Hamilton recalls Senna’s “going for a gap” quote after Perez F1 clash

Lewis Hamilton says his contact with Sergio Perez in the rain-hit Formula 1 sprint at Spa “wasn’t intentional” and that it was a “racing incident.”

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, leads Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

The Mercedes driver also referenced Ayrton Senna’s famous quote about no longer being a racing driver if you don’t go for a gap.

The Turn 15 incident led Perez to retire from the race with bodywork damage and triggered a five-second penalty for Hamilton after the stewards decreed that he was predominantly at fault.

That dropped him from fourth place on the road to seventh in the final sprint results, while he also received two penalty points.

"I mean my only thought is that it's tricky conditions out there, we're all trying our best, and of course it wasn't intentional,” said Hamilton when asked about the incident.

“I think I went for a gap, he was slow going through Turn 14, I went on the inside, I was more than half a car length up the inside, and if you're not going for a gap then you're no longer racing as Ayrton always said. That's what I did.

“When I watched it back it feels like a racing incident to me. I just feel like we're in a racing period, we don't want to be deterred from racing."

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, George Russell, Mercedes-AMG, in Parc Ferme after the Sprint

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, George Russell, Mercedes-AMG, in Parc Ferme after the Sprint

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Asked by Autosport if it was frustrating to get a penalty when he rarely gets involved in such incidents, Hamilton downplayed the lost points.

"In a race like today honestly I don't really care too much,” he said. “You don't get many points. Of course it would have been nice to finish fourth, but I don't really care to finish fourth, I want to win! So it's fourth, seventh, it doesn't really make a difference."

In the latter part of the race Hamilton was unable to do anything about Pierre Gasly, who was up ahead in third place: "With the collision I had floor damage, so I lost a lot of downforce on the floor. And unfortunately then the rear end was just tailing, the tyres were going off, and I couldn't get any closer.”

Hamilton agreed that it was the right call by the FIA to run the field for several laps behind the safety car before the rolling start.

"Oh my God, you can't see a thing out there,” he said. “So it's good that they did those laps. Then even then when we got going down to turn five you could not see the braking zone, we're could have just stayed flat forever.

“You're lifting at like 300 metres but then all sudden a sign appears and it's like, ‘Oh shoot the corner's there.’"

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