Formula 1 2020: Prospect of British Grand Prix without a crowd leaves Lewis Hamilton with an 'empty feeling'
None of the drivers have raced since December, with the season stalled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are plans to start up behind closed doors in Austria and then Silverstone in July.
Six-times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton says the prospect of a home British Grand Prix without spectators leaves him empty inside but he is still raring to get going after months of waiting.
“It gave me a really empty feeling, because the fans really make that race,” Hamilton — a record six-times winner on home soil — said in a video interview released on Saturday by his Mercedes team.
“Around the world, the more fans there the more atmosphere you have, that’s why you have places like Silverstone and Monza. So it’s going to be very empty.
“I don’t know how exciting it’s going to be for people watching on TV but it’s going to be better than nothing,” added the Briton, 35.
“For us it’s going to be like a test day, probably even worse than a test day in the sense that at a test day there’s not a huge amount of people in Barcelona that come to watch but there are still some.”
The champion, who has homes in Monaco and the United States and enjoyed a busy lifestyle before the crisis, did not disclose his location.
He said he was enjoying the downtime and described himself as a generally quiet, if workaholic, person.
“I’m great. This is the first time that I can remember that I’ve been in one place for six weeks,” he said.
“I’m excited to get back in, I really do miss it. This has been almost a blessing on one side because it gives you more appreciation for the things that you love and do.
“This has given me more energy and inspiration and determination to keep delivering and keep working with this great team.”
Hamilton said his weight had stayed the same and he was focusing on areas of weakness in training, such as calf exercises he normally found boring but recognised were important.
He had also done some gaming and signed up for a six-week online course.
“I’ve always wanted to learn a language and I still don’t know any other languages. It’s embarrassing I feel when people ask,” he said. “I aced French at school, it was the only thing I aced.
“When I do things I just do it to the extreme so I sit down and do it in two hours basically,” Hamilton added. “I just do one week a day.”
Bottas finished the 18-lap dash 2.325 seconds ahead of Verstappen but will start at the back of the grid on Sunday as he is going to take a new power unit and will receive a penalty for doing so.
Aston Martin, formerly known as Racing Point, currently sit seventh in the constructors' championship, with Vettel recording their best result — finishing second in Azerbaijan.
The 23-year-old British driver earned his much-anticipated move to the Silver Arrows after three campaigns with Williams.