Seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton offered an emotional reflection on his path to 300 Grands Prix after he finished second and teammate George Russell third to deliver the Mercedes’ best result of the season so far in France.
With Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz starting 19th, Hamilton capitalised on the retirement of pole-sitter Charles Leclerc and out-paced Sergio Perez to take his fourth consecutive top-three finish – while Russell managed to pass the Red Bull of Perez late on to ensure he would share the podium with Hamilton for the first time this season.
“I think collectively as a team, whilst we didn’t have the pace of the lead cars… this is an incredible result for us, for George and I to be here. George did a great job today as well. This is progress, even though we’re not necessarily closing the gap as such in race performance, in actual qualifying performance, but this is great points for us,” Hamilton was quoted as saying by Formula1.com.
“And this is my 300th Grand Prix. Obviously, it was mentioned at the beginning of the weekend, and I didn’t really think much of it. And this morning, I woke up just feeling incredibly grateful, just thinking about all the people that have been with me along the way, you know,” he said.
“For Ron (Dennis) and Mercedes giving me the chance when I was young. Martin Whitmarsh. Mansour Ojjeh. Toto (Wolff), Niki (Lauda)] Just all these incredible people that have supported me since I was 13. To then have this just incredible journey with them, every race powered by Mercedes,” he added.
“And so very, very proud to be up here representing (Mercedes), alongside George and yes, we’ve just got to keep pushing,” he continued.
“Every weekend we’re hoping that we’re going to get a little bit closer. This weekend, we somehow weren’t as close as we hoped, but (French Grand Prix winner Max Verstappen) was only 10 seconds up the road, so that’s a positive.”
Mercedes have introduced a steady stream of upgrades to their W13s in the hope to take on the frontrunners and return to winning ways – though the Silver Arrows still haven’t won a race this season.
“I definitely don’t think George and I expected to be second and third. As you said, this is the highest I’ve been all year. So this is a huge day for me overall and looking forward to taking this positive energy onto Budapest,” added Hamilton.
Having outscored Ferrari in France, Mercedes in P3 are just 44 points behind the Scuderia heading to the Hungaroring.