Lewis Hamilton’s charge for the 2017 Drivers’ Championship has been halted over the past two races, with the Brit failing to record a podium finish.
The two disappointments were out of his control, as a collision with Sebastian Vettel in Baku forced him down into fifth place, while a gearbox fault before the start of the Austrian Grand Prix yielded a grid penalty and the 32-year-old was only able to finish in fourth.
As a result, Hamilton is 20 points off the pace of Vettel in the race for the crown, although the latest F1 betting odds still back him at 11/10 to claim his fourth title.
He now returns to home soil for the British Grand Prix, where he has dominated in recent history, winning the race for the past three years on the bounce. Only Jim Clark and Alain Prost have won the meet more times than Hamilton, although he can join them on five wins with another triumph.
The 32-year-old has plenty of motivation to win the race in his bid to close the gap to his great rival in the Drivers’ Championship. The two have had more than crossed words since their collision in Baku and both appear to be set to drag the battle out for the title to the bitter end.
Hamilton has enjoyed impressive records at almost all the Grand Prix on the circuit since his move to Mercedes in 2014, but Silverstone has been his impregnable fortress, where no driver has been able to dislodge him from top place on the podium.
In 2014, he was forced to come through the field after an underwhelming performance during qualifying. Hamilton started the race in sixth place, but was able to capitalise on an early crash from Kimi Raikkonen to move up, before leader Nico Rosberg was forced to retire. Hamilton displayed a clinical edge to snatch the victory by 30 seconds, and that played a crucial role in his Championship win.
The next year proved to be a different challenge for the Brit as he secured first place on the grid during qualifying, but a poor start allowed Williams’ duo Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa to edge ahead of him and team-mate Rosberg.
A thrilling race ensued, with an intense battle for the lead, but a wise strategic move from Hamilton switching to intermediate tyres allowed him the fraction of pace needed to defeat Rosberg, Vettel and the two Williams drivers.
Source: FP_Passion via Twitter
Hamilton’s triumph in 2016 was perhaps his most straightforward of the three, as he once again secured first place on the grid during qualifying, just edging out Rosberg.
The race itself proved to be a testament to his skill in wet conditions: while he calmly went about his business, Rosberg struggled to compose himself and was overtaken by Max Verstappen – who finished in second place behind the Brit.
Hamilton will be hopeful of putting in another outstanding performance to make history at Silverstone, joining elite company that he has become accustomed to in his dominance of the sport over the past four years