Lewis Hamilton believes he lost up to 40 seconds’ worth of time in the lap he had to run with a puncture on his Mercedes, following his contact with Oscar Piastri.
Hamilton made a move on the McLaren driver down at Turn 14 mid-race, but contact caused punctures on both cars – with Hamilton and McLaren team boss Zak Brown both chalking that moment up as a racing incident.
The seven-time World Champion only felt the effects of tyre deflation after passing the pit lane however, meaning he had to complete a full lap of the Las Vegas Strip Circuit at a lower speed.
Lewis Hamilton reacts to dramatic night in Las Vegas Grand Prix
Having been caught up in the early melee in Las Vegas that saw both Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz spin, Hamilton found himself running as low as 17th place on a couple of occasions and in need of a recovery drive.
His contact with Piastri came on his first run into the points-paying positions, but the time loss meant he had to do it all again when he lost track position to those around him.
Hamilton pulled off several moves to eventually cross the line P7, once team-mate George Russell had a five-second penalty applied.
The Mercedes driver was left frustrated at completing a full lap with a puncture, explaining that it did not make its presence felt until he passed the pit entry.
“I started on the hard tyre, which was tricky at the beginning and obviously I got hit from someone behind, a big hit, I think it was from Carlos or something like that,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1 after the race.
“Then I just really tried to not hit the cars that had spun round and I fell back I think five or six places.
“Then after that, just making my way back I was feeling great, tyres were feeling good, pace was strong and went up the inside of Piastri, I don’t really know exactly what happened but I obviously got that the hit from behind.
“I think it was a racing incident but then it just felt like a thud, I didn’t have a puncture immediately.
“So I was accelerating and just as I got alongside the pit lane entry, I felt the rear was moving and I was like ‘damn, it’s too late to come in’.
“So I had to do a whole slow lap and I must have lost like 40 seconds or something with everything.
“But grateful that I was able to come back, and apologies to the team for the poor qualifying yesterday.
“I mean, there are strengths within our car, but sometimes it’s just really hard to get the performance out.”