Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton: Closing the gap.

Lewis Hamilton reacts to Max Verstappen/Sebastian Vettel incident at Chinese GP

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The third round of the Formula One calendar in 2018 saw an enticing race this past weekend in China, with a dramatic final 20 laps resulting in the championship race being blown wide open.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, on the back of a series of overtakes, registered the win, while Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari star Kimi Raikkonen secured the remaining podium spots.

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton endured a frustrating weekend and ended the race in fifth, but was later promoted to fourth following the stewards handing Max Verstappen a 10-second penalty, dropping him behind the Brit to fifth.

Verstappen had his share of misfortunes out on the track when he tried to manoeuvre an overtake  on championship challenger Sebastian Vettel with 14 laps remaining, but instead made significant contact with the Ferrari, spinning both cars in the process at Turn 14.

Hamilton feared he might get caught up in the crash along with Raikkonen, who were chasing right behind at the Shanghai International Circuit.

Although, they were ultimately able to avoid Verstappen and Vettel as Hamilton took the outside while the Finn went on the inside.

Speaking during the aftermath of the race, the 33-year-old said: “I was definitely worried of catching [crashing into] them, especially as they were trying to turn around, so I thought I might get caught there.

“But anyway, I got through safely.

“I came towards the apex and I saw them both facing me.

F1 Grand Prix of China

“So I was like, 'I can't do the tighter turn that Kimi had done', so I had to go left.”

The reigning world champion battled with the Dutchman earlier in the race and gave his take on the move when Verstappen ran off the road in his quest to pass Hamilton at Turn 7.

“Turn 8's a little bit more possible [to overtake at], but there's actually a dirty line on the outside of Turn 7,” continued Hamilton.

“It's a very fast, long corner. I don't think any top driver has ever been taken on the outside there before.

F1 Grand Prix of China

“I didn't even see him there, I was doing the corner normally. When I watch the replay, I don't really understand what he was up to there, but it wasn't a problem for me.

“And yeah, naturally [I'm] thankful for the way he drives, because that meant we didn't lose too many points today.”

The Mercedes ace further stated he was surprised to find both Red Bull cars on fresh tyres behind him after the Constructors' Champions elected not to pit under the safety car around half- distance.

“I don't know if anyone was expecting them to be as quick as they were, after the safety car I stayed out," added Hamilton.

F1 Grand Prix of China

“Initially I was like 'okay this is good, I'm now right behind Seb, and maybe I have a chance, maybe there's a little bit of battle we can have to the end'.

“And I looked in my mirrors and the Red Bulls were right behind me on brand new tyres so I was like 'how the hell did that happen'.”

Hamilton backed his team on the question of not coming to the pits during the safety car period and asserted: “It doesn't matter now, it's done. The team made a decision, we would have fallen behind Kimi, at the time we didn't know that the others were going to have the collisions so at the time it was not the right decision.”

Hamilton closed the gap on Vettel to nine points at the top with the rivalry set to resume in Baku in a fortnight on April 29.

Max Verstappen
Formula 1
Lewis Hamilton
Kimi Raikkonen
Max Verstappen

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