Hamilton: I can handle pressure
Lewis Hamilton feels he has proven he is not a driver to crack under pressure after two of the toughest weeks of his career.
- Related Content
It was after a poor error of judgement in qualifying for the British Grand Prix that gave Mercedes team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg pole position Sir Jackie Stewart suggested Hamilton's head "had gone a bit".
But in the wake of shocking bad luck in qualifying for the last two races in Germany and Hungary that placed Hamilton's back against the wall, the 29-year-old came out fighting and conjured two astonishing drives.
In Hockenheim, following a brake disc failure that pitched him into a 30g impact into a tyre barrier, Hamilton powered his way to third from 20th on the grid.
At the Hungaroring, a fuel leak caused a fire that wrecked his car, and given the damage and subsequent re-build he was forced to start from the pit lane.
A spin on lap one in wet conditions only compounded Hamilton's woes, yet in the face of adversity he again rose to third.
There was also controversy as he was asked to move aside for Rosberg at one stage, with the duo on different strategies.
Hamilton refused, which proved crucial as he managed to keep Rosberg behind him in the dying moments of the 70-lap race when the German was on a charge on fresh tyres.
Given Hamilton's gross misfortune so far this season, as he has also suffered two retirements to Rosberg's one, it is no wonder he cannot wait to recharge his batteries.
"It's been a very trying, challenging and testing last two weeks, and to be able to still keep myself together...," said Hamilton.
"I saw one story that I would crack under the pressure, well these last two weeks have shown that's not the case, that I'm still in the fight and raring to go.
"This break will be good for me now to re-energise, get fit, and with the car lighter (in the absence of the FRIC suspension system) I can maybe put some weight on and come back stronger, both physically and mentally."
Before then, however, there are clear-the-air talks to be held with Rosberg, Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff and executive technical director Paddy Lowe, whose suggestion it was for Hamilton to yield.
Hamilton knows to have done so, when both he and Rosberg were still in with a chance of the win on lap 51 when the call was made, would almost certainly have damaged his championship chances.
Going into the break with eight races remaining, Hamilton now trails Rosberg by just 11 points.
A far from happy Rosberg has made it clear he feels Hamilton was in the wrong as he said: "Lewis didn't let me by, although he was ordered to so, so that's obviously not good and we need to discuss that internally.
"That's the best way forward for us as a team. It's pretty obvious what happened, it was all on the radio.
"So we need to discuss it, we will discuss it, and we will see how we move forward."
Asked as to whether he felt he would have won the race, Rosberg said: "That's so theoretical. I don't know....ah, no, no, no, let's go by what Toto said (that Rosberg could have).
"He's looked at all the data and things like that, so let's go by his opinion. He's the best person to know that."
Rosberg, however, bristled when he was questioned on whether if roles had been reversed he would have done the same for Hamilton.
"I'm sorry that's not something that's relevant now to discuss," snapped Rosberg.
"It's hypothetical, theoretical, it's not relevant."