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Listen carefully and you can hear the crunch of carbon fibre as Bottas’ front wing and tyre barrel into the side of Hamilton’s slow starting Silver Arrow midway around Turn 1.
The damage sustained to the W07’s floor and bargeboard cost Hamilton as much as a second a lap in performance according to Mercedes chief Toto Wolff – not that you’d know it from Hamilton’s immediate response on the opening lap, which was to dust himself down and bullishly begin his task of damage limitation.
“If you start on pole and go backwards it quickly becomes a domino effect,” said Hamilton after Sunday’s race, and having dropped from first to ninth the triple world champion’s first job was to consolidate his position – something he managed successfully over the next few corners, despite loose bodywork audibly dragging along the ground.
Having stymied further attacks, Hamilton was back in passing mode by Turn 8, drawing alongside Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India before eventually making a move stick on the approach to Turn 11.
Into eighth, Hamilton’s next target was the Haas of Esteban Gutierrez, but the Briton wouldn’t have to work too hard to pick up another place. Approaching the final turn, with Hamilton’s silver car looming large in his mirrors, Gutierrez locked up and ran wide, handing seventh to the grateful Mercedes driver.
As in Australia two weeks earlier it had been another horror show of an opening lap for the world champion - but at least by the end of it he was heading in the right direction: up the order and not down it.