Lewis Hamilton was happy to recover from a poor start at the Australian Grand Prix and finish second behind Nico Rosberg, saying his Mercedes team-mate “could have had a lot more points on me”.
Having enjoyed a perfect Melbourne weekend up to the race, pole sitter Hamilton had a sluggish getaway that saw him drop to sixth on the opening lap.
The reigning world champion quickly despatched Felipe Massa but was then stuck behind Max Verstappen’s Toro Rosso and asked his team to devise another strategy.
Mercedes extended Hamilton’s first stint with the Briton making a surprise switch to mediums. He managed to make this set last until the end, though his recovery was aided by a series of factors that included a race neutralisation, Kimi Raikkonen’s retirement, and Verstappen’s botched pit stop.
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“It’s always great when you get away in the lead especially after all the work we did over the past days, but it does not always go your way,” Hamilton said after the race.
“I did the best I could after a difficult start. I am grateful that I got back in damage limitation because Nico could have had a lot more points on me today.
“Having to fight back from behind, it’s very very hard to follow as we know from the history here. But ultimately I am really proud for the team to have enabled us to finish on the front row today.”
Although Hamilton’s title defence is not off to a perfect start, the 31-year-old remembers that, two years ago, he saw Rosberg win the opening race in Melbourne while he had to retire with a mechanical issue.
“I’ve had much worse in the first race so I think this is a real bonus to come back from [sixth]. There is a long long way to go so I bagged good points today.”
“Ferrari is obviously there and in the battle as you could see today. So hopefully we’ll have some exciting races coming up ahead of us.”
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As it happened: 2016 Australian Grand Prix