Lewis Hamilton apologized to Alexander Albon after the Brazilian Grand Prix, and accepted the five-second time penalty that cost him a podium finish.
On the penultimate lap of the race, Hamilton tried to overtake Albon into Turn 10 but hit the right rear of the Red Bull, causing Albon to spin and drop to the back of the field. Hamilton originally crossed the line in third place and took to the podium, but, during the post-race press conference, it was confirmed he had received the time time penalty that relegated him to seventh place.
“It’s always a big question, when is the right time to try (a move),” Hamilton said. “We only had a lap and a half, I think it was, to go. An opportunity came, I was quicker through Turn 9, and I was within shooting distance, so I gave it a shot. Ultimately, in my mind, I’m trying to catch Max (Verstappen). It was highly unlikely but that was the goal.
“I totally accept the blame as I was coming from behind, and it’s not naturally an intention — you don’t hardly ever see me do that, collide with anyone. In hindsight, I could have waited, but hindsight’s always a great thing. I will live to fight another day.
“That won’t be the last time that (Albon’s) in position for a podium result, and he’ll have many more great races. So I hope that, as hard as it is a pill to swallow, I hope that he can learn from the experience also.
“I fully accept the responsibility. I fully accept I was coming from behind so I’m the one that touched him, not the other way ’round. I’ve not seen the incident so I don’t know how bad it was, but, as I said, it looked like there was an opportunity so I went for it and it didn’t quite work out. I apologize to Alex, put my hand up and move forward.”
Hamilton apologized to Albon in person after the race and later said he is impressed with the way the rookie has performed since joining Red Bull.
“I never like to see damage on my car; I never like colliding with other drivers. And for a youngster like Alex, who’s been driving fantastically well, it’s not easy to be a teammate of a well-experienced driver like Max (Verstappen). But he’s been doing great and I can assure you I know exactly how he feels right now. And I can also assure you, it was not intentional — that’s why I went to apologize to him. I’m sure I’ll be seeing more of him.”