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Hamilton ‘not getting into blame’ after Rosberg crash

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Lewis Hamilton refused to point the finger at Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg following their crash on the opening lap of Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Rosberg made the better start from second on the grid in Barcelona, sweeping around the outside of Hamilton at the first corner.

Hamilton fought back and lined up a move down the inside of Turn 4, with Rosberg shifting his car to the right-hand side of the track to block him off.

Hamilton refused to back down though, moving onto the grass and losing control. His car clipped the barrier before then careering into Rosberg ahead, eliminating both drivers on the spot.

Both the team and the stewards cleared either driver of causing a collision, deeming it to have been a racing incident.

“First of all, a huge apology to all of our team. When I stopped my heart just sank,” Hamilton said after the race.

“To not deliver for them, it’s honestly indescribable how gutted I was.”

Hamilton explained that Rosberg’s car was in the wrong engine mode at the start, causing the German to go slow into Turn 3.

“I got a good start but he slipstreamed me into Turn 1,” Hamilton said.

“Then through Turn 3 he had a D-rate. Basically, he made a mistake and started in the wrong engine setting.

“We only have one setting for maximum power and he wasn’t in it, which meant he was like 180bhp down.”

However, Hamilton refused to blame Rosberg for the shunt, and was instead left to dwell on the 43-point gap to his teammate in the drivers’ championship.

“I’m not getting into blame, just a huge apology to the team,” Hamilton said.

“I’ll do everything I can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“Don’t have a good feeling this second, but we will recover.”

Valtteri Bottas fastest in Friday F1 practices for Russian Grand Prix

F1 Sochi Valtteri Bottas
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SOCHI, Russia — Valtteri Bottas paced both F1 practices Friday for the Russian Grand Prix on Friday as Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton was slowed by damaged tires in the first session.

Bottas turned a fast lap of 1 minute, 33.519 seconds in the second session that bettered Hamilton’s 1:33.786.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo was more than a second behind Bottas in third at 1:34.577, followed by the McLaren Racing duo of Carlos Sainz Jr. (1:34.723) and Lando Norris (1:34.847).

In the first F1 session at Sochi, Valtteri Bottas set the pace with a time of 1 minute, 34.923 seconds, beating Ricciardo by half a second. Max Verstappen was third quickest in his Red Bull, a further 0.147 back.

Hamilton could only manage 19th fastest after locking up his tires and leaving them with a flat spot. Ferrari again struggled to find pace with Sebastian Vettel ninth and Charles Leclerc 11th.

HISTORY IN SIGHTLewis Hamilton aims to tie Michael Schumacher’s record

The first session was briefly red-flagged when Nicholas Latifi crashed his Williams. Carlos Sainz Jr. spun his McLaren backward into a barrier and broke off his rear wing.

Verstappen spun during the second session but avoided damage to his car.