Lewis Hamilton heads into Formula One’s summer break with a smile on his face after believing he has proven himself in times of adversity.
Hamilton could have been cut severely adrift of Mercedes team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg in the championship standings following disastrous qualifying sessions in the last two races.
But from 20th on the grid in the German Grand Prix following a brake disc failure, and a pit-lane start in Hungary on Sunday in the wake of a fire sparked by a fuel leak, Hamilton battled through to third on both occasions.
With eight races of the campaign remaining come F1’s resumption in Belgium in three weeks’ time, Hamilton’s deficit to Rosberg is only 11 points.
Hamilton has used the phrase “damage limitation” all too often this season, but is able to head away on holiday relieved to still be in the hunt for motor sport’s prized crown.
“We’ve had some difficult weekends throughout this season but if I’m honest, looking back at it now, I wouldn’t want it any other way,” said Hamilton on the team’s official website.
“Sometimes it’s nice to have things easy, but I love a challenge and I love a fight. It’s not the times of ease that show who you are – it’s the times of adversity.
“I definitely feel like the tough breaks I’ve had this year have made me stronger, and hopefully I’ve shown I’ve got heart.
“To have taken two podiums from two difficult weekends before the break has been really satisfying.
“More than that, it allows me to smile and enjoy this time off knowing I still have an opportunity to fight for this championship.”
Hamilton has revealed his holiday time will combine lazing on a beach with working out at the gym, the latter to put on extra muscle lost earlier this season to accommodate the new weight regulations.
The recent removal from all cars of a particular suspension system will allow Hamilton “to bulk up a bit”.
Beyond that, it will then be full-attack mode from Hamilton for the final eight races in which he will be hoping for more luck when it comes to reliability.
“I’m happy with our performance so far this year in terms of the pace we have in the car,” added Hamilton.
“The team have done a great job with that. We just need to work on the reliability, and I know that’s the priority for everyone back at the factories.
“I have to say, though, over the last two weekends in Germany and Hungary in particular, the guys have been amazing.
“It’s tough for everyone involved when reliability comes into play.
“To see these issues happen after all the long hours and hard work they’ve put in, I know it hurts them as much as it hurts me.
“To then fight through, get the car back together, get me out there and not give up or lose hope, I can’t thank them enough for everything they do and that’s what’s going to keep me going right through this year.
“There’s still a long, long way to go and I know both the guys and myself will keep pushing right to the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi.
“We’ll be back stronger than ever in Spa.” (PA)