Hamilton - I've let McLaren down
Brit star labels his weekend 'a disaster'
Lewis Hamilton blamed himself for his poor showing at the Bahrain Grand Prix, the Briton saying he had 'let down the team' after a finishing only 13th at Sakhir.
Starting third on the grid, the McLaren-Mercedes driver made a dreadul start after failing to hit his car's anti-stall button, falling to tenth place off the line before gaining a position at the end of lap one.
However, Hamilton's race unravelled completely when he drove into the back of former team-mate and rival Fernando Alonso at the start of lap two.
Having lost his front wing in the incident, Hamilton had to make an unscheduled pit stop and, upon rejoining the race, found himself down in 18th place.
From there on in, Hamilton made little headway and eventually took the chequered flag in 13th place, one lap down on race winner Felipe Massa.
It was his worst race to date in Formula One and, with Massa's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen finishing second, also saw Hamilton lose his lead in the Drivers' Championship.
Hamilton said: "It was a very poor performance and I let the team down today. It went bad from the beginning.
"But I will keep my chin up and bounce back in the next race."
Asked about his collision with Alonso, he said: "I have no idea. I was behind him, I went to move to the right, he went to the right and I ended up in the back of him somehow. It's racing."
Many observers believed that, following the rivalry that developed when the pair were teamed together at McLaren last season, Alonso deliberately slowed his Renault to 'brake test' Hamilton.
However, Hamilton ducked the issue, adding that he was not overly concerned by the relative lack of pace shown by McLaren in the Middle East.
He said: "No, it is not a huge concern for me to be honest. We have the pace, I know I have the pace and I know in the next race we will be quite a bit quicker than we have been here.
"The confidence is still there. It was inevitable that was going to happen because I have had such a good run in Formula One. And this is all part of it.
"But there is still a long way to go, don't count me out yet."
Asked how he felt he had let McLaren down, Hamilton answered: "As a professional. When you start off bad, you need to pick up the pieces and deliver points.
"I didn't do any of that for the team. I had the collision with Fernando which cost the whole race.
"I am always the first to blame it on myself. That's the right way to go."
Hamilton, who also had a big crash during Friday practice, was blunt when describing his weekend, saying: "It was a disaster. It was as good as you saw it."
Explaining his poor start, he added: "The anti-stall kicked in. I hadn't hit the switch early enough so I wasn't in launch mode and I went straight to anti-stall.
"Everyone was in launch mode and I wasn't. It is a big, big disappointment. I am as disappointed as you could be, I suppose."