Hamilton hoping to celebrate record victory at Silverstone

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton during practice at Silverstone.Mercedes Lewis Hamilton during practice at Silverstone.
Mercedes Lewis Hamilton during practice at Silverstone.
Lewis Hamilton insists he does not have a celebration planned even if he is crowned king of the British Grand Prix on Sunday.

England’s run to the World Cup quarter-finals – and a meeting with Sweden today –has taken centre stage in the sporting world, but a near sell-out crowd of 140,000 spectators are expected on race day with Hamilton standing on the brink of history.

Hamilton, 33, needs just one more win to become the first driver in Formula 1 history to claim a record fifth consecutive victory at Silverstone, and a sixth in all in front of the British crowd.

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Hamilton, who trails Sebastian Vettel by one championship point ahead of the Silverstone race, toasted his triumphs in 2016 and last year by crowd-surfing with the fans.

Hamilton’s Mercedes team meanwhile, have not lost a race at the Northamptonshire track since 2012.

“Those celebrations are all kind of spur of the moment things,” Hamilton said.

“So, for anybody to pre-plan something you are allowing, perhaps not karma, but negative things to potentially happen.

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“It is like if England celebrating before they get through to the next round. It is probably not a good idea.

“Those past experiences were just incredible and I watched some of the footage recently. Engaging with the fans here is just electric.

“I hope to do that again and naturally you want to make everyone proud.

“It is the cherry on the cake if you are able to pull something out of the bag.”

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Hamilton, however, was left trailing Vettel on an incident-packed day of practice on 

Hamilton had it all his own way in the opening session as he led Valtteri Bottas in a Mercedes one-two, but Vettel’s pace later in the day suggested that the Ferrari driver could thwart the Brit’s hopes of a dream win.

Vettel set a best lap of one minute and 27.552 seconds to edge out Hamilton by 0.187 secs.

“The track is the fastest it has ever been,” Hamilton added. “The faster this track gets, the better it gets.

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“However, it is also the bumpiest track I’ve ever experienced. With the speeds we’re going now and the G forces we’re pulling, I think it’s going to be the most physical race of the year.

“It’s going to be very, very close this weekend because the Ferraris are really fast.

“We’re in for a serious fight which is great for the fans and I hope that we can pull through,” he said.

Vettel added: “Historically it has not been a very strong track for us, but today has been a good start, and hopefully we can improve and kill Mercedes’ magic.”

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Bottas was third in the running, three tenths down on Vettel, with Kimi Raikkonen fourth for Ferrari and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo fifth.

Max Verstappen took advantage of Mercedes’ capitulation in Austria last Sunday to take the chequered flag, and claim his opening win of the season, but the Dutchman came crashing back down to earth here.

First, Verstappen’s opening running was brought to a premature end when he pulled to the side of the main straight with a gearbox failure.

Then, with 10 minutes of the second 90-minute session 
gone, Verstappen slammed into the barriers on the exit of Luffield.

Verstappen lost control of his Red Bull at 130mph before sliding back across the grass and crashing into the wall.