F1 Silverstone 2021: what did Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton say about allowing 140,000 fans into British GP?
Seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton wasn't convinced by the decision, amid rising Covid cases of Delta variant
Silverstone will welcome a capacity crowd for the British GP in July.
The programme is designed to pave the way for large crowds to return to live events when the government sees fit to relax the restrictions on capacity numbers amid the Covid pandemic.
Yet, as Silverstone bosses welcomed the news of extra fans attending this year's British GP, not everyone was as supportive of the decision, as cases of the Delta variant continue to rise.
Here's what he said.
How many fans will be at British GP?
Silverstone organisers have been given the green light to sell out the entire weekend's racing of the British Grand Prix, which takes place over 16-18 July 2021.
It could see up to 140,000 spectators flock to the Northamptonshire circuit to witness one of the sporting events of the summer live - the biggest UK crowd since the start of the pandemic.
The event will take place a day before the government's revised date for lifting all legal Covid restrictions, which would see a return to full capacity crowds at sporting events.
Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle stressed to the government that the circuit would go bust if fans were not permitted but Hamilton remained unconvinced ahead of the Styrian GP.
What did Lewis Hamilton say?
Hamilton, the most successful driver at the British GP with seven wins, said the decision to allow 140,000 spectators into Silverstone in July was "premature".
"I cannot tell you how excited I will be to see the British crowd because it is the best crowd of the whole year," said Hamilton, who is second in the driver standings after the French GP.
"But of course I watch the news, I hear the cases going up massively in the UK since we have loosened up a bit, and on that side I worry about people.
"I have read that the vaccination programme is working and fewer people are in hospital, but it feels a bit premature to me.
"I like to err on the side of caution and slowly build up – rather than go full pelt and using our British fans as a test pen."
What testing will be in place at Silverstone?
Ticket holders for the British GP will have to either show proof of a negative lateral flow test taken within 48 hours of arriving at Silverstone or be fully vaccinated.
The second vaccine dose must have been administered at least 14 days previously.
But the requirements put in place to limit the spread of Covid doesn't change Hamilton's outlook.
He said: "No - it's not my choice. There have been lots of confusing things coming from the Government during this period.
"People will go to Silverstone and I hope we learn something from it, and everyone stays safe and keep their masks on.
"That is what I would encourage everyone to do, to continue to wash their hands and wear their masks in those big crowds."
Silverstone also stressed to government officials that the 70,000 grandstand seats are spread over 3.5 miles with the majority of spectators travelling to the circuit in cars.