Sao Paulo, November 18: Lewis Hamilton apologised for denying Alex Albon a first Formula One podium finish when he shunted his fellow driver off the track at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
World champion Hamilton took responsibility for the crash in the closing stages at Interlagos when he went down the inside rather than take the racing line heading into a corner.
It would have been an audacious overtaking move, but Hamilton could not get past second-placed Albon and the pair collided, with the Red Bull spinning off the circuit. He finished a lowly 14th.
Pierre Gasly went past both men to take an unlikely second place for Toro Rosso, with Hamilton crossing the line third for Mercedes. However, Stewards later imposed a five-second penalty that knocked Hamilton down to seventh.
Hamilton was asked after the race whether he had enough space and speed to execute the move.
"Honestly, I didn't, but he did a great job. He was very fair with where he positioned the car," Hamilton said. "I massively apologise to Albon.
"I went for a move where the gap was kind of there but it closed right at the end - completely my fault."
💬 "Max did a great job today. They just outpassed us in terms of overall performance. We coulnd't keep up with them on the straights, I gave it my all today. I raced my heart out and left nothing on the table" - @LewisHamilton #BrazilGP pic.twitter.com/iXrMqDTgm3Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) 17 November 2019
Race winner Max Verstappen, also of Red Bull, and Hamilton fought a gripping battle for most of the race, until the drama moved up a level amid safety car disruptions in the final 20 laps.
"It was a great race. Max did a fantastic job today. They (Red Bull) just outclassed us in terms of overall performance. We couldn't keep up with them on the straights," Hamilton said.
"I raced my heart out. I gave everything and I took a lot of risks today as you saw.
"We could keep up with them [the Red Bulls] through the corners, but they were just outshining us on the straights, so I don't think there was anything I could do."