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Hamilton an 'afterthought' for Mercedes at Suzuka

Hamilton an 'afterthought' for Mercedes at Suzuka

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Hamilton an 'afterthought' for Mercedes at Suzuka

Hamilton an 'afterthought' for Mercedes at Suzuka

Lewis Hamilton says his strategy was an "afterthought" for Mercedes at the Japanese Grand Prix, after a two-stop race saw him turn a potential victory into third place.

Valtteri Bottas dominated the race at Suzuka to take his third victory of 2019, while the result also secured Mercedes' sixth title double, with the constructors' championship in the bag and only Hamilton and Bottas remaining in the running for the individual prize.

However, Hamilton's race was a frustrating one, as he bickered over team radio about his strategy. Although he had the lead of the race with a quarter of the race remaining, he was called in for fresh rubber in an attempt to attack Sebastian Vettel for second place, which fell short.

Had Hamilton stuck with a one-stopper – something he said he could have done with "better guidance" – he may have remained ahead of Bottas, who he says got priority from Mercedes as the lead car.

He said: "[The race] could have been done better. There's multiple scenarios during the year when that's been the case but nonetheless, Valtteri did the job.

"I'd have had to have driven differently in that second stint, stretch out as far as you can… naturally when I was in the lead I thought about staying out but by the time I'd already pushed so much to close the gap to Seb… we should have at least got a one-two today but I think the strategy wasn't optimum for me.

"It was naturally optimum for Valtteri but yeah, there were a lot scenarios. Valtteri had a very good gap to the first stint. He didn't have to stop early because he clearly had a good enough gap.

"They should have stopped me before Seb to undercut him but it's always an afterthought.

"Often the first car gets priority which is always how we've always had it but we can do better as a team, to make sure we score more one-twos, so we'll just work hard on that and there's no love lost or anything like that. We'll be pushing hard."

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