Lewis Hamilton has clarified comments he made about Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez in the aftermath of the Mexican Grand Prix.
Hamilton finished second behind title rival and championship leader Max Verstappen in Mexico City. After the race, Hamilton joined Mercedes boss Toto Wolff in criticising Bottas’ lack of a defensive move at Turn 1, which allowed Verstappen into the lead of the race at the start.
Hamilton told the press after the race Bottas had “left the door open” for Verstappen, who now leads the championship by 19 points with four races left. Posting to Instagram on Monday evening, the seven-time world champion said it was not meant as criticism.
“We all have bad days. We live and learn,” Hamilton wrote. “Yesterday I said that vb [Bottas] left the door open and naturally people will jump to criticise. We are a team and we win and we lose as a team. There is not one single person responsible for winning or losing, we do it together good or bad.
“You may be able to beat us but you can’t break us! On to the next one Valtteri, let’s keep pushing bro!”
Hamilton also sought to clarify something he had said about Perez, who finished third.
Perez spent the final laps chasing Hamilton down but was ultimately unable to find an opportunity to get past.
In another post-race interview on Sunday, Hamilton said: “[Red Bull’s] pace, it was just unbelievable, and there was nothing I could do to battle that… and when you’ve got Checo [Perez] on your tail, you know the car is quick.”
In a message posted at the same time as his Bottas clarification, Hamilton said his comments were taken out of context by some who reported it to be a dig at the Mexican driver and not a comment about how good Red Bull’s car was at the high-altitude circuit.
“Just want to make sure people don’t read what I was saying wrong yesterday. I have a lot of respect for Sergio Perez and think he’s doing a great job in his new team, Hamilton wrote.
“He’s improved so much this season and I know how hard it is to progress with a new team, it takes time.
“My comment was simply that following another car in Mexico is the hardest thing due to the low drag we all have. That’s why there is very little overtaking.
“However, he was able to follow so closely which highlights just how much more downforce they were able to carry. Big up Checo for keeping it clean.”
The championship continues with this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix at Sao Paulo’s Interlagos circuit.