Lewis Hamilton’s London no-show helped him become the main act at Silverstone

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

It is 10 years ago since Lewis Hamilton lined up for his first British Grand Prix, a handful of races into his Formula 1 career and already the blistering boy wonder of the sport.

A decade on and his career has undulated from the great highs of three world championships to the fallow years of frustration languishing for a time in the middle of the pack and, occasionally, towards the back of the grid.

In that intervening time, there has been all manner of criticism, be it the outbursts in the earlier years to his chosen lifestyle outside the confines of his Mercedes car, with a seeming penchant to mix with rappers and Hollywood A-listers.

It was such life choices that saw him arrive at Silverstone for an 11th British Grand Prix weekend very much in the firing line.

Hamilton had opted against appearing at F1 Live London, the first time in the history of the championship that all the teams had gathered with their respective machinery at an event outside of a grand prix weekend.

That he was the sole no show was met with scorn by his public scrutineers, who suggested the star British driver owed it to his home crowd to show his face and put the Merc through its paces in England’s capital however briefly.

But instead Hamilton opted for a short break in Greece, an escape from the rat race of F1 and a chance he said to recharge his batteries and best prepare him for the weekend ahead where he would be the marked man by fans, fellow drivers and the media as a whole.

Two day holiday before the greatest race weekend of the year!! #blessed #greatful #GodIsTheGreatest

A post shared by Lewis Hamilton (@lewishamilton) on

His no show was met by boos on London’s streets – more for those of a pantomime villain it has to be said rather than a great British public baying for his blood.

But what his controversial decision meant was that he thoroughly had to back that up with a resounding weekend of dominance, and how he did that.

His lap to pole drew parallels to his idol and fellow three-time world champion Ayrton Senna such was his level above everyone else.

And come the race he was in a league of his own for a record fifth British Grand Prix win, so clear was he that the cameras barely showed him, instead focusing on the battles and chaos that ensued behind him.

At the time of his London disappearing act, it seemed right to criticise. After all, here was a driver that takes more stock perhaps than others on his fanbase or the ‘HamFam’ as he has been known to refer to it on social media.

Not for the first time, he was taken aback by the level of animosity that went his way as a result of going for his decision to go AWOL in such a pivotal week.

But Hamilton made the point that, while he loved his fans, his overriding focus was on winning the British Grand Prix and putting himself in the best possible position to claw back the deficit to main title rival Sebastian Vettel. Such was the impact on his on-track activities, it was a case of Greece lightning for Mercedes’ star man.

And what of the British public? Any boos there might have been in London – admittedly much of that coming from a new wave of fans than the usual Silverstone throngs – had dissipated.

The crowd lapped up his every move – as they have done for a good decade – and he delivered the only thing that mattered, yet another British winner.

Hamilton celebrated with the crowd post race.

Hamilton celebrated with the crowd post race.

Come the end of the race, F1 Live London was but a footnote, Hamilton once more the man of the moment – the place he craves to be – and well and truly back in the title fight with Vettel having something of a weekend to forget.

Hamilton is far better placed than his critics to know the best path to pursue to prepare himself for a race car, and Mercedes know it too.

It was telling that team boss Toto Wolff backed him to the hilt for his decision over the London event, even though it was a bit of a PR disaster for the team at the time.

They know that a happy Hamilton is a quick Hamilton, which at the end of the day is all that matters.

Most popular

Related Tags

Flawless Lewis Hamilton claims fifth British Grand Prix victory as Sebastian Vettel suffers setback

Sport360 staff 16/07/2017

Lewis Hamilton slashed the deficit to Sebastian Vettel at the summit of the Formula One championship after a crushing performance at Silverstone to win the British Grand Prix for a record-equalling fifth time.

Hamilton led every lap to the delight of his home crowd as he moved to within just one point of Vettel in the title race after the Ferrari driver suffered a puncture on the penultimate lap to finish in seventh.

His Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was poised to finish second but he also suffered a puncture in the closing moments to promote Valtteri Bottas one spot as Mercedes completed a remarkable one-two finish.

Bottas started ninth but stormed back through the field, including a pass on Vettel with eight laps remaining to the delight of the partisan crowd. Share with us your thoughts by commenting below, using Twitter or getting in touch via Facebook.

DRIVER OF THE DAY

A close one between Mercedes' Valterri Bottas and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, but we give this one to the Australian Ricciardo who had a miserable qualifying session on Saturday and was forced to start at the back of the grid with Fernando Alonso after serving a grid penalty for replacing a turbo unit. The Aussie drove an admirable race to climb to a fifth position after starting 19th on the grid with innumerable overtakes.

