Former Formula 1 driver Martin Brundle believes that the radio message from Sir Lewis Hamilton after his incident with Kevin Magnussen epitomised how he is feeling with the W13 at present.
Having started the Spanish Grand Prix P6, Hamilton found himself being challenged on the outside at Turn Four by the Haas driver, but the pair came together, causing punctures for both of them.
Five laps in, perhaps in an attempt to psyche himself back into the race, the 37-year-old got on the radio to Mercedes to tell them to “save the engine” and retire from the race.
In the end though, he made a sensational recovery to fourth, before a cooling issue mean that he had to cede a position to Carlos Sainz, leaving him with a satisfactory 10 points at the end of an immensely difficult day.
Brundle believes that the seven-time champion might have achieved a “spectacular result” had it not been for the incident at the start, and suggests that the perhaps pessimistic message was a result of the frustration stemming from Mercedes’ less than ideal start to the season.
“Lewis’ contact with Kevin Magnussen on the opening lap surely cost him a chance of a spectacular result,” he wrote in his Sky Sports column.
“He was 50 seconds behind the leader on lap two and 54 seconds at the end despite backing off by four seconds on the final tour.
“Lewis’s radio call-in after falling to the back of the field with a puncture, basically wanting to stop and ‘save the power unit mileage’, was alarming in that it gave us the true picture of how little he’s been enjoying this season. Presumably 65 laps later he was somewhat more satisfied after showing great pace.”
The Silver Arrows’ pace looked significantly closer to Red Bull and Ferrari throughout last weekend, and it was the first time this season that Mercedes have looked consistent throughout the three days.
The improved pace helped Hamilton recover from his predicament in Spain, and he thanked the team for their efforts at Brackley that have helped get the German outfit back on the right track.
“[I’m] really grateful I was able to come back and grateful to the team for keeping their head down and positive feedback coming through and for all the amazing work to get us to this improvement,” he told Sky Sports.
“The car felt great in the race, our pace was closer to the rest – the top guys in the race – which was amazing.
“[It’s] just really unfortunate at the start to have got the punctures that I got but I didn’t give up so that’s what we do right?”
The cooling issue at the end undid the Mercedes driver’s lovely overtake on Sain earlier on, but he detailed the fortitude it takes to come from as far back as he did to score good points.
“Gutted to lose the place to Sainz, especially coming from where I came from, I mean I was 30 plus seconds behind last place,” explained Hamilton.
“I mean, that’s like no man’s land, and I tell you it’s a horrible feeling being that far behind but you just have to keep your head up, just keep pushing, keep going and hoping for better.”
Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell, meanwhile, got his second podium of the season after a gutsy performance that saw him battling Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez for much of the race.
As it was, the Dutchman led the 32-year-old home for Red Bull’s second one-two of the season.