Red Bull add fuel to the fire amid Hamilton-Russell tensions

Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and George Russell sparked drama in Qatar as the team-mates collided with one another.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has pointed fingers at Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, accusing them of violating an unwritten rule for Formula 1 drivers during the Qatar Grand Prix. 

The fiery collision between Hamilton and Russell on the first lap of Sunday’s race led to Hamilton’s first retirement of the season, leaving both drivers frustrated.

Starting from third on the grid behind Russell in second, Hamilton attempted an audacious move around the outside of Turn One to gain an advantage over his fellow countryman. 

However, as he moved across after getting ahead of Russell, he misjudged the distance and collided with Russell’s car, resulting in a high-speed incident that forced Hamilton out of the race.

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Russell, despite plummeting to 19th place, made an incredible comeback to finish fourth

Christian Horner criticised the pair for not adhering to a fundamental team rule – giving each other room and racing fairly. 

He anticipated that Mercedes would conduct an internal discussion about the incident, saying, “I mean, I’m sure as a team, you never want to see that. 

“The one thing you always ask your team-mates to do is to give each other room, and it didn’t look like that happened today. 

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“I’m sure they’ve got their own internal discussion about that.”

This isn’t the first time Hamilton and Russell have clashed on the track as teammates. 

Earlier in the season, they faced criticism for an incident during qualifying at the Spanish Grand Prix, which saw Hamilton forced onto the grass at high speed. Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff attributed it to a ‘miscommunication.’ 

However, their latest collision had more severe consequences.

Despite initially expressing frustration in a radio message by stating that his teammate had “taken me out,” Hamilton later took full responsibility for the collision and extended an apology to Russell after the race. 

He admitted his mistake, saying, “I just feel really sorry to my team. 

“It was an opportunity today to get some good points. 

“In the heat of the moment, I didn’t really understand what happened, I just obviously felt the tap from behind. 

“But I don’t think George probably had anywhere to go, and yeah, it’s just one of those really unfortunate situations. 

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“I mean, I’m happy to take responsibility as the older one.”

After reviewing video footage of the incident, Hamilton further expressed his regret on social media, tweeting to his followers, “I’ve watched the replay, and it was 100 percent my fault, and I take full responsibility. 

“Apologies to my team and to George.”