CAROL’S CORNER: There’s no stopping Lewis Hamilton in Britain!

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

By Carol M. Creasey

After making it onto the podium last time out in Canada, Sir Lewis Hamilton headed to Silverstone buoyed up to deliver a stronger race for his fans.

However, the days leading up to the British Grand Prix were not good for him, as firstly a video emerged of Nelson Piquet racially abusing him after his 2021 crash with Max Verstappen. It’s especially significant since Max is the boyfriend of Piquet’s daughter Kelly.

This incident at Silverstone had been blown right out of proportion, and Lewis was accused by Piquet of deliberately pushing Verstappen off. At the time the stewards decided Lewis was predominately to blame for the collision, and the Briton was given a ten second penalty, which he overcame and went on to win the race. Many fans believe that Lewis was not to blame, he stood his ground and decided to let Verstappen know that he was not going to be pushed around anymore. Max’s aggressive style of driving last year caused him to amass seven penalty points on his licence, and because they are not due to be removed until September, he is driving much more carefully this year, which I applaud – he is finally driving fairly.

Piquet then apologized for the racial slur that he used, but it cut no ice with F1, as he was swiftly banned from the paddock. Lewis also received overwhelming support from drivers and fans everywhere. Within the same week another video of Piquet came to light where he is abusing Lewis even more, so it is clear to everyone, no matter how much he denies it, that this man is a racist.

Sir Lewis Hamilton has been racially abused for all of his life, and this has prompted him to speak up about it, and call for change. As if that wasn’t enough Bernie Ecclestone went on morning TV, and defended Piquet, while he also spoke about his friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Sir Jackie Stewart was also vocal, suggesting that Lewis should retire. However, knowing Lewis as we do, all this negativity will not affect his driving, it will spur him on, so I am thanking these three nice people for fuelling him to deliver the very best results he can for the team and his fans.

Moving on to the British Grand Prix, Free Practice 1 was marred by rain, but FP2 allowed the teams to do some serious running. Lewis finished the session in second place, which is higher up the grid than he has been for some time. When interviewed after he was delighted that Mercedes appeared to have made a step forward. George Russell finished in P8.

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By the time Qualifying arrived, it was raining, and what followed was a very exciting session, with the top of the leaderboard frequently changing. It was clear that Mercedes had made a step forward, as Lewis and George were posting times within the top 3, but by the time the session ended, Lewis was fifth and George eighth. Lewis had been in P2 for most of Q2, and it looked as if he might challenge for pole, so afterwards he was naturally very disappointed, but vowed to give his all on Sunday.

Some of the fans at Silverstone booed Verstappen, as there is still a lot of unresolved feelings about the way the championship ended in 2021, but Lewis called upon them to be better than that, which is in stark contrast to Verstappen’s reaction last year when his fans booed Lewis. He did not remonstrate with them in any way, just saying it was not up to him to stop them. Congratulations to Sainz for his first pole in 150 races. Next was Verstappen, third was Leclerc, and fourth was Perez.

Later that evening Lewis got up on the stage at the track to entertaining the fans in his inimitable style, and he promised them all he would do everything to win on Sunday. The roars of appreciation from the crowd were massive.

On Sunday the weather had improved, it was a fine day. At the start Lewis made up two places immediately getting up to third, but then a horrific accident occurred with George Russell, Alex Albon, and Zhou Guanyu coming into contact with each other. Zhou’s car turned over and got stuck between two barriers, but luckily, after being checked over at the hospital Alex and Zhou were released and deemed fit. George had left his car to make sure Zhou was ok, and after his car stalled, it was loaded onto a recovery truck, and he was not allowed to participate in the race.

The race restarted after an hour, but Lewis had to be put back to his original P5 for the restart. This time it took him a while to get past Lando Norris. Perez had to pit for a damaged wing, and Verstappen picked up debris, which cost his car performance, and he slipped down to 8th place.

Lewis stayed in touch with the Ferraris, his pace looked good, and he really took care of his tyres. At one point it looked as if he could win the race by passing the Ferraris on fresher tyres, but then Ocon retired just after passing Verstappen, and out came the Safety Car. Until then Perez had been 18 seconds behind Lewis, but at the restart he overtook him, having the benefit of a much faster car. This did not stop Lewis from fighting, and at one point when Perez and Leclerc were fighting for position, Lewis overtook both cars in one slick movement. He really could teach the younger drivers a thing or two about passing, his moves are slick and clean, and he gives other drivers so much space. Unfortunately, the place was taken back, but this superb move got him adulation from his home crowd. Mark Webber on Channel 4 coverage said very pointedly that if anyone imagines Hamilton is past his best, think again, driving a slower car he was still up the front giving his all.

One thing that bugs me, and I have heard others complain is that Perez ran Lewis off the track when overtaking, gaining an advantage, obviously a trick he has learned from Verstappen last year. On the last lap Verstappen did the same to Mick Schumacher. These two offences went unpunished by the FIA, and unless they stamp down on it, it will become rife again this year, just like last year.

Lewis remained in fourth for a few laps, but managed to overtake Leclerc, who had old tyres, a few laps before the end of the race. This put him in P3, but by the reception he got from the fans, it felt like P1.

Congratulations to Carlos for his first win after 150 races, it was well deserved. Well done Checo for second, I still think you are a better driver than your team-mate, and Red Bull may be backing the wrong person. It’s just my opinion, of course.

Mainly I want to acknowledge Lewis, for showing such class this season though all the difficulties. Even when driving round in 13th position, and being reviled by trolls, you kept your dignity, and your faith in the team. And, you didn’t resort to shouting at them from the cockpit of your car. Difficult times certainly sort out the men from the boys!

Keep pushing Mercedes, I know Lewis will, he has every faith in you. It’s a shame that George didn’t get to race, but he has a great future. The example Lewis sets on how to drive cleanly as well as fast will give the young Briton such an advantage when all around him are panicking and making mistakes. Now it’s onto Austria, good luck Mercedes, let’s finish off the first part of the season with a win!

Be sure to follow Carol on Twitter @eagertogo and visit her website!

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