Lewis Hamilton free to prepare for his 'Olympics' at Silverstone

Driver happy to have ducked repercussions from Mercedes' brush with FIA over tyre test

Lewis Hamilton slips behind the wheel of the simulator today to dial in to the unique demands of the Silverstone track for the first time in a Mercedes. A week ago he was not certain the privilege would be his. But freed to race by a Formula One court that took a lenient view of Mercedes' unofficial Pirelli test, Hamilton brings a renewed enthusiasm to the British Grand Prix.

Hamilton has already parked his trailer in the VIP campsite with his British bulldog Roscoe on the door. There is no guitar this year. The sweet music will come on the track, he said. "This is our Olympics, where we get to represent our country in front of our home crowd. I'm looking forward to seeing what the car will do. I feel I have a better car this year so I think we should be more competitive."

Hamilton attended a team gathering at Drayton Manor last weekend to mark the start of a big fortnight for Mercedes, who contest back-to-back "home" grands prix at Silverstone on Sunday and a week hence at the Nürburgring. There might also have been a toast to the presiding panel who ruled Mercedes testing indiscretion a minor breach worthy only of exclusion from the forthcoming three-day young driver test.

"Ross [Brawn] kept me in the loop, an email here and there, but I was trying not to waste too much energy worrying about it. I had my own stuff to focus on so I didn't want to fill my mind with that. But when I saw the team it was a huge relief for everyone that we could start focusing on this race.

"Obviously, there are some negatives to come out of it. Losing the young drivers test is a blow because it's an important test. We had a lot of plans for upgrades during those three days and it is vital for simulator development with tyre information etc. But at least there are no distractions now. People will have their say, I'm sure, if we get a positive result this weekend, but we have had a tribunal, a lot of lawyers involved, and the result announced. I don't see there is anything else to talk about."

Hamilton lies fourth in the drivers' championship with 77 points from seven races. His third place in Canada behind championship leader Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso eased the discomfiture of the hammering he took at Monaco, where team-mate Nico Rosberg won from pole. Though Hamilton continues to wrestle with braking issues, he believes Silverstone might be kinder to his tyres. Even if they do smoke, he is nearer nirvana than he thought possible at the start of the year.

"There are longer straights after most corners here so that should help cool the tyres more. The guys have done a remarkable job, turning around a bad car to a competitive car shows how strong a team we have here. There are a lot of talented individuals who are massively hungry to win. We haven't won enough but we are pushing harder than ever.

"We just need the Red Bulls to be not so good. Ferrari, too, don't seem to have that many issues, particularly in the race. I have this feeling in my heart that they are lighter on fuel, because that can be worth three-tenths a lap. It is strange that our car can be so competitive. It is not like we lose downforce during the race. Hopefully, this weekend we will take a step. I'm going into the race optimistic and hoping we can challenge."

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
health
News
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
News
The spider makes its break for freedom
VIDEO
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Arts and Entertainment
books
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot