Lewis Hamilton says he is determined to win the British Grand Prix and make up for a frustrating debut appearance in front of home fans last year. In the 2007 event Hamilton took pole, but he struggled with tyre management and finished a distant third in the race.
“I want to win,” Hamilton told Motor Sport. “I think we’re going to have a good car. I just hope that the weather’s great, like it was last year. I feel that we can be in a stronger position than we were last year.
“Last year we didn’t have a quick enough car, and had to make some sacrifices. I think this year we can be more comfortable with our strategy, knowing that we’ll have a stronger pace. We’ll see.”
McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh says that the team is equally determined to win at Silverstone. Its only British victory in the past six seasons came in 2005, with Juan Pablo Montoya.
“This is one of McLaren-Mercedes’ home Grands Prix, and inevitably you want to win,” Whitmarsh told us. “It’s a demanding track and the drivers really enjoy it. There’s no doubt that with ‘Lewismania’ he’ll want to deliver, and this year probably even more so than last. He’s just grown as a phenomenon. He wants to win and we want to win, and we’re at a critical point in the World Championship.
“We’ll have a thousand of our staff there; a lot of those guys don’t get to any other Grands Prix, and you want to send them home having just experienced a victory.”
Whitmarsh says there are sound reasons why McLaren expects to field a better package this year: “I think our car will be strong. Last year the Ferrari was kinder on its tyres in the race and was probably better in high-speed corners. At the moment we may have an edge in high-speed corners, and hopefully if that carries through we’ll be able to show that we’re stronger. But Ferrari are tough competitors, and they’ll want to beat us.”
The Italian team has a great record at Silverstone, having won four times since 2002. The days of the British teams having a home advantage are long gone, since Ferrari now has the same opportunity to test in Northants.
Felipe Massa’s race engineer Rob Smedley says the team expects to be on top: “It’s certainly our feeling, from the way the car performs and the way it uses the tyres. There are certain surfaces it likes. I think for Silverstone we can be pretty confident, but everything is open, and it’s changing from race to race.”