Lewis Hamilton says he would have taken three new engines at the cost of losing 10 points to Nico Rosberg in their 2016 Formula 1 title fight had it been offered to him before the Belgian Grand Prix.
Always destined to take an engine change outside of his allocation – and therefore be hit with a penalty – Mercedes opted to complete three changes in total to see off the prospect of having to be penalised in future races.
Though Hamilton was sceptical about his chances of moving up the order from 21st on the grid and dismissed his chance of reaching the podium, his run to third place – coupled to Rosberg's win – means he leaves Belgium having lost just 10 points. Still ahead by nine points overall, Hamilton says it is an outcome he is very satisfied with.
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“The good thing now is I have got these engines and hopefully we will have a clean second half of the season. It has definitely not been the easiest season battling for the title. I felt that I got back to my comfort level in driving and so I anticipate taking that into the next race. The fight is back on as far as I am concerned.
“Things have happened in the right way, that second quarter of the season, and to go into the break 19 points ahead and only lose 10 points today, is… well, if someone had said, going into the break that “you are going to lose 10 points in the next race and take three new engines, are you okay with that?” I would have took it. I am very happy with it.
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Whilst he admits there was fortune in his run to third place from 21st on the grid at Spa-Francorchamps as a lap nine red flag worked well in his favour, Hamilton was delighted to go well beyond Mercedes' original prediction of eighth.
“People had stopped, but that was perfect. I definitely wasn't expecting that and there has been races I have done and I needed something like that, but it has not happened and it has been a real tough fight from the back. But after the safety car I was already up to fifth, which was more than I thought I could get. The team predicted eighth today. So I am very happy with third.”
RESULTS: Belgian Grand Prix – Race results
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