORE F1 NEWS: “Qatar will be cancelled” says FIA president
For two years in a row, Formula One has suffered from poor publicity during the Austrian Grand Prix. Drivers pushing for the ultimate lap cannot stay within track limits at the final two corners and the result is the stewards this year issued well over 1000 deleted lap times during the weekend.
This is confusing for those watching qualifying and even the race and the narrative for the weekend becomes one dominated by…READ MORE ON THIS STORY