Mercedes AMG Petronas Team boss Toto Wolff saluted Lewis Hamilton after he managed to make the podium in Sunday’s Rolex British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Hamilton lined up for his home race on pole position with Brackley team-mate Valtteri Bottas starting from fourth, both on the Soft tyre compound.
First of all, we need to look at our own performance and what we can improve. We clearly have work to do on our starts, as we lost ground once again to FerrariTeam boss Toto Wolff
Off the line, Sebastian Vettel jumped into the lead while Hamilton dropped to third behind Bottas and was then tapped into a spin by Kimi Raikkonen.
Having dropped to last place, Hamilton started his fightback and climbed his way up the order, breaking into the top ten on the sixth lap. Bottas dived into the pits for Mediums on lap 21, while Hamilton stayed out until lap 25 before switching to the mid-range tyre.
The Safety Car was deployed on lap 32 after Marcus Ericsson crashed at the first corner and then returned to the track shortly after the restart following a clash between Carlos Sainz and Romain Grosjean.
Both drivers opted to stay out during the first Safety Car period and take track position, with Bottas leading and Hamilton third. Both drivers fought hard but Bottas ran out of tyres towards the end.
Vettel overtook Bottas and stormed clear to take victory, with Hamilton finishing 2.2 seconds behind in second. Bottas came home fourth after a valiant effort.
Wolff Said: “That was an incredible race, thrilling right to the finish and full of drama.
“For Lewis, it was an awesome fightback to second after running dead last on lap on. For Valtteri, we gave it everything to try and claim the win and he arguably would have done so without the first Safety Car period, as he was closing fast on Sebastian at that point.
“First of all, we need to look at our own performance and what we can improve. We clearly have work to do on our starts, as we lost ground once again to Ferrari.
“Overall, though, we are left with the feeling of ‘what might have been’ after one of our cars was taken out for the second time in three races on lap one. In the past three weekends, we have lost points through our own mistakes and those of others.
“Now we need to get our heads down, keep developing and put the performance to good use in the next 11 races. It’s all to play for.”
Hamilton said: “It was a difficult race but I gave it everything and I’m grateful to make it back up to second. It was eventful from the start, but in the final laps we just didn’t have the pace of the Ferraris on the fresher tyres.”
Bottas said: “I’m very disappointed, leading the race and then dropping to fourth in the last few laps feels pretty bad.
“I was giving it everything I could in the re-starts, I had to push like in qualifying but with about five laps to go, the tyres just could not take it anymore.
“It’s always easy to judge these things in hindsight but at the point we made the call to stay out I was on the same page. I could have easily taken second place but we decided to go for it.”