Lewis Hamilton had a confusing day at Silverstone in the British Grand Prix: one minute alarmed to find that he couldn't keep up with the cars around him, the next minute leading the race, then finally sliding back down the running order to finish exactly where he had started.

"It wasn't a great race for me," he signed afterwards. "We tried as hard as we could, but we simply didn't have the pace this afternoon."

It was the tyres that proved to be Hamilton's main strength and Achilles Heel on race day. "My tyres were still good at the end of my first stint, and I was able to hang on to Fernando," he said. "So it's hard to understand how we could be leading the race at one point and then fall back to eighth place, especially as our car doesn't feel bad overall."

"Lewis drove an excellent stint on his initial set of prime tyres, making consistent progress throughout the first third of the race," agreed McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh. "Thereafter, with hindsight, perhaps we should have given him more laps on his options, because, from the very beginning of his third stint, he was never happy with his second set of primes."

Hamilton said that he needed to analyse the strategy more closely before he could figure out whether there was anything better that they could have done in the circumstances. "I'll have to look at it afterwards to see exactly how the strategy panned out," he said. "I really don't know to be honest, but we did everything we could. A really, really tough race for us, really tough.

"Today we were very slow in the low speed corners, and particularly in the high speed," he added. "Michael came past me and he was really quick in the high speed. Our car doesn't feel that bad but theirs must feel awesome!"

However, when everything clicked and the tyres worked, Hamilton showed good form - leaving him to feel that it was premature to start panicking about the McLaren's overall form just yet, or to write off his own chances in the drivers' championship.

"We're still in the hunt for the world championship," he insisted, pointing out that he was only 8pts adrift of Sebastian Vettel and still in the top four in the standings. "If we can find a bit of lap-time, we can stay in the hunt, too."

Hamilton's biggest regret was not being able to deliver more for the home crowd who had turned out in force to support him, and which raised the roof of the new Silverstone pit lane complex with a roar of approval when he was fighting Ferrari's Fernando Alonso for the lead of the race.

"I just wish we could have done more for the fans today," Hamilton agreed. "I raced my heart out and was flat-out right to the end."

Hamilton did give the fans an extra show on the cool-down lap to say thanks to all the fans that had come today despite all the problems with the weather and traffic over the weekend.

"I gave the fans a little donut on the slow-down lap, simply because I wanted to say thank you to everyone who came out to watch us here today," he explained. "I'd love to have done better in my home Grand Prix, but, regardless, the fans were fantastic throughout the weekend."