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Heading into this weekend’s 50th British Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton was facing what a seminal race for the 2008 world champion. Lodged 29 points behind his teammate, Nico Rosberg, and slowly drifting backwards in a year which could easily be another championships given the clear domination of the Mercedes AMG Petronas car.

On Saturday the British weather wreaked havoc on qualifying and Lewis made a grave mistake by aborting his final lap in Q3 while five other drivers, including his teammate, chose to go for it. This gritty determination paid dividends with Nico Rosberg securing pole position leaving Hamilton to start from 6th on the grid. It was a decision that left Hamilton visibly stunned.

On Sunday, fortunes reversed as Hamilton and his side of the garage had chosen to use a strategy that ran longer than Rosberg but in the end, it was simply sheer pace that kept Lewis in tow and headed to victory as Rosberg experienced a DNF with a gearbox failure. Regardless, just as qualifying proved, you have to make your own luck in Formula 1 and being determined to recover from 6th place at the start was always Hamilton’s mission. Lewis caught himself on the podium when he said he won Sunday because “you never give up” and then quickly recalled his “giving up” just 24 hours earlier but explained that was different. Not really, Lewis.

A seminal race now became a launching pad back into the world championship as Hamilton cut his point deficit to just four points. As the series heads to Germany, things will begin to get tight and it continues to point toward that final race in Abu Dhabi for double-points as a possible disruptive element in either driver’s championship bid.

Hamilton claimed his 27th career victory at the 50th British Grand Prix.

The race was red-flagged following an accident on the opening lap, with an hour’s delay for barrier repairs. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen crashed after running off circuit and re-entering at speed. The Finnish driver complained of ankle pain and it is unclear as to if he will participate in next week’s scheduled testing session or in Germany in two weeks.

A two-stop strategy was used by Hamilton to win the race, but the rest of the podium – and seven out of the top 10 – was made up of one-stoppers, at one of the toughest circuits of the season. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who finished third, made his final set of medium tyres last for 37 laps.

The teams will now remain in Silverstone for a two-day in-season test on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Win

 

Win

Valtteri Bottas started 14th and drove and outstanding race to finish 2nd which is only his second podium appearance if his career in F1. While his teammate, Felipe Massa, was collected in the Raikkonen debacle, Bottas held the flag high for local team Williams F1 in a stellar performance of composure and tire management.

Another big win was that of Jenson Button who has been slightly at odds in the press lately with his McLaren team’s boss, Ron Dennis. The British champion also faced what might be a seminal race for his career and securing 4th was the best the McLaren has looked in quite a while. If Dennis felt beating his rookie teammate was important, Button certainly did that in spades.

While things were rather pedestrian up front until Rosberg’s gearbox issue, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel put on a great display of passing, defense and radio frustration for several laps.

Daniel Ricciardo drove another great race on worn tires to secure the final podium position in what is becoming a theme this year of beating his 4-time championship winning teammate, Sebastian Vettel—who seemed to be more interested in crying foul against Alonso than getting on with the program.

Which reminds me…if I heard Alonso’s radio communication properly after being passed by Vettel, he appears to share the same love of DRS that Paul Charsley and I do and that’s a big win in my book. Alonso alleged that Vettel’s flap was opening where it shouldn’t be.

Fail

 

Fail

Certainly one could look at Rosberg’s gearbox failure as a low-light of the race as he had matters in control and looked to be sailing to a victory. No one likes to see DNF’s but then Lewis has had his share this year so perhaps it was time for the boot to be on the other foot for change and it does tighten up the championship—if only between two cars nonetheless.

Another fail had to be Lotus F1 this weekend with a disqualification for Pastor Maldonado in qualifying for a lack of a fuel sample after running—which is required by the FIA and no mystery to any team. Ultimately Maldonado retired from the race with an exhaust problem while his teammate, Romain Grosjean, puttered around to 12th place.

Not to be outdone, Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez tried his hardest to ruin Pastor Maldonado’s race by launching him into the air and then promptly retiring with damage. The young Mexican driver will face a 3-space grid penalty for the German Grand Prix.

Placed to do well, Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, as well as teammate Sergio Perez, struggled with car handling the entire race and couldn’t turn luck into fortune with a great qualifying position. Hulkenberg nearly lost his 8th place finish to a charging Daniil Kvyat in the Toro Rosso as wel who finished just 0.6s behind the German.

WTH

Certainly Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen has to be a “WTH” moment of the race as race-driving basics tell you to ease your way back on track. The Finnish driver kept his foot in it and attempted to re-enter the track at the exact spot there was a large bump which unsettled the rear end causing his crash and the end of Felipe Massa’s race as well.

