LEWIS ON THE CREST OF A WAVE
Silverstone win takes Hamilton to new highs
Hamilton guided his works Mercedes F1 W07 to victory in a mixed conditions race, which began under the safety car in soaked conditions. Hamilton judged the conditions perfectly to beat Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to the flag.
Hamilton’s weekend was made sweeter when Rosberg was then penalised back to third place for receiving an illegal radio message from his engineers when he was struggling with a gearbox glitch toward the end of the race.
The result means that Hamilton has closed the gap to Rosberg in the world championship to just one point as he hunts a fourth title. Hamilton also became the first Briton to win a hat-trick of consecutive British GPS at Silverstone, and with four wins he is now tied with Nigel Mansell on the race’s all-time winners’ list. Only Jim Clark and Alain Prost have won the race more times with five each.
Hamilton said the support of the home fans helped steer him into the history books yet again.
“Ever since 2007 I’ve felt this incredible energy from these fans, the best fans in the world,” said Hamilton. “I really feel like I’ve grown with them over the years and obviously, naturally, when you have success that speeds up the bond, that connection you have, and it really makes a difference.
“Every time I came through Brooklands I could see them standing up, shouting, spurring me on. I’m very honoured and it’s a very humbling experience to be here in this sport, particularly in a time of difficulty in the world, and to see so much love out there.”
When asked about what becoming the first British driver to win three successive GPS at Silverstone meant to him, Hamilton added: “I think I need to sit and let it sink in, as it’s really surreal.
“I saw Nigel [Mansell] on the way to the podium and he said to me ‘welcome to the club’. It’s just crazy to think that I’m up there with these drivers. It’s crazy that, if I stopped tomorrow, that [record] will remain for some time. I will still be able to come back in many, many years, way beyond my driving experience and come and experience this great crowd and always be accepted. It’s just the most amazing feeling when you come across the line as the winner of the British Grand Prix.”
Hamilton also celebrated with the fans after the race, running to the grandstands to bow in front of them and later crowd surfing after the podium. He added: “The crowd surfing wasn’t planned, but every time we do a podium, aside from standing there holding the trophy and the bottle there’s no way to connect with people. Then we come into here [the press conference] and it’s the same old same old.
“I put the trophy down and just ran down to the crowd and just wanted to connect with them in some way and then I was like, I just wanted to go over the top [of the fencing]. I was hoping they’d surf me further out so I could shout ‘take me back’ but it was amazing.”
Hamilton’s joy came in stark contrast to more difficulties for Rosberg, who has seen his championship lead eroded to a single point after copping a penalty for an illegal radio communication.
Rosberg was running a comfortable second when his gearbox jammed in seventh. He radioed the team to report the problem and was told to alter his car’s settings and shift through seventh at all times.
Rosberg nursed the car home in second, but was investigated for the communication, which breached article 27.1 of the sporting regulations, which demands that a driver must “drive the car alone and unaided”.
Rosberg was handed a 10-second penalty post-race for the transmission, dropping him to third behind Max Verstappen.
A statement from the stewards, led by British hero Mansell, said: “The stewards determined the team [Mercedes] went further and gave instructions to the driver that were not permitted under the technical directive, and were in breach of article 27.1 of the sporting regulations.”
Rosberg said after the race that he believed all of the team’s actions were legal. He said before receiving the censure: “It was a very critical problem because I was stuck in seventh and about to stop on track.” Then when asked if he felt the communication was within the regulations he simply replied “yep”.
Mercedes originally stated its intentions to appeal the penalty based on the grey area of the rules that does allow teams to communicate with drivers should their car be about to suffer a potentially terminal failure. However, that plan was dropped on Monday with the team instead releasing a statement, which read: “We were able to prove to the stewards that a car-stopping gearbox failure was imminent and, as such, were permitted within the rules to advise Nico of the required engine mode. However, the advice to avoid seventh gear was considered to breach the sporting regulations.
“The team accepts the stewards’ interpretation of the regulation, their decision and the associated penalty.
“During the coming weeks, we will continue discussions with the relevant F1 stakeholders on the subject of the perceived over-regulation of the sport.”
Home support was a factor
Hamilton (top right) was humbled by British fans
Hamilton became first British driver to win a hat-trick of British GPS at Silverstone