Nuerburgring: Lewis Hamilton will hope Germany's Nuerburgring is kept on the Formula One calendar after finding the circuit and conditions exactly to his liking in a stunning victory charge on Sunday.
The Briton was either playing an elaborate bluff or genuinely thought he had no chance of success in rainy western Germany given McLaren's recent woes, saying on Friday that getting anywhere near pole was impossible.
Instead he was second on the grid and produced one of his "best races" to take home maximum points for the second time this year and leave Formula One world champion and current leader Sebastian Vettel looking a little less distant with nine races left.
"I felt the moves I made today were some of the most precise I've ever pulled off. Being able to drive with your head as well as your heart, and getting it just right, is massively satisfying," the 26-year-old, who had never previously won at the track, told a news conference after a series of passes.
"The fight for the world championship will be very, very, very hard now. We're back in the fight though, and I really hope we can carry this forward and keep the momentum going."
Hamilton, now third in the standings, still trails the German by a huge 82 points but heads to Hungary for next weekend's race with a broad smile on his face.
Arguably F1's best wet weather driver, the 2008 champion said he was comfortable with the changeable weather conditions in the often damp Eifel mountains.
The dreary climate at the isolated Nuerburgring is just one of the reasons why the track does not find universal approval and given it rotates with Hockenheim to host the German Grand Prix, Hamilton will not be able to enjoy a repeat success next year.
Whether he can thrive here again in 2013 remains to be seen with a contract not yet signed for the Nuerburgring to continue hosting F1 despite constant optimism from organisers.
"This is the kind of racing I love," Hamilton said. "I love having those kinds of races with people and fortunately we were able to come out ahead."
Hamilton's team mate Jenson Button endured a contrasting weekend, struggling in qualifying and just about to start imposing himself on the race before hydraulic problems ruled him out.
"I had a terrible start to the race. But I still had fun. It was looking pretty good, I was catching the guys in front so it's very disappointing," the 2009 world champion, now all but out of the title race in fifth, told reporters.
First Published: Monday, July 25, 2011, 09:13