Lewis Hamilton became a five time winner of the British Grand Prix here at Silverstone, joining a rather exclusive club of drivers including Jim Clark and Alain Prost. He led every lap of the race and also set the fastest lap, much to the delight of the 120,000 strong crowd.
The race start was chaotic. Jolyon Palmer, having qualified 11th and looking promising for some points, didn’t even start the race as a brake by wire problem caused him to pull up his Renault during the formation lap. The last thing the Briton needed at his home race. Hamilton made a fast start as Vettel’s brakes caught fire and he was slow off the line. The two Toro Rossos collided on the second lap, knocking Carlos Sainz out of the race; Daniil Kvyat was able to finish though but is close to a race ban if his ‘torpedo’ antics continue. Vettel and Verstappen were locked in a wheel-to-wheel battle for 3rd place for the entire stint before the first round of pit stops, as Raikkonen and Hamilton continued to pull away. Vettel then pitted early for a change to softs, a decision that would cost him dear at the end of the race.
The race was interesting throughout, with the danger of rain not far away, and both Ricciardo and Bottas, having started 19th and 9th respectively making up some major ground after running deep into their first stints. Bottas especially was really quick after his pit stop, and he put in some really fast laps to close in on 3rd placed Vettel and overtake him.
There was drama at the end, which possibly changed the way the championship leaders are poised right now. Both Ferraris were hit by tyre trouble as they took out the maximum life out of their tyres, and therefore had to pit. Raikkonen in the end was able to salvage 3rd place but it was Vettel who lost out the most and ultimately finished 7th and now has his lead cut to just 1 point in the drivers’ championship. Raikkonen put up a strong performance to finish in P3, a strong reply to the comments made by his boss who termed him a ‘laggard’.
Elsewhere, there were strong performances from Nico Hulkenberg in the Renault, and the two Force Indias. Hulkenberg finished in 7th place and almost half a minute ahead of the two Force Indias; signs of major progress at the Enstone based team. Fernando Alonso had to retire again with an engine failure after his spec 3 Honda engine gave away in the closing stages. The other McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne finished in 11th place, just outside the points. Williams also had a tough day at their home race with Lance Stroll finishing in 16th, and Felipe Massa scoring just 1 point.
With today’s result, Hamilton now trails Vettel by just 1 point with half of the season still to go.
Facts of the day:
- Lewis Hamilton is just 1 pole position behind Michael Schumacher’s all time record of 68 poles.
- This was Mercedes’ fifth win on the trot at the Silverstone Circuit.
- It is exactly 62 years since a British driver first won the British Grand Prix. The driver is Sir Stirling Moss.