Full-capacity British GP feels premature
Reigning Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton has doubts about the logic behind the British government making the British Grand Prix a full capacity event.
On Thursday, F1 confirmed Hamilton’s home race at Silverstone would welcome a full crowd on July 18. The last pre-pandemic race held at the circuit with spectators in 2019 saw a three-day attendance of 351,000 and 141,000 on race Sunday.
Silverstone’s race is part of the British government’s Event Research Programme, which also includes the Euro 2020 games at Wembley and the upcoming Wimbledon tennis championships.
Last year Silverstone hosted two races in the pandemic-affected 2020 campaign, but both were without spectators.
While Hamilton, who has won the race a record seven times, is excited by the prospect of a full house, he is unsure whether it is the right decision at the present time given COVID-19 rates in the country.
“I’m kind of split,” Hamilton said ahead of this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix, in Austria.
“One, I can’t tell you how excited I am to see people, and the British crowd, as it is the best crowd of the whole year.
“Last year we didn’t have them, so to be able to see them and feel the energy they bring to the weekend. On the second, of course I watch the news so I hear about the cases going up massively in the U.K. so on that side I worry for people, naturally.”
Lewis Hamilton has won the British Grand Prix a record seven times. Mario Renzi – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
He added: “I don’t want to turn into a negative. I am excited to see so many people, a selfish part of me I want to see all the people there.
“But I turned on the news this morning, and have been watching it these past days, and know U.K. rates have increased since people are loosening up a bit and not everyone is vaccinated. I do worry about people, but I read the vaccinations are good, there’s less people being in hospital.
“I don’t know, it feels a bit premature to me, but it’s not my place if people go there, I hope we learn something from it and everyone stays safe, keeps their mask on, continues to wash their hands, and wear those masks particularly when you’re in those big crowds.”
When asked about the race again later in the press conference, Hamilton said: “I feel like I’ve said everything I need to say, I’m not doubting anyone.
“I’m not in politics, I’m not in government.
“There’s been lots of confusing things coming from government over time and I don’t understand it all so I can’t really comment on it.”
Hamilton trails championship leader Max Verstappen by 22 points.