Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Silverstone always serves up a good race because of the layout of the circuit and the British weather. Sebastian Vettel found that out nicely when he made the right call for intermediate tyres late in the race and landed in P3 after an uneventful race for him. Lewis Hamilton made an inspiring call late in the race for the same tyres and won the race. Although to be honest without the rain, Nico Rosberg would have overhauled him in the last couple of laps as Nico was taking chunks out of his time with slick tyres on a wet track. That disn't make sense really. How can he be so fast on slicks on a wet track like that?

Anyway here is what PlanetF1 had to say about it.

Original article HERE

It was a great opportunity for Williams right up until the moment it wasn't...

Williams waste an opportunity
Silverstone is a special circuit for Williams, one of F1's most special constructors. Clay Regazzoni swept to the team's first ever victory in 1977 and two decades later Jacques Villeneuve rode his luck to secure a century of wins for Frank Williams' outfit.

Instead of capitalising on a blistering start at the 2015 edition of at the classic circuit, Williams sacrificed a potential race victory at the altar of conservatively collecting points in a performance that has echoes of the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix in which the team failed to make the most of a front-row lockout.

The imposition of team orders to keep Valtteri Bottas behind Felipe Massa spared the Brazilian verteran the embarrassment of a "Felipe, Valtteri is faster than you" moment, but it came at a high price. Not only did it ruin a thrilling spectacle, but it also ended Williams' hopes of a 115th grand prix victory and destroyed Valtteri Bottas' chances of a potential maiden win.

Massa and Bottas had launched off the line on Sunday and left the invincible Mercedes glistening in their wake. Running one-two after the early safety car, the romantics were wondering whether Williams were on course for another milestone achievement.

Then came the following utterance to Bottas: "No racing your team-mate"

Unlike his team, Bottas sensed his moment and said in a message broadcast on lap 10: "I can overtake. I can do it on the back straight." On lap 11 Williams had conceded that they may have erred. "It has to be a clean move and you have to pull away," they said to the Finn.

But by then it was too late as Mercedes were ready to pounce and undercut the Williams at the first round of pit stops.

Would Bottas had had the pace to keep Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg behind? Would Williams had made the right call when the rain came? It would have been in F1's best interest to find out, but for F1 teams the only interest is self interest – even at the expense of their drivers.

Lewis finds the Goldilocks zone
While Williams conspired to sabotage their chances of winning for the first time since 2012, Hamilton and Mercedes stopped for intermediate tyres on lap 43 just as the intensity of the rain increased.

In the wet the finest of margins decide a race. Nico Rosberg stayed out one lap too long, a decision that put paid to a fourth win in five for the German. Kimi Raikkonen came in too early and he tumbled down the field to finish a mediocre eighth.

Rosberg said that he thought Hamilton had made "the wrong call". The Brit, though, found the "just right" Goldilocks zone to usurp Rosberg and deliver yet another victory on home turf.

St Hamilton and his engineers made the right strategy call in Northamptonshire, something they failed to do in Monte Carlo. Sometimes F1 drivers are robbed by the bank, other times they're the bank robbers.

Silverstone deliver, too
Journalists have written countless words about the sorry state of F1 in 2015. The cars are too slow. The cars aren't noisy enough. The racing is dull. The rules are too complex.

Amid the swirling pessimism, the British Grand Prix delivered a much-needed tonic for a sport that sometimes seems to be to sport what Greece is to the eurozone.

The opening lap of the race was spellbinding and the rest was magnificent: safety cars, spins, the lead changing hands several times, team-mates clashing on track, and then the rain.

The only thing missing? A constructor other than Mercedes winning.

The new order
Easy to forget given the chaos of the race, but 2015's competitive order was reshaped during the dry running at the British Grand Prix. Mercedes still have the fastest car and the McLarens, despite Fernando Alonso's point, are still well off the pace.

But at the sharp end, Williams have made strides while Red Bull and the B-spec Force India took chunks out of Ferrari.

"It's tight between us and Williams, and Red Bull were quick this weekend so I think they have done a step forward," said Sebastian Vettel after picking up a rather fortuitous podium.

The naysayers will no doubt retain their sceptical outlook towards F1 and at least some of their criticism will be legitimate considering Mercedes completed a ninth consecutive race in which both cars finished on the podium.

That said, Austria dished up some great midfield racing and, as SIlverstone showed, the race for best of the rest is simmering nicely.

McLaren retirement watch
A solid race for McLaren with no cars retiring with mechanical problems. The team has now finished 38.9 per cent of the races it has started in 2015.

