Hamilton unstoppable at British Grand Prix

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Great Britain, Silverstone Circuitgb

Lewis Hamilton won his home race at Silverstone in dominant fashion, virtually leading the race from start to finish. He mastered tricky conditions at the start and managed the race from there on. Nico Rosberg finished second (later dropped to third following a penalty), ahead of Max Verstappen who secures his third podium of the season.

In typical British fashion, amidst a sunny weekend, rain has wetted the track considerably, and up to a measure that the start was given behind the safety car, with all cars fitted with the full wet tyres, as mandated by the regulations. Even though the track was still quite wet, and the skies extremely dark, at Force India, Nico Hulkenberg was informed before the start of the strategical dilemma - "It's whether we go all the way on these, and then go direct to slicks, or whether we stop for inters," his race engineer said.

As the cars got going, Hamilton was soon on the radio calling for the safety car to go quicker, as it was not going quick enough to get enough temperature into the tyres. Sebastian Vettel meanwhile reported a lot of standing water on the track.

Behind the SC, positions were of course Hamilton in 1st, ahead of Rosberg, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Raikkonen and Bottas. Alonso was in 9th, Vettel 11th, Button 17th. At the back of the pack were Nasr, starting from the back of the grid, and his Sauber team mate, Marcus Ericsson, who started from the pitlane after not taking part in qualifying due to a crash in FP3 on Saturday.

The safety car was finally called in at the end of lap 5, triggering 10 cars to pit immediately.

Hamilton meanwhile made a good start and immediately left Rosberg behind while Verstappen was challening for second place. Ricciardo was 4th, ahead of Perez, Massa, Kvyat, Button, Palmer, Haryanto, Nasr and Ericsson. Ricciardo and Button pitted the next lap as well, before a virtual safety car was invoked after Wehrlein got stuck in the gravel trap, triggering a pitstop for everybody who was still running on the full wets.

Amidst these stops, Perez and Nasr both gained 6 positions, while Gutierrez was worst off, losing 7 places.

On lap 10, Bottas was the next man to spin out, even though he was lucky to come to a halt before getting stuck in the gravel. He was challenged closely by Hulkenberg and Alonso, and dropped down from 9th to 13th, rejoining the track just ahead of Button. Hulkenberg moved on to put Massa under pressure, but given the humidity off the racing line found it difficult to exploit his obvious speed advantage.

At lap 15, as drivers noted it was getting closer to the time of switching to slicks, Hamilton had 4.5s in hand over Rosberg, and one more to Verstappen. Perez in fourth was already 18 seconds down, and closely followed by Ricciardo. Raikkonen followed another 9 seconds further behind.

On lap 16, Vettel was the first to switch to slicks, opting for the medium compound tyres. At approximately the same time, Verstappen managed to get ahead of Rosberg as he went past the Mercedes through the outside of Becketts.

One lap later, numerous drivers, including Raikkonen, pitted for slicks as well, with Hamilton, Rosberg, Ricciardo, Perez and several others making the switch a lap later too. Verstappen was the last to switch to slicks on lap 19, rejoining 7s behind Hamilton, and 4s ahead of Rosberg.

On lap 25, Alonso was seen sliding off the track and coming to a halt after mildly touching the barriers with his right front. It followed several attempts of the Spaniard to pass Massa, including a try during which he was two wheels on the grass on the Wellington straight.

In the laps before and after Alonso went off at turn 1, Sainz, Raikkonen, Verstappen and Haryanto did about the same. Only for Haryanto this resulted in a retirement. Hamilton did the exact same thing on lap 27, with Verstappen as well, allowing Rosberg to come within DRS range of him. Both Hamilton and Verstappen lost considerably less time compare to others though, as they managed to stay on the tarmac runoff and rejoin the racetrack at reasonable speed.

On lap 31, Hamilton continued to have little more than 5 seconds in hand over the closely matched Verstappen and Rosberg. Ricciardo followed another 14s down the road.

8 laps later, Rosberg finally got past Verstappen again, seemingly more at ease in the drier conditions while Verstappen complained about his rears starting to suffer. Rosberg immediately pushed on to set the fastest lap. Another 8 laps later, Rosberg had a scare as he was unable to switch down from 7th gear for a while, seeing Verstappen come back to within 2s. Rosberg managed to get the gearbox functioning again after his engineer shouted "reset one zero", immediately triggering a post-race stewards' investigation into whether this is allowed. He was later handed a 10s penalty that dropped him to 3rd in the final standings.

Lewis Hamilton meanwhile completed his race without issues, overjoyed to win his home race and further close his deficit to Rosberg in the drivers' championship.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarLapsTimePts
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG521:34:55.83125
233Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer52+8.250s18
36Nico Rosberg (*)Mercedes AMG52+16.911s15
43Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer52+26.211s12
57Kimi RäikkönenFerrari52+69.743s10
611Sergio PerezForce India Mercedes52+76.941s8
727Nico HulkenbergForce India Mercedes52+77.712s6
855Carlos SainzToro Rosso Ferrari52+85.858s4
926Daniil KvyatToro Rosso Ferrari52+92.600s2
105Sebastian Vettel (*)Ferrari52+96.654s1
1119Felipe MassaWilliams Mercedes51+1 lap0
1222Jenson ButtonMcLaren Honda51+1 lap0
1314Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Honda51+1 lap0
1477Valtteri BottasWilliams Mercedes51+1 lap0
1512Felipe NasrSauber Ferrari51+1 lap0
1621Esteban GutierrezHaas Ferrari51+1 lap0
1720Kevin MagnussenRenault49DNF0
NC30Jolyon PalmerRenault37DNF0
NC88Rio HaryantoMRT Mercedes24DNF0
NC8Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari17DNF0
NC9Marcus EricssonSauber Ferrari11DNF0
NC94Pascal WehrleinMRT Mercedes6DNF0

* Nico Rosberg was handed a 10s penalty for banned radio instructions
* Sebastian Vettel had 5s added to his finishing time due to a penalty for forcing Felipe Massa off track