Racing legend Sir Stirling Moss OBE – the last Mercedes-Benz driver to win the British Grand Prix, in 1955 – has backed 2008 Formula 1 World Champion, British Grand Prix winner and current Mercedes AMG Petronas driver Lewis Hamilton MBE for success at this year’s Formula 1 Santander British Grand Prix. With just four weeks until the British Grand Prix Sir Stirling and Hamilton joined forces at Silverstone today to voice their support for the UK’s flagship motorsport event, taking place on 28-30 June.
The two British Grand Prix winners were accompanied by a replica of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 car which, in just six races in the 2013 season, has secured four pole positions and three podium finishes, including the recent victory for Nico Rosberg at the Monaco Grand Prix. The Brackley-based team is showing its strongest form since its return to Formula 1 as a manufacturer in 2010, and is aiming to take the fight to its championship rivals in their home race at Silverstone.
Also on display at Silverstone was the stunning Mercedes-Benz W 196; the revered Mercedes-Benz factory team’s contender, tailor-made to contest the Formula 1 World Championship in 1954. It is the very car that won Grands Prix in Germany and Switzerland at the hands of five-time World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio in 1954, and the same model as the car raced by Sir Stirling Moss at the British Grand Prix in 1955 – his first ever F1 World Championship victory. The spectacular 2.5-litre Mercedes-Benz historic racing car is set to go under the hammer at a public auction, held by Bonhams, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on 12 July.
A win for Hamilton would be the first for Mercedes-Benz at the British Grand Prix since Moss in 1955. While his Mercedes AMG Petronas team will be hoping to emulate the success of the W 196 in front of a passionate crowd on 30 June, Hamilton would love to follow Sir Stirling and achieve his second British Grand Prix win.
Speaking at the British Grand Prix preview, Hamilton said: “Winning the British Grand Prix in 2008 was an incredible moment for me. I’ve been aiming to repeat it every year since and I’d love to achieve what Sir Stirling did and win my second race at Silverstone. We have a good car this year so I hope we can do it and it would be great to make the team proud at my home race. Silverstone is so special for the British drivers and the weekend is made by the amazing support from our home fans. The atmosphere, the flags flying around the circuit and just seeing everyone supporting us really does lift you. I hope we can put on a good show for them and we’ll be pushing as hard as possible to give them a great weekend.”
Predicting success for Lewis Hamilton at this year’s British Grand Prix preview, Sir Stirling said: “I think Lewis has a very good chance of winning the British Grand Prix this year. It’s not going to be easy and there are a lot of other good drivers out there trying to stop him, but he’s a very fast driver, exciting to watch, and the car he’s got is as good as any of them. He’s in with a good chance.
“Winning the British Grand Prix meant a lot to me. I won in this Mercedes-Benz W 196 in 1955, just before the very last corner. It really was a very special day. I remember it quite well; I’d caught up with Fangio and overtaken him in traffic; as we went round the last corner I put my foot flat on the floor and took the chequered flag. I finished literally half a car length in front.
“Taking a look at Lewis’ car today, there’s no way would I get in it; but then he said the same thing about mine! He asked where the seatbelts were – we didn’t wear seatbelts!
“The atmosphere at the British Grand Prix will be fantastic. There’ll be some great racing at Silverstone; the public that come here always have a great time. It will also be the last chance to come and listen to the 2.4 litre V8s screaming around this wonderful circuit. The fans really have got to come and see it.” (Mercedes)