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Hamilton Wins Tricky British Grand Prix

Post Date: 07th July 2015

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Mercedes scored a one, two in Austria but Lewis Hamilton wasn’t keen on handing the race win to teammate, Nico Rosberg, due to a bad start. The defending world champion was determined to remedy that situation at the British Grand Prix and even reverted to an older clutch-style in order to help matters. It didn’t work but no matter, a reverse of fortunes was always on the cards for Hamilton.

As the spiritual home of Formula 1, there would be no better way to finish the race than 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 earnest 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 for the 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.

Regardless of Hamilton and Rosberg’s poor starts, Mercedes made the right call for Lewis to switch to intermediates at the exact moment when rain began to fall. The move was made as 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. The duo achieved another Mercedes one, two.

The Mercedes pit crew 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. Rosberg was flying in damp conditions initially on dry-weather tires showing an uncanny ability to drive on ever-dampening asphalt, which is a rare skill indeed.

Mercedes-powered Williams F1 seemed poised for a real upset over the Mercedes works team. With a terrific start from Massa and a pass on Hamilton by Valtteri Bottas, the team was leading the way in the early stages. Bottas—faster than Massa—was told to hold station and issuing team orders so early in the race seemed 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 for third. Williams are up front on merit and need to start calling their race strategy as a team who didn’t luck in to the front rather is there on merit.

Regardless of if you feel the strategy was wrong or not, the team orchestrated a 4th and 5th and Rob Smedley says they must take comfort from the result.

Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel also made the right call at exactly the right time for intermediates and the German 4-time champion clawed his way up to third for a podium finish. The Italian team had two shots to get the rain tire change right and with Vettel, they got it right—with Kimi Raikkonen, they got it wrong as he sunk to 8th.

It was a tough race for Jenson Button having been clouted by his teammate—who was trying to avoid the over-exuberant Daniel Ricciardo debacle at turn one that ended both Lotus’s day—and suffered a DNF in the process. What does poor Jenson have to do to have a decent British GP?

When the dust settled from the thrilling British Grand Prix at the storied Silverstone Circuit, Mercedes forged a larger lead in the Constructor’s Championship with 371 points to Ferrari’s 211. Lewis extended his lead of teammate Nico Rosberg with 194 points to 177. Bring on the Hungarian Grand Prix where downforce is crucial just as it is in Monaco—the track is often equated to that of Monaco, which is a format that Nico Rosberg does well at having won the race in 2014.

With 140,000 fans at the race, one could argue that the negativity about F1 is not very well founded. Another testament to the British motorsport fans who always set the standard for how to support racing. As an admitted Anglophile, the British racing fans are the envy of this Yankee because they really do understand the majesty of racing and the nuance of how to bring your champion home at his home grand prix. No one does it better than the terrific British fans.

Todd McCandless
@formula1blog
www.formula1blog.com

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