Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has blamed hot conditions for his failure to challenge for the victory in the German Grand Prix.
Hamilton had been all smiles 24 hours earlier after qualifying on pole, however, race day at the Nurburgring was a more sobering tale.
Indeed he lost out to both Red Bull's at the start and early on just went backwards, before staging a late recovery – aided by the safety car – and snatching fifth from former McLaren team-mate, Jenson Button, on the final lap.
“That was really a tough race out there for us today. I didn't have a great start and the Red Bulls were much quicker off the line, dropping me back to third,” Hamilton said.
“We then really struggled with the second set of tyres which compromised the rest of my race. It's a real shame as the team are working so hard and doing such a good job. We've clearly got a good car but for some reason, it doesn't work in these hot conditions.
“We'll keep working on it and the positive from today is that we were able to recover to fifth place with a good strategy and great pit stops, and we're still second in the Constructors' table. Hopefully we'll have a better chance at the next race but, for now, there's a lot of hard work ahead of us.”
Mercedes boss Ross Brawn meanwhile agreed that the high track temperatures were probably the root of their troubles, especially as Nico Rosberg also had similar issues en-route
to ninth in the sister F1 W04.
“Today was a race of two halves for us. In the first part, we were once again overstressing the tyres - particularly on the prime compound - and our performance fell away as a result. However, as the temperatures cooled off a little and things settled down, both drivers had respectable pace and were able to fight their way back through the field,” Brawn noted.
“Lewis and Nico kept pushing until the final lap and were rewarded for their commitment and determination. At one point it didn't look like we would come away with much at all from this afternoon, so there has to be a certain satisfaction in saving 12 points today."
“We have said all along that there is still a question mark over our performance in hotter conditions, and today's race showed that we still have work to do," Brawn continued. "We have made big steps forward since Bahrain and Barcelona, where we particularly suffered with hotter track temperatures, and our performance was much improved compared to those races. But we have not yet done enough to convert our Saturday pace into race-winning speed in all conditions on Sunday. The three-week break until Hungary will give us an opportunity to think about how we can make further progress on our tyre management as well as continuing to develop the core performance of the car.”