Hamilton hails Mercedes' upgrades after taking his first podium finish of 2024

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Spain, Circuit de Catalunyaes

Lewis Hamilton secured his first podium finish since last year's Mexico Grand Prix. The Briton prasied his team for introducing upgrades for their W15 on a reguar basis, but he conceded that the leading two teams, Red Bull and McLaren are still quicker at the moment.

Lewis Hamilton secured his best starting position of 2024, setting the third-quickest lap in qualifying.

However, he had a troublesome launch off the line, and fell back behind his team-mate George Russell. The Briton then had to make a few on-track passes, overtaking Ferrari's Carlos Sainz with an ambitious move.

While Russell elected to make an early second stop, Hamilton extended his second stint. His fresh softs enabled him to pass this team-mate into Turn 1, claiming his first podium finish since last year’s Mexico Grand Prix.

"It’s been a really great weekend. It’s been a while since I’ve been on the podium so I’m very happy! We’re not quite there yet but we’ve taken a huge step in recent races.

"We didn’t quite have the pace to fight with the two guys ahead of us but, if we can deliver more consistently like this, then we will be in a strong position. We are on our way to catching those guys and that is fantastic.

"I had a really bad start, which was unfortunate. The race may have been slightly different if I had got off the line better, but ultimately, I think P3 was the maximum today.

"I was pleased with my move on Sainz too. I gave him enough room and we both made it through the corner. It was an important move for my race, so I was glad to get it done. It’s now on to Austria and we’re looking forward to it," noted Hamilton.

George Russell had an eye-catching start from P4 as he catapulted himself into the lead with an ambitious, but brilliantly executed move into Turn 1.

However, the Briton was unable to hold his position for more than two laps with Max Verstappen overtaking him down the main straight with the help of DRS.

"There were a few things that went against us today, unfortunately. We had a slow first pit stop, and then the Hard tyre didn’t feel great in the final stint.

"Nevertheless, as a team our aim was to maximise what we could achieve today, and we did that with P3 and P4. Lewis drove a great race today and we take away the huge positives from what have been a very promising last couple of races.

"I was dreaming of making a move like I did into turn one last night. I didn’t think it would quite come to fruition in the way that it did! I remember Fernando (Alonso) making a similar start in 2013. We had a headwind so I knew I could brake quite late.

"It was a very satisfying move and felt good to lead a race again. Unfortunately, Max (Verstappen) was too fast for us today, as was Lando. But two podiums in two races is very encouraging as we head to Austria."

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was encouraged by the huge inroads the Brackley-based outfit has achieved in recent weeks.

"We can take a lot of positives away from today. We have taken several steps forward in the previous few races and it is good to see these confirmed here in Spain.

"We are not quite there yet, and we have to more to do to catch those ahead. Nevertheless, we are on a positive development trajectory, and it feels good to be back in the game.

Commenting on the eye-catching passes Hamilton and Russell made, the Austrian noted: "It was also fantastic to pull off two of the best overtakes I’ve seen in a long time.

"George made a mega start and braked late to take the lead. Lewis’s overtake on Sainz meanwhile was great racing and an important moment for his race.

"It’s been a while since we’ve been able to enjoy a Grand Prix podium with Lewis, so it was fantastic to see him up there. We’re now looking forward to the next two races in the triple-header and building on the momentum," noted Wolff.