McLaren’s team principal Andrea Stella and driver Lando Norris have demonstrated a remarkable spirit of sportsmanship by extending forgiveness and respect towards Lewis Hamilton, despite the British racing legend’s clash with McLaren’s rookie driver, Oscar Piastri, at the Italian Grand Prix.
The incident led to Piastri’s race being disrupted, prompting an immediate apology from Hamilton, who acknowledged his mistake and its consequences.
The collision between Hamilton and Piastri had a profound impact on the young Formula 1 rookie’s race, causing damage to his McLaren and necessitating an unscheduled pit stop that effectively extinguished his chances of scoring points.
Hamilton, displaying his character and sense of responsibility, sought out Piastri in parc ferme immediately after the race to apologise personally, a gesture that did not go unnoticed by Stella.
Stella expressed his appreciation for Hamilton’s apology and lauded the veteran driver’s qualities, both on and off the track.
He remarked, “I think maybe Lewis got a little frustrated because, in reality, I think Lewis would have overtaken Oscar.
“If not there, he would have overtaken at the next opportunity. So in a similar way, I think there was no need to take too much risk for Lewis because he had the pace to overtake with more margin, I would say. Lewis is a fair competitor.
“If he apologised, it shows his qualities as a competitor and as a person.
“He definitely has our respect.”
Lando Norris, McLaren’s talented driver, echoed Stella’s sentiments, emphasising the mutual respect between himself and Hamilton.
Norris welcomed the news of Hamilton’s contract extension with Mercedes, expressing his excitement about continuing to compete against one of Formula 1’s greatest champions.
He noted, “It’s great, and it’s always been a pleasure to race against him.
“This year, we’ve had a few more battles, and it is a cool thing to race against someone who is one of the best drivers in Formula 1 and who has created and written a lot of history.
“It is a pleasure for all of us, including myself [to race against Hamilton].”
Oscar Piastri, while understandably frustrated by the incident, also displayed a level of understanding and forgiveness toward Hamilton.
When asked if the British racer was still on his “Christmas card list,” Piastri responded with a humorous nod to the situation, saying, “Yeah. I mean, he apologised immediately and he got a penalty for it.
“So I’m happy he owned up to it, at least.
“Of course, ideally, it wouldn’t have happened, but it’s quite easy to do in that corner where you know, we’ve seen it plenty of times.
“So he’s still on there, just about.”