Lewis Hamilton says his prayers were answered after he took a sensational victory in the German Grand Prix from 14th on the grid.
A hydraulic issue in qualifying saw Hamilton unable to take part in Q2 after stopping on track, with the Briton seen crouching against his car after trying to push it back to the garage. However, an impressive recovery drive saw him climb through the field in mixed conditions and retake the championship lead with victory as main title rival Sebastian Vettel crashed out.
“I mean it’s too early in the season to ever really feel like it’s slipping away but of course it never feels good when you face adversity, but the longer you endure it, the stronger you grow,” Hamilton said. “I definitely felt at one point [that] it’s a steep hill for us, but it’s OK. Just keep believing, positive things are going to come ahead. Just keep fighting, just give it everything you’ve got because at some stage things will come good.
“Today is one of the most unbelievable days for me because… I prayed as I always do before the race and my prayers were really answered. It freaks me out a little bit more than normal. And then to see the kind of biblical storm afterwards… there was a lot of negativity before the race. When you come to England, going around I don’t remember any of the fans booing. We’ve got quite a good group of fans in England.
“And when I came here, there was a lot of booing. The weird thing is that I was really happy about it. It was unusual. It’s weird that I’m still happy. It was because I kept seeing individually, a couple of different British flags in amongst a hundred or a thousand… a sea of red and then you’ve got a British flag in there.
“Then you have people from Mexico, people from England, you have people I think from Nigeria or somewhere in Africa with Hamilton shirts on – the name Hamilton on, standing in amongst the red. And it was just so positive for me.
“That’s why I said at the end, that love conquers all. And I really feel that the rain’s come down and just washed away any negativity. It’s a glorious day. It couldn’t have been a better day for me and one that I will always remember.”
Hamilton’s win was in doubt after the race as he was investigated for cutting across the pit lane entry to stay out on track during a Safety Car period, and he explains the error came as a result of mixed messages from Mercedes.
“It was the most confusing second and a half and I honestly thought I was going to stay out; I was happy with my tires and then they said come in and I saw Valtteri [Bottas] ahead coming in so I was like ‘are you sure about it?’ and by the time we got in they were like ‘no stay out’ and it was literally twice, ‘go left, go right,’ so I just slowed down and trundled over some grass.
“I made sure that I returned to the track as safety as I could. Then you you heard the radio afterwards and I was like guys, it was the most confusing couple of seconds with them shouting in my ear, ‘go left, go right.’ I think it was still pretty exciting.”
Elaborating on his trip to the stewards, Hamilton added: “I just went in and just said what I just told you.
“They ask you to explain what happened and I was 100 percent open with them. I’m very rarely there. Many times in the past I have been there a lot but I hardly ever see them now and I respect the job they have to do. I was open, explained how confusing it was, they could hear and see how confusing it was.”