sport

Hamilton: Stops didn't cost me

Lewis Hamilton doesn’t believe his slow pitstops in Austrian GP cost him the race victory to Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, with the Briton now eyeing Silverstone as the place to regain the momentum in the championship fight.

Both of the 2008 World Champion's pitstops in Sunday's 71-lap race were in excess of three seconds, while Rosberg's own stops were a combined 1.9 seconds faster than the sister car's. The fact the German driver ultimately went on to win the race from Hamilton by the exact same margin prompted debate as to whether the Briton would have triumphed with quicker stops, while the delays also triggered wild conspiracy theories across social media.

However, reflecting on the two incidents after the race, Hamilton conceded that they didn't affect the final outcome of the race.

\"They had some problem with my left-front wheel on one of them and I think on the first one I was a little bit long [in hitting his marks in Mercedes' pit box],\" the 29-year-old told reporters.

\"I overall lost two seconds in pitstops, so valuable, but it wouldn't have put me first.\"

Hamilton's view was shared by Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, who pointed to Hamilton's pair of mistakes in qualifying, which consigned him to ninth on the grid, as the moments where the Briton's realistic victory hopes vanished.

Asked if he felt sympathy for Hamilton's pit delays, Wolff responded: \"Yes of course, but he lost the race in qualifying.

\"He recovered tremendously with the great start and the great first lap. In all our calculations the best possible result was a second and he achieved that second.\"

Hamilton's failure to deny Rosberg victory at the Red Bull Ring meant his team-mate extended his advantage in the Drivers' Championship to 29 points, the biggest lead of the season. But while he lost ground for the third successive race weekend, Hamilton said he took great heart from his pace in the W05 all weekend.

\"I'm always learning lessons. Also, it's always good to remember the points that I've lost by not finishing. But 29 points even though I haven't finished as many races as I'd have liked, there's still a long way to go," he declared.

\"There are a lot of positives to take from this weekend. I had a lot of pace this weekend. I didn't capitalise on it, but take that into the next race and make sure I do.\"