Analysis: weather conditions led to a chess game at Silverstone

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Great Britain, Silverstone Circuitgb

Challenging weather conditions led to a strategy thriller at Sunday’s Silverstone round, forcing the teams’ strategists to earn their money. F1Technical’s senior writer Balazs Szabo analyses the strategy at the British Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton won the 75th edition of the British Grand Prix. The seven time world champion thus ended a barren spell that lasted 945 days, since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

He now has 104 Formula 1 wins to his name, nine of them in this race, thus topping the list of drivers with the most wins at one particular Grand Prix. For his Mercedes team it is win number 127, its second in a row, the first time the team has managed that in almost three years, as the last time it happened was in 2021, when the Toto Wolff-led team won in Brazil and then at the aforementioned next round in Saudi Arabia.

Commenting on the race, Pirelli's Motorsport Director Mario Isola noted: “We witnessed a very exciting Grand Prix at the end of a very busy weekend, which featured a great show both on the track and in the grandstands.

"It was a testing weekend for us because we put almost our entire range of tyres to the test in different conditions on one of the toughest tracks of the entire championship calendar."


For Pirelli, this was a very colourful Grand Prix, a four-colour one to be precise, as four tyre compounds with their distinctive colour bands were brought into play – red for the Soft, yellow for the Medium, white for the Hard and green for the Intermediate.

Conditions were tricky and challenging, with rain hitting the track on multiple occasions, but the varying intensity made it extremely difficult for the teams and drivers to master the race. It was brutally tough to find the perfect crossover time to switch from slicks to intermediates and vice versa with a difference of a single lap leading to a possible gain or loss of over ten seconds.

The first part featured the Medium, used by 17 drivers on the grid, the exceptions being Esteban Ocon and Zhou Guanyu, who opted for the Soft while, starting from pitlane, Sergio Perez went with the Hard.

The C2 worked well, because the drivers were able to push even when carrying a full fuel load, while it also enabled them to manage the tricky conditions when the rain started to fall. Furthermore, the Medium ensured greater flexibility as to when to make the first pit stop, given that the threat of rain had made itself felt even before the start.

Then it was the turn of the Intermediate to take centre stage, when the crossover point arrived. Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez had chosen to switch to this tyre early and now found themselves with a set of worn tyres just when the track conditions were most suited to them and they had to come in for a second set.

The final part saw all three dry weather compounds compete on equal terms and it was interesting to observe how, especially among the leaders, the various car-driver packages were comfortable with different compounds:Hamilton took the win for Mercedes with the Soft, Verstappen and his Red Bull was quickest on the Hard, while Piastri demonstrated that the Medium could be very competitive on the McLaren.

Expanding on the strategies, Isola noted: "Right from Friday it was evident that all three dry weather compounds could play an important role in this race and that was confirmed today. In terms of strategy, the pre-race predictions were more or less respected.

"Leaving aside the rain, the length of the first stint on the Mediums and the performance of the Hard for those like Verstappen and Sainz who used them in the final stint, demonstrated how a C2/C1 combination could be very competitive.

"Obviously, the C3 suffered a bit more, partly because it was used in push mode towards the end of the race on a track that was still pretty green because of all the rain this weekend."

As for the compounds, Perez completed the longest stint on the hards while the quickest lap on the C1 compound was recorded by his team-mate Verstappen with a 1m28.952s.

Piastri racked up the longest stint on the mediums with a 28-lap during his opening stint, and he was the driver who elected to switch back to the yellow-banded mediums for his closing stint to record the quickest C4-tyre lap with a 1m28.748s.

Esteben Ocon racked up the most laps on the softs with a 19-lap stint while Carlos Sainz posted the quickest lap with a 1m28.293s which became the fastest race lap of the 75th British Grand Prix.

On the intermediates, Lance Stroll, Nico Hulkenberg and Sainz completed the longest distance with a 13-lap run. The best lap on the green-walled tyres was recorded by Norris who posted a 1m37.999s on the 11th tour of his middle stint.