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His team-mate Valtteri Bottas came home second, 4.5 seconds behind the Englishman, ahead of fellow-Finn Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari to deliver Mercedes first one-two finish at a German Grand Prix.

Asked if it was because Hamilton is the No.1 driver at Mercedes, Wolff added: "No, absolutely not".

"There was a lot of negativity before the race ... and when I came here, there was a lot of booing", Hamilton said. At the end in the loss between the various voices over the radio, he made the decision to stay out, which was good for us because we were splitting bets.

Towards the final few lap of the race, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who was leading the race until then, crashed and the safety vehicle was deployed.

Speculation has emerged that Hamilton's resurgent fightback pressurised Vettel and had an effect on the German crashing out of his home race, but Lewis admits he doesn't know.

It capped a whirlwind 24 hours for Hamilton, who was booed by the partisan German fans before the race, with the heavens dramatically opening as he stood on top of the podium.

"No, absolutely not", he said.

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"If it had been the other way around with Valtteri in the lead and Lewis second we would have made the same call, an identical call". "It was about bringing him home, irrespective of who is in front". "It's obviously very hard from that position and highly unlikely but you've always got to believe", he said. "I questioned it and it turned out to be the right thing".

Indeed, what a difference a day makes.

Mercedes also regained the initiative in the constructors' championship, much to the delight of company chairman Dieter Zetsche who embraced the Englishman in the unbridled euphoria in the rain that followed the race.

Hamilton is now locked in a title battle with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and his title defence suffered a blow at Hockenheim as he was forced to pull over with a loss of hydraulic pressure at the end of the first qualifying segment. Behind him were the two Finnish drivers (Bottas & Raikkonen) in 2nd and 3rd places. It was one of those moments.

The resultant 25-point swing between the pair has seen Hamilton take the lead in the world championship standings in what could be looked back on as a pivotal weekend in the season.

Hamilton said afterwards that he feared his lead might again be short-lived as the teams head to Budapest for this week's Hungarian Grand Prix, the last one before the European summer break.