It could have been even worse for the defending champion. Had the charging Red Bull of Max Verstappen not made a mistake closing him down then Hamilton could have been looking at third and not second. After his stop he failed to pull away from Vettel. And we know how much Ferrari struggled.
Floor damage and worry about tyre wear perhaps contributed to Hamilton’s troubles but Bottas was relentless, setting fastest laps throughout. He was in a race of his own.
So comfortable was the margin in the end that he even had the speed to claim the bonus point for the fastest race lap on worn rubber.
Can Bottas disrupt Hamilton in 2019?
A few days ago much of the talk was how, if Charles Leclerc could begin the season strongly, then Vettel would have something to worry about and Ferrari would have something to think about. True. Ferrari do have something to think about but the most pressing concern is the gap to their rivals.
Is it possible that Bottas has created a similar situation at Mercedes? Well, not yet and not of quite that magnitude. Hamilton is not as under pressure as Vettel. Think of it more as a warning shot.