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‘Shut up’ order showed Hamilton was ready to win, says engineer Bono

Lewis Hamilton showed he was in the mood to win at the British Grand Prix on Sunday when he snapped at his engineer on team radio.

“When I am told to shut up, I know it is ‘game on’ and he’s going for victory,” long-serving.” Mercedes race engineer Peter Bonnington said after Hamilton’s “fairy tale” triumph. 

‘Bono’ and the tearful seven-time champion shared a champagne-soaked podium after their 83rd victory together, having endured 945 winless days since their last triumph at the 2021 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix. 

“It’s been a long, long time and he and I have been working hard trying to get back here,” said Bonnington. “It’s been baby steps, but it’s taken a lot of them!”

In a topsy-turvy race in changing conditions, Hamilton and Bonnington preserved positions and tyres and then grabbed the initiative with a bold tyre switch in the closing laps. 

It was then that Bonnington knew his driver’s long wait for victory was imminent. 

“He does a great job when it comes down to the wire,” he said. “He’s the one that’s going to manage the tyres and get you to the end.”

“I wouldn’t say there was zero doubt, but I knew that once he had the bit between his teeth—as soon as I get told to ‘shut up’ — then I know that the game’s on.”

In that final stint, Hamilton passed McLaren’s Lando Norris and resisted the charging three-time champion Max Verstappen of Red Bull to claim a record ninth British Grand Prix win and record-increasing 104th career victory. 

Team boss Toto Wolff has kept faith with Lewis despite the 39-year-old Briton’s decision to leave for Ferrari at the end of this season. 

“You couldn’t have written a better farewell British Grand Prix after 12 years, it was great,” said Wolff.

“It’s our last British Grand Prix together and the sign-off is like a fairytale. We leave the British crowds with the most iconic and most successful British driver.

“He’s a fantastic racer and when he has a sniff of being able to win a grand prix, that’s when he is so strong.”

Wolff added it was a shame Mercedes missed out on having a second car in the top three after George Russell retired with a water pressure problem. 

“Performance-wise, it looks like we’re coming back,” he added, after the team’s second consecutive win, Russell having won in Austria a week earlier.

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