With a near capacity 140,000 crowd at Silverstone it proves that Formula One still has the pulling power of the British public, on what has been near perfect weather for the motor race all week.
It was a good start on Saturday for the home fans, with Lewis Hamilton claiming an unlikely pole position after Nico Rosberg had looked so imperious on Friday, with another surprise in Williams making their way onto the second row and demoting Ferrari onto the third row. The big mover in the race could be Max Verstappen who had handling problems with the Toro Rosso which he believes has been solved, starting in 13th.
There was drama even before getting to the grid with Felipe Nasr stopping on the entry to Stowe at the end of the Hanger Straight while stuck in 6th gear. He remained in the car with the team giving him different things to do over the radio, but he didn’t move and turned the engine off in the end. He got it back to the pits, but the team were not able to get it out, with 19 cars starting.
Getting away on the formation lap, Max Verstappen would be the only driver to start on the hard compound tyre. Lewis reported poor grip from his grid position while starting the formation lap.
With the cars on the grid it was lights out with a good start by Felipe Massa leading into the first corner and Valtteri Bottas alongside Hamilton. The Brit kept the position though, with Kvyat also overtaking the Ferrari. Jenson Button went out in the gravel with the two Lotus drivers also tackling. Nico Hulkenberg had also got up to 5th place after a good start.
The safety car came out at the end of the lap with Alonso going straight in for a change of wing, which the team had trouble to fit. The order being Massa, Hamilton, Bottas, Rosberg, Hulkenberg. Replays from the start showed that both Lotus drivers hit each, and both McLaren drivers hit each other, with Alonso going into the side of Fernando Alonso.
The safety car came in at the end of lap 3. Hamilton got spaced out at the start with him then being overtaken by Bottas for 2nd. He then got attacked by his team mate, but Rosberg stayed behind. Both Ferrari drivers were struggling with Vettel loosing a place to Perez at the bottom end of the top ten. Verstappen spun at the start, and ended up in the gravel, retiring the Toro Rosso.
At the front Williams were running faster than Mercedes with Bottas closing in on Massa for the lead. Hamilton was a further second behind Bottas, with the Brit taking the fastest lap of the race on lap 8. Bottas getting ever closer to his team mate. Rosberg was quite a little further back from the battle with them all leaving Hulkenberg behind in 5th. Rosberg then hit back setting the fastest lap, with Bottas looking more stable than Massa at the front of the group.
Despite looking faster, Bottas was told by his team that he shouldn’t race with his team mate, with them told that they needed to pull away from the Mercedes. Vettel also overtook Perez for 8th. Bottas had another go into Stowe thanks to the use of the DRS, but Hamilton also got close to the back of Bottas. The Finn said over the radio that he apologises, but thinks that he can do it down the back straight, with Mercedes waiting in the wings.
Bed Bull pitted Ricciardo from 12th, taking a set of the hard tyres. Massa was told at the front of the field that Bottas would be attacking him, with Rosberg setting the fastest lap once again on lap 12. Sainz also pitted from 10th in the Toro Rosso.
Further back, Hulkenberg was setting a train with Raikkonen, Kvyat and Vettel close behind him.
Lap 13 and Williams pulled away slightly, before Mercedes got the advantage back at the end of the lap. Ferrari pitted Raikkonen from 8th, and taking him out of the queue behind the Force India.
Mercedes came out in the pit lane on lap 14, although didn’t pit either car and walked back into the pits again. Vettel did pit though from 6th, taking a set of the hard tyres.
After pitting Raikkonen went on to set the fastest lap of the race on the hard tyre, he was three seconds ahead of his team mate on the road. The Ferraris in 9th and 10th after their pitstop. Ricciardo reported a loss of power in his Red Bull, dropping back down the order.
Bottas got the closest so far on lap 17 in overtaking his team mate into Stowe, although he couldn’t make it work around the outside with the Mercedes remaining behind. Vettel also set the fastest lap of the race in the second Ferrari in 10th.
Fernando Alonso pitted on lap 18 once again, getting a set of the medium tyres. Kvyat pitted from 7th, and due to the Ferraris setting fast laps came out behind them. Ferrari themselves were being held up by a non-stopping Ericsson in the sole remaining Sauber.
