After all on the off-track distractions caused by the Formula 1 'spy row' and the furore of qualifying, Lewis Hamilton ensured that he got the job done on race day to give McLaren its 50th win since going into partnership with Mercedes back in 1995.

Hamilton had been due to start the race from second on the grid until late on Saturday evening when race stewards decided to penalise team-mate Fernando Alonso five places for preventing the young Briton from having a final run at pole position during qualifying - an incident that also saw the team lose any constructors' championship points scored during the weekend.

With Alonso down in sixth on the grid on one of the most difficult circuits to overtake on the calendar, Hamilton was aware of the need to make a good start and from pole, he took the early lead from Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

From there, Hamilton led to the flag for a third win of the season - despite an issue with the steering on his car - extending his lead over fourth placed Alonso by another five points to cap a weekend that had been arguably as difficult off track as it was on track.

"A very emotional race and an eventful weekend," he said. "During the last two weeks, the team has done a great job and we definitely have made a step forward. However, the Ferrari was also fast today and during the final laps, Kimi put a lot of pressure on me.

"I managed to pull out a slight gap in the first stint but during the last two stints, I had a small problem with the steering on the car. This meant Kimi was able to close on me which made me a little nervous. However the team told me on the radio that everything was OK which meant I was able to push to the very end."

Mercedes-Benz motorsport chief Norbert Haug was understandably pleased to see Hamilton clinch the landmark victory for the McLaren team, adding that the penalty imposed by the stewards will give extra motivation heading to Turkey - with the team having seen its lead over Ferrari cut to 19 points subject to an appeal.

"Lewis drove a flawless race from the start to the finish," he said. "Lewis achieved his third victory and his tenth podium in only his eleventh Formula 1 race. It is also the 50th Grand Prix win of the McLaren Mercedes partnership since our first victory at Melbourne on 10 March 1997. Fernando improved from sixth on the grid to fourth on a track where overtaking is almost impossible.

"This is our fifth victory within the last seven races and our sixth out of the eleven races so far this year - thanks to everybody in the team for working so hard to get these results. Following our penalty we lead the Constructors' Championship with 19 instead of 34 points, but I am sure that everybody in the team is even more motivated to maintain the lead in both championships until after the final race of the season on 21 October."

 

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