Lewis Hamilton revels in his Malaysian fightback

LEWIS Hamilton insists he is enjoying Formula 1 racing as much as ever after producing another superb drive in Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix.

The 2008 world champion saw his time in Australia a week ago dominated by negative headlines after he was first caught by police performing "burnouts" in his road car before then taking a swipe at his McLaren team's strategy that contributed to him failing to challenge for a podium.

Hamilton repeated that result on Sunday but the circumstances were a far cry from those in Melbourne. A team strategy error in judging the conditions saw him out of the first phase of qualifying on Saturday to line up 20th on the grid on Sunday with his hopes of a first victory of the season dashed again. But he made the most of his predicament as he surged through the field before spending the latter stages of the race challenging the Force India of Adrian Sutil for fifth. However, the German kept Hamilton at bay, while Sebastian Vettel led a Red Bull one-two ahead of Mark Webber.

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Hamilton, though, emerged from the cockpit of his McLaren cutting a different figure to that in Australia, delighted with his team and adamant he remains in love with racing.

When asked why he seemed to have had an extra spring in his step, Hamilton said: "It is because I am enjoying it. I am enjoying the racing and I have got great support. I am very happy with that result. To go from 20th to sixth is a good result for me and a good result for my team. It was a great job by the team and the car was fantastic this weekend. It is a positive thing going into the next race."

Hamilton's team-mate Jenson Button also reached the top ten after starting in 17th but his progress was not quite as impressive. The reigning world champion held his hands up and admitted he made a mistake in choosing to start on the option tyres on Sunday, with a lack of grip forcing him to pit earlier than he would have liked, and ending the race in eighth.

But, given where both Hamilton and Button had started the race, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh was happy with the outcome of the weekend. "We saw two markedly different yet equally impressive drives from Lewis and Jenson," he said.