Toto Wolff, Lewis Hamilton hail ‘fairytale’ victory at British Grand Prix

It was a win almost 1,000 days in the making.

On a challenging Sunday at Silverstone, Lewis Hamilton captured victory for the first time since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, finally reaching the top step of a Formula 1 podium for the first time since that epic campaign.

And the fact that it came on Hamilton’s final race at Silverstone for Mercedes was not lost on Team Principal Toto Wolff.

“Today’s win is like a fairytale,” emphasized Wolff in the team’s post-race report. “It is our last British Grand Prix together with Lewis and what a way to sign off. It is such a great feeling to be able to achieve victory in front of the British crowds with the most iconic, and most successful British driver in a Mercedes.”

Hamilton’s emotions matched the moment. The legendary British driver was choked up as he took the checkered flag, and that continued as he was handed a Union Jack at Becketts Corner during his cooldown lap. When he finally brought his W15 to a stop he shared a long, emotional embrace with his father before paying tribute to the thousands of fans cheering their hero.

Hamilton then shared his immediate thoughts with Jenson Button.

“Yeah, I can’t stop crying,” admitted the seven-time champion.

“I think, you know, since 2021, I’m just every day getting up, trying to fight, to train, to put my mind to the task and work as hard as I can with this amazing team and this is my last race here, the British Grand Prix, with this team so I wanted to win this so much for them, because I love them, I appreciate them so much, all the hard work they’ve been putting in over the years,” continued Hamilton.

“I’m forever grateful to everyone in this team, everyone at Mercedes, and all of our partners. And I just want to say thank you to all of you for being here with us today. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And then otherwise to all our incredible fans,” added the Mercedes driver, “I could see you lap by lap as I was coming around, and there’s just no greater feeling as to finish at the front here.”

Hamilton’s tributes to the crowd as Silverstone continued into the FIA Press Conference.

“I mean, the car’s so loud, so hard to hear, but I could see it, and I really could feel [the crowd noise],” described Hamilton. “You know, when you go through Turn 7, it’s a long, long corner, and you see the guys on the left, or through the last couple of corners, you can also see this incredible crowd, or into Turn 15. It’s really, really an unbelievable feeling to be on that track. This is the best track for me, personally. I think this is the best track in the world. But it’s the fans also, the whole place, the wind direction that you have going into Stowe. That corner is incredible.”

In response to a question from the brilliant Luke Smith from The Athletic, Hamilton talked about the emotions he felt, particularly in that extended post-race embrace with his father, and whether this win felt any different than his previous 103 F1 victories.

“Yeah, it really does, because I think, you know, I’ve had my parents come to a race here and there,” began Hamilton.

“We’ve had, you know, my mom was there when we won a championship. My dad’s been there when we won a championship. It’s always been just at a different point of life. First World Championship, you know, was incredible, but it was really difficult to absorb it all at the age I was at. I think this weekend, I think just within life, you know, your parents are getting older, you know, we’re traveling so much.

“Time with family is a constant challenge. My niece and nephew are growing up and growing out their cuteness,” continued the driver. “But I’ve had them here this weekend, and I think they’ve all… We all try to be there for each other, even at a distance. But to have them there and… I mean, I know I’ve always had their support, but to be able to see them there and share this experience, they wanted to be at my last race, the last British Grand Prix with this team that have been so incredible to us. I mean, Mercedes obviously supported me since I was 13. So it’s definitely meant the most today to have them there and to be able to share it with them.”

While there was a downside for the team, as pole-sitter George Russell retired early on a day that could have seen him on the podium as well, Hamilton’s victory marked two wins in a row for Mercedes, extending their run of impressive form.

Hamilton addressed what this recent form means for the team going forward.

Yeah, I think hugely, hugely grateful to everyone in the team. I think this is just hats off to everyone. Niki [Lauda] would definitely take his hat off, but everyone that’s continued to work hard, everyone in the garage that’s continued to show up each weekend and not get downbeat by results,” said Hamilton. “I think George’s win last week was amazing, but it wasn’t on pure pace and I think this weekend was the first time we did it on pure pace. [With] qualifying on the front row. And then after that, even pulling in that first stint, both of us pulling away from everybody else. And then ultimately, I think with the conditions today, the drivers able to make a bit of a difference.”

Hamilton also admitted that the time between victories meant this win was even sweeter, along with the admission that for the first time in 104 victories, tears finally fell after a win.

“Absolutely. It feels different to previous races and particularly races where you’re having race after race after race or seasons where you’re having multiple wins,” said Hamilton. “I think with the kind of the adversity I would say that we’ve gone through as a team and that I personally felt, that I’ve experienced, those challenges, the constant challenge like we all have to get out of bed every day and give it our best shot. And, you know, there’s so many times where you feel like your best shot is just not good enough.

“And the disappointment sometimes that you can feel, you know, and we live in a time where mental health is such a serious issue. And I’m not going to lie, that I have experienced that. And there’s definitely been moments where you know, the thought that this was it, that that was never going to happen again,” continued Hamilton. “So to have this feeling come across the line, I think, honestly, I’ve never cried coming from a win. It just came out of me. And it’s a really, really great feeling. I’m very, very grateful for it.”

A fairytale Sunday, in what is shaping up to be a fairytale season for the Silver Arrows.

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