F1: Hamilton accuses Sirotkin of ‘disrespectful move’
By Chris Medland | RACER magazine and RACER.com F1 correspondent
Lewis Hamilton says Sergey Sirotkin was being disrespectful when attempting to overtake him during qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix.
During Q2, Sirotkin was exiting the penultimate corner at high speed but not on a flying lap, with Hamilton going slowly on the racing line in preparation for the start of his own timed effort. Seeing the Williams, Hamilton moved to the left to try and get off the racing line but Sirotkin went the same way before backing off once ahead of the Mercedes.
“Everyone was on an out-lap — me, Sergey and everyone in front of me,” Hamilton said. “And when you are on an out-lap… Valtteri (Bottas) was ahead of me and he was backing off to get his gap to I had to back off.
“I was making sure I had the gap but then all of a sudden I saw a car coming at high speed and was like, ‘Oh my God, is that someone coming on a lap?’ So I went left, but he was going left. But he wasn’t on a lap, so I don’t know what his thinking was.
“We all know to keep a gap. It was a disrespectful move. I was trying to get out of his way and then he got to the corner and slowed up. It was kind of strange. It was completely unnecessary because behind him there was a bit of space so ultimately his lap and my lap weren’t great. Hopefully he can learn from it.”
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Speaking before Hamilton’s comments — which came after the Briton secured pole position — Sirotkin himself did not blame Hamilton for impacting his qualifying, and the stewards have so far not chosen to investigate the incident despite the pair coming close to contact.
“Why is everybody asking about Lewis and not about where we are?!” Sirotkin said. “No, I mean, to be honest, nothing I’m too angry with him for. I needed to push that lap to get my tires (ready). It was all a bit unplanned where we were and we could not put the tires in the blankets between the runs so we were massively down on temps.
“Basically that out-lap was as quick as any other lap, almost. I was properly flat out, I was coming through the very quick left hander there, and he was stopping to prepare his lap. I went on the left, not even hoping that he would let me go because he was so slow and I was coming so quickly.
“Then at the last minute he saw me and tried to avoid me, and he gave me the racing line but I was already on the left so I had to pass through the grass and basically my lap was ruined after that. But he’s champion, he knows what he’s doing and didn’t change my position at the end of the day. It’s a good day in general.”
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