Lewis Hamilton proud after British Grand Prix record

Lewis Hamilton
More than 140,000 cheered on Hamilton on Sunday

Lewis Hamilton said he was "proud" to have joined Alain Prost and Jim Clark as the record holder for most British Grand Prix wins.

The Mercedes driver's victory at Silverstone on Sunday was his fifth - and it moved him to within one point of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in the championship.

"It has taken me a long time to get there but I am so proud to be up there with the greats," Hamilton said.

"Still a long, long way to go, so new heights hopefully will be set."

Hamilton was cheered throughout a dominant performance on Sunday as he took his fourth victory of the year and he crowd-surfed and high-fived the fans after coming off the podium before making an appearance on stage at the fan zone after completing his engineers debrief and media commitments.

"It is almost impossible to describe how amazing it is the reception from the crowd," he said.

hamilton fans
In a BBC Sport poll asking: 'Who is the British GP's greatest icon', Hamilton came out top with 45%. Nigel Mansell was second with 33% and Jim Clark 22%

"It spurs me on and pushes me and that love really inspired me this weekend. Anyone who was here or at home supporting me, I want them to know how grateful I am."

Hamilton was criticised in some sections of the media for missing an F1 promotional event in London on Wednesday that was attended by all 19 other drivers. He preferred to spend some days in Greece relaxing to get himself in the right mindset before coming to Silverstone.

"There is no reason to question my preparations," he said. "I have more poles than most. I am building up the wins that I have. My performance is second to none.

"If you don't know now that my preparation is mostly on point, than I guess you never will."

He added: "I did something I felt was right for me and I performed the best I have all year, in terms of the championship."

Hamilton cut his deficit to Vettel in the championship by 19 points after the Ferrari driver suffered a late puncture that dropped him from fourth to seventh.

"I did not expect to come away only one point behind," he said. "Maybe seven or 10 or 12. We kind of needed this today.

"I couldn't have dreamed or imagined today he would have the problem at the end. So to have that close up at the British Grand Prix, that's fantastic. So happy."

British world champions wins at the British GP: Hamilton has won 5, Mansell 4, Clark 5, Stewart 2, Hunt 1, Damon Hill 1, Hawthorn, Surtees, Graham Hill and Button 0

But he said it would be premature to call the British Grand Prix result a key moment of the season.

"It's difficult to ever say it's a turning point," he said. "Ultimately, there's constantly turns and the pendulum goes back and forth.

"Obviously the pendulum swung a little bit this weekend and I think that's only good for F1. It's only good for the fans, probably super-exciting for them to see the close battle that we're continuing to have.

"Without a doubt we hope it stays the way it's swung this time, but we're just hoping we can be on our toes to react to whatever is thrown at us in the next races."

Hamilton said he expected the title race to go to the final grand prix of the season.

"It's going to be a close race," he said. Its going right down to the wire, clearly."

Vettel said that Mercedes' upturn in pace in qualifying in the last four races had been a "game changer". But he added: "There is no reason to panic or to worry. but for sure we need to be aware. There are a couple of advantages we need to work on and then it could be a different picture."

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