Lewis Hamilton and George Russell raged at other on the radio in a tense exchange after the Mercedes pair collided at the Qatar Grand Prix. Hamilton was sent spinning out at the first corner after coming together with his team-mate caused him to lose a front wheel, while Russell sustained heavy damage to his front wing. And Mercedes are facing a major fallout from the race at the Lusail International Circuit after a nightmare first lap.
Mercedes enjoyed a solid qualifying session on Friday with Russell on the front row with Max Verstappen and Hamilton in third behind him.
And after getting off to the better start, the seven-time world champion sized up a move around the outside of Turn One with the pair allowed to race.
But as the 38-year-old edged ahead at the corner, he appeared to move inside too quickly and caught Russell’s front wing. The impact unhinged his tyre and sent Hamilton spinning off into the dusty gravel, while his countryman was left with a damaged car.
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And Russell fumed on the radio to his race engineer, appearing to place the blame at Hamilton’s feet after a nightmare collision for the team. He shouted an elongated expletive before adding: “Come on! What the hell! Guys come on! Three races in a row!”
Hamilton, in suffering his first DNF (did not finish) of the season, clearly thought differently as he sombrely spoke to his race engineer Peter Bonnington.
Bonnington asked: “Are you OK mate?”, to which Hamilton replied: “Yeah, I got taken out by own team-mate”.
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“F***ing lost for words, honestly. Just seen the replays on the TV screen. I couldn’t do anything. Totally sandwiched,” Russell said in a later radio message.
“So sorry guys. I wasn’t even looking behind, I was just focused ahead and he just came from nowhere.”
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff – who was absent from the race but tuned in to team communications from his home – then came on the radio in an attempt to calm down a seething Russell, who unlike Hamilton was able to continue after an early pit stop.
“George, let’s race now, get the best out of it,” the Austrian said.
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