Mercedes romps to easy 1-2 at Silverstone
Mercedes scored an easy 1-2 at Silverstone on Sunday and it was never more evident than today how superior the Aldo Costa designed cars are. While both Ferraris blew their left front tire trying to catch the Mercedes, the two Mercedes were flawless.
Lewis Hamilton led every lap and won his 4th straight British GP and his 5th overall, tying Jim Clark. Kimi Raikkonen limped home in third place after stopping to change his blown Pirelli tire.
With barely two laps remaining, a front-left puncture deprived Raikkonen of the runner-up slot, while an apparently identical issue cost Vettel a likely fourth place just a lap later.
On a perfect afternoon at his favorite track, Hamilton delivered in style for his fans, starting from pole, leading all the way and setting the fastest lap of the race.
“I see you out there!” Hamilton told the fans over his radio as he toured in, after a pluperfect performance in which his only significant concern was some blistering on his soft Pirelli tires just past mid-distance.
All of the action took place behind him. Raikkonen pushed him as hard as he could, which this day was not enough to worry Mercedes, as Vettel never ran higher than third after losing a huge amount of time trapped behind a boisterous Verstappen who had out-fumbled him in the opening corners with a superb move round the outside at Loop.
The two later came close to swapping paint at Stowe and Club on the 14th lap, after which Ferrari brought their man in and got the undercut on the Dutchman when his left rear wheel’s nut proved sticky during his stop a lap later.
As Red Bull fell back, Bottas in the other Mercedes was pushing forward. He moved ahead of Verstappen after the latter’s pit stop on the 19th lap, then ran long on his soft tires, climbed to second behind Hamilton as the Ferraris stopped, then battled after them on his supersoft tires after pitting on the 32nd of the 51 laps.
Vettel succumbed as the Mercedes slammed past going up to Stowe on the 43rd lap, after an attempt round the outside there the previous lap hadn’t quite worked out, and then Bottas began to slice into Raikkonen’s advantage as he sensed a possible Mercedes one-two.
But in the end he didn’t need to push so hard, because the Ferrari’s left front tire started to delaminate, forcing Raikkonen into the pits. Red Bull also brought Verstappen in, which ultimately lost him the podium slot, because just as it seemed Vettel would inherit it, the German’s car suffered exactly the same failure as team mate Raikkonen’s.
As that dropped him down the order with a pit stop, Raikkonen recovered to take the final podium position ahead of Verstappen, as Ricciardo’s superb afternoon of recovery took him from the back of the grid to fifth.
And Vettel’s misfortune handed back to Renault the sixth place that Hulkenberg had looked like taking all afternoon until his engine started de-rating and he could no longer fend off Ricciardo.
Vettel’s seventh place earned him six points, so he now has 177 to Hamilton’s 176, at the notional midpoint of the season.
Hamilton dropped to half-throttle mode after Ferrari failures
Hamilton had been mindful of the condition of his tires on the closing stint – after a small blister appeared on his front right tire – but says that when Ferrari hit trouble he went into full conservation mode.
“I had signs of blistering in the last race – I had a right-front blister in the last race,” said Hamilton when asked by Motorsport.com about how much he was managing his rubber. “The team said generally it wouldn’t be a problem but it did appear.
“Then I heard about the blow-ups and I backed off. I went basically to half or 60% throttle everywhere, so I was really slow the last two laps I think.
“I was basically three, four seconds off the pace. I just wanted to bring it home. I had a 19-second gap so fortunately I could have gone slower, but I didn’t feel I needed to.”
Force India scored another chunk of points, as Ocon forced by Perez at the start and stayed there for the rest of the afternoon, and Massa made best use of soft tires to begin with and supersofts at the end to snatch the final point for Williams.
Red Bull – off the pace of the frontrunners all afternoon – were the key beneficiaries, with Max Verstappen fourth and Daniel Ricciardo – the fans’ Driver of the Day after battling his way up from P19 on the grid fifth.
Behind them, Nico Hulkenberg secured a superb sixth place for Renault – some consolation for the French team after Jolyon Palmer in the sister car went out with hydraulic problems on the formation lap.
The Force Indias of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez took the flag in eighth and ninth respectively, with Felipe Massa the final point scorer for Williams in tenth.
It was a disastrous race for Toro Rosso. Carlos Sainz retired on the second lap after a collision with team mate Daniil Kvyat, who was given a drive-through penalty for rejoining the circuit unsafely after the incident. The Russian continued, but floor damage limited him to P15.
