If Lewis Hamilton had raised one or two digits to those who have been deriding him for pretty much everything – his driving tactics, his aggressive forcefulness, his choice of management, his facial hair – he could have been forgiven yesterday.
Twice he lost the lead of the German Grand Prix, having snatched it at the start, but each time responded emphatically and cleanly. In a move reminiscent of his drive in Turkey last year when team-mate Jenson Button passed him on the pit straight, he pulled alongside Mark Webber and had grabbed the initiative back by the first corner. At the end of the second stint he put in some great laps before his pit stop and was ahead of Webber by the time both had changed tyres.
"It was one of our best starts, a huge difference to what we had in Valencia," Hamilton said. It was really important to get into the lead at the beginning, to stop Mark pulling away. When he did get by me it was because there was a particular point on the track leading up to the chicane where each lap it was a little difficult for me; maybe it was just my car but I had some rear-wheel locking, and I'd had a bit of a wide moment there. So I was being a bit cautious there and he got past me, but fortunately I was in a position to jet past him going into turn one and we fought all through to turn three. Mark was very fair, and I love having that sort of racing."
Webber seemed to have taken control when his pit stop moved him into the lead by the 18th lap. His race came undone after his second pit stop on lap 30. Hamilton stopped a lap later, Alonso a lap later still, and by lap 33 Hamilton was back in front and would stay there as the three went as far and as fast as they could on their third sets of soft-compound Pirelli tyres before making the mandatory switch to harder-compound rubber in the closing stages.
This time Hamilton stopped first, on lap 51, but such was his pace it did not matter that Alonso went two laps longer and Webber another three. After 60 laps, he became Formula One's fourth different winner in four races.
Behind him, Alonso headed Webber by 5.8sec, and then hitched a ride home on the Red Bull's sidepod after his Ferrari ran out of fuel on the slowing-down lap. For the first time in ages, the points leader Sebastian Vettel was not on the podium.Reuse content