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Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton 're-energised' after breaking recent F1 trend

The Mercedes driver took a strong second in the sprint and recovered to ninth from 18th in the race.

Hamilton China
To news overview © XPBimages

Lewis Hamilton has described how he received a "confidence boost" from leading the Chinese Grand Prix sprint - the first time he led any laps in the format.

Hamilton's final Mercedes season has got off to a bad start, with a seventh and three ninth-place finishes from the five races, which also includes a DNF in Australia.

From 18th on the Chinese grid, he rallied back to ninth, but has only one podium finish in the last nine races - the worst run of his career.

However, he managed to secure seven points and second place in the China sprint, his best finish in the format since the first event at Silverstone in 2021.

Amid the difficulties at Mercedes, he felt energised from the boost he received from leading before being passed by Max Verstappen.

"Anytime you have a good result, it is always a confidence boost, that is the way of life," Hamilton told media including RacingNews365.

"You have a good day and it lifts your spirits for sure, the circumstances were special with the rain [in sprint qualifying], but obviously I had to do the job and put that lap in."

A long time coming

Prior to leading the sprint laps in China, Hamilton had not led in any format since six laps in the United States and led just 13 laps in the entire 2023 season, compared to 1,003 for Verstappen.

He has just one pole position since the start of 2022, which came in last year's Hungarian GP and he conceded that he missed the feeling of fighting at the front.

"To be on the front row, I don't remember having the view for a long time, or it feels like a really long time, I don't know if we've had it in the last couple of years," he added.

"To be able to fight into Turn 1 for the lead was just reminding me of why I love what I do and what we do.

"I know we've got to work incredibly hard to get back to a more consistent placing like this, but I think you saw... I didn't even put up a fight against Max because he was coming at a serious pace.

"I knew that he would get me and I really wanted to make sure I didn't lose time to the cars further behind so I could retain second."

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