MONTREAL — McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton’s perceived impatience cost the former world champion dearly at the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday.
On just the eighth lap of a rain-soaked afternoon at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve Hamilton attempted to pass his McLaren teammate Jenson Button as they drove down pit lane.
But he got too close and ended up touching wheels sending Hamilton’s car into the wall and breaking a rear tire and damaging the suspension.
Hamilton blamed the incident on Button.
“I felt that I was at least half-way alongside him,” Hamilton said. “Jenson made a mistake going into the final corner so I was able to get a better exit, and was coming down the outside of him. I don’t know if he could see me or not, but he just kept moving across, and then I was in the wall.”
Button did indeed see his teammate, who was heard shouting over his in car radio: “What is he doing?”
Hamilton said he thought he suffered only a punctured tire but was ordered by McLaren team bosses to pull over and get out of the car.
“The team said I had a broken suspension and so I pulled over, but when I got out that wasn’t the case,” Hamilton said. “It was only the tire that was busted.”
It wasn’t Hamilton’s first mishap of the day in Montreal. He had earlier brushed wheels with Red Bull’s Mark Webber in Turn 1 after a rolling start to the race.
“I went down the inside and he braked quite early,” Hamilton said. “I was on the kerb and then I pushed over, and we just touched.”
Webber was furious that Hamilton would try such a risky move so early in the race.
“I think Lewis thought the checkered flag was in Turn 3,” Webber said. “We made contact and it is not easy — I think it was a bit clumsy of him early in the race.
Race stewards announced that they would investigate whether Hamilton would be penalized for his move coming down pit lane.
It would be the second consecutive race where the 26-year-old Briton has faced sanctions.
He was given a drive through penalty at Monaco for a similar type incident.
At least one former F-1 driver thinks that Hamilton is out of control.
“What Hamilton did there goes beyond all boundaries,” Niki Lauda said during his colour commentary of the race on European television. “He is completely mad.
“If the FIA does not punish him, I do not understand the world anymore. At some point there has to be an end to all the jokes. You cannot drive like this — as it will result in someone getting killed.”
Another former world champion — Brazil’s Emmerson Fittipaldi — also chimed in on Hamilton’s antics, although he did temper his remarks saying Hamilton was talented but flawed.
Fittipaldi, who is a race steward in Montreal, said that Hamilton must reign in his aggressiveness on the race track.
“I think Lewis is an exceptional talent, a world champion, but sometimes he is too aggressive when he tries to overtake,” Fittipaldi told the Brazilian website Totalrace. “It was like that in Monaco with Felipe (Massa), placing half of the car in the sidewalk and putting Felipe in a difficult position, at least.
“He put Felipe in a dangerous position, really. I think there has to be a limit for being aggressive, respecting the others and still being competitive. You can be competitive, but you have to respect the others.”