Lewis Hamilton saluted his home crowd and his Mercedes team on Sunday after claiming a record 13th podium finish at the British Grand Prix, an unprecedented haul by any driver at a single circuit.
In front of a Silverstone record attendance of 142,000, part of a total of 401,00 spectators for the weekend, the seven-time champion finished third for Mercedes after a thrilling race won by Carlos Sainz of Ferrari.
Hamilton came home behind Red Bull’s Sergio Perez to deliver a result he described as a “huge bonus” after Mercedes’ bumpy start to the season.
Early problems for world champion and series leader Max Verstappen, who finished seventh after a puncture, opened the way for Hamilton to chase after the Ferraris of Sainz and Charles Leclerc to the delight of the crowd.
“I really have to give it up to this crowd,” said Hamilton. “We’ve had the biggest show-up in history here, in the UK, so thanks to everybody for the incredible support.
“We don’t see this anywhere else around the world. This is literally the greatest group that we get to see so I’m so grateful for that.
“I gave it everything today. I was trying to chase down those Ferraris, but congratulations to Carlos. They were just too quick today for us.
“At the end, I was in amongst that battle with Checo (Perez). Those guys were just too quick on the straights for me, but I’m so grateful for the hard work all the team did to get an upgrade here.
“We’ve made a step closer so now we’ve got to keep pushing.”
He added that Mercedes needed to find more pace on the straights.
“We lost a little bit of time in the pit-stop and then I was like chasing, chasing and chasing, but the pace was great on both sets of tyres.
“At the end, it was just a little bit difficult. Once you get a Red Bull behind you, they’re so fast on the straights. We’ve got some improvements to make, but this is a huge bonus for us to be on the podium.”
His team-mate George Russell suffered his first enforced retirement of the season after a consistent points-scoring sequence when he was involved in the multi-car crash on the opening lap.