• Korean Grand Prix

Whitmarsh lauds 'inspirational' Hamilton

ESPNF1 Staff
October 17, 2011 « Dan Wheldon killed in Las Vegas 300 | Hamilton and Button lead Wheldon tributes »
Lewis Hamilton held off Mark Webber for 35 laps © Getty Images

Martin Whitmarsh said that Lewis Hamilton's drive to second place in the Korean Grand Prix was "utterly inspirational" and "worthy of the great champions".

Hamilton lost out to Sebastian Vettel on the opening lap of the race at Yeongam, but when racing resumed on lap 20 after a safety car period he spent the rest of the race defending from Mark Webber. With the Red Bull the quicker car on the day, and DRS proving effective in other battles, Hamilton impressively kept Webber at bay, and Whitmarsh was full of praise after the race.

"I think Lewis' drive was utterly inspirational," Whitmarsh said. "He may be downplaying it, because he's a perfectionist and he wanted to win, but to withstand such enormous pressure, for lap after lap, from a faster car, was a drive absolutely worthy of the great champions. His finishing position may only go down in the history books as another second place, but, make no mistake, this was a fantastic drive; beautifully assured and perfectly judged."

Whitmarsh said that an odd problem was also costing Hamilton performance and giving him a lot of understeer, which made the drive even more impressive.

"To cap it all, the data showed that he was losing a significant amount of downforce from his front wing. After the race, we inspected Lewis's front-wing and discovered that the left-hand slot-gap had become filled with congealed tyre rubber, doubtless a result of the marbles on the track. As a result, he was suffering with masses of understeer, which further hurts the tyres. In the circumstances, his was an absolutely fantastic drive because it would have been all too easy to have gone backwards when faced with such massive, and constant, pressure."