Hamilton weathers the storm to claim third British GP victory at Silverstone

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Lewis Hamilton clinched his third British Grand Prix victory at Silverstone on Sunday after seeing off a spirited fight from Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg and the Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas in a dry-to-wet thriller.

After losing the lead at the start, Hamilton managed to recover first place through the pit stops before managing his pace towards the end of the race as a late rain shower threatened to spoil his homecoming.

WATCH: Full replay of the race

However, Hamilton played both the weather and the field perfectly to clinch his fifth win of the 2015 season and extend his lead at the top of the drivers’ championship.

Off the line, the Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas made a scintillating start to leapfrog both Mercedes drivers into the first corner. Although Hamilton was able to recover second place, it was Massa who led when the safety car was deployed on lap two after Jenson Button and Romain Grosjean got tangled up in incidents with their teammates, causing them to retire.

Hamilton tried to close up on the back of Massa for the restart, but ran wide after locking up his tires. This allowed Bottas to move back up into second place, leaving the frustrated Mercedes drivers to scrap over third place. In the early stages at Silverstone, Williams looked to be capable of a huge upset.

Further back, Ferrari’s hopes of joining the fight at the front quickly faded as Sebastian Vettel fell down to ninth place behind the fast-starting Force Indias and Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat. Button and Grosjean were joined on the sidelines by Max Verstappen and Pastor Maldonado, and with Felipe Nasr failing to make the start, just 15 cars remained after ten laps at Silverstone.

As Massa struggled for pace in the early stages, Bottas closed up on the back of his teammate and asked for permission from Williams to make a pass. The team told him not to race the Brazilian, and to only pass if he could make a clean move and then pull away from the chasing pack.

However, Bottas could not get close enough to Massa to overtake, even with the advantage of DRS. He had managed to keep Hamilton at bay in third, prompting Mercedes to bring the Briton in at the end of lap 19. With fresh tires and plenty of pace, Williams now had to consider how it would react.

The team decided to bring Massa in just one lap later, with Mercedes also pitting Rosberg on the same lap. The two drivers emerged from the pit lane side-by-side, but it was Massa who managed to stay ahead, albeit behind Hamilton.

All eyes were now on Bottas, who was brought in for fresh tires on lap 21. Williams produced a perfect pit stop and sent the Finn back on his way, but it was not enough to stay ahead of Hamilton, who had set the fastest lap of the race to reclaim the lead of the race.

Hamilton soon set about establishing a gap to the cars behind, leading by 3.5 seconds from Massa, Bottas and Rosberg after stopping. Mercedes informed Rosberg that he was now on ‘plan B’, suggesting he would be moving to a two-stop strategy.

As the race passed half-distance, the on-track action began to settle down, but attention soon turned to the skies as dark clouds began to form over Silverstone. Rosberg was told to “give it everything” in his bid to pass Bottas for third place, but still could not find a way past the Williams drive, allowing Massa to escape the pair in second.

The race took another twist on lap 34 when Carlos Sainz Jr’s Toro Rosso came to a stop at the final corner. Although it was recovered under the virtual safety car, thus stopping the field from bunching up, it did give more time for the rain to arrive at Silverstone.

Upon the restart on lap 35, Bottas was quick to report drops of rain out on track as he continued to soak up the pressure from Rosberg behind. Although some drivers were struggling for grip, Williams told Bottas that it still wasn’t wet enough to warrant intermediate tires, even as they slid off at Woodcote.

The conditions were bad enough to prompt some of the teams to bring their drivers in, including Ferrari who ran a split strategy by switching Raikkonen to intermediates whilst keeping Vettel out.

Rosberg made the most of the inclement conditions to move up into second place past Bottas and Massa, who struggled for grip in the rain. The German driver had his sights firmly set on Hamilton at the front with ten laps to go, carving into the Briton’s advantage at a considerable rate of knots.

Struggling for grip, Hamilton dived into the pit lane to take on intermediate tires with eight laps remaining, handing the lead for Rosberg. However, the German did not want to try and hang it out until the end of the race, coming in just one lap later to also make the switch to intermediates.

This handed the lead back to Hamilton, who now enjoyed a nine-second advantage over his teammate. The biggest winner of the rain shower was Sebastian Vettel, as he slipped into third place ahead of the Williams drivers by pitting one lap earlier for intermediates.

At the front, Hamilton managed to keep his cool amid the spray to cross the line and claim his third British Grand Prix victory, finishing over ten seconds clear of Rosberg at the end.

Vettel managed to hold on to third place in the closing stages, ending a three-race podium drought for Ferrari, whilst Williams’ big day ended in disappointment as Massa and Bottas finished fourth and fifth respectively.

