Lewis Hamilton has admitted that he doesn't know why McLaren was so competitive in the German Grand Prix after the Briton clinched his second victory of the campaign at the Nurburgring.
Going into the weekend, Hamilton had played down his chances of fighting for victory but then surprised by securing a place on the front row of the grid in qualifying.
A strong start saw him gain the lead going into turn one and – having lost the lead at the first round of stops – he then moved back to the front of the field with a daring move round the outside of Fernando Alonso when the Ferrari driver emerged from his second stop just ahead of the Briton's McLaren.
Hamilton remained out front to the chequered flag to take victory but he admitted afterwards that he wasn't sure how McLaren had managed to be so strong.
“We didn't really think we would be so fast and not quite sure what we've done, because we've not really brought much here,” he said. “I don't know if it's the conditions. I think we were competitive in Montreal and Monaco and in Valencia, in hot temperatures, we were less competitive. We obviously went to Silverstone with the rule changes which was a big problem for us, and then we come back here to where we were, really, in cool conditions. I think we're there or thereabouts but I do still feel that the overall performance of the two guys here, particularly the Red Bulls', is slightly better than ours.
“You can see this weekend, I was quickest in the first sector and the last sector, but we lose a lot in the middle sector, and that's because we don't have a DRS system as efficient as theirs, so I think that we will lose at least half of those four tenths in the middle sector. If we can improve in that area, then I think we could definitely eke ahead of them, so that's what we need to work on.”
Despite the victory, Hamilton said there were areas McLaren can now work on to ensure that it builds on the German success.
“I was really surprised that my tyres lasted so long later on in the race, so I guess there are still areas we need to improve on,” he said, “particularly on heavier fuel for the beginning of the race. But this is a massive step forward and I really hope that we, as a team, can really use this to propel us forward and to keep the momentum going.”