Lewis Hamilton’s stunning Silverstone success ‘a weight off his shoulders’

The 39-year-old claimed his ninth home victory and the 104th of his record-breaking career.

Lewis Hamilton ended his long wait for a win
Lewis Hamilton ended his long wait for a win (David Davies/PA)

Lewis Hamilton’s fairytale first win in 945 days is a weight off the seven-time world champion’s shoulders, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has claimed.

Hamilton, 39, rolled back the years at Silverstone on Sunday to claim his record-extending ninth home victory and the 104th of his glittering career.

An emotional Hamilton said after taking his first triumph since the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on December 5, 2021 – a 56-race streak – that he doubted whether he would ever win again.

He also revealed he struggled with his mental health in the wake of his contentious championship defeat to Max Verstappen.

Lewis Hamilton secured his ninth win at the British Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton secured his ninth win at the British Grand Prix (David Davies/PA)

Wolff, who has also admitted to his own mental health battles in the past, has overseen six of Hamilton’s record-equalling seven titles with Mercedes. Hamilton is ending his 12-season relationship with the Silver Arrows at the end of the campaign to join Ferrari.

“It has been so difficult over the last two years that we couldn’t find the performance to give our drivers a car that they could win with,” said Wolff.

“So for Lewis to win again at the British Grand Prix in his last race for Mercedes is almost like a fairytale. We couldn’t have scripted it better.

“It is clear our relationship goes back a long time and each of us has suffered (mentally) at various stages. He has been there for me and, most recently, I have tried to provide my contribution during his doubting times.

“And that is why it feels really good that he has been able to put all the negative thoughts aside to come up with this performance. It is a weight off his shoulders.”

Hamilton celebrated his win on home soil by crowd-surfing with his fans at the circuit’s main stage almost four hours after the chequered flag fell.

He is now the first driver in history to win the same race on nine occasions – a record he previously shared with Michael Schumacher. He also became the first man to win after making 300 F1 starts.

Hamilton recorded his latest victory, 17 years and 27 days after he secured his maiden win in Canada. Another new record. He is now the oldest driver to win a race this century.

Hamilton sobbed as he embraced his father Anthony for nearly 20 seconds after he emerged from his cockpit.

“I just wanted to be there for Lewis,” explained Hamilton Snr – the man who forged his son’s path to glory.

“It was nice to be there at the right time because he had a lot of emotion to let loose and I’m the only guy, I’m sure, that he would be able to do have done that with.

“He questions himself, like we all do occasionally. You question whether you’re still good enough, young enough, strong enough. I know Lewis, and as far as I’m concerned he has still got everything he needs to run at the top. And sometimes you just need reminding about that. He knows he has got it. When Lewis hasn’t got it, I will let you know.

“Don’t forget, he started this when he was eight. He started from a council house (in Stevenage). We worked hard to get to where we are, and every day he puts in the same graft. He never comes half-hearted. He always gives it his all.”

Hamilton’s triumph was Mercedes’ second in a row following George Russell’s win at the previous round in Austria.

Toto Wolff called Hamilton’s win at Silverstone a “fairytale”
Toto Wolff called Hamilton’s win at Silverstone a “fairytale” (David Davies/PA)

The Silver Arrows have been a shadow of their former selves in the past two-and-a-half years but Wolff hopes Hamilton’s triumph could be a springboard for more success.

“Five races ago we were not even a contender for the podium and we looked to be in for a third year of non-performance,” Wolff added.

“But then it clicked and suddenly everything that hasn’t made sense does make sense, like it did in the old days.

“We are finding performance and putting it on the car, and it is translating into lap time and that hasn’t been the case for the past two years.

“There is more to come in terms of performance. We are bringing updates to the next races in Budapest and Spa but we must not get carried away. We had a win last week, benefiting from Max (Verstappen) and Lando (Norris) tangling, but today we had an honest result.”