Lewis Hamilton believes his crushing victory at the British Grand Prix is proof that his off-track demeanour should not be questioned.
Hamilton, 32, delivered a masterclass at Silverstone to win his home race for a record-equalling fifth time — and his afternoon was made all the sweeter when his championship rival Sebastian Vettel suffered a puncture on the penultimate lap.
Vettel, who was on course to finish third, crossed the line in seventh to enable Hamilton to move to within just one point of the German.
Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas charged from ninth to second in another impressive display which will surely see Toto Wolff hand the Finn an extension to his current one-year deal.
But that will have to wait for another day as it was Hamilton’s weekend after he secured pole position, led from start-to-finish, and set the fastest lap en route to recording his fourth consecutive victory on home turf and his fifth in all to match Britain’s double world champion Jim Clark.
Hamilton faced a backlash from fans for missing a promotional event in London earlier this week, preferring instead to take a two-day break with friends on the Greek island of Mykonos.
But, after such a strong display, Hamilton will feel as though his decision has been vindicated, with his victory here helping to get his stuttering championship charge firmly back on track.
“There is no reason to question my preparations,” Hamilton said after performing his now customary crowd surf with the swathes of British supporters.
“I have more poles than most. I am building up the wins that I have. My performances are second to none. If you don’t know now that my preparation is mostly on point, then I guess you never will.
“I could imagine one day driving a Formula One car and maybe winning one championship, but I couldn’t imagine the number of poles that I have, matching the likes of Jim Clark and Ayrton Senna and having the Hamilton name amongst those stars.
“I am proud to see the Hamilton name engraved on this beautiful-looking trophy, and it will be there way beyond my time.”
Hamilton’s two-day holiday on the eve of his home race led to questions about his desire and indeed how long he may stay in the sport.
His Mercedes deal expires at the end of next season, and he said here he intends to see out the deal, but whether he chooses to go beyond 2018 remains to be seen.
Meanwhile Vettel insists there is no need to hit the panic button.
“There is no reason to panic or worry, but for sure we need to be aware that Mercedes are very quick,” Vettel, 30, said. “There are plenty of positives.
“For sure, you look after every race where you are. This race was not good for us. Full stop. We did not get the result we wanted or that we probably deserved, but that is how it is. We cope with that and we move on.
“There is a new race coming in two weeks’ time, but it is normal. You are judged by the day. If things go differently, we come out as the winner, and when you come out on top, everything looks peachy, but if you don’t, like today, people talk of a huge disappointment and a disaster.
“But I am not here to lose. I don’t like losing, and I hate it. So we want to make sure we turn it around for next time.”
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