Lewis Hamilton. (Photo by Mario Renzi – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton blamed himself for the mistake that led to him being penalised in Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix in which he finished seventh after a storming drive from the back of the field.
The championship leader and six-time world champion was leading comfortably when he pitted during a safety car deployment, having failed to see the signals that declared the pit lane was closed.
He was handed a 10-second stop-go penalty for the error and had to pit following the safety car, rejoining in 17th place at the back of the pack before reeling off a series of fastest laps to climb into the points.
“We didn’t do a great job with the pit stop,” he admitted.
“Honestly I didn’t see those boards. I take responsibility for that so it’s something that we’ll learn from for the future.
“But to get seventh and to get fastest lap and still get some good points, I definitely didn’t think that was possible from 26 seconds behind, as the last car, so I’ll definitely take it.”
He added: “And, obviously, I’m grateful that Max (Verstappen) didn’t score any points. So, overall, it’s not such a huge loss today.”
Hamilton retained a 47-point lead in the drivers’ title race.
He has 164 points ahead of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who battled to fifth after a poor start.
Hamilton was quick to congratulate Pierre Gasly on claiming his maiden Formula One victory with Alpha Tauri.
“Many congratulations to Pierre on his performance. That’s a huge result for him,” said Hamilton.
“I’ve obviously seen what he’s been through from being dropped from the top team and now he’s beaten the top team,” referring to Gasly’s 2019 demotion from Red Bull to junior sister team Alpha Tauri.
“I think it’s just fantastic to see him recover and see him grow. I am genuinely really happy for him.
“My race wasn’t meant to be today. It was a bit unfortunate, but what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.”
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