Lewis Hamilton told Charles Leclerc he was anxious to avoid hitting the Ferrari driver when they went wheel-to-wheel through Copse as they battled in the late stages of the British Grand Prix.
The move drew comparisons with the battle between Hamilton and his championship rival Max Verstappen on the opening lap of last year’s British Grand Prix. The pair collided, pitching the Red Bull into the wall at high speed. Hamilton was held chiefly responsible by the stewards and handed a 10-second time penalty, despite which he went on to win the race.
In a new edition of Ferrari’s behind-the-scenes YouTube series Full Access, Leclerc is shown talking with Hamilton ahead of last week’s Austrian Grand Prix in the Red Bull Ring media pen.
In the recently published footage, Hamilton can be heard discussing the pair’s battle for third on lap 48 of the British Grand Prix, in which the Mercedes tried to pass the Ferrari around the outside of Brooklands before completing the move around the outside of Luffield one corner later. Leclerc then bravely reclaimed the position by passing Hamilton around the outside of Copse, turning into the fast right hander at around 300 km/h.
“I was like, ‘fuck, I don’t want to just clip you and send you off,'” Hamilton can be heard telling Leclerc in the six-second clip.
Speaking after the British Grand Prix, Hamilton praised Leclerc’s racecraft throughout the battle, highlighting how he believed the fight differed from his one with Verstappen a year earlier.
“Charles did a great job, a great battle,” Hamilton told Sky after the race. “He’s such a sensible driver, definitely different to what I experienced last year. Copse, for example – we got through there no problem.”
Leclerc also admitted after the British Grand Prix that the 2021 incident had been on his mind after he had completed the pass on Hamilton at Copse. “It was incredibly tricky and, actually, as soon as I passed the corner I look in my mirror and I had a flashback of last year,” said the Ferrari driver.
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