Sunday’s British Grand Prix was an absolute belter, with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg recovering to finish 1-2 thanks to a gallant fightback after a sluggish getaway off the grid.
The opening sequence of the race gave us a thrilling scrap between the works Mercedes’ and the identically-powered Williams pairing of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas.
In the end, the huge crowd got what they wanted: a Hamilton win, coming off the back of a brilliant strategic call as it began to rain.
Our reporter Chandni Patel reviews the action and picks her winners and losers from Sunday…
Who wouldn’t pick Lewis Hamilton as one of the star performers on Sunday? The Englishman mastered the changing weather conditions, making the perfect tyre change call, all the while driving quickly and consistently through the entire race. Extending his points’ lead to 17 over teammate Nico Rosberg was a just reward. His one blemish was a rather shocking start, but he kept his cool and didn’t put a foot wrong thereafter.
Sebastian Vettel is something of a surprise addition to this list, but after salvaging third place with an identical strategy call to Hamilton, he deserves the nod from us. It was a much better than expected result for the Ferrari team, which – frankly – had a very poor weekend.
Daniil Kvyat was able to score some solid points for Red Bull Racing in sixth place after some very difficult races and a tough season for the team overall. The Russian youngster was pretty aggressive in mixing with the Ferraris early on, and put in a late charge to almost slip by Valtteri Bottas by the chequered flag.
Fernando Alonso scored his first’ finish of the season by grinding it out to cross the line in tenth place in his McLaren. Granted, he did knock Jenson Button out of the running on the opening lap – trying to avoid the tangling Lotus’, it must be said – so it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the two-time World Champion.
Roberto Merhi may have benefitted from the retired cars, but he was able to keep his nose clean and deliver what is Manor Marussia’s best result of the season so far, and his best career finish in F1 with a twelfth-placed result. He never had the pace of teammate Will Stevens, but he also didn’t go nose-first into the fence like the Englishman, either…
All seven drivers who retired from a quite high-attrition race would make the ‘losers’ list today, although a special mention should go to Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado for a spectacular ‘friendly fire’ moment on the opening lap that saw both cars eliminated on the spot at the Village corner.
Max Verstappen was another clear candidate with his clumsy spin into the barriers at the restart (pictured top). Granted, he was on cold tyres, but it was a rookie error. To then blame a sudden gust of wind – which seems to be the excuse of the 2015 season – just underlined what an underwhelming weekend it has been for the Dutch teenager.
In my opinion, however, Williams probably takes the cake for a rather poor strategic management of a race that should have given them a double-podium finish. Felipe Massa made a storming start that translated into a delightful lead over the Mercedes’, but the Grove squad – by not allowing Valtteri Bottas to assume the lead despite being clearly quicker than Massa, and by failing to take charge of the pit stop calls – shot itself in the foot. The Mercedes’ easily undercut the Williams’ during the pit stops, and in the end, they were found completely wanting when the rain came down.
Speaking of poor strategic calls, Kimi Räikkönen contributed to his own poor run of form with a premature switch to intermediate tyres. The Finn was having a very lacklustre race, but it was a foolish call as the track simply was nowhere near damp enough to warrant a switch. Within a few laps, he was back into the pits for a second set of wet-weather tyres. Let’s not remind him where his teammate Vettel finished…
Image via Sutton Motorsport Images