Hamilton: Ferrari celebration a sign of weakness

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"Now we have to find out how we've been working compared to the others, but I think that even if we can still improve our lap time, the auto is fine".

"It was wonderful to see so many red flags, German flags, so much support around the track", said the four-times world champion, who has yet to win a grand prix at the circuit nearest to where he grew up.

It is likely that Hamilton will be partnered by Valtteri Bottas for a third year with Mercedes content that the Finn is doing enough to retain his seat.

He then crouched down next to the stricken vehicle after it had been wheeled off the track, resting his helmeted head on the front in apparent shock.

The spokesman said it was important to stop the auto to prevent "heat soak damage" to the power unit as happened to teammate Valtteri Bottas during the race in Austria earlier this month. I really truly believe we are strong enough to come back whatever we are faced with.

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Vettel, who is also bidding for a fifth title, leads Hamilton by eight points. "I will give 100 percent as always". "But I wouldn't want it any other way".

"Although we have enjoyed so much success together since 2013, Mercedes is hungrier than ever - from Dr Zetsche and the board members at the top of Daimler, through (team boss) Toto (Wolff) and the team management, to every single person I meet in the corridors of Brixworth and Brackley". Hamilton felt the problem was evident before then, however. "Just before the kerb I think the steering broke so I think that's the issue", he told Sky Sports television.

That wasn't his only crime, he declined to attend the stewards meeting to face charges of driving his vehicle on the race track wearing just one glove and using a mobile phone at the same time.

Both Red Bull and McLaren intimated they had not been in contact with Hamilton, leaving Ferrari, a team he respects and admires, as the only remaining organisation with the financial muscle required.

The session was red-flagged for nine minutes in the second phase after Leclerc's Swedish team mate Marcus Ericsson went off, sending a shower of gravel across the track.

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