Lewis Hamilton spent much of the Japanese Grand Prix race chasing the Frenchman from Alpine, eventually crossing the checkered flag just 0.641s behind in sixth.
The seven-time world champion said before the race that his disadvantage on the straights would be key, while wet conditions also meant there would be no DRS.
Although he finally lost his battle against Esteban Ocon, the British Mercedes driver assured that he had enjoyed the race, the duel and the challenge that those complicated conditions posed.
” I had a lot of fun ,” he said when asked about the battle against the Frenchman. “He did a great job of staying ahead, he was obviously very, very fast on the straights .”
“I tried everything, but I think we had the most fun. I don’t know how the others did it.”
Hamilton, who finished sixth, further back than he wanted, assured that he ended up satisfied with his day: “I don’t feel frustrated, because it was like a sprint race. I did the best I could, and I’m very happy that we at least got some points today. We were very slow down the straight . I was trying to get as close as I could.”
“You could probably see it on TV, as soon as we hit the straights, they would go away . I wish it had been a longer race.”
“I think it was an amazing race. That’s what motorsport is all about. I had a great time, it was so hard, it was so hard to see anything.”
Regarding the conditions of the first start before the red flag, he commented: “It seems that this year there is more spray with these cars. And I think that probably we all should have started with extreme wet tyres. But when we went around the grill, it was for intermediates”.
“I guess from there it started to rain a little bit more. But I think if we had started with the ends, we would have been able to keep going, and that would have been fun. The visibility was tricky, but at the same time it was amazing.”
Lewis Hamilton remains hopeful that Mercedes can make a big step forward in 2023 after a tougher-than-expected run with a troublesome W13.
“I think we know what the problems are with this car. I think we as a team haven’t gone from being world champions to even being able to build a good car.”
“I have no doubt that next year we will have a better car. Whether or not we have been able to solve all the problems that we have this year, we will know when we arrive,” Hamilton concluded at Suzuka.