Lewis Hamilton: “Even when I pushed I was massively slow…”

Lewis Hamilton kept up his good 2013 strike rate by recovering to fifth in Bahrain, having run outside the top 10 early on.

Hamilton’s steady scoring this year has put him into third in the World Championship, behind only Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. However his Bahrain race started badly when he struggled to find performance on the medium tyres.

“I was struggling like crazy at the beginning, I was nowhere, I was just falling back, I couldn’t hold onto anyone,” he said.

“I just had no grip. I was trying to look after my tyres, but I was massively slow, and even when I pushed I was massively slow.

“Then all of a sudden in the second or third stint the car picked up. In practice the car was pretty good, and in qualifying the car wasn’t very good, it’s almost like something re-set, and all of a sudden the car was back to normal and I was able to chase and hunt down everyone.

“It was a night and day difference. All of a sudden the car started gripping up and I could drive again, and I started closing the gap. I couldn’t believe how big a gap there was, they were miles ahead, I caught them up, so I’m really, really happy.”

Hamilton made some interesting observations about his early race struggles, when he ran outside the points.

“It’s horrible, I can’t express the feeling, you’re just a sitting duck. Nothing you can do, none of your skills, none of your talent, none of anything you might have can make a difference. Then the grip came back, and I was able to make a difference. I’m so happy I didn’t finish 11th.”

He said he enjoyed his late race battle with Mark Webber.

“It was good wheel-to-wheel racing. He was really fair and hopefully I was really fair as well. I was so determined to get by, I really needed that point.

“I wasn’t overtaking anyone at the beginning, for at least half of the race – it was, ‘This is boring, I’m not overtaking anyone!’ But then I caught people up and started to do some overtaking.”

Asked to sum up his season so far Lewis said: “I feel like we’re holding on by the skin of our teeth. I’m very proud of what the team have done, getting the car turned around to where we are already, so I feel very fortunate to be where we are points-wise and finishing-wise.

“But of course we’ve got to keep pushing, the guys back at the factory need to keep pushing, because we’re not that far off, and if we can just make that next step we can close that gap to them.”

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