Lewis tar­gets a home win

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

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

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