Lewis Hamilton: I gave Sebastian Vettel enough space in Monza clash

Lewis Hamilton is adamant he left "enough space" when making the move that resulted in his Formula 1 title rival Sebastian Vettel spinning on the Italian Grand Prix's opening lap

Lewis Hamilton: I gave Sebastian Vettel enough space in Monza clash

Hamilton qualified on row two at Monza behind Ferrari pair Kimi Raikkonen and Vettel and remained in third place after the first chicane.

But with Vettel boxed in behind Raikkonen on entry into the Roggia chicane, Hamilton then moved ahead on the outside line.

The pair clashed exiting the first part of the chicane, and Vettel spun, leaving Hamilton free to attack Raikkonen and eventually win the race.

Vettel, who finished fourth and now trails Hamilton by 30 points, laid the blame on Hamilton after the race but the Mercedes driver was confident he had done nothing wrong.

Hamilton said he had already been "a bit surprised" that Vettel went to the left at the first chicane, where "there was a small touch between us all" and was surprised by his approach to the Roggia too.

"I was again a bit surprised Seb chose the inside and not going to the outside of Kimi and that was my opportunity," said Hamilton.

"I stuck it down the outside and made sure I was far enough alongside.

"I think there was enough space between us. I am guessing he locked up, we touched, it was a brief moment, damaged the car a little bit but I could continue.

"The rear moved around a lot [after that], which made it difficult but not impossible."

Ferrari led Mercedes in every practice session and qualifying segment this weekend, having dominated in Belgium a week earlier, and Hamilton admitted he did not see himself winning in Italy.

"I definitely didn't expect it," Hamilton said. "I started third on the grid, looking at pace of last race and pace here, I didn't know where we would be here.

"I had to stay within 1.5 seconds, I thought 'this will be a serious uphill battle, and throughout the weekend there was so much pressure on us all to deliver, a lot of pressure from team, sponsors and myself.

"I never expected to win but I prayed. I went in with a clear goal, but you never know - sometimes they pulled away like the last race."

Hamilton said he was wary of taking too much risk in passing Raikkonen, as his title battle against Vettel was the priority.

"I was trying to figure out how aggressive you can be, because my race is not with Kimi - it is with Sebastian," he said.

"I was trying to get past Kimi at the same time. I was just telling him he did a fantastic race, he drove incredibly fairly and I respect him so much. I really enjoyed racing with him.

"But getting past Seb at the beginning was clearly a massive turning point."

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Sebastian Vettel
Author Jonathan Noble
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