2nd for Hamilton despite ..

nearly not competing

Lewis Hamilton almost did not compete in yesterday's European Grand Prix after struggling with pain during the weekend.

"It was so bad that I was struggling to basically stand up and so I had to have injections in my neck and take plenty of painkillers," he explained.

McLaren Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen finished the European Grand Prix on the new Valencia street circuit in second and fourth positions respectively. After 57 laps, Hamilton came home 5.6s behind winner Felipe Massa while Kovalainen was 39.7s behind the winner.

McLaren Mercedes scored 13 points, more than any other team, and reduced the gap in the Constructors' Championship behind the leader, Ferrari, from 11 points to eight points; after 12 of 18 races. Hamilton has extended his lead in the drivers' rankings from five to six points; he now leads with 70 points ahead of Massa on 64 points.

Lewis Hamilton"I can't complain with second place today. This was a strong weekend for us despite my having a few problems health-wise, but we pulled through. The track was pretty difficult to overtake on, but I maintained the gap - our lap times showed that our overall pace was good, which was encouraging. Heikki and I scored 13 points today, which is very positive for the team, so I’d describe it as a satisfactory weekend for us."

Heikki Kovalainen"My start was good, and I was consequently able to overtake Kimi before the first corner. However, I’m not really happy with how the race went for me after that, because I had grip problems with the prime tyres in the first and second stints - whereas with the option tyres in the last stint I had much better grip and traction.  As a result I could close the gap to Robert Kubica a little. At least I scored five points, but a podium would have been much nicer. Having said that, it’s good that the team scored a lot of points with Lewis’s second place and my fourth place."

Ron Dennis"We saw another extremely solid Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team performance today, the result of which was a very useful clutch of championship points, but in truth we lost the chance of outright victory yesterday in qualifying. In my view it's pretty clear that if Lewis had qualified with the same level of fuel as Felipe, he'd probably have been able to control the race from the front. But the nature of the circuit dictated that it was always going to be difficult for him to overtake today - and, that being the case, we opted fairly early on to take the championship-strategic option of settling for second place. Following on from his victory in Hungary, Heikki also drove very strongly and helped bolster our points total in the constructors' championship. He responded well to the pressure applied by Kimi and thoroughly deserved his fourth place."

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