Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton apologised for an expletive-laden radio outburst at his Mercedes team as his hopes of a first win of the Formula One season disappeared in Sunday’s Dutch Grand Prix.
The Briton led until a late safety car period left him defending on slower tires than his rivals, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen roaring past at the re-start to take a home victory.
Hamilton ended up fourth, with team mate George Russell second.
“I was just on the edge of breaking point with emotions and my apologies to the team because I don’t even remember what I said, I just lost it for a second,” he told Sky Sports television.
“But I think they know that there is just so much passion and I want to look at it as a glass half full,” added the winner of 103 races.
Hamilton has won a race in every season he has competed since his debut in 2007, but that record is in danger of ending with Verstappen taking his 10th win in 15 races and romping towards his second title.
The disappointment was so much greater because Mercedes sensed that Zandvoort offered a real opportunity, even if Verstappen had started on pole in front of his home crowd.
“I really was hopeful that we were going to get a one-two together as a team,” said Hamilton, who has not won since Saudi Arabia last December.
“It was finally there, within our grasp but of course then the safety car really didn’t help.
“Without the safety car I think we’d have been challenging them (Red Bull) for the win at the end on the one-stop which I don’t think the others could do.”
Team boss Toto Wolff said he quite understood why Hamilton had been so upset.
“You get emotional. I do too in the race and when you are the driver in the car, it just comes out of you and you can’t even stop it,” he said.
“We (the team) are the trash bin, the sick bag in the airplane and we are taking all of that because we need to. That is how it has always been in a relationship between frustrated driver and the pit wall.”