On tap this week:
- Hamilton is back
- Winning Brits in F1
- Sports cars at CTMP
- Brembo's chefs bake brake cakes
- Quote of the Week: Boos for happy man Ricciardo
- Carpenter's Hinchcliffe obsession
After taking the chequered flag Sunday’s British Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton was heard singing on the radio. It was difficult to hear the words, it would have been fitting if the ditty was the 1959 Dinah Washington single What a Difference a Day Makes.
The Mercedes driver jumped back into the 2014 Formula One title fight with a dramatic victory in his home race, roughly 24 little hours after a massive blunder in qualifying saw him start sixth on the grid.
The error lost its sting after teammate Nico Rosberg suffered a gearbox failure about halfway through the race and retired, allowing Hamilton to inherit the lead and cruise to an easy win.
“I think this weekend really just showed that, for one, you never give up,” said Hamilton, whose 25 points for the win combined with Rosberg’s retirement has him just four markers behind his teammate in the title standings.
“Yesterday was a really difficult day. Obviously, you never think situations like that would come up the way they did and I really felt – I went away feeling terrible for the fans.”
Sitting on provisional pole in the dying seconds of Saturday’s qualifying session, Hamilton abandoned his last timed effort after rain slowed his progress, only to see five drivers gain ground in an almost dry final sector and bump him down the grid. To make matters worse, Hamilton even pulled over to let Rosberg pass and the German used the politesse to snatch pole.
At the time, Hamilton rued the decision and worried that it dealt a massive blow to his title hopes, with championship rival Rosberg staring at the front and already having a 29-point lead in the standings.
Now the 2008 world champion wants to refocus as the second half of the 19-race season gets under way.
“We’ll draw a line under the last nine races and now it’s attack mode, start again and now, utilizing that pace and utilizing the car’s pace,” Hamilton said.
“The pressure is high, but I really feel that now we’re back.”
By the Numbers: With his win in the British Grand Prix on Sunday, Hamilton has tied three-time world champion Jackie Stewart for second overall among British drivers with 27 victories.
Although Hamilton's 19 per cent win rate (27 victories in 138 starts) sounds impressive, it pales in comparison to Stewart's record. The Scotsman started only 99 races in just nine F1 seasons between 1965 and 1973, standing on the top step of the podium 27 per cent of the time and taking three world titles.
And Stewart did it in an era where drivers who lasted five years in the sport had a 50-50 chance of dying in a racing incident. Stewart's survival in such a deadly era was in part due to his push for safety in F1 and his insistence on using safety devices such as seatbelts long before they became mandatory in the sport.
Stewart's last F1 race was the 1973 Canadian Grand Prix at the Mosport International Raceway (now Canadian Tire Motorsport Park), which was the second last event that year. The Scotsman withdrew from the season finale following the death of his protégé and teammate François Cévert in practice for the U.S. Grand Prix Watkins Glen. A few weeks earlier, Stewart had clinched his third title at the third-last race of 1973 in Monza, Italy.
The British wins leader is 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell, who scored 31 wins in 187 starts between 1980 and 1994. With Mercedes dominating so far in 2014, it's more than likely Hamilton will surpass Mansell sometime before the end of the season.
Random Thoughts: The new Tudor United SportsCar Championship makes its first Canadian appearance at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park this weekend for the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix, with three of its four competing car classes tackling the legendary 3.957-kilometre circuit in Bowmanville, Ont.