Lewis Hamilton admits Mercedes need to win both races on Saturday and Sunday to close the gap on current championship leaders Red Bull Racing in Silverstone.
The Austrian team currently leads the reigning champions by 44 points in the Constructors’ championship while Max Verstappen leads the British driver by 32 points in the Drivers’ championship.
Red Bull have been dominant having won the last five races with Mercedes’ last win coming at the Spanish Grand Prix two months ago. Verstappen has taken three consecutive wins to extend his lead over the seven-time champion, and Hamilton feels that the Silver Arrows need to arrest their slide by dominating at Silverstone.
The British GP will see a new format introduced with drivers taking part in a 17-lap sprint race on Saturday, which will decide the grid for the race on Sunday. Therefore, instead of the usual 26 points on offer for the race winner on regular race weekends, there are 29 points up for grabs with the sprint winner getting an additional three points.
Hamilton is desperate for Mercedes to do well at their home event, but is unsure if the upgrades the Silver Arrows have brought will be enough to close the gap to their main rivals. The reigning champions are quietly confident owing to their previous dominance at the track, but Friday evening qualifying will give a good indication of their one lap pace.
“We need to win both races at the end of the day,” Hamilton told Sky Sports of the Saturday sprint and Sunday race. “It’s not just the first one, it’s the second too.”
“But, again, that’s going to be difficult. Do we have the single [lap] pace that they have? Unlikely, but we could be surprised [in qualifying]. Who knows?”
“I’m trying to stay hopeful and positive. I’m really proud of all the men and women back at the factory who have worked so hard to bring this upgrade here. It’s a step in the right direction and I just hope that we can capitalise on it,” the Briton added.