A HAPPY CAMPER: Lewis Hamilton revels in his German GP success. Image: AP / Michael Probst
Hockenheim, Germany - Lewis Hamilton admitted he was surprised at his own good fortune on Sunday (July 31) after winning the German Grand Prix to take a clear championship lead into Formula 1's annual European summer holidays.
"I hope everyone has an amazing holiday - I'm going to have one!" Hamilton said, shortly after posting an image on his Instagram page showing him sharing a surfboard with one of his dogs on an idyllic sea.
Hamilton said: "I'll be on a beach, in the sunshine with a pina colada. And I will be smiling."
Extending the gap
Twenty-four hours after casting a sullen figure during his media duties after missing out on pole position to his Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg, the champion sulk had become pure joy.
READ: As it happened - 2016 German GP
Told by a reporter that he now led Rosberg by 19 points, Hamilton responded with unbridled pleasure. "I had not realised that. That's awesome."
He went on to explain that his emotional reactions were about his own performances and not, as some observers had said, about him being a sore loser.
Hamilton told Sky Sports TV: "It's really good, isn't it? It's really nice. I was 43 points behind - and what a day!
"It's been a great race for me and I didn't expect to be so strong on this track here like that."
Hamilton praised his team and thanked them for preparing his car and improving his starts.
"I want to thank all of them. I'm so happy."
READ: German GP win gives Hamilton breathing space
He added that in his 23 years as a racing driver he had learned what he needed to do for success - which explained why he was so joyful.
"You kick yourself when things go wrong," Hamilton continued. "And today I looked after my tyres, made no mistakes, I had no 'offs' or anything like that."
Just a day earlier, he was explaining why he seemed so miserable as reporters asked him if he was hurt by losing pole to Rosberg.
"No, it doesn't hurt," the Hammer said. "For me, it's like when you write a bad story - you get hacked off by it. Or if you make a mistake.
"I'm not down. I'm just not happy with my own performance. I felt I was quickest and I had the speed and I brought it to qualifying, but I didn't deliver it. I have to handle that."
Hamilton said he had been kicking himself about his qualifying failure and felt he had let down himself and his team. But, he added, he did not over-dwell on the past, but instead looked forward determined to do better.
"I have a lot of guys back at the factory, and also my main guys here, my mechanics, who work to build my car, who were hoping to get pole.
"I've got my engineers who work until 1 or 2am every night. It's a lot of weight when you don't deliver the way they have delivered. That's where I am in my head."
READ: Hamilton extends F1 lead as he wins German GP
He said he had not felt threatened at all during Sunday's race and had deliberately managed his lead at around six seconds in the closing stages.
"I was taking it easy," Hamilton laughed. "I turned the engine down when I could from the start and only put it up in the final stint.
"I figured that six is enough. I had that so I could keep them at bay."
Having won six of the past seven races, Hamilton leads Rosberg by 19 points with a four-week break before the Belgian Grand Prix on August 28.
"It is more than I expected so I'll definitely take that," he added.