Lewis Hamilton has described the 2019 Belgian Grand Prix as a “wobbly weekend” but says the are “plenty of positives” to take from his second place finish.
Hamilton uncharacteristically crashed in Saturday morning’s Free Practice 3, putting his Mercedes-AMG Motorsport squad under pressure to get his car repaired and ready for Qualifying.
Despite the rush to get the number 44 ready, Hamilton qualified third, behind both Scuderia Ferrari cars of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel.
In the race, Hamilton briefly snatched second from Vettel at the start before the German breezed by on the long Kemmel Straight. Following the pit-stop phase, Hamilton emerged as the fastest driver in the field, passing Vettel on lap thirty-one and setting about hunting down race-leader Leclerc.
In the final thirteen laps, Hamilton closed a near eight-second gap to finish less than a second behind Leclerc. Despite so narrowly missing out on a ninth victory of the year, the championship leader says he’s “really happy” with his weekend’s performance.
“In general, it’s been a wobbly weekend but to have a solid Qualifying and then a solid race today, I’m really happy,” said Hamilton. “Of course, you always want to win on a race day, but I gave it absolutely everything I had.
“Ferrari were a very strong force but for us to be that close at the end means there are plenty of positives to take.
“I’m happy for Charles, he did a fantastic job all weekend so congratulations to him. We’ve got a lot work to do to try to catch up to Ferrari on the straights in the next four days, but if anyone can do it it’s this team. Hopefully we can have another close race next weekend in Monza.”
Hamilton’s second place saw him extend his championship lead over team-mate Valtteri Bottas who completed the podium in Belgium. The gap now sits at sixty-five points as Hamilton nears a sixth world championship.
Although Hamilton was pleased with his race performance he, like all the drivers in Belgium, paid tribute to Anthoine Hubert, the Formula 2 driver who lost his life on Saturday.
“It’s been a very difficult weekend for everyone in motorsport and today I raced with Anthoine in my thoughts.”