Lewis Hamilton admits he has “mixed emotions” after winning the Azerbaijan Grand Prix to move to the top of the drivers championship.
The British driver was second with a few laps to go but a puncture for his team-mate Valtteri Bottas handed him the win on a plate.
“I have very mixed emotions today.” said Hamilton. “Valtteri deserved to win, he did an exceptional job and had a faultless drive.”
Hamilton had looked like coming home in third place after locking up his tyres and pitting early but the collision between the two Aston Martin Red Bull Racing cars caused the safety car which bunched the field back up.
A mistake by Sebastian Vettel let Hamilton move into second and when Bottas slowed, the defending champion took full advantage.
“This is such a crazy and exciting race and I never gave up.
“I was constantly pushing but it was a real struggle. I feel incredibly grateful to come out with the win.
“You have to take the ups with the downs and I can’t complain that I won; I will take it and hopefully learn from today. But Valtteri was very, very unfortunate, a one-two would have been a great result for the team.
“I would not have got by him in the remaining laps if he hadn’t had his tyre blow.”
Despite the victory, Hamilton still believes that Scuderia Ferrari have the better car and more work is required from his Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team.
“It looks like Ferrari still has the better car, they outperformed us most of the weekend. We were able to just hold on to them during the race. We definitely have some work to do, but we are in the mix and it’s going to be very close. We have to keep our heads down and keep working.”