The British Grand Prix was utter heartbreak for the Mercedes team, given what could have been for 4-time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton.
The 33-year-old was visibly shaken after storming to a record-sixth British Grand Prix pole position – which was his fourth-consecutive at Silverstone. Hamilton ragging his F1 W09 on his final Q3 lap to pip Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by just 44 milliseconds.
It was also his 50th pole for the Silver Arrows – leaving Hamilton just eight short of Michael Schumacher’s outright record for the Prancing Horse, as the most by any driver with a single team.
But, while Hamilton is already the most successful British driver of all time, his chance to take the outright number of wins there – six – went up in tyre smoke, when Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen tapped him into a spin at Turn 3 on Lap 1, dropping him to 18th.
Hamilton fought back to second, but vowed to come back stronger in Germany despite dropping eight points behind Vettel in the drivers’ standings.
“We’ll take it on the chin and keep pushing hard, because believe me I will not give up,” Hamilton said, after stepping out of the car.
It’s that determination that has become a Hamilton trademark, with the Brit lifting his fourth crown last year, despite a 25-point deficit to rival Vettel after Monaco…
SOUNDBITE (English) HEIKKI KOVALAINEN,
F1 DRIVER, 2007-2013:
“Last year, he was able to turn them around nearly all the time. So that was very impressive. And he showed kind of like a new, maybe not a 'new' but like a stronger character of Lewis's mental power.”
So it’s game on in the final two races before F1’s summer break, but with Ferrari bringing serious performance to the car at every race – including a new floor at Silverstone that was reported to be worth two tenths of a second, it’s a challenge that’s only going to get tougher.
Hamilton, though, knows exactly what his team is capable of…
SOUNDBITE (English) LEWIS HAMILTON,
4-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“The success has just been phenomenal, but it really is the teamwork collectively. The unit is just the best I've ever seen in Formula 1 and I'm pretty sure that the sport has ever seen. So proud to be a part of that.”