Race Report: Hamilton wins dampened British GP

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The British Grand Prix is known to offer dodgy weather and Sunday was no different when rain began to fall 15 minutes prior to the start of the race. The cars had all made reconnaissance laps on dry tires but now they would start of full wet tires. The race ended with sunshine and a 3rd win on the trot for Lewis Hamilton much to the fawning crowds delight.

Lewis and teammate Nico Rosberg stayed out on full-wets when the Safety Car came in on lap five but a majority of the teams dove into the pits for intermediate tires and to me, it added to my frustration with the entire race in which it was started behind the SC in intermediate conditions preventing what otherwise may have been a terrific start in the rain—the last time I checked, Formula 1 does race in the rain. I was very disappointed but lest you feel I know nothing of which I speak, perhaps you’ll listen to Lewis:

“I think we could have started on the grid,” said Hamilton. “There were wet patches all over the place, but that is what racing is about.

“We stayed out [behind the safety car] far too long, it was [time to switch to] intermediates by the time they let us go.

“There was more water on track in 2008 when we started from the grid.”

I tweeted it yesterday. Rain was exactly what Red Bull wanted and I suggested that if it was a wet race. there may be a cat amongst the pigeons and that’s exactly how it played out with a terrific performance by Max Verstappen to pass Rosberg and close the gap to Lewis. As the asphalt started to dry out, his car fell prey to the power of the Mercedes. Regardless, he, like most of the other drivers, managed a set of medium compounds to finish on the podium and beat his teammate, Daniel Riccardo, and one can Danny’s comments about Max this weekend and see there is tension amongst the ranks at Red Bull.

WinWin

A big win for Lewis Hamilton who scored his third victory in a row at the British Grand Prix and the crowd loved it. He loves the fans as well and it was terrific to see him crowd surf and embrace the throng of fawning fans who got to see what they came to see—a British champion win the British Grand Prix. Lewis had one moment where he ran wide—so did nearly everyone at the corner—but otherwise had a flawless race to the flag. A great drive in the changing conditions and those are the kinds of conditions that Lewis does very well in.

A win for Max Verstappen on many levels to be honest. He not only scored a podium finish but he out-qualified his teammate and then beat him in the race as well as took advantage of Red Bull’s wet weather performance advantage and passed Nico Rosberg for second at one point. He managed a set of medium compound tires and drove a remarkably astute and measured race under serious pressure from Rosberg.

After a miserable Austrian Grand Prix, Force India delivered a double-points finish with Sergio Perez in 6th and Nico Hulkenberg in 7th. The team perhaps left Nico out a lap too long in Inters but regardless, they delivered much needed points for their owner, Vijay Mallya, who was in attendance at the race despite being on the lam from Indian authorities.

FailFail

A fail for Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel who had a ragged weekend with a gearbox penalty reducing him to 11th for the start of the race and then a few spins and another 5s penalty for forcing Felipe Massa wide. The only upside is that his teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, did exactly what they re-signed him to do—score points and finish as high in the order as he can when Vettel struggles. He claimed 5th and had a few good battles on track. Raikkonen feels Ferrari’s lack of performance was a one-off affair at Silverstone.

A fail for McLaren who turned up at Silverstone with an upgraded engine but was unable to deliver a top 10 performance even though Fernando Alonso was trying everything he could to deliver. Jenson Button claimed 12th and in changing conditions, he is normally a force to be reckoned with but not today. Alonso was behind in 13th and felt the team waited too long (12 laps on the inters) and should have been more aggressive in their strategy.

A fail for Williams who were struggling all day with Valtteri Bottas running off track several times and Felipe Massa becoming a mobile chicane. Massa and Bottas finished 11th and 14th respectively and were under serious pressure from McLaren at this track.

A fail for Manor as both Pascal Werhlein and Rio Haryanto retired in the beach having spun in drying conditions and Renault also had a miserable day with Jolyon Palmer released without a right-rear tire and suffered a 10-second stop-go penalty and later retired. His teammate, Kevin Magnussen also retired from the race as well.

WTHWTH

Just like I said in Austria, the booing is really base behavior and I dislike it very much. Lewis didn’t deserve it a week ago and neither did Rosberg at Silverstone. It denigrates the sport, shows a complete lack of respect for the drivers and exposes the bottom-feeder in everyone who does it. It’s not even “fun” controversy that gets people talking about F1 like a Lewis/Nico collision or controversial tracks and political machinations of the owners, it’s just boorish behavior from the mob and I hate it.

