Lewis Hamilton wants Mercedes pace improvement after Bahrain

Posted April 20, 2017

While Lewis Hamilton - back in his Mercedes after finishing a disappointing second to title rival Sebastian Vettel on Sunday - posted the fastest time, McLaren test driver Oliver Turvey managed only two laps before suffering an engine failure.

"Possibly I would have been in a better position", Hamilton said, "but that's all ifs and buts".

"Australia obviously was a massive boost for all the team and yeah, you can see when they are singing down there (below the podium), and the whole factory has really come alive so that's great and we need to just make sure we keep it going".

Hamilton apologised to Mercedes for damaging his own chances by earning a five-second penalty for deliberately slowing Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo as they pitted for fresh tyres under a safety vehicle early in the race.

Hamilton, who was penalised for a pit-lane incident by braking in front of Ricciardo when he slowed before stopping, congratulated Vettel and thanked Bottas, who moved over to let the Briton through in the closing laps. The race stewards later deemed Hamilton to have deliberately hindered Ricciardo's way into the pits, which earned him a 5 second penalty. Vettel went for the pit-stop early in the race in the 10th lap and had 24.702 seconds (3.1 sec pit-stop) in the pit area.

"There were several factors that prevented us from doing more", he said.

"Supposed to have a five-second gap and I think I had a four-second gap".

"I've never raced with less power in my life".

Hamilton now trails Ferrari's Vettel by seven points after three races.

"As a racing driver it's maybe the worst thing you want to hear".

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas finished third after starting from pole position for the first time. "Losing points for the team is definitely painful".

"But that's how it is and although I didn't like it for my personal race, I am a team player and I understand", he added.

"Apologies to the team, but I tried my best to recover it".

"But Russia is a completely different circuit, with different tarmac, different temperatures, track layout, so any small gain we can get, even if its hundreds or an upgrade we can bring and get one or two tenths of a second that would be a massive help".

"These were quite good conditions for me today with our auto".

You could argue that rushing into a similar early pitstop cost it dear in China, although Vettel made a sublime recovery, but just having the bravado to take the fight to Mercedes is a trick that's paid off twice now.