It was a feast of brilliant overtaking at Silverstone with immaculate passes into Brooklands, Luffield, Copse, Stowe and Club:
|STAR OF THE RACE|
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1st
Given the kind of start he got in Austria last time out, it was always likely that Lewis would have clear sight of his team-mate early in the race. And rather than put the hammer down straight away, he sat back and let the gap to Rosberg go out before pegging it back.
Yet again he got the faulty pit-stop, 4.1 seconds compared to 2.7, but on the hard tyre he was over a second quicker than Rosberg. However by then Nico had got his downshift problem, (although Nico still claimed a Fastest Lap on Lap 21 with the problem). It was one of those days when Hamilton looked totally dialled in, and Rosberg's retirement spoiled what could have been a lot of fun. One more retirement for Nico and a few duff tyre stops and the team-mates will have parity. Rosberg's absence allowed us to watch the battle of Alonso vs Vettel, whereas if he'd continued we'd be watching two silver arrows duke it out and recalling Mansell vs Piquet in '87 (as if that doesn't happen enough).
Overtaking Move of the Race
Lap 35: Fernando Alonso on Sebastian Vettel for P5
On a day when there were some spectacular overtaking moves all round the circuit the battle of Alonso vs Vettel took top billing. Alonso had already dispatched Magnussen into Copse, Ricciardo around the outside of Club and was homing in on Jenson Button's fourth place. When Vettel emerged from his second pit-stop, just in front of Alonso on fresh tyres, it looked as though the four-times World Champion only needed to keep in front down the Wellington Straight till Brooklands and that would be job done. Alonso had other ideas.
The Luffield complex of corners allows drivers to take varying lines through Woodcote and out onto the old start/finish straight and Fernando took it wide, cut back in to get the power down early though Woodcote. Vettel saw him coming, jinked right to stop him going down the inside and Alonso just steamed down the outside and overtook on the outside of Copse. For anyone who has stood on the outside of Copse and watched that happen in the race, it is a hair-standing-on-end moment. Even watching on television it was that kind of moment. It's what we all watch F1 for, whether or not you wear Scuderia red, it is simply awe-inspiring.
Alonso's subsequent defence of P5 was heroic and Vettel shouldn't really have been allowed to take the place back when he returned the favour on Lap 48. Vettel's move was equally as brave but started on the previous start/finish straight when he ran outrageously wide through Turn 18 to gain momentum and get into the DRS zone for the Wellington Straight, in which he closed up on Fernando and put his car alongside through Luffield.
Vettel got his car beautifully placed on the inside, made a similarly brave pass into Copse, but then ran wide, over the line, at the exit. So clearly he gained an advantage by running off the track limits. Whereas Race Director Charlie Whiting had been giving the drivers warnings, this was now a stewards' call and they didn't make it. Presumably because both drivers had been skirting very close to the white line and Alonso had already collected a warning not to transgress again.
However nothing will take away from the moment when Alonso passed Vettel on the outside into Copse, and sixth place was ultimately a handy reward given that they were thinking about retiring the car at one stage with battery and rear wing issues.
Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 2nd
For a circuit that wasn't supposed to suit the Williams FW-36, Bottas got a great result, often barrelling down the outside of cars going into Stowe. In fact the top three all got the kind of result they might have expected in a wet race - 6th to 1st, 14th to 2nd and 8th to 3rd. Williams have now overhauled Force India, but they look to be the second best team on power circuits and the third best team overall.
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 3rd
Dan held on despite the collective willpower of over 100,000 fans hoping that Jenson would be able to overhaul him and claim a podium in memory of his father. Ricciardo's tyres were going away at the end, but he made no mistakes and held on. He thought at the time: "If they have a sniff of DRS, especially with the ponies they've got behind them, then we're in trouble."
