Defiant Lewis Hamilton hit back at his critics after a record-equalling fifth victory at the British Grand Prix reignited his world championship challenge.
Hamilton enjoyed a fairytale race in front of his home crowd, leading every lap on his way to a fourth successive win at Silverstone and trimming title rival Sebastian Vettel’s lead to just one point after the Ferrari driver suffered a late puncture.
It followed criticism of Hamilton’s decision to skip Wednesday’s live Formula One event in central London, and the Briton insisted his performance had vindicated the controversial decision.
“There is no need to question my preparations. If you don’t know my preparations are on point then I guess you never will,” said the three-time drivers’ champion.
“I’m very fortunate that I know what is right for me. I know how to get myself ready. I wouldn’t have the poles that I have, I wouldn’t have the wins that I have [if I didn’t]. I train myself and know what to do to get myself ready. This weekend has shown it.
“I’m really happy, with all that negativity that came into the weekend, to be able to perform the way I have. You could see the pace I had, I was under control, and I didn’t have any slips or lack of focus.”
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who enjoyed a team one-two as Valtteri Bottas finished second, believes the criticism only increased Hamilton’s resolve to continue his winning run at the Northamptonshire track.
“Extracting maximum performance is an answer to the critics,” said Wolff. “I don’t understand why the British hero was being beaten up before his home grand prix and I think that made him even more determined.”
Vettel had been running third when he suffered a puncture with two laps remaining and had to pit for a new tyre – just moments after the same fate had befallen Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
It dropped the German to seventh and all but wiped out his 18-point advantage as the championship reached its half-way point. Raikkonen recovered to take the final podium place.
Red Bull pair Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo took fourth and fifth, with Renault’s Nico Hulkenburg ahead of compatriot Vettel, followed by the Force India cars of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez.