Lewis Hamilton on broken title dreams

Written by Alexander Arslan, CNN

Lewis Hamilton’s fourth Formula One world championship has been ruined by a technical mistake, team principal Toto Wolff has announced.

Trouble seemed to be brewing when Hamilton’s Mercedes car veered off the track during the final qualifying session for the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday afternoon.

Hamilton, who finished third in the race, ultimately conceded the world championship to Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous. I think it’s a huge mistake,” Hamilton said. “What a joke.

“I can’t believe this happened today, but it didn’t,” he added, a rain of tears appearing to cascade down his face.

F1: Mercedes’ championship nightmare becomes reality

Wolff said he saw how badly Hamilton had suffered in the incident and approached the driver after qualifying to ask if he would accept their explanation.

Hamilton explained that he had rushed to the outside of the track to clear a defensive line of debris behind him — but that his instruction had been garbled and he hadn’t noticed the car in front.

Wolff accepted the explanation, noting that Vettel was preparing for the race and, much more so, so were his mechanics, only for the order to be disregarded.

As a result of the error, Hamilton’s race started from the back of the grid and he spent most of the race battling for the lead with Vettel, who overtook him with one lap to go.

“It happened very quickly in the first corner, but it is far too late to correct it now,” Wolff said. “It is actually a fact of life. It’s over.”

One race is a dream. Four is not. Not this time. #GP17 — Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) August 27, 2017

Wolff acknowledged that his team’s misreading of the rules after the final practice session had cost Hamilton his title.

“We wasted time in qualifying. The time-frames are the same for everyone,” he said. “We must be strong and patient. It’s not even our fault.”

Spectacular tyre failure for Vettel in Belgian GP

Hamilton had started the season in a neck-and-neck battle with Vettel, and was hopeful of taking the title this summer.

But Vettel had appeared to wrestle back the leadership in the last three races — which included a calamitous retirement in Azerbaijan last weekend.

The final qualifying is now seen as the proving ground for the title charge that will be mounted later in the season by Red Bull and Ferrari, which needs to show it can clear the technical and mechanical obstacles that have haunted it all season.

The other men left fighting for the F1 title are Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo from Red Bull and Max Verstappen from Toro Rosso.

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