Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has admitted that although he appeared happy with his second-place finish on the podium at the Bahrain Grand Prix, he is frustrated with what could have been.
The Brit finished behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel after a tense and strongly-fought race, after being unable to catch the German. The fact that Hamilton received a 5-second penalty did not help this matter.
“I think over the years nothing changes in terms of I feel pain in my heart when I finish second,” Hamilton spoke.
“People think you should be happy with that, but that’s not why I exist. If anyone ever thinks that any driver, or I, should feel happy with second, I don’t know what to say. It’s not why we exist.
“I had a second before [to Vettel in Australia] and when you have a strong fight it’s a good feeling. Today I felt quite good on the podium, I’d had a good fight, but then I got to thinking later how I lost two-tenths in Turn 10 to 11 when the DRS didn’t engage in qualifying.
“I lost half a tenth out of the last corner. I should easily have been on pole. Then today I lost position at the start, solely my fault, then there was the time lost in the pitlane…
“You just practice, practice, practice, practice. You only have 20 opportunities in a year. It’s painful, there’s no other way of saying it.
“When you guys screw up in your job, I don’t know how you feel about it, but particularly if there are big consequences, potentially, I’m sure you feel gutted as well. I try to handle it the best way I can but it eats you up a little bit inside, but you’ve just got to end up trying to cope and move forwards.
Hamilton then reflected on the Australian Grand Prix, the first race of the season, where he lost out to Vettel as Ferrari performed the overcut on the Brit and Mercedes.
“In Australia I don’t remember any of the things being massively my fault,” Hamilton contemplated.
“I just ran out of tyres and had to pit, that was just the circumstances I was faced with. But today there were certain things that, had they been perfect, I would have been much better placed to fight for the win.”
Bahrain demonstrated, like in Australia and China, that the results of races this season will be won or lost by small factors.
“It’s all about small percentages now, which is what racing should be all about,” the three-time World Champion added.
“You want to be operating in the top end of those percentages, not having one percent divide the win, not doing a good enough job by one percent losing you the race. That’s ultimately I think what it will be about this year, and I think that’s exciting.
“Every year my goal is to increase the number of the awesome races and reduce the number of dips that you have. The first race this year was a high, the second was still a high, but this one was a bit of a dip.“