Lewis Hamilton says he has ‘some ideas’ as to why Valtteri Bottas’ outpaced him during the Australian Grand Prix but acknowledged that his Mercedes’ team-mate deserved the victory after a 15-month winless streak.
“It’s a good weekend for the team so I have to be happy for everyone, and Valtteri drove an incredible race today and deserved it,” Hamilton said after the race.
“It’s a great start to the year and it’s what we could have hoped for the team.”
After pitting seven laps prior to Bottas, Hamilton was already 10s adrift and faded away further in the second half of the race and was unable to reduce the gap to his team-mate, eventually ending the race 21 seconds behind.
Hamilton said he thought he knew why his pace faded as the race went on, but admitted he needs to also improve his race starts as a slow getaway put him on the back foot today.
“I had Max covered behind me, and I had some ideas of where the pace went, but I’ll go through it with my engineers afterwards,” said Hamilton.
“It was a really solid weekend, but I have to work on my starts more. I didn’t have a problem, just didn’t have a good one.”
Mercedes tweeted after the race to confirm that they had found a ‘chunk of the floor missing’ on Hamilton’s car but were ‘not 100% sure why’, suggesting this had been the contributing factor to the world champion’s poor pace relative to his team-mate.
UPDATE: We have discovered damage to Lewis' floor in the area just in front of the left-rear tyre. There is a chunk of the floor missing, but we are not 100 per cent sure why yet. #AusGPpic.twitter.com/Vp7nwJ9Pon
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