Podium ‘a small token of my appreciation’ to Mercedes for big car rebuild, says Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton says he was “so happy” to take his third successive podium in the Austrian Grand Prix, a result he feels was “a small token of my appreciation” to Mercedes who worked so hard to rebuild his car after an uncharacteristic crash in qualifying.
Starting eighth on the grid, Hamilton’s Mercedes showed better pace than he was able to demonstrate in Saturday’s F1 Sprint, allowing him to carve his way through the field into fourth, which became third when Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz retired with engine failure.
“I really feel great; I’m so happy with today, especially after such a difficult start to the weekend,” said the seven-time world champion, who finished one place ahead of team mate George Russell.
“We were looking so good in qualifying and then I crashed, and it was about getting your head around that.
“The team worked so hard to build a new car from me. Naturally that affects everything, it affects our budget, that affects so many people who have to build new parts so that’s never a good feeling so to get up there and get some good points for the team is hopefully a small token of my appreciation. I’m really happy to get third and fourth.”
Mercedes had shown improved pace across the Austrian Grand Prix weekend, the Silver Arrows appearing to have closed the gap to Red Bull and Ferrari – however it wasn’t enough to haul them into the fight for victory.
“I don’t know why they were so quick here,” said Hamilton, who is the only driver to have reached the chequered flag at every race so far this year. “We’ll just keep pushing. We’re not too bad, some of our laps were comparable so we’re slowly getting there. We just need to keep chipping away.”
Hamilton’s third place on Sunday means he has only finished outside the top-five once in 11 visits to the Red Bull Ring. He’s also broken the 100-point barrier, and sits sixth in the drivers’ standings, 99 adrift of leader Max Verstappen.