Lewis Hamilton has insisted it was a 'massive challenge' to win the Malaysian Grand Prix, but that it was one he was well able to do because his Mercedes was just so 'spectacular' over the weekend.
Hamilton led almost from start-to-finish, only briefly relinquishing the lead to Nico Hulkenberg when he made his first of three pit stops on lap 16. In the end he won by 17.3 seconds and throughout had the measure of team-mate, Nico Rosberg, who came home second in the sister car.
Speaking at the finish on the podium, Hamilton dedicated his victory to the victims of the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370.
“I am incredibly happy to take my first win here, at my eighth time - finally I have got that win. The team did a fantastic job,” he continued in the post-race FIA press conference. “The guys back at the factory have been pushing non-stop to get the car where it is and to do it on our home ground almost [the home race for Petronas] and to get a one-two as well is quite special. I have not had that many one-twos in my career. That makes it even more special. I am very grateful for all the work that has been done.”
Quizzed on if the race was as easy as it looked, Hamilton said there were challenges: “I don't think any race is ever easy. Obviously there are opportunities that are presented in front of you and you have to take them when you can and today that is what I did,” he added.
“Looking after the car, managing the fuel, not making any mistakes – it was a massive challenge in that sense. There were times I would hear that Nico had stepped up the speed [too] and would have to react without damaging the tyres.
"[Overall then] without a doubt it was still a great challenge today, but one that I was well able to do with the car because it was spectacular this weekend.
“I am really, really happy. It was a great response from the team [after I retired early on in Australia two weeks ago].”
Hamilton now leaps up to second in the Drivers' Championship, 18 points behind Rosberg and one point up on Fernando Alonso. Mercedes also takes the lead in the Constructors', 25 ahead of McLaren.
“I'd like to think Mercedes are the title favourites, at least at the moment. But there is such a long way to go,” Hamilton warned.
“We have got a lot of competition out there. I am sure everyone is going to be pushing and we need to stay on it,” he concluded.