Round eight of the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship season takes the McLaren Mercedes team to Silverstone. The Woking-based outfit is determined to do better at their home race than they did at Turkey.
Lewis Hamilton: “The two greatest things about racing at Silverstone are the fans and the track itself. It’s great to see and meet people from all across the country and the world who have made the journey to Silverstone for the Santander British Grand Prix. When I’m in the car, I can actually see the fans around the circuit waving banners and cheering. It’s as if they were racing every lap with me – incredible!
“Driving the track is incredible too. I love Silverstone – it’s an amazing place to drive. Copse, Becketts and Bridge are all absolutely fantastic, flat-out corners that really show you the power and grip of a Formula 1 car. It’s a perfect place for the race, so let’s hope it’s not the last time we race at this track.”
Heikki Kovalainen: “Silverstone: what a fantastic circuit! I got my first Formula 1 pole position here last year and I remember how great the car was to drive on the limit. I love fast corners – it’s when a Formula 1 car really feels at its best and your whole body is just on the limit. While we know our car won’t be at its best through the fast corners, the challenge as a racing driver is to push to the limit so I’m just going to try my hardest. After a couple of disappointing races, it would be fantastic to get back into the points in one of the team’s home races.”
Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes :“Our home race has been highly successful for us in the past. We’ve won the British Grand Prix on 14 occasions – 12 of those wins coming at Silverstone. The most recent, of course, was Lewis’s fantastic victory in the rain last year – which stands as one of Formula 1’s greatest-ever wet weather drives. For this year, we come off a difficult race in Turkey, determined to do better in front of our home crowd.”
Norbert Haug, Vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: “Silverstone is a great track with a unique layout. We have fond memories of this traditional circuit with Lewis’s superb victory in the rain, more than a minute ahead of the second finisher last year, certainly being the most memorable moment. One year later, however, we will not be in a position to win. Since the beginning of this season we are in a catching up process. This is because we have not yet managed to get the best technical package out of the new rules in contrast to what we achieved with the old regulations in previous years when we built a winning car which we fought for the world championship with and won it.
“Nevertheless, everybody in the team is highly motivated to further reduce our gap to the top – particularly on fast circuits. We are currently experiencing tough times, but this is not new for us: after a year without victories in 2006 we missed our target to win the title by one point in 2007 and then, a year after, we clinched the world championship with Lewis in 2008. We all work in a calm, focused and concentrated way to get our job done. And we will manage to do so – but certainly not overnight.”