• Belgian Grand Prix

Hamilton praises 'remarkable' team

ESPNF1 Staff
August 29, 2010 « Drivers penalised for blocking | »
Lewis Hamilton held off Mark Webber to win his first Belgian Grand Prix © Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton praised his McLaren team for a "remarkable job" after he won the Belgian Grand Prix for the first time, holding his nerve in a chaotic race to finish ahead of title rival Mark Webber.

Hamilton took the lead at the start of the race and never lost it despite a brief off-track excursion towards the end of the race as the rain began to fall with greater intensity.

"It was a great weekend and a very, very tough race for me," said Hamilton. "I am so happy to be in this position. I was praying for a race that went smoothly but obviously with the tricky conditions when it started to rain and losing temperature in the tyres meant it was tough to know how much to push in the corners. I braked quite late and went wide into turn 8 but was able to get away with it. "

The team did a remarkable job. We are constantly pushing and at some places we are not as fast as these guys [Red Bull] but it is great that when we are close we maximise it so I am very proud of the job they did this weekend and happy to be up here."

When the rain started to fall with greater intensity, Hamilton confessed that it was a tricky call for the team to make on when to pit for intermediates towards the end of the race.

"It is a difficult call because the team is telling you there is rain coming because before there were light showers which dried quite quickly. So you don't really know what to expect although there were dark clouds. When it starts to rain heavily you want to come in but it is too late once you are past the pit lane. Fortunately I got round and had a fantastic pit stop, probably the best one I have had this year, and that is what helped get us up here.

"I was hoping the safety car would stay out longer but fortunately it didn't rain anymore and the track got a bit better and at the end I was able to get the car home keeping a small gap between myself and Mark and bag those points."

Hamilton now leads the championship by three points from Webber going into Monza, another circuit that should suit McLaren.