Despite starting on pole-position for the Belgian Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton could only manage to salvage a third place finish ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Running a two-stop strategy Hamilton pushed hard through the race but admitted his pace wasn’t strong enough for the Red Bull and Ferrari cars which passed him. “I got everything that I could out of the car today but we just weren’t as quick as Sebastian [Vettel] and Fernando [Alonso].
“I made a nice start and it felt like the exit out of turn one was good, too. But Seb just caught me on the run out of Eau Rouge and there wasn’t really much I could do to defend: I moved once, like we are allowed to, but then I just had to watch him glide by. From that point, it was very difficult to hold on to him, and the same thing happened with Fernando, too, later in the race.”
Hamilton took the positives away from the weekend which saw him move in to third place for the championship challenge. “We have done a good job this weekend but Spa and Monza are always unique tracks because of the low-drag requirements and I expect we will be more competitive in Singapore again. It’s still a great team result to finish third with Nico right behind me in fourth, so we will take the positives from this afternoon into the next races.”
Rosberg run the same tyre and pitstop strategy as his team-mate finishing in fourth place which he classes as a “reasonable result”. The German driver was happy with the result but obviously felt things could have gone better. “It’s great that we achieved a strong points finish for the team with Lewis’ third place as well. The whole weekend hasn’t gone perfectly for me and you are always slightly on the back foot in the race when qualifying doesn’t go as well as planned.
“I had a great start but I wasn’t able to go as long as planned on the second stint and I had to cover Felipe [Massa]. But in the end, it was nice to keep Mark [Webber] behind me and get fourth place. We have a lot of work ahead of us now and we need to look into why we weren’t as competitive as a couple of the other teams today.”
The result means the Mercedes team remain second in the Constructers Championship with a haul of 27 points this weekend.
Team principal Ross Brawn reflected on the progress the team have made in just a year. “It is a measure of how far we have come in the past 12 months that a race which would have been our result of the season last year now feels slightly average.
“However, we must keep things in perspective: this was a good team result, we scored a good haul of points for both championships, but we were on average half a second off the pace we needed to fight for the win at this track, especially when the tyres were new. The performance of both cars was pretty respectable by the end of the race but we were not quick enough in the early stages.
“Both drivers delivered a fault-free performance and the team performed well at the pit stops, so we got the maximum out of the car this afternoon. It’s a good foundation for the second half of our season and we now need to find a little more performance for the next races.”