Lewis Hamilton does not believe he gained any advantage by running across the grass at Turn 1 on the opening lap of Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix en route to his eighth victory of the season.
Starting from pole in Mexico, Hamilton had an issue warming up his brakes ahead of the race start, causing him to lock his front tires at the first corner.
The Briton opted to run wide instead of trying to make the corner and damage his tires, bouncing across the grass before returning to the track still leading the race.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo told NBCSN after the race that he felt Hamilton deserved a penalty, with Max Verstappen having five seconds added to his time for a similar move later on.
However, Hamilton explained the issue after the race and felt that he gained no advantage as a result of the move due to the flat-spot on his tires and the safety car that neutralized the race soon after.
“I went into Turn 1 and the right front eventually woke up and just locked,” Hamilton explained.
“I was carrying such speed. I was lucky I didn’t go in the wall or something. And after that I had just the biggest vibration. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to make it in the first stint.
“Honestly I thought I had to stop, the vibration was so big I would barely see, to be honest. It was really nice when I got some new, fresh tires, and it was much smoother.
“I had a completely flat-spotted tire so that definitely wasn’t an advantage but I think I was still in the lead going in so I was in the lead coming out, so that’s not… I don’t believe so.”
Hamilton went on to win his second race in the space of seven days, cutting the gap to Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in the drivers’ championship down to 19 points with two races remaining this season.