Lewis Hamilton likens victory of the British GP to winning the World Championship
Mercedes driver expected to lead the British charge this weekend
By Pete Gill. Last Updated: 25/06/13 8:14am
Lewis Hamilton says victory in the British GP is the "ultimate" achievement on the F1 calendar and likened winning at Silverstone to lifting the World Championship.
The Mercedes driver is the last Briton to have claimed a home victory at Silverstone after overcoming treacherous conditions to win under grey skies - but in front of packed grandstands - in 2008 whilst driving for McLaren.
With his former employers enduring a torrid season and Jenson Button all-but ruling out his victory prospects last week, Hamilton is expected to lead the British challenge this weekend and says there would be no better place than Silverstone at which to register his first victory in Mercedes colours.
"Silverstone is just one of the greatest races of the year because it is your home grand prix, where you grew up and have all your home fans, it's definitely by far the ultimate race of the year and when you win here it's almost like winning the championship," Hamilton enthused to Sky Sports News.
"The turn-out is incredible every time we come here. When I won here in 2008 the weather was terrible and still we had an incredible crowd.
"I never thought in a million years that I would have people following me or supporting me and when I arrive here and see the support it just spurs you on. I'm sure it gives you an extra couple of tenths."
Against the rampant Red Bulls, for whom World Champion Sebastian Vettel won in emphatic style last time out in Canada, Hamilton will need every advantage he can accrue.
Although Mercedes are the favourites to secure a fifth pole position in six events, the characteristics of the fast-speed Silverstone circuit are expected to exacerbate the tendency of the W04 to eat into its rear tyres, whilst suiting Red Bull's RB9.
One partial consequence of that expectation has been relatively slow ticket sales for this weekend's event with 'Red Bull fatigue', high prices, the weather-induced chaos that plagued last year's event and the reduced expectation of a British victory all cited as contributing factors to the failure of Silverstone to sell out in advance. Circuit authorities confirmed to Sky Sports Online on Monday that tickets will be available on the door for all three days of track action.