Hamilton praises Bottas for keeping Leclerc behind him

30-09-2019 08:46
by Matt Gretton
General
Hamilton praises Bottas for keeping Leclerc behind him

Lewis Hamilton suggests it would have been a different story if he wasn't able to benefit from the virtual safety car period which came about when Sebastian Vettel retired from the Russian Grand Prix. He praises Valtteri Bottas for keeping Charles Leclerc behind. The Brit claimed his ninth victory of the season and has one hand firmly on the F1 world championship trophy. 

In Q2 on Saturday, Mercedes opted to use the medium tyre. As a result of this, they started on this tyre but Hamilton admits they didn't know whether it would be better than Ferrari's soft tyre start. 

"I hoped it would give us a chance to take the fight [with Ferrari] during the race. We have discussed our expectations about this before the race. It would depend entirely on how long the soft tyre would last. Either we are right or they are right," Hamilton said to the media in Sochi. 

Hamilton went on to admit that the soft tyres would have been the better option after seeing Ferrari's performance during the opening laps of the race. Because Ferrari pitted Leclerc during the safety car period, Bottas ended up ahead of the man from Monaco. 

Leclerc's best chance of an overtake would have been at the race restart, but the Finnish driver managed to keep the red car in his mirrors. Hamilton thanks Bottas for his efforts in a tricky situation. 

“Valtteri did an excellent job. It is not easy to keep the Ferraris behind you and Charles rode very well. Given the difficulties we had, this was a great day for the team," Hamilton continued. 

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