Lewis Hamilton believes the British Grand Prix is his best chance of catching his Formula One world championship rival, Max Verstappen. The Mercedes driver is hoping home support and the new format of the sprint race on Saturday will play to his favour.
Hamilton is the most successful driver at the British Grand Prix, with seven wins here, and his team have been dominant at the track since the turbo hybrid era began in 2014.
He enjoys huge support from the fans and 140,000 spectators are expected this weekend.
He trails Verstappen by 32 points in the world championship, tuttavia, with the Dutchman enjoying a quicker car since the Spanish Grand Prix at the beginning of May. Hamilton has not won since then while Verstappen has victories in four of the past five races.
Mercedes are bringing some upgrades in an attempt to bridge the gap to their rivals and Hamilton has been working on the simulator at the team headquarters in an attempt to extract the maximum possible from the car.
He is hopeful that a combination of those factors, his impressive record here and the home support might be enough for him to ensure he stays in touch with Verstappen by securing another win.
“I hope and pray that is the case," Egli ha detto. “Another element is this sprint race we have, this new format. It is easy for any of us to get it wrong but there are opportunities there, which is exciting.”
The sprint race will take place on Saturday and qualifying to decide the grid for it will be held on Friday evening at 6pm, replacing second practice. The 17-lap dash is new to F1 and clearly Hamilton believed he could turn it to his advantage, with a win securing pole position. It is also worth three championship points.
The meeting will be the largest sporting event held in the UK since the pandemic began and is sold out. Fans were in the grandstands on Thursday despite there being no cars on track and there was a great sense of anticipation.
Hamilton was optimistic their support would lift him in taking the fight to Verstappen. “There has always been talk of the energy and buzz that the fans bring and without doubt when it is your home grand prix and it is the British crowd you come with more," Egli ha detto.
“You have more heat behind you, so I am hoping that all those [factors] together close that gap those guys have in terms of performance and enable us to really take it to them this weekend.”