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Hamilton & Vettel split over Lap 1 clash at Monza

Written by  Sep 04, 2018

Lewis Hamilton has rebuffed Sebastian Vettel's claim that he didn't leave enough space for the German which resulted in their Lap 1 contact during the Italian GP.

After following teammate Kimi Raikkonen through the first chicane at the start, Vettel would again take a conservative line into the second allowing the Mercedes driver to sweep around the outside.

Rather than give up the corner and attack later, the Ferrari driver kept his nose up the inside, resulting in contact which spun him around and dropped him to the back of the field after pitting for repairs.

Though he would recover back through the field to claim fourth, Vettel was still livid with his main championship rival despite the stewards deciding it was a racing incident.

"He didn't leave me any space," he declared afterwards. "I had no other choice but to run into him and make contact. I tried obviously to get out from there, but I couldn't.

"Unfortunately I was the one that spun around, a bit ironic, but then I was looking the wrong way and things weren't looking too peachy."

Hamilton wasn't having any of Sebastian's comments, however, as he gave his side of the story.

“I think we all got to similar starts, I got wheelspin and went to Turn 1, I was surprised that Seb went to the left," he explained.

"We got to Turn 1 and there was a small touch between us all, then. powering down to Turn 4, I was again a bit surprised Seb chose the inside and not going to the outside of Kimi.

"That was my opportunity. I stuck it down the outside and made sure I was far enough alongside. I had the experience a few years ago of being on the inside, and it didn’t come off too well!

“I think there was enough space between us," he insisted. "I am guessing he locked up. We touched, it was a brief moment."

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The current championship leader found an unlikely ally to his argument in former teammate Nico Rosberg who lambasted Vettel for his continued mistakes.

"Lewis has no fault, because he leaves plenty of space," he told Sky Sports. "There is nothing you can blame him for.

"Sebastian runs too wide, gets into Lewis and spins out. That was the end of it, 110% Sebastian’s fault."

The gap between the two drivers is now 30-points heading to the Singapore Grand Prix and the 2016 champion believes as of right now there can only be one winner.

"You cannot beat Lewis Hamilton to a championship by making so many mistakes, that’s a fact," he said.

"So he’s got to sort that out, otherwise it’s not going to happen. Lewis is the benchmark out there. Surely he’s at the peak of his career, and it’s all going his way."

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