Lewis Hamilton: “It was pointless to defend any harder”

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton explains why he didn’t defend harder against Max Verstappen in the final laps of the French Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton did everything in his power to keep his P1 at the French Grand Prix, but he ultimately lost out to Max Verstappen, who was hunting him down on fresher tyres.

Surprisingly when the Dutch driver got within striking distance, Lewis didn’t put up much of a fight.

“Firstly there’s marbles on the inside, so I didn’t want to make my tyres any worse than they already were,” explained Hamilton who was running on old hard tyres at the time, while Verstappen had fresher medium tyres.

“He had the DRS open, if he didn’t pass me there he would have passed me on the straight afterwards so it made zero difference.

“And I had no front end so he would have got me either way, so it was pointless to defend any harder.

“I think you saw what happened with Valtteri [Bottas], just ended up going straight on, so there’s no point messing up the tyres any more.”

Ultimately Lewis said he was not terribly disappointed as the result was “a true reflection of the pace they have”.

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“Not gut-wrenching at all. We did a great job today and it just didn’t work out, so I’m not massively disappointed. I think I did the best job I could today.

“Of course there were things that we could probably have done slightly better but overall they’ve been quicker than us all weekend, so it’s a true reflection of the pace they have.

“I’m sure if we look in hindsight, for sure if we had stopped earlier — before they stopped — and come out ahead, just gone onto a two-stop, we probably could have won the race.

“But it would have still been very difficult — their pace was generally very, very strong.

“I was able to keep him at bay when he was behind me, but if he had not made the mistake in Turn 1 then they would have just led the race all the way, probably,” concluded the seven-time champion.

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