LE CASTELLET: An exhausted Lewis Hamilton celebrated his 300th Formula One race on Sunday by lying exhausted on his back on the floor of a cool-down room after finishing second in the French Grand Prix.
The seven-time world champion explained that the drinks bottle in his Mercedes car did not work and he was dehydrated after racing in searing heat at the Paul Ricard Circuit.
“That was a tough race because my drinks bottle didn’t work, but what a great result considering we’ve been so far off these guys all weekend,“ said Hamilton.
“I feel fantastic, but I wish I felt more hydrated – I’m looking forward to taking a few drinks now. I don’t usually use the drinks bottle in a race, so it was my first time all year to try it and nothing came out.
“I didn’t check my weight, but I would imagine I have lost around three kilos today so I am looking forward to downing this drink.”
Hamilton recovered after a short rest to join the podium celebrations.
He heaped praise on his Mercedes team and team-mate George Russell and the big sell-out holiday crowd.
“Reliability is one thing my team is amazing at – so huge congratulations to the team back at the factories and the team here,“ he said.
“Without them we wouldn’t get this podium. And George did an amazing job as well.”
Russell finished third to confirm Mercedes’ first double podium finish of the season.
Looking ahead to next weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, Hamilton added: “I love it at Budapest. Super excited to see the crowd there.
“It will be hard to beat Ferrari and Red Bull, they have the pace advantage still, but I’m hoping we bring upgrades to the track and hopefully step forward. Hopefully in that race, even closer.”
Hamilton is only the sixth driver to appear in 300 Grands Prix and is bidding to be the first to win a race after reaching that total.
He is the only driver to have seen the chequered flag at the end of every race this season and Mercedes are the only team to score points in each race. – AFP