Lewis Hamilton says Bottas “left the door open” for Verstappen

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton says he envisaged the start of the Mexican Grand Prix differently, and talks about his expectations for the remaining four races.

Lewis Hamilton finished the Mexican Grand Prix in P2, behind his title rival Max Verstappen. Although he drove his heart out, there was not chance to seriously challenge the Dutch driver.

It all went wrong for Mercedes right from the start of the race. Although Bottas and Hamilton started the race from P1 and P2 respectively, Verstappen managed to get ahead on Turn 1, after getting into the Finn’s tow.

“I had envisaged it differently, naturally, in the sense that Valtteri maybe got a better start and I would have tried to get into his tow, but obviously I was alongside him which was good,” Hamilton explained after the race.

“I was covering my side of the track making sure that no one could come up the inside so was trying to keep whichever Red Bull I could see in my mirror behind.

“I thought Valtteri would be doing the same but he left the door open for Max. Max was on the racing line so did a mega job braking for Turn 1 and I was on the inside on the dirt, and there was no hope for me.”

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After that Lewis was never able to challenge Verstappen. The Red Bulls were so fast that he barely held off Sergio Perez in the final ten laps of the race.

“Their car was far superior this weekend and there was nothing we really could do about it,” explained the Briton.

“I gave it absolutely everything and even obviously a great fight with Sergio at the end, but I’m really grateful I was able to at least get a second.

“I feel positive in the sense that I had a good race. I did it with the car that I had and the car was not good today.

“When you have Sergio behind you pushing you like that, you know the car is fast, so you know, I’m glad I was able to keep at least those two apart in terms of getting one-two for the team and we want to keep fighting.”

“They’ve had the fastest car most of the year so it’s not a surprise. I wish we were quicker this weekend but today we were a long way off, so I don’t really understand that, but we’ll go back to the drawing board and try and come back next week stronger.”

With Verstappen now 19 points ahead in the drivers’ championship standings, Lewis looks ahead at the remaining four races.

“There’s still four races, 19 points is a lot of points and that’s his ninth win, so he’s had a lot of wins this year.

“With their superior speed, if they were to carry them into the next [races] then we may be in trouble, or we will be in trouble.

“But I don’t know if they’ll be using that huge wing they had on today, but naturally we’ll find out when we get there.

“But I hope we’re closer,” concluded the seven-time champion.

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