Lewis Hamilton described taking second place in the Australian Grand Prix as an “amazing” result for his Mercedes team.George Russell and pole winner Max Verstappen. After passing Verstappen on the opening lap, Hamilton inherited the lead under the first red flag after Russell pitted under Safety Car, but was eventually passed by Verstappen after the race resumed. Hamilton was unable to take the lead at the final restart and finished second behind Verstappen as the race ended under Safety Car.
“To get those points is really amazing today,” Hamilton said. “I definitely didn’t expect to be second, so I’m super grateful for it.”
After switching to hard tyres under the first red flag, Hamilton was heard doubting whether his tyres would last until the end of the race over team radio. Hamilton insisted he “definitely wasn’t bluffing” about his tyre wear concerns as he was pursued by Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin throughout the bulk of the race.
“I was having to push a lot right at the beginning obviously to keep Max behind and then Fernando was pushing,” he explained. “They’re very, very quick.
“I think ultimately he was a little bit quicker today, behind me, but I just managed to hold him off. So for that I’m really grateful.”
Despite securing Mercedes’ best result of the young season, Hamilton admitted his team still had work to do on their W14 car.
“I don’t feel connected to it, so I’m driving as best I can with that disconnect,” he said. “And I’m working as hard as I can to try and create that connect.
“I think it’s a long project. But still, considering we’ve been down on performance, we’re clearly down on end of straight pace compared to the Red Bulls, for us to be up here fighting with Aston is just amazing at this point in the season and we’ve just got to keep on fighting.”
While pleased with second place, Hamilton had sympathies for his team mate who retired from the race after leading the early laps.
“I think it’s really unlucky for George today,” he said. “On our side we’ve got to look into, our reliability has generally been really good so that’s really unfortunate.”
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20 comments on “Hamilton relieved to hold off “quicker” Alonso for second place”
harsh vardhan harsh vardhan
2nd April 2023, 10:14
So all the talk about our car is slow is farce
2nd April 2023, 10:16
2nd April 2023, 12:13
nop. Ferrrari shot themselves in the foot.
Also this track was unusually cold which meant a lot of cars weren’t at their peak. I imagine we’ll see the gap to the pole car incease again based on the nature of the track and the particular deficiencies of the Mercedes.
2nd April 2023, 21:44
Red Andy (@red-andy)
2nd April 2023, 10:20
I thought Hamilton had Alonso covered. Every time Fernando picked up the pace Lewis seemed to pull the gap out again. Mercedes clearly the second quickest car this weekend, though it is an unusual circuit and may not be representative of other tracks.
2nd April 2023, 10:23
Interesting though, last year Merc was best at real circuits, as street circuits were too bumpy for their concept. Apparently they’ve sorted that.
2nd April 2023, 18:23
It has nothing to do with bumps, it has to do with tyre temperature. Why would Max run off in the lead, if not for difficulty with tyre temperature and grip? The conditions in Melbourne favoured Mercedes and hindered Redbull and Aston. That is why Mercedes looked competitive. Go back to a hot, abrasive track, and things will change again.
2nd April 2023, 14:20
I thought the same – it never looked like Alonso was faster than Hamilton during this race.
2nd April 2023, 11:22
ALO obviously wasn’t quicker than HAM this race.
2nd April 2023, 11:47
I feel it’s all about the tracks, the first seems to have a lot of long straights, and Basically Aston Martin is a good car and with a good base, it’s a draggy car. Mercedes tend to suffer when there is fast turns. I would rather have a glued car than a car that is more faster in the straight alone. Plus this track seem to be kind on its tyres, seems since 90 percent of the drives were on the hard tyres everyone seemed to be conservative. Next is Baku and Baku can be divided into two half’s turns in one half and long straights on the other, I would prefer a balanced car than a fast straight car there.
2nd April 2023, 13:08
Yes, the Aston is anemic in the straights.
Keith Campbell (@keithedin)
2nd April 2023, 11:29
Quotes we did not expect to hear from Hamilton a few months ago.
2nd April 2023, 17:54
Perhaps not, but once established that red bull is probably gonna be unbeatable this year, merc is in a good spot for 2nd best, they also have the best driver pairing out of the top 4 teams, and in a race like this if you swap verstappen and perez’s position, a non red bull win looks on the cards.
2nd April 2023, 17:54
2nd April 2023, 11:57
I think Lewis really doesn’t need this kind of narrative, given his incredible career.
I would enjoy it if he were a little less preoccupied with the way his driving and his legacy is perceived. But, all in all, I do understand it and can’t really blame him for it.
Of course Alonso wasn’t quicker this race.
George was, though. Just sayin’…
2nd April 2023, 12:16
I wonder if George had his engine turned up to 11+ and ended up paying for that extra pace/.
2nd April 2023, 14:59
No, he is just a faster driver.
David BR (@david-br)
2nd April 2023, 15:31
Not over a race distance with both on optimal setups. Hamilton is a smoother, slightly faster driver – George can learn from him still. Everyone seems to be forgetting that Hamilton started slowly last season too and ended up faster by the end of the season. On the other hand, George is more assertive and decisive in racing, I think – Hamilton has become more cautious over the years. That can give Russell an edge. He’s like Verstappen, sees an opportunity to get ahead and immediately takes it.
2nd April 2023, 21:46
Same. He comes across so fragile when he keeps doing this
3rd April 2023, 7:25
There’s no need for Hamilton to talk himself up by saying that he managed to keep a ‘faster’ Alonso behind him. Mercedes was the 2nd quickest car this weekend. Aston’s advantage on Mercedes is in tyre degradation, which honestly, wasn’t much of a factor this race weekend. Plus with all the red flags and free tyre changes, Aston couldn’t play to their strengths at the end of the race.
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