By Phillip Horton on Sunday, October 28, 2012
The British driver struggled with a downshift problem, meaning that the team changed his wheel – and did so smoothly and efficiently.
“I don’t yet understand why I got such a poor start – it lost me ground and then I fell under attack from the guys behind. During the first lap, I was primarily focusing on not colliding with Jenson, then I saw Fernando [Alonso] in my right mirror. He was towing me from very far back. Even if I’d had a better start than I did, the guys in front were still maybe a bit too fast, particularly in the first stint”, he said.
“During that first stint I started having a downshift problem – I was having to change down with my right hand instead of my left, so the team elected to change the steering wheel at the pitstop”.
“I’ve never had to change a steering wheel during a race before. We’ve done it in Barcelona testing before, but never in a race. Even so, the guys did it fantastically quickly, under immense pressure, so I want to say ‘well done!’ to them all. I took the wheel off before I’d even stopped the car, and threw it out of the car. The team then fitted a new one, I clicked it into first gear, and I was away – all in just a bit over three seconds flat”.
Hamilton added that he tried to catch up with Mark Webber, but the chase was ultimately futile.
“I tried to chase down Mark [Webber] in the closing laps, but by then it was too late and he was going too quickly for me to be able to mount a serious challenge. But I never give up, and, right until the very last corner, I thought I might just be able to catch him, but in the end it wasn’t to be”.
Still, I loved it out there today – I can’t remember the last time I’ve pushed so far, so hard, for so long, right on the limit – it felt great. It felt fantastic, in fact, to be in the middle of such a battle”.