The Briton’s Lewis Hamilton‘s second win in three races this season, and the 97th of his career, was achieved after overtaking both of his chief rivals at Portimao, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
But Lewis Hamilton says he had complicated the situation for himself by being caught out between Bottas and Verstappen as the early-race Safety Car ended at the end of lap six, dropping behind his chief Red Bull rival to third.
“What a race! It was awesome,” a jubilant Hamilton told Sky Sports F1. “The start I was obviously putting pressure on Valtteri, very difficult to pass, but I thought I was going to get him.
“Then we got the Safety Car and I did everything to keep the temperatures right in the tyres but the restart, I literally took my eyes off Valtteri for one second to see where Max was and Valtteri had gone. So that was a mistake.
“Then following that, one other mistake was that I was in the tow of Valtteri and I just should have just stayed there. But instead I moved over and gave Max the tow and he came flying past me.”
Meanwhile, recounting in the press conference how he had felt in that moment as his big title rival sailed past into Turn One, Hamilton admitted: “I was like, ‘you idiot’, to myself you know!”
Yet, unfazed by the setback, third place became first within the space of 13 laps.
“That made my day a little bit harder but that much more enjoyable to be fighting these guys,” the seven-time champion explained to Rachel Brookes.
“There was a moment I fell back from them but gradually got closer and just waited for the right moment. It came when Max made a mistake and then I just had to make sure every chance you took.”