FASTEST LAP

Lewis Hamilton had a flawless afternoon leading the British Grand Prix from start to finish after taking pole on Saturday. The British driver was in full flow during the entire weekend at Silverstone and he set the fastest lap of the day during lap 48 setting a scorching time of 1:30.621 . Dutchman Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing set the second fastest time during lap 51 with a timing of 1:30.678. Hamilton set the fasted lap on route to the chequered flag. Hamilton set the fasted lap on route to the chequered flag.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was the biggest loser of the day after suffering a puncture in the penultimate lap of the race while running in fourth place forcing him to enter the pits. This cost Vettel three places with the German ultimately finishing seventh. The puncture coupled with Hamilton's record equalling fifth British Grand Prix win means that Vettel's lead in the championship has been cut to just a solitary point. Sebastian Vettel heads for the pits after suffering a puncture. Sebastian Vettel heads for the pits after suffering a puncture. ONE TO WATCH Force India's Esteban Ocon finished ahead of experienced team-mate Sergio Perez in eighth position. The Frenchman has had a stellar year so far in only his first complete season in Formula 1. He has racked up many points finishes this season and the fact that he beat Perez despite starting just behind the Mexican in seventh place will give the young man a lot of satisfaction. Esteban Ocon's stock continues to rise. Esteban Ocon's stock continues to rise.

Most popular

Related Tags

Six of the best British Grand Prix races at Silverstone

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

The British Grand Prix faces an uncertain future after Silverstone gave notice of its intent to leave the sport in 2019.

The Northamptonshire circuit has hosted a Formula One race since 1987, while the British Grand Prix has been an ever-present on the calendar since the world championship began in 1950.

Ahead of Sunday’s race, Press Association Sport looks back at six of the best Silverstone races.

1981

John Watson sealed an unlikely but highly popular victory. The Northern Irishman started fifth on the grid but had fallen to 10th by the end of lap three.

Alan Jones and Gilles Villeneuve then clashed, Nelson Piquet suffered a tyre failure and after passing Carlos Reutemann and Mario Andretti before Alain Prost’s engine let go, Watson was up to second.

He then hustled Rene Arnoux, whose engine began to falter with 15 laps left.

With seven laps left, the Frenchman’s lead had evaporated and Watson claimed one of his five grands prix wins.

John Watson.

John Watson.

1987

Nigel Mansell was forced to pit for a new set of tyres after reporting extreme vibrations on his Williams.

With 30 laps remaining he was the best part of half a minute behind his team-mate and fierce rival Piquet.

The chase appeared impossible but, spurred on by his home crowd, Mansell smashed the lap record on nine occasions before catching and passing Piquet after an exquisite move at Stowe with only two laps left.

The home crowd were euphoric and Mansell responded by leaping out of his Williams on his victory lap and kissing the tarmac where he passed his great rival.

Nigel Mansell.

Nigel Mansell.

1994

Michael Schumacher illegally overtook pole-sitter Damon Hill on the parade lap and was ordered to serve a stop-and-go penalty.

A black flag was then issued, which should have resulted in Schumacher’s instant disqualification.

But the German kept going and eventually opted to pull into the pits on lap 27 to serve his earlier stop-and-go penalty.

Hill went on to claim a crucial victory and was presented with the winner’s trophy by Princess Diana.

Schumacher finished second, but he was later disqualified for ignoring the black flag and subsequently handed a two-race ban.

Damon Hill.

Damon Hill.

1998

Schumacher was at the centre of controversy again four years later after winning the race while stationary in the pit-lane.

Mika Hakkinen had led from the start, but as the rain fell and conditions deteriorated, the Finn lost control of his McLaren and spun.

The safety car was deployed, and while Hakkinen remained in the race, he had sustained damage to his front wing.

His 40-second lead was wiped out and Schumacher looked odds-on to win.

The German, however, had illegally passed Alexander Wurz under a yellow flag, which should have resulted in a stop-and-go penalty. But the haphazard stewards only announced his penalty with two laps left.

Schumacher entered the pits on the final lap but had already crossed the start-finish line and won the race. The bizarre result stood despite McLaren’s protests.

Michael Schumacher.

Michael Schumacher.

2003

Rubens Barrichello claimed one of the greatest victories of his career in an all-time F1 classic.

The Ferrari driver started from pole but slipped to eighth after a safety car was deployed when a protester stormed the track along the 200mph Hangar Straight.

But the Brazilian turned in one of the finest displays of his career to carve his way back through the field before executing a wonderful move on McLaren’s Kimi Raikkonen on lap 42 to claim the lead, and ultimately, the race victory.

Rubens Barrichello.

Rubens Barrichello.

2008

Lewis Hamilton arrived at his home race fourth in the drivers’ standings but left on top after storming to victory in one of the outstanding performances by a British driver in recent years.

In torrential rain Hamilton blitzed the field, finishing the race almost 70 seconds ahead of second-placed Nick Heidfeld and lapped the entire pack up to third.

Lewis Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton.

Most popular

Related Tags

Related Sections