Formula 1 legend Mika Hakkinen feels that Lewis Hamilton’s dominant home victory at July’s British Grand Prix was the “trigger” for his charge to a fourth world championship in 2017.
Hamilton spent much of the year trailing Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ championship, but enjoyed a significant momentum swing over the Silverstone race weekend.
While Hamilton dominated the race, taking victory from pole position, Vettel endured a tough day that ended with a late tire failure, leaving him P7 at the checkered flag.
Vettel would take just two more wins following Silverstone, while the victory was the first of six in an eight-race spell for Hamilton that proved crucial in his charge to the championship.
Writing in his Unibet blog, two-time world champion Hakkinen said the importance of the Silverstone victory could not be understated, as well as praising Mercedes’ efforts to capture a fourth straight set of championships.
“Some people think the turning point in Lewis’ season came after the summer break, when he won three grands prix in a row at Spa, Monza and Singapore, but for me his dominant win at home in Silverstone was the trigger,” Hakkinen wrote.
“Behind him the Mercedes team had been working very hard to understand this year’s car, and the best way to get the most from the new regulations.
“When I visited pre-season testing in Barcelona I could see the new cars were very quick – physically larger with bigger tires and a lot more downforce. Definitely more demanding to drive.
“Mercedes worked hard to get the most of their ‘diva’, and this is where the teamwork became so important.
“There are a massive number of people involved in a competitive Formula 1 team and you need everyone at the factory to keep on pushing to the maximum level, making the changes that will solve problems, make the car go faster.”