Hamilton hails ‘the best weekend I’ve had all year’ after Barcelona podium as he defends Sainz lunge

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 23: Third placed Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes celebrates on

Lewis Hamilton has hailed his “best weekend” of 2024 after claiming P3 in the Spanish Grand Prix, behind winner Max Verstappen and the McLaren of Lando Norris.

Hamilton’s record-extending 198th podium finish in F1 at the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix had been a long time coming, the seven-time champion having been forced to wait since last year’s Mexico Grand Prix to return to the rostrum.

Verstappen just holds off Norris to win super-tight Spanish Grand Prix as Hamilton claims first podium of 2024

But recovering from a bad start – which saw team mate George Russell jump from P4 on the grid to take the lead, as Hamilton slipped down one spot to P4 – Hamilton then showed superior pace to Russell, using a soft-medium-soft strategy to ultimately claim P3, five seconds clear of his team mate.

“I feel great, I feel fantastic, I’ve got plenty of energy,” said Hamilton after the race.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 23: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas

Hamilton was delighted to show podium-worthy pace again

“After a bad start, to recover and get back into P3 is a really, really great job. I’m really happy – particularly my second and last stints were very, very strong. And I think the first one, I was just recovering from such a bad start, so that was a bit more tricky. But we’re getting there, we’re getting closer, and a big, big thank you to the team, because we’re slowly closing the gap.

READ MORE: Verstappen pinpoints moment that ‘made my race’ after beating Norris to Spanish GP win

“This is the best weekend I’ve had all year,” he added, “and for a long, long time, for like 15 races or something crazy. It’s good to be back, it’s good to have battles like today, it’s good to reassert and reaffirm.”

Hamilton had been forced to make some audacious passes en route to that P3, including on Russell and the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz – the Mercedes driver’s Turn 1 lunge on Lap 19 of 66 causing the Spaniard to complain over team radio, although the stewards were happy to let the incident pass without sanction.

2024 Spanish Grand Prix: Hamilton pushes past Sainz with forceful move at Turn 1

And Hamilton defended the move post-race, saying: “I think it was clean. Ultimately he didn’t cover the inside line, he left the door open, which I went for and a late move up alongside him. I think we were wheel to wheel, I think he was still on the track, so I left him space, as much as we could.

“They shortened the DRS, so it was not so easy to follow through the last corner, and I really had to pull this move off as early as possible… I left him a little bit of room, but it was nice and tight.

FACTS AND STATS: Hamilton makes it 18 seasons in a row with a podium as Sainz maintains points-scoring home record

“I think all the overtakes were super-close, that's how it should be right?” he added. “Nice and close, I think we bumped wheels but it was fair. I left him space and it was right on the limit… a piece of paper between us.”

Mercedes have now secured consecutive podiums for the first time since 2023, when they achieved rostrum finishes at first Spain and then Canada – doing it the opposite way around, in Canada and Spain, this time around.

Race Highlights: 2024 Spanish Grand Prix


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