Hamilton: Definitely didn’t expect that result

Hamilton: Definitely didn’t expect that result

Lewis Hamilton finished the 2022 French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard, his 300th Formula race, second behind Max Verstappen but admitted he did not expect that result.

The seven-time Formula 1 Champion qualified fourth for the race, almost one second off pole, but he planted the seed of a strong result at Paul Ricard after a great start that put him ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.

He thus put himself in the ideal position to capitalize on Charles Leclerc’s race ending error that brought out a Safety Car, which further improved Hamilton’s position having had a free pitstop.

“I couldn’t really be much happier,” Hamilton said, quoted by F1’s Official website. “Of course, if we’d won that would be another step but definitely didn’t expect that result today.

“Obviously, I was praying and hoping that we could fight for a podium, like a third, but I can’t believe we have a second – this is huge for us.

Leclerc was unfortunate, but Mercedes were faultless

“Obviously unfortunate for Charles, but we’ve done a great job with reliability as a team, so I have to really give huge thanks to the team for that,” he added.

“I feel fantastic – I was just a little bit dehydrated!” Hamilton revealed after being visually exhausted after the race in the cool down room.

“The drinks bottle didn’t work in the race,” he explained. “I don’t actually ever drink in the race ever, so this is the first time I actually tried it all year and there was nothing coming out.

“But what a day, what a weekend,” the Briton reflected. “Especially with missing FP1 [in place of Nyck de Vries], just so proud of the team – this is an incredible result. Winning races and getting results like this is about the whole package.”

Hamilton admitted Mercedes still had a mountain to climb in order to close the gap towards pack leaders Ferrari and Red Bull.

“And of course, we know we don’t have quite the pace of the two teams [Ferrari and Red Bull] ahead,” he pointed out. “But reliability is a huge fundamental part of the process so I’m so proud of my team for having the reliability that we do have.

“And what a great result… George did a great job today as well, so to get a second and a third, it’s really special for us,” Hamilton said.

No win on the 300th, what of the 301st?

The Mercedes driver could not win this race, his 300th in top flight, but could he win his 301st a week later in Budapest?

“I dare to dream, for sure!” he said. “But’s going to be tough. [Red Bull and Ferrari] are so fast, and Ferrari made a big step this weekend and that will be hard to beat in Budapest.

“But it’s going to be hot and I’m hoping that our car is a little bit better there. I won’t know till I get there, so fingers crossed!,” the winner of 103 grands Prix concluded.

Toto Wolff admitted circumstances helped his team achieve a double podium – George Russell was third – reflecting on Sky Sports F1:”We need to stay humble.

“Our car is just not good at the moment to fight with the guys in front; I’m always a little bit pessimistic because I need to be.

“We’re just lacking six or seven tenths to the leaders and whilst we have stabilised in the race and Verstappen hadn’t been gaining more ground, he was also looking after his tyres,” he pointed out.

“Overall the team effort was great, the drivers did a really good job. George was clever and fast, Lewis the lion who was just always there. We’re doing the maximum at the moment on race day,” the Austrian concluded.