Not many people get to see their favourite driver win a Grand Prix. Some fans can spend years and thousands of pounds travelling around the world supporting their favourite drivers and teams. In July I attended my third Grand Prix at Silverstone, for the third year in a row. Neither in 2012 or 2013 did Lewis Hamilton fare particularly well, in 2012 the McLaren was quite uncompetitive at that stage in the season, while the British Grand Prix of 2013 was infamous for multiple tyre failures, with Hamilton’s being the first during Sunday’s race. I felt robbed that day.
After seeing Mercedes’ dominant start to the season, I already knew that Lewis would win the British GP for a second time. Not through any mysterious precognitive knowledge that Nico Rosberg’s gearbox would fail, but just somehow feeling that it would be his time again. After the Silverstone Fan’s Forum in June a couple of good friends who I met through the sport and myself wandered around the empty International Paddock, leading into the pit lane and eventually, somehow, on to the famous podium itself. We said at the time that we had ‘reserved’ the top spot for Lewis, and how right we were!
Formula One fans mostly have a love or hate view of Lewis Hamilton – he is not the type of driver people can have a neutral view of for many reasons and that applies to British fans of the sport as well, but as Lewis was completing his final lap, the local crowd rose as one to applaud and cheer their homegrown driver. At that moment Hamilton’s move to Mercedes was completely vindicated, even followers of the sport that had the biggest of doubts about his move could doubt it anymore.