Hamilton: "I was struggling with grip"

By on Sunday, March 26, 2017

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Lewis Hamilton claimed his 105th Formula One podium finish on Sunday after seeing the chequered flag in P2 at the Albert Park Circuit. The Brit, who led the race from pole position, complains about running out of grip during the first stint of the Australian Grand Prix.

Hamilton missed out on victory to Sebastian Vettel and sits now P2 in the Drivers' Championship, seven points shy of Vettel (25), with Valtteri Bottas (15) a further three points behind in P3.

"A big congratulations to Sebastian and Ferrari. I know this win has been a long time coming for them. This shows we’ve got a real race on our hands this season and it’s a challenge we will relish. It’s going to be great for the fans," says Lewis Hamilton.

"We had a really good start which is fantastic. It was nice to get a good getaway. But I was struggling with grip from the get-go. Sebastian was able to always answer me in terms of lap time and just go quicker.

"Towards the end of the first stint I caught some traffic and that overheated the tyres. I struggled for grip to the point where I needed to come in, plus the gap was closing up and I was sliding around a lot. We made the call to pit, because otherwise I think Sebastian would have come past me anyway. After my stop I got caught in some traffic which was unfortunate but that’s motor racing."

Hamilton's team-mate, Valtteri Bottas, completed a double podium for the Silver Arrows in P3 on his debut for the team, taking his career tally of top three finishes into double figures.

"There are always things that could have gone better on the day but it’s a good starting point for my journey driving for Mercedes," says Bottas.

"As a team I think we did a really good job with the car we had. But Ferrari were quicker today, there’s no doubt about that. They’ve obviously done a great job over the winter.

"From my side the main issue was the first stint. I felt like I was always sliding around on the UltraSoft tyre - missing front and rear grip - especially after 10 laps. That wasn’t easy. But once we stuck on the Softs I had a great feeling with the car. It was behaving really nicely and it felt really nice to drive. It’s a shame it was just a bit too late. But overall this race wasn’t a disaster. It’s good to start with a podium with a new team and every position is important for the Championship. There’s a long season ahead. I have my points and I’ll do better next time."

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