Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Hamilton excited by full crowd for British GP but warns it may be “premature”

2021 Styrian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton has welcomed the news that Silverstone will be able to welcome a full crowd at this weekend’s British Grand Prix.

However he added he is concerned over the rising infection rate in the country three weeks before its round of the world championship.

The world champion said he felt “kind of split” over today’s announcement up to 140,000 people could attend next month’s race.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to see people and firstly to see the British crowd because it is the best crowd of the whole year and obviously last year we didn’t have them,” he explained. “So to be able to see them and feel the energy they bring into a weekend.

“[But] obviously of course I watch the news, I know about the cases going up massively in the UK. So on that side I worry for people, naturally.”

Government figures indicate 79,481 positive cases of Covid-19 were recorded in the week prior to yesterday, when the daily infection rate stood at 16,135. The week-on-week rise in the rate was 43.9%.

“I don’t want to turn it into a negative, I am excited to see so many people,” Hamilton added. “The selfish part of me, I want to see all the people there.

“But I turned on the news this morning and I’ve been watching it these past days and I know that UK [infection] rates have increased since people are loosening up a little bit and not everyone is vaccinated. I do worry about people. But I read that the vaccination is good for, you know, there’s less people being in hospital. But it feels a bit premature.”

Hamilton encouraged anyone considering going to the race to take steps to ensure they do not transmit any infections.

“If people go there, I hope we learn something from it and I hope everyone stays safe [and] keeps their masks on. That’s what I’d encourage everyone: Continue to wash your hands, continue to wear your masks, particularly when you’re in those big crowds.”

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Hamilton said he was unsure whether opening the track up to a full crowd was the correct decision. “I’m not in politics, I’m not in government so there’s been lots of confusing things coming from the government over time and I don’t understand it all so I can’t really comment too much on it.”

To be eligible to attend the British Grand Prix, fans must have a negative lateral flow test 48 hours before attending or receive their second dose of vaccine two weeks before.

After this was pointed out to Hamilton, he said: “Great – I didn’t know that. If that covers everything, I don’t know, but hopefully it does.” Among Britain’s adult population, 60.3% have had their second doses of vaccine.

Silverstone’s race is being allowed to go ahead with full attendance as part of the British government’s Event Research Programme, which is looking into how events with large numbers of spectators can be handled as the country emerges from the pandemic.

“As I said I think it’s been great that we’ve had people even in the last race,” said Hamilton. “I’ve not heard any negative things come from the last race. But I like to err on the side of caution and slowly build up rather than going full pelt and using our British fans as a test.”

Lando Norris also welcomed the news fans will be back at Silverstone this year.

“I’m very, very happy, delighted, in fact, that we can have the British fans back, and all of them as well,” said the McLaren driver. “I look forward to it.

“We missed it a lot last year, especially during two races there. It’s been nice slowly having more and more [fans] through this season already here and there.

“So to go back to my home race, the first Sprint race weekend, we have that to look forward, the fans have that to look forward to. But just to have them all back and feeling more normal again is something I’m very excited for.”

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13 comments on “Hamilton excited by full crowd for British GP but warns it may be “premature””

  1. Good to see Hamilton saying that out aloud. I agree with him that it might be premature to open up this big.

  2. He said the words! He said the words!

    best crowd

    I do kind of agree though. It may well be a bit premature, but considering the entire restrictions are set to be lifted 9 hours after the start of the race (at the moment) I doubt it would make much of a difference in the grand scheme of things.

    1. The real question is not about doing this a few hours before those restrictions are lifted, but whether lifting the restrictions as such won’t prove to have been premature another month or 2 down the line @randommallard.

      1. @bascb Oh yeah I completely agree with you. As much as I’d like to get back to as close to normal as possible, I am slightly worried that the UK may be moving slightly prematurely still. But with Mr Johnson seemingly set on July 19th I can’t see how 9 hours will make once everything else reopens.

    2. Eh. I think at any rate the focus now needs to shift from cases to hospitalizations. Vaccines were never expected or even intended to prevent cases, but they were and are very much intended to prevent hospitalizations. Given that current vaccines still very much seem to majorly prevent hospitalizations even for the delta variant, it would make sense to look to those and not cases when considering covid measures and (partial) lockdowns.

      1. The main issue with that @aiii is that mutations of the virus, like going to ‘alpha’ and later leading to ‘delta’, doesn’t depend on hospitalisation rate but on how much there is around, ie. cases and ease of spreading. Over the whole world. So, yes, what you propose keeps things in check, for now, and in a limited geography (like an island; but there too, only if then there is a semi-strict entrance/exit control) but it isn’t a good solution to the pandemic.

  3. What was the point of all the vaccination if it doesn’t give us our freedoms back? As Sir Lewis says, it’s all political. There is no evidence that face masks make any difference, in fact there are careful large studies showing the opposite. If you don’t believe tty and find the evidence. It will only show so called “expert” opinions. Facts are better imho.
    Bring on a full and free crowd at the home of British motosport!

    1. Please give examples of “careful large studies showing the opposite.” I have never found one. All serious studies have shown the efficacy of masks in preventing the spread of COVID-19 (and other airborne pathogens).

    2. I have understood quite the opposite: airborne particles seem to be established as the dominant pathway for COVID-19 transmission in public places, see the articles below. Scientific consensus on this is almost one-year old, come on!
      Oppositely, transmission by fomites seems not significant (I can provide references too).

      Zhang R, Li Y, Zhang AL, Wang Y, Molina MJ. Identifying airborne transmission as the dominant route for the spread of COVID-19. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2020;117(26):14857–14863. doi:10.1073/pnas.2009637117.

      Morawska L, Milton DK. It Is Time to Address Airborne Transmission of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2020;71(9):2311–2313.
      doi:10.1093/cid/ciaa939.

      Fennelly KP. Particle sizes of infectious aerosols: implications for infection control. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. 2020;8(9):914–924. doi:10.1016/S2213-2600(20)30323-4.

      1. This is why you need masks that protect also against aerosols (so usually not the one you made yourself learning how to sew during lockdown… On the opposite, all masks will essentially protect you against ballistic transmission).

        Klompas M, Baker MA, Rhee C, Tucker R, Fiumara K, Griesbach D, et al. A SARS-CoV-2 Cluster in an Acute Care Hospital. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2021;doi:10.7326/M20-7567.

  4. Seems a little ironic as LH was wearing a mask with an exhalation valve for the first 6 months.

  5. It shouldn’t be a problem if everyone who attends is vaccinated. Otherwise it’s a bad idea.

  6. UK? The continual flip flopping on all & everything to do with this health crisis would be laughable if it didn’t have a massive behind the scenes manipulation of a country’s population.
    Current Indian & Nepal yet more variations.
    Major symptoms. Runny nose. Sneezing bouts. Itchy eyes.
    Of course absolutely zero, nothing whatsoever to do with seasonal Hay fever symptoms?

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