Daniil Kvyat led Red Bull’s charge in sixth place ahead of Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, whilst Kimi Raikkonen lagged behind in eighth after switching to intermediates too early, forcing him into a third pit stop late on.

Sergio Perez made it a double points finish for Force India by finishing ninth, but one of the biggest surprises came in P10 as Fernando Alonso scored his first point of the season thanks to the race of attrition. Marcus Ericsson finished 11th ahead of the two Manor drivers, as Roberto Merhi beat Will Stevens for P12.

Tony Kanaan at peace with IndyCar career end: ‘I’ll always be an Indianapolis 500 winner’


INDIANAPOLIS – Few drivers in Indy 500 history have been as popular as Tony Kanaan.

Throughout his career at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that began with his first Indy 500 in 2002, the fans loved his aggressiveness on the track and his engaging personality with the fans.

The Brazilian always got the loudest cheers from the fans during driver introductions before the Indy 500.

Sunday’s 107th Indianapolis 500 would be his last time to walk up the steps for driver introductions. Kanaan announced earlier this year that it would be his final race of his IndyCar career, but not the final race as a race driver.

He will continue to compete in stock cars in Brazil and in Tony Stewart’s summer series known as the “Superstar Racing Experience” – an IROC-type series that competes at legendary short tracks around the country beginning in June.

Kanaan was the extra driver at Arrow McLaren for this year’s Indy 500 joining NTT IndyCar Series regulars Pato O’Ward of Mexico, Felix Rosenqvist of Sweden, and Alexander Rossi of northern California.

He had a sporty ride, the No. 66 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet that paid homage to McLaren’s first Indianapolis 500 victory by the late Mark Donohue for Team Penske in 1972.

Because Kanaan has meant so much to the Indianapolis 500 and the NTT IndyCar Series, the 2013 Indy 500 winner was honored before the start of the race with a special video.

It featured Kanaan sitting in the Grandstand A seats writing a love letter to the fans of this great event. Kanaan narrated the video, reciting the words in the letter and it finished with the driver putting it in an envelope and leaving it at the Yard of Bricks.

Lauren Kanaan with daughter Nina before the 107th Indy 500 (Bruce Martin Photo).

Many in the huge crowd of 330,000 fans watched the video on the large screens around the speedway. On the starting grid, Kanaan’s wife, Lauren, who bears a striking resemblance to actress Kate Beckinsale, watched with their four children.

Kanaan’s wife is an Indiana girl who was a high school basketball star in Cambridge City, Indiana.

Kanaan proposed to Lauren in 2010, and after a three-year engagement, they were married in 2013 – the year he won his only Indianapolis 500.

She has been Kanaan’s rock, and this was a moment for the family to share.

After receiving an ovation and the accolades from the crowd, Kanaan walked to his car on the starting grid and exchanged hugs with people who were important in his career.

One of those was Takuma Sato’s engineer at Chip Ganassi Racing, Eric Cowdin.

Tony Kanaan shares a moment with former engineer Eric Cowdin (Bruce Martin Photo).

Kanaan and Cowdin shared a longtime relationship dating all the way back to the Andretti Green Racing days when Kanaan was a series champion in 2004. This combination stayed together when Kanaan moved to KV Racing in 2011, then Chip Ganassi Racing from 2014-2018 followed by two years at AJ Foyt Racing.

Kanaan returned to run the four oval races for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2021 in the No. 48 Honda that was shared with seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson.

In 2022, Johnson ran the full IndyCar Series schedule, and Kanaan drove the No. 1 American Legion entry to a third-place finish in his only IndyCar race of the season.

Kanaan knew that 2023 would be his last Indy 500 and properly prepared himself mentally and emotionally for his long goodbye.

But one could sense the heartfelt love, gratitude, and most of all respect for this tenacious driver in the moments leading up to the start of the race.

Tony Kanaan gets emotional during an interview after the Indy 500 (Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar/ USA TODAY Sports Images Network).

“The emotions are just there,” Kanaan said. “I cried 400 times. This guy came to hug me, and I made Rocket (IndyCar Technical Director Kevin Blanch) cry. I mean, that is something.

“Yeah, it was emotional.”

Kanaan started ninth and finished 18th in a race that was very clean for the first two thirds of the race before ending in disjointed fashion with three red flags to stop the race over the final 15 laps.

“Yellows breed yellows and when you are talking about the Indianapolis 500 and a field that is so tough to pass, that happens,” Kanaan said. “It’s the Indy 500. Come on. We’ve got to leave it out there.

