Wow, what a great day after so many great events for me this week! I came here hoping for a win and it worked out perfectly. My Silver Arrow was so dominant, thanks to the team for this fantastic car. Before the race I was worried that without the FRIC system the gap in the race would be smaller. But we were again the quickest out there. I did a two stop strategy, which was difficult to manage at the end of the stints as the tyres were almost gone. I’m so happy for Mercedes; it was the first win for many many years in Germany. Thanks for the support here at Hockenheim, the fans were amazing to me. Also at the start I saw a Mexican wave, which was great. Now I look forward to Hungary.
First of all, congratulations to Nico on winning his home race; it’s a special feeling and I am very proud that we could put both cars on the podium for Mercedes-Benz in Germany and represent for all the Mercedes employees and fans here this weekend. From a personal point of view, I can’t be too ecstatic about the race because it has been a tough weekend for me and I’ve ultimately lost more points to Nico in the championship battle. But I’m grateful that I could limit the damage with a podium finish. When you are sitting on the grid basically in last place, with no other cars in your mirrors, it’s very hard to imagine that you could be standing up there two hours later. I’m so grateful to the team for this car, I really take my hat off to them for building a machine that can put in that kind of performance. To be honest, it was a pretty straightforward race for me, although I had some trouble following what was going on and where I was running at times. I had a nice battle with Kimi early on, when I was lucky not to damage the front wing, then the incident with Jenson was just unfortunate. He has been such a gentleman this year and not given me too much trouble getting past but it was just a misunderstanding today. I wasn’t close enough to try and pass but I was on the inside line in the corner. It looked like he had gone wide, then he cut back across the corner and perhaps he didn’t see me there. I lost quite a bit of downforce with the damage and it made it very hard to look after the front left tyre. I had a lot of understeer and the tyre was degrading fast, which is the reason why we converted from a two-stop strategy to three. Then the team called me in early on the first set of option tyres because we expected a Safety Car to come out – and I was surprised that there wasn’t one, to be honest I caught Valtteri pretty fast in the final laps but he just had too much straightline speed to get past. I’m doing absolutely everything I can to get back on level terms with Nico in the title battle: I can’t focus more or work harder than I am doing right now. This championship is proving a big challenge for me but that’s how I love it – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
It feels like a 1-2 today because considering where Lewis was coming from in P20, it was a magical drive. He had a misunderstanding with Jenson that could have cost us the race. Personally I know he is a very competitive guy and he will never be satisfied with third but it felt like a very good performance from our side, with so much going on out on track and the need to convert his pit strategy. For Nico, he was controlling the race from the beginning to the end. He knew that the task was to pull a gap and then bring the car home and that’s exactly what he did. It was a brilliant performance from him. It was an amazing race and a credit to Germany; it’s clear to see the sport is very much alive and well. Finally, I wish to make two special mentions for this victory: first of all, I offer this win to all of our colleagues at Mercedes-Benz who have given us so much support and dedication to reach this level of performance. We are proud to wear the three-pointed star and to represent the best car company in the world. But our thoughts on every race weekend are also with Michael Schumacher, who did so much for our sport in Germany and won so many times here in Hockenheim. He is fighting as only Michael can and we send all our wishes of strength and support to him and his family.
It was an afternoon we knew was going to be challenging from the outset. Not only to get Lewis from the back to the front but, as always, to get two cars home with a lot of systems to manage and a long race with the threat of rain. Nico drove a faultless race with two stops as we had planned. Lewis’ race was a bit more eventful with fantastic overtaking and some great driving. He lost a lot of downforce from the damage to the front wing, so we decided to convert to a three stop strategy in order to give us an opportunity to adjust it and reclaim the aero balance we were missing. We took a gamble on the Safety Car that didn’t pay off but did affect our strategy slightly. In the end we were thwarted by the speed of the Williams down the straight, our lap time was faster but we couldn’t overtake in the end. Congratulations to Williams on P2 and it was great to see three Mercedes-Benz powered cars on the podium here in Germany.