Hamilton: Early pit stop was my call

Lewis Hamilton has said he had no option but to pit early as he was struggling for grip in his Mercedes W08.

The Brit was off to a flying start at Albert Park, but dived into the pits on Lap 17, a move that would ultimately put the race in Ferrari's hands as Sebastian Vettel successfully completed the overlap.

Hamilton was held up behind Red Bull's Max Verstappen, but there was little the three-time World Champion was able to do about it.

"In the race, we struggled with the tyres. I had to stop earlier as we ran out of grip. We pitted and got stuck behind one of the Red Bulls," Hamilton said on the podium.

He then expanded on his initial comments in the proceeding drivers' press conference.

He added: "We were struggling with the grip from the get-go, Seb was able to always answer the lap time – and the majority of the time he would do faster lap times.

"Towards the end, I got in traffic and started to overheat tyres and struggle with grip. The gap was closing up and I was slowing down.

"I came in and got stuck in traffic – which is a bit unfortunate, but that is motor racing."

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