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2017 F1 Grand Prix of Britain — Results & aftermath

Hamilton supreme at Silverstone for 4th consecutive home victory; Bottas fights back for P2 as Ferrari suffers from late tire woes — Raikkonen recovers for P3 but Vettel plummets

After laying down a record time for pole at the British Grand Prix, Mercedes’ ace Lewis Hamilton sailed away at the start of Sunday’s race and never looked back. Badly needing a victory after a run of bad luck & mediocre performance, Silverstone was just the tonic he needed as Hamilton dominated his home Grand Prix yet again, winning for the fourth consecutive time and fifth overall. That tied the talented Englishman with F1 legends Jim Clark and Alain Prost for most British victories all time. After disappointing his countrymen with his inexplicable no-show for Thursday’s F1 London Live fan fest all was forgiven as Hamilton won easily in front of the packed Silverstone grandstands. The expected early race dice with two pursuing Ferrari never materialized. Hamilton’s start was simply so quick and his mastery of this circuit so complete that he never had to worry about falling into the clutches of the Prancing Horses, which wound up having to fend off other competitors of their own instead.

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

With the Scuderia’s pilots Kimi Raikkonen starting from P2 and Sebastian Vettel P3 on the grid, Raikkonen got a decent enough getaway to maintain his position but Vettel quickly found himself in a battle with the very game and fired up Red Bull of Max Verstappen. In fact, Verstappen out-hustled Vettel for that P3 position in the opening laps, giving as good as he got in pushing the 4-time world champion wide to maintain his advantage. Vettel finally recovered on pit strategy when his team executed flawlessly to allow him to undercut the Red Bull man, who had a slower service due to a slightly unkempt tire change. So by the time the pit stops were made by the elite group in this nominal one-stop race it all seemed to be setting up to finish just as they had started: Hamilton, Raikkonen, Vettel. But Hamilton’s wingman Valtteri Bottas had other ideas.


Starting from back in P9 after a subpar qualifying effort and a 5-spot grid penalty for a gearbox change, Bottas, the winner of the Austrian GP two weeks ago, used an alternate strategy by beginning the race on the harder Soft compound Pirellis, which enabled him to run long into the race with a minimal loss of performance relative to the other Supersoft runners. By the time the Finn came in on Lap 33 he had regained a massive amount of track position. That put him in the hunt for a podium right behind Vettel in P4. He pressed his tire advantage cooly but relentlessly, forcing Vettel to defend fiercely. Vettel had a smoking lock up trying to keep Bottas behind on Lap 42 and on Lap 43 Bottas out-dragged him on the Hanger Straight and made it stick into Stowe. Now Bottas turned his attention to Raikkonen down the road clearly thinking of making it a Mercedes 1-2, however unlikely that might have seemed before the race.


And with Bottas taking chunks of time off of his fellow Finn, trouble hit the Ferraris with the laps winding down. First Raikkonen’s front left started to delaminate, forcing him to pit on Lap 50 of the 51 lap contest and seemingly destroying his chance at a podium. But then the same misfortune befell his teammate Vettel on the final lap of the race only in more explosive fashion with a major disintegration of his left front. So despite his own misfortune, Raikkonen benefitted from his teammate’s even more ill-timed one, passing him back for that P3 while Vettel’s late emergency stop caused him to plummet down the order. The main beneficiary was Bottas, who had driven a brilliant race to be in position to exploit Ferrari’s double misfortune and therefore inherited a stunning P2. Raikkonen held on for the last podium position at P3 and despite his disappointment was nowhere near as distraught as his teammate Vettel, who plunged all the way down to P7 with his ill-timed tire woes. That finish combined with Hamilton’s overall victory saw Vettel’s lead in the drivers’ Championship dwindle to a single point, 177-176. And with Mercedes unlocking more and more performance out of their F1 W08 chassis to the tune of the last 6 poles in-a-row the storied Scuderia has got to be feeling trepidatious about their chances as the season heads into its second half.

Elsewhere in the race, Red Bull were among the other key beneficiaries of Vettel’s problems. Verstappen, who must have been thrilled to finally see the checkered flag after a string of DNFs this season, came home a solid P4. His teammate Daniel Ricciardo chipped in with an amazing run of his own, fighting back from P19 on the grid after a turbo failure in qualifying to methodically pick off inferior cars and work himself up the order. He eventually came home a remarkable P5 and if he had a bit of luck finishing that high who could begrudge the hard-charging Aussie after such a compelling drive? Also thrilled with his result was Nico Hulkenberg, who qualified P7 in his normally pokey Renault and finished way up in P6. The factory Renault team’s upgrades, most notably a new floor that enables the rest of the aero to work more efficiently, appears to be really paying off even if reliability is still a big bugaboo for the bright yellow cars — Hulkenberg had to nurse his ride home with late-race ERS issues and hard luck teammate Jolyon Palmer was out on the formation lap with hydraulic issues.