Hamilton pitted on lap 19, setting the ball rolling with both Williams staying out along with Rosberg. It was a good stop by Mercedes, just a 2.4 second stationery time with dark clouds rolling in. Hamilton locked up into the second corner while trying to stay ahead of Sergio Perez.
Massa pitted a lap later, alongside Nico Rosberg. Massa just came out ahead of Rosberg, but both came out behind Lewis Hamilton, who takes the lead of the race.
Ricciardo pitted again at Red Bull, with Bottas coming in a lap later than the others. He also had a great stop, 3.2 seconds for Williams, and he came out in third behind his team mate. Although Rosberg went up the inside at the loop.
Rosberg was told that they would be going to Plan B over the radio, which migh indicate that they would be going to two stops. Riccairdo after stopping came back to the pits and retired. After the pit stops, Hulkenberg also missed out and fell behind the Ferraris and Kvyat. It meant that Manor would also make it up to 13th and 14th after all the retirements.
In the lead of the race, Hamilton set the fastest lap of the race in clear air, with him being told that rain is possible in thirty minutes.
Lap 29 and the situation remained at the front of the field, although the rain was revised with it expected to arrive in 15 minutes. Fernando Alonso was told that it could be quite heavy.
Rosberg was told on lap 32 that he needed to give it everything. He was still behind Valtteri Bottas. In the battle for 9th, Perez went off at Village behind Sainz, falling back from the Toro Rosso. Sainz went off the road at the final corner looking agitated in the Toro Rosso. He stopped on the exit of the corner. They brought out a virtual safety car for it on Lap 34.
The VSC came in during lap 35, with the rain starting to fall at the end of the lap. Kvyat reported over the radio of very light rain, although the leaders were looking at getting the intermediate tyres. Bottas called for inters on the radio, although all the leaders stayed out. Hamilton said over the radio that the rain had stopped.
Brooklands was the wettest point of the circuit with Rosberg going off on the exit of Luffield. Ericsson pitted as well, with Bottas also talking over the radio. Raikkonen stopped, with Vettel taking the place on the Hanger Straight. Raikkonen went to inters, which was a slow stop for Ferrari. The track was getting quite wet through Woodcote and Copse. Rosberg got past Bottas after they were both struggling with the wet track. Hamilton also went off at Copse, with the weather clearing.
At the front and Rosberg cruised up on the back of Massa, with the Mercedes looking more drivable in the tricky conditions. He went straight past into Village on lap 41 with the Mercedes looking so much more grippier through the first corner. He was told over the radio that more rain was expected in a minute. Further back Vettel was being closed in on by Kvyat, with Rosberg closing in on Hamilton by a second and a half. Perez overtook Raikkonen who was on the wrong tyres.
Hamilton lost another two seconds to Rosberg on lap 42 with the gap reducing all the time, and down to a second and a half a lap later. Hamilton pitted on lap 43, with the Britain complaining that he had no grip. He took the intermediates with it raining much harder on the pit straight. Vettel also came in for the inters.
Hamilton overtook Massa, with the track wet and spray coming up at the Hanger Straight. Rosberg pitted, with the Hamilton car staying ahead. Massa pitted the same lap, with Vettel overtaking the pair of the Williams. Vettel was ahead of the Williams by four seconds, and Bottas a further ten seconds down.
Lap 46 and Hamilton had a 9 second lead from Rosberg, who was then ahead of Vettel in the Ferrari who pitted a lap ahead of everyone else. Fernando Alonso also made it into the top ten, after Ericsson made the wrong tyre choice. Will Stevens in 12th went off at Brooklands and lost his front wing in 12th, with his team mate overtaking him for the position. Raikkonen pitted from 8th taking another set of the intermediates.
With three laps remaining, Lewis was told that they were expecting light rain again in a couple of minutes. Bottas said over the radio that the tyres were just not working at all after his change to the inters.
Hamilton kept his position, with him staying 10n seconds ahead of Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel for Ferrari in third. Williams come home in forth and fifth, with Massa ahead of Bottas, with Kvyat getting very close to the Williams at the end. Both Force India got points again, with Fernando Alonso getting his first points for McLaren in 10th.