Lewis Hamilton eyes home comfort at Silverstone
The Brit, 33, failed to finish last Sunday's race around the Red Bull Ring, pulling over with a fuel pressure problem, having already lost what should have been an almost certain win to a glaring strategy error by Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton will be hoping to extend his streak of Silverstone success this weekend, as he bids to put the disappointment of Austria behind him with a record sixth victory in his home British Grand Prix. The Brit, 33, failed to finish last Sunday's race around the Red Bull Ring, pulling over with a fuel pressure problem, having already lost what should have been an almost certain win to a glaring strategy error by Mercedes.
That snapped his record streak of 33 straight points finishes and, to add to his pain, allowed Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel, who finished third, to regain the championship advantage albeit by a slim one-point margin. "It was a difficult weekend and we would have all wished it wasn't the way it was," said Hamilton, whose teammate Valtteri Bottas also retired, chalking up the German marque's first double retirement due to technical reasons since it returned to the sport with a works effort in 2010.
"What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. The spirit within the team is stronger than it has ever been." Silverstone provides Hamilton the ideal setting to bounce back. Hamilton is tied at the top for most British wins with Scottish legend Jim Clark and French four-time champion Alain Prost, with each of the trio having chalked up five wins apiece. If he wins on Sunday, Hamilton would move clear of both to become the most successful driver on British soil outright.
His Mercedes’ team’s past form at the race bodes well. A silver car has won every race at the windswept second world war bomber base going back to 2013. Retired champion Nico Rosberg scored that win but Hamilton has won every race since, chalking up four triumphs in a row.
That run of success, however, may count for little with the season so far having thrown up plenty of upsets, most recently Austria last week where Mercedes were dealt their first defeat for the first time since the race returned to the calendar in 2014. Max Verstappen picked up the pieces then, at his Red Bull team’s home track, as Mercedes afternoon imploded, scoring his first win of the season.
However, it was the Milton Keynes-based team’s third win this year, which brought the former champions level with Mercedes and Ferrari, prompting team boss Christian Horner to tip them as having an outside shot at the title. A second consecutive win this weekend, however unlikely at a power-dependent track, would only cement those credentials.
“I think the problem is that some corners now they became flat out,” said Verstappen, pointing out highlighting his Renault-engined cars power deficit compared to Ferrari and Mercedes. “It’s a bit of a shame for us. I’m not expecting us to be super competitive, but we will be there.”
Vettel, too, will be keen to stretch his championship advantage. Silverstone has been a bit of a bogey track for Ferrari recently but updates on his car could boost Vettel's chances of handing Ferrari their first British Grand Prix win since Fernando Alonso’s triumph there in 2011.
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