Another WTH moment had to be the Gutierrez clash with Maldonado which most likely ended both driver’s races.

Another odd WTH moment was Marussia’s call to bring Max Chilton in as the race was red flagged. The British driver cruised down pitlane at the exact time that team personnel were trying to get out to the grid to stage their cars for a re-start. This situation could be very dangerous indeed and the race stewards handed Chilton a penalty because of it.

The world feed gets my WTH finger as well as coverage was slightly disjointed trying to find action on track. It got choppy and failed to catch a few key moments that I felt would have been nice to see.

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Call them out here:

    Pass of the race- Alonso vs. Vettel and vice versa
    Donkey of the Race- Kimi Raikkonen
    Drive of the Race- Bottas with honorable mentions to Alonso

  • Rapierman

    Pass: Yep, Vettel on Alonso through four turns.

    Donkey: I’d also give it to Gutierrez for running into Maldonado.

    Drive: Have to agree, Bottas drove a fine race.

  • UAN

    While Alonso and Vettel battled for 5th, a race broke out and someone in a Mercedes won :)

    Gutierrez was heard to cry out over the radio “Remember Bahrain! Revenge is mine!!” lol.

    Pass of the race: Vettel on Alonso.

    Drivers of the race: Vettel and Alonso. Because they actually looked and acted like real race car drivers! That was good old fashion fun we have not see in a long long time.

    Whinging of the race award: Vettel and Alonso. LOL. At least both owned up after the race how silly their whinging was!

    Taking it easy on his tires award: Ricciardo – 36 laps on the options. RIC should also be thanking Alonso for holding up his teammate as long as he did, or Vettel would have come through for 3rd.

    In the wrong place at the wrong time award: Massa and after Australia, he should win it for the year as well.

    Flying over a curb and braking his suspension award (otherwise known as the Massa award after he broke 2 suspensions going over curbs in India ’12): Raikkonen. Maybe it’s the way that Ferrari sets up the second car? ;)

    White Car Slashing through the field award? Bottas in the Williams.

    Holding on for dear life award: Button and Ricciardo.

    Command/Option/Shift execute reboot reboot spinning wheel of death award: Rosberg.

    How not to line up for start award: Alonso going halfway pass his box. “I thought I was starting from P15 and a half!”

    Why did I bother to show up reward: Massa and Raikkonen with honorable mention to everyone else in the field not rewarded above. :)

  • UAN

    Anyone know why they started behind the safety car after the red flag? On Sky, they were saying that according to the rules, if there’s a red flag on the first lap, then the cars do a standing restart.

    • UAN,

      I believe it’s because Rosberg and maybe others had completed a lap, unlike Brundle’s Melbourne ’96 crash.

      http://www.fia.com/sites/default/files/regulation/file/1-2014%20SPORTING%20REGULATIONS%202014-02-28.pdf

      Article 42.5
      “The race will be resumed under the safety car when the green lights are illuminated. The safety car will enter the pits after one lap…”

      2014 rules make no distinction on whether tracked laps matter or not, so perhaps they’ve changed since ’96.

      • No one *had* completed a lap, had they? Curious, comparing now to back then. Regs must have changed.

        Apologies for the error.

  • David in seattle

    Miss of the race
    Macca, for waiting to twelve laps from the finish before giving Jensen the do ahead to chase RIC.
    They were too conservative, believing that daniel would Pitt. Jensen had plenty of tyre and could have at leased closed the gap earlier to cover the one stop.
    David

  • Go Ricci, Go Ricci, Go Ricci… (in a Riki Lake like chant)

  • Kit

    Man I knew that both Hulk and Perez were going to drift backwards, but not by that much.

    I hope that this is the worst of it for them. I’m holding out hope to see Hulkenberg get on a podium this season. (Can you tell that i’m a Incredible Hulk fan? Lol)

    • Me neither. Paul texted me and said to pay close attention to Hulk’s inability to hold the apex on any turn. I started seeing that thanks to a real racing driver pointing it out to me. :)

      • Kit

        Really? Wow. Was it because of this track or is this a common thing for Hulk?

        I remember hearing both you and Paul praising his ability to get around turns, or something like that last year in the Austin gp review.

  • For all of the Jenson bashing out there, he actually held on to 2 place for the whole first hour of the race….. Of course that soon changed when the cars started moving again.

