Lewis Hamilton has achieved his fifth British Grand Prix victory, with a completely dominant performance on Sunday. It means that Hamilton has equalled the record of Formula 1 wins at Silverstone held jointly by Jim Clark and Alain Prost. It’s his fourth home win in a row, and his 57th career victory.
There was little that Ferrari could do in opposition. Having run virtually the entire race in second, Kimi Raikkonen suffered a late front left tyre failure which forced him to pit. Moments later, his team mate Sebastian Vettel suffered a similar drama which cost him a potential third place.
Having started from ninth place due to a gearbox change grid penalty, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas worked hard to finish and found himself on the podium in second place ahead of Raikkonen and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
There was a remarkable comeback for Verstappen’s team mate Daniel Ricciardo, who had started from 19th after a turbo failure in qualifying. He made it to 12th place in the early laps before throwing it all away with a mishap at Woodcote, but did it all again to finish in a mighty fifth place in the drive of the day.
At the start of the race, Hamilton had been able to hold off Raikkonen into the first corner. Vettel wasn’t able to do the same in his second row battle with Verstappen, who forced his way through into third place. Force India’s Estaban Ocon briefly moved up to fifth place until Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg successfully counter-attacked. Bottas quickly made up two places on the first lap to move into seventh ahead of Sergio Perez in the second Force India.
Further back, a hard duel between Toro Rosso team mates Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz going through Maggots and Becketts ended in disaster. Kvyat briefly went off track, and when he returned he made contact with the side of Sainz’s STR12, sending the Spaniard spinning off. He made light contact with Kevin Magnussen’s Haas on the way out. Sainz climbed out and trudged away as the safety car was deployed to allow marshalls to clear up the debris. Kvyat and Magnussen were able to continue despite damage, but the Russian was handed a drive-thru for causing a collision.
The race resumed on lap 5 with Hamilton again able to fend of Raikkonen’s punchy advances. Bottas picked up another place with a quick move on Ocon, and two laps later made an easy pass on Hulkenberg for fifth. Ahead of the Finn, Vettel was bringing all the pressure he could to bear on Verstappen but finding it hard to prise open a gap. Vettel’s best opportunity came on lap 14 at Stowe, but Verstappen fended him off in the most robust terms possible.
Vettel finally decided to try for the undercut, pitting for soft tyres on lap 19. Red Bull responded next time by, but it was an issue with a wheel nut meant Verstappen emerged behind the Ferrari. The pit stops promoted Bottas up to third, and Mercedes were urging him to make the most of his remaining time in clear air to lay down some fast laps.
Raikkonen pitted on lap 25 and was able to get back out with five seconds in hand over Vettel, who had a similar magin in hand over Verstappen. Hamilton was in next time by and was able to retain the lead, rejoining the track just in front Bottas who held out to lap 33 before making his own stop. He dropped behind the two Ferraris, but was now on faster supersofts while those ahead were on slower – and older – soft compound tyres. He was soon eating into the gap between himself and Vettel further down the road.
With eight laps to go, Bottas was all over the back of Vettel and made a move around the outside of Stowe. Vettel held on despite a big lock-up into Vale, but it was now only a matter of time. Bottas duly sealed the move for third next time down the Hanger Straight. As well as demoting Vettel by a position, it also closed the door on any team strategy call by Ferrari. Along with his subsequent tyre failure, Vettel’s lead over Hamilton in the world championship has been reduced from 20 points to just one in a single race.
With Hulkenberg holding on to sixth place, Vettel limped home in seventh ahead of Ocon, Perez, Williams’ Felipe Massa, McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne and the walking wounded Haas of Kevin Magnussen. His team mate Romain Grosjean finished in 13th after tangling with Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson in Brooklands in the closing laps. Ericsson finished in 14th just ahead of Kvyat, Lance Stroll and Pascal Wehrlein.
Fernando Alonso managed to make it all the way to lap 34 – and up to 14th place after starting from the back of the grid – before the MCL32 suffered a loss of power, forcing him to retire.
Jolyon Palmer suffered terminal hydraulic issues even before the start of the race. It forced him to pull over to the side of the track on the formation lap and led to an aborted start, taking one lap off the full race distance.
British Grand Prix – Race results
|1||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||51 laps – 1:21:27.430s||1|
|2||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 14.063s||1|
|3||Kimi Räikkönen||Ferrari||+ 36.570s||2|
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 52.125s||2|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||+ 1:05.955s||1|
|6||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault||+ 1:08.109s||1|
|7||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+ 1:33.989s||2|
|8||Esteban Ocon||Force India||+ 1 lap||1|
|9||Sergio Pérez||Force India||+ 1 lap||1|
|10||Felipe Massa||Williams||+ 1 lap||1|
|11||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren||+ 1 lap||1|
|12||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 1 lap||1|
|13||Romain Grosjean||Haas||+ 1 lap||2|
|14||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber||+ 1 lap||1|
|15||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||+ 1 lap||3|
|16||Lance Stroll||Williams||+ 1 lap||2|
|17||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber||+ 1 lap||3|