Hamilton seeks buzz from home race

British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton entertaining the crowd during a fan event at the Red Bull Ring circuit in Spielberg, Austria two weeks ago. The world champion was beaten by his Mercedes team-mate in the race and is eager to get back to winning w
British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton entertaining the crowd during a fan event at the Red Bull Ring circuit in Spielberg, Austria two weeks ago. The world champion was beaten by his Mercedes team-mate in the race and is eager to get back to winning ways.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

LONDON • Lewis Hamilton will face 140,000 roaring fans on Sunday hoping that they are an inspiration to victory and not a dead weight of expectation.

The Formula One world champion returns this weekend to Silverstone, the scene of many of his happiest memories in motor racing, from crashing a go-kart into a straw bale to his first home victory in 2008 at the British Grand Prix.

He also became world champion that season.

Hamilton won the British Grand Prix and his second championship last season and was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Perhaps the omens are good, then, if he can secure a hat-trick to revive the sagging spirits of F1.

"There is a lot of pressure when you come to the home grand prix," he said. "You obviously put a lot of pressure on yourself but there is so much expectation because all the fans want you to get the result.

"I notice the years go by and I may only have seven chances at the British Grand Prix left so these are precious opportunities.

"When you lose out, so the need to do it again is even greater."

Nico Rosberg, Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate, has won three of the past four grands prix, including last time out in Austria.

He is only 10 points behind Hamilton in the World Championship. There is all to play for in front of the biggest crowd of the season.

Hamilton's stock has never been higher. At a time when the sport is being talked down by so many people, he remains its solitary superstar, helped by a certain absence of shyness away from the track.

However, the Briton knows that everything has to be right - including qualifying, which he messed up last year to start sixth on the grid.

"It wasn't a perfect weekend last year and I don't know if I have ever had a dominant weekend, which has been a target this year, really conquering (Silverstone)," he said.

"It is always difficult to know how much support you have. But just when you think it can't get any bigger, it grows and it is huge.

"I hope I can go there and make people proud."

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

F1 BRITISH GRAND PRIX

Practice 1 & 2: Singtel TV Ch116 & StarHub Ch210, tomorrow, 4.55pm & 8.55pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 02, 2015, with the headline 'Hamilton seeks buzz from home race'. Print Edition | Subscribe