Lewis Hamilton slammed all those criticizing the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix weekend, insisting after Saturday night’s race that they were proven wrong.
Hamilton, finished seventh in the Las Vegas race gaining a position after teammate George Russell received a five-second time penalty due to an incident with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
However, he was confined to a battle for the lower end of the grid, an incident with McLaren’s Oscar Piastri giving him a puncture, adding to his misery after a subpar qualifying, not to mention being involved in the first lap mess initiated by an uncharacteristic error from Fernando Alonso.
“It was a really challenging race,” Hamilton said in Mercedes‘ race report. “I started on the Hard tyre, which was tricky in the beginning. I had a big hit from Sainz into turn one and was then trying not to hit other cars ahead of me. I fell back several places.
“After that, I was focused on making my way back through the pack and I was feeling great. The tyres were feeling good, and the pace was strong.
“I went up the inside of Piastri and I am not sure exactly what happened,” he said of his contact with the McLaren driver. “I felt a big hit from behind, but I think it was a racing incident. I didn’t have a puncture immediately and as I passed the pit entry, I felt the rear moving. I had to do a whole slow lap on it.
W14 has strengths which are sometime hard to extract
“I was grateful that I was able to still come back from re-joining in last to score some points,” Hamilton continued. “There are strengths in our car but sometimes it’s hard to extract all the performance from it. That is what happened in Qualifying yesterday but I am pleased we were able to show our pace in the race.”
Hamilton reflected on the F1’s return to Las Vegas, he added: “I am also grateful that the race was exciting. I wasn’t expecting the track to be so great but there was lots of racing and overtaking opportunities.
“For all those who were so negative about the weekend, I think Las Vegas proved them wrong,” the seven-time F1 Champion concluded.
Toto Wolff, Mercedes’ boss, reflected: “It’s frustrating to say but today was another example of a Grand Prix where we’ve had good pace and not got the result that pace has deserved.
“Lewis also had contact, twice in fact, with neither his fault,” he said of Hamilton’s race. “He was starting further back on the grid but as others around him showed, there was still a good result up for grabs. His pace was strong throughout, but those two incidents cost him today.
“We now need to refocus ahead of Abu Dhabi. It’s a tight battle in the Constructors’ Championship and we hope to be able to deliver a strong result there,” Wolff concluded.