LEWIS Hamilton admitted he felt “deflated” after a five-second time penalty cost him the chance of victory ahead of title rival Sebastian Vettel in the Bahrain GP.
The Briton was penalised for unnecessarily holding up Daniel Ricciardo at the entrance to the pitlane at the first round of stops as Mercedes double-stacked under the Safety Car.
Despite twice being let through by teammate Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton was unable to chase down Vettel and had to settle for second, finishing 6.6 seconds behind the Ferrari driver.
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RICCIARDO: ‘I genuinely thought we had a chance to win’
“I’m a little bit deflated,” Hamilton told Sky F1.
“Ferrari did a great job. But ultimately you set out to move forwards and do well for the team and I don’t feel like I executed the way I could.”
Hamilton started second on the grid but lost out to Vettel on the run down to Turn One which set the tone for his trouble-filled afternoon.
After Ferrari pitted the German early, Mercedes attempted to pit Bottas and Hamilton together after the Safety Car was deployed.
But an issue with the Mercedes’ wheel gun caused a tardy stop for Bottas and Hamilton slowed in an attempt to limit his waiting time, holding up Ricciardo in the process.
The three-time world champion took his penalty at his second stop with 15 laps remaining and rejoined in third, 18 seconds behind Vettel.
But despite Bottas moving aside for a second time, a charging Hamilton ran out of laps to catch his championship rival.
“It’s the second time I’ve double stacked and lost out,” Hamilton said.
“This was my fault. I was supposed to have a five second gap and at 4.7 I thought I could get back on the power. But when I got to the pitlane it was four seconds. And I think he had a problem on top of that so it was a lot closer and after that it all cascaded.”
He added: “We will regather as a team and come back fighting. Losing points for the team is definitely painful.”
The victory means Vettel moves seven points clear of Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship but the Briton is relishing a season-long battle.
“The beginning for us to be that close was great. I just wish with these cars we could follow closer so we could have done more together,” he said.
BOTTAS ACCEPTS CONTROVERSIAL TEAM ORDERS
Bottas had started on pole for the first time in his Formula 1 career and while he held the lead until the first pit stops, he struggled for pace throughout the race.
Team boss Toto Wolff confirmed to Sky F1 that a problem on the grid had caused the Finn’s rear tyre pressures to be too high, leaving his W08 hampered by oversteer.
Bottas was first told to move aside for Hamilton on lap 25 as Vettel built a six-second lead and again with 10 laps remaining.
The Finn described the calls as “tough” but accepted the team’s decision.
“I was expecting a lot more personally. The only goal was the victory. We need to find out why we didn’t have the pace. That was why we couldn’t win as a team and I couldn’t defend the position,” Bottas said.
“During the first stint the tyre pressure was an issue. Seb and Lewis were putting pressure on and I couldn’t control the race or build a gap. I took everything out of the tyre and we were a bit unlucky with the Safety Car pit-stop. The pace still wasn’t there in the second and third stint.
“It’s probably one of the toughest things you can hear as a racing driver but that’s life. I completely understand the team’s view. Lewis had the chance to maybe get some extra points for the team but it is tough. I’m definitely a team player so I wouldn’t say no.
Story originally appeared on Sky Sports
Originally published as Watch: Hamilton’s naughty block on Ricciardo
SOURCE: newsnow sport