British Grand Prix: Hamilton wins and re-ignites title race

Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Race Day, Silverstone, England, Sunday 6 July 2014.

Lewis Hamilton winner of the 2014 British Grand Prix

Britain’s Lewis Hamilton won his home grand prix for the second time in his career as team-mate and championship rival Nico Rosberg exited the race with gearbox trouble. Williams’ Valtteri Bottas took his second podium finish in a row, with second place.

Hamilton said afterwards, “It’s very mixed emotions at the moment. But we have the greatest fans here. It was you guys who spurred me on. At the beginning I allowed him to get a good gap and look after the tyres. But we came out on the harder tyre and could not believe that I had that kind of pace. I don’t want to see a team-mate fail, I want a one-two, but I really needed this result.”

Bottas scored his best ever F1 result with second place after starting 14th on the grid, he never put a foot wrong all afternoon and dispatched some of the sport’s top names with ease, in a car which was clearly handy around the former WWII airfield.

The young Finn, a candidate for drive of the day, said, “We’re going in the right way and the team has done a good job. It is pleasure to drive the car. I really enjoyed it. As a team we made the most out of it. I feel sorry for Felipe in his 200th grand prix.”

Top three on the podium at Silverstone

Top three on the podium at Silverstone, with Mercedes team associate

Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo finished third after switching to a one-stop strategy late in a race that was red-flagged for an hour due to an accident involving Kimi Raikkonen just after the start.

The Australian, also a nominee for that imaginary drive of the day award, drove a well calculated race and delivered a master class on tyre conservation. He said of his afternoon’s graft, “It’s nice to be on the podium and this is a good circuit for me. Just one more lap might have been different , Jenson was coming but I was able to hold on for the podium.”

Fourth place went to McLaren’s Jenson Button, the McLaren driver finishing ahead of Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso who provided thrilling entertainment in the final third of the race as they battled tooth and nail for position.

Nico Rosberg lead the first start

Nico Rosberg lead after the first start

Button observed afterwards, “0.8 seconds is not a lot. I gave it my all. It’s difficult when the race engineer says give it your all but you have to save fuel too. But it’s not so bad finishing fourth – so we should be pleased. It’s a step forward and we should enjoy the points.

“I did not make it difficult for Lewis. You have to be careful in that situation or you’d lose time. I said before if I did not win I hoped it would be Lewis. I’m just disappointed I was not up there with him,” mused Button.

When the lights went out for the start, pole position man Rosberg held his lead but second-placed Sebastian Vettel got away poorly. He dropped back to fifth place as McLaren’s Jenson Button moved to second and Kevin Magnussen, in the second McLaren charged through from fifth to third. Hamilton was on the move as well. He made a good start from sixth place on the grid and passed Vettel, the pair banging wheels as the Mercedes driver claimed fourth spot.

Behind the leaders, though, the collisions were more serious. Kimi Raikkonen was forced wide at the start of the Wellington Straight and went off track. The Ferrari driver attempted to rejoin but hit a bump on the edge of the circuit. That sent him into a violent spin and he hit the barriers hard before being flung back on track. Felipe Massa tried to take avoiding action but he collided with the spinning Ferrari.

Felipe Massa after his collision

Felipe Massa after his collision

Massa was able to crawl back to the pits but the damage was too severe for the Brazilian to continue – a disappointing end to the Brazilian’s 200th grand prix.

Raikkonen, meanwhile, was helped from his car but limped away to the medical car. It was later reported by Ferrari that the Finn had suffered some bruising to his an ankle and knee but was otherwise unhurt.

The incident naturally brought out the red flags and there was a one-hour delay until the action resumed again, behind the Safety Car.

On the new grid, which mirrored the order at the last point available, Rosberg line up ahead of Button, Magnussen and Hamilton. Vettel was now fifth, ahead of Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg. Ricciardo would restart seventh, ahead of Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat. Bottas, in the second Williams, had climbed from 14th on the grid to ninth.

When the Safety Car left the circuit at the restart, Rosberg made the perfect getaway, building a large gap to Button behind as the it headed for the pit lane. Hamilton, though, was determined not to be left behind and on lap three he forced an error from Magnussen at Copse and stole third place. He soon went one step further, muscling past Button at Brooklands on the following lap to take second place, five seconds behind his team-mate.

Nico Rosberg went from race leader to DNF

Nico Rosberg went from race leader to DNF

Alonso was also on the move. Having switched to the Medium tyre from his starting set of hard compound Pirellis during the red flag period, he was soon making his way through the pack from 13th place. In a startling spell of action he dismissed Esteban Gutierrez, Adrian Sutil, Jules Bianchi, Daniil Kvyat, Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg to climb to seventh.

