Lewis Hamilton has limited the damage of Nico Rosberg’s victory in today’s German Grand Prix by finishing third at Hockenheim, a result made all the more impressive by the fact that he started way down in 20th position.
The Briton suffered a high-speed crash during qualifying yesterday that meant he could not take part in either Q2 or Q3. Because of the damage inflicted by the shunt, he also had to change his gearbox, thus warranting a five place grid penalty.
However, from the very beginning of the race, Hamilton was a man on a mission. Although his overtaking moves were very aggressive, they were effective as he passed the likes of Fernando Alonso, Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button with relative ease. He did have a slight run-in with Button that saw him lose his front wing endplate, but the performance of the car did not seem to be harmed too much by this.
In the end, Hamilton had to settle for third place after Valtteri Bottas managed to keep the Mercedes driver at bay with some great defensive driving, and he seemed slightly despondent on the podium despite his immense drive from the back of the grid.
With the deficit to Nico Rosberg at the top of the drivers’ championship back on the rise to 14 points, Lewis will be hoping to at least halve it at the Hungarian Grand Prix next weekend.
On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.
And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.
Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.
The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.
“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.
“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.
“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”
A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.