Lewis Hamilton has won his fourth British Grand Prix after leading from start to finish ahead of fellow Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.
Rosberg, who had been slowly catching up to his teammate in the last 15 laps, suffered a gearbox issue within the last five laps of the race and was told by the team to avoid using seventh gear, which left the German vulnerable to an attack from Verstappen.
While Verstappen was making ground on the ailing Mercedes, he was told by his team that Rosberg would be investigated after the race in regards to the messages his team radioed him for his gearbox problem.
Daniel Ricciardo had a quiet race and came home in fourth position ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
The race began controversially under the safety car after a downpour covered the circuit 20 minutes before the race was scheduled to commence. However, the rain lasted very briefly and questions were raised why the safety car was needed when the drivers were on wet tyres.
After spending the first five laps behind the safety car, the race started with half of the field diving for the pits to dispose of the wet tyres for intermediates which caused chaos as cars were entering and exiting their pit boxes narrowly ahead of one another.
Racing on lasted two laps when Pascal Wehrlein aquaplaned off the track at Turn One and beached his Manor in the gravel bringing out the virtual safety car.
This gave the rest of the field a chance to make the switch to intermediate tyres which Hamilton, Rosberg and Verstappen took advantage of, returning to the track in the same positions thanks to the virtual safety car’s neutralisation of the race.
Hamilton then quickly created a gap of over four seconds while Rosberg was forced to defend a pressing Verstappen.
While the track was still drying, Valtteri Bottas spun from ninth position as Nico Hulkenberg was putting pressure on the Williams for ninth, seeing the Finn drop down to 13th position.
Both Mercedes and Red Bull Racing drivers were told to look after their intermediate tyres in order to make them last until the change for slicks, although during his stint on the inters, Verstappen caught Rosberg and made a sensational move around the outside of Becketts to take second position.
Lap 16 saw Sebastian Vettel pit to be the first to jump on the slick tyres, putting on a set of mediums and rejoining the track in 15th place. Two laps later he set the fastest lap of the race, then undid his hard work by spinning off the track at Turn One.
Fernando Alonso became another victim of the slippery Turn One surface, spinning multiple times into the gravel after pushing Felipe Massa for ninth position. Alonso touched the McLaren’s front wing on the barrier but was able to continue, although much further down the order.
Hamilton pitted for slick tyres on the 18th lap, leaving Verstappen to take the lead. The teenager only held first position for a lap as he too pitted for the medium tyre the following lap.
The track continued to dry but still caught out drivers when Rio Haryanto completed a double DNF for Manor as he too spun and beached his car at Turn One. Hamilton had a moment a couple of laps later running wide at the same corner costing him three seconds from his lead.
Rosberg started to challenge Verstappen for second with 20 laps left to race, although it took him longer than expected, only getting the move completed after seven laps stuck behind the Dutchman.
Carlos Sainz was running in sixth position before he also became a casualty of the low grip surfaces of Turn One, dropping the Spaniard two positions to eighth where he would finish ahead of Vettel. His Toro Rosso teammate Daniil Kvyat finished in tenth position, but will be elevated to ninth in the standing as Vettel incurred a five-second time penalty for forcing Massa off the track when passing the Brazilian for ninth position.
Force India enjoyed a successful race as both of their drivers finished in the points. Sergio Perez gained four positions to finish in sixth position narrowly ahead of Nico Hulkenberg.
Jolyon Palmer didn’t have the home race he would have liked, receiving a 10-second stop-go penalty after his team released him when his right rear tyre wasn’t properly fixed to the car. The Briton later retired from the race, joining Romain Grosjean and Marcus Ericsson with technical issues.
Image via XPB Images