Lewis Hamilton 'encouraged' after discovering damaged floor

Lewis Hamilton says it was good to know that there was a reason for his lack of pace compared to team-mate Valtteri Bottas, after Mercedes discovered part of his floor had been damaged during the race.

Hamilton was around four-tenths a lap slower than Bottas during the Australian Grand Prix, allowing the Finn to build a comfortable gap and take victory unchallenged.

Whilst Hamilton knew there must have been a reason for his poor pace, it wasn't until after the race that he was told about the damage to his car (see main photo).

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"I had no way of knowing it was the floor," said the Briton. "Something didn't feel right, but you can't dwell on it. You just have to try and work with what you have, and I was quite easily keeping up with Valtteri until then.

"Then afterwards I felt I was really struggling with the rear. From lap four, that's when the damage occurred.

"Not sure where it came from, because I didn't run wide anywhere."

The piece of floor, although small, channels air to the diffuser and helps with tyre management, which means not only would Hamilton's W10 have been unbalanced, but also worse on its tyres.

"It's been quite a sensitive part of the floor, and actually that's quite encouraging to me because we work very hard to get the balance right.

"I felt like I had good pace this weekend, and we did our normal job in terms of working hard on getting a good set-up.

"And then all of a sudden the car was completely different compared to the formation laps, and what we had in the long runs.

"So it's great to see that there is a reason for the unexpected."