After amazing everyone in qualifying with a one-of-a-kind lap, Lewis Hamilton stormed to a dominant victory at the Styrian Grand Prix. In the post-race interview the Briton couldn’t hide his excitement.
“Firstly big thank you to my team,” said Hamilton.
“What a weird year but great to be back driving with this kind of performance. The team did a fantastic job, it was just for me to bring it home.
“I tried to get fastest lap but not going to get it with 40-lap-old mediums compared to someone with fresh tyres.
“This feels like a long time coming. Difficult weekend last weekend but this was a great step forward.
“I love back-to-back races. Can we do them all year?”
Hamilton was later asked how he was able to turn things around after a difficult first race of the season and a troubling start of the Styrian Grand Prix weekend that saw him finish FP1 and FP2 in P4 and P6 respectively.
“With great difficulty,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1.
“But when there is a will there is a way. The last weekend definitely was psychologically challenging.
“But there is nothing you can do about the past. All you can do is focus and channel your energy to the future.
“I just made sure I stayed here, trained well, ate well, slept well and worked hard with Bono and the guys to understand where last weekend went wrong.
“I don’t why there are some tracks where drivers are stronger at some than others, but this is one of my weaker circuits. So to have a performance like this today…I’m over the moon, so happy.
“I also know though that there is a long way to go,” concluded the Briton.
However Valtteri Bottas called his second-place finish “damage limitation”, after dominant win in the first race of the season.
“Obviously Lewis started from the pole and had a good start,” said the Finn.
“He could really control the race and there was not as much happening as last weekend.
“But from my side, starting fourth, I think today was damage limitation. Still got good points, still leading, so it’s not too bad.
“Yesterday wasn’t ideal, so that’s why I couldn’t get 25 points today.”
However, Bottas did manage to catch up to and pass Max Verstappen in the final stages of the race.
“It was a good battle with him [Verstappen]. I think I had quite a bit more pace at the end than him as we extended the first stint. Racing closely is always good fun.”
Despite not climbing the top step of the podium, Bottas is going to next week’s Hungarian Grand Prix with a championship lead.
“I could have been more satisfied, but it’s been a not bad first couple of races.
“I’m looking forward to next week,” concluded the Finn.
Understandably, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff is very happy with a dominant 1-2 by his team.
“We can be very happy with this weekend, it was great work from everyone,” Wolff told Sky Sports
“I think everything has been said about Lewis’ talent and abilities. Sometimes he needs – and all of us – needs weekends like the last one where you just work very hard to recover and when he is in that space, he is just unbeatable.
“I have never seen anything like this in the top class of motor racing. It is like seeing a unicorn. That was exceptional.”
“It is very good that we won here twice. The gearbox had been repaired, the team solved that in a couple of days. The suspension wasn’t one hundred percent safe, we have continued to monitor that.”
In the end Wolff said he is looking forward to next week’s race.
“Hungary is very different from Spielberg. We can’t wait to benchmark ourselves there.”