Lewis Hamilton had little sympathy for Max Verstappen after the Brazilian Grand Prix, saying he would have approached the incident that cost his rival victory with more caution than the Red Bull driver.
Hamilton won Sunday’s race after Verstappen spun out of the lead in a collision with backmarker Esteban Ocon. Up to that point, Verstappen had executed a better race strategy than the Mercedes driver and had passed Hamilton for the lead on lap 40.
Ocon ended up getting involved with Verstappen when a slow pit stop saw him rejoin the race two laps down and behind the Red Bull driver on track. He was on fresher tyres than Verstappen — and therefore had a pace advantage over the Red Bull — but couldn’t get enough of his car alongside to execute a clean pass into Turn 1. The collision occurred as Ocon attempted to gain the inside line for Turn 2, resulting in heavy contact and both drivers spinning off the circuit.
Hamilton, who was several seconds behind at the time, said he would have given Ocon more space.
“I saw it happen — I wasn’t surprised by it,” he said. “I saw them racing but they weren’t racing for the same position.”In my mind, I would have been in a different frame of mind [than Max]. Fortunately he was able to keep going, no one got hurt and they kept going — a racing incident I guess.
“But Max is like that. He’s a go-get-it guy and every now and then it comes to bite you. But I’m really, really proud [of my win] — I don’t care about anyone else.”
Hamilton’s victory contributed to Mercedes sealing the constructors’ title on Sunday afternoon and he thanked his team for its efforts this year.
“These guys have worked so hard in the last six years been an incredible journey with them,” Hamilton, who won the drivers’ title at the last round in Mexico, said. “This is what everyone works for the whole year. Everyone wakes up, goes to work every day and try to bring the best out of themselves — and it really pulls together as a unit.
“I’ve always said how much of an honour it is to drive for them. And today was like the best style we could do it. We were struggling. We had problems with the engine. Max passed us like we were a sitting duck at one stage. Then obviously he made a mistake and that brought us back into contention.
“I’m so proud of everyone.”