Hamilton: F1's return to capacity crowd at British GP feels 'premature'

Lewis Hamilton believes that Formula 1's return to a capacity crowd for next month's British Grand Prix feels "a bit premature", encouraging fans to remain vigilant with precautions.

Hamilton: F1's return to capacity crowd at British GP feels 'premature'

Silverstone announced on Thursday that it would be hosting a full crowd for its F1 race on 16-18 July as part of the UK government's Event Research Programme for large events.

It will make the British Grand Prix the first race since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to run in front of a capacity crowd, having been staged behind closed doors last year.

Seven-time British Grand Prix winner Hamilton felt "split" about the news, saying that he was excited to see the fans return but was uneasy about the rising COVID-19 case numbers in the UK.

"I can't tell you how excited I am to see people, and to see the British crowd, because it is the best crowd of the whole year," Hamilton said.

"Last year we didn't have them, so to be able to see them and feel the energy that they bring into a weekend.

"On the second, of course I watch the news and I hear about the cases going up in the UK. So on that side, I worry for people, naturally.

"I don't want to turn it into a negative. I am excited to see so many people. The selfish part of me, I want to see all the people there.

"But I turn on the news this morning, and I've been watching it these past days, and I know that the UK rates have increased since people are loosening up a little bit, and not everyone is vaccinated.

"I do worry about people. I read that the vaccinations is good, there's less people being in hospital. But I don't know. It feels a bit premature to me.

"But it’s not my choice. People go there, I hope we learn something from it, and I hope people stay safe, keep their masks on. That’s what I’d encourage everyone, continue to wash their hands, continue to wear your masks, particularly in those big crowds.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, celebrates with his fans

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, celebrates with his fans

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Silverstone will not be the only British sporting venue to run at full capacity this summer. Wimbledon will have full capacity at centre court for the finals weekends, while Wembley will host 60,000 fans for the last three games of the Euro 2020 competition next month.

F1 organisers have already confirmed that fans attending must complete a lateral flow test within 48 hours before first arriving at Silverstone or have received both of their COVID-19 vaccinations.

When informed of the safety measures, Hamilton said it was “great” and gave a thumbs-up, but added that it did not change his view on it being too much too soon for F1.

“I think as I said, it’s been great that we’ve had people, even in the last race, and I’ve not heard any negative things come from the last race,” Hamilton said.

"I like to err on the side of caution, and slowly build up, rather than full pelt.

"And using our British fans as a test pen, I'm, yeah…"

Read Also:

Fellow Briton George Russell said he was “really excited” to hear that Silverstone would be open to a full crowd of fans, praising the safety measures that would be in place for attendees.

“It’s great that we are moving towards this and obviously doing it safely as well – everyone either has to be tested or show proof of the vaccination,” Russell said.

“I’ve been told you can fit 50 Wembley stadiums inside of Silverstone, so big open space, open air, lots of room to move around.

“I think it’s great that Silverstone have worked together with the government and we’ll have a good show on our hands for everyone.”

shares
comments

Related video

How F1's biggest crisis helped trigger its exciting 2021 season

Previous article

How F1's biggest crisis helped trigger its exciting 2021 season

Next article

Hamilton: Talks with Mercedes over new F1 contract are underway

Hamilton: Talks with Mercedes over new F1 contract are underway
Load comments
The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat Plus

The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat

OPINION: Formula 1's sprint race trial at Silverstone drew mixed feedback on Saturday, but there remained the true test of how it would impact Sunday's Grand Prix. While fans were busy marvelling at Fernando Alonso's progress, a key lesson was being learned that would directly contribute to the dramatic lap one clash at Copse the following day

Formula 1
Jul 22, 2021
The off-track considerations that led to F1’s Hamilton/Verstappen Silverstone shunt Plus

The off-track considerations that led to F1’s Hamilton/Verstappen Silverstone shunt

OPINION: Formula 1’s 2021 title fight turned ugly last weekend when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided at the start of the British Grand Prix. Verstappen thankfully walked away unharmed, but this had been a clash long-since coming

Formula 1
Jul 21, 2021
Will 2022's all-new cars look like F1's concept model? Plus

Will 2022's all-new cars look like F1's concept model?

Formula 1 provided its clearest example yet of what the 2022 cars are set to look like when it presented a full-scale concept to the world during the build-up to last weekend’s British Grand Prix. Underneath the special shiny livery was a design that hinted at the future, but teams will be digging into key areas that may reap differing results

Formula 1
Jul 20, 2021
British Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

British Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 British Grand Prix will live long in the memory for the dramatic clash between Formula 1's two title protagonists, which opened the door for other drivers to capitalise. One did so in spectacular fashion, while others fluffed their lines

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021
How Leclerc almost defied Hamilton after F1 title rivals’ Silverstone clash Plus

How Leclerc almost defied Hamilton after F1 title rivals’ Silverstone clash

A poor start for Valtteri Bottas and the lap one clash between Formula 1's 2021 title protagonists gave Charles Leclerc a surprise lead in the British Grand Prix that he almost held to the end. Here's how the Ferrari driver came close to a famous victory, ultimately denied by a recovering Lewis Hamilton three laps from home

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021
The signs that suggest Mercedes can win the Silverstone F1 race Plus

The signs that suggest Mercedes can win the Silverstone F1 race

Red Bull and Max Verstappen scored an early blow against Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes at Silverstone, with sprint qualifying race victory. But that doesn’t mean Sunday’s grand prix is a foregone conclusion. Although Verstappen starts as the favourite, here’s why Mercedes still holds hope of winning

Formula 1
Jul 18, 2021
Uncovering Silverstone's engineering secrets for F1 success Plus

Uncovering Silverstone's engineering secrets for F1 success

Formula 1 returns to Silverstone this weekend, but despite its familiarity to all the teams it is no picnic. Here are five of the key points for engineers to consider prior to the British Grand Prix

Formula 1
Jul 16, 2021
The changing faces of F1’s British GP conquerors Plus

The changing faces of F1’s British GP conquerors

The British Grand Prix is where the world championship began in 1950. STUART CODLING looks at six of Formula 1's era-defining cars which have all scored memorable victories in its original race

Formula 1
Jul 15, 2021