Lewis Hamilton makes admission about beating George Russell without Max Verstappen incident

Mercedes secured their only win of the season in Brazil, as the Silver Arrows completed their first one-two since Imola in 2020.

The Brazilian Grand Prix finally saw all of Mercedes’ hard work to get back to the top come to fruition, as George Russell spearheaded a one-two finish for the team after winning the sprint race on Saturday.

Lewis Hamilton’s second place finish, followed by a retirement in Abu Dhabi, ensured that the seven-time world champion finished the season winless for the first time in his career.

Things could have been different however, as the race produced another flash point in the long line of incidents between Hamilton and his 2021 rival Max Verstappen.

Going into the Senna S section of the Interlagos circuit, the duo went wheel to wheel, with neither driver giving each other enough room to both make it out unscathed, as they eventually collided.

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The blame was shared between the two drivers by the majority of fans and pundits, but race control put the blame at the feet of Verstappen, who picked up a five-second penalty for the incident.

 Hamilton has now suggested that Russell’s victory could have been his, had his contact with Verstappen never happened.

“If definitely was,” answered Hamilton when asked if the race was his for the taking prior to the crash with Verstappen.

“I think we would have had a lot more opportunities within the two stops that we had, and applying the pressure, it would have been great to have that battle [with Russell].

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“It’s not the easiest of circuits to overtake and you usually need to have a bigger delta in terms of pacing the other car.

“We were very, very close. There’s only a one or two tenths between us, particularly at any given time.

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“I would have loved to have had the chance of just pushing, pushing, pushing and seeing if an opportunity arises.”

The Mercedes drivers have not had many opportunities to go wheel to wheel in 2022, with the 37-year-old claiming that he sacrificed his first half of the season to take part in radical experiments with his car to try and find the root of Mercedes’ lack of pace.

Hamilton and Russell at completely the opposite ends of their respective careers, meaning that they both have title ambitions of their own for different reasons, with Hamilton being desperate for a record breaking eighth title before he retires, while Russell will be eagerly hunting his first of hopefully many championship victories.