Lewis Hamilton triumphed in an absorbing three-way battle against Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber to take a German Grand Prix victory that seemed unlikely before the weekend begun.
The McLaren driver had been talking down his team’s chances of defeating the Red Bull cars of Webber and Sebastian Vettel, and it looked more likely that Ferrari’s Alonso, fresh from his victory at Silverstone, would offer the sterner test for them.
But Vettel’s hopes began to fade with an unusually subdued qualifying performance, and it was Hamilton who shared the front row with Webber after a remarkable lap that he described as being as close to perfection as he could have managed.
When the race began he muscled his way past the Australian and into the lead, eventually taking victory in a battle of will, speed and race strategy that could have gone any one of three ways.
Afterwards he said: “Every win is special – but with all the emotion, effort and energy the team put into today’s victory, this one feels even more special than usual.
“Coming into this weekend, I said I’d take things one race at a time. So to win today is massively positive for us, but there’s a long way to go and it’ll be about consistency as well as speed from here on in.”
Hamilton, who has been criticised this season for over-aggressive racing, added: “Driving lap after lap within tenths of each other was about trying to do everything as perfectly as possible – yet, being aggressive yet controlled, I felt the moves I made today were some of the most precise I’ve ever pulled off.
“Being able to drive with your head as well as your heart, and getting it just right, is massively satisfying.”
And he said he hasn’t given up on the championship, despite Vettel’s lead: “The fight for the world championship will be very, very, very hard now. We’re back in the fight though, and I really hope we can carry this forward and keep the momentum going.”