Lewis Hamilton said he wanted to delay his pit stop in the Australian Grand Prix because he was wary of the threat from Sebastian Vettel.
The Ferrari driver beat him to victory by making his pit stop later and taking advantage of a Virtual Safety Car period which meant he lost less time in the pits compared to his rival.
Hamilton said Mercedes “don’t fully understand” why Vettel was able to get ahead of him. “They couldn’t give me an exact reason as to why it was the way it was.”
“I can’t really say how I feel about it but it was obviously not the easiest. It’s never easy to lose a grand prix. But there was so many positives to take away from this weekend.”
However Hamilton pointed out they had an opportunity to be further ahead of Vettel before pitting. Hamilton was brought in immediately after Kimi Raikkonen pitted, but he was more concerned about keeping Vettel behind.
“What I felt I could have done is I’d looked after my tyres really well and I could have gone further. I personally like to always go further.
“In my mind I was racing Sebastian. The Ferraris are always going to play one off the other. There was two of them so there’s two aces, one guy which forces you to protect yourself from the undercut, but the other guy’s in the clear. In my mind I was like ‘look out for number three’, because that’s who I think I was racing.
“But Kimi drove fantastically well. He was quicker all weekend. I’m not convinced that Sebastian did a good lap yesterday and so I think dimmed their performance through qualifying I think their performance is better than what it looked.”
2018 F1 season
- Honda’s jet division helped F1 engineers solve power unit problem
- McLaren Racing losses rise after Honda split
- Ricciardo: Baku “s***show” was Red Bull’s fault
- “Drive to Survive Episode 1: All to Play For” reviewed
- F1’s television and social media audiences rose last year