Lewis Hamilton has described Silverstone as the “greatest rollercoaster ride” after relishing F1’s increased speed in Friday practice for the British GP.
Mercedes dominated the opening day at Silverstone with Valtteri Bottas topping the timesheets from Hamilton in both sessions.
Hamilton made an error on his flying lap but afterwards described the section of the Silverstone circuit between Copse and Maggots as “my favourite part of the whole grand prix season”.
“It’s the greatest test, I love it,” said the Mercedes driver.
“It is like the greatest rollercoaster ride. The speed we are able to carry through the corners is unbelievable. It was already pretty amazing in the last couple of years but today…your wildest imagination doesn’t come close.”
Friday’s benchmark laps not only bettered Hamilton’s pole position time from twelve months ago but were also the fastest recorded at Silverstone in the circuit’s current configuration.
“It definitely is one of the best circuits,” said Hamilton. “It was a mixture of business and pleasure today. It was incredible. I love this track and l love driving it.
“It is the most amazing feeling so far of driving this circuit. Every year it gets better but this has been a big step. We still can’t do Copse flat, maybe we will in qualifying. The run-off area is the issue – Felipe’s car went to pieces when he went over the kerbs.
“The speed we are able to carry through the corners is unbelievable. It was already pretty amazing in the last couple of years but today…your wildest imagination doesn’t come close.
“We are flat through Turn One and the car just doesn’t move. Stowe is just so fast. I wish l could stand on the apex of Stowe and watch these cars come through because it must be scary!”
G-Force measurements at Copse have already increased from 4.1 in 2016 to 5.2 this year.
Hamilton’s mood on Friday was amplified by the size of Mercedes’ superiority over their rivals. Title leader Sebastian Vettel was nearly half a second adrift as both Mercedes drivers immediately found the sweet spot of the W08.
“Each weekend we are learning more about the car. This weekend we have started on the right foot. Generally we start on the wrong foot and then have to make some drastic changes,” said Hamilton. “We will definitely have a less stressful evening compared to somewhere like Montreal.”
Nor was Hamilton fazed by his deficit to Bottas.
“Valtteri had very good pace today, I’m comfortable with what l have and it will be close between us,” he added.
Asked whether Bottas’ victory in Austria, which saw him close to within 15 points of his Mercedes team-mate in the standings, had changed his approach, Hamilton replied: “It hasn’t changed my mind-set. I’ve included him in the title fight mentally from the get-go. It would have been wrong for anyone not to have done the same.
“He’s had a DNF and he’s only 15 points behind so he’s been very consistent. I think we will have a very close battle to the end.”
Don’t miss the British GP live on Sky Sports F1 on Sunday – lights out for the race is at 1pm.