2017 Formula 1 Rolex British Grand Prix: Hamilton stamps his authority at Silverstone
Lewis Hamilton kicked off his home race weekend by skipping an F1 fan event in London Wednesday, and, understandably got flak over his non-apperance. Fans / haters were quick to bash Lewis for being selfish. But Hamilton defended his action by stating that he just wanted to focus on the job at hand–that is, winning the British GP.
Qualifying saw Hamilton grab pole ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel. Valtteri Bottas, who got fourth, was demoted to ninth due to a gearbox change.
As the lights went out, Lewis Hamilton took charge of the field ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen, who got the jump on Sebstian Vettel. Bottas vaulted past Force India’s Esteban Ocon and the McLaren of Vandoorne to grab P7. Everyone went though without any incident, but as the cars reached Becketts, Toro Rosso drivers Carlos Sainz Jr. and Daniil Kvyat collided, ending Sainz’s race and bringing out the safety car. Pundits immediately pointed the finger at the Russian for causing the collision.
At the re-start, Hamilton’s reaction was immediate, and he timed it perfectly to retain position. By lap 10, the No. 44 car managed a 2.4 second gap to Raikkonen, and was 8.5 clear of Sebastian. Bottas, meanwhile, was passing rivals with ease and was up to sixth keeping Vettel in his sights. But the German had other plans. He wanted the get by the Red Bull of Verstappen, and in a series of fantastic wheel to wheel action, Sebastian tried his best to get by. But Max kept his cool to retain position.
Lap 18 saw Vettel dive in for a change of tires, while out in front Lewis kept on banging in fast lap times before coming in on lap 25. The Mercedes pit crew got the job done to bring Lewis out still ahead of Bottas in P2, who has yet to pit.
The race progressed with Lewis all by his lonesome in front, but the battle for the remaining podium spots were still up for grabs between Raikkonen, Vettel and Bottas.
Then in what can be described as “pure bad luck”, Raikkonen suffered a puncture with 2 laps to go to hand P2 to the #77 Mercedes, and to the chagrin of Hamilton fans, Vettel moved up to P3 but that quickly changed, on the very next lap. The British faithful exploded in all out jubilation as the No. 5 Ferrari then suffered a puncture. The German had to limp around the circuit before coming in for a new set of Pirelli’s, thus dropping him out of podium contention and promoting Kimi to P3 with Verstappen and Ricciardo rounding up the top five.
Lewis Hamilton crossed the line to take the checkered flag, 14 seconds ahead of his team mate with Raikkonen taking the last step on the podium.
Lewis Hamilton now stands equal to Alain Prost and Jim Clark with five British Grand Prix career wins, and more importantly, Lewis cuts down Vettel’s lead in the drivers championship standings to just a solitary point (177-176).