During the second half of the race, there were times when Lewis Hamilton was the fastest man on the track. The McLaren driver was nibbling seconds off third-placed Fernando Alonso, when suddenly his third gear stopped working and he had to drop back to fifth behind team-mate Jenson Button.
"To be honest, I didn't think I would be able to finish the race," said Hamilton. "The gearbox was making loud noises. I kept my fingers crossed and tried to avoid changing gear too often." However, his lead over the two pursuing Mercedes was big enough for him to hold position and finish fifth, bagging a few vital championship points in the process.
Yet there is no mistaking his frustration: "I'm disappointed both for myself and for the team. We did our level best to score points today. I made a huge mistake on Friday, then we had to change the gearbox, and now we've had this problem in the race. I was only able to use gears four through to seven. All in all, I'm thankful just to have finished the race. I haven't done that in quite a while."
Although his championship chances have taken yet another knock, he is not giving up on his dream of regaining the title: "Whatever happens, you have to stay optimistic. There are still three races to go and 75 points up for grabs. The trouble is, Red Bull are scoring consistently. I can't remember the last time they didn't finish a race. That makes our job all the harder, but we'll keep on pushing."