“It was Lewis’ emotional rollercoaster again,” says ex-F1 champion Damon Hill. “A world champion ride, out of nowhere.”
The fact that Hamilton has to let Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz past again in the final laps because a technical problem slows down his W13 does not change that. “We had a water leak on the engine and could see it getting bigger during the race. That’s why in the end it was all about making it across the finish line,” reveals team boss Toto Wolff.
Despite fifth place instead of fourth, Hamilton is beaming after his hussar ride: “A race like this feels better than a win.” Regarding his possible resignation at the beginning of the race, the 37-year-old says: “Of course I’m glad we didn’t do it. It shows once again that you can never give up.”
He defended himself for his listless radio message after the early pit stop: “It was just a matter of not using up the engine, just so that I could drive around the whole race in 15th place and then maybe risk a penalty later when durability came into play at some point You have to understand: I was 30 seconds behind the field. In Jeddah, for example, I started 15th and had problems getting into the top 10. That’s why I thought it would be impossible to catch up today.”
Wrong thought! Hamilton reveals: “The team then told me that we were fighting for eighth place. At first I thought they were super optimistic, but I tried and gave everything. In the end we ended up even further up the field.” Because the Mercedes from the start of the season doesn’t have much in common with the greatly improved version at the Spanish GP.
The Viennese therefore admits: “I’m always very pessimistic, but here it was much better than expected. We were clearly ahead of midfield and caught up compared to the top. We were a second behind, now it’s only half a second and we finally understand the car better.” Wolff’s challenge and logical conclusion at the same time: “We will soon catch up even more.”
The Austrian thanks not only the engineers but also his drivers: “We have two unbelievable drivers. They are the right two to sort out our car and get back to the top.”
Russell is fighting for the lead with Red Bull
Wolff also joins in the hymns of praise for Russell: “His defense was incredible, how he positioned the car there: he let Max starve. He was always in exactly the right place on the track.”
Russell’s reward is his second podium of the season. The consistency of the Briton is also impressive: in the previous six races of the season he was never worse than fifth place. This also pays off when looking at the points account: With 74 points, Russell is fourth in the World Championship, just 36 points behind the new leader Verstappen.
Can Mercedes intervene again in the world championship? At least superstar Hamilton (46 World Championship points, sixth place) is convinced that the Silver Arrows will soon be spraying winning champagne again: “Yes, definitely,” believes the record champion with a view to possible victories in the near future. “We’ve made a lot of progress with the car, our race pace is much better now and we’ve been able to keep up with the leaders here at times.”