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Hamilton 'allowed' Bottas gap to grow

  • Published on 17 Mar 2019 13:33
  • comments 6
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Lewis Hamilton says he managed the gap to teammate Valtteri Bottas during the Australian Grand Prix.

The Briton crossed the line 21 seconds behind Bottas in second place to pick up 18 points. Mercedes was forced to bring Hamilton in for an early pit stop to cover Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

After losing the lead on the run down to into the first corner, Hamilton says that his race was all about saving his tyres after his stop to ensure that he got to the end of the race.

"Valtteri had a lot more pace in the car,” Hamilton said. “But here you need a 1.8 second delta to overtake the car ahead. So as soon as we got through turn one it was really about managing.

“I was planning to just stay close behind, two, three seconds. Then obviously I had the issue with the car and the gap started to slowly increase. So it would have continued to increase. 

“But then after that I was trying to look after the tyres and then I got [pit] stopped super-early in reaction to the Ferraris.

"I knew from then on the race was done because I had 47 laps [to go], so I knew immediately I was going to be in trouble on the long run so I drive well off the pace. Well, well off the pace to make sure at the end of the race I still had life left in the tyres.

“I knew on those following laps Max [Verstappen] and Valtteri were still out and they kept going for laps and laps so I knew at the end I would have someone on my back.

"But rather than push and keep close, struggle with the tyres and at the end have big degradation, which Vettel had which was understandable because his tyres were so old, I was quite happy with the pace I was able to pull out at the end.”

Hamilton remained positive about the result, stating that he was happy with his drive despite losing out to Bottas.

“I’m generally happy with how I drove today,” he said. “I did what I needed to do, no more, no less.

“I don’t focus on the gap because I allowed the gap to be the size that it was. So that’s no real issue for me. And obviously the strategy was not ideal in the scenario that I had.

“But with what I was given I think I did a relatively decent job it’s just obviously the start I lost out quite a lot.”

Replies (6)

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  • "I let you win!"

    • + 3
    • Mar 17 2019 - 13:35
    • I think it's a fair comment - that's exactly what it looked like, his race was effectively over once he stopped early as he would never have had the pace to take Bottas cleanly.

      • + 0
      • Mar 17 2019 - 16:23
  • f1ski

    Posts: 672

    Just when I thought he had matured
    Bwahhhhhhhjhbnjnn😪😪😪😪😵

    • + 2
    • Mar 17 2019 - 14:25
  • f1dave

    Posts: 773

    His body language at the end said different than his mouth.

    • + 0
    • Mar 17 2019 - 17:50
  • RogerF1

    Posts: 483

    Why are Mercedes so quiet about VB’s win? No plaudits, no congrats on a great drive, great start to the season!!! Just a bleat from the team of miraculous fault to LH’s car and charitable donations from the driver. Not impressed.

    • + 1
    • Mar 17 2019 - 18:14
  • jaybee

    Posts: 16

    It's amazing how many so-called fans (well, the Hamilton-haters) don't seem to, or choose not to, understand F1 team racing. Hamilton lost the race at the start when Bottas beat him, passed him, and then had the pace to forge ahead. Hamilton then became the #2 team player. He, rather than Valterri had to pit early to guard against the undercut and therefore had to manage his tires for the long haul. He still had the pace to hold off Verstappen although, if the race had been much longer, Max might have got him.

    • + 0
    • Mar 18 2019 - 22:06

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