Hamilton full of praise for McLaren after smart strategy seals China win

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The Independent Online

Lewis Hamilton has heaped praise on his McLaren team for helping him to secure a first victory of the season in the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday. The Briton thanked the crew, tacticians and engineers for playing a decisive role in his spectacular Chinese takeaway. Hamilton's success underlined the role that strategy plays in the new era of drag-reducing rear wings, energy storage systems and Pirelli's deliberately short-life tyres.

As the Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, sought to play down the negative effect of his team's two-stop tyre-changing plan, which cost points leader Sebastian Vettel the chance of a fifth consecutive victory, Hamilton said: "I think today the strategy we came up with going into qualifying definitely helped. I think my new option [softer compound] tyre seemed to last a little bit longer than the guys' in front, but I think it was quite a few things that came together really. The pit stops were fantastic. It was good.

"The guys are always pushing to improve and the car felt great. I was just trying to nurse my tyres while trying to pick up pace. It was one of the best races I have experienced where guys were out in front of me and I had to do quite a lot of overtaking. Thumbs up to the guys back at the factory and in the garage."

Vettel also appeared to disagree with Horner, and admitted that his strategy enabled the McLaren driver to take advantage of fresher rubber. "We probably tried too hard staying on two stops," Vettel said. "So in the end you find yourself out there on the hard tyre. It was a difficult race for us."