Jenson Button, McLaren, 4th
Before the race Jenson was doubtful whether the team could keep anything like the positions that he and Kevin Magnussen had qualified in, but he was only 0.8 seconds away from doing it. This was helped in no small part by his defence against Fernando Alonso earlier in the race. Given the Ferrari's practice pace it looked inevitable that Alonso would find a way past, but Button worked out his advantages and kept him at bay. Fourth still equals his best ever result at his home GP.
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 5thSeb got a nightmare start and was lucky to be 5th on the opening lap. His early pit-stop looked to be in reaction to a potential Safety Car for the stricken Gutierrez, but that was a roll of the dice that didn't pay off. He then took so long to get past Alonso that when he did, Button was out of reach.
Like Perez, Button and Alonso, he was keen to share information about his rival exceeding the track limits but added playfully after the race: "I do not know who was keeping score on the list, obviously it was easier for me (to see) as I was behind Fernando. I don't know what the resolution of his mirrors is, but they must be very good."
Kevin Magnussen, McLaren, 7thMore points for Kevin but more importantly a few lessons on where to overtake at Silverstone. Vettel's pass of the Mclaren in Luffied going into Woodcote was genius.
Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 8thNeither Force Indias got a good start thanks to the team 'over-torqueing the rear wheels', but Nico has still scored points in every race this year. Only he and Alonso have done that.
BBC Race Coverage
If that wasn't a BAFTA-winning sports broadcast, I'd like to see one that was better. From the preview films, through to the commentary and post-race analysis, the BBC's coverage of the race was exceptional. Obviously we like to take the mickey out of EJ and Three Times Le Mans Winner Allan McNish when they say the odd thing out of context (see below) but take nothing away from the overall package, it showcased F1 at its very best.
From the pre-race film of Jenson Button and David Coulthard touring round London on Harley Davidsons, and then DC and Lewis Hamilton going back to the Rye House karting track to race, plus the footage of Lewis 'skydiving' with Suzi Perry and the behind-the-scenes film piece of Susie Wolff's Friday, it made F1 look a very impressive sport.
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, DNF
Full marks for Rosberg for not giving up in Qualifying. That will be a learning curve for everyone, as Hamilton, Ricciardo and Perez all assumed the worst at the end of Q3. In the race he got an exemplary get-away, but looked to be losing out in what was presumably his middle stint (of a two-stopper), however it's difficult to know when his gear-shifting problem kicked in. Although the leader has the privilege of stopping first, this time round, by stopping first, Mercedes were able to see that there was actually quite a lot of life left in Rosberg's tyres and so Lewis was able to go much further.
Before anybody starts feeling sorry for Nico, he's had a 24-race run of finishing GPs. The kind of thing that Pastor and Esteban can only dream of.
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, DNF
Raikkonen couldn't have imagined the bounce he was going to get when his Ferrari returned to the track and snapped to the right on the opening lap.
Felipe Massa, Williams, DNF
Not the best way to celebrate 200 races. When Jenson reached that landmark in 2011 he won the Hungarian GP. All Felipe had to show for making it into that rarest of motorsport clubs, the 200 Club, was a smart bit of Ferrari T-boning avoidance.
Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, DNF
Just as Gutierrez had been launched into the air by Maldonado in Bahrain, the Mexican got him back at Silverstone by launching Pastor with an inept move into Club. There was some impressive air beneath the Lotus chassis. In fact it was a tribute to the robustness of the Lotus that it continued as long as it did. Gutierrez's three-place grid penalty for the German GP was hardly enough, given his love of leaving the track.
The STBO Award
Three Times Le Mans Winner Allan McNish gets two nominations. For the first he was speculating about the stresses on engines when they need to do multiple starts in 2015 instead of a rolling start behind the Safety Car:
"It's going to be hard - they've got five engines - that's the internal combustion engine..."
When Valtteri Bottas lost part of his engine cover on the Hangar Straight:
Allan thought he better fill us in on its function. "The engine cover is very light. It's made to - well - cover the engine."
Eddie Jordan: "The special thing about Silverstone is that the circuit is so close to the track."
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