Heroic home victory for Hamilton
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, the first of the team’s two home races. After an eventful race over 60 laps (308.355 kms) in changeable weather conditions, he lapped all but two drivers and came home 68.5sec ahead of Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber) in second place.
Lewis’s team mate Heikki Kovalainen, who had started from his first ever Formula 1 pole position, ended up fifth. Both drivers were on two-stop strategies. Lewis came in on laps 21 (8.0sec) and 38 (7.3sec); Heikki pitted on laps 19 (7.9sec) and 34 (6.6sec). Halfway through the championship, after nine out of 18 Grands Prix, Lewis is back in the lead with 48 points; he is tied on points with Ferrari drivers Felipe Massa and Kimi Räikkönen. Heikki is sixth overall with 24 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is third with 72 points; Ferrari leads with 96 points. It was Lewis’s third win of the season, the seventh in his 26 F1 races so far, the 55th of the McLaren Mercedes partnership and McLaren’s 159th grand prix victory.
Lewis Hamilton: "This was the toughest race, but also one of the best ones I have ever driven. It was so extreme and slippery out there, very similar to the Japanese Grand Prix in Fuji last year. I had troubles with my visor and tried to clean it a couple of times. I thank my team for a great job; they did fantastic work and we always made the right decisions with the tyres in the difficult conditions. When I came round the last time, I saw the crowd standing up and I prayed: ‘Just finish, just finish.’ It was a very emotional moment to win my home grand prix and I want to dedicate this victory to my family. As everybody knows I had some troubles over the past few weeks and they have been always there for me and supported me. To pull on another Vodafone McLaren Mercedes rocket red victory T-shirt feels awesome."
Heikki Kovalainen: "Congratulations to Lewis on his superb home win. I had a good start and, for a few laps, Lewis was really pushing hard - which meant he eventually managed to overtake me on lap five when I ran a little wide. It was an extremely difficult race with lots of things happening. It was so easy to get caught out today by aquaplaning and slippery conditions: I spun twice but I was not the only one. At least I scored four points and helped to increase our constructors’ points total."
Ron Dennis: "To win your home grand prix is always special, and so today is indeed a special day for Lewis. It's also a special day for all at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. But above all it was a magnificent grand prix, full of drama, and it was won by a man who mastered the treacherous conditions faultlessly. Lewis's was one of those drives that will live in the memory for a long time - but it should be remembered that, fabulous though Lewis's performance was, it was also the result of brilliant teamwork by our engineers and mechanics. As for Heikki, he qualified superbly yesterday and clearly showed that he too is truly world-class. He shouldn’t feel too disappointed today because he demonstrated once again that his racing skills are beyond question. His time will come."
Norbert Haug: "Lewis managed a superb and most impressive win and over the 60 laps, he was on average more than one second per lap faster then Nick Heidfeld in second place and he lapped all drivers behind third place. We are back in the title fight and that’s great! Unfortunately Heikki suffered from understeering throughout the longest part of the race. It’s a pity because he had a very good set-up in qualifying which helped him to achieve his first Formula 1 career pole position. Lewis is back in the lead with 48 points; he is tied on points with Felipe Massa and Kimi Räikkönen. We are now focusing on our second home Grand Prix in Hockenheim in two weeks’ time. Please come there to the Mercedes grandstand and watch Lewis and
Heikki there will be a first class programme for all the visitors behind the grandstand. To all team mates my sincere thanks for achieving this result today - let’s try to do the same at Hockenheim when our next home Grand Prix takes place."