Lewis Hamilton has described the moment he bailed out of pitting in the closing stages of the Formula 1 German Grand Prix as the “most confusing second and a half”. 

Hamilton was instructed to follow teammate Valtteri Bottas into the pitlane to stop under a Safety Car period - deployed after Sebastian Vettel crashed out in damp conditions - but a mix-up in communication resulted in the Briton swerving across the grass at pit entry to get back on track.

As a result, Hamilton found himself in a lead he never relinquished as he claimed a remarkable victory despite starting from 14th on the grid. He was summoned to the stewards following the podium ceremony over a possible breach of regulations, but the win remained intact as Hamilton received his first reprimand of the season. 

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“It was the most confusing second and a half and I honestly thought I was going to stay out, I was happy with my tyres and then they said come in,” Hamilton said when asked to explain the incident. 

“I saw Valtteri ahead coming in so I was like ‘are you sure about it’ and by the time we got in they were like ‘no stay out’ and it was literally twice, ‘go left, go right’, so I just slowed down and trundled over some grass.”

Hamilton stressed he was keen to ensure he returned to the track in the safest possible manner he could. 

“I made sure that I returned to the track as safety as I could,” he said. “Then you heard the radio afterwards and I was like guys, it was the most confusing couple of seconds with them shouting in my ear, ‘go left, go right’.”

Hamilton explained his version of events to the stewards before hearing their verdict prior to conducting his post-race media session, in which he revealed the respect he has for the “hard job” they have to do.

“I just went in and just said what I just told you,” Hamilton said. “They ask you to explain what happened and I was 100 percent open with them. I’m very rarely there. 

“Many times in the past I have been there a lot but I hardly ever see them now and I respect the job they have to do. They have the hardest job because every scenario is always different. I was open, explained how confusing it was, and they could hear and see how confusing it was. 

“It’s been the most emotional day, up and down and no one ever wants to go and see the stewards This has just been an unbelievable day.”

Hamilton’s win, coupled with Vettel’s first retirement of the season, means he has now moved into a 17-point lead at the top of the drivers’ championship, while Mercedes’ first one-two finish at Hockenheim sees the German manufacturer has leapfrogged Ferrari in the constructors’.

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