Lewis Hamilton admits he’s to blame after rare mistake in dramatic Russian GP qualifying

George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes

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Lewis Hamilton says he’s to blame for a rare mistake in qualifying at the Russian Grand Prix which cost Mercedes the chance at pole position in Sochi. When pitting for slick tyres, Hamilton smashed into the pit wall, with his team-mate Valtteri Bottas losing time behind him in the dying moments of the final session.

With the two Mercedes drivers lined up ready to change for slicks with the track drying, Hamilton was up first, with the team releasing the seven-time world champion back to the track.

But disaster struck as Hamilton lost control of the car and hit into the wall, clipping the front of the Mercedes and breaking the front wing with just minutes left on the clock to set a flying lap.

With Bottas waiting behind, Mercedes were forced to push Hamilton to the side to change the Finn’s tyres before dealing with Hamilton’s front wing.

Hamilton was eventually released back to the track with no further issues, however, Mercedes were running out of time to get any heat in the tyres.

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Hamilton was heard complaining on the team radio that he couldn’t get any heat in his tyres, as the two Mercedes started tumbling down the timing screens, with Lando Norris in the Mclaren setting the fastest time of the session.

When asked by Craig Slater from Sky Sports F1 if it was cold tyres, Hamilton replied: “No, just a mistake for myself, ultimately.

“Incredibly disappointed in myself. 

“Up until then, I was in the groove I was really in a zone. And I’m really sorry for all the team that are here and back to the factory because obviously, that’s not what you expect from a champion, but it is what it is, and I will do my best tomorrow to try and rectify it.

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George Russell was the first to pounce and put on slick tyres in the dying few moments of the qualifying session, very nearly hitting the wall himself as he exited the pits with cold tyres on a drying track.

Mercedes followed shortly after, taking the gamble for the dry weather tyres, however, Hamilton admitted it wasn’t an enjoyable experience to the end.

“It was horrible at the end, very poor grip very slippery when you don’t have any temperature in your tyres I was losing temperature during the lap and then even twice in the wall,” Hamilton continued. 

“That’s very rare for me.

Hamilton starts behind Norris, Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari and Russell, who starts third on the grid.

The seven-time world champion starts fourth, with his Mercedes team-mate down in seventh, and with his main title rival Max Verstappen starting at the back of the grid, Hamilton was still concerned about the competition in front of him.

“The guys up front have good pace, and it definitely won’t be easy and I can say my prayers and hope that the car can be fixed and it’s hopefully okay for tomorrow,” concluded Hamilton.

“These things are sent to us and as I feel terrible right now, but I’ll turn it into a positive, and try and do the best but you’ve got a Brit on pole which is great, so congrats to Lando.”

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