Lewis Hamilton says his run to third place in the Austrian Grand Prix made him feel like a spectator, such was the lonely nature of his race.
Finishing 40 seconds behind second-placed Max Verstappen, but 18 seconds ahead of teammate George Russell, Hamilton had little in the way of wheel-to-wheel combat to contend with, and the Briton said his eyes were frequently drawn to the big TV screens dotted around the Red Bull Ring.
"I was a bit lonely, with [Charles Leclerc and Verstappen] 30-something seconds ahead of me," Hamilton told media including RacingNews365.com.
"I was always just watching the race on the TV, on the straight, and just watching where they were.
"I could see them coming through Turn 6 as I was coming up to Turn 1, so I was getting a bit of a fan's view of what was happening.
Hamilton and Russell's third and fourth places came after both had crashed during Friday's qualifying session, and the seven-time World Champion paid tribute to his mechanics for turning both cars around in time for Saturday's practice session and Sprint event.
"After such a difficult weekend, with the crash, what a monumental effort from the team to rebuild the car," he said.
"This is a really great result, so [I'm] very grateful."
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Hamilton: Red Bull and Ferrari still have the edge
After struggling badly with porpoising earlier in the season, Mercedes appear to have solved some of those issues at recent events, with Hamilton in the hunt for victory at the British Grand Prix before fading late in the race.
However, despite an upturn in form, he says Mercedes haven't overtaken the pace-setting Red Bulls and Ferraris just yet.
"I would argue that we've not yet been in a position where we've been the fastest car," added Hamilton.
"[Ferrari and Red Bull] still have the edge. I think we've sometimes been able to match their times, but to the point where we're actually ahead of them, we're not quite there yet.
"I think we've made some improvements this weekend to the car once again, but for some reason, this track just wasn't the same, they were a little bit further ahead in race pace.
"I'm hoping that when we go to the next tracks, they're a bit more favourable to us. That might be more like Silverstone, if that's the case.
"I'd really love to be in that battle that they're having."
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