x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Lewis Hamilton in 'sweet spot' after German Grand Prix win

The McLaren fights off challenges from Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber for his second victory of the season.

Lewis Hamilton, centre, held off the challenge of Fernando Alonso, left, and Mark Webber to win the German Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton, centre, held off the challenge of Fernando Alonso, left, and Mark Webber to win the German Grand Prix.

NURBURG // The best things come when least expected. Lewis Hamilton, free from pressure and presumption after arriving at the Nurburging with a car he deemed uncompetitive, produced a perfect drive at the German Grand Prix yesterday to secure his second victory of the season and provide the grandest indication yet that this year’s world championship title has not yet been engraved with the name of Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes’s 2008 world champion, sailed past the checkered flag 3.98 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. Mark Webber of Red Bull Racing finished third.

Vettel, Webber’s teammate and the reigning world champion who had won six of the first nine races this season, struggled to fourth in front of his home crowd for his worst result of the season.

Hamilton, while reflecting upon his 16th race win, shook his head in disbelief and at times appeared overcome with emotion.

“Every win is special, but when we don’t see results like this it slowly builds up,” the Briton said. “When you finally hit that sweet spot and get it, it just feels even better.”

Red Bull boast an impeccable record of having started on pole at every race this year, but Webber, for the third time in as many months, failed to capitalise on his place at the front of the grid; Hamilton passed him at the first turn.

The Australian regained the lead on lap 18 and held it until he pitted, ensuring the torment of never having led a full lap this season was finally banished. Having been passed by Hamilton and Alonso though, it was little consolation. “We weren’t quick enough,” Webber said. “I couldn’t have got much more out of what we had, so I’m disappointed not to get the win. It’s mixed emotions: another good result and you need to perform at a high level to get these, but we will keep learning.”

Alonso, who won Hamilton’s home race two weeks ago, was delighted with his result and Ferrari will now travel to next week’s Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest in high confidence.

The Spaniard has collected more championship points than any other driver in the past three races.

“Second in Valencia, first at Silverstone and second here,” said Alonso, who started in fourth but jumped Vettel at the first turn. “We are constantly first or second, with three different types of circuit, and different kinds of temperatures, so with all these conditions we saw our consistency and it puts us in a very good position to enjoy this final part of the championship. ”

Vettel continues to lead the drivers’ standings by 77 points, but his grip appears to be loosening ever so slightly.

Neither Alonso or Hamilton, however, are looking too far ahead, with the Englishman adding: “It’s easy for everyone to criticise him from just one race, but he’s been exceptionally consistent for a long time.”

Hamilton’s 16th success

Yesterday’s win in Germany was the 16th grand prix win of Lewis Hamilton’s career. It was also his second success in Germany, the previous one being in 2008.

German GP race results
1 Hamilton, McLaren 1h37m30.334
2 Alonso, Ferrari +3.980
3 Webber, Red Bull +9.788
4 Vettel, Red Bull +47.921
5 Massa, Ferrari +52.252
6 Sutil, Force India +1.26.208
7 Rosberg, Mercedes +1 lap
8 Schumacher, Mercedes +1 lap
9 Kobayashi, Sauber +1 lap
10 Petrov, Renault +1 lap
11 Perez, Sauber +1 lap
12 Alguersuari, Toro Rosso +1 lap
13 Di Resta, Force India +1 lap
14 Maldonado, Williams +1 lap
15 Buemi, Toro Rosso +1 lap
16 Kovalainen, Lotus +2 laps
17 Glock, Virgin +2 laps
18 D’Ambrosio, Virgin +2 laps
19 Ricciardo, HRT +3 laps
20 Chandhok, Lotus +4 laps

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae


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