Lewis Hamilton blamed his team mate Valtteri Bottas for allowing Max Verstappen to pass them at the start of the Mexico City Grand Prix.
Mercedes had discussed how they would arrange the start of the race to contain the threat of Verstappen. But Hamilton, who started second behind his team mate, said it did not go according to plan.
“I had envisaged it differently, naturally, in the sense that Valtteri maybe would get a better start and I would have tried to get into his tow,” he said.
“But obviously I was alongside him, which was good. And then I was just covering my side of the track, trying to make sure no one could come up the inside so I was trying to keep whichever Red Bull I could see in my mirror behind.
“I thought Valtteri would be doing the same but obviously he left the door open for Max. And Max was on the racing line so he did a mega job braking into turn one and because I’m on the inside in the dirt there was no hope for me.”
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff made similar remarks to Hamilton earlier. “That should not happen,” he said, when asked about the ease with which Verstappen passed the two Mercedes.
Compounding Mercedes’ problems, Bottas was then hit by Daniel Ricciardo, and fell to the back of the field. That left Hamilton trying to single-handledly see off the threat of Verstappen and his team mate Sergio Perez.
“That made the race a lot harder, naturally,” Hamilton said. “Having one car ahead just means they can play on the strategy.
Hamilton held on to take second place despite strong pressure from Perez over the final laps. “Sergio I think was super-close within that first stint and I couldn’t really pull away from him,” Hamilton explained. “So it was a moment where they were either going to undercut us or we were going to undercut them.
“So we stopped and I think the team did a great job – it was just we didn’t have really much left on the tyres at the end. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. We managed to keep them behind. One more lap and I think it would have been over.”
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