Hamilton eases to fifth British GP win; Ferrari hits trouble

3 Comments

Lewis Hamilton went wire-to-wire en route to his fifth British Grand Prix victory at Silverstone on Sunday, cutting Sebastian Vettel’s lead in the Formula 1 drivers’ championship to just a single point after Ferrari hit late trouble.

Hamilton led every single lap of the race for Mercedes and never came under threat at the front of the pack as he finished over 10 seconds clear of the field, coming home ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

The result saw Hamilton tie with Alain Prost and Jim Clark’s shared record of five British Grand Prix wins, and extended his winning streak at Silverstone that dates back to 2014.

Valtteri Bottas took second for Mercedes after completing a fightback from ninth on the grid with a reverse strategy, blitzing past Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen as both Ferrari drivers suffered front-left tire failures in the final three laps.

Hamilton made a great start off the line to retain his lead ahead of Raikkonen early on as Vettel dropped behind Max Verstappen, the Ferrari man’s brakes having been smoking on the grid.

The race was put under the safety car on Lap 2 following a clash between Toro Rosso teammates Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz Jr. at Maggots and Becketts. After running wide at the high-speed right-hander, Kvyat came across into Sainz’s path and shunted him out of the race, receiving a drive-through penalty for his efforts.

Hamilton was quickly able to re-establish his lead upon the restart on Lap 5, easing clear of Raikkonen as Verstappen and Vettel duelled for third.

Vettel was pushed off-track through the final sector at one point as Verstappen boldly defended his place, leaving the Ferrari driver frustrated as he slipped over 15 seconds clear of title rival Hamilton. All the while, Valtteri Bottas was able to latch onto the back of the battle as he recovered from P9 on the grid to run fifth on the soft tire.

Vettel and Verstappen’s battle went to the pits when Ferrari looked to get its car ahead using the undercut. The team turned Vettel around quickly at the end of Lap 18, with Red Bull responding by bringing Verstappen in one lap later. An issue with one of the wheel nuts slowed Verstappen down, causing him to drop behind Vettel at pit exit and halt the battle that had raged between them.

Hamilton pitted at the end of Lap 25 from the lead, emerging just ahead of Bottas, who was taking his soft tires deep into the race before stopping. Hamilton was told not to hold Bottas up, only to immediately put the hammer down and pull clear out front once again.

Bottas was brought in by Mercedes at the end of Lap 32, taking a set of super-soft tires that would give him a pace advantage in the closing stages. The Finn emerged from the pits in fourth place, behind Vettel and ahead of Verstappen, and had 18 laps to try and capture a podium finish.

Bottas was able to quickly whittle away the gap to Vettel, who began to struggle with his tires entering the closing stages. After a side-by-side battle, Bottas was ultimately able to dispose of Vettel with seven laps to go, but soon turned his attention to Raikkonen in second.

Just as Bottas appeared to be running out of laps to catch up, Raikkonen suffered a front-left tire failure that forced him to limp back to the pits and drop back, handing Bottas second place.

Further drama hit Ferrari just one lap later when Vettel appeared to suffer a similar failure, albeit with further to make it home to the pits, causing him to fall all the way back to sixth place.

At the front, Hamilton had very little to do besides negotiate traffic and ensure he made no mistakes, looking after his tires and car through the closing stages.

With 51 laps in the book, Hamilton crossed the line to clinch his fifth Silverstone victory and end a two-race absence from the podium, moving to within one point of Vettel at the top of the standings.

Bottas took second place, 14 seconds behind Hamilton, while Raikkonen managed to complete the podium ahead of Max Verstappen.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”