• Canadian Grand Prix

Hamilton rues early retirement

ESPNF1 Staff
June 12, 2011 « Blown diffuser ban from British GP | »
Lewis Hamilton sustained damage after colliding with Jenson Button © Sutton Images

Lewis Hamilton said he was told to retire by his McLaren team after contact between himself and team-mate Jenson Button.

Hamilton and Button made contact on the pit straight, resulting in Hamilton hitting the wall and sustaining damage to his left rear tyre and front wing. Hamilton tried to bring the car back to the pits but was told to stop out on track, resulting in a safety car period. Hamilton told the BBC that he thought he was getting alongside Button, but that even with the damage he thought he could have continued.

"I think I had pretty good pace," Hamilton said. "And whilst I fell back behind Jenson he made a mistake in to the last corner so I got the run on him and I guess I was on the outside but - I haven't seen the footage - but it felt like I was half way up the outside of him and he just kept moving across - whether or not he saw me or not - and I was in the wall. "And then it was only the tyre that was busted so I put the diff locked and I was going to drive it back to the garage but the team told me to retire. I thought the suspension was gone, that's what they said, but it turns out it wasn't."

Hamilton also explained his coming together with Mark Webber in to turn one, and said he still hoped Button could do well in the race.

"That's four people now in two races! I went down the inside and he braked quite early, so I went down the inside and then I was on the kerb and it kind of pushed me over and we just touched... I'll try and support the team and hope Jenson can get some good points out there at least."

Webber himself said during the rain delay that he felt it was a racing incident, although it might have been a bit too ambitious a move so early in the race.

"It was a racing incident," Webber said. "But when you know you've still got so far to go in a grand prix I was surprised he hit me. I opened the wheel for him, gave him the line and then he still made contact.

"I don't think you can ever give someone too much room, but I think he was committed to the move - I was still surprised he hit me, maybe he locked up or he was struggling for more space at that point, but I think it's just so far to go in a grand prix, that's the bit that surprised me."