Lewis Hamilton says victory drive was one of his best

By Sarah HoltBBC Sport at the Nurburgring

An emotional Lewis Hamilton says his victory drive in Sunday's German Grand Prix was one of his best.

"We really never expected to come here this weekend and be anything like so fast," said the McLaren driver.

"We were hindered in the last race a little bit but the guys did a fantastic job, really pushing very hard.

"The engine was great and I just feel great. It was one of the best races I've ever done."

Hamilton insisted it was not only the cold temperatures that had made it possible for McLaren to beat Red Bull and Ferrari.

"I don't think it's just the conditions," said the Briton, who fought back tears after the race at the Nurburgring.

"Mark Webber, me and Fernando Alonso were all within one tenth of a second of each other lap after lap."

Starting from second on the grid, Hamilton jumped Webber at the start but lost and regained the lead twice before sealing the 16th win of his F1 career.

"The race was about real perfection and about not making mistakes," added Hamilton, who is now 82 points behind championship leader Sebastian Vettel, with nine races remaining in the season.

"All the emotion, effort and energy the team put into the car, when we don't see results like this, it [the pressure] slowly builds up, so when you finally hit the sweet spot, it just couldn't feel any better.

"Bit by bit, I've learned more about how the car is behaving, with driving style I've learned to look after the tyres a little bit more. There were just certain areas I was losing out.

"I was really surprised my tyres lasted so long later on in the race - so I guess there are still areas we need to improve, particularly on heavy fuel at the start of the race, but it is a massive step forward."

On the manoeuvre that took him past former McLaren team-mate Alonso on the outside of Turn Two, Hamilton told the BBC: "It felt great - and it's good to get some positive comments on my driving.

"It was a difficult decision but I had the grip and he didn't get on the power as I thought he would have.

"That was one of the best starts we've had for a long time and it's made a real difference. I positioned my car in the perfect way, I was able to keep the guys behind."

Asked whether he felt the win vindicated his driving style, which had been criticised earlier this season, Hamilton said he had combined aggression with precision.

"Today I was in a really very good head space and perhaps I feel even better because I felt the moves I did were some of the most precise moves I have pulled in a while," he stated.

"Being able to drive with your head all the time and get it right, just right, is massively satisfying. As I said, I will continue to do it the way I do it and continue to improve."

Hamilton's win is his first since the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai in April. With Vettel still enjoying such a big lead, however, Hamilton declined to rate the chances of him coming back to challenge the German for the drivers' title.

"We're not really looking at that," he said. "Again, we never really anticipated being so competitive this weekend.

"It's a massive bonus or positive for us but there's still a long, long way to go and it's about trying to keep doing this, trying to get some consistency. I would prefer to keep my mouth closed and let the pace of our car do the talking."

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