Silverstone is a fantastic circuit and one of my favourite tracks because of its high-speed nature. There’s not a lot of heavy braking so it’s enjoyable to drive and you really get the full force of the Formula One car.
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Like Monte Carlo, Silverstone is a race you really want to win. I raced for British teams throughout my career and this is a race that means a lot to the local people. It is one of the best weekends of the season in terms of atmosphere and excitement. The British fans are extremely enthusiastic, passionate and knowledgeable when it comes to motorsport. I always got energy and encouragement from the supporters there and it’s a race I continue to enjoy.
Memories from Silverstone
I have many fantastic memories from this weekend but one that I can remember well is racing alongside Lewis in 2008. I was very quick in the practice sessions but McLaren had a policy that the guy who has been most successful leading up to this event gets the advantage when it comes to refueling in qualifying in the last part. The team doesn’t want both drivers to do the pit-stop on the same lap so one driver is given a boost. We always had two laps difference in fuel which can be around two or three tenths of a second difference.
The default meant that Lewis was more successful at the beginning of the year. He was ahead of me in the championship and he was getting the preferred treatment in qualifying, even if I had been quicker than him in the practice sessions. There was actually a bit of a fight on the Friday evening after the practice session when Flavio Briatore went nuts with McLaren management and said we need to get the preferred treatment. Eventually we agreed to make an exception on this occasion and I started from pole. In fact it was the only time I got the treatment that year as Lewis was always faster than me in the qualifying stages.
Kimi needs to gain momentum
There has been much talk about Kimi Raikkonen and whether he will stay at Ferrari next season. If Kimi can deliver a run of good results then I think he’ll stay at Ferrari. To some extent, Kimi has been quite unlucky on a number of occasions this year but he hasn’t been able to find that level of performance that people are expecting of him.
The competition is so high in Formula One and the level of performance from the other drivers and teams are the same, so you have to have every piece of the puzzle right. When you’re not 100% satisfied with the car, you have to make some comprises with the set up in order to be more comfortable. It’s very difficult when things start to go downhill, even if you are trying everything you can. Kimi needs to get comfortable with the small things and just get the car underneath him so he can test the way he wants to drive best.
I have no doubt that Kimi can turn it around and produce more solid performances as the season progresses. Nico Hulkenberg is another example. Everyone was saying he's fading but he went on to win Le Mans and had a great race in Austria recently, and now he's back in the headlines again so you just have to gain that momentum.
If you’ve performed well and people can see potential in you, then there will be more options on the table. I had a poor start to my first season with Renault, but I gained momentum throughout the year and delivered some promising results. Suddenly I had people from Toyota, McLaren and other teams talking to me about joining them. In 2009, things went poorly for me at McLaren and there were fewer options at the end of the season. I felt I’d become a better driver but because I didn’t gain momentum it was difficult, and it left me with less options.
Redemption for Lewis
Leading into Sunday’s race, Nico Rosberg certainly has the momentum. He drove a superb race in Austria; one which I felt would be a closer fight between himself and Lewis. I think Lewis will bounce back this weekend and he has the crowd behind him to help. It'll force Lewis to do his best and I have no doubt that he’ll excel in front of his home crowd.
1. Lewis Hamilton
2. Nico Rosberg
3. Sebastian Vettel
Heikki is currently based in Abu Dhabi and is racing in this year's Japanese Super GT championship for Lexus Team SARD.
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