Lewis Hamilton apologised for crashing into Alex Albon at Interlagos and costing the Red Bull driver a shot at his first ever podium finish in F1.
Hamilton tried to get past Albon with only a lap-and-a-half remaining, driving up the inside as the 23-year-old left space on turn nine.
But the world champion could not complete his manoeuvre, as Albon turned in with Hamilton in his blind spot. The youngster, who moved from Toro Rosso to Red Bull earlier this season, came off worse from the clash.
He spun and rejoined in 15th, while Hamilton escaped with only a damaged front wing.
Albon continues to wait for his maiden F1 podium, but he will take solace from Hamilton’s apology – and the fact a five-second post-race penalty knocked the 34-year-old off the podium and down to sixth.
“I apologise to Alex, and I hold my hands up for what happened,” said Hamilton, who was also hit with two penalty points on his license. “I totally accept the blame.
“It was not my intention and you hardly ever see me collide with anyone. In hindsight I could have waited to make the move, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.
“An opportunity arose and I was in shooting distance of Alex. I gave it a shot because in my mind I was trying to catch Max [Verstappen] for the win.
“That won’t be the last time Alex is in position for a podium. He will have many more great races so, as hard a pill as it is for him to swallow, I hope he can learn from the experience.”
The onboard footage from both Hamilton’s Mercedes and Albon’s Red Bull have since been released, showing Hamilton’s failed takeover attempt and the resulting collision.
Stefanos Tsitsipas came of age at London’s 02 Arena with a stunning victory over Dominic Thiem to win the ATP Finals.
The 21-year-old from Athens became the youngest winner of the prestigious season-ending tournament since Lleyton Hewitt in 2001, and the youngest debutant to lift the trophy since John McEnroe back in 1978.
Just a year after winning the NextGen Finals, for players of 21 and under, Tsitsipas mixed it with the very best on the bank of the Thames and came out on top.
Congratulated by his country’s prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis after his semi-final win over Roger Federer, Tsitsipas went on to write his name in Greek sporting mythology with a 6-7 (6) 6-2 7-6 (4) victory.
It was only the third time in 16 years that the final did not feature at least one of the ‘big three’, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic or Federer, and further evidence surely that the long-awaited power shift in men’s tennis is finally on the way.
At 26 Thiem is just about part of that youthful scene as well, and his notable wins over Federer and Djokovic this week helped him climb to fourth in the world rankings.
But the final belonged to Tsitsipas and the legions of Greek fans who made the 02 feel like a home from home for the new champion.
The two are close friends on the Tour – Tsitsipas even acted as Thiem’s hitting partner at the tournament in 2016 – and they embraced at the net after a gruelling encounter.
Tsitsipas said: “I was playing with nerves, it’s such a big event. I was a break up in the third set, but couldn’t hold it, but I’m so relieved with this outstanding performance I gave on the court.
“It’s phenomenal, unbelievable to have such an army behind me, they give me energy, and belief, and I just love that. I would like to thank everyone who supported me with a Greek flags and made me feel at home.”
Tsisipas was the aggressor from the start, dropping just three points in his opening three service games while forcing the first break point, from which Thiem escaped with a swish of his forehand.
There were further chances to break for both players, Tsitsipas serving and volleying his way out of trouble and Thiem finding his first serve when he needed it.
A tie-break was required to separate them, and when the score reached 7-6 each player had won 44 points. But crucially, Thiem had the ball in his hand and an unreturnable first serve clinched the opening set.
Yet if that was tight, the second was a walkover as Tsitsipas broke twice, raced into a 4-0 lead and confidently served it out.
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The first set had taken over an hour, the second lasted 26 minutes in a blur of shaggy hair and flamboyant shot-making, and all Thiem’s good work had unravelled.
When Thiem netted a backhand Tsitsipas had an early break in the decider, but the Greek began bearing gifts and three wayward backhands allowed Thiem to draw level.
The powerful one-handed backhands were out in force from both players in the tie-break, but it was a horrible, wafted forehand from Thiem which handed Tsitsipas the initiative, and a memorable victory was wrapped up in two hours and 34 minutes.
Max Verstappen won the Brazilian Grand Prix as Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc crashed out in a dramatic late finish.
Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly finished a surprise second after he took advantage of Lewis Hamilton banging into Alex Albon on the penultimate lap.
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Hamilton, with damage to his car, took the flag in third, but his podium is subject to a post-race investigation.
Verstappen, out to seek revenge at Interlagos 12 months after he was punted out of the lead by backmarker Esteban Ocon, looked to have been denied another victory here after Robert Kubica almost collided with his Red Bull during the first round of pit stops.
