Lewis Hamilton says he tried to keep up with Max Verstappen in F1 French GP but eventually understood it isn’t possible there.

Mercedes’ Hamilton made a good start in F1 French GP when he passed Red Bull’s Sergio Perez for third. That was a crucial move from the Brit which eventually earned him second place in the end after the crash for Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

In all of the race, he was mostly lonely apart from few times when Perez chased him. But once the Mexican fell into the clutches of Hamilton’s teammate George Russell, the Brit was free and secured second with ease, even though he was far behind Verstappen.

In fact, Hamilton thought of chasing Verstappen early on but it was soon clear that it isn’t possible. “Obviously I missed P1, but Nyck did a great job,” he said. “And I think collectively as a team, whilst we didn’t have the pace of the lead cars, we… This is an incredible result for us, for George and I to be here. George did a great job as well. This is progress, even though we’re not necessarily closing the gap as such in race performance, in actual qualifying performance, but this is great points for us.

“I was trying to keep up with Max. He was just so fast. I was kind of keeping with him for like two, maybe two laps and then… but literally I’m full gas down the straight and he’s pulling away. That’s, I think, the biggest… one of the biggest deficits was the straight line. So if you’re losing four tenths, whatever it is, three tenths whatever it is on the straight this, there’s nothing you can do about that.

“So we’ve got to work to improve that for the future. And as I’m sure there’s a couple other places that we could be better. But yeah, if I pushed any more maybe I wouldn’t have seen the end of the race at the same position so I had to also keep in mind keeping the car in one piece and keeping the tyres there. This is the best result we could get,” summed up Hamilton.

Even though he finished 10s down the road, but crucially he beat Perez and so did Russell, with the latter having a hefty fight. “I think at the beginning keeping them behind was definitely tough, given their straightline speed was just impressive,” recalled Hamilton.

“So having to try and keep them out of the DRS zone was really the trick and then and then just tyre usage I think was probably key today. So yeah, I definitely don’t think George and I expected to be second and third. As you said, this is the highest I’ve been all year. So this is a huge day for me overall and looking forward to taking this positive energy onto Budapest,” summed up Hamilton.

The result was icing on the cake for the Brit who entered his 300th grand prix. He didn’t leave the moment to thank the people who brought him into the sport and supported him throughout his career.

“On Sunday morning when I woke, I just woke up just feeling incredibly grateful, just thinking about all the people that have been with me along the way,” said Hamilton. “For Ron and Mercedes giving me the chance when I was young. Martin Whitmarsh. Mansour Ojjeh. Toto, Niki, just Markus… Who am I missing? Dieter… Just all these incredible people that have supported me since I was 13.

“To then have this just incredible journey with them, every race powered by Mercedes. And so very, very proud to be up here representing them, alongside George and yeah, we’ve just got to keep pushing. Every weekend we’re hoping that we’re going to get a little bit closer,” summed up Hamilton.

Here’s Sergio Perez, George Russell on their fight