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GP Week : Issue 153
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton staged the comeback of the year so far to climb from 24th on the grid to eighth place at the finish and pick up four valuable world championship points. The Briton was the only driver to execute a two-stop strategy, although he did lose a place to Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel in the closing laps. Hamilton was demoted to last on the grid after being excluded from qualifying on Saturday evening, having failed to return to the pits after setting his pole- grabbing time at the end of Q3. He remained positive however and was able to conserve his tyres well throughout the race to keep him in contention for points until the finish, taking the flag just two tenths off seventh place. “I’m proud of my performance today, and proud of the team too,” said Hamilton. “They did a great job: a real improvement with the pitstops, following our difficulties in that area recently. All in all, then, I think today’s result was the best we could do. “I was the only driver to attempt a two-stop strategy, and I’m glad I was able to made it work. People often say that I have an aggressive driving style, but my final stint on the Prime tyre was 31 laps, so I reckon I proved today that I can make tyres last.” A disastrous run of slow pitstops in China and Bahrain was brought to an end at the weekend thanks to personnel changes at the troublesome left-rear corner, but a stray wheel at the same location almost derailed Hamilton once again. His car jumped in the air as he left his pit markings after his first stop as he bounced over his old tyre, but was luckily able to continue without much delay. Despite starting some 14 places further up the grid, team-mate Jenson Button took the chequered flag behind Hamilton, further underlining the 2008 world champion’s heroics at the wheel of the MP4-27. POLE-DEPRIVED HAMILTON FIGHTS FROM 24TH TO 8TH Pitstop dramas almost at an end 28 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> SPAIN