News

Hamilton hails ‘huge step’ forward for Mercedes after run to P2 during China Sprint race

Share
SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 20: Second placed Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes celebrates

Lewis Hamilton described himself as “super, super happy” after he followed Max Verstappen home to record a breakthrough podium for Mercedes during Saturday’s Sprint race at the Shanghai International Circuit.

Hamilton started and finished the 100km dash in second position, having cleared pole-sitter Lando Norris on the opening lap to initially lead the way before Verstappen fought through the field from P4 on the grid and passed him for victory.

READ MORE: Verstappen charges to victory over Hamilton in dramatic Shanghai Sprint

Although under the Sprint format, it marks Mercedes’ first top-three finish of the 2024 season, in which they have shown flashes of pace but not yet demonstrated the form required to take the fight to Red Bull and challenge for race wins.

2024 Chinese GP Sprint: Hamilton snatches the lead from Norris at the start in Shanghai

“That’s the best result I’ve had in a long time so I’m super, super happy and grateful,” said Hamilton, whose last top-three result was a drive to P2 in Mexico last year. “Of course, we couldn’t fight the Red Bulls today, but this is a huge step, a huge improvement.

“At least with the rain [in Sprint Qualifying] I think that really helped, naturally. The race was tough and if I was further back I would have struggled perhaps to progress, but I found out a lot about the car through this short stint of the race so I’m excited for tomorrow.”

AS IT HAPPENED: Follow all the action from the F1 Sprint in China

As for how he and Mercedes are shaping up for the remainder of the weekend, with qualifying for the Grand Prix and then the Grand Prix itself to follow, the seven-time world champion offered a cautiously optimistic outlook.

2024 Chinese GP Sprint: Verstappen powers past Hamilton to take the lead

“I still think we’re not as quick on a single lap as obviously the Ferraris, the Red Bulls,” he continued. “I think the McLarens are ahead of us, for sure, and possibly the Astons. We’re probably very close to the Astons – we’ll see today.

“I don’t anticipate we’ll be fighting for the front row, but the fortunate thing is we can make some adjustments [between parc ferme restrictions] so hopefully I can improve the car in the next three hours and hopefully have a better qualifying session than we have had in the past.”

F1 EXPLAINS: The incredible technology behind braking systems – and how drivers cope with the huge G-forces

Hamilton’s team mate, George Russell, took the final point on offer during the Sprint race, having risen from 11th on the grid to eighth as the only driver to use the soft compound tyre as opposed to mediums.

Share

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Coming Up

Coming Up

Feature

What the teams said – Friday practice in Imola