F1 2011 Korean Grand Prix: Under pressure Hamilton battles back
PUBLISHED: 20:15 16 October 2011 | UPDATED: 20:58 16 October 2011
FORMULA 1 driver Lewis Hamilton answered his critics with a battling second place in the 2011 Korean Grand Prix at Yeongam and declared “it feels good to be back”.
2011 Korean Grand Prix result
1 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
2 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
3 Mark Webber (Red Bull)
4 Jenson Button (McLaren)
5 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
6 Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
7 Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso)
8 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
The 26-year-old motor racer from Hertfordshire claimed a podium result at the Korea International Circuit behind double world F1 champion Sebastian Vettel this morning (Sunday).
Hamilton had started on pole position but lost a place on the opening lap to the German Red Bull driver.
Although eventually finishing 12 seconds behind the imperious Vettel, it was still a strong drive by Hamilton and secured him his first podium since winning the 2011 German Grand Prix back in July.
The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes star defended superbly to keep Mark Webber’s faster Red Bull at bay for long periods, the Aussie being on Hamilton’s tail for the second half of the 55-lap grand prix.
“This was one of my strongest races of the season,” said Tewin F1 hero Hamilton after his thrilling on-track duel with Webber.
“There was so much pressure from Mark [Webber] behind and it would have been so easy to make a mistake, lock up or go wide – but I’m really satisfied that I didn’t do so once.
“I believe that withstanding pressure is the mark of a world champion, and I think I showed that in today’s race.”
Hamilton added: “I really hope we can carry our continued momentum through the next three races. It feels good to be back.”
As well as coming under intense pressure from Webber, Stevenage-born Hamilton also had to contend with a number of issues with his MP4-26.
Speaking in the paddock afterwards, he said: “Our car started off reasonably well, but the front-end dropped away through the race.
“By the end, all the switches in the cockpit that could help me were adjusted to the maximum.
“The differential and front wing were at the maximum possible, and there was still nothing I could do.
"I really hope we can carry our continued momentum through the next three races. It feels good to be back."
“I was driving into corners with almost maximum lock and the car still wasn’t turning – so I couldn’t carry the speed through the corners, and that’s how Mark [Webber] was able to catch me.
“It was only after the race that I discovered we had an issue with debris lodged in the front wing, and that’s probably what caused the understeer.”
Paying tribute to his McLaren colleagues, Hamilton added: “This was a good, strong result for the team.
“The guys didn’t put a foot wrong all weekend, so we should be proud of today’s result – but, man, it was hard!
Like Hamilton, team-mate Jenson Button lost a place during the race, finishing just off the podium behind Webber, as Red Bull secured the FIA constructors’ championship for the second season running.
“I don’t think I could have done much more than fourth today,” said Japanese GP winner Button.
“I struggled to get rid of my understeer throughout the whole race, so fourth was a fair reflection of what the car was capable of today.
“Still, if this was a bad day, it wasn’t so bad!”
The F1 circus now heads to India for the first time.
The 2011 Indian Grand Prix takes place at Greater Noida on Sunday, October 30.
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