Along with Sainz and Palmer, Fernando Alonso's was the third and final retirement after pitting his McLaren with power issues shortly after half distance.
Valtteri Bottas (2nd): "What a race! I'm really happy for us as a team, to get the second 1-2 of the season. Of course I would have liked to win, but I'm happy anyway because that was definitely one of my best ever races. I had to fight hardcore out there a couple of times, but I ended up in a good position. We could actually go longer than expected in the first stint on the Softs and the tires were really good. In the last stint the team told me to just take care of the tires, because we saw a few failures out there for some other teams, but for me they were fine. We're just at the half-way point of the season and it could definitely be worst. It's still just my first year with the team and I'm still right in the championship fight As a team we did a really good job today. The strategy right from the start of the race worked really well. It was a flawless race for us and the 1-2 was our prize - the team really deserve this. We definitely got lucky with Kimi's puncture in the end, to take P2, but that's racing and today luck was on our side."
James Allison, Technical Director: "This is a sport that asks so much of the people who compete in it, drivers and teams alike, and it is on days like these that it repays every tiny bit of effort one hundred fold. They are beyond description in the degree of pleasure, satisfaction and joy that they bring us all. Lewis has all but wiped out the deficit to Vettel in one hammer blow and the team has taken another big leaps in the constructors' race thanks to a tremendous display from Valtteri, whose work this afternoon completely erased the gearbox penalty he was forced to take this weekend. It feels like we are starting to build some good momentum in recent races and hopefully we can deliver the same sort of performance in two weeks' time before heading into the summer break. Our work in the next fortnight will focus on optimizing every single detail so that we arrive in Hungary prepared for all of the challenges that race can throw at us."
Toto Wolff: "I think that was probably the best race I have been part of since joining the team in 2013! We are so delighted for Lewis: he prepared for the weekend in the way he knew was right for him, then came here and delivered in qualifying and the race. He got pole, led every lap, won the race and also set the fastest lap; it was a perfect performance. And then Valtteri rounded it off for the team by climbing all the way from P9 to P2, with a little bit of good fortune along the way but applying consistent pressure on every lap of the race. He picked his way through the field, kept the performance in the tires at the right time and he richly deserved his second place finish; it was a brilliant drive. We are now at the halfway point of the season with 250 points still to score. There will be a lot of talk about the championship standings but not within the team. We have our eyes on one thing only and that's the next race in Hungary, so we can go into the summer break in an even stronger condition. Well done to everybody in Brixworth and Brackley for this result - it's a true credit to the amazing work you have done so far this year."
Red Bull-Tag Heuer
Max Verstappen (4th): "It is a positive day, I am happy to finish the race and get some solid points once again. We got a bit lucky with Seb's puncture at the end and I pitted to be safe as I knew I had enough room behind me. The front left didn't feel great and having seen what happened to the Ferrari we played it safe. If I had seen Kimi pit at the end I may have stayed out to try and get a jump on him but we made the precautionary stop to make sure we finished. With a lot of fast rights here it takes its toll on the front left so we knew there would be issues late on. At the beginning I knew I was quite a bit slower than Seb so I just did my best to stay in front and have some fun, it was the only thing I could do and luckily he didn't manage to pass me on track, after that little battle my race became a bit lonely. Our pace was pretty good and the car felt competitive during the race, it felt better than it did in qualifying so now we need to understand why we struggled yesterday. Fourth is a good result, probably one place better than we expected which is always nice. We have some upgrades coming in Hungary which I am hoping will make some steps towards being able to fight with the top two teams."
Daniel Ricciardo (5th): "I hope they showed a lot of that on TV. I just felt like the whole race I was overtaking cars and I hope the fans enjoyed it. We made up a chunk of positions early on and then I got a bit greedy, went off track and ended up at the back again. It was great fun coming back through the field and I gave it everything. I caught Hulkenberg with a few laps to go and then Seb had his issue which handed me fifth, so danke Sebastian. I've been really happy with how I've been putting my Sundays together for the last handful of races, it's been strong and to get fifth from the back today I really couldn't ask for more. Last week I was the hunted and this week the hunter, I love the fight of this sport and today I felt I could really enjoy that. I would give this race ten out of ten in terms of fun. I think you could say that in the last six races the Honey Badger has certainly shown up on Sunday and it's been great fun."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "It was a great performance from both of our drivers at Silverstone today. Max thankfully ran to the finish and provided a lot of entertainment in his rigorous defense in his duel with Sebastian which was firm but fair racing. Stopping early on a one stop strategy we always thought the tires would be quite marginal at the end. As soon as we saw Kimi having issues with his tire, without being able to have track position on him, we decided to make the stop and Max did a good job in bringing the car home and seeing the checkered flag for the first time since Monte Carlo. Daniel's recovery drive today was excellent, making a lot of places in the early laps he then lost out at Luffield and had to do it all again and to go from 20th to fifth was a great turnaround from yesterday's problems."
