D he pole position for Lewis Hamilton was an invitation for one Victory. The McLaren driver convinced at the start, but a few corners later had to admit defeat to Sebastian Vettel. Even when restarting after the safety car phase, Hamilton could no longer get to Vettel. At that time he was already struggling with severe understeer.
Thrilling duel until the last lap
The pressure from Mark Webber in the last laps kept on him. On lap 31, Webber had caught up to Hamilton within half a second. After the two pit stops on lap 33, the duel between the two lasted until they crossed the finish line. 'For some reason the car was getting worse and worse up front. It kept locking up when braking,' said Hamilton. 'I put the front wing as steeply as possible. That is actually not common.'
Team principal Martin Whitmarsh provided part of the explanation after the race. The car had lost ten points of downforce at the front, which caused the tires to wear out even more. In addition, Webber made more and more pressure from behind. With 20 laps left, Whitmarsh no longer believed that Hamilton could stay afloat. 'I told him to relax before the race,' said Whitmarsh. 'He was very determined. As a racing driver, he can be incredibly happy with what he did here this weekend. He won't be happy with the result. But that was because of his car, which had a problem. He's a fantastic kid . '
No self-doubts with Hamilton
Although Hamilton still did not seem really liberated, he made it clear that he did not doubt himself. 'I have the team's confidence. Now I hope for better results,' he said. 'I'm glad I didn't get a penalty and fell by the wayside.' Webber praised him for the fair fight on equal terms. Even with the defeated car, Hamilton showed his ambition and passion for the sport and never thought of giving up.
'Of course we don't like not to win,' smiles Whitmarsh. 'But it was a good race, especially by Lewis. We now have to find out why we weren't as good as we thought.'
Palpitation at the command post
Jenson Button also struggled with too little downforce on the front axle and therefore couldn't get past fourth place. However, the first round did not run out for the BritishPlan. Button dropped from third to sixth place. In the end he was able to leave the two Ferraris behind. Only when he dueled with Nico Rosberg in the pit lane did he make his boss a little nervous. 'It was pretty tough and pretty interesting,' says Whitmarsh with a laugh. 'That's how it should be.'