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Hamilton appears to retract Ferrari accusation

11 July 2018

Scuderia Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel passed Hamilton for the race lead shortly after it began, and Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas proceeded to pass Hamilton for second place.

Marcus Ericsson of Sweden (Sauber) crashed out in lap 33, and the safety car's deployment gave Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas of Finland a chance to move up after Ferrari and Red Bull both pitted to change tires.

As Arrivabene raged at Mercedes' ungentlemanly behaviour and post-race suggestions of deliberate underhand tactics, Hamilton said Sunday's collision was "a racing incident and nothing more". In [technical director] James Allison's words, 'do you think it is deliberate or incompetence?'.

The race had 15 laps left to run when it resumed on lap 37, but Romain Grosjean and Carlos Sainz crashed into each other one lap later, triggering a second safety vehicle that absorbed another precious three laps for the Mercedes drivers.

"This is the greatest race of the year and the greatest crowd, I am sorry I could not bring it home for you today", Hamilton told the crowd. While Hamilton found himself up in third place.

The four-time F1 world champion from Hertfordshire claimed his 76th career pole position, beating Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in P2 by 44 thousandths. Obviously that's what we have tried over the last years and I think here and there we have succeeded quite well. His Mercedes team gambled by refusing to change the Englishman's tyres when the safety auto was first employed, allowing the four-time world champion to partially recover the situation.

All of which sounded like anguished moans of the vanquished to Vettel, who with victory extended his championship lead to eight points.

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"It's been a lovely battle, a battle that I think the audience appreciated, there will be other battles where most likely Mercedes will win and this is a lesson for us to stay classy, a thing that they haven't done today".

But a poor start and disastrous first lap all but ended his hopes, despite Hamilton's valiant fightback to finish second.

Although that's certainly not the only area that Villeneuve sees inconsistency, as he also sees the Austrian Grand Prix as an example. "Sometimes we say dumb s**t and we learn from it".

Raikkonen held his hand up and admitted he had made a mistake.

With the run of starts having set up a pattern, Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said on Tuesday the team was doing all it could to try to do better.

And that angered Arrivabene, who sought out Italian TV to blast the Brit, saying he should be "ashamed" and that Mercedes should "stay classy". After the race, Hamilton walked away from the interviews conducted in parc ferme and went straight to the cool-down room. Meanwhile, the Finn driver was slapped with a 10-second penalty due to the incident.

Hamilton appears to retract Ferrari accusation