2011 Belgian Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton and Pastor Maldonado were involved in a controversial exchange during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix.
Maldonado drove into the side of Hamilton’s car at the exit of La Source at the end of Q2.
Hamilton had passed Maldonado at the final corner of the previous lap, barging alongside the Williams which had been held up by cars in front of him.
After they crossed the line Maldonado drew alongside the Williams and swerved into the side of the McLaren, knocking part of the front wing off.
Speaking in the press conference Hamilton said: “I’ll have to look at it afterwards.
“But I think I was at the end of my Q2 lap. At the chicane as I was just finishing there were two Williams just sitting there going very slowly, I think they were just about to start another lap, but there was already a red light. So I had to try and get past, which I did. And I lost quite a lot of time there.
“Then as I was coming through the exit of turn one I saw Maldonado approaching quite quickly. He came past, he came around me, and I didn’t move anywhere but he happened to swipe across me.
“I don’t know whether it was intentional or not but I guess we’ll see shortly. I just said I’m going to sit here and wait for the stewards to call me up rather than go back to the brand centre.”
After repairs, Hamilton was able to participate in Q3 and take second on the grid: “The front wing was quite badly damaged, my sidepod, and I thought my front suspension was damaged. I think the front toeing is probably a little bit out.
“Fortunately the guys did a great job and put it back together.
“I just think once the flag is out and the red lights are on there’s no need to be racing. There should never, ever be an incident and unfortunately there was.”
The pair previously collided in the Monaco Grand Prix. Maldonado retired from the race due to the incident and Hamilton was given a post-race time penalty.
Update: This is what Maldonado had to say about the collision: “He slowed down a lot at the end of the session, so I tried to go past him. I then felt contact at the back of my car. I don’t really know what happened. It was a difficult moment.”
2011 Belgian Grand Prix
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Image © McLaren