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‘It’s taken a lot of baby steps’ – Hamilton’s race engineer Bonnington explains the hard work behind ‘emotional’ Silverstone win

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NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes celebrates

Lewis Hamilton’s long-time race engineer Peter ‘Bono’ Bonnington has revealed his emotions at the seven-time world champion’s victory at Silverstone, a win that marked Hamilton’s first since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

After running behind Lando Norris earlier in the event, Hamilton leapfrogged the McLaren driver later in the race and from there handled the changing conditions to clinch his 104th F1 victory in front of his home crowd, as well as recording a record ninth win at the British Grand Prix venue.

READ MORE: Hamilton ‘very, very grateful’ for long-awaited 104th F1 win as he explains why it feels ‘different’ to all his others

The moment was clearly emotional for both Hamilton and Bonnington after two challenging seasons for Mercedes in 2022 and 2023, with each heard crying over the radio during the cooldown lap.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1’s Ted Kravitz following the podium ceremony, Bonnington joked: “I wouldn’t say crying, I had something in my eye!”

2024 British Grand Prix: Emotional Hamilton crosses the line to take a record ninth Silverstone victory

The engineer went on to detail the extensive journey behind the victory, adding: “It’s an emotional one. It’s been a long, long time, and he and I have been working hard trying to get back there. Baby steps, but it’s taken a lot of them so far.”

Asked to pinpoint the most crucial moment in claiming the win – and whether this was Hamilton’s treatment of the soft tyre during the start of his final stint, which enabled him to maintain a gap to the chasing Max Verstappen – Bonnington responded: “I think it’s the fact that the feedback he was giving me of where we were on the initial stint balance, [the car] wasn’t great.

READ MORE: ‘You couldn’t have scripted it better’ – Wolff describes Hamilton’s record home win as ‘a little fairytale’ ahead of Mercedes exit

“We knew where we needed to correct the car, and I think we put the car in a real good position for that final stint to allow him to push. You knew the front tyre was going to be weak, so you’ve just got to make sure you’ve got enough front end in there to protect it, and he does a great job.

“You know when it comes down to the wire, he’s the one that’s going to manage the tyres and get you to the end.”

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes celebrates

There were jubilant celebrations for Bonnington and Hamilton on the podium at Silverstone

Pushed further on if he had never been in doubt that Hamilton would stay ahead of Verstappen, Bonnington said: “I wouldn’t say zero doubt, but I knew that once he had the bit between his teeth – as soon as I get told to shut up then I know that the game’s on.”

Bonnington has become a familiar voice to F1 fans over the years, having acted as Hamilton’s race engineer since the 39-year-old joined Mercedes back in 2013.

READ MORE: 5 Winners and 5 Losers from Silverstone – Who excelled in a barnstorming British Grand Prix?

The 2024 campaign, however, marks the final one in which the pair will work together at the Silver Arrows ahead of Hamilton’s impending departure for Ferrari at the end of the year.

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