Motor Racing / British Grand Prix: 'A very demanding circuit, very physical, but very satisfying': Damon Hill, Britain's Williams-Renault Formula One driver, details the demands that are placed on man and machine during a lap round the Silverstone circuit

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The Independent Online
THE LAP starts as you come round Luffield Corner, a crucial corner because it determines your speed over the start-finish line where the timing beam is. You need to be at maximum speed as you cross the timing beam so it is crucial to get a good exit out of Luffield, and as soon as you have done that you accelerate up to sixth gear. Then you hammer down to the start-finish line and look at your pit board for any relevant information. Copse Corner is just one gear down into fifth, but it is such a quick corner you could almost be in sixth gear in qualifying.

You fly through Copse at high speed and then up to sixth, which you are in briefly, before you have to change down to fifth again for the Becketts Corner section, a series of very fast right-left, right-left corners. The difficulty in finding the line is that if you overshoot one then it messes you up for the next one.

It is a critical section, particularly the exit from Becketts, because it leads on to the long Hangar Straight, so again you need a quick exit. You have time to check your instruments and take a bit of a breather down the straight, not much of one, but it is appreciated. As you come down the hill towards Stowe, the grandstands at the back of the corner loom up quickly giving you the impression of an impending corner as it all gets larger and larger. You feel like you are going very quickly into Stowe; it is the fastest part of the circuit.

It is tricky, it used to be a lovely corner, but now we turn off it tighter so it means that there are several different ways of taking Stowe Corner and I think mine is the best one, but I am not telling you how I do it.

Then you go down into The Vale and that part of the circuit is not so difficult. It leads up to very heavy braking for the slowest part of the circuit, which is Club Corner, a risky overtaking place. It is second gear and you feel like you are standing still because the rest of the circuit is so fast. You feel you could get out and run quicker, and you are talking about 80 to 90 miles per hour.

Then it is hard acceleration round the old Club Corner and you are flat out through there, which is quite tricky with the bumps. Abbey Curve is flat and leads down to the very fast Bridge Corner, which is taken nearly flat out in sixth gear, and in qualifying if you can get it flat then you will probably be a second quicker than anybody else.

The Priory-Brooklands section is quite quick, it is only third gear but it seems like a never-ending left-hand corner, so although it looks like two corners it is actually taken as one.

The entry into the Luffield section is vitally important because again that leads on to the start-finish straight and you need to get a good finish to the lap, so it is no good trying to bite off too much there, as that makes you slow into the start-finish line.

All in all it is a very demanding circuit, very physical, but very satisfying with the top speed we reach being about 190mph.

(Map omitted)

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