Hamilton: Second place in Barcelona “damage limitation”

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MONTMELO – Lewis Hamilton was pleased to finish the Spanish Grand Prix in second place on Sunday after fighting back from a poor start to follow home Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.

Hamilton failed to make a good getaway from P2 on the grid, dropping behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel into the first corner and nearly losing out to Williams’ Valtteri Bottas.

Running third, Hamilton was struggling to find a way past Vettel, lamenting the lack of grip when running in the German’s dirty air. Mercedes reacted by switching him to a three-stop strategy, allowing the Briton to get past Vettel upon making his final pit stop.

“It’s been quite a long time since I’ve had such a bad start,” Hamilton said. “I tried my best to recover and nearly dropped back to fourth at the start, so I was very fortunate to keep third.

“Unfortunately this track is not very good for overtaking – actually it’s the worst for overtaking. It’s impossible to follow here. I don’t know how it was further back, but for the guys at the front, it doesn’t matter what you do, which is a shame.

“I did everything I could behind Sebastian. [I] did enough in the first stint I think but then had a very long pit stop. Then I had to kind of do it all again.

“Fortunately towards the end, it was enough on a three-stop to get by. I’m grateful that I could get those points for the team, and it’s kind of damage limitation.”

Following Rosberg’s win, the Briton’s lead at the top of the drivers’ championship has been cut to 20 points, but he remains the man in control ahead of F1’s most glamorous race, the Monaco Grand Prix, in two weeks’ time.

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
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Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.