Hamilton’s battles from bad start, through late rain to win British GP
In a show of true racing skills, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton fought from a bad start to an exciting finish at Silverstone. Hamilton started from pole but was overtaken at the first corner by the pair of Williams’, Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas. “We had poor grip,” Hamilton explained. “It made the race even more exciting for the fans.”
That, and the inclement weather set the scene for a thrilling British GP, which should appease some fans who have been complaining about the “boring” season so far.
But like the champion he is, Hamilton recovered, and a late decision to swap for intermediate tires allowed him to fend off Nico Rosberg, and beat him by almost 11 seconds. This is the Briton’s third win on home soil, in front of 140,000 roaring fans.
“As I came round that last lap I was welling up seeing all those people on their feet,” Hamilton said. His championship lead over his teammate has now extended to 17 points.
The downpour also helped Sebastian Vettel get onto third place on the podium, after battling his way up from ninth place on the grid. The four-time world champion said, “We recovered through strategy, mostly by being very aggressive…I’m sorry for the people that got wet, but the rain helped us today.”
The Williams team was gunning for a third consecutive podium finish when Massa took the lead after the opening lap drama. But he was held back by the safety car, which came out after McLaren’s Fernando Alonso spun into teammate Jenson Button, who was forced to retire. The Lotus duo, Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean, had also collided with each other and had to retire.
The Silver Arrows found themselves behind the Williams drivers, who were not allowed to race each other. Then the tables turned in Mercedes’ favour. Massa and Rosberg pit at the same time, followed by Bottas, and Hamilton charged his way back to the lead on lap 21. The Briton’s decision to switch to intermediates with eight laps to go allowed him to bring it home with ease.
The Williams team was left berating themselves on a missed opportunity. “It could even have been possible to win the race if it had stayed dry,” Massa said. “We waited one lap longer on the second stop which is where we lost the opportunity to be on the podium.”