After claiming pole position in Brazil, Lewis Hamilton spoke out about an incident with Sergey Sirotkin during qualifying.
Lewis Hamilton criticised Sergey Sirotkin for a “disrespectful move” after the pair narrowly avoided a collision during qualifying at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
While not travelling at full speed in his Mercedes during Q2, Hamilton moved to the left to create space to allow the fast-moving Sirotkin to pass, only for the Williams driver to take the same line.
The Russian quickly swerved in the opposite direction to avert the danger, though the newly crowned world champion was not impressed with his fellow driver’s actions.
“Valtteri [Bottas] was ahead of me and he was backing off to get his gap, so I had to back off,” Hamilton explained.
“I was making sure I had the gap but then all of a sudden I saw a car coming at high speed and I was like, ‘Oh my God. Is that someone coming on a lap?’. So, I went left, but he was going left.
“But he wasn’t on a lap, so I don’t know what his thinking was. We all know to keep a gap.
“It was a disrespectful move.”
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) November 10, 2018
Sirotkin, however, explained he needed to be driving at full pace during the second session to warm up his cold tyres.
“I needed to push that lap to get my tyres [hot],” he said. “It was all a bit unplanned where we were, and we could not put the tyres in the blankets between the runs so we were massively down on temps.
“Basically, that out-lap was as quick as my any other lap, almost. I was properly flat-out.”
Having escaped unscathed, Hamilton went on to claim pole position – Mercedes’ 100th in Formula One – ahead of Sunday’s race in Interlagos.
Sirotkin, who failed to make it beyond Q2, held no grudge against the Briton, insisting the incident had not made a difference to his final finishing position of 15th.
“He gave me the racing line, but I was already on the left, so I had to pass through the grass and basically my lap was ruined after that,” Sirotkin added.
“But he’s champion, he knows what he’s doing, and it didn’t change my position at the end of the day.”