British GP

Hamilton wins British Grand Prix, Rosberg thwarted by gearbox problem

As usual a massive downpour just before the start of the race caught everyone off guard, including those on the grid without an umbrella!

An extremely wet grid would greet the drivers, with a start on dry tyres extremely unlikely, and even then starting on the intermediates could even be a challenge.  A safety car start was called, although the clouds were clearing and the sun came out before the start and the cars would have to start on the full wet tyre as mandated by safety car start rules.

With a lot of standing water around the circuit, the cars were behind the safety car. Hamilton was already complaining that the safety car was going too slowly, it was Vettel though who relayed over the radio that there was a lot of standing water along the Wellington Straight. The British pole man also suggested there was a lot of aquaplaning even at the slow speed behind the safety car.

Calls were intermediate tyres were soon called for, with a number of drivers up and down the field wanting to switch to the middle option tyre.

The safety car came in at the end of lap 5, after many calls from the drivers even taking about dry tyres even with the amount of spray and puddles around the circuit. Hamilton nearly hit the safety car on the same lap.

Hamilton led the field, with a raft of drivers heading for the pitlane. Raikkonen, Bottas, Sainz, Hulkenberg all pitted for the intermediate tyre. Sainz nearly went into the Force India. Hamilton led Rosberg from Verstappen and Ricciardo. Perez also didn’t stop in fifth, with Massa in sixth. Hamilton was a long way up the road though, with Rosberg falling into the arms of Verstappen.

Ricciardo stopped a lap later, Massa followed in the second Williams and Kvyat. Button was nearly hit by Ricciardo, with a possible unsafe release. Ricciardo came out just ahead of Raikkonen. Pascal Wehrlein went off on the intermediate tyre on the exit of the first corner. It brought out the Virtual Safety Car.

Hamilton pitted under the Virtual Safety Car, Rosberg followed his teammate with out the need to stack, Verstappen and Perez also stopped. The Force India right behind the Red Bull, with the leading drivers gaining.

The Virtual Safety Car came in on lap 8, Massa and Bottas were running in 8th and 9th, Hulkenberg and Alonso were battling behind them for the final point. Vettel was a place behind Alonso in 12th.

The gap at the front of the field, Hamilton to Rosberg was up to nearly five second by the end of the 9th lap, with Hamilton setting the fastest lap. Hulkenberg and Bottas were side by side through the loop, with the Williams winning. There were more problems with Marcus Ericsson, with the team confirming over the radio that there was a problem with the engine, the second driver to retire.

A lap later and Verstappen set the fastest lap of the race, while Valtteri Bottas took a spin at Club, re-joining the circuit in front of Jenson Button.

Rosberg caught Hamilton by eight tenths of a second, the gap down to just over four seconds. Verstappen was still two seconds behind the German, with Perez falling back from the leading group. Massa was also struggling in the Williams, battling with Hulkenberg for eighth. Hulkenberg had a go at Massa through Woodcote, but the Force India driver backed out of it after aquaplaning.

Verstappen was still closing in on Rosberg, getting the gap to a second, although the Hamilton/Rosberg gap remained. The track was drying out though, with a look at dry tyres. Hulkenberg who had been attacking Massa, went wide at the first corner on lap 15 and nearly lost his place to Fernando Alonso. He got close again on the back of Massa into Copse, with Alonso also trying to get on the back of the pair.

Verstappen was lapping really quickly, he got the gap to Rosberg down to just seven tenths by lap 16. Vettel was the first to pit for the dry tyres, a set of the medium tyres for the Ferrari. Verstappen was substantially quicker than the Mercedes overtaking through the Becketts complex at roars from the crowd. Raikkonen also pitted in the sister Ferrari, also taking the medium tyres. Massa and Kvyat pitted on the same lap, with Bottas following an Grosjean.

Palmer was released by the team without a right rear wheel, while Perez was being attacked by Ricciardo. Hamilton pitted on lap 18, followed by Rosberg, Ricciardo, Perez and Sainz. Verstappen remained on the track and led the race, still on the intermediate tyres.

Lap 18 and Vettel spun in the first corner, after setting the fastest lap of the race. Verstappen pitted a lap later than everyone else. Hamilton retook the lead of the race and came out in an easy second place. The Haas of Romain Grosjean also stopped on the circuit on the exit of Copse.

