In the 2023 Italian Grand Prix, six-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton found himself embroiled in a rare blunder while jockeying for position with fellow racer Oscar Piastri. Unexpectedly, Hamilton locked wheels with Piastri at the second chicane leading to an unfortunate collision.
Hamilton’s misstep caused damage to Piastri’s vehicle, leading to him replacing his damaged front wing in the pits. The mishap also saw Hamilton slapped with a five-second penalty, owing to causing a collision.
Hamilton seized the initiative to explain the incident on the team radio, asserting that a blind spot led to the ill-fated encounter. Misjudging Piastri’s car during the approach to the corner created a reprising sequence of events.
Upon acknowledging his mistake after the race, Hamilton didn’t wait a moment to extend an apology to Piastri. Mercedes chief, Toto Wolff, opinioned Hamilton’s ability to admit his mistakes as one of his notable qualities, making him stand out amongst other F1 drivers.
Wolff acknowledged Hamilton’s rare sportsmanlike attitude. He stated, “He’s very sportsmanlike with these things, and he is the only one that I see out there admitting and saying: ‘I got this wrong. We just had a chat and [he said] he didn’t see him on the right and it goes on me.” In a sport where everyone tries to justify their actions, Wolff says this unique sportsmanship makes Hamilton admirable.
As the verdict came out, Wolff admitted Hamilton’s blunder as a simple mistake. He expressed no qualms with the five-second penalty, saying “It was a mistake. I think a five-second penalty for that is what the menu says. These things happen. It’s hard racing if you want to overtake here, and we’ve seen a few of these. So yeah, it’s justified.”
Displaying a commendable nobility in admitting his mistake, Hamilton expressed no hesitations. He stated, “I apologised because it was obviously my fault. It naturally wasn’t intentional. I got up alongside and just misjudged the gap that I had to the right, and clipped him. It could happen any time, but I knew shortly afterwards it must have been my fault.”
Post-race, Piastri shrugged off the situation, accepting Hamilton’s apology. The Australian explained, “[he] just moved a bit too far to the right. But I think it’s very easy to do in that corner. It’s very narrow. He came and apologised, so I don’t think there’s much more to it than that.”