“Every red flag, everybody goes, I’m going to pass everybody. It’s tough to pass. It’s the toughest field, the tightest field we ever had here. It was going to happen. We knew it was going to happen.

“I wouldn’t want it any different. We left it all out there. Everybody that was out left it out.”

At one point in the second half of the race, Kanaan passed Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin by driving through the grass on the backstretch.

“That was OK, right?” Kanaan said. “That is one thing I have not done in 22 years here. Even (team owner) Sam Schmidt came to me and said, ‘That was a good one.’

“That was a farewell move.”

On the final lap, it was Kanaan battling his boyhood friend from Brazil, four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, for a mid-pack finish.

“Helio and I battling for 15th and 16th on the last lap like we’re going for the lead,” Kanaan said. “It was like, who’s playing pranks with us.

“We both went side by side on the backstretch after the checker and we saluted with each other, and I just told him actually I dropped a tear because of that, and he said, ‘I did, too.’

“We went side by side like twice. A lot of memories came to my mind, and I even said how ironic it is that we started it together and I get to battle him on the last lap of my last race.

Tony Kanaan is embraced by his wife, Lauren, after finishing 16th in the 107th Indianapolis 500 ((Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar/ USA TODAY Sports Images Network).

“It’s pretty neat. It’s a pretty cool story. He’s a great friend. My reference, a guy that I love and hate a lot throughout my career, and like he just told me — I was coming up here and he just said, who am I going to look on the time sheet when I come into the pits now, because we always said that it didn’t matter if I was — if I was 22nd and he was 23rd, my day was okay. And vice versa.

“It was a good day for me, man. What can I say? We cried on the grid.

“Not the result that we wanted. I went really aggressive on the downforce to start the race. It was wrong. Then I added downforce towards the end of the race, and it was wrong. It was just one of those days.”

After the race was over, Kanaan drove his No. 66 Honda back to the Arrow McLaren pit area and climbed out of the car to cheers of the fans that could see him. Others were focused on Josef Newgarden’s wild celebration after the Team Penske driver had won his first Indianapolis 500.

There were no tears, though, only smiles from Kanaan who closes an IndyCar career with 389 starts, 17 wins including the 2013 Indianapolis 500, 79 podiums, 13 poles, and 4,077 laps led in a 26-year career.

Kanaan came, he raced, and he raced hard.

“That’s what we did, we raced as hard as we could,” Kanaan told NBC Sports.com. “It wasn’t enough.

“The win was the only thing that mattered. If we were second or 16th, we were going to celebrate regardless.

“In a way, being 16th will stop people wondering if I’m going to come back.

“I’m ready to go. I’m ready to enjoy the time with my family, with my team and doing other things as well.”

Kanaan’s face will forever be part of the Borg-Warner Trophy as the winner of the Indianapolis 500.

“I won one and that is there, and it will always be there,” Kanaan said. “It was an awesome day.

“The way this crowd made me feel was unbelievable. I don’t regret a bit.”

Tony Kanaan hugs his son Max before the Indy 500 (Grace Hollars/IndyStar/USA TODAY Sports Images Network).

Kanaan actually announced the 2020 Indianapolis 500 would be TK’s last ride because he wanted to say goodbye to the fans.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 hit, the Indianapolis 500 was moved from Memorial Day Weekend to August 23 and because of COVID restrictions, fans were not allowed to attend the Indianapolis 500.

Three years later, Kanaan was finally able to say goodbye to this fans that were part of the largest crowd to see the Indianapolis 500 since the sold-out gathering for 350,000 that attended the 100th running in 2016.

“That’s it, that’s what I wanted, and I got what I wanted,” Kanaan said. “This moment was so special; I don’t want to ever spoil it again.

Tony Kanaan kisses his daughter Nina before the 107th Indy 500 (Grace Hollars/IndyStar / USA TODAY Sports Images Network).

“We’ve been building and growing this series as much as we can. I’m really glad and proud that I was able to be part of building something big and this year’s race was one of the biggest ones.”

Kanaan walked off pit lane and rejoined his family. He will always be part of the glorious history of the Indianapolis 500 and fans will be talking about Tony Kanaan years from now, not by what he did, but the way he did it.

“This is what it is all about,” Kanaan said on pit lane. “Having kids, be a good person. Even if you don’t win, it’s fine if you don’t, as long as you make a difference.

“Hopefully, I made a difference in this sport.

“I will always be an IndyCar driver. I will always be an Indy 500 winner and I will always make people aware of IndyCar in the way it deserves.”

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500 

(Jenna Watson/IndyStar / USA TODAY Sports Images Network)