Hamilton ‘over the moon’; hails Mercedes gesture

Personnel from Mercedes team joined Hamilton in taking a knee pre-race; Hamilton dominated Styrian GP for first 2020 win

By James Galloway

Last Updated: 12/07/20 6:58pm

A powerful message on the podium from Lewis Hamilton after winning the Styrian GP

A powerful message on the podium from Lewis Hamilton after winning the Styrian GP

A powerful message on the podium from Lewis Hamilton after winning the Styrian GP

Lewis Hamilton said he was “over the moon” to rebound in Austria with a dominant first win of the F1 season, as he also reflected on a “beautiful” moment before the race when Mercedes joined him in taking a knee.

Hamilton dominated Sunday’s Styrian GP from start to finish for his 85th career win – just six away from Michael Schumacher’s record – a week after finishing a penalised fourth at the same circuit after a disappointing weekend by the six-time champion’s high standards.

The 35-year-old has long been renowned for hitting back straight away after setbacks and asked how he manages it, Hamilton told Sky F1: “With great difficulty, but where there’s a will there’s a way.

“The last weekend definitely was psychologically challenging to have the penalties and then to be called into the stewards on Sunday morning just before the race. Then [to] get another penalty and then another one in the race.

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Lewis Hamilton says he’s ‘over the moon’ after taking his first victory of the season in dominant fashion in the Styrian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton says he’s ‘over the moon’ after taking his first victory of the season in dominant fashion in the Styrian Grand Prix

“It’s never easy, but there’s nothing you can do about the past, all you can do is focus and channel your energy to the future. So, I just made sure I stayed here, trained well, ate well, slept well and worked hard with Bono [Peter Bonnington, Hamilton’s race engineer] and the guys to understand where last weekend went wrong and corrected it this weekend.”

Hamilton, who unusually had only won once in seven attempts at the Red Bull Ring, added: “I don’t know why there are tracks that some drivers are stronger than others, but this is one of my weak circuits, so to get a performance like this today I’m over the moon. I’m so happy. But I do also know there’s a long way to go.”

Hamilton joined by Mercedes team in taking a knee

For the second race in a row, Hamilton and the majority of his fellow drivers took a knee at the front of the grid in support of Black Lives Matter and anti-racism.

Hamilton was joined in making the gesture by personnel from his Mercedes team, and other team personnel, further back on the grid.

“I didn’t see it exactly. I was told just before the race that we’re going to do it,” said Hamilton.

“It’s not something I asked for them to do, but it’s a beautiful thing. It doesn’t take a lot to do something like that, and it’s not changing the world, but perhaps shifting of perceptions and shifting ideals.

“We’ll just keep going.”

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The Sky F1 team discuss whether the sport is doing enough to address the issue of racism and convey a unified message

The Sky F1 team discuss whether the sport is doing enough to address the issue of racism and convey a unified message

Hamilton said the team’s culture of wanting to learn and always move forward underpinned the six-time champion’s unprecedented achievements in F1 after they opened up another season with back-to-back wins.

“We’ve had so much success over these years and the easiest thing is to lose focus, to ease up and lose determination I guess,” remarked the Briton. “I don’t see that ever happening in this team, it just doesn’t seem to exist with us.

“The guys back at the factory are relentless. The guys here [at the track] continue to be passionate about what they do.

“We are so united and you saw today on the grid we all took the knee together and that’s shown [that] with Mercedes we are learning along the way, and they’re learning on the way, and being accepting of change.

“But also when we’re talking about the car, they jump straight on it, they don’t jump to conclusions, they do great research and this weekend we’ve not had any problems thankfully. Still there’s a long way to go and it’s a challenge for everyone with their cars but this was a step forwards for sure.”

Hamilton leaves F1’s Austrian double header just six points behind team-mate Valtteri Bottas at the top of the early drivers’ standings. The Finn finished second after winning last week.

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