'I feel like I drove the best I can remember': Lewis Hamilton revels in remarkable German GP victory
Hamilton won from 14th on the grid as his title rival Sebastian Vettel threw away the win after he crashed out
What is it about adversity that brings out the best in Lewis Hamilton?
After a brilliant 66th Grand Prix victory, and the nail-biting hours that followed as stewards investigated whether the Briton had transgressed by crossing the pit entry line and rejoining the track on the 53rd lap, Hamilton explained how he had learned to fight from the back.
“Today [Sunday] was reminiscent of how I started racing,” he said. “My Dad bought me a kart called an Allkart. It was really old and had been modified by several families before we got it. He rubbed it down and resprayed it, but it still resembled a four-poster bed. I would have to start near the back in it and then have to wriggle my way through, and that’s how I learned the hard way how to do that.
“Yesterday, when my car broke and I just sat by it I wasn’t in tears, though I was heartbroken. But I got up and told myself I had to turn it round and make something of it.
“And I did believe I could win. I mean, it was obviously very, very difficult from 14th position on the grid and highly unlikely, but you’ve always got to believe. I said a long, long prayer before the race started. We did the parade lap, I could see how much support I had out there, and I just wanted to stay collected, stay calm.
“The team did such a great job, the car was fantastic. Honestly, I’m so grateful. I would never have thought you could do something like that, but I just kept pushing, I kept believing and it happened. I really manifested my dream. So big, big thanks to God.”
And he added: “Driving from the back is much more fun that driving from the front.” Meaning that fighting your way through is much more fulfilling than being in the lead, running away from everyone.
Next week the circus goes to the Hungaroring, where Red Bull and Ferrari have been faster in recent years - and where both teams fancy their chances again. Ahead of that Hamilton spoke in particular about Ferrari’s recent prodigious speed, but said that he had taken no motivation from Sebastian Vettel’s comments at Silverstone about taking the British flag back to Maranello, or from his rival’s sudden departure on Sunday after crashing out of the lead.
“Honestly, I don't need to search for a boost or energy from other people’s business. I just focus on mine. I truly believe that. I’m just focussed on trying to be the best I can be in myself. Because the best me… if I’m my best and my higher self, I feel like I’m able to drive like I was able to today, regardless of all the people around me doing whatever they are doing.
“We knew this weekend Ferrari were going to be quick – and they’re ridiculously quick on the straights. I think Valtteri did a fantastic lap yesterday, a really great lap when I watched it. But he was just losing down the straights which there’s nothing you can do about.
“So I was just really proud of my guys, for not getting fazed by this fight that we’re having. They could easily jump to conclusions and say, oh well, they’re doing this or they’re doing that. All we can do is control our own destiny. All we can do is work on our starts, try and improve, make sure we do a better job understanding the car, push for better aero performance, all these different things. I’m massively proud of them.”
Looking forward to Hungary, he said: “It’s usually not our strongest track but it’s not a power circuit, so hopefully this extra chunk of power that Ferrari have doesn’t serve them as well there and maybe we can have a decent fight with them. But they’ve always been really good on tyres and that’s quite a hot track, so undoubtedly they’ll continue to be fast. But I’ve got high hopes for it still.
“Red Bull? They suffered here for whatever reasons but they will be very quick too, so I’m sure in the next races it’ll be really strong for them. And that next week should be a closely matched race.”
In the intervening days though, as Vettel and Ferrari regroup ready to come back even stronger in this great topsy turvy season, Hamilton will savour the best aspect from his extraordinary German weekend.
“Honestly, I feel like I drove the best I can remember. Silverstone 2008 was pretty great, but I went off loads of times in the rain there. But not in this one. Today I made no mistakes, and the car was fantastic. And those who don’t know me, they do now.”