lewis hamilton

DISAPPOINTED - Lewis Hamilton finished eighth at Silverstone

DISAPPOINTED – Lewis Hamilton finished eighth at Silverstone

LEWIS HAMILTON failed to mask the disappointment of finishing well off the pace in the British Grand Prix.

Hamilton started and finished eighth, with teammate Jenson Button ending the day two places behind in tenth at a surprisingly dry Silverstone. Expectations were high for the McLaren duo, but a tempermental weather forecast coupled with a supreme tactical display from winner Mark Webber and second-placed Fernando Alonso saw Britain’s podium bid crumble.

Hamilton later admitted he was shocked and confused as to how he managed to blow the race lead to eventually finish so far down the grid.

He said: “It wasn’t a great race for me – I just wish we could have done more for the fans today. We tried as hard as we could, but we simply didn’t have the pace this afternoon.

“My tyres were still good at the end of my first stint, and I was able to hang on to Fernando Alonso. So it’s hard to understand how we could be leading the race at one point and then fall back to eighth place, especially as our car doesn’t feel bad overall.

“I raced my heart out and was flat-out right to the end. We’re still in the hunt for the world championship – and, if we can find a bit of lap-time, we can stay in the hunt, too.

“I’d love to have done better in my home Grand Prix, but, regardless, the fans were fantastic throughout the weekend.”

Button also thanked fans for their continued support and underlined the team’s desire to repay that faith with success in the upcoming German Grand Prix on July 22.

He added: “It was good to get a point in my Grand Prix, but of course that’s not what we ought to be doing: we’re a front-running team and we’ve got a bit of work to do to start running at the front again.

“I don’t think we made any mistakes with our strategy today; we’re just not quite quick enough at the moment, that’s all.”

RETIRED - Lewis Hamilton was denied valuable points in Valencia

RETIRED – Lewis Hamilton was denied valuable points in Valencia

FURIOUS Lewis Hamilton was forced to retire after a final lap collision with Pastor Maldonado cost him valuable points in the European Grand Prix.

Hamilton was locked in a heated battle for third heading into turn 13 of the Valencia Street Circuit but was sent crashing out of the race when Maldonado ploughed into the side of his car.

Fernando Alonso took the chequered flag ahead of Kimi Raikkonen to become the first driver to win two races this season.

The result sends the Ferrari-man top of the standings as Hamilton slipped to third.

But rather than lament his misfortune, the McLaren ace instead turned his attention to Silverstone and the opportunity to get back to winning ways on home soil.

He said: “We lost some points today – fortunately, however, a couple of other drivers fighting at the front also missed out, so it’s not the end of the world. It just makes things a little bit tougher.

“Today was just a bad day in the office – but that’s motor racing, and I’m already looking forward to the next grand prix, my home race at Silverstone.”

Teammate Jenson Button, who gained a place after qualifying ninth, is also hoping lady luck smiles on the duo in the next race on July 8.

He said: “This was a really difficult race to read. I got a poor start, was boxed in at Turn One, and had to lift to prevent Fernando Alonso and myself hitting the wall at Turn Two.

“I don’t think we did a bad job in terms of strategy – the car felt good and kept improving during the race – but, when the Safety Car was deployed, I think a few others lucked in to a better strategy. And, today, also, we just didn’t get lucky.

“Finally, massive congratulations to Fernando – he did a great job. Hopefully we can do the same thing at our home grand prix in two weeks’ time.”

KEY - Lewis Hamilton's two-stop strategy set up his victory

KEY – Lewis Hamilton’s two-stop strategy set up his victory

PHENOMENAL Lewis Hamilton stormed to the top of the drivers’ championship leader board with a special win in the Canadian Grand Prix.

The McLaren ace becomes the seventh different driver to top the podium this season after overhauling rival Sebastian Vettel to seal a second Canadian triumph in three years.

Hamilton’s first ever career win came at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2007, and with Jensen Button clinching a first place finish last season, McLaren’s monopoly of Canada now stretches all the way back to Robert Kubica’s win in 2008.