Verstappen slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting the Williams and ending up in the wall, allowing Hamilton to get the jump on the Red Bull.
But in a spellbinding 75 seconds, Verstappen fought his way past Ferrari’s Leclerc and then latched on to the back of Hamilton’s Mercedes before diving underneath the world champion at the opening bend.
Verstappen’s skills were tested for a second time when the safety car was deployed after Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes engine conked out.
Red Bull opted to pull Verstappen in from the lead to give their driver fresh rubber for the remaining 15 laps. Hamilton, running in second, was told by his Mercedes team to stay out if Verstappen stopped.
But the Englishman, on old tyres, was a sitting duck for the speedy Verstappen, who used Hamilton’s tow before sailing around the outside of the Mercedes at the first corner after the safety car pulled in.
The Ferrari drivers then sensationally collided as they diced for fourth place. Leclerc had just passed Vettel at the Senna Esses, but on the run down to the left-handed fourth corner, the German appeared to cut across his team-mate.
Both sustained terminal damage, before pointing the finger at one another in a series of furious radio outbursts.
That led to a third safety car period. Hamilton took on fresh tyres, dropping him to fourth. He immediately drove past Gasly at the restart but then collided with Albon in the battle for second, denying the London-born Thai his first podium. He would finish out of the points in 14th.
“I massively apologise to Albon,” Hamilton said. “The gap was there but it closed at the end. It was definitely my fault.
“I raced my heart out and left nothing on the table. I took a lot of risks today.”
Adding his inaugural title – won with McLaren in 2008 – Hamilton has now been world champion on six occasions – more times than legendary racers Alain Prost and Juan Manuel Fangio.
Only one driver, Michael Schumacher, now has more World Championships than Hamilton, though few are betting against the Brit drawing level with a seventh title next season, due to Mercedes’ current domination of the sport.
Whether he can break the German’s record after the 2021 regulation changes remains to be seen, and many of Hamilton’s critics say he cannot be judged as the greatest of all time until the changes come into effect and alter his superb Mercedes.
But Jordan believes Hamilton should already be regarded as far, far better than Schumacher, who made his F1 debut driving for Jordan’s team, Jordan Grand Prix, in 1991.
“Everyone has their own view on this, but I am of the view he’s already surpassed Michael,” Jordan told talkSPORT. “Michael started with me so there is a love affair there, but there is a situation some people may not fully grasp.
“At the time I handled people like [Rubens] Barrichello, [Eddie] Irvine, [Giancarlo] Fisichella and [Jean] Alesi, and every time we went to sign a contract with Michael Schumacher or Ferrari it always had conditions in it, where what we saw in Austin wouldn’t have been allowed to happen.
“Lewis, if he had in his contract the same things, he would have had to been able to pass [Valtteri] Bottas [to win the race].
“You can’t have that in a competitive sport, where one part of the team dictates to the other.
“For me, that is a flaw factor for Michael. Seven World Championships… how many would he have won if he hadn’t had the influence and support of the other people in the team?
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“And I’m not just talking about team members – I’m talking about the drivers.
“Lewis is already in a different league, in my opinion. He’s done it on his own.
“What he has done has brought great pride to his family and his people, and he can be justifiably proud.”
Hamilton is undeniably one of Britain’s most successful sportsmen, but he remains a divisive figure on these shores.
His supporters have long called for the 34-year-old to be knighted, and these calls have been renewed in the wake of his sixth World Championship win.
But does Jordan believe such an honour will be bestowed upon the Stevenage-born superstar?
He continued: “There is a panel who judge and pick these people, and they must know what is happening. There are also other very strong criteria in that selection process, like charitable work, what he’s done in the community, and what he’s done to bring on people less fortunate than him, and I am quite sure Lewis does do that.
“But it is going to be difficult for Lewis to do it while he is still competing. It is probably easier for a person who has retired.
“I’d like to see Lewis win another couple of World Championships, and then when he’s retired I’d like to see him do a lot of charitable work – which he will do, and already does do – which people don’t ever see.
“I can promise you I once brought a young kid to him and I never thought he would give him any time – he spent the whole weekend with him in Monaco! He looked after the kid who has since died, and Lewis knew that he had little time and he went out of his way.
“There is a lot Lewis does charitably behind the scenes, and I think the knighthood will come.
“But we must not push that. Let him win the Championships before you put too much extra pressure on him.”
Watch Eddie Jordan’s full interview with talkSPORT, above…
He said: “I’ll definitely be taking some time off as we’ll be pretty busy with three children under the age of four.
“I’ll try to be around as much as possible in the next year, but I know my tennis career won’t go on for ever, so there will need to be a balance between me maximising the next few years and spending quality time with my family.
