Lewis Hamilton has admitted he was completely at fault for hitting the pit lane entry wall, which damaged the Mercedes driver’s front-wing and delayed him in the pits during the final stage of qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix.
Hamilton will start fourth on Sunday after struggling on slick tyres on a drying track, which saw McLaren’s Lando Norris excel to take pole position ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Williams’ George Russell.
The seven-time F1 champion pitted for slicks but clattered the wall with his front and rear left tyres as he entered the pit lane. That meant he was delayed as the team needed to change his front-wing, leaving him with just enough time to complete one flying lap on the dry compound.
Hamilton admitted such an error was not something you would expect of a champion.
“It’s just a mistake from myself and, ultimately, I’m incredibly disappointed in myself. Up until then I was really in a groove, I was in the zone, and I’m really sorry to all the team that are here and the ones back at the factory because that’s not what you expect from a champion.
“It is what it is. I’ll do my best tomorrow to try and rectify it.”
Hamilton would spin on his flying lap and therefore failed to improve on his intermediate tyre time, which was good enough for fourth.
“It was horrible at the end! Very poor grip, very slippery when you don’t have any temp. I was losing temp during the lap.
“Twice in the wall, that’s very rare for me.”
Hamilton however applauded the efforts of his fellow Briton, Norris, who secured his maiden pole position and is doubtful if he can beat those ahead to win on Sunday.
“Well the guys up front have got good pace. It definitely won’t be easy,” he added. I’m just going to say my prayers and hope the car can be fixed and it’s OK for tomorrow. These things are sent to try us. I feel terrible right now but I’ll turn it into a positive and try and do the best.
“You’ve got a Brit on pole which is great so congrats to Lando.”