Lewis Hamilton revealed that despite the first-lap contact that saw him bumped down to last place, he still believed he could win the British Grand Prix.
Hamilton made a poor start from pole, dropping down to third place by the second corner. Heading towards the third corner he found himself on the outside, with the prancing horse of Kimi Räikkönen looking down the inside. As the two turned in Hamilton gave the Finn racing room, though Räikkönen locked up his front tyre, missed the apex and clattered into Hamilton’s right rear tyre – sending him spinning to the outside of the corner, facing the wrong way and sitting in dead last.
From here the Brit launched a Driver of the Day-winning fight through the field, charging through competitors and quickly reaching sixth place behind Aston Martin Red Bull Racing‘s Daniel Ricciardo. This is where Hamilton’s progress slowed, though a pit window saw him take a few more scalps.
Whilst he looked to have found as much as he could, there was yet more in store. A high-speed shunt involving Marcus Ericsson saw the safety car released, and provided Hamilton a golden opportunity to close up the gap to the cars in front. With teams choosing different strategies, Hamilton quickly found himself up to third by the time of the first safety car release.
As the first (and second) safety car period ended the order was Valtteri Bottas in first, Sebastian Vettel in second, Hamilton in third and Räikkönen in fourth. The four drivers duked it out for the remaining laps, each trading blows, but the real loser was Bottas. A strong defence on older tyres saw him fall to fourth, and promote everyone behind him to one place higher. This saw Hamilton progress from last on the first lap to second at the chequered flag – a position he thought he could have done better than.
“It was a difficult race, but I gave it everything and I’m grateful to make it back up to second,” Hamilton said. “It was eventful from the start, but in the final laps we just didn’t have the pace of the Ferraris on the fresher tyres.
“I’m very grateful that the car was in one piece after the incident in Turn 3 and that I could continue the race. I was last at that point, but I still believed that I could win – and I needed that mentality to make it back to where I finished.
“When the guys in front of me pitted under the Safety Car, it was an opportunity for me to get up into third. It was absolutely the right decision – if I had followed them into the pits I would have come out behind them on equal tyres and I would have struggled to get by them and most certainly would not have been second.
“The fans have been incredible this weekend and I’m so grateful for all their support.“