Lewis Hamilton assesses British GP chances of success in new look weekend amid Red Bull win
Posted On July 15, 2021
Mercedes are coming up with improvements for the circuit they have traditionally gone strong on, but will that be enough to end Red Bull’s winning streak? Hamilton, meanwhile, also explains how he was inspired by England players Rashford, Sancho and Saka to respond to racist abuse online.
By James Galloway
Last updated: 07/15/21 23:29
Watch Lewis Hamilton address the crowd at Silverstone and anticipate the British GP weekend when he appears on Sky Sports F1
Lewis Hamilton admits Mercedes must “win” on Saturday and Sunday in the new British GP weekend, as they aim to regain the momentum of Red Bull in form in the 2021 F1 title fight.
Hamilton and the Brackley-based Mercedes team are heading to their home event after winning a race for the last time two months ago in Spain, with rivals Red Bull since streaking a five-game winning streak – four of which are gone to Max Verstappen, who leads the drivers’ Championship by 32 points.
There is a maximum of 29 points offered, three more than usual, to a driver at Silverstone thanks to the addition of the F1 Sprint event on Saturday – a 17-lap sprint that gives the winner three points and sets the grid for race Sunday – part of a new-look race weekend that Hamilton says he feels “excited” about.
But he is also aware that erasing their recent deficit against Red Bull will not be an easy task, despite the addition of updates to Mercedes’ W12 car.
Verstappen’s two most recent wins in back-to-back races in Austria have been particularly convincing, although Mercedes is optimistic that the quick sweeps at Silverstone, a circuit on which they have won seven of their last nine attempts, will be more favorable for their car.
“We have to win both races at the end of the day,” Hamilton told Sky Sports of the Saturday sprint and the Sunday race.
“It’s not just the first, it’s also the second.
Hamilton opens up about Mercedes upgrades, new weekend format and admiration for the England football team
“But, again, it’s gonna be tough. Do we have the single [lap] rhythm they have? Unlikely, but we might be surprised [in qualifying]. Who knows?
“I try to stay hopeful and positive. I’m really proud of all the men and women in the factory who have worked so hard to bring this upgrade here. It’s a step in the right direction and I hope just that we can take advantage of it. “
Speaking later on the track at the Sky’s F1 Show to fans who returned to Silverstone on Thursday, Hamilton said he and Mercedes were doing everything possible to maximize performance.
“I’m probably enjoying this season more than most because we have this challenge that we had at the start of the year, and it brings me and the team closer together,” he told Sky F1 and former teammate Jenson Button.
“It’s tough, man, and we love a challenge. Of course the last few races we wished we had closer with the Red Bulls; the ones we had at the start of the year were awesome.
“But we work as hard as we can, we literally try to make sure we don’t overlook anything. From a pilot’s point of view, I try to push the limits of my training, my mental approach, the way I am a pilot. friend, a son and a teammate for the guys I work with.
“I hope that in these next races it can really be seen.”
The British Grand Prix kicks off on Friday, with opening practice at 2:30 p.m. before the usual qualifying session, which will take place a day earlier than normal, at 6 p.m. The Race Weekend is live on Sky Sports F1.
Hamilton’s praise for ‘incredibly inspiring’ England players
Earlier this week, Hamilton condemned the racist online abuse suffered by England players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka after missing penalties in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley last Sunday.
Hamilton, a leading voice in the fight against racism and whose commission on the reasons for the lack of diversity in motorsport released its findings this week and made 10 recommendations for change, expressed admiration for the way the England team, both collectively and individually, handled the situation and expressed hope for the future.
“Love conquers all,” he said. “We have a long way to go, we have to grow from these experiences, but I was really, really proud of the performance of the England squad and the way they handled it as a team.
“All from different backgrounds, but how they handled it as a team and especially the individual players who were in the sights. How they handled it, hats off to them. Incredibly inspiring.
“Like I said, there has been a really, really positive response from people and so many people across the country have been overwhelmingly supportive.
“We are a proud nation, but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep learning.”