Lewis Hamilton wins topsy turvy British GP as Rosberg loses second for radio faux pas
Lewis Hamilton won the British Grand Prix for the fourth time, in tricky conditions, to move within one points of Nico Rosberg in the drivers' stan...
Lewis Hamilton won the British Grand Prix for the fourth time, in tricky conditions, to move within one points of Nico Rosberg in the drivers' standings approaching the half way stage in the championship, 168 points to 167.
The stewards investigated Rosberg's radio messages after a gearbox problem and decided that the team had broken the rules by telling the German how to drive around the problem after resetting the software. He was docked 10 seconds which put him behind Verstappen in the finishing order.
As this is such a contentious subject and sets a precedent for future races, Mercedes are likely to appeal, to get the matter heard in more depth by a tribunal.
The race started behind the Safety Car due to standing water on track and ended in brilliant sunshine.
It was the first time a driver had won the British Grand Prix three years in a row since Jim Clark in the 1960s and was Hamilton's fourth win of the 2016 season. More importantly it was his fourth win in five races, giving him the clear momentum.
The race was characterised by the conditions but also the thrilling battles between Nico Rosberg and Max Verstappen for second place. The swapped places twice at either end of the race. Verstappen passed Rosberg on a damp track on slicks, while Rosberg came back through in the closing stages as Verstappen's rear tyres began to fade.
A heavy downpour before the start of the race, while the cars were on the grid and with 15 minutes to go, meant that the race started behind the Safety Car on full wet tyres.
Hamilton reported after the second lap that he felt the track was ready for intermediate tyres, but the Safety Car stayed out until the end of Lap 5.
When the race started, Hamilton took off while Rosberg came under pressure from Verstappen, who seemed more confident ion the conditions.
A host of cars pitted for intermediate tyres, led by Raikkonen, Bottas, Sainz, Hulkenberg, Alonso, Vettel, Grosjean, Gutierrez, Magnussen and Wehrlein, who went off on his out lap.
Ricciardo went to inters the lap later, emerging ahead of Raikkonen so retaining the track position.
Wehrlein's stranded car triggered the Virtual Safety Car and Mercedes pitted both cars for intermediates, as did Red Bull with Verstappen and Force India with Perez. It was a short lived VSC, but gave the leaders the golden opportunity to pit without losing positions.
Hamilton had a 4.5 second lead, while Verstappen dropped back from Rosberg due to a slow stop.
With everyone on intermediates from lap 9 onwards, Hamilton had the race under control, Perez had made real gains and was running fourth, ahead of Ricciardo.
Sainz was seventh behind Raikkonen, while Vettel had not managed to take advantage of the conditions or the VSC and was down in 12th place, having started 11th one place behind Perez.
Bottas spun on Lap 11, dropping from 9th place to 13th as the Williams again didn't enjoy the damp conditions. This has been a Williams weakness for some time.
Marcus Ericsson retired on Lap 12, with power unit issues, having been cleared to race by doctors following his accident in practice on Saturday.
The track continued to dry as the field raced on intermediate tyres and the lap times came down steadily. Silverstone dries quite quickly due to a combination of drainage and gusty winds.
Rosberg couldn't compete with Hamilton in these conditions and dropped up to a second per lap, while Verstappen reeled in the German. He and Hamilton were on a similar pace, while the rest of the pursuers were a second slower.
Raikkonen ran off the track on Lap 14, taking the escape road and allowing Sainz in 7th place to close up.
Alonso and Hulkenberg battled with Massa for 8th place, as Sainz pulled away.
By Lap 16 the track was drying out quickly and Verstappen said it was almost ready for slicks, as he set the fastest lap of the race to that point and began to harry Rosberg. He passed him around the outside into Becketts, a stunning move.
Vettel pitted for medium slicks on Lap 16, followed by Raikkonen and a raft of other midfield runners. Hamilton pitted for mediums on lap 17 and Verstappen did an extra lap, having been 6.9 secs behind the erstwhile leader.
