Hamilton accepts he 'put off' Raikkonen as grid penalty confirmed

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Lewis Hamilton has acknowledged he likely distracted Kimi Raikkonen in an incident that has landed him with a three-place grid drop.

The Mercedes driver was caught out by the approaching Alfa Romeos on the climb to Turn 3 in Q1, with his attempt to avoid a coming together only serving to put the 2007 world champion wide on his flying lap.

“I saw one of the [Alfa Romeo] cars came by and I was braking for the hairpin and saw the other one coming,” Hamilton explained to Crash.net.

“I tried to go straight on and get out of the way because I didn’t want to meet in a corner.

“I don’t think I met in a corner but I might have put him off, so that wasn’t ideal and I wasn’t aware that car was coming, so not the easiest [situation].

“I don’t know if I will be starting where I am now so we will wait and see.”

His fears would be realised as the stewards gave him a grid penalty, dropping him from second down to fifth and later took "full responsibility" for the "fully deserved" punishment.

And before the meeting,  Raikkonen was in little doubt over Hamilton's guilt.

“He blocked me, as simple as that! How can it be so difficult to move out of the way for people?" he said. "There’s radios and for sure every team is telling which drivers are going fast or not.

“He should have slowed down and let me pass; he cannot slow down and then speed up. He went over the kerb and into the runoff… I don’t know why he didn’t slow down on the right-hand side.

“He did, then accelerated and tried to get out of the way but it was too late. It was enough for me to have to slow down and abort that lap, so for sure he blocked me.”

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This is the latest setback in what is becoming a strange weekend for Mercedes, who have simply not looked as fast as recent races.

Indeed, after Charles Leclerc had taken pole, Hamilton bemoaned the power difference on the straight.

“We’ve been chipping away at it but from the get-go, we noticed a bit of a deficit to the Ferraris,” he said. “We thought it would be a bit closer than it was.

“On the straights they really kill us, they’ve got that extra bit of power that works really well here.

“I guess they’ve managed to figure out how to get the car to work around the medium- and high-speed corners.”

With Leclerc and Verstappen now starting on the front row, before his penalty Hamilton was hoping for a chance to race against F1's two young guns.

“If we get to start the race with those guys it will be quite a fun race,” said Hamilton. “This is a track you can follow a bit more but it will still be tough at the top between us.