Lewis Hamilton was in optimistic mood after the Indian GP – despite losing a place relative to his grid position and all but the slenderest mathematical chance of winning the championship.
Hamilton enjoyed pushing Mark Webber in the closing stages, although he could not quite relieve the Red Bull driver of fourth. He remains in the title battle only because if he wins the last three races, and Vettel fails to score, he would be champion on a tie-break of race victories.
“It was a wicked race for me, I loved it,” said Hamilton. “I pushed right to the finish line, I pushed as hard as I could. I can’t even remember the last time I had to be so much over the limit to catch someone, literally to the point where I was about to come off.
“I’ve not been able to do that too much during the year, because we’ve had to save tyres and that stuff. The tyres lasted so long and we had really good pace at the end. It was just really unfortunate that we lost ground at the beginning.
“I just feel great, I pushed so hard. I feel proud of myself and proud of the guys. It’s a shame we didn’t have the ultimate pace at the beginning to really challenge the guys at the front. But it was a great race.”
He said he thought until the last lap that he could catch Webber: “Every second I thought I could catch him, you have to believe and you push and push and push. You could easily give up when you know there’s only one lap left. I started to get closer, Mark started to bail out and stop pushing towards the last three corners, and I thought I’m going to get him now. I just wasn’t close enough.”
One of the most unusual aspects of his race was a steering wheel change at the pit stop, something that Lewis enjoyed getting done successfully.
“It was wicked in the car, so cool! I’d never done it before. I practised it in Barcelona in testing, but never in the race. I yanked it off, threw it to the right… I didn’t hand it, I think I threw it to the right. The other one was on, boom, straight back into gear.
“Normally you come in, you’re in first gear, and as you’re lifted up, you’re ready to go. When I came in there I had to go to neutral, chuck the steering wheel off, and then as he was putting it on get the clutch in, first gear in, so it was really cool.”