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.
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.
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.
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.
|6||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m03.955s|
|7||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m18.744s|
|8||Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||1 Lap|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|10||Fernando Alonso||McLaren/Honda||1 Lap|
|11||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|12||Roberto Merhi||Marussia/Ferrari||3 Laps|
|13||Will Stevens||Marussia/Ferrari||3 Laps|
|–||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||Retirement|
|–||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||Retirement|
|–||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||Spun off|
|–||Felipe Nasr||Sauber/Ferrari||Not started|