Hamilton relieved to limit damage after Bahrain shunt


Lewis Hamilton was relieved to be able to score some points at the Bahrain Grand Prix after being hit by Valtteri Bottas at the first corner.

After a sluggish start off the line Hamilton was trailing Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg by the opening turn, and his race was blighted further as Bottas' left front careered into his right side.

Hamilton slipped down to seventh following the incident and was unable to catch Rosberg - who recorded a fifth successive F1 win - the defending champion having to settle for third behind Kimi Raikkonen.

While disappointed, the Briton was pleased to have limited Rosberg's advantage somewhat, and refused to criticise Bottas.

"I'm not quite sure what happened at turn one," he told a news conference. "Whoever was on the inside was in my blindspot so I didn't see them. 

"It was a racing incident - those kind of things happen. 

"After that just trying to manage the tyres, obviously with a lot less rear end and trying to get as many points as possible. I did the best I could with it.

"I'm [just] glad that I didn't spin. At least I could keep going. At least I managed to continue and still have some performance left in the car that I could get back into the top three."

Finishing third capped another disappointing race day for Hamilton - who qualified on pole with a new lap record on Saturday - after he also faltered at the start of the season opener in Melbourne.

He added: "I don't really know what was [wrong] at the start. I don't think there was any particular real issue. 

"I think it was just not a good getaway by myself and nothing technical or anything like that."

Meanwhile, Bottas was handed a drive-through penalty for causing the accident, something he felt was harsh as he looked for a top-three finish.

"I committed to brake late into turn one, I saw a gap on the inside 50 metres before the corner and I thought 'ok, that's going to be my spot' but I think Lewis didn't expect me to come on the inside, so we touched," he said. "It's a shame because it cost us a lot today 

"Of course I wasn't happy when I was told about the penalty. I don't know what to say, really, I need to have a better look at what happened."