The Mercedes-AMG Petronas team head into the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on the back of their sixth one-two finish of the season last time out in Austria, with Nico Rosberg ahead of Lewis Hamilton. The challenge of the Williams team made the result much more uncertain than in the other one-two finishes, especially after the disappointment of seeing Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas lock out the front row of the grid.
Hamilton made mistakes in qualifying in Austria, and could not make the speed advantage of the Mercedes work. He started ninth but an amazing opening lap, including a great pass on Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari at turn eight, put him in contention for the win, although in the end he was forced to settle for second behind his team-mate.
“It was great to get another one-two finish for the team in Austria and I’m so proud of all the hard work everyone is putting in to keep us at the front this season,” said Hamilton. “Of course, it wasn’t the result I wanted personally and it was disappointing not to be able to capitalise on my pace when it was clearly there. But in the end, coming back to second place was positive in terms of damage limitation.”
Looking ahead to his home grand prix at Silverstone, Hamilton described what the race meant to him, especially when in front of the fans that hold so much love for him.
“Silverstone is obviously a special race for me and the support I have there is just incredible,” admitted Hamilton. “The British fans are the absolute best in the world and it’s really humbling to see thousands of people out there cheering you on – no matter what the weather or the result.
“I won the race in the wet in 2008, which was just the best feeling. I think the gap was around 60 seconds at the end, and I’d lapped everyone up to third place, which was just unreal. I could never have hoped or dreamed for a race like that – especially at my home Grand Prix. That has to be one of the best moments of my career. I loved raising that gold trophy in front of the home crowds and I’m determined to get my hands on it again this year.”
Team-mate Rosberg took his third win of the season in Austria and extended his championship lead beyond a full race win. He knew it was the hardest fought victory of the season for the team after the Williams team made an unexpected strong challenge.
“The last race weekend in Austria was not an easy one for us overall, so I was delighted to come away with the win and even more so for the team to have both cars at the front when we crossed the line,” said Rosberg. “The atmosphere at the circuit was really great and, being so close to Germany, it almost felt like a home race for me.”
Rosberg took the win at Silverstone back in 2013, inheriting the lead when long-time leader Sebastian Vettel retired in his Red Bull, and controlling the race from there on in.
“Silverstone is another special one for me, as I managed to win there last season,” stated Rosberg. “It was actually very close to my birthday and I had a really cool experience after the race. There’s usually a fan festival with rock bands and all sorts after the track action finishes, which is something I go to almost every year. This time, I was up on stage doing a quick interview and the whole crowd started singing Happy Birthday to me, which was very cool!
“The British fans are absolutely fantastic. So I enjoy going to Silverstone personally, but really this one is all about the team. For the hundreds of people at Brackley and Brixworth it’s a home race and many of them will be there with their families and friends across the weekend. I want to put on a good show and get the best result possible out of it for them after all their hard work this season.” Toto Wolff, the head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport was obviously delighted with the overall result at the Red Bull Ring but admitted the weekend was their toughest of the year, and expects another tough weekend at Silverstone.
“We were delighted to get another top result in Austria,” said Wolff. “Our weekend in Spielberg was one of the toughest so far this season, with a qualifying performance which did not match our expectations. To bounce back with another one-two finish was highly satisfying – particularly as our rivals pushed us harder than ever throughout the race. This demonstrates once again how crucial it is to remain 100% focused on the task at hand. We can afford no mistakes if we are to achieve our goals, as there will always be someone waiting to punish those mistakes.
“We now head to Silverstone – one of the highlights of the year for the team. For the hundreds of people at Brackley and Brixworth it provides an opportunity to see the results of hard work in action on the track. Our drivers are both particularly strong at this circuit and we can expect another tightly contested battle between the two of them.
“Equally, many of our rivals see this as their home race and will be highly motivated to gain an advantage. There are certain teams in particular who have a record of success here, so we are taking nothing for granted. It is up to us to ensure that our motivation is the highest of all as we look to put on a show for the incredible Silverstone crowds.”
Executive Director Paddy Lowe echoed the thoughts of Wolff, praising both drivers for their fight back through to the one-two finish. He is hoping for another strong race, especially with the teams’ factories nearby.
“It was a great result for the team to get another one-two finish in Austria – even more so considering our below-par grid positions,” said Lowe. “For Lewis in particular, to come through from ninth place and be fighting at the front was an impressive performance. While it was a less than straightforward weekend for us, the event itself was fantastic. We very much enjoyed returning to Austria and will look forward to going back there again in the coming years.
“For now, though, we look ahead to Silverstone and a different challenge to anything we’ve seen so far this year. It’s a very fast circuit layout, which tests aerodynamic performance to the very limit. We demonstrated our competitiveness there last year with victory for Nico and equally with pole position for Lewis – who was extremely unfortunate not to achieve the result he deserved with his tyre failure in the race.
“We’re very much hoping that our strong form will continue and are looking forward to seeing another tightly contested battle between our two drivers. The circuit is a matter of miles from our factories at Brackley and Brixworth, so we’re determined to put on a great show for everyone in the team as well as the fantastic British fans.”