After a long break Formula 1 returned in dramatic fashion with one of the most exciting races of the season thus far as the teams took to the track in Silverstone, UK for the British Grand Prix.
Once again tires were a huge issue. Lewis Hamilton had a blow out early on but recovered and finished P4. Felipe Massa and Jean-Eric Vergne also had tire failures, and following Vergne’s blow out the safety car was brought out while the track was cleared of debris. The high number of tire failures caused the FIA to call on Pirelli to find a solution to their tire issues prior to the German Grand Prix which is next on the schedule.
P4 was no doubt a disappointment for Hamilton as he started his native GP on pole. His team mate Nico Rosberg started P2 and went on to give Mercedes AMG their second victory of the season, holding off a late charge by Mark Webber.
Webber’s team mate Sebastian Vettel was leading the race until he ran into transmission trouble on lap 41 and had to retire. That brought the safety car out for a second time and set up what would be a thrilling finish.
Most of the leaders turned in to grab fresh tires at that point; however Lotus F1 Team chose to leave Kimi Raikkonen out on the track. That would prove to be a costly mistake as the Finn was unable to match the speed of the drivers with fresh rubber and quickly dropped from P2 to P5 where he finished. After the race Raikkonen didn’t hesitate to voice his criticism of the decision and his team.
The timing of that bad call couldn’t be worse for Lotus given that Kimi is being openly courted by Red Bull Racing to take the race seat that Webber will vacate at the end of the year when he leaves F1. If Lotus wants to keep the Iceman happy, and on their team, they need to prove to Kimi that they can give him a car capable of winning races and that they can make the right decisions to give him the best chance of topping the podium. Raikkonen has said that he enjoys driving for Lotus and has a good relationship with the team, but be that as it may in the end he is a competitor and if Lotus can’t give him the tools to capture his next World Championship then he may well turn to RBR.
After the final round of pit stops Webber, Fernando Alonso, and Hamilton picked off Raikkonen one by one and then began trying to chase down Rosberg. The German somehow held off the charge and was able to best Webber by a slim 0.7 second margin.
Alonso’s P3 finish was a pleasant surprise for the Spaniard who had previously said that a strong finish at Silverstone was likely a long shot for Scuderia Ferrari. Massa also proved Alonso’s hunch wrong by finishing P6 giving the Italian Stallions a dual top 10 finish.
Force India also scored a double top 10 finish with Adrian Sutil finishing P7 and Paul di Resta crossing the finish line P9. Di Resta’s finish was especially impressive considering that he battled all the way up from dead last on the start. He was sent to the back of the grid as a penalty for his car coming in underweight following qualifying.
Daniel Ricciardo finished P8 on the day, perhaps increasing his chances of being chosen by Red Bull to take over Webber’s seat, and Nico Hulkenberg rounded out the top 10.
Vettel’s DNF allows Alonso, Raikkonen and Hamilton to close the gap between themselves and the three time champion, thus keeping the driver’s championship interesting.
BRITISH GRAND PRIX RESULTS:
1) Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG
2) Mark Webber, Red Bull Racing
3) Fernando Alonso, Scuderia Ferrari
4) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG
5) Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus F1 Team
6) Felipe Massa, Scuderia Ferrari
7) Adrian Sutil, Force India
8) Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso
9) Paul di Resta, Force India
10) Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber F1 Team
11) Pastor Maldonado, Williams F1 Team
12) Valtteri Bottas, Williams F1 Team
13) Jenson Button, McLaren Mercedes
14) Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber F1 Team
15) Charles Pic, Caterham F1 Team
16) Jules Bianchi, Marussia F1 Team
17) Max Chilton, Marussia F1 Team
18) Giedo van der Garde, Caterham F1 Team
19) Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1 Team
20) Sergio Perez, McLaren Mercedes (DNF)
21) Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing (DNF)
22) Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso (DNF)
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