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Pre-Silverstone analysis - Alonso, Hamilton on mastering the wet 06 Jul 2012

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/23 passes team mate Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren MP4/23  for the lead of the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Race, Silverstone, England, Sunday, 6 July 2008 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Preparations, Silverstone, England, Thursday, 5 July 2012 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 25 March 2012 Race winner Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari celebrates on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 25 March 2012 Mechanics work on the McLaren MP4-27 of Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix Wednesday Preparations, 4 July 2012 Race winner Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari celebrates in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Race, Silverstone, England, Sunday, 10 July 2011 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari talks with the media.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Preparations, Silverstone, England, Thursday, 5 July 2012

When it comes to prowess in the wet, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso often stand head and shoulders above their peers. But as is often the case with racing drivers, neither is really sure why. It’s just what they do. While they might endlessly analyse why their cars perform as they do, they find it less easy to identify their own skill.

“I think it’s just a mixture of things coming together on those races,” Hamilton suggests. “I think we’ve been very fortunate, I would say, to drive for good teams and have good cars in those circumstances.”

Of his stunning victory here in 2008, when he literally seemed to walk on water as so many of his rivals skidded off the soaked track, he adds: “I really still don’t know until today why we were so quick that weekend and didn’t really have any problems at all during the race. I think I had one moment when I went straight on at Abbey, maybe, but otherwise it was quite a smooth race, and I really still don’t know, today, why it all came together. But it was obviously a combination of the tyres, the good pit stops, the good call strategies and maximising the grip on a track which I’d learned for a few years before I’d even got into Formula One, knowing where that grip was and being able to put that knowledge into play.”

“I don’t know really,” Alonso echoes. “I think it’s a combination of factors, one will be for sure how competitive is your car. I think either Lewis or me, we’ve been normally lucky to drive in our career good cars and winning cars, so in dry and wet conditions, normally it’s a help, for sure. And then I think it’s the experience that you have and how many wet races you do. Probably with Lewis, racing here in the early categories it rains a lot, and it rains a lot in my region, in Spain. It normally rains a lot of the time, so same also with the experience. The first races I did in Formula One in wet conditions, 10, 11 years ago, I make a lot of mistakes that now I try to avoid. So the more races you do, the better you feel.”

With severe weather warnings in the region, both should be in very strong positions this weekend. On top of that, McLaren have some much-needed updates on their car, though the weather may make them difficult to quantify.

“I’m really, really excited to see how they behave on the car and if they actually deliver what we think they’re going to deliver,” Hamilton says. “I don’t know if it’s as big as what Red Bull brought at the last race, but who knows? I think our car generally goes a little bit better on high-speed circuits than it does at low-speed circuits, so fingers crossed it will be a little bit stronger this weekend.

“After what happened in Valencia I’m excited that we have another race and that we have so many races ahead of us and that we still have plenty of opportunities to continue fighting for this championship. That’s what racing is all about.”

Alonso thinks Silverstone, where he won last year to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Scuderia Ferrari, will suit his car, which is always bad news for his rivals.

“It should be a little bit better for us and suit our car characteristics a little bit better. As we saw at the beginning of the year in the high-speed corners and also as we saw in Mugello, the car was performing quite well. Hopefully we see a good Ferrari here this weekend, with me and Felipe. I think, that it also all depends on the weather. We know that here anything can happen, or more rain than dry at times we will have, looking at the forecast, so we need to be ready for all.

“We need to be prepared for any track conditions at any time and try to have a smooth qualifying - and that will not be easy when the weather is changing. You need to be in the right moment on the track to do the lap. And then the race, you know, to score as many points as possible.”

Whatever happens weather-wise, this looks set to be another nail-biting British Grand Prix.

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