• World championship leader collides with Felipe Massa
• Collision with Ferrari sends Briton into the gravel trap
Lewis Hamilton’s world championship chances suffered a severe blow when he crashed out of the Italian grand prix on the first lap. The Formula One championship leader’s race ended shortly after the start, when he collided with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa.
From fifth position on the grid, Hamilton edged ahead of Red Bull’s Mark Webber as they approached the Rettifilio. But in a three-car battle heading into the second chicane, the Variante della Roggia, the front right wheel of Hamilton’s car and the rear left of Massa’s Ferrari collided.
The impact broke the McLaren’s front right suspension and sent Hamilton into the gravel trap.
Explaining his accident, Hamilton said: “I had a good start and gained a position. In a realistic world I perhaps should’ve stayed there a while. I put my car up the inside and tried to get third – it was obviously a little bit too much. It’s my fault. I take the blame.
“I’m very disappointed in myself and sorry for the team. I’ve got to try to collect my thoughts and move onto the next race. The championship is not over, but it’s mistakes like I made today that lose world championships.”
Massa, who finished third, said: “I just felt something on my back – it was Lewis, he touched me, but I didn’t see what happened. I just felt something.
“Overall it was a great race, especially when you come here and see all the fans on the home straight celebrating the way they did.”