Winning at Silverstone was just an incredible feeling – for myself, the team and the fans, I couldn’t have asked for more. I feel like I’ve been on the back foot all year, only briefly leading the Championship despite taking the wins I’ve had, so to have got myself just about level was exactly what I needed. It’s almost a fresh start heading into the second half of the season and it’s going to be a really close battle between us. Of course, you never want to see your team-mate fall away, but hopefully we can now strike a line under the retirements and push each other all the way on track. You can’t have everything – the best car, the best pace, the best speed at the end of the straight and perfect reliability – because things are on the limit. But I know how hard the team are working to get as close to that benchmark as we can possibly be. There were lots of positives to take from Silverstone. Knowing I’m going into the next race with the best car, having shown that I’ve got good pace, and knowing that if I do a good job I can be ahead is a good place to be. This is the home Grand Prix for Mercedes-Benz, so it’s important for the team and important for me. I’ve won twice before in Germany, but not at Hockenheim since way back in 2008. The aim is to change that this weekend.
Hockenheim: In the Cockpit with Lewis
Hockenheim is quite a technical track, with a range of different challenges to the driver. You have to really attack the apex into Turn One, which is actually a lot tighter than it looks. It’s easy to run wide over the kerbs on exit which can hurt you down the short straight that follows. Then you’re braking really deep into Turn Two – taking an early apex and running quite wide on exit, carrying good speed through Turns Three and Four. It’s important to get good drive out of this section, as it leads you down the long DRS straight into Turn Six – the best overtaking spot around the circuit. You have to hug the kerb all the way through the kink of Turn Five, drift out to about the middle of the track and finally move back to the left to brake hard for the low-speed hairpin. It’s a long, high-speed stretch before that corner, so I’m hoping our Mercedes-Benz power will launch us ahead!
It’s then fast through the kink at Turn Seven before braking into the left-handed Turn Eight, where you can carry a lot of speed on entry. You can drift a little wide on exit too, but you then have to get back across to take a short line, flat-out through the right-hander of Turn Nine. From there you’re back into the complex – the older part of the circuit – where the track gets a lot tighter and the grip level also changes. After running deep into Turn 13 you cut right across the edges of the chicane through Turns 14 and 15 before easing it through the final two corners. You have to be very careful not to lose the rear here as you get hard on the power and across the line.