Lewis Hamilton made the most of the conditions at Silverstone to take his fourth British Grand Prix triumph and close the gap in the championship standings to Mercedes AMG PETRONAS team-mate Nico Rosberg down to four points.
It could get even better however for the reigning World Champion as Rosberg is under investigation from the stewards because of some of the radio messages that were being said to the German as he battled a late race gearbox issue.
The race began behind the safety car after a heavy pre-race downpour, with the first five laps being run at its slow pace before the field were unleashed to race. The drivers were discussing the possibility of switching to intermediates while running behind the safety car, which questions why it was left out for so long.
A number of drivers immediately switched to the Intermediate tyres, but the leading drivers stayed out a few extra laps, and they were rewarded by being able to pit under the virtual safety car when Pascal Wehrlein spun out on his Intermediate tyres at the first corner after suffering with aquaplaning.
Max Verstappen showed his prestigious speed once more by completing the podium, but pulled off an amazing move on Rosberg exiting the Becketts complex into Chapel, drawing alongside the Mercedes driver and taking second place away from the German.
Rosberg managed to get revenge later in the race when the track was at it’s driest, re-passing the Red Bull Racing driver at the end of the Hanger Straight around the outside into Stowe Corner, but Verstappen could not capitalise on the issues that saw Rosberg slow with a gearbox issue that brought the messages to the driver from the pit wall that are being investigated.
Turn one proved tricky for most of the race as it seemed to hold the water for longer than anywhere else on circuit, with Hamilton and Verstappen amongst a host of drivers to have off track moments at the corner, although only Wehrlein and his Manor Racing team-mate Rio Haryanto were casualties there during the race.
Behind the leading trio was Daniel Ricciardo in the second Red Bull, who found himself behind the Sahara Force India of Sergio Perez early in the race when the Mexican was able to pit under the virtual safety car, but once the Australian had cleared Perez, he drove a lonely race to fourth.
Kimi Raikkonen also found his way passed Perez in the closing stages, but the Scuderia Ferrari driver will be disappointed to have finished more than forty seconds behind Ricciardo.
Perez just held off the challenge of team-mate Nico Hülkenberg at the chequered flag, just 0.771 seconds separating the duo at the end as the German showed better pace in the closing stages of the race, while Carlos Sainz Jr survived a couple of moments on track to take eighth for Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Sebastian Vettel could do no better than ninth in the second Ferrari, and was the first driver to make the switch from the Intermediates to the Medium slick tyre, but was also one of the drivers to be caught out by the turn one conditions, having a spin that lost him a number of seconds.
Vettel also took a five-second time penalty after forcing Williams Martini Racing’s Felipe Massa off the track at turn three as the two battled for position, but the penalty did not affect his finishing position as he finished 5.946 seconds clear of Daniil Kvyat, who continued his 100% record of scoring points in the British Grand Prix with tenth for Toro Rosso.
Massa took a gamble to make a third pit stop to switch from the Medium to the Soft Pirelli tyre, and made a few positions up in the closing stages but was unable to do any better than eleventh in a very disappointing race for the Williams team, with Valtteri Bottas struggling throughout and only finishing fourteenth.
Jenson Button finished ahead of McLaren-Honda team-mate Fernando Alonso in twelfth, with the Spaniard perhaps taking the wildest ride through turn one with a double spin ending up with him against the barrier, although he was able to recover through the gravel trap without losing too much time.
Felipe Nasr was the sole finisher for Sauber down in fifteenth, with the Brazilian at one point able to put a move on the Williams of Bottas ahead of him before ultimately losing out by 8.751 seconds at the end, while the final finisher on the road was the Haas of Esteban Gutierrez in sixteenth, a further 10.471 seconds behind Nasr.
Kevin Magnussen retired in the pits with just a couple of laps remaining so was a classified seventeenth in an extremely low-key afternoon for the Renault Sport F1 team, with Jolyon Palmer retiring with gearbox issues having already been running at the back of the field of his home Grand Prix after taking a ten-second stop and go penalty for being released in the pit lane with only three wheels attached to his RS16.
As well as the two Manor’s crashing out, there were retirements also for Romain Grosjean, who pulled his Haas off the circuit at Copse Corner, and for Marcus Ericsson, who after being allowed to race following his free practice crash on Saturday ended his race early with engine issues.
But no one could deny Hamilton his third consecutive Silverstone victory, his fourth in total, with the fans providing him with cheers of joy when he took the chequered flag. In the championship, it’s now game on as Formula 1 moves onto the Hungarian Grand Prix in two weeks time.
UPDATE: Nico Rosberg has been handed a ten-second time penalty at the end of the British Grand Prix after stewards deemed his team gave him too much information over the radio – Read more here
Silverstone Race Result
|3||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull-Tag Heuer||+8.250||15|
|4||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Red Bull-Tag Heuer||+26.211||12|
|6||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Force India-Mercedes||+1:16.941||8|
|7||27||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||Force India-Mercedes||+1:17.212||6|
|8||55||Carlos Sainz Jr||ESP||Toro Rosso-Renault||+1:25.858||4|
|10||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Toro Rosso-Renault||+1:32.600||1|
|11||19||Felipe Massa||BRZ||Williams-Mercedes||+1 Lap|
|12||22||Jenson Button||GBR||McLaren-Honda||+1 Lap|
|13||14||Fernando Alonso||ESP||McLaren-Honda||+1 Lap|
|14||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Williams-Mercedes||+1 Lap|
|15||12||Felipe Nasr||BRZ||Sauber-Ferrari||+1 Lap|
|16||21||Esteban Gutierrez||MEX||Haas-Ferrari||+1 Lap|
|17/RET||20||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||Renault||+3 Laps|