Hamilton in first lap puncture after Vettel clash at Mexican GP

1 min

Mexico City (AFP)

Lewis Hamilton suffered a first lap puncture on his Mercedes as his world title push suffered a dramatic twist at the Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday.

The British driver, needing just a top-five finish to secure a fourth world crown, clashed with title rival and pole sitter Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari on the opening lap.

Both men had to pit after their coming together. Hamilton needed a new right rear tyre while Vettel required another wing.

Hamilton rejoined in 20th place, one behind Vettel while Red Bull's Max Verstappen raced into the lead after surviving the debris behind him.

As Hamilton struggled to recover, he suggested Vettel might have driven into him on purpose.

"Did he hit me deliberately?" the Briton asked his team. "Not sure, Lewis," his team replied on the radio.

Race stewards at the packed Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez looked at the incident and did not take any action.

Hamilton was later lapped for the first time since Barcelona in 2013 by the leading Verstappen.