Lewis Hamilton has not won a race since he stood at the top of the podium at the United States Grand Prix in October last year and at the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday he was only good for fourth place on a weekend in which he was by his own admission out of sorts.
Speaking after an action-packed race, Hamilton told reporters, “I was in no man’s land today. I had no pace so was just trying to hold on to whatever I had.”
“Saturday and Sunday felt like a disaster from my side. I just haven’t had the pace since qualifying and I struggled with the car. We’ve been underperforming but I’m not going to let my head drop because I know we have a tough battle ahead of us.”
In retrospect, Hamilton was a tad lucky that Max Verstappen’s audacious attempt to go around the outside of the Mercedes in Turn 7, during their battle for third place, did not end up in tears. Instead, ironically, it actually aided the world champion.
The Briton acknowledged, “It could have been worse, Max did me a favour today in terms of the points standings, but it’s a weekend to forget, that’s for sure.”
Despite his below-par afternoon, Hamilton still managed to close the gap behind championship leader from 17 points before the race in Shanghai to nine points on Sunday evening.
“Now we need to work hard to understand why we have been struggling and start the climb back to the front of the field.”
“I need to try and rectify that and get myself back into normal performance or otherwise more valuable points will be lost.”
I’m thankful for a couple of incidents that happened ahead and kept us in the battle. We have a tough one ahead of us,” predicted Hamilton who set a Formula 1 record of 28 successive scoring finishes on Sunday.