Lewis Hamilton forcing rivals to 'count sheep' at Silverstone

Lewis Hamilton returns to Silverstone this weekend, knowing he faces another "serious challenge" with even softer tyres and hotter conditions for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix than those he overcame on his way to a dramatic triumph in last Sunday's British Grand Prix.

Just days after his victory on three working wheels, and one that was damaged and punctured, the championship leader and six-time world champion is braced for a similarly testing weekend with high temperatures forecast and tyre supplier Pirelli switching to a less durable compound.

"One step softer is going to be a challenge for us all and, no doubt, will move us all to at least a two-stop (strategy)," explained Hamilton in the aftermath of his 87th career win.

"Obviously, our cars are a lot quicker this year, but we're using the same tyres as last year.

"They (Pirelli) weren't able to develop a better tyre to deal with the forces for this season, so it's going to be a really serious challenge."

Hamilton's heroics, in bringing his damaged car home to win by five seconds ahead of the rapidly closing Max Verstappen of Red Bull, have given him folklore status as he moved 30 points clear of his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in the drivers' championship.

Verstappen suggested Hamilton is uncatchable in the title race. "So I will be counting sheep again," he joked, as he looked ahead to the prospect of being behind the two Mercedes cars this weekend.- AFP