Lewis Hamilton says he took some comfort from McLaren's improved pace at the German Grand Prix, but admits his title charge cannot afford too many more non-points finishes.
After a major upgrade introduced by his team at Hockenheim, Hamilton and teammate Jenson Button enjoyed a step forward in pace. However, Hamilton's hopes of matching Button's eventual podium finish were wrecked by a secon-lap puncture which damaged his car and left him unable to make much progress before his late-race retirement.
Despite his personal disappointment, Hamilton says that there were some positives to take out of the weekend.
"In terms of Jenson's result it was fantastic, but for me – looking at the pace I had even with the issues I had, my diff was quite badly damaged and my left rear corner destroyed plus my floor – knowing I had lost so much downforce and was still competitive was comforting."
However, with Hamilton now 64 points adrift of championship leader Fernando Alonso in the title stakes, he knows that even with a quick car he cannot afford to fall much further adrift of the title front-runners. Speaking about how big a dent the German GP was to his championship hopes, he said: "It was as big a dent as you could probably take. Just as Valencia was. Through a season I don't think there could be a bigger dent.
"There are only a certain amount of dents that you can take through the year, especially when the guy who is leading has finished every race in the points."