HOME RACE LOOMS: Lewis Hamilton hopes to entertain crowds at Silverstone by winning his home British GP on July 5. Image: AP / The Canadian Press
LONDON, England - Lewis Hamilton may not be feeling his years yet but the double Formula 1 champion still senses time is ticking by as he prrepares for his ninth British GP.
The Mercedes driver is determined to dominate at Silverstone on Sunday (July 5) where a record crowd of 140 000 will be cheering him on because every chance to celebrate with the home fans is increasingly precious.
"I'm noticing the years going by," said the 30-year-old championship leader who has twice won at the circuit after a stunning debut season in 2007 and is chasing a triple that would put him alongside Jim Clark and Nigel Mansell.
DOUBLE WIN AT SILVERSTONE?
Hamilton said: "The race is gone and it is another year. I might have seven chances at the Silverstone GP left... it seems like a lot but it isn't. They are very precious opportunities, each and every single one of them. So, when you lose out on one, the feeling to come back and do it again the following year is even greater."
Hamilton won the 2014 race, his first triumph at Silverstone since his 2008 title-winning season with McLaren, but team mate and title rival Nico Rosberg took pole position.
He said: "It wasn't a perfect weekend. So I don't know whether I have had a weekend where I have really dominated. And I think 2015 has really been the target, dominating weekends and really conquering the circuit, through practice, qualifying and the race."
The pressure will be on, much of it self-imposed.
ROSBERG ON THE PROWL
Rosberg, only 10v points behind after eight of the season's 19 races, can add to that too and will need no reminding of the burden of expectation Hamilton is carrying. Rosberg celebrated his 30th birthday last Saturday (June 27) after winning in Austria and another victory would be his fourth in five races.
Unlike Hamilton, he also tested in Austria after the race.
Rosberg said: "With the extra day in the car on Wednesday also, helping the team prepare for Silverstone, I feel ready to go full attack at a circuit I really enjoy. It should suit our car nicely with the focus on downforce and we learned some useful things during the test, so I'm sure we'll be strong once again."
If rivals are resigned to a Mercedes duel at the front then Ferrari should be back in the mix while Mercedes-powered Williams is also in the hunt for the podium after consecutive thirds.
Red Bull, with its factory in the nearby town of Milton Keynes, is hoping to get closer to Williams despite ongoing complaints about the lack of performance from its Renault power units.
Force India, whose factory is across the road from the circuit, will meanwhile debut a much-upgraded car. Team owner Vijay Mallya said: "Everybody is full of anticipation but we know it will be a very steep learning curve to fully understand and get on top of the changes in just a few free-practice sessions."
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