Silverstone without fans leaves Hamilton with 'empty feeling'

© XPB 

Lewis Hamilton says that racing behind closed doors is better than not racing at all, but the six-time world champion admitted the prospect still leaves him with an empty feeling.

Formula 1 is working hard to gets its 2020 season in gear amid the coronavirus crisis and has set a tentative early July start for the sport in Austria if conditions allow.

But all races planned this summer are set to be held behind closed gates to help mitigate any risks of COVID-19 propagation.

Hamilton described his reaction when he learned about the possibility of racing in front of empty grandstands on home turf at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, an event the Mercedes driver very much owns thanks to his six wins.

"It gave me a really empty feeling, because the fans really make that race," Hamilton said, speaking in a video interview on the Mercedes team's YouTube channel.

"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.

Hamilton says the 'ghost race' experience could be like testing, except "worse" he reckoned.

"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.

"But here you’re going to have nobody in the crowd and you’re just going to see empty seats as you’re driving down."

Looking back at Formula 1's aborted start in Melbourne where the race was canceled just hours before the start of first practice, Hamilton labeled the mishap "a shock to the system".

"Obviously on that Thursday, I commented my opinion on whether or not we should have been there," he said.

"Then to wake up the next day, honestly with excitement that I’m going to be getting in the car, and then to hear that we’re not going to be going to the track it was very, very surreal.

"We weren’t quite sure whether it was going to happen. We missed practice one and then practice two went and qualifying went. But I stayed there through the weekend and it was tough."

Like his colleagues, Hamilton is biding his time, but the Brit is impatient to gauge the level of performance of his W11 2020 Silver Arrow.

"I don’t think any of us have had enough time to truly unleash the potential of ours cars so I’m excited to get back in. I really do miss it," he said.

"This has been almost a blessing on one side because it gives you even more appreciation for the things that you love and the things that you do.

"This has given me more energy and inspiration and determination to keep delivering and keep working with this great team and so I’m excited for the future."

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter