Lewis Hamilton was forced to direct the constructor trophy for the Spanish Grand Prix towards his Red Bull counterparts on Sunday after Khalid Al Zamil mistakenly went to hand the silverware to the Mercedes driver.

Hamilton produced an impressive drive at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, overcoming a poor start to finish ahead of team-mate George Russell, who was leading the field at the end of the opening lap. That feat ensured that he filled the final spot on the podium behind race-winner Max Verstappen and second-placed Lando Norris.

When the seven-time world champion made his way up onto the rostrum, he was approached by Aramco's vice president of public affairs, Al Zamil, who was carrying the constructor trophy. This was, in actuality, earned by Red Bull, and Hamilton was forced to direct the official towards his rivals to his right.

This did not dampen the Brit's spirits though. 2024 has been his toughest-ever start to a season, so outqualifying and then beating Russell in the race was a strong step in the right direction. "Yes, big boost to finally get a good result," he explained after the chequered flag.

"It's been a minute since I've been up here in the race. So a huge, huge thank you to the team who have done an amazing job to... Just with all the processes through the race weekend, but particularly everyone back at the factory for working so hard the extra-long hours to bring components to the car. and we're slowly getting closer.

"I mean last year we were very fast here, but you have to take it with a pinch of salt, but obviously the last couple of races we've also been relatively competitive. So I think we have closed the gap a little bit but we still have a good couple of tenths to try and find. So we've just got to have all hands on deck and keep pushing."

While Hamilton and Mercedes were delighted with their progress, the mood in the winning team's garage was one of tempered excitement. Verstappen's composure to hold off the threat of a charging Norris was nothing short of exceptional, but he is being made to work harder than he would hope to stay in victory lane.

For Mercedes, however, the immediate focus will be on returning to regular podium contention. The Silver Arrows have now scored third-place finishes in back-to-back races, but Toto Wolff will be reluctant to declare his team back until they can pose a serious threat to Verstappen and Norris.

2024-06-24T10:15:55Z dg43tfdfdgfd