Force India had yet another good points haul even if they were never in the mix for glory. Their two cars finished behind Vettel and off the lead lap, with Esteban Ocon pipping his teammate Sergio Perez, P8 to P9. Felipe Massa got the last point paying position with P10, salvaging something out of a tough weekend for the illustrious English Williams F1 team at their home GP.

Top 10 finishers for the British GP:

1 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 51 1:21:27.430 25
2 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 51 +14.063s 18
3 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 51 +36.570s 15
4 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 51 +52.125s 12
5 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 51 +65.955s 10
6 27 Nico Hulkenberg RENAULT 51 +68.109s 8
7 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 51 +93.989s 6
8 31 Esteban Ocon FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 50 +1 lap 4
9 11 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 50 +1 lap 2
10 19 Felipe Massa WILLIAMS MERCEDES 50 +1 lap 1

Complete race results available via Formula1.com.

The next race is in two weeks time from the Hungaroring in Budapest. Can Hamilton keep a good thing going to overhaul Vettel in the Championship at the last race before the summer break? Hope to see you then to find out!

2017 F1 Grand Prix of Britain — Qualifying results

Hamilton runs to record pole in home Grand Prix; Raikkonen takes P2 besting Vettel in P3

Lewis Hamilton got back in the good graces of his home fans after being the only driver to skip the London F1 Live fan fest earlier this week by setting a blistering record pole time at Silverstone in the UK on Saturday. The Mercedes ace bested his nearest pursuer, Ferrrai’s Kimi Raikkonen by half a second, setting the fastest ever F1 lap at Silverstone and capturing his 5th pole at this venerable airfield circuit, which ties the great Jim Clark for most British GP poles all-time. After his fourth place finish last weekend in Austria, where his ambitions for a win were hampered by grid penalties and poor qualifying, this P1 start in front of his countrymen has to be just the tonic Hamilton needs to improve his chances in the championship fight. He must also have breathed a huge sigh of relief for not getting sanctioned for potentially blocking Haas’ Romain Grosjean in Q3. So it’s all looking good for Lewis to get back to his winning ways come Sunday. And then it will really be all-is-forgiven with the disappointed English fans.

Raikkonen bested his usually superior teammate Sebastian Vettel for only the third time in qualifying this season and will start from P2 on the grid to Vettel’s P3. Vettel was irate at his lack of pace compared to the Mercedes but Ferrari the team will have a decided advantage over the Silver Arrows come race day. This is because despite qualifying P4 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas will face a 5-spot grid penalty of his own for a gearbox change. So the same bugaboo that bit Hamilton in Austria, a race Bottas went on to win from pole after a miracle start, has hit the other Mercedes car. That means Bottas will have to start P9 and will be hard pressed to make it to the front and be a useful ally to Hamilton against the attacks of two well-placed Prancing Horses.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen had the fifth fastest time but is promoted to P4 after Bottas’ penalty. The hard luck that has often befallen the young Dutchman this season struck his teammate Daniel Ricciardo instead. Ricciardo suffered a turbo failure in Q1 and will have to start from the last row alongside Fernando Alonso, who was levied a ridiculous amount of grid positions this week for changes made to his McLaren. Nico Hulkenberg was very impressive in dragging his pokey factory Renault up to qualify P6 and will start from P5. The two Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon qualified P7 and P8 respectively and will start P6 & P7. McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne was the last to leapfrog the penalized Bottas and will better his P9 time by one to start P8. The unhappy Grosjean, feeling hard done by both Hamilton’s blocking and the stewards’ lack of punishment, will start from P10.

Top 10 qualifiers for the British GP:

1 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:39.069 1:27.893 1:26.600 25
2 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 1:40.455 1:28.992 1:27.147 26
3 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 1:39.962 1:28.978 1:27.356 24
4 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 1:39.698 1:28.732 1:27.376 26
5 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:38.912 1:29.431 1:28.130 23
6 27 Nico Hulkenberg RENAULT 1:39.201 1:29.340 1:28.856 21
7 11 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:42.009 1:29.824 1:28.902 26
8 31 Esteban Ocon FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:39.738 1:29.701 1:29.074 25
9 2 Stoffel Vandoorne MCLAREN HONDA 1:40.011 1:30.105 1:29.418 24
10 8 Romain Grosjean HAAS FERRARI 1:42.042 1:29.966 1:29.549 26

Complete qualifying results available via Formula1.com.

