Hamilton apologises after late clash denies Albon first podium finish

By Philip Duncan, PA F1 Correspondent, Interlagos

Lewis Hamilton apologised to Alex Albon after the world champion accepted full responsibility for their late crash in Brazil.

Hamilton, running behind Albon after he stopped for a third time under a late safety car, attempted to pass the London-born Red Bull driver for second place with just two laps to run.

But the Mercedes driver smashed into the side of the rookie, spinning the Red Bull man around. Hamilton limped to the flag with damage to the front of his car but later received a five-second penalty, demoting him from third to seventh.

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Hamilton’s late lunge denied Albon, 23, a first career podium. He finished outside the points in 14th.

“I apologise to Alex, and I hold my hands up for the accident,” said Hamilton, who was also hit with two penalty points on his drivers’ licence.

“I totally accept the blame. It was not my intention and you hardly ever see me collide with anyone. In hindsight I could have waited to make the move, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

“An opportunity arose and I was in shooting distance. I gave it a shot because in my mind I was trying to catch Max [Verstappen] for the win.

“That won’t be the last time Alex is in position for a podium. He will have many more great races so, as hard a pill as it is for him to swallow, I hope he can learn from the experience.”

A statement from the stewards read: “Albon was on his normal race line. Hamilton attempted to pass on the inside, but he was unable to get far enough inside to accomplish the overtake.

“By the time he realised there would not be sufficient room he was unable to back out of the situation and the collision followed. The stewards determined that Hamilton was predominantly at fault.”

Albon, who was recently rewarded for his fine start to life at Red Bull with a new deal for 2020, said: “I’m not angry at Lewis. I feel like it’s one of those things.

“Of course I wanted the podium and I felt like we deserved it today, but that’s it really. It’s racing.”

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