Lewis Hamilton took the lead of the race over Charles Leclerc with two laps to go. He thinks that the move on the Ferrari driver shows that it is possible to overtake there, and the move on Max Verstappen was fair.
Lewis tried to overtake his main rival on the first lap in Turn 9. However, the two drivers collided and the Dutch driver hit the wall very badly. The crash caused many controversies, but Lewis believes that he was not completely guilty.
He says that since he managed to overtake two cars in that corner later in the race. The first move was on Lando Norris, who did not defend his position very hard. The second overtake was the one for the lead over Leclerc. The two drivers went into the corner side by side, and Charles left room for Lewis by going wide. The Briton managed to stay on track on stole the first position.
“He was very respectful in terms of leaving a gap,” Hamilton said of his battle with Leclerc. “I got to be somewhere alongside him, he knew that I was there, but he stayed committed and just did a wider line and he nearly kept it. And that was great racing.
“For me, at that moment, I backed out at one point just to make sure that we didn’t come together. But I think it was just a nice balance and I think that’s really how the racing should go.
“Of course, in a perfect world, that’s what would have happened in the first attempt. But different time, different place, different driver.”
What Charles did differently from Max was that he did not turn into the corner like anyone was there, but left enough space for two cars. However, while doing so, he had a snap of oversteer and had to use the run-off area.
“I knew Lewis was in the inside, I left a space and unfortunately I think I had stayed in front but at the very end of the corner I got a snap and lost a little bit of time and then Lewis got in front of me,” said Charles.
Hamilton concluded by praising Charles and the whole Scuderia, by adding that he was not sure he could win the race at some point.
“He did such a fantastic job today,” Hamilton said. “I honestly didn’t know at the beginning that we would be able to beat him.
“I thought I had good pace initially on the mediums but then Charles just started opening up the gap and putting in some fantastic laps. I could see that he wasn’t managing so I was like ‘Jeez, he’s surely going to blister at some stage’, but he said they don’t blister so.
“Honestly Charles wasn’t on my mind when I came out [after the penalty], it was trying to see if I could catch the car ahead, just one by one, and I got the McLaren.
Lewis also thanked his teammate for the great work done when he did not make him lose time while he was on the chase to reach Leclerc.
“I was chasing down Valtteri [Bottas] and he was so gracious today to work so well as a teammate to allow me to pass, so I could chase for the win for the team. That’s great sportsmanship, I do appreciate it.
“Then I saw myself catching him but I was thinking ‘by the time I get to him my tires would be finished at this pace’. But then I saw the back-markers and I realized that might create some opportunities, so I was like ‘I’ve got to catch him as soon as possible so that when I did catch him there would be opportunities to fight.
“Then my heart nearly stopped when I went up the inside in Turn 9, because I thought the same thing was going to happen that happened to me and Max.”