April 7, BBC News

Lewis Hamilton said he had failed his McLaren team after finishing 13th in the Bahrain Grand Prix and losing the lead of the world championship.

Hamilton made a mistake at the start, dropped to the back after a collision with former team-mate Fernando Alonso and was unable to make up lost ground.

"I am really disappointed and feel like I let the team down," he said.

"You need to pick up the pieces and deliver points. I didn't do that. The collision with Alonso cost the race."

The 23-year-old Englishman slipped from third to 10th at the start of the race to find himself stuck behind Alonso's Renault.

Hamilton tried to get past Alonso on the second lap but instead he went up and over the back of the Spaniard's car, losing his front wing in the process.

Some observers suggested Alonso appeared to slow down and give Hamilton a "brake test" but the McLaren driver refused to condemn his former McLaren team-mate.

"I am always the first to blame it on myself," said Hamilton. "That's the right way to go."

Asked exactly how the collision happened 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."

McLaren boss Ron Dennis said: "He tried to second-guess Fernando and vice-versa and damaged the car quite extensively and that was really it."

Hamilton, who won the season opener in Australia and finished fifth in Malaysia, summed up the weekend as a "disaster".

His car needed to be rebuilt after a heavy accident during Friday practice.

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photo: Hamilton failed to score any points for McLaren in Bahrain (Getty Images)