It was a heart in the mouth moment, and in the aftermath it was widely felt that Lewis Hamilton might receive a call from the stewards after appearing to veer in front of a charging Sergey Sirotkin and risking what could have bee n a monumental accident.
However, not only was there no call from the stewards, Hamilton went on to call the Russian disrespectful for the move.
“Basically everyone was on an ‘out’ lap,” Hamilton said of the moment at the start of Q2, “towards the end of the lap Valtteri was up ahead of me so he was backing off to get his gap so I had to make sure I kept a gap with him.
“As far as I was aware, no one behind was on a lap so I was making sure I had the gap but then all of a sudden, out of the last corner – sorry, out of turn 11 – I saw a car coming at high speed so I was like ‘oh my God, is that someone on a lap?’ so I went to move to the left and that’s where he decided to go but he wasn’t on a lap, so I don’t really know what his thinking was really, with it, because respectfully, between all the drivers, we all do respect… you know, I could have easily tried to overtake Valtteri or whoever was in front of him.
“We all know to keep our space by that point so it was generally quite a disrespectful move in the sense of where it was dangerous between us both because I was not expecting it to happen that way, and so I was actually trying to get out of his way but he ended up going inside but then he got to the corner and then slowed up to utilise the gap but then also I don’t know whether to slow my lap up or not.
“It was kind of strange,” he admitted. “It was completely unnecessary because he had a space behind, behind him there was a bit of a space so ultimately his lap and my lap weren’t great from that so hopefully he can learn from it.”
However, elsewhere in the paddock, Sirotkin was giving his side of events. As Williams had no new tyres available for him, the Russian was running on a used set from Q1 which had not been pre-heated.
“They were minus 27 degrees compared to the delta,” he revealed, “so I had to push very hard all the way around. I was still pushing all the way through Turn 11 and he was very slow preparing for his lap.
“Because I was coming so quickly, I didn’t expect him to give me the room as we were both on out-laps,” he continued. “I had such a big speed difference with him, that I just moved myself to the left to get through and, at the last minute, he saw me and tried to move. I was like 200km/h quicker than him at that point on the left so it was quite difficult to get around and to avoid the contact.
“But I don’t think there is anything he did wrong,” he admitted. “It was just the situation that I had to push, which was quite unusual for the out-lap, but these things can happen.”
Ahead of today’s race, Hamilton took to social media to apologise for his comments.
“Morning world,” he posted on Instagram. “I woke this morning feeling I should correct some of the words I used yesterday. I was wrong, it wasn’t a disrespectful move by Sergey, it was a misunderstanding and I honestly attempted to get out of his way. Didn’t work that well but shit happens and I respect the way he handled it.”
Sadly, as he doesn’t social media, Sebastian Vettel has been unable to apologise to the scales he wrecked.