Tomorrow’s race airs live on CNBC at 8AM Eastern here in the States. Can Lewis Hamilton regain momentum in the title chase and defend his home turf against the points-leading Vettel?  Can Mercedes find a way to move Bottas up the order to fend off Ferrari’s Constructors ambitions? And, of course, can the notoriously fickle Midlands weather throw some surprises into play? Hope to see you then find out!

2016 F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain — Results and aftermath

Hamilton triumphs for 3rd straight win at Silverstone; Rosberg loses P2 to Red Bull’s Verstappen on radio penalty

In a remarkable race in front of his countrymen and with typically rainy English summer weather as a key subplot, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton triumphed over the elements and his rivals, taking a remarkable third consecutive victory at the historic Silverstone circuit in Great Britain. Not only did Hamilton beat his points-leading teammate, Nico Rosberg, but he continued to ratchet up the pressure on the German contender by taking victory in four out of the last five contests. Hamilton even got a bonus — and Rosberg another psychological blow — when the stewards penalized Rosberg and his race engineers for disclosing too much “driver coaching” information over the radio late in the Grand Prix when he had a problem with 7th gear. The 10-second time penalty subsequently imposed meant that P2 went to Red Bull’s wunderkind, Max Verstappen, rather than to Rosberg’s true positional second-place finish, doubly galling for the Mercedes driver, as he had spent so much of the second half of the race trying to get by Verstappen. After his win at the British GP, Hamilton now sits only one slim point behind Rosberg in the Drivers’ Championship and also seems to have the lucky breaks back on his side again. With only two contests remaining before the long August break, Rosberg has got to try to recapture the momentum that propelled him to four straight wins to start the year, lest his fragile psyche crumbles in the face of Hamilton’s typically ruthless onslaught.

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

For Verstappen and Red Bull, Rosberg’s technical misfortune was their boon. The 18-year-old Dutchman and his RB-12 chassis excelled in the wet conditions that prevailed in the early part of the contest. With a little more oomph from the “Tag Heuer” (really a beefed-up Renault) engine, it’s possible that the Red Bulls could be a legitimate threat for victories against the mighty Silver Arrows. And Verstappen is certainly living up to the hype despite his tender years. With more wet weather performances like the drive he put in at Silverstone, Verstappen could well inherit the “Rain Meister” title that has been in mothballs since Michael Schumacher’s retirement. Daniel Ricciardo was again not as fast as his precocious teammate and something about his demeanor seems to have darkened considerably since his massive disappointment at Monaco this year when poor pit work by the team literally threw certain victory away. The normally ebullient Aussie did manage a solid 4th-place finish but his 18-second deficit to Vertappen extinguished his normally electric smile.


Ferrari had another tough race weekend and must be wondering if their early season improvements have been caught up by the other teams. Continue reading

2016 F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain — Qualifying results

Mercedes lockout front row at Silverstone as Hamilton tops Rosberg for pole; Wunderkind Max Verstappen qualifies P3 for Red Bull

Lewis Hamilton continued applying the pressure to his points-leading Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg, with a blistering lap to take pole late in the third Qualifying session on Saturday at legendary Silverstone. Performing in front of his English countrymen in the stands, Hamilton scrambled for the top time after seeing his previous fast lap deleted for exceeding track limits. That issue seems to bedevil both stewards and drivers with certain efforts being penalized for the track limits violation while others went unscathed for seemingly the same infraction. In any event, Hamilton pulled one out of the bag late in Q3 and pipped his teammate for the top starting spot in tomorrow’s race. Coming a week after the two Silver Arrows came together on the last lap of the Austrian GP and Rosberg saw victory slip away to his archival, Hamilton will be looking to pull ahead of his German teammate in the points and earn his third straight victory at Silverstone.

Red Bull’s wunderkind Max Verstappen out-qulaified his more senior teammate Daniel Ricciardo, P3 to P4. Newly re-signed Kimi Raikkonen bested his Ferrari teammate, Sebastian Vettel, P5 to P6 and worse for Vettel, he faces yet another 5-spot grid penalty for a gearbox change. After a bright start, Vettel’s 2016 season has devolved into a long, tough slog with a series of crashes, technical DNFs and other issues hampering the 4-time world champ’s aspirations to take it to Mercedes.

Valtteri Bottas ran well enough for the seventh-fastest time despite the Williams’ chronic lack of downforce. Carlos Sainz took P8 for for Toro Rosso, Nico Hulkenberg was P9 for Force India and Fernando Alonso qualified P10 for improving McLaren. All three of those drivers will move up one spot due to Vettel’s penalty, with Sergio Perez of Force India inheriting the last top 10 starting spot on the grid.

