Hamilton left frustrated by inability to overtake

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Lewis Hamilton has expressed his frustration after failing to pass cars that were on a different strategy during today’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, causing him to drop down the order and eventually bring his Mercedes home in seventh place.

“That was a tough race this evening for me,” Hamilton said. “My race just didn’t quite come together and I’m not really sure why as I gave it my all out there. I had some problems with grip and, of course, it’s so difficult to overtake here when you are in traffic but we also need to figure out why I’m not getting the maximum performance from the car at the moment.”

The Briton had started the race in fourth place after a broken wishbone cost him his fastest lap in qualifying, and he failed to make a good start to sit fifth after the first few laps. Nevertheless, he looked capable of outpacing both Ferraris who had been struggling all weekend at Yas Marina Circuit.

However, Ferrari opted to run their drivers deeper into the race and as a result cut the gap to Hamilton. When he was told to push, he found himself stuck behind Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez. Once the Mexican driver pitted, Hamilton was told to create a gap to Felipe Massa, but he was hindered by Adrian Sutil who was on the medium compound tire. The Mercedes driver did find a way past only for Sutil to re-take the position.

When Hamilton next attempted an overtake, Felipe Massa took advantage of the situation to pass both drivers. Hamilton eventually pitted, but he lost out at the end of the race to Fernando Alonso who had fresher and quicker tires. Despite catching one-stopping Paul di Resta, Hamilton failed to find a way past and was forced to settle for seventh place.

Nevertheless, Mercedes did extend their lead over Ferrari in the constructors’ championship by virtue of Nico Rosberg’s third place finish.

“A massive thank you to everyone for their efforts and it’s great that we have extended our lead for P2 in the constructors’ championship,” Hamilton said. “All points count but Nico did a really good job today to maximise the potential of the car. Hopefully the last two races will be stronger for me and I look forward to that challenge.”

Social roundup: Racing world largely outraged by Verstappen penalty

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The discussion over Max Verstappen’s post-race five-second time penalty assessed in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix, issued when he tried to the inside of Kimi Raikkonen at the Turns 16, 17 and 18 carousel complex at Circuit of The Americas, will roll on far beyond today.

The debate today largely centered over consistency in adjudication and application of the rules, track limits themselves (always a sore subject at COTA given its wide runoff areas) or whether there should be permanent stewards.

In the immediate aftermath, though, Twitter lit up with outrage over Verstappen being assessed a five-second post-race time penalty.

Here’s a mere sampling of the reaction, below.