The Safety Car start will be defended by journalists that were there and that’s fine but from my historic vantage point and the comments from the man who actually won the race, I feel confident that it was the wrong call. You can argue Japan, Monaco or other instances but when half the field dives into the pits for inters, you have your first clue that it wasn’t the right call and deprived us of a possible great start. What if the Mercs had a slow start and Verstappen got in front? All the what-if permutations could have added to a great race but instead, we knew where this one was always going to end up given the processional start and that’s a shame. Imagine Lewis getting a bad start and slicing his way back through the field…that would have been great to see. Sure, there are drivers who felt it was the right call but historically F1 has started in rain and the drivers have to rise to the occasion.

What could be argued, to give voice to the alternative opinion, is that Sebastian Vettel said it isn’t a case of the SC start, it’s a case of the drivers/teams not having confidence in the full-wet tire and that it’s only good for following the SC around such is its performance. Perhaps that’s the reason and if it is, once again, we are held captive by this silly tire nonsense instead of just making great tires and let the engines and chassis make the difference.

It would be difficult to give a full-on “Fail” to Nico Rosberg as the race started behind the SC and there wasn’t an opportunity to get the jump on his teammate but he did lose a position to Max Verstappen in changing conditions and there have been occasions (Monaco this year) in which he doesn’t seem to be quite the rain-meister his teammate is or other drivers on the grid. IF there’s a chink in the armor, it could be wet-weather racing. He needed a win but finished second and the points gap is down to four. As for his investigation…

At the time of writing this, Rosberg is under investigation for this radio call in the waning laps of the race:

Rosberg: “Gearbox problem.”

Engineer: “Driver default 1-0-1, chassis default 0-1, chassis default 0-1.”

Engineer: “Avoid seventh gear, Nico, avoid seventh gear.”

Rosberg: “What does that mean, I have to shift through it?”

Engineer: “Affirm Nico, you need to shift through it. Affirm, you need to shift through it.”

Here we go with the silly radio ban debacle that’s been on everyone’s mind since Baku. The teams are allowed to tell the driver to execute any alterations in the event of a critical car failure and the race stewards are deliberating and have been for quite some time.

Here’s the “Fail” for the FIA in this situation. You have a regulation and it seems that the narrative (according to Sky Sports F1) the officials are giving is that a precedent is being set with this decision as it’s the first time a driver could face this penalty. I understand that each situation is unique and must be reviewed to ensure that a regulation has been breached but if it has, the penalty surely is already decided by the FIA or at least a clear directive of what punitive actions are available to the steward in these circumstances? Why should it take this long to discover if Nico is panelized?

If you have a regulation, surely you have considered what the consequences for breaking each regulation might be? Or at least a range of punitive actions you would take in each circumstance?

On the other side of this coin, the FIA will be setting a precedent if they find the team did breach the radio band regulation and if it is a 5-second penalty, then all the teams will weigh that outcome in the remaining races. So this is a situation where it gets sticky and it should have been prepared ahead of time. If it’s a 5 or 10-second penalty, then Mercedes may just ignore the ban and take the penalties as they are usually leading the competition by more than 10 seconds while other teams may not be able to take the penalty due to their lack of a competitive advantage.

So this means that the stewards are now in a situation of possibly making the penalty too draconian for fear they may be setting a precedent. It’s a lot to weigh but it’s been three hours since the end of the race and still no decision. FAIL!

Regardless, here is how they finished the race but it’s not finalized yet as the decision could take quite some time apparently.

Provisional Results:

PosDriverCarGap
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1h34m55.831s
2Nico RosbergMercedes6.911s
3Max VerstappenRed Bull/Renault8.250s
4Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault26.211s
5Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1m09.743s
6Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes1m16.941s
7Nico HulkenbergForce India/Mercedes1m17.712s
8Carlos SainzToro Rosso/Ferrari1m25.858s
9Sebastian VettelFerrari1m31.654s
10Daniil KvyatToro Rosso/Ferrari1m32.600s
11Felipe MassaWilliams/Mercedes1 Lap
12Jenson ButtonMcLaren/Honda1 Lap
13Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/Honda1 Lap
14Valtteri BottasWilliams/Mercedes1 Lap
15Felipe NasrSauber/Ferrari1 Lap
16Esteban GutierrezHaas/Ferrari1 Lap
17Kevin MagnussenRenault3 Laps
Jolyon PalmerRenaultRetirement
Rio HaryantoManor/MercedesSpun off
Romain GrosjeanHaas/FerrariRetirement
Marcus EricssonSauber/FerrariRetirement
Pascal WehrleinManor/MercedesSpun off

