Motoring Weekly

‘Pretty shocking’ performance

July 4 - July 10, 2024
Gulf Weekly ‘Pretty shocking’ performance
Gulf Weekly ‘Pretty shocking’ performance

Lewis Hamilton has branded his Austrian Grand Prix performance as ‘pretty shocking’ after finishing P4 in Spielberg, but he reserved special praise for Mercedes as team mate George Russell went on to win the dramatic race.

While there was elation in one half of the Mercedes garage, as Russell picked up the pieces following Max Verstappen and Lando Norris’s dramatic clash at the front, Hamilton endured a challenging Grand Prix despite just missing out on the podium.

The seven-time world champion started the race well, initially moving up to P4 past the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz and attacking Russell for P3 – the pair briefly exchanging places on Lap 3 – but he was soon back down to P5 after being asked to give his position back to Sainz, with the stewards investigating the Briton for leaving the track and gaining an advantage at the race start.

Things then got worse for Hamilton on Lap 23 as he slid across the pit lane entry line on his way in for a stop, a five-second penalty ultimately coming his way as he apologised to his team over the radio for the error.

“Lewis there is everything to play, everything to play!” exclaimed Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff over the radio following that penalty, as he attempted to rally his driver in the race. However, while Hamilton would finish in P4, he was left dejected with his own performance this weekend.

“Pretty shocking, but really happy for the team,” he said in an interview, when asked to sum up the day. “Everyone at the factory has worked so hard this year to get a result like this. So big congratulations to the team, and to George, and well deserved.”

Pushed on what he meant by ‘pretty shocking’, the Briton added: “It’s not for the lack of trying but (I’m) just generally slow and it’s just not acceptable.”

Hamilton did also reveal that his race had been hampered after picking up damage on his W15 following the Lap 1 move on the man he will be replacing at Ferrari next year, Sainz.

“I had some damage on the car, I think Sainz and I touched,” he said. “There’s a mark on the side of the car, which is why I went wide in Turn 1.

“But, anyways, yeah, congratulations to George. One of those days.”

Despite Hamilton’s disappointment with his personal performance in Austria, the weekend represented another significant step forward for Mercedes as they claimed their first win in 33 Formula 1 races – the last victory being Russell’s triumph in the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

And with Silverstone next up – a home race for both Mercedes drivers – the team will want to continue their upward performance trajectory that has seen them score three podium finishes in a row, having had none to shout about in 2024 prior to that.

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