Mexican GP: Hamilton had floor damage after first lap contact
Lewis Hamilton won the Mexican Grand Prix despite suffering damage to the floor of his car after contact with Max Verstappen on the opening lap of the race.
Hamilton got off to a strong start, but ended up on the grass down the main straight while trying to avoid contact with the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.
The Mercedes driver had to back out of the move to avoid an accident and that put him alongside Verstappen going into Turn1.
As the pair came into the corner, they both got sideways and touched each other, with Verstappen having to go on to the grass, missing Turn 2.
Both cars fell down the field, with Hamilton momentarily dropping to fifth, behind the McLaren of Carlos Sainz, but he was able to make his way up to fourth before gambling on a one stop strategy that eventually won him the race.
Although Hamilton had the pace to win the race ahead of the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel, the five-time champion said that he was driving with a lot of damage to the floor.
“Today was a surprise, we’ve really struggled here for quite some time and we came into this weekend expecting it to be very difficult.” said Hamilton.
“I had a crazy first couple of corners today.
“I was pushed on the grass at the start and then Max hit me.
“It was not easy to recover from that afterwards – I had a massive chunk of my floor missing, so the rear end was moving a lot and I had to really change the dynamic of how I was driving.
“I don’t know how I managed to keep it going, but I did.”
Despite questioning the team’s decision to put him on a one-stop strategy during the race, Hamilton applauded their decision afterwards, saying he really wanted to deliver in Mexico for the fans.
“The guys also did a fantastic job with the strategy – we stopped pretty early, and honestly I thought it might have been too early, but it all worked out in the end.” he added.
“I really wanted to deliver for the fans today; they were all out there during the drivers’ parade supporting me, so I really wanted to give them a good performance and I’m so grateful we won.”