Lewis Hamilton said the spin that almost cost him his race at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was down to human error.

The Stevenage racer put his Mercedes into the gravel during a frantic chase of eventual winner Max Verstappen but recovered to finish second after an immaculate drive in the latter stages.

The rain began on a rain-soaked track with Verstappen jumping from third to first at the start and then ignoring the carnage behind.

There had already been one safety car for crashes when Hamilton slid off the track on lap 31 as he attempted to lap George Russell.

He managed to reverse out of the sand-trap but with damage to his front wing.

However, moments later Russell and Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas tangled at 200mph and caused the race to be stopped for 30 minutes.

That refocused the seven-time world champion and he roared passed five drivers in 21 laps, picking off countryman Lando Norris in the McLaren with three laps to go.

"It was very tricky out there but we are only human," said Hamilton.

"It is not the mistakes that define you. You know I don't make too many mistakes, and while it was gutting to be in that position I feel these things happen for a reason.

"I didn't think I would finish second when I was facing that barrier. But I remember being there and looking at the barrier and I refused to believe the race was over.

"I could have turned the car off and got out but I was grateful I didn't. After that, it was trying to switch the anger and turn it into positive energy and race forwards."

Hamilton also picked up a bonus point for the fastest lap and that is the difference at the top of the Championship, Verstappen in second.

The former St John Henry Newman School pupil also knows that finishing second could be pivotal come the season's end.

He said: "If I had lost 25 points to Max it would have been hard to recover based on the fact Red Bull have an incredibly fast car.

"They were faster than us this weekend. We have got a close battle, which we love. There are going to be a lot of exciting races up ahead."