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British Grand Prix: Hamilton Times it Right to Take third Career win at Silverstone

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British Grand Prix: Hamilton Times it Right to Take third Career win at Silverstone
Jul 5, 2015, 4:43 PM

Lewis Hamilton survived an onslaught from Williams and the vagaries of the British weather to score his third career victory in the British Grand ...

Lewis Hamilton survived an onslaught from Williams and the vagaries of the British weather to score his third career victory in the British Grand Prix.

Hamilton's first Silverstone success from pole position came despite giving up his start-line advantage to Felipe Massa and then Valtteri Bottas and following a late rain shower. The victory was the 38th of the Briton's career and his fifth this season so far.

It was an eventful and thoroughly entertaining race, with the issue in doubt until the final 10 laps, by which time Hamilton had dealt with two safety car periods, a virtual safety car and picked the perfect moment to switch to intermediate tyres as patchy rain fell across the Northamptonshire circuit.

Behind Hamilton, Nico Rosberg made it a sixth one-two for Mercedes after a similarly battling performance during which he spent much of the first half staring at Hamilton's gearbox in fourth before charging through to second in the late race damp conditions.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - British Grand Prix - Race Day - Silverstone, England

Hamilton's win means he has extended his championship lead to 17 points over Rosberg.

“I think for the first time in my career I made the perfect choice tyre-wise,” Hamilton said. “I'm really, really happy with that and just managed to keep the car going. I'm so elated, you can't imagine how happy I am.

“I started to tear up on that last lap just hoping I could hold on to it for you guys. I'm going to keep pushing for this championship - now let's party!

“To be honest my clutch was good, it's just that we had quite poor grip at the start. I think it was particularly the same for Nico. It made the race even more exciting, to be honest, and we just kept pushing. If I'm honest that probably made it more exciting for the fans.”

His team-mate was grateful for the late flurry of rain, though he was convinced at the time that Hamilton had made the wrong call.

“I was thankful when the rain came,” said Rosberg. “I was able to attack and pass both Williams and close on Lewis a lot. I was hoping it would stay like that and I thought I could attack Lewis at some point.

“Then Lewis boxed and I was pretty sure it was the wrong call," Rosberg added. "It was still touch and go at that time, so I was actually quite happy that he boxed. But it was the right call in the end - it started raining more on that lap, so that was it.

“I had to take that chance, because just following Lewis into the box is a definite lose for me, so I might as well stay out for one more lap at least and it didn't work out.”

Sebastian Vettel was a delighted third for Ferrari, the four-time world champion a bit part player for much of the afternoon until he vaulted from fifth to the podium in the late stages after matching Hamilton's perfect timing in making the switch to intermediate tyres on lap 43.

“It's not a gift, Santa didn't wave me into the pits,” said Vettel. “It was our decision, and obviously not a lot of people got it right - we did, that was our choice and that's what we achieved. It's a tough call to make - if it rains some cars are already pitting and you think about it, but if the circuit is dry in most places there's no point. 

“Then I came out of Chapel and noticed a lot more rain, I was looking at the clouds all the laps before, and I thought that's the lap to go. The rain was more intense, proper rain, not drizzle.”

After enlivening the race with a pair of perfect getaways, Williams had to settle for fourth and fifth at the finish for Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas. Massa and Bottas made blistering getaways to head Hamilton and Rosberg through turn one.

Hamilton got past Bottas but then lost the place to the Finn after mistiming an attack on Massa after the first safety car restart on lap three.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - British Grand Prix - Race Day - Silverstone, England

Williams allowed their drivers to race in the early stages and, with Bottas seemingly comfortable behind Massa and asking his team for an easy pass on the Brazilian, the team instead instructed their drivers that they were allowed to race.

A frustrated Bottas couldn't find a way past and Hamilton played a watching brief in the run to the first and only schedule stop of the afternoon. Hamilton got on to the hard Pirelli on lap 20 of 52 and pieced together the perfect lap to grab the lead when Massa stopped the following lap.

Massa just clung on to second from Bottas after the pit stops with Rosberg a worried fourth and seemingly unable to find a way past the Grove cars in dry conditions.

The rain clouds eventually edged into the Luffield-Woodcote section of the circuit after 36 laps but with most of the track still bone dry as the rain slowly developed in intensity, picking the right time to stop was key.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - British Grand Prix - Race Day - Silverstone, England

Kimi Raikkonen stopped earliest of the leading runners but by the time the rain really started drenching most of the circuit his inters were well worn. Hamilton had had a couple of moments but stayed on track to time the switch to perfection with Vettel on lap 43.

As Williams struggled in the damp conditions on slicks and intermediates, Rosberg blossomed, turning fastest laps to fight his way to second.

Behind Vettel, Massa cruised home a slightly miffed fourth, with Bottas dropping back into the clutches of Daniil Kvyat in the last lap but just hanging on to fifth.

The Force India squad produced a double points finish with their new B-spec machine produced in the factory across the road from the circuit entrance. Nico Hulkenberg started ninth, ran fifth after a lightning getaway and eventually dropped back to a satisfying seventh at the finish.

His team-mate Sergio Perez started 11th and ran ahead of Vettel's slow starting Ferrari in the early stages before slipping back to an eventual ninth behind Raikkonen, whose early pit visit for intermediates was a gamble which failed to pay off.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - British Grand Prix - Race Day - Silverstone, England

Final points scorer was Fernando Alonso, who finally got on the 2015 scoreboard for McLaren Honda on a tough weekend for the Woking sqaud who lost Jenson Button on the first lap when the two Lotuses clashed, sending Alonso into a tank slapper which pitched him sideways into Button's path.

Alonso's front wing was damaged in the incident but he was otherwise unscathed and the late rain played to his advantage as he found a way past Marcus Ericsson for the final point.

Ericsson was an agonising 11th, the Swede the only representative of Sauber after Felipe Nasr stopped on his lap to the grid before the start with a suspected gearbox problem.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - British Grand Prix - Race Day - Silverstone, England

The final finishers were the Manor pairing of Roberto Merhi and Will Stevens, the latter somewhat fortunate to see the chequered flag after swiping his front wing off with a few laps to go in the wet conditions.

It was a race of attrition. Lotus were out before a lap was completed, Pastor Maldonado careering into team mate Romain Grosjean after appearing to receive a tap on his front right wheel by Daniel Ricciardo.

The latter retired to the Red Bull garage after 23 laps while both Toro Rossos failed to see the flag. Max Verstappen had a spectacular spin into the wall after three laps, Carlos Sainz stopping in less spectacular fashion on track after 31 laps.

British Grand Prix - 52 laps

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1h31m27.729s

2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 10.956s

3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 25.443s

4 Felipe Massa Williams 36.839s

5 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m03.194s

6 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1m03.955s

7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m18.744s

8 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1 Lap

9 Sergio Perez Force India 1 Lap

10 Fernando Alonso McLaren1 Lap

11 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1 Lap

12 Roberto Merhi Marussia 3 Laps

13 Will Stevens Marussia 3 Laps

- Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso Retired

- Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Retired

- Max Verstappen Toro Rosso Spun

- Pastor Maldonado Lotus Collision

- Jenson Button McLaren Collision

- Romain Grosjean Lotus Collision

- Felipe Nasr Sauber DNS

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After running 1-2, Massa finished 4th and Bottas 5th at Silverstone

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After running 1-2, Massa finished 4th and Bottas 5th at Silverstone

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Sahara Force India scored eight points in today’s British GP

Sahara Force India scored eight points in today’s British GP
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