That emotion inside, it’s like an explosion. It’s really just incredible. It’s what I love best about motor racing

Efficiency in the pits combined with Red Bull’s reluctance to stop more than once paved the way for Hamilton to collect 25 valuable points and hoist him above Fernando Alonso and into pole position in the standings.

After securing the 18th win of his career and the first of an up and down season, Hamilton said: “It’s a phenomenal sensation to come back to Canada and put on a performance like we did today.

“This win feels as good as my first Formula 1 victory back in 2007. In fact I’d say it’s one of the best races I’ve had for a very long time.

“I feel fantastic, to be honest. Just brilliant. I could hardly believe it when I was driving across the line.

“That emotion inside, it’s like an explosion. It’s really just incredible. It’s what I love best about motor racing.”

Hamilton twinned aggression and maturity to edge his war of attrition with Vettel.

His two-stop strategy proved pivotal as he capitalised on his rivals’ fading tyres to move from third to first in the final few laps.

“I always knew today’s race was going to be incredibly tough. So, in the first stint, I was really pleased that I could keep up with Seb, and at that point I already felt sure I’d be involved in the fight for victory.

“Our strategy was always for a two-stopper: we knew it was going to be the fastest way to get to the finish. I looked after my tyres really well today, and I used them knowing we were going to two-stop.

“I had 100 per cent control and understanding of what was happening in the race – it was one of our best races for that. I told my race engineer, Andy Latham, to keep the information flowing, and he was fantastic today.

“I always knew where I was losing or gaining time, which really helped.

“Every win is different. Every victory is new, special and fresh. And to see the team all wearing their Vodafone ‘rocket red’ victory T-shirts, knowing the guys back at the factory are doing the same, makes everything feel even more special.

“Finally, the support from the fans has been amazing – this victory is dedicated to them. I’m so grateful to be here today.”

RETIRED - Jenson Button suffered a premature end to his race

RETIRED - Jenson Button suffered a premature end to his race

THE NARROW streets of Monaco churned out a sixth different winner of a thrilling F1 season as McLaren lost ground in both the drivers’ and constructors’ championship.

Lewis Hamilton finished fifth having qualified third, while team-mate Jensen Button was forced to retire in lap 70 after a collision with Kamui Kobayashi resulted in a puncture.

The set-back sees McLaren drift further behind Red Bull-Renault in the constructors standings with Hamilton also losing ground on championship leader Fernando Alonso, who finished third behind Nico Rosberg and eventual winner Mark Webber.

The other teams are picking up serious pace, too. We can’t let them pull away from us – but we’re a fantastic team, we’ll knuckle down together, and we’ll really push on now

Hamilton, who’s pitstops continue to cause him trouble, said: “I had a pretty poor start – I didn’t understand why that happened – and I was lucky not to get caught up in the first-corner crash. During the race, I struggled in the low-speed corners and found looking after the rear tyres tough.

“To make them last as long as we did, while trying to keep up with the pace of the guys in front, was one of the trickiest things I’ve had to do in a race.

“I lost time at my pitstop and gave away a place to Fernando Alonso, and then Sebastian Vettel was able to get past me after he made his own stop. After that, it was impossible to overtake.

“Today wasn’t the best result for me – I really dislike going backwards in a race – but I think I got everything I could out of the car.

“We came away with some points, and there are many more races ahead, but we’ve definitely got some work to do because, race by race, we’re struggling to keep up with the leaders.

“The other teams are picking up serious pace, too. We can’t let them pull away from us – but we’re a fantastic team, we’ll knuckle down together, and we’ll really push on now.”

A disappointed Button, who sits seventh in the standings on 45 points, added: “Today’s result stems from a poor qualifying performance and being unlucky at the start. Also, when you start from the mid-grid, you’re more prone to incidents.

“It wasn’t my day today – but hopefully it will be sooner rather than later.”