Lewis Hamilton claimed his tenth pole position of the season at the Brazil Grand Prix on Saturday, so he won’t be particularly fussed about everything else that went on in qualifying.
The newly crowned Formula One champion pipped Sebastian Vettel to the front of the grid by a mere 0.093 seconds, with fellow Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas claiming third-spot.
As the fine margins between himself and his Ferrari rival suggest, Hamilton didn’t exactly breeze through each session in Sao Paulo.
He was a caught up in a potentially nasty incident with Sergey Sirotkin when the pair almost collided at high speed during the second qualifying phase.
The threat of heavy rain encouraged most teams to go flat-out early on, but when a flying Sirotkin met a slowing Hamilton at the end of his out-lap, carnage very nearly ensued.
While it’s clear Hamilton was trying to make way for the Williams on the racing line, thankfully his decision to jink left was made late enough for Sirotkin to swerve and prevent a major collision.
Take a look at what happened in the video below…
The jury is still out among fans regarding whether Hamilton was at fault and although the replays make it tempting to point the finger at him, his explanation is worth considering.
"Everyone was on an out-lap - me, Sergey, and everyone in front of me," the 33-year-old said, per AutoSport.
"Valtteri [Bottas] was ahead of me and he was backing off to get his gap so I had to make sure I kept a gap to him.
"As far as I was aware there was no-one behind on a [fast] lap, so I was looking out, making sure I had a gap, and then all of a sudden 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?’
"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.
"Respectfully, between all the drivers, we all do respect [the gaps] - I could have tried to overtake Valtteri, or Valtteri whoever was in front of him. We all know [to] keep our space by that point.
"It was generally quite a disrespectful move. It was dangerous between us both.”
Having initially slowed up after their close shave, Sirotkin had another look at overtaking Hamilton into Turn 1 only to back out as both drivers began their respective flying laps.
"It was kind of strange," Hamilton said.
"It was completely unnecessary because he had a space behind him, so ultimately his lap and my lap weren't great. Hopefully he can learn from it.”
Do you think Hamilton deserved to be punished for what happened with Sirotkin? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment.
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