F1: Hamilton sorry for Button after ‘cruel’ Belgian GP collision

FORMULA 1 racer Lewis Hamilton was quick to commiserate with Jenson Button after his McLaren team-mate was rammed off the track by Sebastian Vettel in Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Despite winning around the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit for the first time, Herts-born Hamilton still had time for his unfortunate McLaren Mercedes colleague afterwards.

He felt the reigning F1 world champion was “cruelly” taken out by Red Bull rival Vettel on lap 16 when running second.

The German smacked into the back of the unlucky Button, forcing him off the track and into early retirement. Vettel was able to crawl to the pits for repairs but was later hit with a drive-through penalty by race stewards for his driving error.

“I feel really sorry for Jenson,” said 25-year-old Hamilton. “He did a great job. I got around Turn One, looked in my mirrors, saw him picking up places, and thought ‘That’s good, that’s good.’

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“Then he got up to second, and I thought, ‘That’s fantastic – another opportunity for a one-two.’

“Then, cruelly, he was taken out through no fault of his own – which was really unfortunate for him, and for the team, because he did everything he could to get us the most points in the constructors’ championship. But he’ll bounce back even stronger.”

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Button said the “strange incident” was a “massive” blow to his hopes of retaining the world championship.

He is now fourth in the drivers’ standings, 35 points behind Hamilton with six races to go.

The current world champion said: “It was looking really good this afternoon [Sunday].

“I was doing a decent job of keeping my position, and doing it fairly. Then, as everyone knows, I had an incident with Sebastian [Vettel]. I certainly didn’t brake any earlier than usual.

“All I know is I suddenly felt a big bang in the sidepod, which ripped the radiator out, and then I lost drive.

“I’ve watched it on TV now, and I’d say it was a very strange incident. Clearly, he didn’t do it on purpose, and I gather he’s now apologised, but I have to say I’ve got no idea what he was doing.”

Button added: “It’s a massive blow to my world championship hopes.”

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh was annoyed at Vettel’s actions which also cost McLaren the chance of leading the constructors’ championship.

“Clearly, had Jenson’s race not been ended by Sebastian’s error, Jenson would have scored a hatful of world championship points – and today is therefore a deeply frustrating day for him,” said Whitmarsh.

“He drove superbly – he’s so good in changeable conditions such as we saw today [Sunday] – but he’s very mature and I know he won’t let this setback get to him.”

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