Australian GP | Lewis really happy with second place in front of quicker Alonso

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Lewis Hamilton crossed the line second in a crazy Australian Grand Prix, fending off a hard charging Fernando Alonso. The seven time world champion took second place at the start with a commanding overtake on Max Verstappen, who believed the move wasn’t completely legal. Lewis thought otherwise.

“I thought it was pretty decent. I mean he braked early and I brake late and I was fully up the inside and I think we both left space for each other. I didn’t run him off the road and he didn’t turn in on me, so we didn’t touch and that’s the racing.”

Although happy with the result, the Briton reckoned his Mercedes W14 could use some additional pace, despite being able to counter all charges by Fernando Alonso.

“I was struggling through the race to keep the pace of this guy. Obviously couldn’t keep the pace of Max and the car… it’s lacking a little bit of performance compared to these guys, at least today it was. But I was just able, like right on the edge, to hold on to it. And I didn’t know how long the tyres gonna last. I was having to push so hard, so I thought that maybe towards the end you’ll get me. I mean it was so quick, but we saw through it didn’t make any mistakes and here we are.

I think Fernando was a little bit quicker this afternoon. I think, I mean, he was in my tow, so I think we were probably slightly quicker on the straight and he was quicker through all the corners, so I think we definitely have some performance to find. It definitely wasn’t easy keeping him at bay and keeping him out the DRS zone, but it was really quite interesting just to see where we were lacking and where we were good. So there’s lots of positives to take from today, but we do naturally need to head on some performance. I mean they’ve been ahead the past two races, but for us to somehow still finish ahead is pretty awesome so I’ll definitely take it.”

Hamilton came on the radio a few times to his engineer Bono, unsure whether his tyres would last until the end of the race. It wasn’t bluff though, he said.

“I definitely wasn’t bluffing. I mean, I think honestly I was having to push a lot right at the beginning, obviously to keep Max behind. And then Fernando was pushing, you know, they’re very, very quick. So, I think ultimately he was a little bit quicker today behind me, but I just managed to hold him off. So for that I’m really grateful.”

In the end his tyres would last, but it still took some effort to keep his former team-mate at bay.

“I think I had a lot more tyre than I thought that I did, at the end. There was a moment where I thought the tyre was opening up and, you know, Fernando was applying pressure, then backing off. I had decent pace, and then closing the gap again, and you know, he had two or three charges which I had to then really up the ante and try to match him. Which was tough. I was able to be around a tenth or so off him, or sometimes ahead, but I definitely with 18 laps to go I was thinking, geez, I don’t know if these tyres are gonna go all the way. But then he had a moment where he backed off and then I was able to save a bit and then got into a good rhythm. I was able just to keep that gap exactly the same for those last 10 laps or whatever, so I was just counting it down just hoping, hoping that it would just stick with it. He was verym very consistent [and] from what I could tell didn’t make any mistakes. Fernando doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, so it was it needed to be a good job.”

Lewis felt sorry for George Russell’s luck with the engine, but in the end he was grateful for the result, and enjoyed the fact that there were so many championships on the podium.

“I’m really unlucky for George today on our side. We’ve got to look into… Our reliability has generally been really good, so that’s really unfortunate, but otherwise, to get those points is really amazing today. I definitely didn’t expect to be second so I’m super grateful for it.

We’ve got got a world champion up ahead. We’ve got two world champions in the top three, or three world champions in the top three. That’s pretty mega!”