Lewis Hamilton was left bemoaning his "cruel luck" at the end of a miserable 100th grand prix in which he was also embroiled in a war of words with Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton's woes started on lap two of yesterday's race in Germany when he sustained a puncture caused by running over debris from Felipe Massa losing the front wing of his Ferrari in hitting the back of Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen.
Demoted to 22nd, Hamilton was then faced with a fight for nothing more than respectability, resulting in him being dropped in among the leaders on lap 33, a lap down, after making his second stop.
On fresh rubber, Hamilton swiftly passed and pulled away from second-placed Sebastian Vettel, to the anger and frustration of the German who was battling for the lead with eventual winner in Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.
Post-race Vettel pulled no punches as he said: "That was not nice of him. I don't see why he tried to race us.
"If he wants to drive fast then he can drop back, find a gap and go fast then.
"But it was a bit stupid to disturb the leaders. He was a lap down, so I don't see his point.
"If you are a lap down and with no chance of winning the race any more, you should respect that and use common sense."
Hamilton was terse and somewhat sarcastic in his response as he said: "Maturity has come through I guess. It shows his maturity."
Even Red Bull team principal Christian Horner could not defend his driver's remarks, though, as he said: "Within the rules he (Hamilton) did nothing wrong.
"If you look at the rules there's nothing to say you can't unlap yourself. He was entitled to do it."
Hamilton, though, was forced to retire on lap 57 due to damage sustained in his slow crawl to the pits for fresh rubber after picking up the puncture.
The 27-year-old has now collected just four points from the last three races to fall 62 behind Alonso, leaving his title hopes on the ropes.
Hamilton said: "My puncture was incredibly unfortunate.
"There was debris scattered across the full width of the track and I didn't have any option other than to drive straight through it.
"What's more frustrating is that, at the time, I was the eighth car through, so to be the one to get the puncture is just cruel luck.
"It was immediately clear that my car didn't feel the same after the puncture. With the damage to the rear, I think we were lucky to get as far as we did to be honest.
"At least I was able to have some fun out on track, and my pace was good enough to be able to match the leaders during the middle stint.
"That's encouraging because we know our car has been genuinely quick this weekend, so we'll put that pace in our pockets and take it to Hungary next weekend.
"I'm back in the car in five days' time, and that's the best possible news for me after a race like this."
Vettel was later handed a retrospective drive-through penalty for exceeding track limits in passing Button on the penultimate lap to move back up to second.
With 20 seconds added to his time, it demoted the 25-year-old to fifth behind runner-up Button, third-placed Raikkonen, and with Kamui Kobayashi a career-high fourth in his Sauber.
Following his 30th career victory, and third this season, Alonso is now 34 points clear of Red Bull's Mark Webber and 44 ahead of Vettel.