British Grand Prix: Hamilton keen to fend off Rosberg challenge

Current leader only 10 points ahead of Mercedes teammate since Austria.

Afp July 02, 2015
Hamilton won last year’s race, his first triumph at Silverstone since his 2008 title-winning season with McLaren, but Rosberg took pole position. PHOTO: AFP

SILVERSTONE: World champion Lewis Hamilton is seeking a return to his most dominant form on home soil this weekend when he bids to beat Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in the British Grand Prix.

The 30-year-old Englishman has only a 10-points advantage over the German following Rosberg’s victory at the Austrian Grand Prix and knows he needs to regain his earlier supremacy to repeat his triumph in last year’s race.

“I don’t feel like I ever really reached my peak in Austria,” said Hamilton. “It wasn’t the smoothest of weekends for me, so to come away with second place wasn’t a disaster in the circumstances.”

The two-time champion added, “Silverstone is different. I can’t describe the feeling I had last year, lifting that trophy again in front of a sea of fans on pit straight, after so many years, and after a tough start to the weekend too. It’s something that will always stay with me and nothing less than the same again will do.”

Rosberg’s triumph at the Red Bull Ring was his third in four races and confirmed the momentum that has recharged his title challenge after a season-opening period in which he was swept aside by Hamilton. “I’m sure we’ll be strong once again,” he said. “The crowds are really incredible at this race and it’s always a great atmosphere.”

As the Mercedes duo head towards the ninth round of the 19-race season amid temperatures soaring towards 35 degrees Celsius, their duel has left many observers calling for changes — or a Ferrari revival — to add drama to the championship and the sport.

Two major surveys of Formula One fans and supporters — one carried out by the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association — resulted in calls for a return to refuelling and a ‘tyre war’, but neither received much support from paddock insiders.

“If you go back and look at what Ferrari did, with Bridgestone [tyres] against Renault, with Michelin, everyone else suffered,” said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner. “And bringing in more durable tyres will make the racing worse — you’ll have one-stop races which are never exciting.” 

Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd,  2015.

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