“I’m lucky in that I can train close to home, so that lets me do things like the school run whenever I can.”
Lewis Hamilton dedicated his sixth Formula One World Championship to Niki Lauda, the legendary driver and his late Mercedes colleague.
The British driver clinched the title with a second place finish at the United States Grand Prix on Sunday, coming in behind team-mate Valtteri Bottas in Austin.
He is now only one title behind Michael Schumacher’s record haul of seven, and he said after the race he wants to complete his ‘masterpiece’ before stepping away from driving.
The 34-year-old has at least one more year to run on his £40million-a-year Mercedes deal, and he’s already committed to remaining in the sport beyond next season.
Hamilton began racing for Mercedes in 2013, with Lauda initiating contact with the then McLaren driver the prior year to try and tempt him to a team who, at that point, were still struggling to establish themselves as a leading outfit.
The three-time F1 World Drivers’ Champion eventually got his man, and Hamilton and Lauda remained close up until the latter’s death, aged 70, earlier this year.
Hamilton has already spoken this season on how much Lauda’s passing affected him, and he dedicated his sixth title to the legendary Austrian on Monday morning.
“Six World Championships!!,” Hamilton wrote on Twitter. “I can’t begin to describe this feeling, but it’s one I’ll never forget.
“As a kid growing up in Stevenage, it was a wish to win an F1 race and a dream to win a Championship, so to be standing here today representing my country, is such an incredible honour and beyond what I could have ever imagined.
“If just one kid sees me standing here and decides to follow their dream, no matter what it may be, nothing would make me more proud.
“I wouldn’t be here’s (sic) without so many of you, my amazing family – especially my dad who taught me to never give up, my friends, my team at @mercedesamgf1 and my fans.
“You’ve been with me on this journey from the start and it’s because of you that I stay focused and determined. I’m forever grateful from the bottom of my heart for every single one of you for your constant support, encouragement and love.
“This season is for Niki Lauda, my incredible friend and mentor who we lost this year, who proved that courage and determination go hand in hand.
“This one’s for you, Niki. I’ll continue to make you proud.”
Lewis Hamilton has won his sixth Formula One world championship in America.
The 34-year-old moved about the sport’s Argentine godfather Juan Manuel Fangio and within striking range of Michael Schumacher’s record collection of seven after he took the chequered flag in Texas in second.
Hamilton was required to finish only in the top eight to be certain of clinching the championship here.
Valtteri Bottas did all he could to take the title fight on to Brazil by passing Hamilton, on a different strategy to his Mercedes team-mate, for the victory with four laps remaining.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen ran Hamilton all the way to the line, but finished just eight tenths of a second behind the Englishman.
“Get in there, Lewis,” came the roar from Hamilton’s race engineer, Pete Bonnington. “That is it. Champion of the world. You did that in style, mate.”
“Still we rise, guys,” replied an emotional Hamilton. “What an incredible weekend. To everyone that came out, I cannot believe it. I really can’t believe it.”
Hamilton parked up in the spot reserved to celebrate his world championship.
“Still we rise guys, still we rise”
“Thank you so much, guys – we did an incredible job… I can’t believe it”
Still sitting in his car, he removed his helmet and balaclava before standing on top of his silver machine and lapping up the adulation of the American crowd. He ran into the arms of his Mercedes mechanics to celebrate before retrieving a Union flag.
“It is overwhelming if I am honest,” said Hamilton. “I feel so much emotion.
“I have got my mum and dad here, my step-mum and step-dad here. It is an honour to be up there with the greats. My dad told me when I was six or seven never to give up – that is the family motto.
“I was pushing as hard as I could today and I was hopeful I could win but I didn’t have enough left in the tyres.
“I don’t know about how many championships I can win, but as an athlete I feel as fresh as I could be. We will keep pushing.”
Max Verstappen was furious with Lewis Hamilton once again after qualifying for Sunday’s United States Grand Prix.
The Formula One pair have been engaged in a war of words since last weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix, and they almost collided here in Q2.
Hamilton moved to his left to overtake the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat at Turn 19, with Verstappen then taking to the grass to avoid the Briton’s Mercedes.
The Dutchman vented his anger at Hamilton in a strongly-worded radio message.
“It is his f****** problem, this, what is happening,” said Verstappen. The stewards noted the accident, but took no further action.
Explaining the incident, Verstappen said: “We were all lining up to do our lap, and I had Daniil in front of me.
“We were slowing down to make space and Lewis drove by like nobody was there, and didn’t care. I was like ‘if you don’t care, neither do I’. Everyone was respecting each other and that is why it was such a close call.”
