Formula One: Lewis Hamilton nears win record in pursuit of F1 title

The Mercedes driver won the British Grand Prix to close the gap on his team-mate

Motor Racing correspondent

Lewis Hamilton’s emotional victory in Sunday’s British Grand Prix brought him level on 27 wins with the great Sir Jackie Stewart as the second most successful British driver ever, but on Monday he paid tribute to another whose own record looms large on the horizon. Nigel Mansell is the Briton with the most race wins, 31, and as Hamilton has five to his credit in the first half of this year, five more this season will set a new record.

“I have to say Nigel has been massively supportive this weekend,” Hamilton revealed. “I watched him when I was I really young and saw what he achieved. He came to see me on the grid and out of all past drivers his support has meant most to me. He knelt down by the cockpit and said that he was proud of me and believed in me, which was really cool.”

In some ways, the title fight between Hamilton and his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg mirrors that between Mansell and Nelson Piquet when they were at Williams in 1986 and 1987 much more than it does the duel between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost at McLaren soon afterwards. But Hamilton admitted he is far more focused on winning back the crown he won in 2008 than breaking records.

“I want a World Championship, I’m not really focused on the other part. But to be among all those drivers is a privilege. I was looking at the [British Grand Prix] trophy – all those names, [James] Hunt, [Jim] Clark, all the greats, it’s just so cool. It’s very much a privilege.”

Read more: ‘Underdog’ has his day as luck for once smiles on Hamilton
F1 risks losing its soul since the centre of gravity shifted from driver to vehicle

The championship is coming back into focus, now Hamilton has won again and is only four points adrift in the title race after Rosberg had his first retirement of the year, with the German GP at Hockenheim next on 20 July.

“When you’re 29 points behind you’re thinking, ‘Jeez, don’t lose any more points, the next seven or whatever that’s lost, that’s going to be a huge step back’, and the mountain gets bigger,” Hamilton said on Sunday. “Today is a positive because I can go to Hockenheim knowing I have great pace and if I do the job I can be ahead.”

More than anything else, winning in front of his home crowd has solidified Hamilton’s self-belief now a bad spell has ended.

“If you’re climbing a mountain and keep slipping, if you fall back a few steps after all the strength you’ve used to get there, it’s difficult,” he said, alluding to the way he won four consecutive races after retiring in the first, to claw ahead of Rosberg, only to fall behind again in Canada. “But I’m more relaxed now because today I did a good job and won in front of my home crowd.”

He denies that it is like a reset button has been pressed at the season’s midpoint, but said: “I really need to analyse things in these next couple of weeks and try to figure out how to optimise my speed and the opportunities. You can strike a line under these last few races and have a fresh start to the rest of the season.”

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, injured in Sunday’s early crash, will not take part in the two-day test due to start today at Silverstone as he rests in the hope he will be fit for Hockenheim.

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders