Hamilton celebrates 'near-perfect' second place at British Grand Prix
For Lewis Hamilton, second place in a car that couldn't hold a candle to the Red Bull was as good as a win, and a perfect exercise in damage limitation while McLaren wait to get their new blown diffuser working to its full potential.
"It's been a phenomenal weekend – and this result is a near-perfect way to finish it," Hamilton said. "I'm so happy: considering how far behind we were in practice, we really didn't expect to be this far up today. I'm very proud of the team and the effort they put in, as always.
"At the start, I was able to jump Fernando [Alonso] and take a step forward. After that I chased Mark [Webber] for the whole race, but the Red Bull was about four or five tenths a lap faster than our car, so it was very difficult to stay close to him. Still, the most important thing is that we scored a lot of world championship points once again, so this is another great race result for us.
"It's been the biggest turnout I've ever seen here. And the support from all the fans has been incredible, I couldn't ask for more. You can't hear them cheering their support in the car, but you can feel it; and I carry every single one of them with me in the car. They give me a huge boost of confidence on every lap.
"We've two weeks to work on our upgrades before the next grand prix. I won the last race at Hockenheim, in 2008, and if we can get the new floor there we should be pretty strong. We've just got to keep pushing: this world championship is still all to play for."
Nico Rosberg again highlighted the disparity in performance and achievement with his much-vaunted team-mate Michael Schumacher, as he took a fighting third place while the former multiple champion was only ninth.
"I had a good start today and was happy to be up to fourth place by the end of the first lap," Rosberg said. "Robert [Kubica] was holding me up and, with Fernando pushing hard behind, it wasn't easy to maintain the place. Our strategy was really strong today so thanks to the guys on the pit wall for their efforts and keeping me out on the option tyres. I had a great lap and, with the quick pit stop, it was enough to get me out ahead of Robert, and that made the podium possible.
"It's been a good effort from the team to turn our situation around after Valencia. We have made a step forward and analysed where we went wrong and to come away with a podium today is fantastic. It's a real turnaround and I am confident there is more to come ."
Jenson Button couldn't quite find the required pace to pass the Mercedes, but was delighted to salvage a good fourth place after starting 14th in the wake of a troubled qualifying run.
"That was a great race," the 2009 champion said, "and I'm so happy to have made up 10 places. But it's hard to overtake around here, so I knew I had to make up a lot of places off the start line. In the event I made up six, but I then had to push really hard on the option tyre in the first stint.
"That strategy worked for us and I came out behind Fernando, who then had a drive-through, so I picked up fourth. It's a pity I couldn't have overtaken Nico, but this is still a fantastic result for me."