It went as scripted during Saturdays qualifying session, the Mercedes F1 team dominated and duly went on to claim first and second on the grid for Sunday’s race with Hamilton yet again on pole position. Hamilton’s pace seemed to have overwhelmed the opposition, the high speed nature of Silverstone means power is everything and the Mercedes F1 car seems to have unlimited power.
This was underscored by the William’s team who were a surprise 3rd and fourth on the the grid, Massa outpaced his team mate Bottas both cars are powered by a Mercedes customer engine. But the Mercedes F1 works team have the strongest engine, the superior all round package and the British Grand Prix was expected to be a demonstration of superiority to all other competitors on the grid.
As the red lights went out the script everyone was expecting was ripped up. Whether the two Mercedes drivers made a bad start or not the two Williams behind were lightening quick off the start. Massa was into the lead by the first corner Hamilton at first seemed dazed but the racer in him reacted instinctively and he tried to wrestle back into the lead.
But Hamilton’s second place was already under pressure as he exited the first corner, Bottas was hunting down Hamilton and was in no mood to yield. But Hamilton fought back and managed to fend off Bottas. Meanwhile behind the fight for first place the safety car was deployed on the second lap after a first lap incident.
The cause was a collision between the McLarens and Lotus drivers, Maldonado and Grosjean bumped into one another at speed as they both crashed out of the race Fernando Alonso took avoiding action only to collect an unwitting Jenson Button.
Button was out of the race while Alonso survived, the Spaniard would end up finishing the race in 10th, an achievement for the team given the Honda McLaren remains stagnantly un-competitive.
At the re-start Hamilton’s natural instinct came to the fore as he began to pressure Massa for the lead. However Hamilton exerted too much pressure going into the Vale-Club corner and ran off track gifting second to Bottas. Williams were now first and second with the two Mercedes holding station while all four were speeding away from everyone else.
Hamilton made a pitstop on lap 19 and on his outlap, with a clear track ahead and unburdened by the slower Williams, he was able to finally unleash his Mercedes F1’s full race pace and by the time Massa made his pitstop on the next lap Hamilton was in the lead without ever having to make an overtake on track.
Massa and Rosberg stopped on the same lap, the two pitstops were so closely timed that both drivers exited their pit marks at more or less the same time and the two headed down the pitlane side by side with Massa retaining position by the narrowest of margins.
From lap 19 onward Hamilton built up a steady lead by running at a marginally faster pace that was designed to conserve his tyres. By lap 36 a light rain shower hit one area of Silverstone, most drivers stayed on the slick tyres while some like Kimi Raikkonen made the choice to pit for intermediates.
Raikkonen had looked strong through out the weekend, out qualifying his team mate, but it seemed he had made his decision too early. The rain was intermittent with one part of the circuit was bone dry where as the other was damp but still navigable on slick tyres, just about. Raikkonen would end up chewing his tyres and ended up making another and costly pitstop.
By lap 39 the rain began to fall more consistently and many runners had made the switch to intermediates, Hamilton and Rosberg had not and at this point Rosberg was back into second place as he battled past Massa who whose Williams was struggling in the mixed conditions. By now Rosberg was faster than his team mate ahead of him and at this point began to close the gap significantly.
By lap 44 Hamilton’s lead had eroded and he made what seemed like an early stop for intermediates, the rain had eased off and it looked like Rosberg was going to win the British Grand Prix. But Hamilton had judged the changing conditions accurately as it began to rain heavier Rosberg’s advantage had been reduced as he tip-toed his way round to the pits on slick tyres to fit intermediates on lap 45.
From then on Hamilton built up a 10 second advantage over Rosberg and the 52 lap race finished for Mercedes as it had began, Hamilton first with Rosberg second. And as the race drew to its conclusion the clouds cleared and the sun raised a smile as quickly as the rain had appeared.
The biggest losers were Williams in the wet conditions they struggled to such an extent that Sebastian Vettel was able to claim third position despite not featuring strongly all weekend but like Hamilton he judged the weather conditions to perfection and thus demoted Massa and Bottas to 5th and 6th places.
But it seems like the rain gods favored the brave but Hamilton’s zeal to win in front of his home crowd was stronger than the ‘Gods’ could have predicted.
2015 British Grand Prix Results