The Silverstone Grand Prix in Britain was first used in 1950 and it consists of 52 lengthy laps. This probably has been my favourite race this season so far. Why, I hear you ask? Two words. Lewis Hamilton. Yup, you heard it.
Lewis Hamilton took a dominant victory at Silverstone to tie the all-time record of five career wins in the British Grand Prix. He equalled the tally of Scot Jim Clark and Frenchman Alain Prost with his fourth home win in a row to add to his first win for McLaren in 2008. His victory cut his deficit to Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to just one point in the championship as Vettel suffered a front-left tyre failure when running third with two laps to go, dropping to seventh. (Tension for the next race without a DOUBT. One point between them… are you awake?!)
The same problem had hit Vettel’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen the lap before, costing the Finn an almost certain second place, promoting Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas to a Mercedes one-two. Raikkonen recovered to finish third. Following the podiums celebrations, Hamilton went down to see the crowd, surfing on their outstretched hands and high-fiving as he ran past the adoring fans. This was probably so awesome to watch because I don’t think I’ve seen a Formula One driver be so interactive and loving towards motorsport fans before. Kind of was sad that I wasn’t there, to be quite honest.
“The support has been incredible this weekend,” he said. “I am so proud I could do this for you all. Now the plan is to win the championship.”
Although everything was all sweet and dandy for Hamilton, there was drama all unfolded behind him, the lucky one whose 57th career victory was among the most straightforward, on a weekend which he started 20 points behind Vettel and needed everything to go his way. The 32-year-old converted pole position – earned with a spectacular lap on Saturday afternoon – into a first-corner lead and simply drove off into the distance. Hamilton was 1.6 seconds clear after the first lap before the race was neutralised by a safety car following a collision between the Toro Rosso drivers.
After the restart on lap five, Hamilton edged clear, building a 3.1-second lead after 12 laps and five seconds after 18, before he began to cut loose as the pit stops approached. Suddenly Hamilton was lapping a second faster than Raikkonen, pulling out five seconds behind Raikkonen made his pit stop on lap 24, Mercedes calling Hamilton in for his stop on the next lap. Hamilton returned to the track with a 10-second lead over Raikkonen and cruised to the flag as attention now turned to the battle for the remaining podium positions. Bottas however was on an inverted tyre strategy, starting on the soft tyre from ninth place after a five-place penalty for changing his gearbox. He ran long on his first stint, battling past the cars in front of him and up into fifth place by lap five and then not stopping until lap 32 and rejoined 4.2 seconds behind Vettel with 18 laps to go.
Had a bad race…
Bottas swept by on the Hangar Straight a lap later and set off after Raikkonen. It looked as if the Ferrari driver would hang on until his tyre lost its tread on lap 48, Vettel’s going the same way a lap later. Vettel in the early laps of the race had had a tense fight with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, the two banging wheels out of Stowe corner, Vettel forcing the Dutchman wide and the having the favour returned. Verstappen hung on but was passed at the pit stops, but he came home fourth after Ferrari’s problems.
Winner Lewis Hamilton: “It’s never easy. The team were faultless all weekend. Valtteri had an incredible drive to go from ninth. I am coming out to crowd surf over there later guys!”
Second placed Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas: “I’m really happy today, It was not an easy race to start from P9. The team did a perfect strategy and I just kept my head down. It’s a perfect weekend and well done to Lewis.”
Third placed Kimi Raikkonen: “Mercedes were just a bit faster today. And, unfortunately, unlucky situations seem to be following us at the moment. It’s an unfortunate situation with the tyre at the end but luckily the car stayed in one place. Not happy but we made the best of a bad situation.”
To watch Hamilton’s celebrations unfold with fans and for more race highlights, here are some videos as guidance:
Thank you for reading my post about Silverstone, hope you enjoyed it. I know I certainly enjoyed watching the race! See you all very soon.