Sebastian Vettel (7th): "It was a difficult race. The brakes got fire on the grid and I think this is the reason why I had no grip at the start: they were too hot. During the last laps, after the problem with the front left tire, I tried to get the car back and recover some points. It was difficult today because I was stuck at the beginning behind Max, but I am not the one to judge what happened between him and me. After that I think the pace was good, considering the fact that I was on the Soft tires. Valtteri was on other compound, the Supersofts, so it was clear that he would have been strong. Today was not a great day, but we'll see what happens in Hungary, on a different track."
Maurizio Arrivabene, Team Principal: "Even if the reasons are obvious, complaining about losing a second and a fourth place is not Ferrari's style. Today, the hard fact is that we lost a lot of points in both the Constructors' and Drivers' championships. We leave here, set on improving quickly, with humility and determination."
Esteban Ocon (8th): "I had a brilliant start - it felt like four wheel drive and I moved up a couple of positions, but I lost out to Hulkenberg at the end of the first lap. After that, I had a good battle with my teammate for most of the afternoon and the team let us race - just like Canada. Sergio was fast and giving me pressure, but I was able to stay ahead. It's very satisfying to see us score points again with both cars. Our consistency is our strength this year - on all tracks we are there with good speed and scoring points. We need to keep this up in the second half of the year."
Sergio Perez (9th): "It's been a difficult race and I have a feeling we didn't get to demonstrate our true pace. We should have finished higher, but in the end we still bring home points with both cars. I had a poor start and that compromised the rest of the afternoon, because I couldn't recover from it. Silverstone is one of the most difficult tracks on which to overtake, and even though I spent all my race within DRS range of Esteban, I never had a real opportunity to pass him. Being so close to the car in front damaged my tires and cost me lots of downforce so there was nothing I could do. You can look back at the race and think of things that could have been done differently, but it's always easy to say this after the race. As we get to the half-way point in the season, I feel very positive about our performance. We have been doing really well as a team and I hope we can get back to our real level in the next race and after the break."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "It's very satisfying to see both our cars finish inside the points at our home race. We've added six important points to our tally and strengthened our fourth place in the championship. It was a straightforward race from our perspective with Esteban getting the jump on Checo at the start. From there it was line astern to the flag with both drivers following similar one-stop strategies. Keeping up this consistency is important and, as we reach the half-way point of the season, I'm feeling very proud of what we have achieved from the first ten races. I have equally high hopes for the rest of the season as we continue to develop the VJM10."
Felipe Massa (10th): "I'm definitely happy with the race after starting 14th, having had a very good start and opening lap, to finish 10th. For sure the most difficult part of the race was overtaking the Force Indias at the end. I was quicker, but maybe not quick enough to have the opportunity to overtake. I'm still not happy with the qualifying yesterday. When you start out of position things are a lot more difficult than they should be so today maybe we could have fought for more points. Unfortunately, starting 14th didn't allow us to do that, but I'm happy with my race. We just need to make sure our starting position is better in the next race."
Lance Stroll (16th): "It was not a good race for us. The start was good and I moved up to P12. The first stint was also okay, and then also at the start of the second stint things weren't bad. But then we picked up some damage on the car, which I believe was a broken barge board. I started to feel something was wrong, we suspected it was the tires and so I stopped again. However, this was for nothing really as it just got worse from there. I just brought the car home but some damage on the car destroyed our race. Now I'm just looking forward to Hungary."
Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer: "We had planned to do a one-stop, starting on the soft tire. From 14th and 15th that looked like the best way to try and gain some places. The race went reasonably to plan, the only issue was that the supersoft didn't degrade in the way we had hoped for those around us in the first stint, as then we would have had an advantage in the closing stages. Felipe was able to challenge the two Force Indias at the end, but couldn't overtake. Lance drove a good, solid race, but he suffered some bodywork damage, at which point he was losing too much laptime and was degrading the rear tires. We pitted for another set, but it was a struggle to the finish. Overall, it's a disappointing result at our home race. The car was quicker than our result would indicate. We need to learn from this experience and be better next time."
Stoffel Vandoorne (11th): "It's a shame to once again finish just outside the points - but there are plenty of positives to take away from this weekend. The pace we showed in the race today was very encouraging: to run as close as we did to both Force Indias and a Williams on a circuit like this is a real positive. Not everything went perfectly in the race - my pit-stop didn't go too smoothly, so I came out side-by-side with Felipe and lost a position. That was a shame, because there was definitely a chance to finish ahead of him because our pace was very similar to his. So, unfortunately, no points - but today was very encouraging, and I'm sure our time will come."
Fernando Alonso (DNF, Engine): "It was a difficult weekend for us, starting last with the penalties; then in the race, when I was following a group of cars, I had another issue. Hopefully, it hasn't done any damage to the engine and we'll be able to keep using it in the future. Stoffel was 11th today, so I think we weren't quick enough to be in the points today and I think I could have ended up 13th or 14th, so the retirement is a little bit less painful than it would be if we'd lost a points finish. Now I'm looking ahead to Hungary, which should be a better weekend for us."
Eric Boullier, Racing Director: "From the back of the grid Fernando made a strong start, carving his way through the backmarkers, and was holding a solid 13th place by one-third distance. Meanwhile Stoffel was holding a steady ninth place. It was therefore disappointing when Fernando was forced to retire on lap 35, as a result of a drop in fuel pressure that led to a loss of power. We're still investigating the cause of that failure. With 10 laps to go, Stoffel was locked in a battle for 10th place with Felipe. In the end his hopes of scoring a world championship point were to come to naught, but his was a solid and impressive drive nonetheless. From here we go to the Hungaroring, over whose many twists and turns, linked as they are by short straights, we hope to be a little more competitive."
Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda: "This weekend ended on a frustrating note as Stoffel just missed out on a world championship point at our home race. Up until today, things had been looking up and we had been showing some encouraging pace. Stoffel started his race from a good position and he showed competitive pace in the midfield throughout the race. He pushed as hard as possible so therefore it was disappointing that he finished 11th, just outside of the points. Although Fernando had to start from the back of the grid, he improved his position during the first part of the race, and was close to Stoffel. Sadly, he had a fuel system-related issue and had to retire from the race. We're now investigating the cause. Having said this, I still think we leave Silverstone with some positivity. We had improved pace and our competiveness has also improved over the past few races. Next up is Hungary which is a track that suits our package better, so I hope we can have a good race. We'll continue our best efforts towards scoring some points at the next round."
Scuderia Toro Rosso-Renault
Daniil Kvyat (15th): "Even if I was able to continue after the collision with Carlos, my race was also compromised and I'm obviously not happy with what happened. I was ahead and on a dirty line, so it's normal to have some understeer, and then, all of a sudden, the crash took place. These things happen and sometimes they're unavoidable. It's a real shame, as this has damaged both us drivers and the team, which I feel very sorry for. There's not much more that can be done now, we just need to learn from this and move forward."
Carlos Sainz (DNF, Accident): "I'm not going to say much about what happened today on lap 1 with Daniil, the images talk for themselves - it's just very frustrating to have not finished another race. Of course I'm disappointed and it's not the way you want your race to go, but I just need to think of it as a stage of my year - with 20 races, there's always going to be this kind of situation at some point... That's why I'm not worried and very calm. Fortunately, it's a weekend where not a lot of points were on the table, especially because we needed some tricky scenarios like rain but this never happened, so we didn't lose that much. The only big shame is that we haven't scored any points again this weekend, but we need to keep our heads up - I'd like to cheer the mechanics and the whole team up as they must also be disappointed about this and hopefully in Hungary we can turn it around and have a good race weekend as a team. I'm confident it will be better next time out."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "The weekend here in Silverstone started in a bad way from the very beginning, after the scrutineering process on Thursday. We clarified everything on the same day but I would like to say that the team has never and would never operate its cars in an unsafe condition. We are a professional team operating at the highest level of motorsport and we treat all aspects of the operation of our cars and their safety with the utmost gravity and respect. As for the race today, it was a big disappointment for the team because the worst scenario that can ever happen is the collision between teammates on the first lap of the race. This should not have happened today. From a performance point of view, the car would've been able to finish within the top ten - Daniil's lap times were quite competitive, although the floor was damaged, as well as other parts on the car. We had to call him in to change the front wing and in parallel to this, we also changed the tires to the soft compound. We thought that he could maybe stay out longer, but then we had to do another pit-stop for the supersoft. At the end we finished the race in P15, so with no points, but all we can do is forget about this race weekend and prepare ourselves in the best possible way for Hungary. This race track should suit us much better and hopefully we can achieve a successful result before the summer break."
