Lewis Hamilton’s First Home Win At The 2008 British GP

A look back at Lewis Hamilton’s first-ever home race win, as we return to Silverstone this weekend.

We’re at Silverstone this weekend for the 75th British Grand Prix. This will be the 59th edition of the race being held at the Silverstone Circuit.

It is a home race for the likes of Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate George Russell. McLaren’s Lando Norris and Williams’ Alex Albon too enjoy the Silverstone as their home race.

As for Lewis Hamilton, he is the most successful driver at the British Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver has 7 pole positions, and 8 race wins at the iconic circuit. He is a driver who has given us many memories at Silverstone, but there is one particular race that will reign unforgettable for time to come.

At the 2008 British Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton drove a superb race from ‘lights out’ all the way to the chequered flag.

A great launch

For his second home grand prix ever, Lewis Hamilton could only qualify in P4. In pole was his McLaren teammate Heikki Kovalainin. Red Bull’s Mark Webber and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen were in P2 and P3.

On race day, it had been raining before the start. However, it subsided just in time for the race. The track was wet, but only enough for Intermediate tyres, which every driver started on.

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Of the top 4, Lewis Hamilton had the best start, whilst those ahead struggled for grip. He was ahead of all three before turn 1, but Kovalainin took the lead from him immediately. Hamilton stayed close to his teammate and was eventually able to overtake him on lap 5, going into Stowe. By lap 10, Hamilton held the lead with a healthy 6-second gap, whilst his teammate spun allowing Raikkonen past him.

The right call

Behind the Brit, Raikkonen had better pace, closing up as the laps went by. By lap 21 when both Hamilton and Raikkonen went into the pits, the gap was under a second. McLaren refuelled Hamilton’s car and gave him new Intermediate tyres. On the other hand, Ferrari made the gamble to only refuel Raikkonen’s car. They decided to not change his tyres with the assumption that the track would dry up.

The rain soon poured, and McLaren proved to have made the right decision. By lap 27, Kovalainen and Nick Heidfeld had caught up to the Ferrari, both eventually overtaking him.

On lap 38, Hamilton went back into the pits with a 30-second lead. The rain was predicted to ease, therefore, McLaren opted for new Intermediate tyres.

Dominance and class

The Brit remained unchallenged for the lead for the rest of the race, driving with maturity and class despite his young age. Whilst those behind him spun off time and time again, Hamilton was able to keep his car on track.

At the end of lap 60, Lewis Hamilton crossed the line to become a British Grand Prix winner for the first time in his career. He has since gone on to win 7 British GPs. That was win 7 of 103 for the Brit.

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It was an important win for Hamilton, and not only because it was his first home win. It was important because it had come after lots of criticism over his ‘distracting’ lifestyle, and doubts over whether he was ‘man enough’ for a sport as demanding as F1. Hamilton’s response was a drive in the wet that showed nothing but maturity, composure, brilliant race craft and sheer speed.

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