British GP Paddock Notebook – Sunday

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“Momentum” seems to be the word of the moment in Formula 1. You either have it or you don’t. Lewis Hamilton didn’t have much of it this morning, given that he was staring down the barrel of a 30-point-plus deficit to teammate Nico Rosberg, but now he has it by the bucketload. It’s amazing what a victory can do.

Lewis has suffered from most of the bad luck thrown Mercedes’ way so far this year, but today it was Nico’s turn to come unstuck. He had his first non-score of the season as his gearbox went kaput and forced him to retire from the race. His 29-point lead has been whittled down to just four.

There were a number of interesting results and battles going on during today’s race, making it a quite fascinating grand prix – even if we had to wait a little longer for it to get going.

RACE REPORT

  • Hamilton was the home hero today at Silverstone, sending the British fans into raptures as they cheered on the Mercedes driver. Valtteri Bottas came home in second place ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

NEWS FROM THE PADDOCK

THOUGHTS FROM THE TRACK

When Lewis Hamilton entered the press conference room following the race today, he was greeted with a round of applause from the assembled media. He came in beaming, holding the ‘proper’ British GP trophy and placing it on the desk in front of him while he conducted the post-race interviews.

Apart from when he was asked a question, Lewis couldn’t take his eyes off it. He looked around the base of the golden cup, looking at the other names engraved on it: Schumacher, Senna, Prost, Lauda, Stewart, Brabham, Clark. He is certainly in good company.

Today was Lewis’s day, without a doubt. The Briton made yet another rocket start to put himself in the mix upon the race restart, and was there to pick up the pieces when Rosberg’s gearbox gave up the ghost.

However, he was looking good to catch him anyway. Thanks to Mercedes’ strategy, Lewis had the option to one-stop, whereas Nico would have had to stop again had he made it that far in the race. The pace that Hamilton was laying down was mightily impressive, and he deserved the win today. The fact that Rosberg retired could prove crucial come the end of the season.

Beyond the Mercedes dominance, there were a number of other big stories. Valtteri Bottas showed his star quality once again to charge from P14 on the grid to second come the checkered flag, teaching Vettel and co. a lesson in overtaking along the way. The Finn is certainly turning heads in F1, and has the makings of a champion.

The crash between Raikkonen and Massa was unfortunate but perhaps avoidable. After running wide at Aintree, Raikkonen thought he could ride it out, keeping his foot on the throttle. Then this happened.

The impact was a mighty 47g, but the Finn limped away with nothing more than some bruising to his ankle and knee.

Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso treated us to a wonderful on-track battle in the final 15 laps of the race, with the German driver eventually coming out on top. Two champion drivers going toe-to-toe at full throttle; if only Gutierrez and Maldonado could have done the same earlier in the race.

Other honorable mentions must go to Nico Hulkenberg, who scored points yet again, and the Toro Rosso drivers who both scored points in ninth and tenth. Marussia’s Saturday form did not carry over to Sunday, although Bianchi was lapped just the once.

All in all, it was a good day to be British. Lewis Hamilton’s win has tightened everything up at the top of the championship once again, and we’re set for another epic duel at the German Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.