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Page last updated at 17:27 GMT, Sunday, 6 July 2008 18:27 UK
British Grand Prix
Silverstone, 4-6 July



By Andrew Benson
BBC Sport at Silverstone

Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton count not hide his delight after securing his first British GP

Lewis Hamilton has hailed his triumph in the British Grand Prix as the greatest victory of his career.

The McLaren driver admitted he had struggled to deal with the pressure leading up to the race, but revelled in the treacherous wet conditions.

"It was one of the toughest races I've ever done," said the 23-year-old.

"This would definitely go down as my best win - not only because it was history and my home ground, but because I drove one of my best ever races."

Hamilton had failed to score points in the last two races after making mistakes, but he said his family had helped him keep his feet on the ground and prepare for Silverstone.

"I want to dedicate this to my family because as you can see I've had some troubles over the last couple of weeks and it's been really tough," he said. "But as always your family are there when you need them."

The pressure increased after what he described as "a terrible job" in qualifying, when he was fourth fastest and 0-8 seconds slower than team-mate Heikki Kovalainen, but he drove superbly in a race in which the conditions were changing throughout.

By contrast, all his title rivals were caught out - Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa and BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica all spun, and only Raikkonen scored any points, for fourth place.

606: DEBATE
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The result means Hamilton is now tied on points with Raikkonen and Massa at the head of the championship, although technically the Englishman is leading on results countback.

But he refused to make any predictions about the title race.

"It's difficult to say. It's a work in progress, we're doing a good job, and I've just got to keep building on it. We're in a good place now, but there's a lot of competition."

Hamilton said that a combination of a heavy workload, some personal commitments, and the pressure of wanting to do well at his home Grand Prix had begun to get on top of him.

"The last couple of weeks I've been flat out with working very hard, just a lot of travelling, many different things and different emotions building," he said.

"I've had a couple of bad races, and coming here [I was just thinking] it would have been nice to get some points and maybe a win. I thought a one-two would be possible.

The most draining thing was not wanting to let down the fans

Lewis Hamilton
"My mind's always been right - I just had a lot on my plate, really. It's nothing too serious, just life in general.

"Some of my personal life, working very hard. Just before the race I spoke to my brother and said 'I just hope I keep it on the track', and he said 'don't worry about that, you're a master in the wet'. That was great to hear that."

Hamilton has been criticised for attending Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday party celebrations in the week before the race, rather than concentrating on his preparations.

He admitted after the race that meeting the former South African president, one of his heroes, was "the most overwhelming experience - it took a lot out of me just to work out what was going on".

But he said the hardest thing to cope with had been his determination to do well at Silverstone.

"To be honest the most draining thing was not wanting to let down the fans, that whole build-up.

"You try to contain it, but there is so much excitement."


see also
Hamilton shines in Silverstone gloom
06 Jul 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton surges to British GP win
06 Jul 08 |  Formula One
British GP as it happened
06 Jul 08 |  Formula One
British GP photos
06 Jul 08 |  Motorsport
Silverstone, UK
03 Jul 08 |  Circuit Guide


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