Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton: “I didn’t expect us to come here this weekend and finish second”

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Credit: Jiri Krenek

Lewis Hamilton admitted he did not expect to finish second in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix, particularly after being so far away from the front of the field earlier in the weekend.

The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team were the second fastest team on Sunday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya behind Oracle Red Bull Racing, with Hamilton being followed home by team-mate George Russell to complete a double podium finish.

Hamilton was extremely happy with the result, even if Max Verstappen was in a league of his own up front, and it is a positive result for everyone who has been working hard to improve the W14 and introduce new updates to the car after their low-key start to the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season.

“I am so happy after today,” said Hamilton. “I didn’t expect us to come here this weekend and finish second.

“I was able to keep everything under control today. We couldn’t keep up with the Red Bull of Max (Verstappen) as they are in another league, but this is still a really positive result. For George to come through from P12 to P3 is also spectacular.

“I feel incredibly grateful to the whole Team, everyone back at the factory to Team LH all over the world who are always sticking by me. We are learning more and more about the car. I am hoping that the car continues to be like it was this weekend.”

Hamilton hopes the form they showed in Spain can continue into the rest of the season, although he knows the car will not always be as strong as it was this weekend.

“I am hoping from here onwards we are in a good place,” he added.  “For sure, there will be some circuits where the car isn’t quite in the right window but hopefully the next few races should suit us.”

“I had a lot of confidence that I could move forward from P12” – George Russell

Team-mate Russell was one of the stars of the race as he climbed from twelfth on the grid to finish third, the result helped by a fantastic start that saw him gain five places on the opening lap.

Poor pace during Qualifying on Saturday left Russell out of position at the start, but the Briton knew he had good race pace in his W14, and once he had made those early gains, he was able to use that pace to move even further forward.

“It was a pretty good race today!” said Russell.  “This morning, I had a lot of confidence that I could move forward from P12 and thought that P5 or P6 was achievable.

“After a good start, our pace was just there from the very beginning. We knew after Friday that we had good race pace, but you can never be 100 per cent sure if it will translate to the Grand Prix. I was really pleased it did, I was able to make some good overtakes and bring it home on the podium.”

Russell echoed the thoughts of Hamilton that the team can be proud of the recent upgrades to the W14, particularly the ones that were introduced back in Monaco, which has seemingly moved them back into contention for the podium positions.

“This result highlights all the hard work and efforts that have gone on at the factory to bring these upgrades,” Russell added.  “We had a strong race here last year, so the next couple of races will be key to see if we can consistently produce results like this and close the gap to Red Bull.”

George Russell moved up nine places to finish third on Sunday – Credit: Jiri Krenek
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