Daniil Kvyat set the fastest lap on Lap 19, followed by Felipe Nasr. Alonso in 10th was also right on the back of Massa, with Palmer getting a ten second penalty for the unsafe release of the car. Alonso tried to get around Massa while on the grass along the Wellington Straight.

Verstappen set the fastest lap of the race, the Dutchman closing in on the leading Mercedes. Even though he was the first to pit, Vettel was still only down in 12th after his spin. Alonso tried again on Massa a lap later, this time the inside into Brooklands. Ricciardo got ahead of Perez for fourth, while Hamilton put is foot down from the advancing Verstappen. Rosberg was falling behind the pair of them.

Verstappen went off the road in the first corner on lap 22, with the Dutchman losing 2.4 seconds in the process. Rosberg then set the fastest lap of the race, closing back in on Verstappen. Raikkonen compounded Ferrari’s poor afternoon, once again going off the road at the first corner, falling down the order.

Fernando Alonso had a spin at the first corner, not quite hitting the wall, coming out together with Valtteri Bottas who in turn went wide. Nasr wanted some of the action as well, closing in on the Williams. Sainz also spun at the first corner and was nearly collected by Raikkonen.

Rio Haryanto retired on lap 26, once again going off at the first corner in a very similar fashion to Fernando Alonso, but couldn’t keep the engine running.

A lap later and Lewis Hamilton also went off at turn 1, with the gap behind reduced. Verstappen had closed in on the Mercedes, with Rosberg right on the back of the Red Bull after the Dutchman did the same thing. Vettel has closed in on Kvyat for 10th, and got ahead of the Toro Rosso for the final points paying position for the Ferrari.

Verstappen and Rosberg approached traffic, with the Red Bull getting very unsteady while overtaking Gutierrez’s Haas. As the leaders were going through the traffic, it meant that Daniel Ricciardo would be the fastest on the circuit. Verstappen now six seconds down on Hamilton, and Rosberg under a second away from Rosberg. Leader Hamilton rebounded on lap 32 taking the fastest lap once again.

Rosberg used the DRS to try and overtake the Red Bull, although make it work into Stowe, while Perez was the latest driver to go off at Abbey. He tried the same thing a lap later, with it all helping Hamilton in the lead.

Rosberg tried around the outside at Stowe on lap 35, but he still couldn’t make the move stick, the places remaining the same. Rosberg really closed once again into Stowe but couldn’t pass him. Verstappen said over the radio that he was struggling with the rear, Hamilton also set the fastest lap of the race.

Vettel overtook Massa with the Ferrari pushing the Williams driver off the track. Rosberg went around the outside of Verstappen at Stowe, the Red Bull driver all over the back of the Mercedes, before falling back. Massa pitted on lap 39, a very slow stop for Williams, at least by their standards of 3.5 seconds for the soft tyre.

Now unleashed by Verstappen, Rosberg was the fastest car on the circuit and closing on Hamilton. Palmer retired on lap 40 in the pitlane. Alonso also pitted on that lap, with a new set of the medium tyres. After his incident with Massa, Vettel was given a five second penalty.

Raikkonen had closed right in on the back of Perez’s Force India by lap 44, while Rosberg was also closing right in on Hamilton. The gap between the leaders was dropping by several tenths per sector, with Nico Rosberg taking the fastest lap once again. The gap down slightly to six seconds with seven laps remaining. Rosberg had a terrible lap, losing three seconds to Hamilton, a gearbox problem for the Mercedes. Verstappen then started to close in on the Mercedes, with the team told to avoid seventh gear. The team were put under investigation after the comments which were made over the radio.

Raikkonen also got ahead of Perez for fifth, into Stowe corner once again.

Hamilton held on though, and kept the ailing Mercedes behind him. In turn he stayed ahead of Max Verstappen after finding the groove in the wounded Mercedes. The crowd on their feet to see Lewis Hamilton winning the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Daniel Ricciardo finished in a distant fourth from Raikkonen and Perez. Sainz in eighth, Vettel in ninth and Kvyat rounding out the top ten.

About the author

Ashley Quint

Ashley founded the Purple Sector website back in 2012, later renamed to SpeedMajor which now covers both Formula 1 and Formula E. As well as writing on Formula 1, Ashley also works within the world of luxury travel and was a finalist in the Aspire Travel Trade Writer of the Year competition in 2013.

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