Lewis Hamilton couldn’t help but be pleased after coming back from 19th to claim an unexpected fifth at the 2022 Spanish Grand Prix, despite flirting with an early retirement.
Having qualified sixth on the grid, things immediately went wrong for the seven-time World Champion. After making contact with the Haas of Kevin Magnussen on the opening lap, Hamilton found himself down in 19th after pitting for new softs.
Hamilton didn’t hide his disappointment while speaking on the radio, telling his Mercedes team: “I would save this engine, guys. I’m sorry.”
Hamilton grateful for Mercedes team
Thankfully for Hamilton, Mercedes opted to ignore his request as the team’s upgrade package meant they were competitive all race.
In the end Hamilton managed to climb as high as fourth before ceding the position to Carlos Sainz, and he had nothing but gratitude for his Mercedes team after the performance.
“I’m just really grateful I was able to come back,” Hamilton said to Sky Sports F1. “I’m grateful to the team for keeping their head down, [the] positive feedback coming through and for all the amazing work to get us to this improvement.
“The car felt great in the race. Our pace is closer to the rest of the top guys, which is amazing. Just really unfortunate at the start to have gotten the punctures that I got.
“But I didn’t give up, so that’s what we do.”
Hamilton gutted by late issue
Hamilton‘s recovery drive almost netted him an unlikely fourth-place finish after passing Sainz late on.
He ultimately lost that position after being told to lift and coast in order to avoid overheating. Given how hard he had worked to climb back from 19th, Hamilton admitted losing the positing was ‘gutting’.
“It was just a lot hotter than predicted today, and it’s quite tough for everyone with these cars,” Hamilton said.
“I don’t know exactly what went on with the car, but I had to basically drive it at half throttle to try and cool the car. Lots of lifting down the straight just to get clean, fresh air into the engine.
“Gutted to lose the place to Sainz, especially after coming from where I came from. I was 30 plus seconds behind last place, that’s like no man’s land.
“It’s a horrible feeling being that far behind, but you have to just keep your head up, keep pushing and hoping for the best. They thought maybe I could get to eighth..eighth doesn’t really feel like a particularly impressive result, but I was like, ‘At least I’ll get into the points’.
“To then be fighting for fourth… I was so happy with that.”