Hamilton goes from hero to zero

Sun Jun 8, 2008 6:44pm EDT
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By Simon Evans

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton went from hero to zero on Sunday after crashing into Ferrari's world champion Kimi Raikkonen in a bizarre pit-lane pile-up at the Canadian Grand Prix.

The 23-year-old McLaren driver, who covered himself in glory by winning in Monaco two weeks ago, kissed goodbye to his championship lead with the most embarrassing moment of his fledgling Formula One career.

To make matters worse, the Briton collected a 10-place penalty on the starting grid for the next race in France in two weeks' time.

Leading the race from pole position at the scene of his first grand prix victory last year, Hamilton ploughed into the back of Raikkonen's stationary Ferrari after they pitted on lap 20 while the safety car was deployed.

The Finn had stopped at the red light at the end of the pit lane, with BMW Sauber's Polish driver Robert Kubica waiting alongside for the all-clear to rejoin the race.

Hamilton failed to brake in time, with German driver Nico Rosberg then adding to his misery by shunting the McLaren with his Williams.

"We got into the pitstop, it wasn't a great stop and I saw the two guys in front of me and they were battling in the pit lane," Hamilton told Britain's ITV television.

"I was obviously trying to make sure I didn't get involved with those guys. I saw the red light but by the time they had stopped and I had seen the red light it was a bit late," he continued.   Continued...

<p>McLaren Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain sits in the garage after colliding with Ferrari Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland during the Canadian F1 Grand Prix in Montreal, June 8, 2008. REUTERS/Paul Chiasson/Pool</p>