Hamilton, Norris admit Silverstone enthusiasm hit by lack of fans

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Two of Formula 1's British drivers admit going to Silverstone won't feel the same without fans present for the next two weekends.

The UK circuit joins the Red Bull Ring as just the second venue to host two F1 championship races in one year, with the British GP this Sunday followed by the 70th Anniversary GP on August 9.

For Lewis Hamilton, he heads to his home race very much as the favourite having won five of the past six years, in addition to his wet-weather masterclass in 2008.

But looking ahead, he acknowledged the feeling this year is very different compared to any other trip to Silverstone.

"I'm so grateful that we are back at work and we are so fortunate, all of us here, to be back at work and have our jobs and be able to compete again," Hamilton commented initially to Sky Sports.

"But absolutely, the atmosphere for me, it's night and day different. At Silverstone, there's nothing like it. The whole year, it's the highlight of my year, the support is insane.

"It grows every year and I get to interact with the fans differently on that weekend and it's such an honour and privilege to be able to perform well and win a Grand Prix in your home country.

"It feels great to be out there [on the track] because once you're in the zone you're in the zone, but I really do miss the energy they bring," he added.

"At Silverstone, for sure - I don't have a lot of years left and this is going to be one year that I miss all the fans. But I do want them to stay safe and we're in that period of time where safety is everything."

McLaren's Lando Norris has also missed the lack of atmosphere, comparing the three F1 races so far to being back in Formula Renault or even karting.

So when it came to thinking about racing at Silverstone in that environment, he echoed the six-time world champion.

“After last year, it was such an awesome experience to go there for my first home race,” he told Autosport.

Norris BritGP

“To go up to the campsites and go on the fan stage in front of the thousands and thousands of people. It was awesome. So it’s really something I’m going to miss and in some ways, they’re the people that make it a home race.

“Otherwise in a lot of ways, it’s just another race on the calendar. Yes, it is your home track, but the reason we call it and we’re so excited about the home race is because of the fans, not because it’s just a track where you can travel back home and sleep in your own bed in the evening.

“So it’s going to feel weird and it has felt weird. I look forward to when we get the opportunity to welcome the fans back.”