Lewis Hamilton reveals how he once FAILED Valtteri Bottas as Mercedes dominate Ferrari

Hamilton, 34, came home in fourth at the 2018 race in Shanghai as Bottas finished runner-up to then-Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo.

The duo improved on that performance this time around, ending up first and second respectively to complete another Mercedes’ one-two.

Five-time world champion Hamilton has lavished praise on his Bottas after their most recent domination of Ferrari, but admitted being at fault on the track last year.

He said: ”Last year, he was on the podium in second here and I didn’t back him up as a team mate, being as quick as I should have been.

“It takes both of us and the whole team to be operating on all six cylinders, and at the moment we are.”

Mercedes have now taken maximum points from the opening three races of 2019, and Hamilton moved to the top of the drivers’ table on Sunday.

“I don’t feel like we’re the dominant team,” Hamilton said.

“But I think our overall process has been more solid, the platform, pits tops, performance in qualifying, just very, very much operating at the super-high, 90 percentile.

“So I’m really grateful. The team has done an incredible job. I had no idea that we’d have three one-twos so early on in the season.

“On top of that, Valtteri’s really stepped up this year, he’s really punching, delivering.”

Despite Hamilton praising the performance of Bottas, the Finn is not happy that he has surrendered his narrow lead at the top.

“It’s not a nice feeling, I’m coming back,” Bottas said.

“I lost it at the start. The car was feeling OK and otherwise the pace was similar.

“In the first stints, in the dirty air, I couldn’t follow.

“It was a shame about the start.

“I got some wheelspin when I went over the white line at the start-finish line which is immediately after my box so I lost it there.”

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