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Hamilton thrilled with ‘tough battles’ in Miami while Russell rues ‘pretty rubbish race from start to finish’

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MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 05: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1

There were contrasting emotions in the Mercedes garage after the Miami Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton left in high spirits after enjoying some close on-track battles en route to P6, while George Russell rued his lack of pace following his P8 result on a “difficult weekend”.

It was a busy afternoon for Hamilton in Miami, as the seven-time world champion initially struggled for pace on the hard tyre in the opening stint before engaging in a fierce fight with the Haas of Nico Hulkenberg across several laps.

READ MORE: Norris beats Verstappen for breakthrough maiden F1 victory in action-packed Miami Grand Prix

With his pace appearing stronger on the medium compound in the latter half of the race, Hamilton looked to be on the tail of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. While he was ultimately unable to find a way past, the 39-year-old was encouraged by the level of performance in his W15 across the weekend, with P6 also marking his strongest race result of the season so far.

Asked after jumping out of the car if the race had been fun for him, a smiling Hamilton responded: “So much fun. I’ve really enjoyed this weekend race-wise. It’s been a lot of fun on track, [I’ve had] really great, tough, close battles. I mean, going out to Turn 11, up against the wall, wheels locked – I was like, ‘oh jeez, this could be either a big crash into this corner or I’m going by’.

“So I love that I had that, in zero fear in that moment, so I’m super grateful for that. Then to be able to hold onto the [Red] Bulls, to a Red Bull, was really quite cool, great job by my team.”

‘I know how special it is to get that first one’ – Hamilton pays tribute to Norris after his maiden F1 win

Hamilton also took a moment to acknowledge race winner Lando Norris, who claimed his debut victory in the sport after a five-year wait.

“Massive congratulations to Lando,” said Hamilton. “[I] won my first Grand Prix with McLaren, I know how special it is to get that first one, so huge congratulations to him. He truly deserves it, and McLaren – wow. I’m really, really happy for them, it’s my old family.”

MONDAY MORNING DEBRIEF: Why Norris’s maiden win wasn’t just thanks to a lucky break with the Safety Car

While Hamilton had experienced a positive afternoon in Miami, Russell was left disappointed by his own performance. The Briton dropped backwards at the start of the race and then tried to battle back into a points-paying position.

He achieved this by ending the day in P8, but was brutally honest about how his afternoon had panned out: “It was a pretty rubbish race from start to finish, in all honesty. I had a good start but when Checo [Perez] sent it down the inside, when he rejoined everybody had to check up a bit and it cost me three positions.

Russell reflects on ‘pretty rubbish race from start to finish’

“Then [I] just had no pace at all there on in, so I need to check the car, check the data because something didn’t feel quite right.”

With P8 marking Russell’s lowest result so far in 2024 – barring his DNF in the Australian Grand Prix – he acknowledged that the weekend in Miami had proven to be a particularly challenging one.

HIGHLIGHTS: Relive the action from a dramatic Miami Grand Prix as Norris takes debut F1 win ahead of Verstappen

“It’s definitely felt like a more difficult weekend than all of the others, but the results have all really been relatively similar,” he explained. “We are between P5 on a good day and P8 on a bad day, and today was a bad day, we finished P8.

“Lewis had a good day, drove really well and finished P6. It’s kind of where we are.”

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