Lewis Hamilton facing 'damage limitation' but hopes to feed off home support
Briton aware picking off four cars between him and Rosberg not easy
By James Galloway at Silverstone. Last Updated: 06/07/14 11:29am
Lewis Hamilton says he only has himself to blame after missing out on pole position for the British Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton is counting on the support of the massed ranks of fans at Silverstone to help him overcome his qualifying setback in the British GP – although the Mercedes driver admits a race-day fight back is unlikely to prove as straightforward as in Austria.
For the second successive F1 Saturday, Hamilton cut a frustrated, disappointed and at times monosyllabic figure in his post-qualifying interviews at Silverstone as the consequences of his self-confessed mistake of not completing a final qualifying lap dawned on him after he qualified only sixth for his home event.
Facing the prospect of seeing his 29-point deficit to his pole-sitting team-mate Rosberg increase yet further by the end of Sunday’s 52-lap race, Hamilton accepted he now had his work cut out to turn things around, particularly as the three cars directly ahead of him on the grid were all similarly Mercedes-engined.
“I feel it’s going to be damage limitation again,” he said.
“But we’ve got over 100,000 here so hopefully they will energise me. I’ve got a lot of Mercedes [powered] cars ahead which are going to be very hard to overtake. It’s not going to be as easy as it was in the last race.
“Also conditions could be up and down – anything’s possible here as we’ve seen in past years.”
The 29-year-old faced a similar scenario at the Red Bull Ring a fortnight ago but a storming first lap saw him vault from ninth to fourth, immediate gains which put him right behind Rosberg.
Hamilton though is pessimistic of a repeat performance over the first miles of Sunday’s race, however.
“Not really, because I’ve done 100 or so grands prix and that [Austria] was probably one of only three very good first laps for me,” he argued. “But what it did show is that it’s possible so I’ll try to do the same again.”
Although his challenge of at least finishing second are undoubtedly aided by the fact that his Mercedes W05 remains by far and away the fastest car in dry conditions, Hamilton is aware his chances of overhauling Rosberg at the front at compromised further by the fact he didn’t complete his race simulation in practice when his engine failed.
“Nico had a long run [on Friday] so he knows where his car is for the heavy-fuel load and also he’s got nice clean sweep of air in front of him,” Hamilton reflected.
“So I’d imagine Nico will be sailing off into the distance, I’ve got to try and wiggle my way through the guys in front first and that’s really my main focus.”
However, even if Rosberg increases his championship advantage come the end of the race, Hamilton insisted: “There’s a long way to go. Just keep working at it and take it one race at a time.”
Watch the 2014 British GP live on Sky Sports F1. Our extensive coverage of the Silverstone race weekend continues on race day from 11.30am on Sunday.