Hamilton says damage made him lose performance

Lewis Hamilton says the damage caused by Valtteri Bottas at the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix made it impossible for him to catch Kimi Raikkonen.

Hamilton says damage made him lose performance
Podium: race winner Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 Team, second place Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, third place Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team W07 and Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW38
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team W07 and Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW38
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team W07, Esteban Gutierrez, Haas F1 Team VF-16, Max Verstappen, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11 and Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-31
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team W07 after making contact with Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW38
Start action: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 Team W07, Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW38 and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team W07 crash

The Williams driver crashed into Hamilton at the first corner, damaging Hamilton's car and making the world champion lose several positions.

Bottas was given a drive-through penalty for the incident, as well as two penalty points.

Hamilton went on to recover to finish in third, but he admitted his car was not the same after the accident.

"Obviously I lost a lot of performance in the car," said Hamilton, who finished 20 seconds behind Ferrari's Raikkonen.

"I had so much damage on the car I couldn't keep up with Kimi. I did what I could with it, I was trying to keep the tyres.

"I am not sure what happened at Turn 1, whoever was on inside was in my blind spot, I didn't see them, but it was a racing incident.

"It was in the blind spot, I don't know what happened. We could keep going, and I managed to continue and still had some performance in the car."

Hamilton, who had started from pole, had also endured a terrible first lap in Australia two weeks ago, dropping from first to sixth.

Regarding his start, he said: "I don't think there was a particular issue, it just wasn't a good getaway, nothing technical."

The Briton admitted the situation was painful, but he was relieved to have scored points.

"Maybe today perhaps more painful [than Melbourne]," Hamilton said. "We still managed to get back up there and at least get some points, so damage limitation.

"I am glad it is more points and I am glad I finished the race."

Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble

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