Lewis Hamilton: “I could easily have not finished the race”

Lewis Hamilton admitted the damage caused by the first corner melee could quite easily have ended his Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday, so was relieved to continue and claim the bottom step on the podium.

The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS driver was clipped from behind by the Williams of Valtteri Bottas, damaging the floor of his W07, and the drop in pace meant he was unable to remain in touch with team-mate Nico Rosberg nor the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen.

“I didn’t get a good start today – but it actually wasn’t as bad as the last one,” said Hamilton. “They were completely different incidents – both painful, but this one probably more so!

“In Melbourne I had loads of wheel spin but this time I just didn’t get away as well as I needed to and that was down to me. If you start on pole and go backwards it quickly becomes a domino effect. It’s so easy to get clipped from there and unfortunately that’s what happened at Turn One.

“Nonetheless, I managed to climb back up there and at least get some points, so again it was good damage limitation. I could easily have not finished the race, so I’m glad it wasn’t more points dropped in the end. I had so much damage on the car that I couldn’t keep up with Kimi.

“I was fighting hard and did what I could with it – but it wasn’t quite enough to catch him, so in the end I had to just save the tyres in case of a safety car.”