Lewis Hamilton fires back at defeatist criticism, admits he’s not sure if reliability will be ‘an issue’

Sir Lewis Hamilton recovered from contact with Kevin Magnussen to end the Spanish Grand Prix in fifth.

Sir Lewis Hamilton is pleased his Mercedes team told him to stay out on track following his contact with Kevin Magnussen after he recovered to fifth in Barcelona.

Having started the race sixth, Hamilton and Magnussen made contact with each other at Turn Four on the opening lap, and the subsequent puncture put the 37-year-old down to 19th.

He told the team: “I would save the engine if I was you” given the deficit he had to the drivers in front, but Hamilton is known for giving pessimistic vibes over the radio almost in an attempt to psyche himself back into the race.

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In the end, he made a spectacular recovery to fourth place and got to within 12 seconds of team-mate George Russell in third, before cooling issues allowed Carlos Sainz to retake P4.

Hamilton revealed after the race that he had not given up after lap one, but was purely thinking about preserving the engine.

“It’s not being defeated, it was just I was literally 30 seconds behind, so why, if I’m going to use a whole engine to drive around in last or out of the top 15, and at one point we might have to take a penalty or something like that,” he explained.

As for the problems, the seven-time champion is not sure it will become a long-term concern for Mercedes.

“I don’t know if reliability is an issue, we won’t know until, well we’ve already seen today at the end there was something,” added Hamilton.

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However, his bounce back epitomised just why he has won 103 races and seven world championships, and he is delighted to have scored good points at the end of a challenging day.

“I was like we might as well just save the engine so we live to fight another day. But I’m glad we didn’t, and it just shows you never stop, you never give up, and that’s what I did,” he affirmed.

“I’m so happy. Obviously I was hoping for a smoother race without the issue at the beginning of the race. And I was 30 seconds behind at one stage, behind last.

“And having seen where I was, and if you think back to Jeddah where I started 15th and I struggled to get into the top 10, I was thinking it’s impossible to get back into points position.

“But the team said no, you’re on for eighth. I couldn’t understand it at the beginning, and I thought they were definitely being super optimistic. But I said OK, I’ll give it everything and see where I come out.

READ: Carlos Sainz reveals damage after Spanish GP spin

“And it turns out it was higher than eighth. So it’s just a little bit unfortunate at the end with the engine, but I’m just glad we finished.”

Mercedes’ points haul has seen them reduce the gap to Ferrari to 49 points in the Constructors’ Championship, but the Scuderia are now second behind Red Bull after a costly mistake by Sainz and a reliability failure for Charles Leclerc having been leading comfortably from pole.