Lewis Hamilton says Spanish GP return was ‘better than a win’ as Mercedes talks F1 title shots


Lewis Hamilton says he now “definitely” thinks he can win races this season as Mercedes boss Toto Wolff roars after the Spanish GP: “Can we fight for a world championship, you bet we can.” ; George Russell finished third on Sunday and Hamilton fifth after a huge recovery

Last update: 23/05/22 06:10

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Best of the Spanish Grand Prix action

Best of the Spanish Grand Prix action

Lewis Hamilton believes he has revitalized his season with an ‘incredible’ return to the Spanish GP which he says felt ‘better than a win’, and is adamant he could have fought Max Verstappen had it not been for his problems.

A defiant Mercedes, meanwhile, claims it is back in the fight for the 2022 F1 championship.

After five rounds struggling to figure out or unlock the pace of their W13 car, world champions Mercedes enjoyed a much more competitive weekend in Barcelona and, despite not being close to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc or Verstappen of Red Bull in qualifying had an encouraging run with George Russell third and Hamilton fifth.

As Hamilton again finished behind his young team-mate, his result was praised by the team after suffering a collision and a puncture on the opening lap which sent him back to the rear. The seven-time world champion was one of the fastest drivers on the track when he returned to competition.

After suffering a first lap puncture, Lewis Hamilton recovered to finish fifth as Mercedes continued their improvement in the sixth race of the season.

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After suffering a first lap puncture, Lewis Hamilton recovered to finish fifth as Mercedes continued their improvement in the sixth race of the season.

After suffering a first lap puncture, Lewis Hamilton recovered to finish fifth as Mercedes continued their improvement in the sixth race of the season.

Hamilton has been adamant in recent weeks that he’s out of the title draw – and he’s 64 points behind Verstappen – but it looks like the Spanish GP has revived his hopes of battling up front again.

On Sunday, Hamilton said he now “definitely” believes he will win a race this season, commenting: “We have made a lot of improvements with the car.

“The race pace is much, much better… the car is much nicer in the race. It is a good sign that we are heading in the right direction.

“Without [my start]I would have fought the Red Bulls.

“It gives me a lot of hope that at some point we will fight for the win.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was pleased with their jump in performance over the weekend in Spain after George Russell finished third and Lewis Hamilton fifth.

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was pleased with their jump in performance over the weekend in Spain after George Russell finished third and Lewis Hamilton fifth.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was pleased with their jump in performance over the weekend in Spain after George Russell finished third and Lewis Hamilton fifth.

Team boss Toto Wolff went even further.

“Can we fight for a world championship? You bet we can,” added Wolff. “We have reason to believe we can do it.

“If you look at the standings it’s very hard to see, but motor racing is a different ball game.

“We saw today that Ferrari didn’t score a lot of points when they should have and we’re going to give absolutely everything to get us back into the game.”

Hamilton on ‘better than a win’ recovery and rocky start to 2022

Mercedes are now 75 points behind new leader Red Bull, with Ferrari slipping with Charles Leclerc and DNF’s reliability breakdown.

Hamilton admitted he had been through a rollercoaster Spanish GP after contact with Kevin Magnussen at the start dropped him 30s behind the pack in 19th, with the Englishman saying a comeback seemed ‘impossible’ – while he even asked Mercedes if they should retire the car to save mileage.

Lewis Hamilton and Kevin Magnussen collide on the opening lap of the Spanish Grand Prix, leading to a puncture for the Mercedes driver

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Lewis Hamilton and Kevin Magnussen collide on the opening lap of the Spanish Grand Prix, leading to a puncture for the Mercedes driver

Lewis Hamilton and Kevin Magnussen collide on the opening lap of the Spanish Grand Prix, leading to a puncture for the Mercedes driver

“I couldn’t understand,” Hamilton said, referring to the Saudi Arabian GP as he struggled to move through the peloton. But in this Mercedes car, whose floor and front wing were significantly improved in Spain, he flourished.

“I’m glad we didn’t, it just shows you don’t stop, you don’t give up.”

On his comeback, which would have been good enough for fourth if Mercedes hadn’t told him to calm down with his own reliability issues, Hamilton insisted: “A race like that is like a win.

George Russell somehow held off Max Verstappen in a battle for second at the Spanish Grand Prix

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George Russell somehow held off Max Verstappen in a battle for second at the Spanish Grand Prix

George Russell somehow held off Max Verstappen in a battle for second at the Spanish Grand Prix

“It’s actually better than a win more often than not, when you’ve come this far.

“There was a lot of adversity in this race, starting from this far.

“There was a young girl I spoke to yesterday who was my little inspiration. Isla, a five-year-old girl who is terminally ill. She said, ‘can you win the race tomorrow’, I said, ‘I don’t know if I can win the race., but I’ll give it my all.’

“I hope it was kind of like a win, and I dedicate it to him.”

After being overtaken by Lewis Hamilton moments earlier, Carlos Sainz took fourth from the Mercedes driver on the penultimate lap.

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After being overtaken by Lewis Hamilton moments earlier, Carlos Sainz took fourth from the Mercedes driver on the penultimate lap.

After being overtaken by Lewis Hamilton moments earlier, Carlos Sainz took fourth from the Mercedes driver on the penultimate lap.

Hamilton also opened up about his recent struggles, having gone through an extremely unlucky period since last season’s controversial end, with his 2022 hampered by unfortunately timed safety cars as well as his underperforming car.

“Since the last race last year, everything has been difficult,” he said. “To then have the struggles that we had with the car, having constant setbacks, safety cars and all sorts of things…we just keep getting back on the horse and keep pushing, never giving up.

“To start the race today in a positive way and then have this issue and then come back, it was like some of the older races I’ve done, that to me is amazing.”




Sky Sports

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