Lewis Hamilton is gearing up for his favourite weekend of the year as he sets his sights on a record sixth British Grand Prix victory.
Hamilton will move one triumph clear of Jim Clark and Alain Prost if he masters Formula One’s oldest race and wins for the sixth time in front of what is expected to be a record 140,000-strong crowd at Silverstone on Sunday.
The five-time world champion has started the year in impressive fashion, winning six of the opening nine rounds as he chases the championship that would move him to within one of Michael Schumacher’s record haul.
Indeed, the Briton holds a 31-point lead over team-mate Valtteri Bottas with Mercedes bossing the new campaign, although the team endured a rare off weekend last time out in Austria as their cars struggled in the extreme heat.
But with cooler temperatures forecast for this weekend, and Hamilton winning four of the last five grands prix staged at Silverstone, the 34-year-old will start as the favourite to take the chequered flag again.
“Having the support from your country and seeing it there, all concentrated into one weekend event, really makes for the most incredible few days that you get in the whole year,” said Hamilton, who has spent the build-up to his home race in Los Angeles.
“It is difficult to put a number on what you gain from the positivity. Everyone’s energy is priceless.
“I approach it the same as every other weekend, but I put more emphasis on the grand prix, knowing how important it is to everyone. I do come with more energy as it feels more important because there is so much great support.”
Hamilton has wiped the floor with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel over the past two-and-a-half seasons.
It is approaching a year since Vettel last won a race, and the German is already a staggering 76 points behind Hamilton in the championship.
Despite Ferrari’s impressive pre-season form, it was Max Verstappen who delivered the first non-Mercedes victory of the campaign with a remarkable comeback drive at the Red Bull Ring.
The 21-year-old has arguably been the leading performer this season, with his win in Austria moving him above Vettel in the championship.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes the Dutchman is a better driver than Hamilton.
“As the driver in the form of his life, arguably over the past 12 months, Max has been the best in the world,” said Horner.
“How do I substantiate that? He’s not in the best car. But when you look at the results he has got out of that car since Montreal last year, he has made virtually zero mistakes.
“Lewis has got the benefit of experience. He’s still extremely quick, he’s in the best car, in a very well-oiled machine. But Max is the coming man. This sport is crying out for more drivers like Max Verstappen.”
The future of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone is set to be rubber-stamped before this weekend’s action.
Hamilton concluded: “This is a grand prix we can never lose. If Formula One loses this race, it loses so much of its essence.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
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