Hamilton’s Silverstone win was superb, but could have been better

British Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton celebrates

British Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton celebrates

Lewis Hamilton’s British Grand Prix victory at Silverstone seemed like the perfect result for the Brit. Not only had he clinched a second Formula 1 win on home turf, but with his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg retiring from the race, Lewis had clawed back significant ground in the pair’s tooth-and-nail title battle. Hamilton didn’t just leave the Northamptonshire venue with a 27 th Formula 1 Grand Prix win; he also found himself within touching distance on the World Championship lead.

But was Rosberg’s retirement really such a good thing for Hamilton? Looking at the situation from a different angle, you could make a case to suggest that the best outcome would have involved Nico making it to the chequered flag – despite the points this would have cost the Brit.

The 2014 title battle has not been a story of knockout blows. Lewis and Nico have been landing jabs here and there, exchanging the odd verbal dig, then retreating to their respective corners to focus on the next round. This fight won’t end with one man flat on the canvas; it will come down to a tight points decision at the season’s end.

And while Silverstone may appear to have been a round scored in Lewis’ favour, it was in fact a draw. With such a dominant car, the Mercedes drivers’ challenge is to gain a psychological upper hand over their team-mate. From that perspective, Hamilton’s win at Silverstone did not damage Rosberg.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg an uneasy harmony as they battle for the title

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg celebrate at Silverstone

The early part of 2014 saw plenty of significant moments. Lewis’ victory in Bahrain, when he beat pole-sitter Rosberg, was key, as was his win in Spain where he held off his team-mate during the closing laps. These established Hamilton as the dominant driver. He won four races in succession to lead the standings heading to Monaco.

Then came Nico’s infamous Qualifying spin, which secured him pole in the Principality and ultimately the race victory. Advantage Rosberg. The German went on to take a vital second place in Canada while Lewis retired, then won again in Austria after Hamilton blew his Qualifying lap. Nico now enjoyed a 29-point championship lead.

This was the situation heading to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix. The pressure was mounting on Hamilton to strike back.

But in Qualifying he saw a seemingly certain pole position become sixth in a matter of seconds. The track had dried late in the session, and while Hamilton elected not to complete another lap, several others did – including Rosberg, who duly took his fourth pole of 2014.

By failing to capitalise on the situation, Hamilton lost more than a few grid slots to his team-mate: he also surrendered psychological ground, appearing at best complacent and at worst foolish. In his post-Qualifying interviews he seemed stunned, hardly the demeanour of a man hunting a World Championship. The weekend was falling in Nico’s favour.

Nico Rosberg retires from the British Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg retires from the British Grand Prix

Come the race, Hamilton was in far better form, quickly making his way through the pack and on to Rosberg’s tail after the first round of pit-stops. Spurred on by the 120,000 fans who had packed into Silverstone, he was enjoying the boost Nigel Mansell spoke of when he took his British Grand Prix victories. This was Hamilton’s opportunity to land a significant blow. By passing Nico and winning the race, he’d make a very clear statement about who was the fastest man in the team. The grandstands were braced for something special.

Then Nico’s gearbox failed, calling a halt to what could have been an epic scrap. The first British winner on home soil for six years was greeted rapturously by the fans, while Lewis soaked up a very satisfying win that gave him a real lift after his Qualifying blunder.

But there remains a feeling that it could have been much more advantageous to Lewis’ ultimate goal – winning this year’s World Championship – had Rosberg’s car not expired. Passing the German on-track would have made Silverstone a round clearly won by Hamilton; as it is, a draw seems the fair result.

In the 1987 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Mansell relentlessly hunted down and passed his Williams team-mate Nelson Piquet to secure perhaps the most famous win of his Formula 1 career. It was a sweet victory for Mansell, whose relationship with Piquet was famously ill tempered, and a huge psychological boost. There’s no doubt that Lewis would have benefited from a similar scenario this year

Silverstone would not have been a knockout blow for Lewis, but it could certainly have left his team-mate that little bit groggier. As the most competitive title battle in years progresses, little moments like this will be crucial in deciding who eventually becomes the 2014 Formula 1 World Champion.

Watch all the action from Silverstone, the home of British Motor Racing and UK’s premier motorsport venue.