F1: Lewis Hamilton says his Spanish GP was 'damage limitation'

Lewis Hamilton believes his troubled Spanish Grand Prix weekend was "damage limitation" after watching Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg close the gap in the Formula 1 title fight

F1: Lewis Hamilton says his Spanish GP was 'damage limitation'

While Hamilton struggled with the set-up of his car, Rosberg enjoyed a faultless few days at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya, claiming the ninth win of his F1 career after ending the Briton's run of four straight poles in 2015.

Off the line from second on the grid, Hamilton immediately fell behind Sebastian Vettel in his Ferrari, and then endured a slow first pit stop due to a wheel-gun issue in changing the left-rear tyre.

That forced the team to change tactics, switching Hamilton from a two-stop strategy to three, and although it aided his cause in claiming Vettel's scalp, he ultimately finished 17.5s adrift of Rosberg.

Assessing his race, Hamilton said: "Obviously I had quite a poor start. It's been a long time since I've had such a poor start.

"I tried my best to recover - I nearly dropped back to fourth, so I was very fortunate to keep third - and then it was just about trying to fight.

"Unfortunately, this track isn't very good for overtaking. Actually it's the worst for overtaking. You cannot get close enough, even with DRS.

"Fortunately towards the end it was enough to get it done on a three-stopper, I was able to get by, but if I had been behind him in traffic I wouldn't have got past.

"I'm grateful I could gain those points for the team, and it's kind of damage limitation for me, so it's not bad."

Although Hamilton tried his best to reel in Rosberg following the last of his three stops, ultimately his charge became a fruitless one.

"I pushed very hard to see if I could have the pace on him in order to close the gap," said Hamilton.

"I pushed right until there were like six laps to go, and I still had 13 seconds, so after that I realised I should bring the car home and live to fight another day."

Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff said it was hard to pinpoint why Hamilton's weekend didn't work out.

"When you are on such a level playing field it's about feeling comfortable in the car, comfortable on the track - before the weekend Lewis mentioned Barcelona was not his favourite," said Wolff.

"I don't know if that was the reason, but it was very difficult this weekend for him to get the right set-up with the winds and the lack of grip from session to session.

"Both drivers are mentally strong, and as much as we would like to find a dynamic that is pro or against a driver, they come out very strong, even after a bad weekend or a defeat.

"You have two drivers matching each other, trying to outperform each other, and for us that's a really good situation."

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Spanish Grand Prix FIA press conference transcript

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