Silverstone seemed to be all about Lewis Hamilton. His pole lap, his great start, his clear lead over Vettel, his tire exploding and his comeback drive. Pretty heady stuff when delivered in front of a partisan home crowd. Yes Rosberg won but no union jack wearing Brit cared. Vettel seemed to be scum as far as the Brits were concerned. When his leading Red Bull croaked exiting Luffield, the Brits in attendance (and probably around the country) roared their approval – great stuff. The adopted Brit, local resident, Mark Webber was cheered as he ran down Rosberg and looked only a lap from snatching victory. If his start wasn’t scum (he fell from 2nd row to 12th by the first corner), Webber would have won.
How unfortunate for Hamilton that his tire exploded at the wrong time. How fortunate for Hamilton that his McLaren relationship exploded at the right time. That put him in the wrong place at the wrong time when the tire exploded. Or conversely in the right place at the right time when the tire explosions stop and his instinct-reflex brilliance can be rewarded when his Mercedes learns to not consume rear tires at its current rate. At least he was leading when it happened at Silverstone and ironically leading a lot when he was at McLaren – great stuff.
Williams celebrated 600 grand Prix races at Silverstone. Everyone in the pit lane was pulling for Frank to have a good weekend…but he had to earn it the hard way. No one provided any favors as the team struggled. It was a kick for me to see my name on the Willie pit wall as having contributed to the 600 races. I was there when Clay Regazzoni won the first race for Williams in 1979 at Silverstone– great stuff.
Pirelli was hammered for providing exploding tires at Silverstone. That’s not really true, it just appeared that way. Pirelli wanted to test and develop their tires and modify if necessary but unbelievably that requires a unanimous vote of agreement from all the teams. Have you ever known all teams in any sport to unanimously agree to anything? Pirelli wanted to replace the steel-belted radials with a Kevlar-belted example but were blocked by Force India and Lotus (because they liked how the tires behaved on their cars as they were). Despite not having the ‘official blessing’ of the teams they changed the construction anyway but their cover was blown when the Kevlar belt bits flew far and wide when the tires exploded – ouch. The FIA rode to the rescue when they deemed any changes to be acceptable on the grounds of safety – interesting stuff.
One weekend later we were in Germany armed with new and better Pirellis with an attached instruction booklet given to all the teams telling them the specific tire pressure and camber parameters that they were to use – sounds a lot like NASCAR in the past to me. Hamilton was again the story in Germany – not as big a story but there nonetheless. Mainly because of his brilliant qualifying lap that put his Mercedes on the pole – in front of the German crowd. Vettel however was the ultimate master; master of the great start, master of running at the front, master team during pit stops, and master of making all the difficulties of the team fall on Webber’s car. During a Webber pit stop a loose wheel mowed down a cameraman who was lucky not to be killed. Webber gathered himself together and did the best he could while Vettel motored to another win – great stuff.
The drivers threatened to boycott the German race if they deemed that the tire situation had become too dangerous. They were never going to get solidarity for such a move. Kimi distanced himself immediately from such a suggestion saying he will do and race where he likes – no one doubts that.
Bernie also turned up in Germany despite a Germany indictment for bribery hanging over his head. You can be sure that if Bernie was in the paddock, he knew he could not be touched by any German in a trench coat.
Ferrari has fallen off the boil again. Doing it at this stage will almost guarantee that they will not beat the Brit based teams to the world championship. Massa is again in the spotlight for what he is not able to do on track – run fast and score points consistently. I can’t see him making it through the filter at the end of this year. His career might well be over.