June 29th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - In Formula One it's the teams and drivers who produce the racing, but it's the support of the fans that makes it all possible, with ticket sales and television revenue contributing greatly to the costs of running the series. At Silverstone, the fans always arrive in droves, come rain or shine, and they are fanatical about supporting British teams and drivers. Lewis Hamilton certainly felt their support during qualifying today.
Right at the start of Q1, while some of the other drivers were already on track, Hamilton walked acros the pitlane up to the pit-wall, leaned through a gap in the fence and smiled and waved to the crowd across the start-finish straight. The crowd responded noisily, their joy at Hamilton's gesture clearly evident. Later on, Hamilton would give them a treat, thrashing all opposition to take a dominant pole position. Hamilton paid tribute to the crowd, saying, "We have the greatest Formula One fans in the world here in Britain and there was a great turnout today, which makes the atmosphere so special. My lap in Q3 was a lap for the fans out there around the circuit."
Hamilton was also full of praise for his Mercedes team for producing a car capable of fighting at the front. He said, "The team has done a phenomenal job and it's a great reward for the guys here at the track but also back at base, especially as our two factories are so close to the track."
However, he was realistic about the challenges Mercedes will face in tomorrow's race: "Tomorrow is another day and our Sunday performance isn't quite as strong right now. Our long run pace looked ok yesterday and we were able to manage the tyres quite well. It's going to be tough to keep Seb behind but we will give it everything we've got."
If Hamilton manages to stay in front to win tomorrow, it will be the first time he stands on the top step of the podium since joining Mercedes at the start of 2013. He would also become only the third current driver to have won the British Grand Prix twice, after Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber. More importantly for Hamilton, however, victory would move him closer to Sebastian Vettel in this year's Drivers' Championship.