Hamilton: I’m back in it

LEWIS HAMILTON believes he is back in the fight for the Formula One world title following a German Grand Prix victory he has hailed as “more special than usual”.

After all his travails of recent weeks, with speculation regarding his future and question marks over his driving style, the 16th win of his career was one in the eye for all of his critics.

“This win means so much more than my first one this season,” said Hamilton, who also triumphed in China.

“All the emotion, energy and effort the team put into the car, it builds up when you don’t get results, so when you do hit the sweet spot, it means so much.

“I couldn’t feel any better because we never expected to come here this weekend and be so fast, but the guys have done a fantastic job and pushed so hard.

“I just feel great. It was one of the best races I’ve ever done, and whilst every win is special, this one feels even more special than usual.”

It was the Hamilton we have come to respect over the years, driving his heart out and staying on the right side of the regulations. Come the chequered flag at the Nurburgring, the win was richly deserved.

The 26-year-old led on four separate occasions, pulling off two overtaking manoeuvres in particular that were vintage Hamilton. The first of those was at the start of lap 13, seconds after the Red Bull of Mark Webber had passed the McLaren star at the final corner.

Taking the Australian’s slipstream, Hamilton dived down the inside along the pit straight, coming within inches of the pit wall.

Then at the second and pivotal round of pit stops as a Ferrari undercut on Hamilton momentarily gave Fernando Alonso the lead, he drove around the outside of the Spaniard at the arcing turn two.

Any consternation felt 10 laps from home when Hamilton was the first of the leading trio to switch to the harder, slower medium compound tyres soon evaporated when it became apparent they were quicker than had been initially feared.It ensured neither Alonso nor Webber could deprive him of the win over the closing stages, ensuring he is the only driver other than Sebastian Vettel to now win two races this year.

With Vettel fourth, off the podium for the first time in 12 races, Hamilton has cut the deficit to the German to 82 points.

The gap is obviously considerable, but if Hamilton is to mount a fightback, then at least it is a start.

“To win today is massively positive for us, but there’s a long way to go and it’ll be about consistency as well as speed from here on in,” added Hamilton.

“The fight for the world championship will be very, very, very hard now. We’re back in the fight though, and I really hope we can carry this forward and keep the momentum going.”

Starting from pole, Webber admitted that finishing third was simply not good enough, adding: “We were beaten at the last race (he was on pole at the British Grand Prix), and we were beaten here.

“There’s disappointment in not getting the win, but we just weren’t quick enough. To have a good result you need to perform at a high level. We’ll keep learning, and whilst the progress has been decent, we need to improve.”

Vettel still leads Webber by 77 points and Alonso by 86.

The reigning champion made two uncharacteristic mistakes, the most notable on lap 10 at turn 10 when he slid off, and although he recovered, it was an uphill struggle from there on in.

On home soil the German then spent most of his time staring at the back of Felipe Massa’s Ferrari, only managing to leapfrog him into fourth at the final pit stop just a lap from the end.

“I didn’t feel good all weekend, I didn’t have the pace Mark did in the car,” said Vettel. “I think fourth was the maximum we could achieve today. It’s not satisfying, but you have to accept others were quicker.”

For the first time in three years, Jenson Button has now retired in two consecutive races, on this occasion his McLaren suffered a hydraulics failure 25 laps from home.

Force India’s Scotsman Paul di Resta came home 13th.

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