Lewis Hamilton said he felt “hurt and disappointment” and had apologised following his crash with Nico Rosberg but did not accept blame.

The two Mercedes drivers collided on the first lap of the Spanish Grand Prix, with both retiring from the race.

“I apologised to the team,” Hamilton said. “To not deliver… whenever it happens, it is a painful experience.

He added he “saw a gap and went for it. I was a significant portion alongside and I had to avoid a collision.”

Rosberg countered: “I saw Lewis closing in so as soon as I could I closed the door to the inside with a clear, strong move to make sure he understands there is not going to be space there, and I was very surprised that he went for it anyway. That’s it. Then we were in the sand trap.”

The incident means Hamilton remains 43 points behind Rosberg in the World Championship with 400 available over the remaining 16 races.

Hamilton had started from pole but was passed around the outside by Rosberg on Turn One. But the German then lost power through Turn Three as a result of being in the wrong engine mode and Hamilton closed in at a speed difference of 17km/h.

Hamilton dived for the inside on the run to Turn Four but Rosberg defended by coming right across the track. Hamilton took to the grass, where he lost control, and spun into his team-mate, taking both out.

F1 rules dictate that if a driver moves to defend his position he must leave a car’s width if the attacking driver has a “significant” part of his car alongside any part of the car in front.


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