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Lewis Hamilton takes blame for Bahrain GP penalty

Hamilton takes blame for Bahrain GP penalty
By AutoSport

17/04/2017 at 02:58

Mercedes Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton has taken the blame for the five-second penalty that hurt his victory bid in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Hamilton was running second between team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo on lap 13 when the safety car was required for a collision between the Williams of Lance Stroll and the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz.

Mercedes had not responded to Ferrari pitting Sebastian Vettel early from second place, but was moved to call in both its drivers under the safety car.

Hamilton backed off significantly on pit entry to avoid having to wait behind Bottas in the pits, but held up Ricciardo in the process.

Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) - Bahrain GP 2017

Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) - Bahrain GP 2017Getty Images

A slow stop for Bottas delayed Hamilton slightly anyway and he dropped behind the Red Bull, and was then hit with a five-second penalty for delaying Ricciardo.

He passed the Australian on track then served his penalty in his stop, before passing Bottas in the final stint and ending up 6.6 seconds behind race winner Vettel.

"The pitlane [situation] was really my fault, so apologies to the team for losing time there," said Hamilton.

"I didn't know if I could catch up Vettel but the penalty made it twice as hard.

Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) behind Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) - Bahrain GP 2017

Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) behind Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) - Bahrain GP 2017Getty Images

"Apologies to the team, but we still got good points for the team and still had a great fight."

Despite the penalty, Hamilton ended up finishing clear of pole-sitting team-mate Bottas, who struggled throughout the race with oversteer.

Bottas complied with a mid-race instruction from the team to allow Hamilton through as Vettel was pulling away and did not put up much of a fight in the second stint either, which led to Hamilton referring to the Finn as "a gentleman".

Second and third placed drivers Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP and Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP on the podium during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit on April 16, 2017 in Bahrain, Bahrain.

Second and third placed drivers Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP and Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP on the podium during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit on April 16, 2017 in Bahrain, Bahrain.Getty Images

Asked about the team's request to let Hamilton through, Bottas admitted: "Honestly, as a racing driver, it is maybe the worst thing you want to hear, but that's how it is.

"For sure I did it because there was potential for Lewis to challenge Seb, but it didn't happen. Personally, it is tough, but that is life.

"I didn't have enough pace today and we need to find the reasons why."

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