Hamilton relieved after successful damage limitation

ยฉ XPB 

Starting from 13th place on the grid at a track where overtaking is notoriously difficult, Lewis Hamilton didn't have high hopes for Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix.

A problem with set-up on his W08 had left Hamilton struggling in qualifying, and he was eliminated before Q3. The car was little better when he lined up on the grid for the start of the race.

He picked up only one place at the start, and then had to play the long game for the rest of the afternoon. It paid off, with a much better than expected seventh place at the chequered flag.

"I'm really, really happy that I was able to fight back to seventh," said Hamilton after the race. "The team said in the strategy meeting this morning that tenth was the best I could get, which really would have sucked.

"To score six points, considering where I was on the grid after a disastrous day on Saturday is a good recovery.

"I feel really good, I feel very positive. I feel really happy," he insisted. "I came here today a lot further back and I had no idea what was going to happen.

"The beginning of the race was quite boring and then when I got in that clear air, I had a lot of fun.

The team kept Hamilton out until lap 46, later than most of his rivals. And it paid off in the final results.

"I'm really happy that I was able to leapfrog those guys as you can't overtake on track," he smiled.

After the safety car for Pascal Wehrlein's accident, Hamilton targeted a move on Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz for sixth place. However he couldn't find a way past before the end of the race.

"It was impossible to overtake and I tried everything to get past Carlos at the end," he admitted.

Even so, the damage done to Hamilton's title campaign by Saturday's nightmare qualifying will be difficult to compensate for. Hamilton has now fallen a long way behind Sebastian Vettel in the championship standings.

"The gap's big, for sure, but not impossible to close," he insisted. "25 points is a long way, but I've got some incredible support here, back home, all over.

"I went on the radio at the end there to make sure the team know that this battle isn't over.

"I come away I would say from one of the most difficult weekends that I've had for a while. But there's still lots of positives to take from it," he continued. "I'm going to work as hard as I can to make sure that a weekend like this is not repeated.

"We'll be sure to push those red cars hard next time out in Canada," he added. "Montreal, we're going to have to seriously bring it there.

"We've got a real fight on our hands, but there are still 14 races to go."

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Gallery: All the pictures from Saturday in Monaco

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