Mercedes AMG Petronas had a race of mixed fortunes as Lewis Hamilton dominated to take the win whilst after the race Nico Rosberg is investigated by the stewards. Hamilton made the most of the changing conditions at Silverstone to claim his fourth British Grand Prix win and also has closed the gap to teammate Rosberg in the championship standings to just four points. It could get even closer for Hamilton as Rosberg could receive a time penalty for radio messages between himself and the team about a gearbox issue.
The race was started under the safety car after a fairly heavy rain shower occurred just prior to the race start, the first five laps were run at the slower pace before the field were allowed to start racing. The drivers were discussing tyre change possibilities during the safety car period. A number of the drivers switched to the intermediate tyres as soon as the safety car peeled into the pit lane but the leading cars stayed out on track for a few extra laps. The drivers who stayed out were rewarded by being able to pit under a virtual safety car after Pascal Wehrlein spun out on his intermediate tyres at the first corner after aquaplaning.
Max Verstappen showed his pace once more by completing the podium with the two Mercedes drivers. He pulled off an amazing move on Rosberg on the exit of the Becketts complex and the entrance into Chapel, he drew alongside the Mercedes driver and briefly took second place. Rosberg managed to get revenge on the Dutchman later in the race when the track began drying out, he repassed Verstappen at the end of the Hanger Straight by driving around the outside into Stowe Corner. Verstappen was unable to take advantage of the issues Rosberg began suffering with as he had to slow with gearbox issues. The messages between Rosberg and the team are under investigation as Stewards suspect the communication could be classed as ‘driver coaching’ which is now not allowed during the race.
Turn one showed to be tricking out some of the drivers as the outside line where they turn in stayed damp for the majority of the race. Hamilton and Verstappen were among many drivers who had off track excursions at the corner although the only two casualties in the corner were the two Manor Racing teammates of Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto.
Behind the leading cars Daniel Ricciardo found himself stuck behind Sahara Force India’s Sergio Perez early in the race. The Mexican driver was able to pit under the virtual safety car but after clearing Perez the Australian had a lonely race to finish fourth. Kimi Raikkonen also managed to pass Perez during the final stages of the race but the Scuderia Ferrari driver would no doubt have been disappointed to finish over forty seconds behind Red Bull Racing’s Ricciardo to take fifth. Perez held off teammate Nico Hulkenberg at the flag with just 0.771 seconds separating the Force India drivers. Carlos Sainz Jr survived a few moments on the circuit during the race to take eighth place.
Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was not able to do any better than finish in ninth place even after being the first driver to change from Intermediate tyres to the medium slick tyres. Vettel was one of the drivers caught out at turn one where he lost a number of seconds after spinning. He also took a five second penalty after being blamed for forcing Felipe Massa off the circuit at turn three when the duo battled for the position. The penalty did not affect Vettel’s finishing position as he finished 5.946 seconds ahead of Daniil Kvyat who has continued his 100% record of scoring points in the British GP with tenth for the Toro Rosso team.
Felipe Massa took the gamble of making a third pit stop to change from medium tyres to softs and managed to make up a few positions in the final laps of the race. He was unable to get better than an eleventh place finish. Fellow Williams Martini Racing driver Valtteri Bottas struggled throughout the whole race and only managed to finish in fourteenth. Jenson Button finished ahead of teammate Fernando Alonso in twelfth with the latter taking thirteenth. The Spanish driver took the wildest trip through turn one which saw him have a double spin and ending up against the barriers. He was able to recover through the gravel trap without losing too much time during the process. Sauber’s Felipe Nasr was the only driver to finish the race which was down in fifteenth. The final finisher on the road was Esteban Gutierrez for the Haas F1 team down in sixteenth.
Renault Sport F1’s Kevin Magnussen retired in the pits with just a few laps of the race left to run so was classified in seventeenth. Teammate Jolyon Palmer also retired from the race but he was suffering with gearbox issues after running at the back of the field at his home GP. During the race the Brit also had to serve a ten second stop and go penalty after the team released him in the pit lane with just three wheels on his RS16, which is deemed to be releasing a car in a dangerous manner.
As well as both of the two Manor Racing drivers crashing out of the race there were a couple of retirements. One of which was Romain Grosjean, he pulled his Haas F1 car off the circuit at Copse corner. The other being Marcus Ericsson who after being deemed fit to race had to end his race early due to engine issues.
Nobody was able to take Hamilton’s third consecutive victory around Silverstone, this being his fourth win in total around the Northamptonshire circuit. Fans were seen and hear cheering and jumping around celebrating as the British driver took the chequered flag.
©Fay Tilley 10th July 2016.