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Page last updated at 12:52 GMT, Monday, 7 April 2008 13:52 UK
Bahrain Grand Prix
Sakhir, 4-6 April 2008
The Chequered Flag podcast



Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton failed to score any points for McLaren in Bahrain

Lewis Hamilton said he had failed his McLaren team after finishing 13th in the Bahrain Grand Prix and losing the lead of the world championship.

Hamilton made a mistake at the start, dropped to the back after a collision with former team-mate Fernando Alonso and was unable to make up lost ground.

"I am really disappointed and feel like I let the team down," he said.

"You need to pick up the pieces and deliver points. I didn't do that. The collision with Alonso cost the race."

The 23-year-old Englishman slipped from third to 10th at the start of the race to find himself stuck behind Alonso's Renault.

Hamilton tried to get past Alonso on the second lap but instead he went up and over the back of the Spaniard's car, losing his front wing in the process.

It is totally rubbish, but what can I do?"

Fernando Alonso, on suggestions he "brake-tested" Hamilton

Some observers suggested Alonso appeared to slow down and give Hamilton a "brake test" but the Briton refused to condemn his former McLaren team-mate.

"I am always the first to blame it on myself," stated Hamilton. "That's the right way to go."

Asked exactly how the collision happened, he added: "I have no idea. I was behind him, I went to move to the right, he went to the right and I ended up in the back of him somehow. It's racing."

McLaren boss Ron Dennis commented: "He tried to second-guess Fernando and vice-versa and damaged the car quite extensively and that was really it."

Alonso denied any suggestion of foul play.

"It is totally rubbish, but what can I do?" he said, adding that Renault engineering director Pat Symonds had printed out the data from the car's computer to prove he had done nothing wrong.

606: DEBATE
PD

Symonds confirmed: "Fernando was coming out of the turn and accelerating down the straight.

"He reached fifth gear, at 227km/h (142mph), on full throttle, no touching of the brakes or anything like that. And you can see on the accelerometer the impact. He got hit from behind.

"All I can say from our side is that there is no blame attributable to Fernando, which is what some of the speculation might be.

"There is nothing untoward there. You don't need to be an expert to see that."

McLaren F1 chief executive officer Martin Whitmarsh said the team's on-board computer data showed that Hamilton's car had lost part of its front wing two seconds before the collision.

That would have made the car faster on the straight and may have contributed to Hamilton misjudging his closing speed on the Renault.

Whitmarsh said the wing's "structure may have been weakened by previous contact" - and Alonso said Hamilton had hit him up the rear on the first lap of the race.

Hamilton, who won the season opener in Australia and finished fifth in Malaysia, summed up the weekend as a "disaster".

His car needed to be rebuilt after a heavy accident during Friday practice.

There is a long way to go in the championship and I intend to win it

Lewis Hamilton
He appeared to have recovered when he qualified third but he ran into problems from the start of the race.

"The whole weekend has not been ideal, starting with the accident on Friday," he said. "It was a disaster.

"I messed up at the start as I didn't hit the switch early enough and therefore had not engaged the correct engine setting, and the anti stall kicked in.

"It is a big, big disappointment but I've had such a good run in Formula One until now and it was almost inevitable that at some point things would go wrong."

He is now focused on improving his performance when the European season begins at the Spanish Grand Prix on 27 April.

"I'll keep my chin up and bounce back in the next race," insisted Hamilton, who finished second to Felipe Massa in Spain last season.

"I know I have the pace and I know in the next race we will be quite a bit quicker than we have been here.

"There is a long way to go in the championship and I intend to win it. Don't count me out yet."




see also
Renault promise Alonso better car
07 Apr 08 |  Formula One
Massa wins as Hamilton stumbles
06 Apr 08 |  Formula One
Mosley sex scandal 'may cost F1'
06 Apr 08 |  Formula One


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