Ordinarily, making up seven places across the course of a grand prix and finishing in second place after a difficult qualifying session would be considered a success.
However, for Lewis Hamilton in Austria, this result only saw him lose more ground to teammate Nico Rosberg in the drivers’ championship after the German driver claimed his third victory of the season today.
Hamilton started the race from ninth after failing to set a time during the final part of qualifying yesterday. The Briton made a rocket start, and was up to fourth on the second lap. He then fought past the Williams pair of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa to move up to second place, but just could not find a way past Rosberg in the final stages of the grand prix.
In fact, had both of his pit stops been marginally quicker, Hamilton may have been able to get the jump on his teammate, and he will look at the data to see if there is any room for improvement.
“I don’t know, I’ll have to have a look at the feedback and just see what the team say about the stops,” Hamilton said on the podium after the race. “Maybe my position is not right, but obviously in those situations you’re just pushing.”
He quickly switched focus to yet another fantastic team performance by Mercedes, praising his colleagues for masterminding their sixth one-two finish in the last seven races.
“The guys have done a fantastic job,” Hamilton said. “As Nico said, to get another one-two here is just incredible. This track has been fantastic and the fans have been insane this weekend, so thank you all for the support.”
On Red Bull’s home turf, Mercedes was simply unstoppable. However, in the post-race press conference, Hamilton did look slightly subdued, and will undoubtedly be wondering what happened to the championship lead that he enjoyed just three races ago.
Unquestionably, it was a fine performance from the 2008 world champion, but by his own high standards, not winning the race will have come as a bitter blow.