Hamilton and Button delight home crowd with strong drives

Lewis Hamilton made the most of Sebastian Vettel’s misfortune to storm to second place in the 2010 British Grand Prix.

The British driver made a demon start and quickly passed Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari, before benefitting from Vettel’s puncture.

However, although the 25-year-old did not have the pace to match Mark Webber he managed to please his adoring home support with a rostrum finish.

Meanwhile Jenson Button drove a fantastic race to fourth – banishing his poor qualifying result.

The reigning world champion made use of a mixture of strategy and a good start to rocket up the order, and may have finished on the podium, had he been able to pass the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.

Lewis Hamilton – 2nd: “It’s been a phenomenal weekend – and this result is a near-perfect way to finish it. I’m so happy: considering how far behind we were in practice, we really didn’t expect to be this far up today. I’m very proud of the team and the effort they put in, as always.

“At the start, I was able to jump Fernando [Alonso] and take a step forward. After that I chased Mark [Webber] for the whole race, but the Red Bull was about four or five tenths a lap faster than our car, so it was very difficult to stay close to him. Still, the most important thing is that we scored a lot of world championship points once again, so this is another great race result for us.

“It’s been the biggest turnout I’ve ever seen here. And the support from all the fans has been incredible, I couldn’t ask for more. You can’t hear them cheering their support in the car, but you can feel it; and I carry every single one of them with me in the car. They give me a huge boost of confidence on every lap.

“We’ve got two weeks to work on our upgrades before the next grand prix. I won the last race at Hockenheim, in 2008, and if we can get the new floor there, we should be looking pretty strong.

“We’ve just got to keep pushing: this world championship is still all to play for.”

Jenson Button – 4th: “That was a great race, and I’m so happy to have made up 10 places. But it’s hard to overtake around here, so I knew I had to make up a lot of places off the start-line. In the event I made up six places, but I then had to push really hard on the Option tyre in the first stint. That strategy worked for us and I came out behind Fernando, who had a drive-through, so I picked up fourth. It’s a pity I couldn’t have overtaken Nico [Rosberg], but this is still a fantastic result for me.

“It’s a pity I couldn’t get onto the podium in front of my home crowd, who have been absolutely amazing all weekend. You can never forget the fans around here I genuinely think they helped Lewis and me to a good result today. And they got to see and cheer Lewis on the podium too, so it’s not been a bad weekend for them overall, I hope.

“After Friday, to pick up second and fourth today is great. I’m still second in the drivers’ championship, and the only pain is that Lewis has pulled away a bit. But we’ll try and get that back at the next race.

“I reckon we’ll turn up at Hockenheim with a stronger car, and that therefore we won’t be fighting from the start of the weekend. I hope we’ll have a good race there and can really take the fight to the Red Bulls.”

Martin Whitmarsh – Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: “Well, what can I say?! Both our drivers drove fantastic races under serious pressure, and the result was 30 valuable points to add to our constructors’ world championship kitty.

“Lewis made a superb start and thereafter kept the pace up all afternoon. He drove brilliantly in fact I don’t think you’ll see many better second places than that all season.

“Jenson, too, drove a masterly race to make up 10 places from 14th at the start to fourth at the finish and the team got all the strategy calls right for him. In fact, the team’s efforts over the whole weekend have been exemplary. I’ve said it before, but the team is operating more cohesively than ever before, whether we’ve been working late into the night to prepare the cars, or Gary putting in additional time in the simulator on Friday night to ensure we began Saturday in as competitive a proposition as possible. It’s that effort and dedication that has kept us in the lead of both world championships. So, well done, boys.

“So, yes, although we didn’t win the 2010 Santander British Grand Prix, today is a good day. We saw an excellent afternoon’s racing on a wonderful racetrack and we leave Silverstone with our lead in the constructors’ world championship intact, and with Lewis and Jenson still in first and second places in the drivers’ world championship.

“In the past four grands prix we’ve scored 149 points out of a possible 172 a stupendous achievement that speaks volumes for the tenacious determination of all at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.”

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