Race Report: Hamilton wins tricky British GP

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As the spiritual home of Formula 1, there would be no better way to finish the race with a British world champion on the top-step of the podium and that’s exactly what the fans at Silverstone got on Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton secured his third British Grand Prix victory in tricky, changeable conditions after chasing down a brace of Williams F1 cars in the process and pitting at the exact moment rain began to fall in anger during the race. Hamilton had a dodgy moment behind Williams F1 driver Felipe Massa at the restart of the race but settled in to fend off his teammate, Nico Rosberg, and both Williams’s cars.

Win

 

Win

Race starts have been challenging for Lewis Hamilton of late, as well as his teammate Nico Rosberg, and the British Grand Prix was no exception with both drivers losing out to a flying Felipe Massa who bolted past both Mercedes to take the lead on the opening lap. Felipe’s patented starts was a real win for the Brazilian and his teammate, Valtteri Bottas, wasn’t not far behind ultimately taking second from an over-anxious Hamilton who over-cooked the restart.

A clear win for Mercedes and Hamilton who made the right call to switch to intermediates at the exact moment when rain began to fall. The move was made at the moment Nico Rosberg was taking big chunks of time out of Hamilton’s lead and it left Nico wondering if Hamilton had made the wrong call but in the end, it was Rosberg who was out a lap too long.

A win also for Mercedes pit crew who made a blinding 2.4s stop for Hamilton to get him out in front of Massa during the first stop and place him strategically poised for the crucial second stop.

A win for Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel who also made the call at the exact right time for intermediates and clawed his way up to third for a podium finish. The Italian team had two shots to get the rain tire change made and with Vettel, they got it right.

A win for Daniil Kvyat and Nico Hulkenberg who finished 6th and 7th respectively while their teammates struggled. The modified Force India and a recent Le Mans victory and lit a light in Hulkenberg’s lamp and Kvyat, often rumored to be on his way out at Red Bull, has had the better of much-lauded teammate Daniel Ricciardo for three weekends now.

It’s hard to give a “win” to McLaren-Honda but Fernando was the only driver in a large team to not score a point in 2015. He broke that streak on Sunday by finishing 10th giving the team a total of 5 points in the Constructor’s Championship.

Fail

 

Fail

Williams F1 seemed possibly poised for a real upset over Mercedes. With a terrific start from Massa and a pass on Hamilton from Bottas, the team was leading the way in the early stages. Williams seems to still be making strategy calls like they were still the Williams of 2010. Bottas, faster than Massa, was told to hold station and issuing team orders so early in the race, in hindsight, was a risky venture. It may have cost them a race win or at least a podium position.

Williams had a shot at holding a podium position but tried to manage the race—perhaps too much too soon. Had they let Bottas—the faster of the two—go, he may have held on to a podium finish or at least had a chance to hold off Vettel. Williams were always going to find it tough to win running nose to tail with Hamilton but if they had let the fastest car get as much gap as they could while the other car held the Mercs up, they might have had a chance. Might is the operative word as one could argue that Bottas was faster but had DRS where Massa didn’t so perhaps the team knew that Bottas wasn’t THAT much faster than Massa.

Regardless of if you feel the strategy was wrong, the team orchestrated a 4th and 5th and Rob Smedley says they must take comfort from the result.

A fail for Ferrari and Kimi Raikkonen but no fault of the Finn’s as the team rolled the dice at the initial sprinkling banking on heavier rain soon by changing to intermediate tires early. The rain held off for another 5 minutes and Raikkonen lost ground on intermediates. The team got the second call right with Vettel but Kimi fell to 8th behind Hulkenberg and Kvyat.

A fail for both Totor Rosso’s who suffered a dual-DNF as well as Lotus who suffered equal results at the hands of Daniel Ricciardo who also suffered a fail for ending the race for both Lotus drivers.

A fail for Sauber who were unable to start Felipe Nasr and saw Marcus Ericsson fall to 11th after running in the points all day. Failing to score points once again in a race with such attrition is a clear fail.

WTH

Williams and their strategy could be considered a WTH moment depending on your view of the situation but clearly Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo had a real WTH moment on Sunday. The incident was reviewed with no further action against Ricciardo or other drivers.

Sauber’s “issues” on the reconnaissance lap that prompted a DNS for Nasr is a real WTH moment as well.

It was a WTH moment for Jenson Button having been clouted by his teammate—who was trying to avoid the Ricciardo debacle—and suffered a DNF in the process. What does poor Jenson have to do to have a decent British GP?

With 140,000 fans at the race, one could argue that the negativity about F1 is a WTH moment. Another testament to the British motorsport fan who always sets the standard for how to support racing.

