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Lewis Hamilton praises unlucky Charles Leclerc

PICTURED: Lewis Hamilton

BAHRAIN F1 winner Lewis Hamilton made sure he hailed the efforts of Charles Leclerc
following the technical issues suffered by the Ferrari driver which ultimately scuppered his chances of topping the podium last weekend.

Hamilton admitted it was never nice passing an opponent in the way he did with nine laps to go on the Bahrain International circuit but he had no choice but to seize the chance when Leclerc ex- perienced engine failure which also allowed Mercedes Valtteri Bottas to steal second place giving the German team a fortunate one-two finish.

QUICKER

“Ultimately you want to pass someone because you’re quicker than them and through a fight,” said Hamilton in the post race press conference.

He added: “I went past Charles down the back straight and I raised my hand to him because there’s nothing I could do, obviously I didn’t have any problems, so it definitely feels weird and, honestly, you can’t believe your luck in those scenarios, but what can you do?

“You can’t deny yourself it. You just have to keep doing what you’re doing and pushing ahead.”

Leclerc did manage to finish third and although it was a bittersweet achievement in only his second Formula One race, he was positive about the weekend as a whole which saw him qualify on pole.

“It happens. It’s part of motor sport. Unfortunately today it was not our day. But I am con dent,” he enthused.

“The team has done an amazing job to recover the lack of pace we had in Australia. And yeah, what to say? Of course I’m extremely disappointed, like the whole team, but it happens in the seasons. I think we made the best out of it.”

Hamilton finds himself second in the title race behind his team mate by one point. It’s very early days with a long way to go but looking ahead to the next couple of races in China and Azerbaijan, Hamilton said there is still a lot to learn about the cars.

“We’ve only had two races and they’ve been ipside, you know, both sides. One where we were rapid and far ahead and this weekend where they [Ferrari] were. So as always, every season, it takes a good few races before you kind of get a gist of where it all is but I anticipate it’s going to be back and forth between the two of us.

SPEED

“If they have this straight speed in the next race then we’ll be watching them disappear but obviously we’re going to be working hard to try and understand where we went wrong this weekend and if we can improve the car but as you can see, reliability is also a very, very key important part, so we’ve just got to keep working on all areas.”

Saving special mention for Leclerc, Hamilton said: “This weekend the Ferraris have been incredible and I just had to see Charles because he did such a great job. I’m sure this is a devastating result for him as he had done the job to win the race. We were de nitely lucky today but you have to take it as it comes.”

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