Mercedes’ technical director, Mike Elliott, has revealed that Sir Lewis Hamilton took the blame for his grid penalty at the Italian Grand Prix.
At the Belgian Grand Prix two races prior, Hamilton has been battling for third place on the opening lap with Fernando Alonso.
The seven-time champion passed his former team-mate down the Kemmel Straight, but he had not realised that the Spaniard was still on the inside.
When he turned in to Les Combes, he found that the double world champion was still there, but not before he had been sent up into the air by the front nose of the Alpine.
The W13 came down violently, and the underside of the car, as well as the gearbox and power unit, took some damage.
That caused the 37-year-old to retire from the race, and having made it through the Dutch Grand Prix with an older engine, Mercedes needed to change out the engine for Monza.
This earned Hamilton a back of the grid penalty in Italy, but he brilliantly recovered to take fifth place as team-mate George Russell started second and finished third.
Hamilton apologised to the team after the race, because he felt that the damage done to the power unit was on him.
“Lewis was referring back to what had happened in Spa where he tangled with Alonso at the beginning of the race, taking himself out of the race but also in the process damaging his power unit,” explained Elliott in a Mercedes YouTube video.
“Some damage that we are still trying to fix which will allow us to bring it back later in the season.
“But the time it takes to fix that meant we had to run an older PU at the last race in Zandvoort and at this race we had to bring a new PU into the pool.
“That new PU meant we had to take a penalty and Lewis started from the back of the grid.”
Elliott praised the Sunday performance from the ever-professional 103-time race winner.
“He had a fantastic drive to come from the back of the field all the way up to fifth with the car we’ve got. It was a fantastic effort from Lewis,” he added.
“I think what Lewis was really apologising for was the fact he knew that if he had started where he qualified, he could have had an even better race.
“It was just simply that.”
Hamilton has a contract with Mercedes that runs until the end of next year, and he suggested ahead of the weekend in Monza that he wants to keep going for several more years after that.