Mexican GP: Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton collide on first lap
"Did he hit me deliberately?" asks Hamilton after chaotic start
Last Updated: 30/10/17 6:17am
Championship rivals Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton collided on the first lap of the Mexican GP in a chaotic start to the race.
Hamilton's right rear tyre was punctured when he was hit from behind by Vettel's Ferrari.
"Did he hit me deliberately?" the Mercedes driver asked over team radio.
"I don't really know what happened at Turn Three - I gave him plenty of room," Hamilton said after the race as he celebrated becoming Formula 1 world champion.
The incident was the latest in a long line of controversies involving the pair this season.
"I don't understand the aggressive manoeuvre from Vettel in the first corners," complained Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda.
Vettel, needing to outscore the championship leader by 17 points to keep his title hopes alive, started on the front row but was quickly fending off Max Verstappen and Hamilton into Turn One.
After being passed by the Red Bull and the Mercedes on the exit of second corner, Vettel ran into the back of Hamilton's car with the impact puncturing the Englishman's rear right tyre.
Hamilton quickly dropping back was the ideal start for Ferrari, but Vettel's car also sustained heavy damage with carbon fibre flying off the SF70-H.
Hamilton then asked his Mercedes team if the move from Vettel was deliberate, four months after the pair's last coming together at the Azerbaijan GP.
The stewards decided that no investigation was necessary.
The drivers dropped back to 20th and 18th in the field respectively after their forced early pitstops, but Hamilton was crowned world champion after crossing the line in ninth with Vettel only fourth.
The pair later embraced in the paddock as Vettel hailed his rival as a worthy champion.
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