Lewis Hamilton has explained what he meant when he told Mercedes they put him in a “difficult position” running behind teammate George Russell at the Australian Grand Prix.
Hamilton had spent the race ahead of Russell until a late safety car allowed the Mercedes newcomer to pit with less time than usual.
That quick stop put Russell ahead of Hamilton in what soon became a podium finish when Max Verstappen’s Red Bull struggled with the car.
In the final stages of the Melbourne race, when he was just over a second behind the other Mercedes, a strange radio message from Hamilton was broadcast in TV coverage.
Hamilton, who finished fourth, said: “You guys have really put me in a difficult position”.
F1 driver radio messages are often sent out of sync with when they happened and sometimes lack context to the rest of the conversation. This was not accompanied by any of the previous discussions Hamilton had had with the Mercedes pit wall.
After the race, Hamilton claimed it related to being told he had to fall back and run in clear air because his engine was overheating.
“Basically I couldn’t drive for position because the car was overheating, so I had to back down,” said Hamilton.
When asked to clarify that this was not an indication of being behind Russell, he simply replied, “Because the car was overheating.”
Despite his frustration at not being able to finish on the podium, Hamilton felt encouraged to see how Mercedes had handled such a difficult weekend.
“It’s an amazing result for us as a team. It’s so positive.
“We were over a second behind on Friday and it didn’t look spectacular at the time. We did a great job overnight to qualify on the third row and then a great start. I was third and it felt great to fight, or to feel like we were fighting for a podium at that moment.
“Of course we couldn’t keep the Red Bulls’ pace. Even though we didn’t necessarily improve the car in those three races, I think we really got the maximum number of points that we could. From my side I let it go. The team failed in the last race and didn’t score any points but to come away with this result is great.
https://www.espn.com/f1/story/_/id/33712198/lewis-hamilton-says-difficult-position-radio-messages-was-not-george-russell Lewis Hamilton says the radio messages in ‘difficult position’ were not about George Russell