Sil­ver­stone win takes Hamil­ton to new highs

Motor Sport News - - Front Page - By Rob Lad­brook

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

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