Ewis Hamilton was left ‘gutted’ at the end of his ‘fan-hitting’ Saudi Arabian Grand Prix because of a virtual safety car.
Even with the prospect of a podium well beyond the ailing Mercedes of the seven-time Formula 1 world champion, a long opening stint on hard tires had put him on course for a good points haul after having started 15th – after last week’s podium in Bahrain.
But Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren pulled up at the pit lane entrance and pulled the VSC out, leaving Hamilton unable to dive into the pits before the entrance closed. Unable to take advantage of a cheap stop, he moved to Medium with ten laps to go and had to fight for a single point in tenth place.
“I struggled at first with the tire temperatures and then it started to improve a bit and I started getting in front of the guys,” he told Sky Sports.
“They were on the mediums and it was a really good stint and I was pushing, doing about the same times as George on the new hards.
“So I felt good at the time and then everything hit the fan while these cars stopped. I don’t really know, I’m going to have to talk to the team. It’s grueling, I’ve got at least one point and we’re going to work hard – we both got points for the team.
Hamilton and teammate George Russell have admitted their Mercs are underpowered compared to the Red Bull and Ferrari cars competing for race wins, with the veteran unsure when – and if – that will change.
“Little has changed since the last race, it’s only been a few days,” he noted. “What I know is that today I couldn’t follow the Haas at the end.
“Whatever power they have got past me, so we have a lot of work to do. But I have a good team and we will just keep our heads down.