Drivers’ Championship Points

PosDriverPoints
1Nico Rosberg171
2Lewis Hamilton167
3Kimi Raikkonen106
4Daniel Ricciardo100
5Sebastian Vettel98
6Max Verstappen87
7Valtteri Bottas54
8Sergio Perez47
9Felipe Massa38
10Romain Grosjean28
11Nico Hulkenberg26
12Carlos Sainz26
13Daniil Kvyat23
14Fernando Alonso18
15Jenson Button13
16Kevin Magnussen6
17Pascal Wehrlein1
18Stoffel Vandoorne1
19Esteban Gutierrez0
20Jolyon Palmer0
21Marcus Ericsson0
22Felipe Nasr0
23Rio Haryanto0

Constructors’ Championship Points

PosConstructorPoints
1Mercedes338
2Ferrari204
3Red Bull/Renault195
4Williams/Mercedes92
5Force India/Mercedes73
6Toro Rosso/Ferrari41
7McLaren/Honda32
8Haas/Ferrari28
9Renault6
10Manor/Mercedes1
11Sauber/Ferrari0
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Overall Race
An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.

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Tony Greene
Member

Here I am again, waiting on a potential penalty for Nico before I can tally up the staff points!

Rapierman
Member
Rapierman

Yep, a big six points riding on that decision.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

Since on my 1-10 FB rating I gave the race a 7, for your system I must give it a 3.5. I loved the battle between Alonso and his ex-teammate – short lived but quite compelling. The Max telling Nico to “eat my dust old man” for all those laps with an under-powered car but superior race-craft – well that kid has won me over to the fan of Max camp. The knowledge that Lewis does very well in wet but seeing Sebastian spin out and Alonso then Lewis – even with that 7 sec gap made it intriguing –… Read more »

Rapierman
Member
Rapierman

Just got word: Rosberg was penalized 10 seconds for violating the radio message ban. He’ll drop to 3rd, and Verstappen will be promoted to 2nd.

Rapierman
Member
Rapierman

Wait, appeal coming from Mercedes. This may not be final after all.

The Captain
Guest
The Captain

You know, had you told me yesterday that I’d be watching a wet British GP I’d have been ecstatic. But between that awful safety car start and the horrible commercial ridden poop fest that is the NBC broadcast I really never got into the race at all. I mostly piddled on the internet during it. Seriously Sky Sports viewers if you think Sky goes overboard with the pro-Hamilton bias try having your broadcasters act like teenage girls backstage at a One Direction concert over some random Dutch kid because they happen to know his father, all while Lee Diffey yells… Read more »

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

Sorry to hear the NBC coverage is even worse than Sky’s. I reckon BBC 5 live podcasts have become even worse, when James Allen was involved they were really good, but in the past couple of seasons they have become a complete Hamilton fan site. The post English (sic) GP review was so sycophantic that I had to switch off before I upchucked.
On the other hand, it was a good race, the displays of car control were mind blowing, the snaps, drifts and spins on the way into Stowe were worth watching alone.

Zachary Noepe
Guest
Zachary Noepe

Agree with nc about the safety car and not sure it was just an innocent blunder. Home hero Lewis on pole, he’s a fast lapper and a troubled starter. Why not start on SC and tuck him safely into the lead least anything bad happen? Chickensh*t. Also nice how Lewis says Brit fans are too classy to boo and they make him look like a fool 9 seconds later. Nice. Classy.

MIE
Editor

The Porsche support race earlier in the day also started under similar circumstances. The cars went to the grid on a dry track, it rained while they were on the warm up all, so the start was delayed for ten minutes while tyres could be changed. The brief shower wasn’t as bad as that before the GP, but the race ran behind the safety car for two laps before the race got underway. Safety car starts have become depressingly familiar, look at Le Mans this year. Mandating a minimum ride height may at least allow F1 cars to run in… Read more »

Member

My WTH award goes to NBCSN for its confusing and botched telecast. We had to wait almost 5 minutes to see a replay of Verstappen’s pass on Nico. If it weren’t for Twitter to keep me up to date…

Negative Camber
Guest

I was interested in the point that centered on white lines during qualifying. Leigh, rightfully so, felt it was unfair that Lewis get his lap discounted when Kim and others didn’t. I know Jason and Will are on the ground there and I would have thought they would be in the know about it only applying to three corners, not every corner. Having been in the paddock though, I know sometimes that info is hit and miss. Jason’s a pro and knows what time it is so I was a little caught off guard that the info didn’t make it… Read more »

meine
Member
meine

Yeah, at the dutch broadcast they knew it was only at certain turns.

