His 4th home victory. The 3rd in a row. Silverstone was where, if it hadn’t already, it became obvious momentum had swung towards Hamilton’s part of the Mercedes garage. Not only was Lewis on the crest of a wave but he top off the weekend with some crowd surfing.
Nico Rosberg had to deal with a tenacious Max Verstappen and some late race gearbox issues on his way to 2nd place. Max fought hard for position but ultimately it was radio instruction in driving around his issues that cost Nico 2nd place, as he was penalised post race. That capped a great weekend for the Red Bull rookie. P2 in the race to add to out-qualifying his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo on Saturday.
You’d be forgiven for questioning the point of Pirelli’s full wet tyre having watched the start of the British GP. A heavy shower moments before the start saw everyone start on full wets, but by the time the Pace Car elected to leave the circuit it was deemed dry enough for Inters. Cue traffic jams on pit-lane over two laps as late release penalties were no doubt thrown in a bin as Race Control probably realised it had been the architect of the ensuing chaos. No shortage of skill and a lot of luck meant that all cars made it through the cycle of pit-stops without incident.
Pascal Wehrein’s aquaplaning Manor brought out the Virtual Safety Car on lap 7 and this allowed the few that hadn’t pitted capitalise by syncing up with the others on tyres while gaining time in the process. While Hamilton was his imperious best in greasy conditions, Nico Rosberg was struggling to fend off Max Verstappen. An error from the former allowing the latter to stick a monster of an overtake around the outside of Chapel for 2nd. It brought rapturous applause from the crowd. Maybe for the audacity of the move. Maybe because it put a car between Nico and Lewis.
Hamilton could very well have disappeared off into the distance had he wished to. Instead controlling the race from the front. Given Mercedes recent technical difficulties that was no doubt a good call.
Almost in unison the drivers switch to Mediums. The wet weather start meaning that the option was now open to run a single dry compound to the end of the race. All bar Massa, Alonso & Magnussen taking this option.
As such Nico found himself struggling to get back pass the flying Dutchman ahead. Finally on the 38th lap the Mercedes passed for 2nd, but with Lewis long gone up the road. Nico pushed hard in an attempt to haul in the leader but gearbox issues hit late on and the instruction to shift through 7th gear would prove costly. In a age where drivers have become pilots of spaceships it strikes as odd that they are cut off from ground control. This was not coaching. This was car failure, and Nico still had to execute the solution. Race Control took a different view. Zero Tolerance on track limits was followed by Zero Tolerance on radio messages. A post race penalty of 10 seconds would drop the German down to 3rd, behind Max Verstappen.
Best of the rest was Daniel Ricciardo in a lonely 4th, while Ferrari finished a disatrous weekend with Vettel taking a 5 second penalty for exceeding track limits and taking Massa with him in the process. Kimi Raikkonen, fresh from his one year contract extension, finished 5th.
Fastest times of the day by compound:
|1st||Ros 1.35.548||Mas 1.36.141||Ham 1.56.218||Ves 1.47.479|
|2nd||Alo 1.35.669||Mag 1.37.619||Ros 1.58.586||Ham 1.50.649|
|3rd||Ham 1.35.771||Ves 1.59.064||Ric 1.51.040|
Longest stint of the race:
|Wet||Rosberg, Ericsson, Perez, Nasr, Verstappen, Hamilton||7 laps|
|Inters||Alonso, Magnussen, Gutierrez, Hulkenberg, Sainz||12 laps|
Truthometer: The rain meant that strategy predictions went out of the window and drivers had to react to changing track conditions as the surface dried out. Hamilton led from the start and stopped on lap seven for intermediates, then lap 17 for medium slicks.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “The long-threatened rain finally materialised just before the race start, which clearly altered the complexion of the race and tyre strategy entirely, especially as there was then a lengthy safety car period. As a result we had a drying track with all the drivers moving progressively from wet to intermediate to slick: the timing of these stops being crucial. There was a close battle for the top positions all the way to the finish of a race that demonstrated every variety of conditions and weather that Britain is renowned for, but the drivers were able to push all the way to the chequered flag.”