Hamilton wants On-Track Championship Battle with Rosberg

The Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS team continue to comfortably lead both championships after Lewis Hamilton took victory at Silverstone, but for the first time in 2014, Nico Rosberg failed to score points after retiring with gearbox issues. They arrive at the Teams’ home race at Hockenheim for the German Grand Prix hopeful of another strong outing, with both drivers remaining confident.

For Hamilton, a second home win couldn’t have come at a better time for the Briton as he closed the gap that was twenty-nine points down to just four. He feels positive now after feeling on the back foot all season despite winning five races to Rosberg’s three. He has reiterated the desire to fight with Rosberg on track rather than seeing either driver gain an advantage through the other retiring from a race.

“Winning at Silverstone was just an incredible feeling – for myself, the team and the fans, I couldn’t have asked for more,” said Hamilton. “I feel like I’ve been on the back foot all year, only briefly leading the Championship despite taking the wins I’ve had, so to have got myself just about level was exactly what I needed. It’s almost a fresh start heading into the second half of the season and it’s going to be a really close battle between us.

“Of course, you never want to see your team-mate fall away, but hopefully we can now strike a line under the retirements and push each other all the way on track. You can’t have everything – the best car, the best pace, the best speed at the end of the straight and perfect reliability – because things are on the limit. But I know how hard the team are working to get as close to that benchmark as we can possibly be.

“There were lots of positives to take from Silverstone. Knowing I’m going into the next race with the best car, having shown that I’ve got good pace, and knowing that if I do a good job I can be ahead is a good place to be. This is the home Grand Prix for Mercedes-Benz, so it’s important for the team and important for me. I’ve won twice before in Germany, but not at Hockenheim since way back in 2008. The aim is to change that this weekend.”

Although the race result was not what team-mate Rosberg wanted at Silverstone, the German driver was able to take some positives away with him from the circuit. He continues to remain confident moving forward, and arrives at Hockenheim looking to win his ‘second’ home race, having won in Monaco earlier in the year.

“Although it wasn’t the result I wanted in the end, my weekend in Silverstone was really encouraging in a lot of ways,” said Rosberg. “As a team we made all the right calls in a difficult qualifying session and the balance of the car felt very strong until unfortunately I was forced to retire. It was a real shame, but with the new regulations we are always going to be pushing the boundaries and I know how hard the team is pushing to give us the best car out there every weekend. I lost a lot of points and the Championship battle is very close, but I’m feeling good.

“From the test last week we’re straight into the next race and another chance to regain the momentum, which is of course my target. Hockenheim is a crucial race for all of us. It’s the home Grand Prix for Mercedes-Benz and a second home race for me after Monaco, so I’m really focused on getting a top result this weekend. It’s actually the circuit I’ve won the most races at during my career through all the junior categories, so I know it suits my driving style. Of course, I would love to add Formula One to that list sometime soon!

“I’ve always had good support from the German spectators. They’re really enthusiastic and it’s almost like a tradition to take the family on a camping weekend for the Grand Prix so I’m looking forward to gunning for a good result in front of the crowds.”

The Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Toto Wolff has said the team have been working hard to find the cause of the gearbox issue that sidelined Rosberg at Silverstone, but is looking forward to the teams’ home race at Hockenheim. He hopes the reliability issues that have seen cars drop out of the race on three occasions can be overcome so they can maintain their grip on both championships.

“We left Silverstone with mixed emotions after something of a roller coaster weekend,” said Wolff. “Lewis produced a fantastic performance on Sunday – proving his strength by recovering from the disappointment of qualifying to take a brilliant and highly popular home win. For Nico, a strong weekend unfortunately did not yield the result he deserved and we have been working flat out since the race to find and resolve the problem.

“We can see the performance in the car, but bullet-proof reliability is equally important if we are to maintain our advantage in the Championship through to the end of the season. Overall, however, Silverstone provided a memorable weekend for the team – and produced another strong advertisement for this new era of Formula One.

“Now we head to Germany and the home race of Mercedes-Benz with the Championship battle as close as it has been between our two drivers. This is an important weekend for them and equally so for the team, so we will be pushing harder than ever to make sure both cars take the best results. The next chapter in this fascinating contest awaits us and we are determined to put on a strong show.”