The sun (mostly) shines on Hamilton
To the delight of the crowd, Lewis takes his third home victory in a thrilling race at Silverstone
As 140,000 people wearily queued along the Dadford Road on Sunday evening, they did so with smiles on their faces. They’d travelled to Silverstone hoping that Lewis Hamilton could once again triumph on home soil. And despite the intervention of a Safety Car, two obstinate Williams cars and the unpredictability of the advancing rain, Hamilton succeeded to take his third British Grand Prix win after a thrilling race.
The knowledgeable and enthusiastic British crowd had been justly rewarded for their support and Lewis thanked them from the top step of the podium, saying: “I really wanted to do it for you guys. Every lap I could see you out of the corner of my eyes and I felt you spurring me on.”
The mostly sunny weekend was a perfect antidote to the air of gloom that has pervaded F1 of late. It also had the effect of silencing the naysayers. Right from the off the British GP was electrifying, thanks to the fast-starting Williams of Felipe Massa taking an immediate lead as he charged past both Mercedes. Team-mate Valtteri Bottas was also quick off the line, taking second until Lewis muscled back in front before the run down Wellington Straight.
Again, there was woe for McLaren-Honda. After qualifying 18th on the grid on Saturday, Jenson Button was asked in the Silverstone paddock if there were any changes he would like to make to the sport. “Reverse grids,” he joked.
On Sunday, he was the victim of a train of events triggered when Lotus team-mates Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado collided with each other under braking for Turn 3. Fernando Alonso took evasive action and crashed into his McLaren team-mate, bringing out the Safety Car. “When you start at the back, there’s a greater chance that incidents can occur,” said Jenson, rueing his run of ill fortune at his home race.
On the restart, Lewis impatiently tried to pass Felipe Massa, ran wide into Vale and lost a place to Bottas rounding Club. Williams were running one-two, but could it last? With Bottas close to Massa and having the straightline speed advantage of DRS, it looked as though he might be able to pass his team-mate down the Hangar Straight. Williams told their drivers to hold station, but quickly reconsidered, with a new directive stating any overtake had to be “clean”.
In hindsight, Williams might have had more of a chance of winning this grand prix if they’d employed a ‘tortoise and hare’ tactic, allowing Massa to sprint into the distance while slowing Bottas to hold up the Mercedes pair.
The team’s contradiction in their strategy reminded Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff of when Mercedes rst started to lead races. “I had déjà vu from 2013 when we found ourselves in the lead and the reaction was ‘what do we do now?’ You’re leading one-two and you want to get them both home for the team and not make any mistakes. You don’t want the drivers to battle each other too hard as they could shunt into each