Lewis Hamilton insisted today that he was grateful for all the support he has been receiving from home fans ahead of the British Grand Prix.
Hamilton has been under fire this week for not attending the F1 Live London event this week. He was the only one of the current 20 drivers on the grid not to show up for the huge fan event in Trafalgar Square.
Hamilton had explained that he needed the break after last weekend's Austrian Grand Prix. However critics said he had let fans down by not attending.
The three-time world champion tried to set things straight on Friday by saying how much the home crowd support meant to him.
"It's great to be back here at Silverstone," he said. "Each time I left the garage I gave the fans a wave. And I could see them waving back.
"I just want them to know that I can see them, and I really appreciate all the love and support."
Hamilton was runner-up in both free practice sessions on Friday. He missed out to his team mate Valtteri Bottas by just 0.078s in the morning. And it was even tighter after lunch, when the Finn once again pipped him this time by a mere 0.047s.
"Today's been a really good start to the weekend," Hamilton said after the end of the day's track activity.
"We worked through all the sessions, fine-tuning the balance. I think we're in a good position at this early stage of the weekend.
"We still need to build upon it, but it's a great foundation moving forward."
Hamilton said he could really feel the difference out on track that's due to this year's new cars. Regulation changes introduced over the winter have added extra speed and downforce, resulting in Bottas setting a new track record.
"The track is absolutely incredible with these new cars," marvelled Hamilton. "It's like the greatest roller coaster ride ever.
"It was already one of the very best circuits in the world. But with this car and the speed we are able to carry through the corners, it's just phenomenal."