Member

My gripe this whole weekend has been the tires. Pirelli recommends stint limits for the first time and Vettel mentioned that the mass migration to intermediates (and possibly the rolling start) was due to the driver’s lack of confidence in the Full Wet tires. Please F1, just let Pirelli make good tires again and stop screwing around with crappy tires that get tested about five hours a year.

MIE
Editor

The announcement about a safety car start was made while the rain was still falling, and with standing water on the start straight it appeared a sensible decision. However less than a minute later it had stopped raining, and when the race started the track was at most damp at the end of hangar straight and through Stowe. The commentators further around the track were reporting standing water on the Wellington straight and at Beckets, however I was hoping they would reverse the decision about the start. Verstappen’s overtake through Beckets was certainly committed, and was popular with the crowd.… Read more »

Andreas
Guest
Andreas

Re the safety car start, Race Control had to announce it 6 minutes before race start, and at the time it did indeed sound reasonable. Pretty soon, though, it started looking like an overly cautious move. But still, I can see the “better safe than sorry” argument – a first corner pile-up is best avoided. But then something happened. Rather than pull the safety car in after 1 or 2 laps (since the rain had long since stopped and the wet tyres would therefore clear the track fairly quickly), they kept it out there long enough that half the field… Read more »

mini696
Member

I thought it was hilarious.

But remember… There is no tension between the two merc drivers.

Daniel Johnson
Guest
Daniel Johnson

They are BFF’s for life!!

Negative Camber
Guest

Max looked like a kid in a divorce didn’t he? Poor guy.

Mat
Guest
Mat

It was butt clenchingly uncomfortable to watch! Felt sorry for NR tbh

mini696
Member

SC start – Why does F1 even have full wet tyres?
Nico radio controversy – Pathetic rules, being pathetically enforced.
Booing – Boo.

Loved seeing the cars squirming all over the track.

Daniel Johnson
Guest
Daniel Johnson

I’m not a Nico fan but the penalty for actions taken by the team that break the rules should be stripping the team of constructors points. I think exclusion of Nico’s car from the constructors championship would have set the tone while not affecting the on track race and letting everyone know the order as they finished (also that’s like the harshest version of that penalty).

Mat
Guest
Mat

Does the booing really matter? Is it really offensive or hurtful? 90% of the people there were supporting Hamilton, which makes Rosberg the rival/opponent. Booing does not mean anything other than that. Same thing in Austria. Ever watched a football match in England? Often it seems that football fans get more satisfaction from booing, jeering or needling the opposition than cheering their own team! I would much rather see a race with passionate, partisan fans (probably only applies to half the calendar now). You can argue that the Vettel booing of a few years ago was different, based on frustration… Read more »

Negative Camber
Guest

I just think it’s boorish behavior and not been a part of F1. Maybe other sports love that sort of thing but I don’t. It’s a personal opinion. I have tremendous respect for all of the drivers and was offended on Lewis’s behalf in Austria and Nico’s here. It really isn’t needed. To your point, though, and I get it perfectly well…every sport hero needs a villain and perhaps this is what the younger generation likes so whatever. I was a Prost fan but never viewed Senna as the villain. Viewed him as an incredible driver with epic talent and… Read more »

meine
Member
meine

I still think Prost was better then Senna, but that is an entirely different discussion.

mini696
Member

I looked away for a second when Lewis was doing his dance, did he get weighed?

Negative Camber
Guest

I’m assuming he did on his way to the waiting room of awkwardness. :)

Member
Dr T

Apologies for being a one man Ricciardo fan club (hey – at least I’m not part of the mobocracy – I can’t avoid NC’s wrath!) In fairness to him he did lose alot of time at the change of tires as the VSC came out for Werhlein’s spin at the time LH, NR and MV all pitted – hence he couldn’t close the gap to them and was really in a race of his own… I am a little worried though that MV is doing to DR what DR did to SV… Hopefully DR can get his mojo back in… Read more »

Louis Jansen
Guest
Louis Jansen

In the Netherlands there is much happiness and joy about the race results of Max Verstappen. I am watching this sport since the late seventies, Renault turbo and ground effect cars.. It was great fun being an F1 fan back then. We had Jan Lammers! Best qualifying result for a dutchman, 4th in the US West GP, 1982 Long Beach. Imagine how it is now as a dutch F1 fan to watch these races! So much pleasure to see Max trying to defend his position against Nico. The Mercedes being much quicker in the dry conditions. Anyway, we are very… Read more »