x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Damon Hill: There are some lovely new corners

Damon Hill, the 1996 world champion and the president of the British Racing Drivers' Club, talks to Simon Arron.

What do you think about the revised Silverstone track? Its high-speed character has been retained, but it offers some interesting new dimensions. The track has been evolving since 1948 to suit all forms of motorsport, and the current configuration was originally devised with MotoGP in mind. Having just driven it in a road car, though, there is no escaping the fact that there are some lovely new corners.

From a marketing perspective, it must help that Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton are so prolific at present. The[British Racing Drivers' Club] has always celebrated British motorsport success, without which this circuit would not be what it is. It is harder to put bums on seats when you haven't got a national hero, but British drivers have been doing their bit ever since the sport began.

Have you been surprised by Button this season? He obviously has enormous talent and I'm really pleased for him. Some thought he was a bit brave taking on Lewis, but I think it has allowed him to show his true depth as a driver. You wouldn't be surprised if he retained his title, then? No, but I don't think it's possible to call the championship right now. It's very open and that's what we want.

Talking of which, how do you assess the form of your old nemesis, Michael Schumacher? He loves driving, and where else are you going to get the same sort of kick? sports@thenational.ae