Lewis Hamilton gives five-word retirement verdict but urges Mercedes caution | F1 | Sport

Lewis Hamilton has insisted that ‘the fire is definitely burning’ within his F1 career after securing his first podium of the season in Barcelona last weekend. However, the seven-time world champion was quick to urge caution as the hype continues to build around Mercedes’ recent progression.

Heading into the race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the legendary Brit’s spirits appeared to be at rock bottom after missing out on a podium in Canada to team-mate George Russell in the dying laps. However, fortune swung the other way at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Despite Russell taking the lead from fourth on the grid on the opening lap of the race, it was Hamilton who demonstrated better long-run pace and the 39-year-old eventually snatched the final place on the podium away from his Mercedes counterpart, ending his long wait for a top-three finish.

Assessing the impact his podium in Barcelona has had from a mental perspective, Hamilton said: “It feels good to have races like that. Sometimes you don’t get to have a race like that where you get to get your elbows out and have some really fun and challenging overtakes.

“But that was a really good, fun one for me. Barcelona always puts up a good race. And it’s been a strong one for me for many years. We all need good days like that in our lives just to remind us that it’s still there. So the fire is definitely there. We just need to continue to supply it and keep it blazing.”

Despite Mercedes’ significant step forward from a performance perspective, Hamilton isn’t getting carried away. “Our car is generally not being quick out of the box,” the Brit explained ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix.

“It’s something we always have to tune and work on. But Montreal is quick out of the box, maybe it was a one-off, we’ll see tomorrow. But I like the Sprint weekends, it doesn’t give you a lot of time to adjust.”

Despite Hamilton’s cautious optimism, there is a strong chance that Mercedes will be in the fight for pole position and victory at the Red Bull Ring this weekend. Red Bull and McLaren remain a serious threat, while Ferrari have some work to do after disappointing weekends in Montreal and Barcelona.

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