Hamilton ‘pretty sure’ poor start at Monza ‘wasn’t my mistake’

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Lewis Hamilton believes that his poor start in Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix was not his fault, saying he went through his usual procedures when trying to get away from pole position.

Hamilton entered the race at Monza hopeful of extending his Formula 1 drivers’ championship lead, only to slip back to sixth after bogging down off the line.

Hamilton passed Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas through the first stint of the race before perfecting his one-stop strategy to overhaul the Ferraris and finish second.

Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg capitalized on Hamilton’s setback, picking up his seventh win of the year and cutting the gap in the standings to just two points.

Hamilton took account for the bad start over the radio during the race, but said afterwards that he did not think it was his error.

“I’m pretty sure it wasn’t my mistake,” Hamilton told NBCSN.

“But I knew my guys would be sitting there, panicking, nervous that I’d be angry for the rest of the race. I wanted to put them at ease.

“I think I just got wheelspin. I need to go have a look at see the actual problem was. That was what decided the race, and I did my best to come back.

“I don’t know what happened. I had no hesitations.”

Hamilton’s poor start was not the first that has cost him in 2016, much to the Briton’s chagrin.

“It’s quite easy to be honest. Composure is not an issue. Getting off the line has been,” Hamilton said.

“This is maybe three or four race wins lost from the start. That’s something I can’t really afford for the next few races.

“If we would have got away the way we needed to today we would have won the race. The pace is there in qualifying and race.”

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.