Lewis Hamilton says finishing on the podium in the Belgian Grand Prix was more than he hoped to achieve after starting from the back of the grid.
After a grid penalty of sixty places for multiple excessive power unit component and gearbox changes left him starting on the back row, Hamilton avoided the chaos in front and picked his way through the field to claim third place.
“It’s more than what I hoped for,” said Hamilton after the race.
“I didn’t really know what to expected after yesterday with the tyres the way that they are, blistering a lot. I was thinking a top ten was going to be difficult but obviously there was a lot of commotion up front and that definitely helped. But the pace was quite good, so I definitely enjoyed it.”
Mercedes made a strategic decision to change Hamilton’s engine three times over the course of the weekend and incur multiple penalties to avoid the risk of Hamilton facing further grid drops later in the season.
“It’s been quite an unusual weekend,” said Hamilton.
“I’ve never really experienced anything like that. So much work for the guys in the garage and so easy for any of them to make a mistake and none of them did so congratulations to them and big thank you to them and all the guys back at the factory.”
With Hamilton’s team mate Nico Rosberg taking the victory at Spa, Hamilton’s lead in the drivers’ championship has been reduced to nine points, But Hamilton believes this is a good outcome given the circumstances.
“Up to now it’s kind of worked out perfectly in terms of how the last races have gone,” Hamilton said.
“A nineteen point gap was just enough going into the break and to come back here and only lose ten points – of course I never want to lose ten points but it could be a lot worse. I could’ve not finished today – there were some drivers who didn’t – and could’ve been in a much worse position.”