F1 2011 Spanish Grand Prix: Storming Hamilton's 'brilliant' drive
LEWIS Hamilton's Formula 1 team boss hailed his driver's performance in the 2011 Santander Spanish Grand Prix.
The 26-year-old Vodafone McLaren Mercedes star from Herts finished second in today’s (Sunday’s) race around the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona.
Hamilton pressed reigning F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel all the way to the line in Spain, showing McLaren have closed the gap between themselves and Red Bull performance-wise.
Martin Whitmarsh, the team principal of McLaren, felt Hamilton drove “brilliantly” to claim 18 points in Spain.
“Lewis drove another storming race, taking the fight to Sebastian from lights to flag,” said the McLaren chief.
“It’s probably fair to say that Red Bull are still a little quicker than us in qualifying, but Lewis showed this afternoon that in race spec we’re now able to match them every inch of the way.
“Indeed, Lewis was looking for a way past Sebastian in the final few laps.
“Their battle must have made for a thrilling finale for TV viewers and trackside spectators alike – but in the end he just couldn’t pull it off.
“Nonetheless, as I say, he drove brilliantly.”
"Lewis drove another storming race, taking the fight to Sebastian from lights to flag."
After starting third on the grid behind Vettel and pole-sitter Mark Webber, Hamilton was delighted to mix it with the Red Bulls and post the fastest lap of the race.
He was happy with the result after finishing off the podium in Turkey a fortnight ago.
“I was pleasantly surprised by how fast we were today,” said Hamilton afterwards.
“In race trim, I actually think we were quicker than the Red Bulls, except through the really high-speed stuff.”
Hamilton was on Vettel’s tail throughout the closing laps but was unable to take the chequered flag ahead of the German.
The Herts-born F1 star said: “I pushed as hard as I could all afternoon, and I’m really happy with the result – a few more laps and it might have been a different order at the front, but I just ran out of time at the end.
“Despite DRS, it’s still very difficult to overtake at this track – you can’t follow through Turn Three or Turn Nine, so that makes it really hard.
“Also, I was in Sebastian’s [Vettel] dirty air and the car was sliding a lot – it was incredibly tough behind him.”
"In race trim, I actually think we were quicker than the Red Bulls, except through the really high-speed stuff."
Hamilton will lock horns with the rampaging Red Bulls again in Monte Carlo next week at the 2011 Monaco Grand Prix.
He’ll be looking to repeat his 2008 triumph around the Principality’s famous street circuit.