Former world champion Lewis Hamilton has explained that his performances and success in F1 2010 to-date have been largely the product of what he describes as 'the best car I've ever driven' in the top flight in the McLaren-Mercedes MP4-25, and one that makes it easy for him to 'have fun' out on the racetrack.
Hamilton has not finished lower than second in the past four grands prix – with back-to-back triumphs in Istanbul and Montreal, and close runner-up finishes in Valencia and at Silverstone – results that mean the British star has tallied a staggering 86 points out of an available 100, 23 more than his nearest rival, team-mate and compatriot Jenson Button.
His unrelenting front-running form has also enabled the 25-year-old to open up a twelve-point advantage over his title-winning successor in the drivers' standings at just past the midway stage – not bad at all, he admits.
“Wow, 86 points from 100? That's 86 per cent – I'd have loved those marks when I was at school!” Hamilton joked, in an interview published on his personal website. “When you look at it like that, it does sound good, absolutely. I've said it before, but I think I'm able to get those kinds of results because our car is just so fantastic to drive. My car in 2008 was fantastic, but even though we're not quite as quick as the Red Bull, this year's car is still the best F1 car I've ever driven.
“You can plant it, particularly through the high-speed stuff, and the car will just go where you tell it. As a driver, that gives you so much confidence, so you're not worrying about the car, you're just focussing on the racing. On Sunday at Silverstone, I just raced my heart out; I knew our car wasn't as quick as Mark [Webber]'s, but I gave it all I had. I really enjoyed the race, and when you're having fun out there, the results just come. I'm incredibly happy at the moment. Eighty-six points out of 100 – I still can't believe that!”
Although second place – and fourth for Button from 14th on the grid – was not quite the outcome the home-grown duo might have dreamt of arriving at the Northants circuit to compete in front of their adoring home fans, still it represented a solid haul of points that permitted McLaren to maintain its lead in the constructors' table by 29 markers over closest pursuer Red Bull. And next year, Hamilton vows to reward his legions of supporters with the victory that they clearly crave.
“It was incredible, it really was,” he enthused of what he described as the biggest crowd he had ever seen at an F1 race. “If you've only been to Silverstone, then maybe it's hard to understand. Silverstone is one of those places that really comes alive for the race, and the atmosphere was just intense – I absolutely loved it. I love it every year, but this year just felt more charged and more exciting than ever.
“Every day, I'd go out onto the pit wall just to wave at the fans, and I couldn't believe how much support they were giving our team. Hopefully they had a fantastic weekend – the weather was perfect, the racing was great and we got a great result. Hopefully, next year, Jenson and I can come back and deliver a one-two – which I think would just blow the roof off the whole place! Wouldn't that be amazing?”
What would also be amazing, no doubt, and would further solidify Hamilton's current position as favourite to reclaim his title laurels from two years ago come season's end, is a one-two finish in next weekend's German Grand Prix for himself and Button.