Lewis back in the hunt

Brit encouraged by car's performance

Lewis Hamilton insists his championship challenge is back on track after his third place finish in Spain.

After bitterly disappointing performances in Malaysia and Bahrain, the Brit was back on the podium in Barcelona behind a Ferrari one-two of Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa.

McLaren star Hamilton is now outright second in the drivers' standings, albeit nine points behind world champion Raikkonen.

The 23-year-old was at least relieved to put his Bahrain blunders behind him at the Circuit de Catalunya.

"Mistakes happen, it was one of those character-building things, a learning curve I guess," he said.

"But I didn't feel I had to come here and do anything extra or do anything different. You know what I can do. I don't feel I needed to prove it.

"I just wanted to do a solid job for the team and get points, and I'm really happy with where we've come, especially after a qualifying performance that was not the best.


"But to see the reliability of the car, how much we could push at the end and the pace of the car improving throughout the race, that was quite encouraging."

Hamilton admitted it was "good to be back" on the podium, even if Ferrari were bullet proof from start to finish, in particular with Raikkonen claiming Formula One's hat-trick of pole, fastest lap and race win.

The one downside for McLaren and Hamilton was Heikki Kovalainen's 150mph smash which the Briton conceded at first left him "terrified".

Kovalainen hurtled nose first into a tyre barrier with such force that half his car was buried, yet he escaped with nothing more than mild concussion."As I passed I just saw a car in the wall and it was red.

"I didn't know if it was Heikki or one of the Ferraris, but then the team told me it was Heikki, although at that moment they did not know how bad he was.

"They later came on the radio and said he was okay, just slightly concussed.

"I did see a little glimpse of the footage on the TV (a giant screen at the circuit), and it looked reminiscent of my incident last year at the Nurburgring.

"I was terrified for whoever it was because I saw the impact was quite heavy.

"It obviously wasn't a great day for Heikki, but I'm glad he is okay and I'm sure he'll be back."