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Hamilton labelled "cheeky" with hand-back compromise

Hamilton labelled "cheeky" with hand-back compromise

Hamilton labelled "cheeky" with hand-back compromise

Hamilton labelled "cheeky" with hand-back compromise

Carlos Sainz has conceded Lewis Hamilton's "cheeky" timing in handing back a position in Abu Dhabi drastically altered the Ferrari driver's race.

The Spaniard launched an audacious move on the inside of Hamilton into the turn six-seven chicane on the opening lap at the Yas Island circuit.

But in scenes similar to 12 months previously when Hamilton clashed with Red Bull's Max Verstappen, the Mercedes driver elected to drive straight across the run-off and maintain his position.

Unlike last season, though, the stewards instructed the seven-time champion to hand the position back to Sainz three laps later.

Hamilton did as he was requested, albeit at turn 15 which allowed him to stay close to Sainz and immediately reclaim the place in the following DRS zone.

“My race was a bit compromised after the start with the problem on the clutch that we had all weekend that I knew was going to cost me at the start, and then with Lewis when he jumped the chicane," said Sainz.

“But then he let me by in a cheeky way to get my DRS. Although I passed him again, I had to use quite a lot of my tyres, which cost me quite a lot of race time, quite a lot of tyre usage, and which probably forced me into a two-stop.

“From there on, I was on a slower two-stop and couldn’t be in the fight for P2.”

Despite being dissatisfied with how the situation was handled, Sainz added: “I have used that rule or lack of clarity before.

"So I’m not going to criticise Lewis for that because I would have done something similar."

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