Lewis Hamilton elated by ‘crazy’ gap of 19 points over F1 title rival Nico Rosberg

German Grand Prix 2016

Lewis Hamilton expressed his delight after taking a 19-point lead in the Formula One world championship with victory in the German Grand Prix, describing the gap he has opened up over his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg as “crazy”.

Hamilton’s run of six wins in seven races equals his performance at the end of the 2014 season and it means he has scored 62 more points than Rosberg in the space of seven grands prix.

“I didn’t know I was 19 points ahead, that’s crazy,” the Briton said. “I was 43 points behind and now it’s swung the other way. I’m very happy with that. It’s gone so quickly.

“Only a few weeks ago we were in Barcelona and I was 43 points behind thinking: ‘Jeez, I might come away 50 points behind.’ I was finding it hard to find a way through the trees but I kept going and kept believing the light was beyond the bushes.”

A dejected Rosberg – Hamilton’s only realistic rival for the drivers’ title – was left to rue a lost opportunity in his home race. The German started on pole but fell back to fourth at the start and was then hit by a five-second penalty after running Red Bull’s Max Verstappen off the track. To cap everything, a faulty stopwatch at Mercedes resulted in the team holding Rosberg in the pit lane for 8.3 seconds.

“I didn’t know. It just felt like I was sitting there forever,” Rosberg, who finished fourth, said of the team malfunction. “But it didn’t make a difference in the end because I wouldn’t have been able to get the Red Bulls anyway. So many things went wrong today.”

The 31-year-old said his poor start was because of “too much engagement with the clutch” before adding: “Today I’m disappointed. I had an awesome qualifying and was really optimistic I could bring it home today, so I’m disappointed that everything went wrong. But I have enough evidence to show that I’m at my strongest after difficult moments. But it’s always going to be a battle against Lewis.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Paul Weaver at Hockenheim, for The Guardian on Sunday 31st July 2016 19.16 Europe/London

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