Lewis Hamilton says he won’t be celebrating his win in the Qatar Grand Prix as he retains his focus on chasing Max Verstappen in the drivers’ championship.
The 102nd victory of Hamilton’s career was a relatively comfortable one as he led every lap from pole position in Losail, leading home Verstappen who scored the extra point for fastest lap. As a result, Hamilton is now eight points adrift of the Dutchman — who recovered from a grid penalty — and says he wasn’t even concerned when a number of tire failures affected drivers in the field.
“It was just amazing — these past three weeks have been so difficult for everyone, with some big distances between all the races and the team did such an amazing job, particularly these past two races,” Hamilton said. “Today the race was made a lot easier with the penalties the guys got for the mistake they made yesterday. That made it a lot more straightforward and yeah, was just managing the gap at the front and keeping the car safe, and maximize and bring the car home.
“I was managing quite well, wasn’t on any of the curbs, so (the tire failures) weren’t concerning for me. I assumed they were coming from people running on the curbs but I was never near any of them, so it wasn’t an issue.
“I’m grateful for my team, thanks to the men and women back at the factories who have been pushing so much to bridge the gap to our competitors. It’s a great feeling but there’s no time to celebrate, no time to rest — we keep our head down and keep chasing.”
Nevertheless, Hamilton acknowledged he feels Mercedes is in a good position heading to Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, coming off the back of victories in the last two races.
“I feel great, in the best shape physically than I’ve been all year — at the beginning not particularly that (good). So I feel great, the car is feeling better than ever. I feel positive going into these next couple of races — they should be quite good for our car, so I’m looking forward to that battle.”