The moment that’s been looming for some time between the two Mercedes drivers has arrived, with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell colliding in Qatar.
The two Mercedes drivers have collided on the opening lap of the Qatar Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton eliminated from the race as a result of the contact.
Hamilton and Russell were racing into the first corner of the race, with Hamilton attempting to steam around the outside of Russell, with the pair making contact on the swoop into the turn.
Lewis Hamilton points the finger of blame at George Russell
Hamilton had started the race on the soft tyre, with Russell on the medium, with Hamilton attempting to make the most of his extra grip to overtake around the outside of both Russell and Max Verstappen.
But Hamilton swooped in too tightly and tagged the left front of Russell’s car, with Hamilton’s right-rear tyre being ripped of his W14 as he spun off into the escape area.
Russell was able to continue and pitted for repairs at the end of the lap as the Safety Car was deployed to cover the incident.
Russell took to team radio to shout “Come on, what the hell! Come on guys, two races in a row!”, in reference to Hamilton pushing him wide at Suzuka two weeks ago, while Hamilton took to the radio to say “I’ve just got taken out by my teammate”.
With Russell clearly annoyed by the moment as he recovered into the train behind the Safety Car, he said: “So sorry, guys. I wasn’t even looking behind, I was just focussed ahead and he came from nowhere.
“****ing lost for words, honestly. I’ve just seen the replays on the TV screen, couldn’t do anything, totally sandwiched. It’s ***ing Lap 1.”
Hamilton is now under investigation as a result of the incident, having crossed the track on foot to get back to the pitlane.
Hamilton is the second driver eliminated from the Qatar Grand Prix, joining Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz on the sidelines as the Spaniard was unable to take the start due to a fuel systems issue on his SF-23.