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Hamilton: Norris would have been better off conceding in Turn 1

Lewis Hamilton thinks Lando Norris would have been better off conceding position in their Turn 1 battle in Formula 1’s China sprint, as he had the pace to overtake later.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38, followed by Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR24, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Norris had started Saturday’s sprint event in Shanghai from pole position but did not get away at the lights as well as fellow front-row starter Hamilton – who got inside him on the entry to the first corner.

Hamilton hugged the inside line throughout the long right-hander, while Norris tried to hang it around the outside before he lost grip off-line and ran off the circuit – dropping down the order.

Considering how strong McLaren’s pace had been throughout Friday, Hamilton thinks Norris should have been smarter to give up the spot and slot into second, before biding his time to regain the lead later on.

Speaking about the Turn 1 battle with Norris, Hamilton said: “I obviously got a great start and had the inside line.

“He tried to hold the outside line and was just pushing to the maximum. I used everything to try to hold onto the position, and eventually, I think he got on the dirt on the outside.

"There is a point where, if you go a little bit too far, there is no grip out there.

“In that scenario, he should have just conceded and just parked up behind me. Probably would have had the pace to overtake me [later].”

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Norris being out of the picture left Hamilton clear in front, and he was able to eke out a small advantage over Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso in the early stages of the race.

And although world champion Max Verstappen recovered from some difficult early laps to surge forward and snatch the lead later to secure another victory, Hamilton was hugely buoyed by his best result of the season so far as he took second place.

“I forgot what it felt to be up ahead and was grateful for the moment,” explained the Mercedes driver.

“It was very fortunate with the rain yesterday, to be able to capitalise on that, as our pace [in the dry] is not strong enough to be qualifying up as high as that.

“But I made the most of it, had a great start, and then managed to hold off Fernando for a while and build a gap.

“Honestly, I found out a lot about the car, which has at least given us a direction of what to improve. I am so happy to be back here.”

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