Hamilton said: “It was nothing. There are no rules that say you have to stay in single file. I kept going and he was trying to race me.”
Hamilton needs to finish only eighth to be certain of the title that will move him one above Juan Manuel Fangio and within striking range of Michael Schumacher’s record haul of seven.
But his hopes of securing the world championship in style suffered a setback in Austin after he qualified only fifth for Sunday’s race.
On his bid to seal title number six, he added: “I am not looking to pull out miracles tomorrow. But I will try to turn a negative into a positive that’s for sure.
“I didn’t pull the laps out today. The car had the capability to be on the front row. It is my fault but I will try and rectify it tomorrow.”
Lewis Hamilton’s wait for a sixth world title will go on to next weekend’s United States Grand Prix despite an impressive victory in Mexico on Sunday.
Hamilton produced an amazing effort to make his tyres last for 48 of the 71-lap race, but after Valtteri Bottas finished third, Hamilton – who needed his Mercedes team-mate to be fifth to be certain of the title – narrowly missed out on being crowned world champion here.
The British driver now needs to finish only eighth in Austin to be absolutely sure of the championship that will move him to within one of Michael Schumacher’s record haul of seven.
Hamilton had looked out of contention to win at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, but his all-conquering Mercedes team pulled off a tactical masterstroke, stopping him eight laps later than pole-sitter Charles Leclerc and 14 laps before the Monegasque’s Ferrari team-mate, the second-placed Sebastian Vettel.
Leclerc’s early change for rubber ensured he would have to come in again – he did with 27 laps remaining.
Hamilton assumed the lead for the first time and somehow managed to get his wearing rubber to the chequered flag to claim a fine win.
Vettel finished second with Leclerc fourth. Alex Albon took fifth for Red Bull, one spot ahead of team-mate Max Verstappen who fell out of the mix after he suffered an early puncture following a banzai move on Bottas.
Although Mercedes’ tyre gamble proved a masterstroke, Hamilton had been on the radio to question his pit wall’s decision.
“It feels like we stopped way too early,” he said. Moments later, Hamilton voiced his concerns again. “We stopped too early. There is a long way to go on these tyres, man.”
Marcus Dudley, deputising for Hamilton’s regular race engineer Pete ‘Bono’ Bonnington, watching on TV back in Britain following a medical procedure, was the reassuring voice on the other end of the line.
“It is going to be difficult,” he said. “But we are on for a win if you can do this.” Chief strategist, James Vowles, echoed Dudley’s message. “Lewis, this is James, you can do it.”
They proved to be right. Indeed, Hamilton even had enough life in his tyres to attempt a late salvo for the fastest lap and a bonus point to make ninth good enough for the championship in Austin next weekend.
He could not quite manage it on an otherwise faultless afternoon for the Briton and his Mercedes team.
“What a job, guys,” yelled Hamilton on the radio. “Thank you so much for your hard work. That was a tough race, but what a fantastic job. That was for Bono.”
After hugging his Mercedes mechanics, Hamilton said: “Today is an incredible result. I have to say a huge thanks to my team.
“We came here thinking we were on the back foot, and knowing it would be a difficult race, but we pulled through. I kept my head down and it seemed like a long second stint.
“I don’t mind (that I have to wait for the championship). I love racing, and I will take it one race at a time.
“This has been a grand prix I have wanted to win for some time so I am incredibly humbled for this opportunity.”
Hamilton lined up in third after Verstappen was controversially stripped of his pole. Bottas started in sixth after his Mercedes crew repaired his wrecked car from qualifying. It was touch and go as to whether the Finn would start the race – his car eventually repaired following 24 parts changes and more than seven hours of man power – just 30 minutes before the pit lane opened.
Hamilton roared away from his marks and took a nibble at Vettel on the 800-metre charge to the opening bend.
Vettel afforded Hamilton little to no room, and the Mercedes star was forced to back out. The stewards noted the incident but took no action.
Verstappen, who had started one spot behind Hamilton, then drew alongside the five-time world champion as they broke from 220mph for the first right-hander – but Hamilton had no desire to concede the place.
The Briton slid across the apex of the left-handed second bend, running on to the grass and taking Verstappen with him.
By the time Hamilton had recovered, he had dropped to fifth, but wasted little time in passing the McLaren of Carlos Sainz to move up to fourth.
Vettel was the last of the leaders stop for opening tyres on lap 37. Leclerc would lead, but when he came in for a second time, 10 laps later than his team-mate, Hamilton was promoted to the front.
From there, the reigning champion never looked back, crossing the line 1.7 seconds clear of Vettel.