Lewis Hamilton delivers reality check after ‘remarkable’ Australian Grand Prix result
Lewis Hamilton hailed a “remarkable” podium finish at the Australian Grand Prix after admitting he is still struggling to get to grips with his Mercedes car.
Hamilton finished second to race winner Max Verstappen in a chaotic race in Melbourne despite continuing to feel “uncomfortable” and being unable to “connect” with his Mercedes.
The result was Hamilton’s best result of the season as the 37-year-old was able to hold off the challenge of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso to finish second on the podium.
And there appeared to be further encouraging signs for Mercedes with George Russell fighting at the front of the race before his hopes were dashed by engine failure.
Hamilton’s second place finish extended his streak of 17 seasons with a podium but the seven-time champion delivered a reality check as he discussed how far Mercedes still need to go to challenge Verstappen and Red Bull.
“To get those points is really amazing. Didn’t think I’d be second, really greatful,” Hamilton said. “I still feel uncomfortable in the car, don’t feel connected to it. Driving it as best as I can with that connection, but it’s a long project.
“Given we’re down on performance, to be fighting with the Astons is amazing at this point in the season. We can close that gap - it’s going to be tough but not impossible.
“I was having to push a lot to keep Fernando, they’re very quick, ultimately he was a bit quicker but just managed to hold him off. Three world champions in the top-3, that’s pretty mega!”
Hamilton added post-race: “I feel so so happy right now, so grateful to continue to push. We arrived with a car which has been difficult. To finish on the podium and get these points has been remarkable.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do to catch the Red Bull - hopefully this gives us a boost and energy, we’re there or thereabouts. Dig deep and keep pushing, it’s not that far away.
“Max is in another league, his car is so fast, he passed me halfway down the straight. I don’t know how they’re so quick on the straights - it’s insane. Until we pick up speed on the straights, that’s how it will continue. We can definitely fight with the Ferraris - the battle is with Fernando right now.”