After we saw Lewis Hamilton make a phenomenal win in GP2 at last year’s Big Prix, there was really no way we were going to miss the F1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone this year.
Qualifying day on Saturday was really exciting. We watched the free practice from the grandstand at Copse corner, before moving on to see the qualifying laps at Luffield. It was thrilling – though I was glad to have Moth there to explain the complexities of it all. On the very last lap Lewis got pole position! The crowds (the largest ever seen on qualifying day at Silverstone) went bananas; cheering, roaring, parping air-horns, waving banners and jumping up and down. Really! Expectations for Lewis were massive. Could the young Brit win his home GP? Starting from pole gave him a damned good
So Sunday started at fever pitch, with thousands of people packing in round the circuit to see the action.
The drivers parade around the circuit before the start of the race. Lewis is on the far left.
Thankfully we had grandstand tickets right at the top of Stowe B, with a great view all the way up the Hangar Straight to the Becketts’ Ss, and across down towards Vale, Club corner, Abbey and Bridge. The roars and cheers when the drivers paraded round on the back of a lorry were deafening – 95% of people were screaming for Lewis. Including me.
But the dream wasn’t to be. Not this time anyway. Lewis held his nerve and confidently led for the first 10 laps or so, soaking up the pressure from Kimi Raikkonen, in a Ferrari, who was monstering him the whole time. But he never recovered from a bungled pit stop which cost him valuable time. A strange tyre strategy (which Moth and I couldn’t understand) also seemed to hold him up and he never looked likely to catch up with Kimi or Alonso.
Lewis whizzes past
Once Kimi lead the race he became uncatchable. Even Alonso, in second place, struggled to keep up with him. Kimi is an insanely fast driver in an insanely fast car which he drove insanely well. He deserved to win. And we like Kimi.
The crowd were disappointed that they hadn’t witnessed a famous Lewis triumph. He finished on the podium in third, retains his grip on the drivers’ championship and has charmed the crowds with his modesty, good sense, skill and determination. That’s not a bad result!
Photos: Moth Clark