Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton is “grateful” to finish seventh at 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix following a “tricky” start.
Having suffered a surprise Q2 exit, Hamilton started from 10th on the grid due to a penalty for Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz who subsequently collected Hamilton during a spin at the start, which left the pair down the order.
Reflecting upon that incident post-race, Hamilton commented: “It was a really challenging race. I started on the Hard tyre, which was tricky in the beginning. I had a big hit from Sainz into turn one and was then trying not to hit other cars ahead of me. I fell back several places.”
Hamilton was soon able to recover positions but suffered a puncture on Lap 16 as he passed McLaren’s Oscar Piastri for seventh with contact, which put him back down the order but he was able to recover to eighth on the road – which became seventh after a time penalty for Russell.
The seven-time champion though was slightly baffled about his collision with Piastri as he quipped: “I went up the inside of Piastri and I am not sure exactly what happened. I felt a big hit from behind, but I think it was a racing incident.
“I didn’t have a puncture immediately and as I passed the pit entry, I felt the rear moving. I had to do a whole slow lap on it.”
Hamilton eventually was “grateful” to finish seventh after his teammate picked up a harsh five-second time penalty, after Russell collided on Lap 25 with late-braking Max Verstappen who eventually went on to win the race.
This weekend though had proven difficult for Hamilton who struggled for pace but the Brit believes that he can see “strengths” and “pace” within his car despite having a hard time trying to “extract all the performance from it.”
Having previously won on six occasions in America at two different circuits, Las Vegas marked the fourth different American event that Hamilton has raced in, amidst criticism from fans about the circuit but he felt that the racing proved “exciting” despite a farcical first day of Practice.
Three-time champion, Verstappen was amongst the leading figures who publicly criticised the event but after the race, Hamilton hit out at the negativity as he iterated: “For all those who were so negative about the weekend, I think Las Vegas proved them wrong.”