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.