Lewis Hamilton seemed in a much more jovial mood than previous races after Friday practice for the British Grand Prix, comparing driving the new specification 2017 cars around Silverstone to a “rollercoaster ride”.
The four-time British Grand Prix winner is recovering from an uncharacteristically poor run of form, having failed to make the podium in the last two races thanks to a head-rest issue in Baku, and having been on the back-foot all weekend in Austria following a five-place gearbox penalty in qualifying. The return to home ground is something he sees as a way to get back on track.
“Today’s been a really good start to the weekend and it’s great to be back here at Silverstone,” he said. “The track is absolutely incredible with these new cars. It was already one of the very best circuits in the world, but with this car and the speed we are able to carry through the corners, it’s just phenomenal, it’s like the greatest rollercoaster ride ever.”
Hamilton was embroiled in controversy having been the only active Formula 1 driver not to attend the F1 Live event in London on Wednesday – having elected to take a holiday instead – and was keen to stress the importance of his fans to him.
“Each time I left the garage I gave the fans a wave and I could see them waving back. I just want them to know that I can see them and I really appreciate all the love and support.”
Hamilton was second fastest in both free practice sessions, less than a tenth off the pace of team-mate Valtteri Bottas, the Mercedes pair several tenths up on their nearest rivals in both sessions. While unable to topple the Finn during Friday’s running, he was still confident of success as the weekend progresses.
“We worked through all the sessions, fine-tuning the balance and I think we’re in a good position at this early stage of the weekend. We still need to build upon it, but it’s a great foundation moving forward.”