Hamilton left ruing first-lap contact with Magnussen after ‘amazing’ recovery to P5 in Spain
Lewis Hamilton’s run of Spanish Grand Prix victories – stretching back to 2017 – may have come to an end in 2022, but the seven-time champion was still pumped up by his Sunday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya after he recovered to P5, having been 19th at the end of Lap 1 following contact with Kevin Magnussen.
Magnussen was challenging Hamilton around the outside of Turn 4 on Lap 1 of the race when the pair touched, the Haas skipping into the gravel as Hamilton suffered a puncture. Having crawled back to the pits, Hamilton then looked set for a long afternoon after re-joining in P19, at one point imploring his Mercedes team to retire him and save his engine.
But searing pace from Hamilton throughout the race saw him climb to P5 at the chequered flag, with the Briton exalting in the renewed performance of his Mercedes W13 – which took on a raft of upgrades this weekend, allowing Hamilton and team mate George Russell (who finished the race on the podium in P3) to qualify fourth and sixth.
“The car felt great in the race; our pace was closer to the rest, the top guys in the race, which was amazing,” said Hamilton. “Just really unfortunate at the start to have got the puncture that we got [in the Magnussen contact]. But I didn’t give up, because that’s what we do.
“But jeez, if I hadn’t had that issue at the beginning, who knows where we would have been in the end. But it’s great to know that we had similar pace to some of the frontrunners.”
Against the odds, Hamilton was actually looking on course for P4 in the closing stages of the race, having pulled off late moves on former team mate Valtteri Bottas and the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz. But an instruction to manage a "DNF risk” – later revealed to be a water leak – by lifting and coasting saw Hamilton concede position to Sainz with two laps to go, leaving the Mercedes driver “gutted”.
“It was a lot hotter than predicted today, so for everyone, it was quite tough with these cars,” said Hamilton. “I don’t know exactly what went on with the car, I’ve not spoken with the team… but I had to just drive it at half throttle and try to cool the car, lots and lots of lifting down the main straight to try and get fresh air into the engine just to try and cool it down.
“I was so gutted to lose the place to Sainz, especially after coming from where I came from, you know,” chuckled Hamilton. “I mean, I was 30-plus seconds behind [the pack]. That’s like no-man’s land, and I tell you, it’s a horrible feeling being that far behind. But you just have to kind of keep your head up, just keep pushing, keep going and hoping for better.
“They said I could maybe get to eighth, and eighth doesn’t feel like a particularly impressive result! But I was like, at least I’ll get into the points. So to then be fighting for fourth, I was so happy with that.
“I hope that this continues in these next races,” added Hamilton. “We will see.”