16 March 2014
Australian Grand Prix: Hamilton admits Mercedes had to play safe
A disappointed Lewis Hamilton admits that Mercedes had no option but to cut short his first F1 outing of 2014 in Australia.
Lewis Hamilton has revealed that he wanted to continue in the Australian Grand Prix even after the performance of his Mercedes fell away.
The Briton appeared to get away satisfactorily from his hard-earned pole position, but the had both Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo come past by the first corner. From there, it was clear that something was amiss with the power unit in the W05 and, despite completing one extra lap after being summoned by the team, Hamilton was forced to call it a day.
“My start didn't feel great today and I had a lot less power than usual when pulling away, so it was obvious immediately that something was wrong,” Hamilton reported, “It looks like we only had five cylinders firing and, while I wanted to keep going, we had to play safe and save the engine.”
Despite the frustration of failing to convert pole into points of any kind, the Briton remained philosophical, perhaps boosted by the knowledge that, while team-mate Nico Rosberg claimed victory, potential title nemesis Sebastian Vettel lasted just a lap longer in his Red Bull.
“It's unfortunate, but that's racing and we will recover from this,” the 2008 world champion commented, “We have a great car and engine, and the pace was really strong today - as Nico clearly showed. Big congratulations to him and the team for achieving the win, it's a fantastic result for us.
“Of course, I'm disappointed with my own race and, when I think about all the work that has gone on back at our factories, it's tough to have a costly hiccup. However, we have achieved an incredible amount to get here, to be at the front and to be so competitive - we will bounce back and learn from this. There is a very long way to go this season.”
Technical chief Paddy Lowe insisted that, Hamilton's DNF aside, it had been a good day for Mercedes, and that the focus should fall, immediately at least, on having topped the podium.
“Today's race was all about delivering on the potential we had shown in testing and on the hard work that has been put into this project since its beginning,” he claimed, “It was fantastic to get the win on behalf of the hundreds of people in Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart who have contributed to our performance over several years.
“It was hugely disappointing for all of us that Lewis was not able to convert his pole position, but this is a day to focus on our success rather than failures. We know that this season will be more of a marathon than a sprint, and that reliability will play a decisive role. After taking a moment to savour this win, we will be hard at work to improve further for the next race in Malaysia.”
Lowe was also quick to praise the contribution of his predecessor, who left the team over the winter after several years of helping to build it into a likely title contender.
“A special mention must also go to Ross Brawn,” he claimed, “I have come relatively late to this campaign and would like to thank him for the contribution he made in the years leading to this point, which we can now build upon.”
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