Marcus Ericsson of Sauber had a scary crash in practice that necessitated a trip to the hospital for further evaluation. Ericsson is questionable for tomorrow’s race start pending more medical tests. Continue reading

2015 F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain — Results & aftermath

With late rain at Slverstone Hamilton times it perfectly to hold off all comers; Rosberg settles for a forlorn 2nd place but Vettel grabs a fortuitous podium

All race weekend the weather at the famed Silverstone circuit had been absolutely perfect with plentiful sun and balmy temperatures. But with 16 laps remaining in the British Grand Prix the skies turned dark and rain began to spatter half of the track in a more typical display of English summer weather. That meant it was judgement time for the pit wall strategists, as well as the contenders for the win at the front of the race. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikonnen was the first to make the call to gamble on Intermediate wet tires on Lap 39 but it proved to be a wager made too soon and the Finn made no ground in mixed conditions. By Lap 43, however, the intensity of the precipitation picked up and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton dove into pits to make the switch after several squirmingly slow laps. By the time he exited after his service, the skies opened up and Hamilton seized the opportunity, building a gap on his teammate Nico Rosberg, who had stayed out on dry tires and only pitted on Lap 45. It all broke right for the Englishman at that moment and the racing gods had smiled on Hamilton once again at his home Grand Prix. In that decisive moment, he had essentially won at Silverstone for the 3rd time, a very exclusive club. And so he marched home to a dominant win amidst the hearty cheers of his countrymen, the beneficiary of good timing and good luck. But then, luck is the residue of design and after blowing a sure win in Monaco it would be hard to argue he wasn’t owed one after all.

Photos courtesy GrandPrix247.com

Photos courtesy GrandPrix247.com

It was hardly Hamilton’s and Mercedes’ usual uncontested victory. Team Williams had a storming start to the race with both Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas overtaking Hamilton and Rosberg directly off the starting line. For a while it seemed as if Frank Williams’ legendary British team could hold off mighty Mercedes and pull the upset. But it wasn’t to be. With Bottas looking the faster of their drivers team Williams did not issue any team orders to have Massa cede the lead to his junior teammate and that seemed to enable Mercedes to keep close despite their unusual starting hiccup. So when the first round of stops came, Hamilton was ideally poised to leapfrog both of the Williams with a typically sterling Mercedes stop. And that was exactly how it played out. Hamilton had a blistering out lap and was able to come around ahead of both Massa and Rosberg after they pitted simultaneously a lap later, as well as Bottas a lap after that. Even worse for Williams, when the rains did come they stayed out too long on slicks while Ferrari called in Sebastian Vettel to change to Intermediates. While their early call with Raikonnen didn’t pay off, the call for Vettel did in spades. Suddenly, in a race in which the German’s Prancing Horse had been nowhere, Vettel was able to reel in several positions including his teammate and both Williams to practically steal the last step on the podium with a fortuitous P3. The unlucky guinea pig Raikonnen finished P8.

That left Williams asking what might have been and relegated Massa to P4 and Bottas to P5. They have got to be cursing the unwanted rain. But they may also be second-guessing their strategy calls earlier in the race and whether they should have let the racy Bottas scoot on by Massa and try to build a gap against Mercedes that might have held up amidst all the whether-related chaos. Continue reading

2015 F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain — Qualifying results

Hamilton grabs historic Pole at Silverstone, Rosberg P2; Massa 3rd fatstest in Quali for Williams

Englishman Lewis Hamilton thrilled the home crowd on Saturday by putting together a blisteringly fast lap at Silverstone to claim Pole for Sunday’s British Grand Prix. The current reigning World Champion and this year’s points leader, who only just turned 30 on July 1st, grabbed his 3rd Silverstone Pole and 46th overall, surpassing Sebastian Vettel for 3rd all-time. Hamilton now trails only Michael Schumacher (68) and Ayrton Senna (65) in the history of F1 Qualifying. Even sweeter, the performance also saw him besting his Mercedes teammate and archrival Nico Rosberg by .12 seconds. After the session the German challenger complained agitatedly of understeer late in Q3, just when he needed the maximum performance out of the car. Whether that was excuse making or an actual technical problem, Rosberg was left hoping for a repeat of his impressive performance in the Austrian Grand Prix two weeks ago where he also started from P2 on the grid but overtook Hamilton on track for the victory. But with Hamilton’s historic dominance in this his home race it’s a bit harder to envision Rosberg duplicating that feat tomorrow.

Team Williams out-performed Ferrari with their qualifying pace on the flat, fast former WWII airfield circuit, with the veteran Felipe Massa edging his Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas, P3 to P4. With the heat on Kimi Raikkonen after a season-long slump and two disastrous efforts in Canada and Austria, the Finnish former world champ was spurred to out-do his usually superior Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel, taking P4 to Vettel’s P5. It remains to be seen if Raikkonen can keep it together in a race, however, and it seems almost certain that his days at Maranello are numbered. Continue reading