Lewis Hamilton was pleased to extend his Formula 1 World Championship lead over Ferarri’s Sebastian Vettel with second in last weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix despite a number of mechanical problems for Mercedes over the weekend in Kuala Lumpur.
The three-time World Champion was forced to concede to a second career victory for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, but with Vettel forced to fight through from the back of the grid after engine problems during qualifying, the Briton still extended his points lead to 34.
Hamilton’s W08 struggled in the opening stages with de-rates, which affects the battery of the car, with team-mate Valtteri Bottas forced to manage his tyres extensively over the race distance.
“It was a much better weekend than we had anticipated after our Friday, considering the issues we did have with the car this is a good result,” explained Hamilton.
“But still we have a lot of work to do with the car, some of the corners really magnified the issues we have. These next races are going to be crucial in terms of ironing out some of the creases we have with the car.
“I was having some problems with de-rates at the beginning of the race, so I was struggling with battery power. Valtteri seemed to struggle a lot more; I was able to pull a little bit more out of it.
“Naturally, I wanted to win the race, winning the races is still the goal. So even to be second is not that satisfying. Today was a step towards in trying to win the world championship and every point counts.”
“Today was difficult,” agreed team-mate Bottas.
“I was trying everything I can, I was giving it all I had, but I was lacking pace and I was sliding around. The start was definitely the best part of the day. It was really good, I could actually attack a little bit and fight for positions.
“But not long after that I just started to drop down and couldn’t keep up with the others. In the first stint I had quite a lot of understeer, so I was struggling with the balance.
“The story of the race was managing the tyre temperatures. If I tried harder, then I started to overheat the tyre and slide even more, so I had to manage everything and that’s why I was so slow.
“We need to analyse the race because the upgrade package should have been quite a step forward in terms of downforce, but I couldn’t really see it. There are still a lot of things we need to try to understand, we need to learn from today.
“For Japan, we need to make sure we choose all the right bits for the car, and hopefully we will see some cooler temperatures.”