Lewis Hamilton's Chinese GP damage would've felt worse than it was

Lewis Hamilton believed he had suffered more damage than actually occurred after his first corner incident Formula 1's Chinese Grand Prix, according to Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff

Lewis Hamilton's Chinese GP damage would've felt worse than it was

From the back of the grid after a MGU-H failure in the first qualifying session that necessitated a power unit change, Hamilton made a lightning start into Turn 1, making up five places.

But he made contact with Felipe Nasr as the Sauber was dodging Kimi Raikkonen in the wake of the collision between the two Ferraris.

The incident resulted in Hamilton losing his front wing, which then soon became lodged underneath his car, from which point he faced an uphill battle to recover.

"It was a good start," said Wolff of Hamilton's superb getaway after his previous struggles in Australia and Bahrain.

"But then he became a victim of the tangle between the Ferraris, with the Sauber hitting him hard.

"The front wing got stuck under the floor, damaged the leading edge and we lost a huge amount of downforce through a couple of corners.

"It made the car very light at the front which gave him the feeling the car was even more damaged.

"We didn't see anything on visual inspection when the car stopped at pitstops, no data, so everything looked alright.

"But we were so much down on aero the car must have felt very difficult to drive, and as a consequence the tyres didn't last either which compromised the whole race."

Hamilton made five stops in total during the race and yo-yoed up and down the order before ultimately finishing seventh, leaving him 36 behind victorious team-mate Nico Rosberg in the championship.

Wolff added: "We tried to figure out a strategy that could help him make it back up to P4 or P5 max.

"But he lacked downforce in those crucial corners where you need to position the car for the following straight, and you could see there was no way he could pass those cars.

"In terms of strategies we pitted him for the super-soft, got him in, got the super-soft off again so that tyre was parked to give more options at the end.

"Overall, it was damage limitation."

Assessing the effect of what unfolded at Turn 1, and what he described as a "pretty horrifying race" overall, Hamilton said "Of course I could have done better, but at the end it doesn't really matter.

"With the damage on the car it had that domino effect and pretty much like the last race [when he sustained damage early on in Bahrain] we were trying to recover with the damage on the car.

"These things happen and it's in the past, so all I can do is focus on the future."

Hamilton thought himself to be over 50 points adrift, but when corrected and told it was only 36, he replied: "That's not as bad as I thought. I feel pretty good right now.

"I thought it was 50 points so I was like... wow!"

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