Lewis Hamilton apologised to his team after crashing out of the Italian Grand Prix on the final lap.
Chasing down Jenson Button’s Brawn, the reigning world champion ran wide between the two Lesmo curves and crashed into the barrier. Despite this, Hamilton claimed to be happy with his race performance – having pushed as hard as he could for most of the race.
“I wasn’t on the optimal strategy so I really had to push to make my two-stopper work,” he said afterwards. “I got every tenth out of the car that I could possibly get and I didn’t make any mistakes – until the last lap. It’s unfortunate but these things happen, it’s a racing incident.”
“I was pushing incredibly hard on that lap to try to get close to Jenson and use KERS to pass him, then I exited the first Lesmo and the back-end got away from me and I went backwards into the wall.”
“I can only say ‘sorry’ to the team they did a great job and, although we weren’t quite as quick as the Brawns today, I pushed harder than ever, so I can feel happy about that.”
Doubts will continue to surround the future of Heikki Kovalainen, with the Finn again struggling throughout the Grand prix. He eventually finished in a poor sixth.
“I’m rather disappointed with today. My race began with a difficult start and that cost me several places on the first lap,” said Kovalainen. “Then I couldn’t really push hard in the first stint because my Prime tyres didn’t have the grip to allow me to attack. Things were better in the second stint on the Options, but, by then, it was too late to regain the time I’d lost in the first stint.”
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said the team were now focussing on Singapore: “A disappointing result there’s no point my denying that we’d expected to achieve a lot more here at Monza than a sixth place and a DNF.
“Looking at the positives, though, thankfully, Lewis walked away unharmed from what was a pretty big shunt simply the result of his never-give-up attitude, his unquenchable desire to fight until the very last metre of the very last lap.
“Throughout the final stint he’d been pushing as hard as he possibly could, driving beautifully, right on the limit, in an effort to catch Jenson [Button] for second place, and he pushed just a fraction too hard and the result was that he lost it on the exit of the first Lesmo on that final lap. He’d just gone purple’ in the first sector of that final lap, in fact.
“But that’s the nature of a driver like Lewis, and there aren’t many like him: if you give it 100 per cent on every single lap, every so often you’ll give it 101 per cent and then the result will be an off’. But that’s racing, and Lewis is very definitely a racer, and we wouldn’t want him any other way.
“So, yes, we’re disappointed with our points haul today, of course we are, but we’re also pleased that our race pace was almost on a par with that of the Brawns and as quick or quicker than that of anyone else.
“Now, though, we’re already focusing on Singapore, where we intend to be every bit as competitive as we’ve been here at Monza this weekend