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Lewis Hamilton joy at Silverstone's 17-year F1 deal

Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton won the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2008

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton is delighted the future of the British Grand Prix is guaranteed after Silverstone agreed a 17-year deal to stage the race.

The 2008 world champion said: "British fans are the greatest Formula 1 supporters in the world, it is the best Christmas present they could ask for.

"It's fantastic news the race will stay on the calendar and it's great the race will be at Silverstone."

The ageing Northamptonshire circuit will be redeveloped under the deal.

"Silverstone has an atmosphere money can't buy and I have some fantastic memories of the track, winning both races in GP2 in 2006, getting an incredibly emotional and satisfying pole in 2007 and winning in the wet in my championship year," added Hamilton.

"Most importantly, those achievements have all been underlined by the reaction and support of the Silverstone crowd, which has always been fantastic."

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"I can't wait to come home to the British Grand Prix next year when both [team-mate and world champion] Jenson [Button] and I will be flying the flag for Britain and doing our best to win the race."

The 2010 race calendar will be officially released on Wednesday when the Silverstone showpiece event will be confirmed for Sunday 11 July - the same day as the 2010 World Cup final.

Button echoed his fellow Briton's comments, telling BBC Radio 5 live: "I can't imagine an F1 season without a British Grand Prix, so this is great news.

"There are so many people who work in the sport who are British, we have a massive fan base out there. You only have to look at Silverstone last summer to know how many fans we have. Everyone can relax now and get ready to enjoy themselves next year at Silverstone."

BRDC member Martin Brundle, a former grand prix driver and now a BBC commentator, commented: "It's brilliant news. I kind of assumed it would happen in the end because everybody wants the same thing.

"Of course, we want the new circuits around the globe that are different, but they have to be balanced out with the history and heritage of places like Silverstone. We now have to look to the British public to rush in and buy some tickets."

Commentating legend Murray Walker, another BRDC member, was similarly enthused: "I'm aware of the fact the people at Silverstone have sweated blood to make this deal happen. It would have been a travesty of justice if it hadn't happened.

"Now thousands and thousands of people are going to be overjoyed, and on behalf of all of them I'd like to say thank you very much to those people at Silverstone, and very well done."

Prime Minister Gordon Brown thanked Silverstone bosses for their efforts in saving the race.

"Silverstone, the first racing track to have a world championship race in 1950, will now have for another 17 years the British Grand Prix," he said.

"I believe all those who have contributed to that success and to that announcement today deserve our praise.

"It puts Britain right at the centre of world racing for 17 years to come. Thank you all for what you've achieved."

Lewis Hamilton

Classic F1 - British Grand Prix 2008



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see also
BBC Sport's 3D Silverstone circuit guide
07 Dec 09 |  Formula 1
Silverstone deal saves British GP
07 Dec 09 |  Formula 1
British GP facing final deadline
22 Nov 09 |  Formula 1
Silverstone gets MotoGP facelift
18 Feb 09 |  MotoGP
British Grand Prix in 90 seconds
22 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Classic F1 - British Grand Prix 2008
15 Jun 09 |  Formula 1


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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
ESPN Star Button: Very close to my heart - 2 hrs ago
Auto Trader Digital Silverstone report rush for tickets - 6 hrs ago
Race Tech Magazine More reactions to Silverstone deal from F1 great and good - 9 hrs ago
Racecar Dean Smith 2009 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award Winner - 13 hrs ago
Portsmouth Today Button upbeat on Silverstone future - 17 hrs ago


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