Hamilton elated with winning overtakes after 'idiot' moment at restart

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Lewis Hamilton was delighted to recover from third early on to claim victory at the Portuguese Grand Prix.

The Briton overtook both Max Verstappen and teammate Valtteri Bottas within the opening 20 laps before having the pace to go on and secure a second win of 2021 and at Portimao.

But after a rare moment when Hamilton was caught napping by the Dutchman at the restart following an early Safety Car, it threatened to be a very different day for the seven-time world champion.

“That was such a tough race physically and mentally,” Hamilton said in parc ferme. “I didn’t get quite as good a start as Valtteri and then lost out at the restart which was not good.

“I was focusing, naturally, on Valtteri and literally just for a split-second, I looked in my mirror just to see where Max was and literally that split second, that’s when Valtteri went, so I lost out.

"I was in Valtteri’s tow, [Verstappen was] about to pull out, but I pulled out and gave him Valtteri’s tow and I was like, 'You idiot!' to myself."

It wasn't long though before Hamilton was able to respond, capitalising on a slide from the Red Bull exiting the penultimate corner.

"I really had to position myself as best I could after that," he added. “I just had to gather my thoughts and make a couple of tweaks in terms of how I was driving and then start on the attack again.

"Max made a mistake at some point which was perfect and I knew that was going to be the lap where I could be as close as I could in the last sector."

And finally, it was Bottas, who was able to keep his teammate at bay for a short time before almost shooting himself in the foot by going defensive on the main straight.

“I had to make the move early on before the tyres were destroyed. I managed to just get him at Turn 1, just right on the limit. Great race.”

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Hamilton wasn't able to pull a relatively comfortable lead of four-five seconds until after his pitstop, by which point Verstappen had used the undercut to reclaim second.

But the Mercedes driver was just grateful for the chance to recover and put that down to the Portimao layout.

"What a great track; it really enabled us to fight close in that first stint and I think that’s really what the fans what," he said.

"That’s definitely what I want from a racing point of view, and this track is really great because you can have certain different lines at certain different corners, just like Austin, and so it was really awesome."