Lewis Hamilton jokingly said “don’t speak too soon” when told he would hold onto his P2 finish this time around in Mexico City, after his disqualification from the same position in Austin last time out.
Both Hamilton and Charles Leclerc lost their positions in Austin after they were found to have excessive plank were in the United States, but both drivers featured on the podium in Mexico on Sunday, with Hamilton believing his finish came with an unexpected turn of pace.
He rose from sixth on the grid to overtake Leclerc on the road and finish behind only Max Verstappen come the chequered flag, who took a record-breaking 16th victory in a single season.
Lewis Hamilton ‘was not expecting’ Mexico City podium after ‘difficult’ weekend
Hamilton was seen moving off-line throughout the race to try and cool his Mercedes while following other cars, but that did not stop him from passing Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz and then Leclerc to take a well-earned podium.
And when told that this second place result was one he would be keeping in the post-race press conference, Hamilton responded with a smile and quipped: “Don’t speak too soon!”
Addressing his race overall, he added: “Yeah, great day. I was not expecting to be up here with these guys.
“Difficult weekend it started out, but I just kept my nose clean at the beginning of the race and then was just really trying to manage the tyres and maximise and progress forwards.
“When I noticed that I had the pace on Carlos, I knew that then with the undercut it really worked quite well, so the team did a great job I think with strategy and then of course the red flag probably played into our hands in terms of getting onto the fresher tyre at the end, but I just I didn’t know whether or not the medium would make it that long.
“I was trying to see if I could close the gap to Max, but he was long gone and I could only just about equal his times. But a great result for the team, really proud of everyone.”
Hamilton was not particularly complimentary about how his W14 felt after Friday practice, saying it felt “night and day different” compared to the feeling he had in Austin last weekend, calling it “a bit of a nightmare to drive” after qualifying sixth on Saturday.
But when his car was put in race trim and it was filled with fuel, he believes his Mercedes came alive in a different way.
“We didn’t change anything obviously since qualifying, I think the car is just quite peaky within qualifying on light fuel,” he explained.
“But when you put a load of fuel in the car, it just handles nicer, it’s just nicer to drive.
“And I think we struck a really nice set-up this weekend, and particularly today for the race, then other than that, it’s just really good tyre management.
“I genuinely enjoyed it. It’s not the most physical of races, being that you can’t push all the way, you’re saving, you’re doing 200, 300 metres of lift and coast to save and keep the car cool and stop it from failing.
“But I was definitely hoping maybe there’ll be an opportunity to get closer to Max, but maybe next week.”