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Hamilton's five-star breakdown cover

Lewis Hamilton

Ever broken down near the Black Sea and had an engine part shipped 2,400 miles to you overnight?

No, us neither.

But those are the lengths Mercedes went to in order to get Lewis Hamilton on the grid for Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix.

After an engine failure saw Hamilton, 31, finish 10th in Saturday’s qualifying, Mercedes bosses acted quickly.

Here, in the words of team boss Toto Wolff, is how Mercedes made sure the world champion had a new fuel system delivered from the team’s base in Brixworth to Sochi in Russia.

Step one – Pick up from Brixworth, Northamptonshire

Mercedes HQ Brackley<!–<!–[if lte IE 8]><![endif]–>

“It was a team effort from many people,” said Wolff.

Step two – Sort out a plane

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“Niki tried to organise the plane and the slot, and we had various options – we had to choose which one would get in earliest.”

Step three – Sort out the landing

“Someone on our team, her assistant, who happens to be Russian, sorted out the airport.”

Step four – Get Bernie to call in some favours

Bernie Ecclestone<!–<!–[if lte IE 8]><![endif]–>

“We got the bit and guy on the plane and Bernie sorted the customs. The detail was that the plane landed with the box and within 90 seconds the box was in the car on the way. I don’t want to know how he sorted that.”

Step five – Start in 10th, finish second, meet President Putin

Hamilton<!–<!–[if lte IE 8]><![endif]–>

Hamilton was unable to catch race winner and team-mate Nico Rosberg, after a separate engine issue meant he had to hold back.

But his rise from 10th on the grid to the podium capped a remarkable 24 hours.

He said: “I’m really happy and grateful for the guys who flew over last night with new parts and worked hard so hard from 2am to 9am.

“And then my guys who took over from 9-10am. To get this finish, even though we’ve had the problems we’ve had, is kind of a blessing.”

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