Lewis Hamilton makes plans for World Cup final with England on his mind | Sport

Lewis Hamilton has admitted he is already planning ahead to ensure he will be able to attend the World Cup final, should England make it. The Mercedes driver is passionate in his support for the team and even jokingly broached the possibility of taking a fine rather than attending the post-qualifying press conference at the British Grand Prix on Saturday, which will begin just after England’s quarter-final with Sweden has kicked off.

Hamilton goes into the race as favourite, with Mercedes once again expected to be strong at Silverstone where they and Hamilton have dominated for the past four years. He is eager to make the most of his chances after failing to finish the previous race in Austria and now trails his title rival, Sebastian Vettel, by one point. While he is focused on the task at hand, he said he wants to be able to follow England to Moscow.

“I’ve booked my day off for next Sunday,” he said. “I’ve booked that off and will keep it free because I want to be in Russia that day supporting them.

“I can only imagine the boys are definitely on a high at the moment and they just need to continue. There is so much pressure on them but so much support for them. England is known for its passion for sport. I played football as a kid, I was passionate about it, I would collect the stickers, the magazines.

“I played with Ashley [Young] at school but watching on the edge of your seat, the passion – it’s crazy, it’s like it’s in your DNA. It is so exciting.”

First he has some serious work on the track and the business end of that begins on Saturday in qualifying. The session starts at 2pm and will end at 3pm just as England begin their game with Sweden. On Thursday he laughingly asked the FIA’s head of communications: “What is the penalty for missing the press conference on a Saturday? Is it negotiable? I want to be watching the game.”

Mercedes will not make any announcement at Silverstone about whether Hamilton has signed a new contract but he and the team have much to prove in the race. In Austria they suffered two DNFs and a strategy error, when they failed to pit Hamilton under the virtual safety car. It proved costly for the British driver before he was forced to retire.

It was the team’s third poor call from the pit wall this year but Hamilton remains confident. “I really do feel I have the best strategist team behind me,” he said. “No one is perfect and the way the sport is there is no way to be perfect and it would be boring if that were the case.”

He had expressed his frustration at the time but believes he and the team learned from the experience. “It just reminds me how passionate I am,” he said. “Everyone in the team felt the same thing, we really do win and lose as a team. Over the last few days the team have united and everyone is energised. That confidence, that will to win, is still there.”

Football may be on Hamilton’s mind but the four-times world champion is also revelling in the remarkable support he receives from the home fans, and he may deliver something special for them by becoming the most successful driver at the British Grand Prix. He has won it five times, including the past four meetings.

Should he make it a fifth consecutive win he will beat Jim Clark’s record of four British GPs in row, and with a sixth he would surpass Clark’s and Alain Prost’s record of five victories at the race.

“Engaging with the fans here is just electric,” he said. “Naturally you want to make everyone proud. It will be the cherry on top of the cake if we can pull something special out of the bag.”

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