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

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