Lewis Hamilton took victory in front of his adoring home crowd today following his team-mate’s retirement at the midpoint of the race. Hamilton had lost pole following a strategic mistake in the closing minutes of qualifying which benefited Rosberg. In an ironic twist of fate, it was Rosberg’s misfortune which benefited Hamilton on race day. Unfortunately, we were robbed of the opportunity to see Hamilton and Rosberg battle each other for victory, but given Hamilton’s pace, it seems likely that Hamilton could have beaten Rosberg himself.
Nico Rosberg made a good start, as per usual, and maintained his lead, while Lewis Hamilton jumped to fourth. Sebastian Vettel fell behind the Briton while Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen took second and third respectively. There was some contact through turn 1, and Sergio Perez was pushed into a half spin which knocked him down the order. Felipe Massa was painfully slow off his grid box and was at the very back by turn 1.
Kimi Raikkonen got out of shape going through the long left hand sequence at turns five and six and went off track, but hit a bump while re-joining and spun his car, going back off track and hitting the Armco barriers with impressive force before spinning back across the track. The majority of the remaining grid managed to avoid him but Massa, blinded by the Caterham in front of him, didn’t see the Ferrari until the last second. Impressively, instead of hitting the Ferrari sidepod straight on as a lesser driver would do, Felipe managed to spin his Williams so that the only part of his car which hit the Ferrari was his rear wheel. Kimi was understandably shaken and took time to get out of his car, then limped to the medical car and was taken to the medical centre.
The red flag was shown and the drivers parked on the grid, but when the Williams mechanics inspected Massa’s damaged FW35, the decision was taken to retire the car – a sad way for Felipe to mark his 200th race.
After an hours delay to fix the damaged Armco barrier at turn 6, the race finally got underway behind the Safety Car. A lap later the Safety Car came in and Rosberg got the jump on Button down the hangar straight, giving him a healthy lead into the final corner. Hamilton was stuck behind the McLarens and looking to push past Kevin Magnussen – finally forcing the Dane into a mistake at Copse and moving himself up to third.
Meanwhile, Valtteri Bottas was charging and had passed Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo by the end of the first lap of the restarted race. Towards the front, Hamilton caught up to former team-mate Jenson Button and made quick work of the Briton into Brooklands, to a round of cheers from the local crowd. He was now chasing Rosberg, albeit five seconds behind the leader.
Fernando Alonso, starting from sixteenth following his mistake in qualifying, was up to tenth by lap five, having overtaken Adrian Sutil and Jules Bianchi following the restart. Ahead of the Ferrari, Ricciardo was fighting with his sparring partner from Austria, Nico Hulkenberg, as the Aussie tried to promote himself to seventh.
Before long, Alonso had passed Daniil Kvyat and was closing on the Ricciardo-Hulkenberg battle. After making an unsuccessful dummy on the Force India, Ricciardo was slower and left vulnerable to Alonso who pulled an incredible manoeuvre on the Red Bull on the outside of Vale corner. A lap later, he pushed past Hulkenberg around the outside of Brooklands, leaving Ricciardo and Hulkenberg to battle each other again. Despite the straight-line deficit, Ricciardo moved up the order at Stowe.
Pastor Maldonado was up to his old tricks and pulled out in front of Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber when the Mexican tried to overtake on the inside to Vale. The Sauber went wide from the collision and threw the Lotus into the air when the tyres made contract. Maldonado continued but it was a terminal blow to Gutierrez’s race as he pulled over after the first corner.
Alonso was charging and stormed past Kevin Magnussen for fifth, following the Williams of Bottas who had passed both McLarens and was running in third. At the same time, news broke that Alonso had been handed a five-second stop/go penalty, to be served during the pit stops, because he overshot his grid box at the race start. That type of mistake would usually result in an aborted start, but Charlie Whiting chose to allow the race to start anyways.
Rosberg made his first stop on lap 19 and Hamilton began his lap to try to close the three-second gap to Rosberg while he was in the pits. On lap 24, Hamilton finally came in and took on a set of the harder compound tyres, to go against Rosberg’s strategy, and re-joined in second.
Hamilton was closing very quickly on Rosberg – 2 seconds on lap 28 alone. As Rosberg went to lap Bianchi into turn 3, he failed to shift down the gears and frantically pressed the gears as he radioed for advice. The advice was useless and, as Hamilton breezed past into the lead, Rosberg was still trying to get the car to recover. He was forced to give up at the Maggots-Becketts section and climbed dejectedly from his cockpit – much to the delight of the local crowd.
Valtteri Bottas inherited second from Rosberg’s misfortune, and he retained it after his single pit stop, meaning a big haul of points for the Grove-based team if he could maintain the position. Further down the order, Alonso and Vettel were scrapping for P5, and Alonso was quick to move past the German into Copse corner, using the straight line advantage down the International pit straight. Alonso managed to hold off Vettel for a long stint, but Vettel finally got past the Spaniard into Copse corner.
Maldonado retired with an engine problem on the penultimate lap, but there were no problems for Lewis Hamilton who crossed the line to take his second home victory, six years to the day since he took his first victory at Silverstone. Valtteri Bottas crossed the line fourty seconds later to take second for Williams – a much needed cause for celebration given the team’s hard luck on Friday where both cars have incidents, Saturday where both cars were knocked out in Q1, and today when Felipe Massa was the innocent victim in the Raikkonen crash. Daniel Ricciardo came home third for Red Bull.
Provisional Race Results:
- Lewis Hamilton
- Valtteri Bottas
- Daniel Ricciardo
- Jenson Button
- Sebastian Vettel
- Fernando Alonso
- Kevin Magnussen
- Nico Hulkenberg
- Daniil Kvyat
- Jean-Eric Vergne
- Sergio Perez
- Romain Grosjean
- Adrian Sutil
- Jules Bianchi
- Kamui Kobayashi
- Max Chilton
- Pastor Maldonado
- Nico Rosberg
- Marcus Ericsson
- Esteban Gutierrez
- Felipe Massa
- Kimi Raikkonen
Image courtesy of Mercedes AMG F1 Team.