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GP Week : Issue 206
After his unfortunate qualifying crash, through no fault of his own, sunday was about damage limitation for lewis Hamilton. And, barring one more place, he did about as much as could be expected in finishing third – and on this occasion had plenty to say: “First of all, congratulations to Nico on winning his home race; it's a special feeling and I am very proud that we could put both cars on the podium for Mercedes-Benz in Germany. “From a personal point of view, I can't be too ecstatic about the race because it has been a tough weekend for me and I've ultimately lost more points to Nico in the championship battle. But I'm grateful that I could limit the damage with a podium finish. " W hen you are sitting on the grid basically in last place, with no other cars in your mirrors, it's very hard to imagine that you could be standing up there two hours later. “I'm so grateful to the team for this car – I really take my hat off to them for building a machine that can put in that kind of performance. “To be honest, it was a pretty straightforward race for me, although I had some trouble following what was going on and where I was running at times. I had a nice battle with Kimi early on, when I was lucky not to damage the front wing, then the incident with Jenson was just unfortunate. He has been such a gentleman this year and not given me too much trouble getting past but it was just a misunderstanding today. I wasn't close enough to try and pass but I was on the inside line in the corner. It looked like he had gone wide, then he cut back across the corner and perhaps he didn't see me there. “I lost quite a bit of downforce with the damage and it made it very hard to look after the front left tyre. I had a lot of understeer and the tyre was degrading fast, which is the reason why we converted from a two -stop strategy to three. Then the team called me in early on the first set of option tyres because we expected a Safety Car to come out – I was surprised that there wasn't one, to be honest “I caught Valtteri pretty fast in the final laps but he just had too much straight- line speed to get past. As team director Paddy Lowe confirmed, it was quite a challenging day: “It was an afternoon we knew was going to be challenging from the outset – not only to get Lewis from the back to the front but, as always, to get two cars home with a lot of systems to manage and a long race with the threat of rain. “N ico drove a faultless race with two stops as we had planned. Lewis' race was a bit more eventful with fantastic overtaking and some great driving. He lost a lot of downforce from the damage to the front wing, so we decided to convert to a three stop strategy in order to give us an opportunity to adjust it and reclaim the aero balance we were missing. “ We took a gamble on the Safety Car that didn't pay off but did affect our strategy slightly. In the end we were thwarted by the speed of the Williams down the straight, our lap time was faster but we couldn't overtake in the end.” Coming from afar The hairpin was Lewis' hot overtaking spot, but not without some risk – here ,with fronts locked, there's contact with Alonso. 32 GPWEEK.com // 32 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> HOCKENHAIM PARTNERS: