The British Grand Prix was such a perfect weekend for Lewis Hamilton that it was as if he had written his own script.
Needing a good result to close the worryingly large championship gap to Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton’s victory and the German’s seventh place meant a 19-point swing in the Mercedes driver’s favour.
Criticised in some sections of the media for the way he had prepared – being the only driver to snub a high-profile event in London – Hamilton dominated the entire weekend, taking pole by more than half a second and driving away into a race of his own.
Keen to expand his ever-growing statistical achievements, he took his 67th pole position – only one short of Michael Schumacher’s all-time record – and equalled legends Jim Clark and Alain Prost’s tally of five British Grand Prix victories.
But the underlying message of the weekend might be even better for Hamilton than that.
The reduction in his points deficit may have come about because of a degree of fortune, but it reflects what appears to be a growing trend in performance towards Mercedes as one of the closest seasons in years reached its halfway point.
A perfect weekend
After the race, Hamilton was asked why he was so strong at Silverstone. “Because I own it,” he replied, before breaking out into laughter.
He was joking, but you know what they say about words said in jest. Certainly at no point during the three days of track action at Silverstone did it look as if Hamilton was in any danger of losing this race.
Team-mate Valtteri Bottas was fastest in both Friday practice sessions, but in both cases there were extenuating circumstances and the underlying performance suggested Hamilton was on top.
On Saturday he proved it, with a spectacular qualifying lap, more than half a second clear of anyone else and three-quarters of a second quicker than the Finn. The fastest Ferrari – of Kimi Raikkonen – was 0.547secs adrift, despite an engine upgrade for this weekend.
And in the race, Hamilton was in a league of his own. He measured his pace in the first 15 laps or so but then he put the hammer down, pulling away from Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen at a second a lap.
That advantage was clearly there when he needed it, or chose to use it – and his fastest lap was 0.9secs quicker than Raikkonen’s, both set in the closing stages of the race.
Bottas’ pace in the race, with a strong driver from ninth on the grid to finish second, underlined Mercedes’ superiority around the fast sweeps of this classic track.