Lewis Hamilton vowed to “drive like my life depends on it” after his Formula One world championship hopes suffered in a dramatic day of German Grand Prix qualifying.
The world champion’s chances of catching Sebastian Vettel took a heavy blow on Saturday as hydraulic problems forced him out prior to Q2 and into 14th on the grid.
The Briton briefly continued driving against the urging of his engineers before mounting a vain attempt to literally push his Silver Arrow back to the pits.
SUNDAY RACE RESULT: Lewis Hamilton survives probe to win German Grand Prix
“We’ve seen Fernando Alonso do this on the entry to pit lane in Budapest a couple of years ago. Never have I seen a guy this far out from home try to push his car back to the pits so he can carry on,” Sky Sports commentator David Croft said.
Vettel, eight points clear in the standings, went on to claim pole, leaving Mercedes driver Hamilton to describe the incident as “nobody’s fault”, and explain why he initially resisted advice to pull over.
“Simple, it’s qualifying, the car was still going and I hoped with all my heart that I might make it back and they could fix it,” the 33-year-old wrote in an Instagram story.
“In my heart I never give up so it is the hardest thing to give in and accept the car will not make it back.
“I turned the car off and thought perhaps I can even push it back as crazy as it sounds. That’s just me being passionate.
“Now tomorrow, I can’t predict what’s to come. Good or bad I will die before I give in. All I can do is try to be the best me I can be and drive it like my life depends on it.”
Hamilton has not been penalised for attempting to push his car while rivals drove around him at speed, and fans were unhappy to see the unsafe act given a pass:
— Lorenzo Valerin (@LV26KS) July 21, 2018
#AskCrofty @SkySportsF1 #GermanGP will Hamilton get some kinda penalty for getting out of the car on the track and keep pushing it while others fly by him!!! What he did was reckless and dangerous. What say you?
— IwanChecK (@iwanchek_01) July 21, 2018
— Stu Gordon (@stu_in_edin) July 21, 2018
— George Adams (@stageleftphoto) July 21, 2018
What a stupid, dangerous thing to do by Hamilton – why is he messing about trying to push his car back, ruining others laps and running about on track! #GermanGP
— Sean 🌹🤝 (@BoltZaumgartner) July 21, 2018