Lewis Hamilton admitted he was surprised at his own good fortune on Sunday after winning the German Grand Prix to take a clear championship lead into Formula One’s annual European summer holiday.
“I hope everyone has an amazing holiday — I’m going to have one,” he said, shortly after posting an image on his Instagram page showing him sharing a surfboard with one of his dogs.
“I’ll be on a beach, in the sunshine with a pina colada,” he added. “And I will be smiling.”
Twenty-four hours after casting a sullen figure during his media duties after missing out on pole position to his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, the champion sulk had become pure joy.
Told by a reporter that he now led Rosberg by 19 points, he responded with unbridled pleasure.
“I had not realized that,” Hamilton said. “That’s awesome.”
He went on to explain that his emotional reactions were about his own performances and not, as some observers had said, about him being a sore loser.
“It’s really good, isn’t it?” he told Sky Sports. “It’s really nice. I was 43 points behind — and what a day. It’s been a great race for me and I didn’t expect to be so strong on this track here like that.”
Hamilton praised his team and thanked them for preparing his car and improving his starts.
“I want to thank all of them,” he said. “I’m so happy.”
He added that in his 23 years as a racing driver he had learned what he needed to do for success — which explained why he was so joyful.
“You kick yourself when things go wrong, and today I looked after my tires, made no mistakes, I had no ‘offs’ or anything like that,” he said.
Just a day earlier, he was explaining why he seemed so miserable as reporters asked him if he was hurt by losing pole to Rosberg.
“No, it doesn’t hurt,” he said. “For me, it’s like when you write a bad story — you get hacked off by it. Or if you make a mistake. I’m not down. I’m just not happy with my own performance.”
He said he had not felt threatened at all during Sunday’s race and had deliberately managed his lead at about six seconds in the closing stages.
“I was taking it easy,” he said. “I turned the engine down when I could from the start and only put it up in the final stint. I figured that six is enough. I had that, so I could keep them at bay.”
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