However, his race was somewhat compromised soon after when he received a five-second penalty for being out of position on the grid at the original start, the Ferrari driver having overshot his grid slot.

Bottas was also on an incredible charge. The sole Williams took the restart in 14th place but by lap 17 he’d scythed his way through the pack to reach third position, powering past Button around the outside of the high-speed Stowe corner.

At the front Hamilton closed to within three seconds of leader Rosberg before the German made his first stop on lap 19, taking on used Medium tyres. That let Hamilton through to the lead. Rosberg rejoined in second place, ahead of Bottas, Button, Alonso, Magnussen and Vettel.

Pastor Maldonado versus Esteban Gutierrez

Pastor Maldonado versus Esteban Gutierrez

Hamilton chose to stay out, too, waiting until lap 25 to make his stop. He took on Hard tyres but it was a slow stop and he lost time to his team-mate. Rosberg swept back into the lead, with the gap again up to five seconds.

The gap was erased a few laps later, however. Just after his pit stop Rosberg complained of a problem downshifting. The issues seemed to subside but on lap 29 he was back on the radio, reporting a problem with upshifting. He slowed gradually and Hamilton flashed past into the lead. Rosberg attempted a reset but he ground to a halt at turn 13.

Elsewhere, Alonso made his first pit stop, taking on more Medium tyres and serving his five-second penalty. He rejoined in ninth place.

The top-five order, on lap 31 was Hamilton, Bottas, Vettel, Ricciardo and Button. Bottas made his sole pit stop on lap 32, and rejoined in third behind Vettel, who needed another stop.

Vettel made that pit stop at the end of lap 34, rejoining behind Button in fifth place, ahead of Alonso. The Ferrari driver piled on the pressure and stole the position through Copse on lap 35.

Sebastian Vettel versus Fernando Alonso was riveting stuff

Sebastian Vettel versus Fernando Alonso was riveting stuff

The pair would spend the rest of the race in a thrilling dogfight, Alonso defending with everything at his disposal as Vettel pushed hard to force an error. Much of the battle was fought on the radio, with both drivers complaining vociferously that the other had exceeded the track limits on numerous occasions.

Vettel, though eventually won out, passing Alonso in a heart-in-the-mouth move along the pit straight and through Copse, just inches separating the combatants. Once past, Vettel stretched away, taking fifth place ahead of the furious Spaniard. All riveting stuff for fans from two mighty competitors in what was the battle of the day, if not the battle of the season thus far.

At the front Hamilton continued to open the gap to second-placed Bottas. Prior to his final stop on lap 41 the gap stood at 41 seconds, comfortable enough for the Mercedes driver to make his stop, take on a final set of Hard tyres and rejoin in the lead, ahead of one-stopping Bottas.

Third was Ricciardo. The Red Bull Racing driver was on a set of ageing Medium tyres but in a good position and with 15 laps to go and 18 seconds in hand over Jenson Button, who was on fresher tyres, he opted to try to make it to the chequered flag.

The day belonged to Lewis Hamilton

The day belonged to Lewis Hamilton

Inevitably, the gap began to come down as Button closed in. By lap 47 it was down to seven seconds and by the final lap it was down to 1.8s as Ricciardo struggled to keep his 36-lap old tyres alive. The Australian managed it, finishing just eight tenths ahead of the hard-charging Button.

At the front though, Hamilton’s win was comfortable, the Briton taking the chequered flag for his second British Grand Prix win, ahead of Bottas, who took his second podium finish in a row.

With Button fourth and Vettel in fifth ahead of Alonso, the remaining points positions went to Magnussen in seventh, Hulkenberg, Kvyat and Vergne. (GP247-F1 Media)

 

British Grand Prix, Silverstone – Sunday, 6 July 2014
Pos No Driver Team Laps Time Grid Pts
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 52 Winner 6 25
2 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 52 +30.1 secs 14 18
3 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 52 +46.4 secs 8 15
4 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 52 +47.3 secs 3 12
5 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 52 +53.8 secs 2 10
6 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 52 +59.9 secs 16 8
7 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 52 +62.5 secs 5 6
8 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 52 +88.6 secs 4 4
9 26 Daniil Kvyat STR-Renault 52 +89.3 secs 9 2
10 25 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Renault 51 +1 Lap 10 1
11 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 51 +1 Lap 7
12 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault +1 Lap 11
13 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari +1 Lap 13
14 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari +1 Lap 12
15 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault +2 Lap 22
16 4 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari +2 Lap 17
17 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault +3 Lap 20
Ret 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes +24 Laps 1
Ret 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault +41 Laps 21
Ret 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari +43 Laps 19
Ret 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes + secs 15
Ret 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari + secs 18