Kevin Magnussen (12th): "I felt the Toro Rosso hit my tire at the start, but nothing happened. Fortunately, there was no puncture. I just didn't quite get the first lap. It was always going to be difficult when you start on the reverse strategy on the harder tire. That first stint kind of kept me out of the points. The pace was good in the car, I just had to do a long stint on the tires and wait for the guys in front to pit and then put in a lot of good lap times. I came back a bit at the end, but it wasn't enough. Whenever you're fighting outside of the points, it's never that interesting. Still, I'll take the positives. We were quick and had good pace in the race."
Romain Grosjean (13th): "Tough day in the office. We didn't have much pace today with either tire. I got stuck in traffic initially, which killed the supersoft. I pitted for the softs, and again, traffic all the way. We tried a gamble at the end putting new supersofts on, hoping that something would happen at the front, but nothing did. We just need to understand why our race pace wasn't as good as it was in qualifying and go from there."
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal: "It's been an average weekend. We didn't get in the points, but Kevin's race pace was good. We lost a few positions at the start and that's where we ended up. Again, we had a similar race pace to all our competitors - we were just in a worse spot. I'm still confident in our car. In the midfield, we can battle. This time we were just at the lower end of our group. It changes around every weekend. It's not what we wanted, but still, we finished with both cars. On we go to Hungary."
Nico Hulkenberg (6th): "We are very happy with the race result today. P6 is a big success for the team. We were able to get a good lap in qualifying and then to carry it through to the race. We had a strong race pace, and were able to keep ahead of both Force Indias, which is really positive. We lost some power at the end, especially down the straights, which made it easier for Daniel to pass me, but then we gained back a position from Seb [Vettel] when he had his problem. Overall this is a very positive result. The new upgrades worked really well, we were able to push the car and I'm really pleased for the team."
Jolyon Palmer (DNS, Hydraulics): "Going out at the start of the race is really frustrating. We had a hydraulic leak on the first lap, which is pretty gutting as I think we were in a good position. Eleventh with new tires, a car that was working really well with lots of different options on strategy: all was looking good to get some points. I have had so much support all weekend that it would have been sweet to get them here. All the same we can see that the car has taken a step forward, but we just need to look at reliability now."
Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director: "We have to say sorry to Jo as he finally had the starting position he needed and we all wanted him to get those first points today. He almost certainly would have made it if we hadn't had the problem. On the other hand we had a great race with Nico. He drove very well, with no mistakes, good strategy execution and we were a good thirty seconds ahead of both Force Indias. There is always a bit of frustration to be so exposed to reliability weaknesses as we could have done even better today, but what is important is that the upgrades have worked well and we are delighted to see this bear out in the results. With more to come in the coming races I hope we can keep the momentum going to end the first part of the season on a high. Scoring points is a good way to end our 40th anniversary weekend. While we can celebrate the past it's also good to see our younger drivers doing well too. Congratulations to test driver Nicholas Latifi on scoring his first win in F2 and development driver Oliver Rowland getting a podium too."
Marcus Ericsson (14th): "It was a fairly good race for me. I maximized the performance of the car and my lap times were decent, especially during the second half of the race. Of course we want to be higher up and fight for points, but our pace was not competitive enough for that this weekend. We did manage to make the best of it - the team did a good job in improving the car set-up throughout our stay in Silverstone. We have to keep pushing now in order to have a stronger weekend in Budapest."
Pascal Wehrlein (17th): "The race did not go as we hoped it would. When the safety car came out at the beginning of the race, we made the decision to complete the mandatory pit stop and change to medium tires. I then returned to the pit one lap later in order to switch to soft tires, with the goal to drive on them until the end of the race. Unfortunately the tires lost more and more grip, due to which I had to change again. I hope that we have a better weekend in Budapest."
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