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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Rodgers showered praise on Balotelli last week, which led to speculation he could sign the AC Milan front man
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Lizards, such as Iguanas (pictured), have a unique pattern of tissue growth
Arts and Entertainment
Arctic Monkeys headline this year's Reading and Leeds festivals, but there's a whole host of other bands to check out too
music(who aren't Arctic Monkeys)
Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental overdose in 2007
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tvReview: Bread-making skills of the Bake Off hopefuls put to the test
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home