Lewis Hamilton won the British Grand Prix with room to spare, starting from sixth on the grid he wasted little time by quickly leaping into fourth on the opening lap in a race that came to a dramatic conclusion only three corners later. The race was red-flagged as Raikkonen, starting from 18th, suffered a high speed crash just after failing to make turn five. Initially the Ferrari driver made use of the escape route, rejoining the follow-on straight he ran over a patch of bumpy grass which pitched him uncontrollably back onto the track and then into a half spin and into the armco barrier on his right at around 150mph.
It was a heavy collision, the Ferrari seemingly exploding upon impact, then bouncing off and slithering back across the track finally resting on the other side of the barriers. The rest of the field took avoiding action except for Felipe Massa who was caught un-sighted and clipped the Ferrari damaging his Williams.
The race restarted an hour later, and Hamilton moved swiftly to make up lost ground after Saturday’s qualifying slump, he had to contend with two McLaren’s ahead of him but swiftly made his way past Kevin Magnussen and then by lap 4 he was ahead of Jenson Button who put up little resistance to a much faster car. By now his main target was in sight, Rosberg, team mate and leader of the championship an unstoppable force in the mind of Hamilton. But Rosberg looked like an immovable object as by now he held onto a 5 second advantage.
And so the private battle simmered away until the first round of pit stops, Rosberg completed the first of two planned stops on lap 18 of the 52 lap race but Hamilton decided to stay out until lap 25. Rosberg retained position with Hamilton rejoining 5 seconds behind, this didn’t matter to Hamilton and the Englishman soon began chipping away into Rosberg’s lead. But as the battle for the race victory was beginning to gather into an inevitable clash Rosberg suffered an unexpected gearbox failure on lap 29, his race over meant the spoils of victory were surrendered just as Hamilton had surrendered Saturdays pole position. From then on Hamilton raced to the flag unchallenged to the eventual delight of his home fans. Behind Hamilton was a different world, Bottas quietly made an advance from a 14th place start to finish second, his Mercedes powered Williams seems to be the second best car on the field right now. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo claimed third thanks to a risky one-stop tyre strategy, but only just as Jenson Button was a mere 0.8 seconds behind in a slightly improved McLaren vs Ricciardo’s old tyres. Battle of the day went to the 5th and 6th placed finishers, Vettel and Alonso.
Alonso started 16th on the grid the victim of over confidence during yesterday’s quali, but as ever he hauled the Ferrari around Silverstone. The Ferrari looked competitive compared to many of the past few races, and Alonso battled his way up to 5th in typical swashbuckling style making daring overtakes on anyone who resisted him. However Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel had other plans.
The the 4 times in a row champion couldn’t make his way past the 2 times world champion and the British fans were treated to a real battle of the titans full of cunning, dark arts and in the end bravery. The pair dueled for 15 laps, Alonso managed to hold off Vettel but the Red Bull was that little bit more faster but Alonso gave little away. Eventually Vettel had to go wheel to wheel at 160mph on the straight leading into Copse to muscle his way into 5th. But this wasn’t about who finished 5th or 6th it was about two former champions facing down one another, the gladiators in the ring one triumphing over the other, it was about racing and racing hard and to the limit.
All in all it was a great day for the British crowd which saw a British winner, Rosberg’s failure was the first retirement of his season compared to Hamilton’s two. The points buffer that Rosberg built has now reduced from 29 to 4 points. The fight for the championship is back on.