Original article HERE

Silverstone gives us a reminder about just how good F1 can be, Williams' decision "not to chase rainbows" backfires and more...

Good Race
Formula 1
Felipe Massa ducking in between the two Mercedes cars after a blistering start, the two McLaren team-mates tagging each other, the two Lotus drivers making contact, the top four separated by two seconds, Williams ordering Valtteri Bottas not to overtake Massa, Mercedes' dummy pit stop, the rain, Lewis Hamilton's inspired pit for inters and Sebastian Vettel sneaking a podium. We could go on and on and on about how great the race was.

After all the complaints we had about the state of Formula 1, the British Grand Prix came to the sport's rescue on Sunday 140 000 fans turned up on race day and then the drivers and teams put up a spectacular show. More of the same at Hungary in three weeks' time please.

Lewis Hamilton
The Monaco Grand Prix must have been in the back of Lewis Hamilton's mind when he made the decision to come in for intermediate tyres. However, this time it proved to be an inspired call as he stole a march on his rivals at the British Grand Prix. It ultimately helped him to a very comfortable victory at Silverstone.

"It wasn't luck, it wasn't genius, it was just for once the right call. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you get it wrong," he said after the race.

He has now joined legends Jack Brabham, Niki Lauda and Michael Schumacher as three-times winners of the British GP. Next on the list is Nigel Mansell on four wins. It was also Mercedes' third win in a row at Silverstone.

Sebastian Vettel
Having been outqualified by his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen for only the second time this season, Sebastian Vettel found himself labouring in P7 during the early stages of the race.

His first pit stop was relatively early, but he was still stuck behind Raikkonen and we barely saw any footage of him before the rain hit Silverstone. However, he didn't blink first time, but was one of the first once to pounce when the second shower came down.

The gamble paid off, take note Williams.

Force India
The first impressions of the VJM08 have been very good. Nico Hulkenberg was there or thereabouts for most of the race weekend and he made it into Q3 while team-mate Sergio Perez was a bit further down the grid.

Although Hulkenberg was as high as P5 early on, he eventually finished seventh with Perez two places below. The eight points to Lotus' none mean Force India have a bit of breathing space in the Constructors' standings, but Daniil Kvyat's P6 means they didn't close the gap to Red Bull.

They still have plenty of reason to be optimistic for the remainder of the campaign.

Nobody saw Fernando Alonso's point coming after another difficult qualifying session for McLaren. They lost Jenson Button on the opening lap and Alonso was also forced to stop early after he got caught up in a first-lap tangle.

Yet the team managed to finish the race with a point as Alonso somehow stayed ahead of the struggling Marcus Ericsson for Sauber.

Bad Race
Yes, Mercedes would probably have won as their car is better in the cooler conditions and they are better at pit stops. And yes, it is easier to come up with a race-winning strategy from the comfort of your couch or the safety of the office.

However, Williams didn't do themselves any favours early on as they shot themselves in the foot by not allowing Valtteri Bottas to pass Felipe Massa.

Sometimes you have to take risks to give yourself a chance of upsetting the applecart. Williams didn't do that by keeping Bottas behind Massa and then later in the race they didn't gamble by bringing one of their drivers in early for intermediate tyres.

Williams performance chief Rob Smedley admitted earlier this year that the days of rolling the dice and "chasing rainbows" are in the past as they would rather settle for solid points. They are happy to do "flat, boring races".

Well, doing "flat, boring races" backfired spectacularly at Silverstone and they ended up without a podium as Sebastian Vettel sneaked P3 by "chasing rainbows" and going for an early stop for inters.

Felipe Nasr
Well, he didn't actually take part in the race due to a gearbox problem so it's not really his fault. For a Formula 1 driver it can't get any worse as you've done the hard yards the two previous days only to be denied 30 minutes before the light goes green.

Toro Rosso
"Only Mercedes was a bit faster," was Max Verstappen's verdict on Toro Ross's pace after Friday's practice sessions at Silverstone.

He was right, Toro Rosso looked impressive during FP1 and FP2, but things started to go wrong during qualifying and it got worse on race day and they eventually left the circuit empty handed.

At least Carlos Sainz can point to a good qualy run as he started P8, but Verstappen's race weekend will be remembered for the constant moaning over the team radio. We will put that in the "still learning" file.

Another double DNF for Lotus and to add insult to injury Romain Grosjean was the one who ended Pastor Maldonado's race, through no fault of their own as Daniel Ricciardo set off the chain of events. Ah well, the Hungarian Grand Prix is only three weeks away.

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