Vettel pays for 'small' mistake

Lewis Hamilton

The German's main championship rival Lewis Hamilton overcame a hydraulic failure in qualifying - that left him 14th on the grid, to win on Mercedes' home circuit, but despite the pain of losing victory and the championship lead, Vettel was buoyed by Ferrari's pace going forward.

"It was wonderful to see so many red flags, German flags, so much support around the track", said the four-times world champion, who has yet to win at the circuit nearest to his birthplace.

"That was highly unlikely, but you ve got to believe", Hamilton added. "I had speed and obviously it was a bit in a moment in the race that I wasn't ideally to stop". The team did such a great job as they always do, I can't thank them enough!

He said: "What I said to Valtteri is something that I would also say in the team". A big, big thanks to God'. It was so tough out there. Because the best me... if I'm my best and my higher self, I feel like I'm able to drive like I was able to today, regardless of all the people and who else is around doing whatever they are doing.

Even though he has won four Formula One titles, and 66 races, Hamilton draws huge motivation from being against the odds.

With 25 laps to go, he lost control of his vehicle at Turn 13 in the Stadium Section of the track and rammed his Ferrari into the barriers in front of massed ranks of fans in the big grandstands.

The German was furious with his mistake, bashing both hands on the steering wheel seven times. "F*** sake, f*** sake", he yelled over the radio.

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Vettel climbed out of the vehicle and kicked the gravel in frustration.

The FIA race director, Charlie Whiting, said that Ferrari had not issued a protest against Hamilton's actions and explained why it had taken so long.

Vettel was in full control of the race at the Hockenheimring up until the rain period, leading Valtteri Bottas by almost nine seconds.

German Grand Prix: What did Lewis Hamilton say?

Dutchman Max Verstappen finished fourth for Red Bull ahead of German Nico Hulkenberg of Renault, Romain Grosjean of Haas, Sergio Perez and his Force India team-mate Esteban Ocon.

Hamilton leapt from his Mercedes machinery before jumping into his sea of mechanics as he celebrated a win, described by his race engineer Pete Bonnington as a "miracle", and one which has moved him 17 points clear of Vettel.

"When you're up against adversity ... it's always a chance to show what you can do and driving from the back is so much more fun", Hamilton said.

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