Hamilton admits to being "too friendly" to Bottas in Turn 1

29/04/2019
NEWS STORY

Though he made a great start, and had the inside line for the first corner, Lewis Hamilton, admits that he was "too friendly" towards his teammate, and though the duel continued through Turn 2, Valtteri Bottas soon had the upper hand.

"I didn't get the job done in qualifying, he did," Hamilton subsequently told Sky Sports. "Then in the race I was too friendly at Turn 1 and basically gave it to him.

"He drove a fantastic race and made no mistakes," he added, "so he deserved the win this weekend.

"This is not our strongest race of the season," said the Briton, minutes after his team had recorded its fourth successive 1-2, the best start to a season for a team in the sport's history. "This has always been a difficult race for me so this is a really good result considering.

"It was a fantastic result for the team," he added. "Valtteri did an exceptional job this weekend and truly deserves the win. It was a bit of an under-par performance from myself so I just need to work hard."

Asked why he doesn't like the circuit, he replied: "It is not I don't enjoy it, I just struggle here. There are certain races I struggle and then there are others where I don't. I can't really point it out. I got quicker at the end but it was too late by then."

Asked at the subsequent press conference whether he could have pushed his teammate harder at the start, Hamilton admitted: "Definitely, most definitely.

"It's very, very difficult," he continued, "ultimately you always have to remember when you're in a team as big as this that you are only one, and there are so many people that depend on us, so selfishly I could have for sure pushed a lot harder and Valtteri would have lost position, maybe I would have gained position, most likely he would have got overtaken by a Ferrari or something like that, so we have to work together.

"So whilst I wanted to overtake him, I had to be cautious at the same time, to give him space so that we would block the front row and stay there. Ultimately I lost out in that, but that's a sacrifice you have to sometimes make in order for the team to win.

"I think if it was a Ferrari there it would have been a lot different," he added. "And that will be how it continues for the rest of the year - I think Valtteri and I have always had a lot of respect for each other, and we continue to do so. I think you can see that. That's how we deal with it - we discuss it before the race, we agree as gentlemen, and we stick to it."

Bottas' win sees the Finn re-take the lead in the championship, albeit by one point, with many now feeling that the season is going to be a two horse race, neither of them of the prancing variety.

"Valtteri's really, clearly stepped up this year and is really happy in the car and really delivering and driving fantastically, so it's going to take some really great performances from both of us to out-perform each other," said the world champion. "And that's how it should be.

"Hopefully at some stage Ferrari will be in the mix with us," he continued. "I think this weekend, I do think they had the performance to be on the front row with both of their cars.

"From our data we saw that Seb didn't get a tow, for example, which is worth four or five tenths or something, so he probably would have been on pole had he got that tow and the race would have been maybe more exciting.

"So, again, it takes one hundred per cent deliver throughout the weekend, which we, I think, were as close to that as possible. They're going to have to pick it up if they want to fight us."

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Published: 29/04/2019
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