Verstappen pitted a lap later for medium tyres, having led a lap, he rejoined second 7.5 secs behind, so the extra lap neither helped nor hindered him. Hamilton had been quick on the out lap, Rosberg less so and he dropped further behind.
Perez, meanwhile, had managed to hold onto the fourth place through that sequence of stops, some great work by Force India's strategy team again. He lost it to Ricciardo as the Red Bull asserted itself on the new slick tyres on a still damp track with its superior downforce.
Verstappen was very fast on the medium tyre after the stops, the lap times still around 5 seconds off the normal dry weather pace. Hamilton saw the danger and responded, holding the gap at 5.7 seconds.
On Lap 23 Rosberg began to come back at Verstappen, as Hamilton eased his pace in the lead, considering taking this set of tyres to the finish. Alonso spun off at Abbey while in 10th place, but managed to get the car going again and rejoined 14th, straight into a fight with Bottas and Nasr.
A lot of cars were struggling with Abbey corner, which was still damp; Hamilton and Verstappen both went off the road and rejoined, allowing Rosberg to close up so the top three on lap 29 were just five seconds apart. Rosberg moved into position to attack on Lap 31, after the Dutchman had problems lapping Esteban Gutierrez, complaining bitterly about the blue flags as he went.
The drivers were judging whether the tyres would make it to the end, which would be 35 laps on a set of mediums. Verstappen had done 32 laps of Barcelona on a set of mediums, a similar kind of high energy circuit.
Red Bull had shown good pace in Friday practice but also seemed to be struggling for tyre life and that began to show itself with 15 laps to go as the rears began to go away for the Dutchman. Rosberg didn't seem to be able to take advantage.
Hamilton did; he went up to 7.9 seconds clear, while Rosberg scythed past Verstappen into Stowe on Lap 38 for second place.
Rosberg hit problems with his gearbox, he was told to avoid seventh gear, shifting through it from sixth to eighth and this brought Verstappen back into the picture. The Mercedes team gave several direct instructions to Rosberg on what mode to set on the wheel to solve the problem, raising the question of whether this complied with the radio restrictions, which the stewards decided to look into.
Faced with a sudden gearbox malfunction, Mercedes clearly took the decision to tell Rosberg what to do and take any subsequent time penalty, rather than retire the car and gain no points. THe stewards called the team to explain after the race.
Meanwhile Verstappen finished 18 seconds ahead of Ricciardo, another powerful statement from the teenager and now Ricciardo needs to respond in Hungary, on a track where he has won before and which presents Red Bull with its best chance of a win since Spain.
Perez lost a place to Raikkonen, but sixth was still another excellent result for the Mexican, all thanks to that inspired piece of strategy which saw him play the probabilities gamma and pit with the leaders under the Virtual Safety Car.
BRITISH GRAND PRIX, Silverstone, 52 laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1h34m55.831s
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull 8.250s
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 16.911s * deducted 10 seconds for infrigement
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 26.211s
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m09.743s
6 Sergio Perez Force India 1m16.941s
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m17.212s
8 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1m25.858s
9 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m31.654s
10 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1m32.600s
11 Felipe Massa Williams 1 Lap
12 Jenson Button McLaren 1 Lap
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1 Lap
14 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1 Lap
15 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1 Lap
16 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 1 Lap
17 Kevin Magnussen Renault 3 Laps
- Jolyon Palmer Renault Retirement
- Rio Haryanto Manor Spun off
- Romain Grosjean Haas Retirement
- Marcus Ericsson Sauber Retirement
- Pascal Wehrlein Manor Spun off
Alonso says McLaren's race nothing to be proud of
Vettel: Ferrari “not quick enough, simple as that”
Lewis Hamilton wins topsy turvy British GP as Rosberg loses second for radio faux pas
|FP1||Fri 25 Oct|| |
|FP2||Fri 25 Oct|| |
|FP3||Sat 26 Oct|| |
|QU||Sat 26 Oct|| |
|Race||Sun 27 Oct|| |