Lewis targets a home win
SILVERSTONE: Lewis Hamilton seeks a fourth straight victory at his British home Grand Prix on Sunday to end a recent negative trend but Formula One championship leader Sebastian Vettel also wants to return to the top of the podium.
Mercedes driver Hamilton had to settle for fourth last week in Austria and fifth in the previous race in Azerbaijan after his last win in Canada, and has slipped 20 points behind Vettel after nine races.
Ferrari’s Vettel is without a victory in three races but has increased his lead by eight points in the last two events by finishing ahead of Hamilton.
The title race has, however, turned into a three-man show as Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes won in Austria and came second in the two previous events to move within 35 points of Vettel and 15 of Hamilton.
“It is important in the championship, at the moment, to get closer to the guys in front, Seb and Lewis. So it feels very good,” Bottas said.
But its Hamilton who will get most attention in front of a home crowd as he aims for a turnaround and a trouble-free race.
“I can’t wait to see the home crowd again and start with a clean slate. I hope I can use Silverstone as a springboard for the second half of my season,” Hamilton said.
A gearbox change and five-place grid penalty cost him in Austria while in Azerbaijan a loose headrest cost him a possible victory in a race where also Vettel deliberately drove into him.
Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff pledged that the team will do its share that Hamilton can fight for victory at Silverstone.
“Our target will be to let him fight back in the best possible way in Silverstone,” Wolff said.
Hamilton topped the Silverstone podium in 2008, 2014, 2015 and 2016, and Mercedes have won the last four races on the 5.891-kilometre course as now retired world champion Nico Rosberg dominated in 2013.
Ferrari meanwhile have a record 15 British GP wins of which 12 have come at Silverstone, the last in 2011 from Fernando Alonso.
Vettel has only one win on the course, back in 2009 while at Red Bull, but likes his chances.
“Silverstone is one of the best tracks,” Vettel said. “Really looking forward to the fast corners. I think our car has been really strong this year in fast corners so I think it should be quite nice.”
Also out for a decent result are British team and former greats McLaren who are last in the constructors’ list with a mere two points. – dpa