Lewis Hamilton is out of the Belgian Grand Prix after a first-lap crash with former team-mate Fernando Alonso. Hamilton tried to sweep around the outside of the Alpine for second at Les Combes but the pair made contact.
Alonso’s front wing smashed into the Mercedes rear right tyre which launched him into the air. Hamilton continued for half a lap but it was clear his Mercedes had damage. His race engineer Peter Bonnington then told Hamilton to stop the car with the champion pulling over on the side of the Blanchimont corner.
The accident was noted by the race stewards but they later confirmed no further action would be taken. It ended the seven-time champion’s chances of battling for a win after Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc were handed penalties. It was a confident start for the Mercedes star as he passed Sergio Perez at the start.
Alonso came back at him on the back straight but Hamilton looked set for the overtake before the contact.
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Lewis Hamilton was left disappointed after qualifying as Mercedes were 1.8 seconds slower than Verstappen in Q3. The Silver Arrows were only fast enough for seventh and eighth and only moved higher up the grid as a result of penalties for others.
After qualifying, Hamilton explained: “Everyone’s working hard for improvements and we came here very optimistic that we’re going to close the gap, so to be 1.8 seconds behind is a real kick in the teeth but it is what it is. This is a car that we continue to struggle with, and I definitely won’t miss it at the end of the year.
“The other two teams ahead of us are in another league and we can’t keep relying on them to fall off. We have to regroup and make sure next year’s car is where we need it to be, and we’ll do the best we can with what we have for the rest of the season.”