Emotional Hamilton tears up on last lap of British GP, thanks fans for support en route to win

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Lewis Hamilton had a tear in his eye on the final lap of the British Grand Prix on Sunday as he weathered a late storm to clinch his third victory on home soil.

Over 140,000 fans came out at Silverstone on Sunday to see the defending world champion claim his fifth win of the season after making an inspired pit call when a rain shower arrived late on.

Hamilton chose to make the switch to intermediate tires one lap before Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, and it proved vital in allowing him to win the race by 11 seconds.

“I think for the first time probably in my career I made the perfect choice tire-wise,” Hamilton said on the podium after the race.

“I’m really, really happy with that. Just managed to keep the car going. I think I lost a lot of temperature in my slicks. You guys are the best, I love you guys.”

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Hamilton paid tribute to his fans at Silverstone on the podium after the race, admitting that he felt a tear in his eye on the final lap as he saw all of the British flags and banners.

“I was gunning the whole way, and I really just wanted to do it for you guys,” Hamilton said. “We did it. I’m so thankful for all the support, and I couldn’t have done it without you guys.

“Every lap, I can see you in the corner of my eye, and I felt you spurring me along so thank you so much. I’m so elated, you can’t imagine how happy I am.

“I started to tear up on the last lap just really hoping that I could hold on to it for you guys. I felt you all the way.

“I hope we can come back next year. I’m gonna keep pushing for this championship, thank you for all the support, now let’s party.”

Hamilton now leads the drivers’ championship by 17 points from Rosberg ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix in three weeks’ time.

Hamilton: McLaren could help create four-team F1 title fight in 2018

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Lewis Hamilton says the Mercedes Formula 1 team cannot afford to let up in its push to improve ahead of a fiercer fight at the front of the field in 2018 – potentially including former team McLaren.

Hamilton clinched his fourth F1 drivers’ title in Mexico at the end of October as Mercedes continued its perfect record of championships since the introduction of the new V6 turbo hybrid engines in 2014.

The team faced a stiffer challenge in 2017 thanks to a resurgent Ferrari, while Red Bull also posed a threat towards the end of the season, setting the stage for another close fight next year.

Hamilton is expecting both Ferrari and Red Bull to remain a force at the front of the pack, but also feels McLaren could join the fight after ditching Honda in favor of a Renault engine supply for 2018.

“When I’m training and preparing for a new season, I firmly believe that we can be contenders for the next championship. It may turn out to be not possible, but you have to have that mindset,” Hamilton said.

“If you go in with expectations of finishing fifth, it’s not going to work. You’ve got to gear yourself up to win.

“Next year, McLaren will have Renault engines, then we may see four teams fighting for the championship. I think Red Bull will be quicker and Ferrari for sure will be fast again.

“We can’t stand still – we have to keep moving forwards.”

Hamilton started his F1 career with McLaren back in 2007, winning his maiden world title in 2008 before leaving the team for Mercedes at the end of the 2012 season.