    • I thought JB looked great but then I like JB, i think he’s good people. :)

  • What a fantastic race; the only way it could have been better was if Rosberg’s car held together for the brewing Merc battle, and as Todd mentioned if FOM had been more adept balancing camera cuts (Button on Ricciardo after Hamilton crossed the line, pit stops, more midfield goings-on during the brief lulls, etc.). Immediate post-viewing impressions:

    *This was the first time I recall the Red Bull looking the best chassis on the grid. Much slower overall than Merc, but the way it flowed through the esses and the final turn… So pointy, but settled in the back, riding the curbs as well as the Merc. No matter its drag, the car’s lack of consistenty-available power is killing it.

    *Wow, 1.8 seconds a lap, although admittedly a long one. With high laterals and fuel requirements and enough direction change and traction events to mix things up, just goes to show how much further ahead Merc is/should be at all tracks. I don’t think the gap’s shrunk at all from Aus.

    *Silverstone showed just how much aero grip the cars have lost. Red bull looked on rails Maggots-Chapel the last few years; not this year! Little course corrections and twitches.

    *The gear/KPH/ERS level graphics of Alonso v. Vettel during their battle, coinciding w/ the off boards, were illuminating. Both seemed to be shifting around the same points, both short geared compared to Merc, and both short shifting, perhaps to blunt abrupt delivery? What I found significant was how much more energy Alonso seemed to be recovering, reinforced by rain light flashing. It’s been noticeable before, but the side by side of Ferrari v. Renault shows how much less efficient the latter’s turbo/MGU-H strategy is. Aside: FOM’s improving its graphics and the timeliness of such; announcers need relate them to the race better.

    *What a battle Alonso v. Vettel. Each’s onboard going wheel to wheel down the straight (Hanger?) was nail biting. One could argue the whining for FIA’s benefit veered childish, but I’d do the same. Alonso doing a “Senna,” forcing Vettel to choose yielding or a shunt, Vettel finally forcing Alonso wide; That was car control and guts from drivers at their best.

    *Bottas, too, a gutsy drive through the field, and good race management. His radio calls about tire life are informative and concise. I didn’t think the Williams looked “good” in the long corners, its back end snapping all over; goes to show what I know. :/

    *I bet Raikkonen’s glad Ferrari retained a pullrod front; I wouldn’t have been surprised if a track rod would have punched through the monocoque into his feet otherwise. The Sky presenters (Kravitz?) said the short Ferrari nose might provide less protection than the finger noses, but I disagree; Raikkonen’s crash structure looked amazingly intact, the nose portion doing its job absorbing the energy in disintegration. Brundle’s comments of his pre-91 cars, his feet ahead of the front axle, were scary.

    *Lovely seeing Hamilton choked up in the cool room. Without excusing nor criticizing overall, seeing a driver overcome w/ emotion is a pleasant change.

    *And Pete Bonington, “Hammertime” again and “You can’t touch this” congratulations? I’m usually more into the car stuff, but found the character dramas and quirks compelling this race. F1 needs risk showing more personality and fun!

    *Kudos Silverstone, and Sky’s event coverage. Watching Herbert in M26/Hill in 49B (Gold Leaf!), the stunning Ms80 and Jackie Stewart reunited; Silverstone put on a great show for its fans, and Sky did fans with access a service showing us a sample. And what about Fangio’s W196, and Brundle’s ruminations on it? Kimi and the presenters lawnmower racing? Historical recounting of the BRDC? THIS is the sort of stuff we fans should have access to, F1’s history and the present’s role. in it All easily accessible if one knows to look, but if only there was a central site/channel for those curious, but less-committed…

    *Great passing, nail biting “will they/won’t they” chases throughout the field, some unexpected drama. Just a fun race to watch.

  • Quick addition: How great is it the tires are a non-talking point? Some cars find surprising advantage one compound v. the other, but overall, it’s a balancing act of short term speed v. stint length, and that’s it. Both can be hammered pretty hard. Wonderful.

    It’ll be interesting seeing how current suspension handles the 18″ tire test these next few days; I’d have thought the car need higher ride height and more compliance to compensate for the reduced sidewall, but perhaps not. Either way, no more tire blankets, a radical suspension philosophy change and perhaps a tire war sounds appealing to me.

  • Sam L.

    I seem to recall that the new noses this year were supposed to prevent what happened to Maldonado–or am I wrong on that?

  • Brody

    That’s 5 wins now for Lewis and 3 for Nico. He surely made alot of people at home happy, by winning the British GP..

  • Pass Alsono on vettel
    Donkey Kimi
    Drive Bottas What a drive, HM to Lewis and Alsono
    IF I was at Mclaren I would go after Bottas