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Lewis Hamilton leaps to Mercedes team’s defence after Austrian GP blunder

Lewis Hamilton has come to the rescue of his Mercedes team, but believes they cannot ill-afford further errors in the F1 championship race.

Sport360 staff 2018/07/05

Lewis Hamilton has launched a staunch defence of his Mercedes team – but could not rule out further blunders costing him the title.

Hamilton will head into his home race at Silverstone on Sunday one point behind Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel following a calamitous race for his team last time out in Austria.

Mercedes’ chief strategist James Vowles is in the spotlight after his strategy blunder – the team’s third in nine races this season – and his very public apology to Hamilton over the team radio.

Hamilton, who is bidding to become the first driver to win six British Grands Prix, and the first to win five in a row, insists it is not only his Mercedes team faltering this season, and backed his team to turn it around.

But the 33-year-old Englishman also hinted that Mercedes can ill-afford further errors in his quest for a fifth world championship.

“I hope (the mistakes) will not be a title decider, but I can’t predict what will happen going forward,” Hamilton said.

“There are a lot of tough calls for teams to make, but some of them, for sure, are easier than others.

“I do feel like I have the best strategy team behind me. Look at how many wins I have had at this team.

“We have had far more success than we have had failures, and nobody is perfect. It would be boring if that was the case.”

Hamilton was awarded three days off by Mercedes after the Austrian race, and spent the time preparing for Sunday’s third race in as many weeks at his home in Monaco.

The Briton insists that the team’s capitulation at Spielberg will act as a catalyst in his championship battle, rather than a hindrance.

“I look at what happened in Austria as a positive and it reminds me how passionate I am,” Hamilton added.

“We win and lose as a team and what’s happened has reunited us. The will to win is still there, and there are fixes for everything.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and the spirit is stronger than it has ever been.”

Hamilton’s new £40million-a-year contract extension is not expected to be announced this week, with Mercedes wary of placing further pressure on their star man ahead of his home race.

Hamilton will start as the favourite to win in front of nearly 140,000 partisan British fans following his recent domination at Silverstone.

“It would be great (to retake the championship lead),” Hamilton said. “Coming into this weekend there has been talk of a historic win, but if I am honest it has just been an incredible journey since my debut in 2007.

“I am really grateful to be in a position to fight for a sixth win at Silverstone. Not many drivers get to do that and I am privileged to be in that position. The support here is unlike anywhere else.”

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