Hamilton ready to swap jeers for cheers

Wed Jul 6, 2016 9:09am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton need fear no boos or whistles at Silverstone this weekend but the Formula One world champion cannot escape the fallout from Austria as he chases a fourth British Grand Prix victory.

The Mercedes driver was jeered after he won in Spielberg last Sunday following a last-lap collision with team mate Nico Rosberg, who limped home fourth with his overall lead cut to 11 points.

The abuse could be explained by the German presence in the crowd, with stewards punishing Rosberg for causing the collision as Hamilton attempted to seize the lead.

Silverstone is sure to be different, with many of the 140,000 at the old airfield being there to cheer on the home hero who has won for the past two years.

The threat of 'team orders' hangs over proceedings, however, with Mercedes bosses meeting to discuss what to do after two costly collisions in five races.

Even if they decide on nothing more than another warning, the drivers can expect their every move on the track -- and body language off it -- to be closely monitored and analyzed.

With the season approaching the halfway point, and a rush of three races before the summer break, passions are rising and the battle intensifying.

If the drivers are ordered to hold station at a certain point, then the crowd may feel robbed.   Continued...

Formula One - Grand Prix of Austria - Spielberg, Austria - 2/7/16 - Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain during a news conference. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler