On Saturday, we saw Lewis Hamilton taking Pole Position for the British Grand Prix ahead of Nico Rosberg and Max Verstappen.
Before the start of the race, it was announced that Marcus Ericsson would be racing after going through the necessary medical checks that he needed to pass after sustaining a very nasty crash in FP3 yesterday. It’s really great to see that Marcus is okay and that he is able to race today.
With the rain hitting the Silverstone circuit just before the start of the race heavily indeed; this now left many to question what tyres will the drivers start on and if they would get racing under the Safety Car. It was announced before the start by the FIA that the race will start under the Safety Car.
The British Grand Prix is underway behind the Safety Car! With standing water on Turn 6, the Wellington straight and the back of the circuit, the Safety Car does not look like coming in at any stage with Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel feeding information to the FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting.
The Safety Car went in at the end of Lap 5 and racing began at Silverstone at Lap 6. With drivers such as Nico Hulkenberg, Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas pitting for intermediate tyres, Lewis Hamilton led the race comfortably ahead of his team mate Nico Rosberg. Lap 7 sees Hamilton leading Rosberg by 3.7 seconds.
Lap 7 saw Pascal Wehrlein officially retiring from the race after finding himself in the gravel after aquaplaning off the circuit which then deployed the Virtual Safety Car as Hamilton, Verstappen and Rosberg pit for intermediate tyres at the end of the lap without losing their positions on the circuit.
At this stage of the race, it has worked out well for Sergio Perez who pitted for Intermediate tyres very quickly and has moved up from tenth place to fourth place without doing much overtaking.
Meanwhile in the early stages of the race, race leader Hamilton is comfortably building a lead up against his team mate as the battle for seventh between Carlos Sainz Jr, Felipe Massa, Valtteri Bottas, Nico Hulkenberg, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel builds up on the track; especially between Bottas and Hulkenberg.
Lap 11 sees Bottas spinning on the circuit and loses three places to thirteenth place after trying to defend from Hukenberg; with Jenson Button quickly on his tail. For the next few laps, we saw Felipe Massa and Nico Hulkenberg battling for eighth place; with Hulkenberg starting to gain on the Brazilian driver and Max Verstappen keeping the pressure on the Mercedes drivers by lapping at the same pace as them lap after lap and catching Rosberg very rapidly.
At the end of Lap 15, Vettel is the first driver to pit for dry tyres and many will have been watching his progress. Meanwhile on Lap 16, Max Verstappen in an absolutely fantastic move passes Rosberg at Chapel corner for second place. Lap 17 saw Jolyon Palmer leaving the pit lane with no right rear wheel. But Palmer managed to stop in the pitlane and was able to fix the issue as Hamilton pits at the end of the lap for dry tyres and hands the lead of the race to Verstappen.
Vettel on Lap 18 span after going into Turn 1 after taking too much speed into the corner as Verstappen pits for dry tyres and hands the lead back to Hamilton. Lap 19 sees Romain Grosjean going slowly around the circuit and officially retires from the race. By Lap 21, Hamilton leads Verstappen by 5.3 seconds.
Before the half way point of the race, Fernando Alonso went off the circuit at Turn 1 after hitting a dry patch and was very lucky not to have hit the barrier massively and caused damage to his McLaren-Honda. This then paved the way for Bottas to pass Alonso for position but Bottas also got on the water but managed to remain off the circuit as Carlos Sainz Jr also had a spin at the same corner too.
On Lap 26, Rio Haryanto goes off the circuit at Turn 1 and goes into the barrier and officially retires from the race as Hamilton leads Verstappen by 6.3 seconds. We then saw a battle between Massa, Kvyat and Vettel for ninth place.
Three laps later, Vettel passes Kvyat for the final point of the race with a clean and brilliant move at Stowe corner; where both drivers respected each other and the limits of the track too. The battle between Verstappen and Rosberg began in earnest in the second half of the race; with Verstappen defending well from the German driver behind him by Lap 36 and two laps later, Rosberg was able to pass Verstappen for second place.
By Lap 39, Hamilton still leads the race ahead of Rosberg by 8.3 seconds as Vettel is under investigation after the incident with Massa on the track and does receive a five second time penalty for the incident by the stewards. Lap 40 sees Jolyon Palmer officially retiring from the race with suspected brake problems on his Renault and sums up a disappointing first British GP weekend for the British driver.
In the latter stages of the race, Raikkonen is slowly catching Perez for fifth place rather quickly as Alonso manages to pass Bottas for track position and by Lap 44, Hamilton has built a 5.9 second lead against his team mate Rosberg. Three laps later, Rosberg radios his team saying he has problems with his gearbox and the team tell him to avoid seventh gear as Raikkonen passes Perez for fifth place.
With Verstappen slowly starting to gain on Rosberg in the final few laps of the race due to Rosberg suffering with his gearbox; all eyes were upon the Dutch driver to see if he could regain second place off the German driver once again. But with Rosberg now under investigation by the stewards after his team helped him to come to terms with his gearbox problems on the track which I believe is firmly stupid.
But Hamilton leads Rosberg on the final lap of the race by 8.9 seconds and wins the British Grand Prix which is his fourth win of the 2016 season, his third consecutive win at the event which is a fantastic achievement.
Rosberg is a credible second 6.9 seconds behind Hamilton (but is under investigation by the stewards), Verstappen finished in third place 8.2 seconds behind Hamilton, Ricciardo was a credible fourth 26.2 seconds behind Hamilton and Raikkonen finished fifth 69.7 seconds behind Hamilton.
Perez was a brilliant sixth 76.2 seconds behind Hamilton, Hulkenberg was a brilliant seventh 77.2 seconds behind Hamilton, Sainz Jr was eighth 85.8 seconds behind Hamilton, Vettel was ninth 91.6 seconds behind Hamilton and Kvyat was tenth 92.6 seconds behind Hamilton.
Nico Rosberg still leads the Driver’s Championship with 171 points, Lewis Hamilton is in second place with 167 points, Kimi Raikkonen is in third place with 106 points, Daniel Ricciardo is in fourth place with 100 points, Sebastian Vettel is in fifth place with 98 points, Max Verstappen is in sixth place with 87 points, Valtteri Bottas is in seventh place with 54 points, Sergio Perez is in eighth place with 47 points, Felipe Massa is in ninth place with 38 points and Romain Grosjean is in tenth place with 28 points.
Mercedes still lead the Constructors Championship with 338 points, Ferrari is in second place with 204 points, Red Bull is in third place with 195 points, Williams is in fourth place with 92 points, Force India is in fifth place with 73 points, Toro Rosso is in sixth place with 41 points, McLaren is in seventh place with 32 points, Haas is in eighth place with 28 points, Renault is in ninth place with 6 points and Manor are tenth with 1 point.
I feel that McLaren have had an average weekend and have shown that despite their best efforts that the McLaren team have a lot of work to do in order to try and extract performance from their car but they are making small gains that are paying off for them in the last few races and they need to use this as inspiration for Hungary in a few weeks time.
Kvyat had a battle to finish in tenth place today. He battled with Button, Alonso and Vettel for most of the race and he deserved to get a point for his efforts today and it will help his confidence for the next few races as a result.
Vettel did an okay job to get ninth place and had a great battle to get there after battling with Kvyat and Alonso for most of the race. This point for himself and Ferrari are vital and only shows just much of a driver Vettel is despite not having the car underneath him to challenge for a better result this weekend.
Sainz Jr battled his way through to get eighth place today. He battled his way through the field and created some great overtaking moves to get there. Sainz Jr may not have had the weekend that he wanted with Toro Rosso this weekend but he did the best that he could do and picked up some more points for the team and also started his season well.
Hulkenberg had a good race to finish in seventh place yesterday. But it was the best that Nico could do with the strategy he was on even though he would have wanted more from the weekend after the last two races haven’t been too kind for him but never the less, he managed to pick up much needed points for the Constructors.
Perez had a bit of an action packed yet defensive race to finish sixth today, but he scored more points for the Force India team who seem to be extracting pace and performance out of their package. But there is still a lot of work to be done but the fact that Perez scored points again shows that he can deliver on the track.
Raikkonen did a good job to get fifth place today and deserves a mention. He drove a solid race despite winning the battle with Perez and he did a great job to secure some much needed points for his team after a good performance this weekend and it is clear that the car was working well for them as a result. This will only help him prepare for the rest of the 2016 season.
Ricciardo had a credible race to finish in fourth today. It is a result that Ricciardo needed after a tough few races and he should be happy; especially gaining the position during the race. But in a race where many expected him to finish and to maintain the momentum he has so far, he has managed to gain some points for the team and put himself in good stead for the rest of the 2016 season.
Verstappen deserves a mention and has to be my biggest surprise of the day. He drove a solid race to third place and battled his way through to get these points. Just a fantastic weekend for him and the Red Bull team and showing that he is a potential talent of the future if the call for a better seat was available to him.
Rosberg drove a solid race to finish second today. He may not have had the race he wanted; and didn’t have a chance to try and get past but he did a great job to secure a podium today. And once again, luck helped him achieve this but he was in the position to make hey. But what a fantastic job from him all weekend and this will only give him a slight satisfaction heading into the next race in Hungary in a few weeks time.
All that is left to say about this race is that Hamilton deserved to win at Silverstone and he needed to in order to show that he cannot be discounted as a driver. His driving was brilliant and controlled throughout the race. Mercedes has built on the results that they have gained so far since pre-season testing and have shown that they are still the best team on the grid at the moment. All credit to Lewis for doing a superb job this weekend and winning his fourth race of the season.
With the Hungarian GP in two weeks, many will wondering what will happen in the Mercedes team after what happened yesterday on the track and if this season will be Rosberg’s at last or can Hamilton, Ricciardo or Vettel challenge him for wins along the way. But what is for certain is that Formula One is building up rather nicely.
Jones on F1 will be covering the in-season test at Silverstone next week. Keep your eyes peeled for our review.