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Page last updated at 16:29 GMT, Sunday, 13 September 2009 17:29 UK

Whitmarsh defends Hamilton crash

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton apologises for last-lap crash

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh refused to criticise Lewis Hamilton after he crashed while third on the final lap of the Italian Grand Prix.

The reigning world champion caught the kerb trying to run down Jenson Button and spun off to ruin his hopes of grabbing a podium place.

But Whitmarsh told BBC Sport: "Lewis is just a racer, he pushes and pushes.

"You don't want to change that in a great, great champion and a great racing driver like Lewis."

Hamilton's crash gifted third spot to Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, with the Briton eventually classified in 12th place.

After starting on pole, Hamilton could do little as his two-stop strategy allowed Brawn GP pair Rubens Barrichello and Button - both on a one-stop plan - to pass him.

However, with the race drawing to a close, the 24-year-old was closing in on second-placed Button, with barely a 1.5 second gap between them in the final few laps.

But Hamilton, pushing to get the most out of his car in the hope of overtaking his compatriot, clipped the kerb coming out of the first Curva di Lesmo on the final lap and spun into the wall, ending his race.

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"Every lap I was pushing like a qualifying lap - it was to be expected," said Hamilton. "We didn't have the pace and I was pushing as hard as I could. I can only say I'm sorry to the team.

"They did a great job but we just weren't quick enough.

"I did all I could to catch the Brawns and to win it for them (the team). I apologise to all my fans.

"People make mistakes, these things happen. I just lost the back end and snapped out."

Whitmarsh admitted the result was "obviously really disappointing," but insisted he would not blame Hamilton for trying to win second place and a precious two extra points.

"He'd just set a purple (fastest) sector, he was racing to the very end, and that's how he is. He was there fighting for position and his competitive spirit kept him pushing until the end.

"He wants to win and compete, that's what makes him who he is. We're a racing team and he is an experienced racing driver.

"Yes, it's disappointing, but we'll rebuild and he'll rebuild."



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see also
Button back as Barrichello wins
13 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Brawn to allow 'open' title fight
13 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Highlights - Italian Grand Prix
13 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Italian GP as it happened
13 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Italian Grand Prix race results
10 Sep 09 |  Results
Italian Grand Prix photos
13 Sep 09 |  Formula 1


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