Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has praised “sportsmanlike” Lewis Hamilton, after the seven-time World Champion openly accepted full responsibility for colliding with Oscar Piastri.
Hamilton was slapped with a five-second time penalty and two penalty points for causing a collision mid-race, with the British driver having cut across the front of Piastri.
In doing so, Hamilton hit Piastri’s front wing, which almost sent the 38-year-old into the barrier on the entry to Turn 4.
Somehow, Hamilton escaped relatively unscathed, although Piastri was forced to pit from P9 due to his broken front wing.
The rookie ended up not scoring a point, whereas the 103-time race winner claimed sixth.
He managed to build a big enough gap to Alex Albon in seventh so that his five-second time penalty didn’t demote him any places, something which was made possible due to being on superior tyres.
Nevertheless, Hamilton recognised he was in the wrong and was seen apologising to Piastri immediately after the race, before he even told the media that he was in the wrong.
Wolff praised Hamilton for recognising his mistake after the race, before noting that the veteran is the “only” driver on the grid who acknowledges their errors.
“He’s very sportsmanlike with these things,” Wolff said.
“He is the only one that I see out there admitting, saying, he got this wrong.
“We just had a chat, he [said he] didn’t see him on the right and it goes on [him]. And I think that kind of sportsmanship is what you need to admire with him. Pretty much everyone [else] is always complaining and moaning just to try to not get a penalty.”
As for the time penalty, Wolff agreed that it was the correct decision by the stewards to penalise the Mercedes driver, although the Austrian admitted that collision can happen when “it’s hard racing”.
“That was Lewis’ mistake,” Wolff said.
“I think a five-second penalty for that is it what the menu says. These things happen, it’s hard racing. You’ve got to overtake here and seen a few of these. So it’s justifiable.”