Lewis Hamilton says sorry for x-rated rants at Mercedes after costly Dutch Grand Prix strategy error

Lewis Hamilton raged at Mercedes after their costly late strategy call  (REUTERS)
Lewis Hamilton raged at Mercedes after their costly late strategy call (REUTERS)

Lewis Hamilton has apologised to Mercedes after his expletive-laden radio rants aimed at the team during the closing stages of Sunday's eventful Dutch Grand Prix.

The seven-time world champion could not contain his fury at a late strategy gamble at the Circuit Zandvoort, with Hamilton looking to have a real chance of winning the race against the odds but instead ending up finishing fourth behind Max Verstappen, team-mate George Russell and Charles Leclerc after being left a sitting duck on medium tyres after the restart following a safety car.

"That was the biggest f*** up," Hamilton fumed over team radio.

"I can't believe you guys, f****** f***** me," he said later. "I can't tell you how f***** I am."

Hamilton expressed his frustration again after the race, saying: "I can't believe you guys. I can't tell you how p***** I am right now."

Apologies were offered by Hamilton's race engineer Peter Bonnington and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, who said they had simply taken a risk that hadn't worked out.

"I was really hopeful that we were going to get a one-two together as a team," Hamilton told Sky Sports, having almost collided with Russell - who was pitted for soft tyres - during a battle in the closing stages. "Especially after a not great, up-and-down year, we've not had a win since Brazil.

"It's finally there within our grasp but the safety car really didn't help. I was on the edge of breaking point with emotions and my apologies to the team.

"I don't even remember what I said, I just lost it for a second. I think they know that it's just so much passion. I want to look at it as a glass half-full. We came here struggling from the last race, we were fighting against the Red Bulls today.

"We were quicker than most at many points. Without the safety car, I think we would have been challenging them for the win at the end on the one-stop, which I don't think the others could do.

"So many great things to take, the car was finally working. If this can happen again, if this can be the case in future races, we're going to continue to breathe down their necks. We need to get that win."

Also speaking to Sky in the aftermath of a thrilling contest, Wolff insisted that Mercedes were right to gamble in pursuit of victory.

"We discussed in the moment, are we taking risks for the race win? Yes, we're taking risks,” he said. “He [Hamilton] had a tyre that was five laps old from the medium, holding position was the right thing to do.

"At the end, it didn't work out for him, but I would rather take the risk to win the race with Lewis rather than finish second and third."

Asked about leaving Hamilton without Russell’s support to fend off Verstappen by pitting the latter, Wolff said: "You can do two things, you can either pit Lewis, lose track position against Verstappen and leave George out, screwed. You can pit both, screwed. It was worth taking the risk."