 

PosDriverCarGap
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1h31m27.729s
2Nico RosbergMercedes10.956s
3Sebastian VettelFerrari25.443s
4Felipe MassaWilliams/Mercedes36.839s
5Valtteri BottasWilliams/Mercedes1m03.194s
6Daniil KvyatRed Bull/Renault1m03.955s
7Nico HulkenbergForce India/Mercedes1m18.744s
8Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1 Lap
9Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes1 Lap
10Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/Honda1 Lap
11Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari1 Lap
12Roberto MerhiMarussia/Ferrari3 Laps
13Will StevensMarussia/Ferrari3 Laps
Carlos SainzToro Rosso/RenaultRetirement
Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/RenaultRetirement
Max VerstappenToro Rosso/RenaultSpun off
Pastor MaldonadoLotus/MercedesCollision
Jenson ButtonMcLaren/HondaCollision
Romain GrosjeanLotus/MercedesCollision
Felipe NasrSauber/FerrariNot started

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP:

PosDriverPoints
1Lewis Hamilton194
2Nico Rosberg177
3Sebastian Vettel135
4Valtteri Bottas77
5Kimi Raikkonen76
6Felipe Massa74
7Daniel Ricciardo36
8Daniil Kvyat27
9Nico Hulkenberg24
10Romain Grosjean17
11Felipe Nasr16
12Sergio Perez15
13Pastor Maldonado12
14Max Verstappen10
15Carlos Sainz9
16Marcus Ericsson5
17Jenson Button4
18Fernando Alonso1
19Roberto Merhi0
20Will Stevens0

CONSTRUCTORS’ CHAMPIONSHIP:

PosConstructorPoints
1Mercedes371
2Ferrari211
3Williams/Mercedes151
4Red Bull/Renault63
5Force India/Mercedes39
6Lotus/Mercedes29
7Sauber/Ferrari21
8Toro Rosso/Renault19
9McLaren/Honda5
10Marussia/Ferrari0
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Joseph Simmons

Before the start of the race, I was doing some reading this morning with this quote from Ken Burns “Sustained attention is what makes companies work well and art work well, and it’s what all human beings crave no matter how distracted they are. Meaning accrues in duration.” With all the hand wringing about the state of F1, then the British GP starts with the Williams teams being shot from a cannon, then they make a WTH call, and LCH and the Mercedes luck into a call from the heavens for the win! You smile and say to yourself this… Read more »

Negative Camber

Indeed. A very good race…just wait until Hungary and we may be saying the same old thing. :) As I said in my editorial, not revolution…just tweaks that would really pay dividends to the sport.

MIE

Todd, you may want to revise the order of retirements. There are valuable first out points at stake!

The Captain

I mentioned I’d do this after the last race. So here is a breakdown of how much time US fans spend watching commercials rather than the on track action during the NBC broadcast, so you Brits can feel our pain. Qualifying. So Q1 starts exactly at the top of the hour, but US Networks do not start their shows exactly at the top of the hour, they start the shows “bock” at the start of the hour, but just about all show blocks start with a few commercials (a few primetime blacks do not). So when the lights go out… Read more »

Negative Camber

Great recap and good unpacking of the American F1 fan’s experience. It’s hard knowing what Sky F1 offers their viewers comparatively. Great work my friend. :)

The Captain

No problem, any excuse to play with a new timecode calculator.

MIE

When ITS had the rights in the UK they had to fit five commercial breaks during the race. They did try and stay with the race if there was a battle going on, but it did mean that you could get several close together towards the end of an eventful race. However eight breaks during a n hour and a half event is ridiculous.

Terry Fishlock

I watch deportivo, no commercials, and listen to a stream of sky’s commentary. Makes great overall coverage. Best in the USA

NBC is totally un watchable and the commentary is moronic.

Patrick Dinsmoor

The worst part was that it was mostly ads for CNBC shows. It seemed to me every commercial break had an ad for “The Profit”, “Shark Tank” and worst of all “West Texas Investors Club”. only 1 minute or so of each comercial break seemed to have ads for something not a CNBC show. If companies are stepping up and paying to have ads for the F1 broadcast then I would understand NBC’s need to run ads. Instead by running ads for their own shows, NBC just seem to be treating us like idiots and patting themselves on the back.

KMK90

Great job showing how junky the US F1 Coverage is.

And for the side by side ads I usually just fast forward through, I deem it un-watchable because if I went to see any of it I have to stand 2 feet away.

runnah

What a cock-up by Williams!!! So frustrating to see that happen. Not the first time a strategy blunder has cost them.

Good race overall.

Patrick Dinsmoor

Far and away the best race of the year so far. Felt like watching a race from 10 years ago or so. Reminded me specifically a lot of Turkey 2010 with four cars from 2 teams battle at the front and arguing over team orders. Great tension from those four cars in the first half of the race anticipating someone making a move, just unfortunate that it was the pit stops that settled that battle. Also nice to see some proper wet racing again, feels like its been years since the last wet race. Bad timing for Nico as he… Read more »

mini696

So I am in two minds over William’s. It is great that they made Bottas race Massa, but it was a major balls up in their strategy by not making Massa give up the place. If the rain didn’t come, Bottas would have been a contender for the win.
Even if he was only a couple of seconds up on Massa he would have likely avoided the undercut.

luismg

I woke up 10 minutes after the race started and it took me a while to realize I wasnt dreaming when I saw both williams in the front.