Lewis Hamilton was delighted to claim and keep second place in this weekend's Mexican Grand Prix, saying that it had taken some serious 'finesse' to make his medium tyres last to the finish.
It's been a torrid run for Hamilton in recent races. He failed to finish in Qatar after colliding with his Mercedes team mate George Russell in t he first corner, and was disqualified from the US Grand Prix for a technical breach.
Before the disqualification he had put in a committed performance to finish in second place, and it was with some satisfaction that just seven days later he once again proved himself 'best of the rest' behind Max Verstappen
Hamilton started the race from sixth place and picked up a place due to Sergio Perez' retirement. He bided is time before passing Daniel Ricciardo on lap 10, before undercutting Carlos Sainz during the first round of pit stops.
The safety car for Kevin Magnussen's accident allowed him to change to mediums on the restart that allowed him to get the jump on Charles Leclerc for second, but then it was all down to managing his tyres t the finish.
"I wasn't thinking it was going to last," Hamilton said when interviewed by his former team mate Jenson Button in parc ferme after the finish. "But I did some real sweet finesse. I was trying to drive like you!
"We weren't having to push crazy hard out there," he commented. "But this is a great result considering we started sixth.
"I feel fresh", he said. "This is a really difficult couple of weeks and to bounce back from a difficult weekend last weekend with the end result, this is really well done."
“I just kept my nose clean at the beginning of the race and then just was really trying to manage the tyres and maximise and progress forwards,” he explained in the official FIA post-race conference.
“When I noticed that I had the pace on Carlos I knew that with the undercut it really worked quite well," he noted. “The team did a great job I think with strategy.
"Then of course the red flag probably played into our hands in terms of getting on to the fresh tyre at the end.
“But I didn’t know whether or not the medium would make it that long. I was trying to see if I could close the gap to Max but he was long, long gone and I could only just about equal his times.”
“For sure I could have pushed a little bit harder but I did at one time try to se," he added. “I had to be careful because obviously my tyres, if I really pushed them for the last 10 laps, they probably would have opened up.
"Who knows, maybe Charles would have caught me," he mused. "I just had to be cautious of that.”
Hamilton added that he was 'proud of my team' given the way that they had handled recent weeks, and for their work over the whole of the season making the W14 competitive.
His team mate George Russell also took the restart on mediums but wasn't able to make them last to the finish, meaning he was unable to pass Sainz and succumbed to a late attack from Lando Norris for fifth place.
Overall, though, team principal Toto Wolff was delighted by this week's performance. “The smile on our face is because the car is strong. Once Lewis was in free air, we had so much margin on the medium.
"We didn’t know if the mediums would hold on, but he managed to increase the gap to Leclerc," Wolff told Sky Sports F1. "“One of the very good races that I’ve seen from him.
“Today, it was a first - he said the car was good!" Wolff added. "It was a brilliant, brilliant drive."