Lewis Hamilton has accepted he and Mercedes were at fault in the error that cost him a likely win at the Italian Grand Prix. The British driver conceded they held themselves accountable and would examine the circumstances to ensure they would not be repeated. The race winner Pierre Gasly in contrast was hugely happy with what he felt was a definitive display of his fighting spirit.
Hamilton had led for half the race until he was given a penalty for entering the pit lane when it was closed. It pushed him to the back of the field from where he did well to take seventh. The team’s decision to call him in had been costly and Hamilton had not seen the signs on the outside of the pit lane entry – two yellow crosses – indicating the pit lane was closed.
“I am happy with how I have driven today,” he said. “I kept pushing, seventh was the best I could do considering I was 30 seconds behind the last car and the challenges I faced. I am grateful of the lessons learned, these are the days you learn the most. None of us love losing. Nobody is happy but we have to hold one another accountable, I definitely hold myself accountable for not seeing those signs but there was a sequence of things that we did as a teams that were not perfect.”
Gasly had been demoted from Red Bull to AlphaTauri last season in a sudden move when he was deemed to not be returning the results the team required after just 12 races. With a fine drive to hold of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, the 24-year-old was rightly proud of making his mark with his first grand prix win.
“It was a tough moment last year,” he said. “I grew up with four older brothers and as a child I had to go through difficult moments which built me a strong character. I always had to fight for everything I wanted and always managed to turn something negative into positive energy. I knew that last year what happened, I know that deep inside I did not feel it was fair and I wanted to make a clear point that I am fast and know what I can do.”
The Frenchman is still only in his third season but has been putting in repeatedly impressive performances this year of which this win was the pinnacle and has indicated that he would like a second shot with the Red Bull team.
“I have been fighting for victories, poles and championships in my career and that’s what I want to achieve,” he said. “I worked hard with the team and I knew it was in my hands to show my potential and tried to extract more from myself. I cannot be happier. I know how important it is for me to get my first win in F1.”