Lewis Hamilton takes blame for Italian GP penalty, hails Pierre Gasly
World champion only seventh at Monza after penalty for entering closed pit lane; But Hamilton thrilled for new F1 winner Gasly: “It’s such fantastic to see him recover and grow”
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 06/09/20 5:33pm
Lewis Hamilton took the blame for the race-losing penalty in the Italian GP, but nonetheless hailed Pierre Gasly’s stunning victory success – saying the Frenchman was “dropped from the top team and now he’s beat the top team”.
After poor starts to the race for title rivals Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton dominantly pulled away from McLaren’s Carlos Sainz up front and appeared on course for a comfortable 90th career win to further stretch his title lead.
But his race – and the destination of the Monza victory – turned around suddenly after the Safety Car was called when Kevin Magnussen’s Haas broke down by the side of the pit entry.
Hamilton headed for the pits as is often customary under caution periods – but, due to the positioning of the stricken Haas car, race control had closed the service road, with red crosses displaying on marker boards on the outside of the final corner, the Parabolica, to signify that drivers should not enter.
Hamilton and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi, who also pitted, were immediately put under investigation. The race was soon suspended after Charles Leclerc crashed heavily and, during the stoppage, Hamilton went to see the stewards. But a 10-second stop-and-go penalty was soon confirmed for the race leader, with Hamilton serving it at the end of the first lap after the Grand Prix restarted.
“Honestly, I didn’t see those boards so I take responsibility for that,” he told Sky Sports F1.
“It’s something I will learn from.”
Hamilton dropped to the back of the field but raced back with typical gusto to seventh place, also taking the bonus point for the race’s fastest lap. With Bottas only fifth, and Verstappen retiring, Hamilton’s title lead remains at 47 points.
Hamilton congratulates victorious Gasly
F1’s six-time champion and most serial victor was rather more keen to shower praise on F1’s newest race winner.
Briefing pausing his interview to congratulate Gasly as he arrived behind him in the post-race media pen, Hamilton said: “I need to say a huge congratulations for Pierre because that’s a fantastic result for him.
“I’ve obviously seen what he’s been through from being dropped from the top team [Red Bull] and now he’s beat the top team.
“It’s such fantastic to see him recover and to generally see him grow. I am generally really happy for him.”