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GP Week : Issue 126
GoinG into the German race weekend, Lewis Hamilton told his supporters that he did not expect to be challenging for pole. But challenge for pole he did, putting together a faultless lap that was a whisker shy of Mark Webber’s pace-setting time. The British driver then improved on a good Saturday result by besting the Australian off the start at the Nurburgring, before ceding and then reclaiming the lead. It was a dream result for the McLaren driver, who had been slipping backwards in the drivers’ standings – and the popularity stakes – after some risky passing attempts at Monaco and a retirement in Montreal. This weekend, however, Hamilton’s performance was faultless. The British driver admitted in the press conference that his passing and attacking manoeuvres were the most precise he’d delivered all season, and it was obvious to all and sundry that the victory had restored his mental equilibrium. With a win this weekend, Hamilton was able to silence his critics, who included a number of former F1 drivers. David Coulthard was but one voice in a chorus proclaiming that Hamilton and McLaren had one weekend, and one weekend only, to save their chances of a 2011 title win. While the gap to championship leader Sebastian Vettel is still an intimidating 82 points, Hamilton is now the only man other than Vettel to have scored multiple wins in the 2011 F1 season. Hamilton gets dream result Red Bull’s blistering Saturday pace is no longer enough for Sunday dominance, now that Ferrari and McLaren – the team’s closest rivals – appear to have closed the gap. Mark Webber started Sunday’s race from pole position, but made another poor start and handed the lead to McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton before the first lap had been completed. Webber then reclaimed the position, Webber lacks pace needed to convert pole into win 28