Pied piper Hamilton enters Silverstone strike zone

Bayden Westerweller Roar Guru

By , Bayden Westerweller is a Roar Guru

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    On the eve of his home event Lewis Hamilton finds himself in a familiar situation.

    His campaign lies on a knife’s edge, and the weekend’s outcome is set to determine his ongoing trajectory as the season reaches the halfway juncture.

    Victorious at the past three editions of the British Grand Prix, Hamilton is a redoubtable presence in front of his compatriots and has harnessed the momentum to consolidate ultimately successful title bids – yet on this occasion he finds himself the hunter and the hunted.

    Last year’s British victory was part of an unprecedented four wins in a calendar month – and his subsequent failure to capture a third successive crown remains contentious – but now trailing Sebastian Vettel by 20 points and with teammate Valtteri Bottas hot on his heels, he is afforded little space to disappoint his countrymen.

    The Briton has been unfortunate at the previous two events, and his mercurial off-track persona has been correspondingly cold; even so, he must rapidly pick himself up from the canvas to breathe life into his campaign if he’s to enter the imminent midseason break on sound footing.

    Much has been read into his absence alongside current F1 machinery on the streets of London overnight, yet if this is necessary for the 32-year old to refresh psychologically – if Mykonos is what gets the job done for him – a strong performance can be anticipated across coming days.

    Having bounced back from the lows of Russia and Monaco with victories at Spain and Canada, there’d be no better time for the triple champion to replicate the feat at Silverstone, though his greatest task lies in advancing the initiative in the face of an inconsistent season to date through a combination of factors within and outside his control.

    Approaching his 200 grands prix milestone, Hamilton remains a misunderstood individual, demonstrably the best driver on the grid when everything remains in harmony, yet the slightest imbalance often has disastrous consequences synonymous with the mistakes of a rookie.

    Hamilton hit out at those who describe him as indifferent and aloof following last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, remarking that “when you personally don’t deliver… it’s hard to come out smiling. That would mean you don’t care enough. The fact is, I care” – though with his body language belying his sentiments, it’s difficult to forecast which iteration will surface in the paddock from Thursday.

    Whether he was rattled by the events of Azerbaijan are now irrelevant. There’s too much on the line for reflection on what could have been, and if the Briton is able to reconcile with this, he can be expected to be at his most dangerous on the weekend and at Hungary. It’s a case of treating each race objectively and allowing the rest to sort itself rather than internalising every blow.

    Dealing with competition in the headlights and in the rear vision mirror is foreign to Hamilton. He did the heavy lifting in his debut 2007 campaign only to fall short at the final hurdle. A paradox of representing an extremely fragile individual yet infinitely rounded driver – if not quite the complete package – the pendulum could swing in either direction pending his fortunes on Sunday, and everybody is along for the ride.

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