Lewis Hamilton hungry to win home race at Silverstone

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Lewis Hamilton heads into next weekend’s British Grand Prix knowing he has a great chance of winning his home race for the second time, with teammate Nico Rosberg the only realistic rival for victory.

The British driver won the race back in 2008 for McLaren with one of his finest displays in a Formula 1 car, but has since failed to return to the top step of the podium. He was leading from pole position at last year’s race, only for a tire failure to scupper his hopes of victory and force him to settle for a fourth place finish.

In 2014 though, Mercedes has been the dominant force, and Hamilton will be keen on cutting the gap to championship leader Rosberg on home soil.

“Silverstone is obviously a special race for me and the support I have there is just incredible,” he explained. “The British fans are the absolute best in the world and it’s really humbling to see thousands of people out there cheering you on – no matter what the weather or the result.

“I won the race in the wet in 2008, which was just the best feeling. I think the gap was around 60 seconds at the end, and I’d lapped everyone up to third place which was just unreal. I could never have hoped or dreamed for a race like that – especially at my home grand prix. That has to be one of the best moments of my career.

“I loved raising that gold trophy in front of the home crowds and I’m determined to get my hands on it again this year.”

In Austria, Hamilton slipped to 29 points behind Rosberg in the drivers’ championship after finishing second to the German, and he will want to avoid losing even more ground at Silverstone.

“It was great to get another one-two finish for the team in Austria and I’m so proud of all the hard work everyone is putting in to keep us at the front this season,” the Briton said. “Of course, it wasn’t the result I wanted personally and it was disappointing not to be able to capitalise on my pace when it was clearly there. But in the end, coming back to second place was positive in terms of damage limitation.”

NHRA: John Force-like motor explosions get contagious during Sunday’s Gatornationals

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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John Force is rubbing off on others – but probably not the way they or he would like.

The 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion has had spectacular motor explosions in each of the first three races of the new NHRA season, including during Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Gatornationals.

During Sunday’s quarterfinals of eliminations, Force’s teammate (and son-in-law and president of John Force Racing) Robert Hight squared off with fellow Funny Car driver Matt Hagan.

As the duo closed in on the finish line, both cars experienced spectacular motor explosions of their own – virtually side-by-side and nearly at the same time.

Hight’s car was the first to explode, tossing its body high in the air. A split-second later, Hagan’s car exploded, also sending the body flying.

Check out the NHRA video:

Hight wound up losing the race.

Hagan, meanwhile, and his crack pit crew rolled their backup car off the hauler, put in a new motor and went on to race through the semifinals and into the finals, losing to race winner “Fast Jack” Beckman.

“We had a pretty great race day, to be honest,” Hagan said. “I’ve never been to the finals in Gainesville.

“We obviously had a huge blow up in the second round, then to watch these guys pull the other car back out and put it together in the amount of time they had, then turn a win light on against Capps (Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the semifinals), then to be able to go to a final, it was huge and it speaks for itself.”

As for Hight, here’s his take on what happened with the motor explosion:

“I couldn’t see (Hagan) over there and it wasn’t like it was hazing the tires or anything else. As it turns out it wasn’t spinning at all. It kicked two rods out when it blacked the bearings in the crank then it hit the valves and blew up.

“The thing gave me no indication at all before that. What really scared me was once I got it under control and I look over and see his body is off his car. I am thinking ‘Oh man, he got gathered up in me.’ Then I stood up and looked and his injector was sideways so I realized he had an explosion as well. We are just lucky we didn’t get into each other.”

As for the guy who has had so much trouble in the motor department, John Force, he lost in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations to daughter Courtney Force.

John Force planned on shutting the motor off on his car at around the 700-foot mark of the 1,000-foot dragstrip, not wanting to risk another motor explosion – even though it meant a likely loss to his daughter.

Now John Force and his entire four-car team, including Courtney Force, Robert Hight and daughter and Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, will be off for extensive testing to try and determine what’s been causing the motor explosions.

“We have to evaluate it and go test,” Force said. “We’ll figure it out.”

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