Norris metaphorically beat himself up after a potential P1 in qualifying for the Made in Italy and Emilia Romagna Grand Prix ended with the McLaren driver only in P7 after being found to have transgressed the track-limits rules.
After two ‘purple’ fastest sectors on his final flying lap in Q3, Norris crossed the line marginally slower than the fastest time Hamilton had set and which ultimately took pole.
However, it swiftly emerged that the 21-year-old had exceeded track limits at Turn 9 and his time was deleted, dropping him to seventh – one place behind his team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo, whom he had hitherto outperformed throughout qualifying.
In all of his interviews and social media activity afterwards, Norris referred to how he had messed up when the McLaren team had given him a car to put him right in the mix with his Mercedes and Red Bull rivals.
However, in response to an Instagram post admitting his culpability, Hamilton told his fellow Briton to keep his chin up – and also expressed his pleasure at how his former team, for whom he won the World Championship in 2007, are progressing again.
Accompanying an image of himself clearly devastated, Norris wrote: “How I feel right now. Inches away from P3. My mistake, I misjudged it and the time was deleted. Sorry to everyone at McLaren, I effed up, you deserved better today.”
To which Hamilton replied: “Nobody can knock you for giving it your all. Amazing lap, it’s great to see you and the team shine. Move on, let’s race.”
Our Champion. pic.twitter.com/fU0hbYYEKC
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) April 17, 2021
This is not the first time Hamilton has encouraged a young British driver who was publicly ruing a costly mistake at Imola.
He sent a similarly supportive message to George Russell last November after the Williams driver crashed out behind the Safety Car when in with a chance of securing his first F1 points during the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Five weeks later, Russell was driving Hamilton’s car at the Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain after the seven-time World Champion had tested positive for COVID-19.
On that occasion, Russell did score his first points, three for P9 and the fastest lap of the race, but would probably have won the grand prix but for a Mercedes pit-stop blunder and a subsequent puncture.