Hamil­ton looks to get back on track

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

LONDON: Lewis Hamil­ton will head to Sil­ver­stone for this week­end’s Bri­tish Grand Prix with the cir­cuit as much in the head­lines as the home hero.

Both have said “no” to For­mula One at the start of a big week in Bri­tain – Hamil­ton the only driver to snub a ma­jor event in London yes­ter­day and Sil­ver­stone call­ing time on the race con­tract af­ter 2019.

“We had a fan­tas­tic re­sponse from all the teams and 19 of the driv­ers,” said a For­mula One spokesman, with­out nam­ing Hamil­ton, ahead of the F1 Live London event fea­tur­ing demon­stra­tion runs on the streets of West­min­ster.

Hamil­ton told his fans on so­cial me­dia on Tues­day that he was go­ing on a break. His Mercedes team con­firmed that only Valt­teri Bot­tas would be in London.

“Two-day hol­i­day be­fore the great­est race week­end of the year!!,” Hamil­ton told his 4.5 mil­lion fol­low­ers on In­sta­gram along­side a pho­to­graph of him­self and friends on the steps of his pri­vate jet.

The Bri­ton will be back to­day as the fo­cus of at­ten­tion, bid­ding to match his late com­pa­triot Jim Clark as the only driver to have won four Bri­tish Grands Prix in a row and five in to­tal.

The triple world cham­pion is in need of home com­forts af­ter set­backs be­yond his con­trol in Azer­bai­jan and Aus­tria left him 20 points be­hind Fer­rari’s cham­pi­onship leader Se­bas­tian Vet­tel as the sea­son ap­proaches the half­way stage.

For the first time since March 2014 Hamil­ton has been off the podium for two suc­ces­sive races and he has no in­ten­tion of com­plet­ing that hat-trick at a cir­cuit that ranks among his favourites.

“It is gen­er­ally when there are ad­ver­si­ties that there is an op­por­tu­nity to grow and to do some­thing pretty spe­cial,” he said of his cur­rent sit­u­a­tion, while recog­nis­ing that things did not look great as they stood.

“We’ve still got a long, long way to go. It could eas­ily, within one race, switch. But the big­ger that gap gets, the more pres­sure builds.”

Vet­tel, like Hamil­ton, has won three races so far this sea­son and will be look­ing for Fer­rari’s first win in Bri­tain since Fer­nando Alonso in 2011.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to Sil­ver­stone, should be a lot of fun with this year’s cars,” said the Ger­man, who missed out on vic­tory in Aus­tria by 0.6 sec­onds af­ter a storm­ing start by Bot­tas from pole po­si­tion. “I think our car has been re­ally strong this year in fast cor­ners, so I think it should be quite nice.”

Red Bull, with their factory down the road, will also be fan­cy­ing their chances of get­ting in the mix af­ter Aus­tralian Daniel Ric­cia­rdo racked up his fifth suc­ces­sive podium with third place in Aus­tria.

Dutch team­mate Max Ver­stap­pen, mean­while, is ea­ger to end his run of bad luck, with five re­tire­ments in his last seven races and three in a row.

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