Hamilton intends to end a difficult week on a high note | Sports News
Dan Mullan – Formula 1
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Lewis Hamilton has fun at Silverstone after a difficult off-track week
Dan Mullan – Formula 1
Racing, not racing, is the main talking point in the Formula 1 paddock ahead of the British Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton in the eye of the storm.
It’s Sir Lewis’ home race and much of a sold-out Silverstone – 140,000 men – are desperate to see him add to his unprecedented tally of eight British Grand Prix victories.
But rather than discuss his chances of crossing the line first – his price has gone from 12-1 to 9-1, but Mercedes’ form this year suggests he faces a tough fight – Hamilton is instead responding to questions about discrimination and equality.
Remarks by three-time F1 world champion Nelson Piquet have put the case back in the spotlight.
Hamilton doesn’t betray any form of anger towards Piquet when he faces the press on Thursday – sadly he’s heard it all before. He has grown accustomed to taking things off track in his stride as he cordially greets the assembled media before giving thoughtful and measured answers to the inevitable questions about what F1 and the whole world can do to stamp out the endemic problem. .
Hamilton is stronger than ever in his condemnation and two years after the drivers took a knee at the Austrian Grand Prix, the message from the paddock has only been reinforced: there is no place for racism in F1 .
Piquet’s remarks, which were quickly followed by former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone expressing pro-Vladimir Putin sentiments, threaten to overshadow Britain’s summer motorsport festival.
But those in the stands at Silverstone are determined not to let these “older voices”, as Hamilton dubbed them, rain down on their parade. UK Summer has that one covered.
It’s not that fans are unaware of what’s going on – far from it – they’re just determined to take advantage of the four-day contest, a ticket that doesn’t come cheap during a cost-of-living crisis.
There’s little track action on Thursday, but supporters leave the city of pop-up tents en masse in surrounding fields to fill a grandstand along Hamilton’s straight, entertaining themselves by cheering on runners and cyclists crossing the finish line after completing laps of the 3.66-kilometer circuit.
Those cheers will only get louder given that it’s been some time since British racing fans have had such a talented generation of local drivers to support.
And while Hamilton is still the headliner of this festival, the sound of supporting acts George Russell and Lando Norris is getting louder and louder.
Russell is learning from the master after joining Hamilton at Mercedes at the start of the season, and he put what he learned to good use, finishing ahead of his illustrious team-mate in seven great races.
He talks about watching how Hamilton performs but remains his own man, taking bits of what made his colleague so successful and fusing them with his own champion talent in waiting.
There is the potential for him and Norris, who is two years younger than Russell, to be engaged in title fights down the line.
Norris has six podiums to his name, two more than Russell and has consistently outperformed his more experienced McLaren teammate Daniel Ricciardo. The Aussie hitting Norris with a Space Hopper during Thursday’s Sky F1 Show will likely be the best response he’s produced to the Briton’s form this year.
Norris and Russell’s time is fast approaching, but Hamilton retains the top spot for now and is determined to end a difficult week on a high note.
He defiantly declares “I’m still here, on my feet and focused on my work”, a warning not only to young suitors eyeing his crown as King of Silverstone, but to anyone intent on pursuing him.
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FIRST PUBLICATION AT 12:45 PM, JULY 1, 2022