Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton took a strong fourth at the 2022 Australian Grand Prix, despite the W13’s pace deficit, admitting he did not expect third and fourth for the team.
The seven-time Formula 1 World Champion qualified fifth for the race on Saturday, and after a strong race start, was running strongly with a sniff of a podium, but got unlucky with the timing of the Safety car, so he could not benefit like his teammate George Russell who ended up on the podium.
Hamilton spoke after the race: “This weekend, we’ve had so many difficult moments with the car, so to get ourselves fifth and sixth in qualifying and to progress like we have, we definitely didn’t expect third and fourth.
“George did a great job today, I saw a bit of him racing Perez and I wish I could have been in it, but we’ll take these points and keep pushing,” he added.
“I couldn’t fight for third because the engine was overheating, so I had to back off. But as I said, we bagged as many points as we could as a team, so that’s great,” he admitted.
Mercedes focused on damage limitation and learning
Mercedes’ head of engineering Andrew Shovlin, lamented Hamilton’s bad luck with the Safety Car timing, and revealed the team is in damage limitation mode, while trying to learn more about their W13.
“Lewis lost out with the timing of the Safety Car, he’d managed to put Sergio under pressure in that first stint and we exited from the stop ahead of him,” he said in the team press release.”But ultimately, we don’t have the underlying car pace to race them, even if our degradation was probably a little better.
“At this stage of the championship, we’re focused on just two things, damage limitation and learning,” the Mercedes engineer added.
“In both regards this has been a successful weekend but we know we have a lot to do, Charles was in another world today so it’s likely a long road ahead but we’re not short of opportunities to find lap time around the car,” Shovlin maintained.
Sovlin did not forget to credit Russell for the podium he bagged for the team saying: “Well done to George on his first Mercedes podium, he’s working hard to help us improve the car and whilst we’ve not got the pace right now that he would hope for, the podium is some reward for his efforts.”
This moment. ❤️ One Team. pic.twitter.com/vq25C2KGzJ
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) April 10, 2022