They say the true measure of greatness is consistency. And if that’s true, then given the fashion in which Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has been emerging consistent in time and again taking pole and winning Grands Prix, then it could be said, there appears to be a slight change in the definition of greatness.
Greatness is maybe when you are so good at what you do that the idea of beating you appears dull and ill-fashioned. For where it stands in Formula 1 then you could be anybody and can pull off anything but beating Lewis Hamilton doesn’t quite seem doable at the moment.
Take his teammate, for example, as Valtteri Bottas, who with the possible exception of winning the 2020 season-opener, has thus far, only been able to emerge the second-best, well, next only to Lewis Hamilton. But where it stood on Saturday, then it wasn’t at all hard to see why Hamilton, a six-time winner at Silverstone (his home race) is so highly rated.
Never before had anyone in the entirety of Formula 1 set a blisteringly fast 1:23:303 at a track where not only is it tough to catch up with the race-leader but exceedingly hard to master some epic corners like Stowe and Chappel curve and Maggots. But then, never say never, and never stop believing in Lewis Hamilton. Right?
So the best driver on the track, inarguably speaking took it upon himself on a dry, sunny Silverstone to set a cracker of a lap time. So impressive was this performance which came right at the end of the final qualifying session, during Q3 that it warranted some comparison with the 2019 performance of the Silver Arrows.
And therefore, when David Croft shared that the two Mercedes improved by as much as seven-tenths on their lap time vis-a-vis 2019 performance, we knew that we had witnessed not just any qualifying session; but an utterly exhilarating run by a man whose driving is purely second to none and the best on the grid.
On Sunday, therefore, the six-time winner at Silverstone, famously called the spiritual home of Formula 1, will have a pretty simple task up on his hands. And it’ll be to convert a record seventh pole- most for any driver on the current grid- into a seventh career win. This being a track that has seen many legendary performances in the past, most noticeably by greats like Mansell, Senna, and even Hamilton’s great contemporary Vettel, think of that late lunge on Bottas around Village in the 2018 race!
Moreover, Lewis Hamilton’s seventh win, on Sunday, August 2, 2020, a big uncertainty given the menacing form in which Hamilton has been in, of late, winner of the last two rounds- Styria and Hungaroring- would further take him inching closer to yet another prestigious record.
It’ll mean that he would need only one more win at Silverstone to match his own record; something he managed a fortnight ago, whereupon winning the 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix, the English driver scored 8 wins at a particular Grand Prix event- the most for any driver, matching the great Michael Schumacher.
In the current context of the sport, therefore, where Lewis Hamilton has, once again, made winning his second nature, the task for the others on the grid is to somehow find a way to break away from his strong grid positions; something which on current form is as hard as driving blindfolded and finishing minus an accident!
Moreover, to take a leaf from his own book and his own solid form at Silverstone in the past, Hamilton would do well to remember no driver back in the day was able to stop him from winning here in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017, and it was only an incident-marked 2018 race where Raikkonen drove into his Mercedes that Hamilton was left to complete a Grand Prix with a drive to recovery. Even then, he finished second on the podium, next to Vettel, in giving a demonstration of his master-class in damage-control.
Probably, this is why when it comes from him and no one else – Still I Rise- that it sounds resoundingly honest and clear! Go on Lewis, conquer Silverstone again. There’s another one coming the next week!