Lewis Hamilton: “I’m not seeing it as a tough day”

© Jiri Krenek for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes would have lost the French Grand Prix to Red Bull in any scenario because “those guys are just too quick now”.

Despite losing the French Grand Prix to Max Verstappen in the penultimate lap of the race, Lewis Hamilton remains optimistic.

“There are lots of positives to take from today, so I’m not seeing it as a tough day,” the Briton told Sky Sports.

“I did everything I could out there and didn’t really make any mistakes and I’m generally happy with the position and results.

“It would have been nice to win but those guys are just too quick now. They have taken a big step this weekend, we are losing 0.35sec just on the straights.

“They have made some sort of improvement and we’ve just got to figure out whether it’s rear wing or engine. Either way, we have to improve.

“We are going to the next two races [in Austria] where straight-line speed will be important, so it’s going to be tough.”

On Lap 1 of the race Hamilton managed to get in front of Max Verstappen, but the Briton concedes it was only because the Red Bull driver made a mistake.

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“If Max hadn’t have made a mistake at the beginning then the result would have been the same.

“The only reason we had the position was because Max made a mistake. I managed to just stay ahead but, like I said, we are quite slow in a straight line.

“Ultimately, in the end, they [Red Bull] stopped again before us so there was no reason for us to stop ourselves.

“We just had to try to hold on and see if we could stay out in front. Unfortunately, it didn’t work.”

Hamilton was then asked if he believed he would have done better had Mercedes decided to undercut Red Bull during the first pit stop.

“No, we were supposed to stop much, much later than we did, so we were already stopping earlier,” said the seven-time champion.

“It’s then a long second stint, as you could see, and even Max didn’t think he could have kept going.”

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