Record home win felt 'just like the first time' for Hamilton
It was a record sixth British Grand Prix win for Lewis Hamilton in one of the most captivating races Silverstone has seen over its storied history. But even after 80 Formula 1 victories, the championship leader views this day as one of the greatest of his career.
So great, in fact, that it felt just like the first time, says the reigning five-time world champion, winner of seven of the 10 races so far this year.
“Today was one of the best days I can remember,” he said having crossed the line ahead of team mate Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. “I can remember my first win here in 2008 and the feeling that I had coming out of Brooklands, going down the straight towards – at the time – the start/finish line and seeing the crowd felt so good that day and just seeing the excitement and the happiness and the joy that I felt was exactly the same thing.
“The reason I say that is because I’ve won so many races. You think that you’d get used to it and the feeling now felt just as amazing as the first win that I’d ever had so, really, really grateful to all of those people that have helped me achieve this today, almost 1000 people I want to mention in our team, we got to see them yesterday at a family funfair event.
“And they’ll never truly know just how grateful I am, but it’s really amazing to be a part of this team, pushing the limits and the boundaries every weekend.”
There was barely any time for Hamilton to reflect on his accomplishments on a day in which he set records for the most British Grand Prix victories, podiums at the British Grand Prix, and wins in front of his home crowd.
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“It feels incredible. I’ve not ever been one to really look at statistics. I really take one race at a time but I like the fact that I have that and I think this weekend I heard people talking about qualifying, the poles that I’ve had here. But I didn’t really take notice of it, I just tried to do the best that I can but it’s great to be able to have the opportunity to shoot for it.
“I had no idea, unless I stop and think of how many wins I had I didn’t know whether it was four or five or whatever it was here, to then hear that it was six and to be up there with the greats, it’s really – I remember growing up watching this sport, watching a lot of the greats and meeting a lot of the greats, even working with one of the greats and to be up there with them is one of the coolest things.”
This is the greatest single moment of any athlete in the world, to raise their flag as the number one in their home country, it’s the single most incredible feeling and special moment an athlete can have.
Hamilton said that he will look back on this one as long as he can, a day made even sweeter as his family were there to witness it.
“I have like 40 family members here, from my mum’s side, from my dad’s side from the Carribbean, so it’s really nice to deliver and to achieve something like I did today.”
Picture Ayrton Senna holding the Brazilian flag on a victory lap or Alain Prost with the tricolore – Hamilton holding his country's flag at Silverstone provided an iconic, indelible image that he will never forget.
“This is the greatest single moment of any athlete in the world, to raise their flag as the number one or gold or whatever it may be in their home country, it’s the single most incredible feeling and special moment an athlete can have.
“I could see all those British flags, I was looking the whole time for a flag: ‘someone give me a flag’,” he said of his victory lap.
“And someday I’m going to have a picture of me in the car with that flag, and I will always be able to smile ‘til my dying day.”