By Thomas Dodd
- Lewis Hamilton wins British Grand Prix for the fifth time in front of euphoric Silverstone crowd
- Valtteri Bottas finishes second with Kimi Raikkonen third as both Ferrari’s suffer late punctures
- Sebastian Vettel comes home seventh as championship lead to Hamilton is cut to one point.
SILVERSTONE, UK – A home win, a Mercedes one-two and a struggling Ferrari. The 2017 British Grand Prix could not have gone any better for Lewis Hamilton. Here’s five things we took away from round 10 of the Formula 1 World Championship.
Lots of love for Lewis
As Lewis Hamilton crowd surfed over a sea people who had spent the previous two hours waving Union Jacks in his honour, it became clear that the boy from Stevenage had lost none of his appeal to the British public. Hamilton received criticism for not appearing in F1’s London Live event in the capital last week, but as soon as he hit the track on Friday morning he had those in the grandstand cheering and pushing him on throughout the weekend.
The cheer Sebastian Vettel received as his Ferrari’s left front tyre deflated sending him into the gravel trap towards the end of the race also said a lot. Nigel Mansell reportedly told Lewis the fans at Silverstone give you an extra second. If that’s the case, Lewis took that second and ran.
Ferrari’s luck can run out
Mechanical problems had befallen Kimi Raikkonen a couple of times already in 2017, and the Finn had also been caught up in the odd incident out of his control. Vettel on the other hand had been immune from serious failure, and many considered him lucky to escape serious punishment for his actions in Baku when he drove into the side of Hamilton under the safety car.
But in Britain the prancing horse ran out of the luck – big time – and at the worst possible moment too, as both Vettel and Raikkonen saw their left front tyres deflate a mere few laps from the flag, costing both of them a podium. Ferrari’s loss was Mercedes’ gain and with ten races gone, the championship could not be closer. From a neutral perspective, everything is set up to perfection.
Daniel Ricciardo should be a championship contender
Coming to Silverstone Daniel Ricciardo had scored more points than anyone else in the previous five races, including a win in Baku and a hard-earned podium in Austria. The Australian, quite easily one of the most popular drivers on the grid was forced to start from the back row after a turbo failure in Q1 but flew through the field and capitalised on the late Ferrari woes to take fifth place on the chequered flag.
All of this, after making up five places on the first lap only to drop to last at the end of safety car period after being forced onto the grass by Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber. The Red Bulls don’t have the pace to keep up with Mercedes or Ferrari over 20 races, which is a shame, as we could well be looking at a four-way title scrap if it could.
There’s trouble brewing at Toro Rosso
Carlos Sainz’s future has been a hot topic in the paddock in recent Grand Prix, with the fast Spaniard said to be frustrated at the lack of opportunities available to him as a Red Bull driver with Ricciardo and Max Verstappen set to be confirmed for next year. What won’t help Sainz’s mood is being taken out by his own team mate, which is exactly what happened at Silverstone.
Both Sainz and Daniil Kvyat blamed one another for the first lap collision, which ended both drivers’ races. After Kvyat’s first corner antics in Austria the Russian is now one more fine away from a ban. So, with a dissatisfied employee on one side of the garage, and another on the brink of a suspension on the other, the Italian outfit could find themselves distracted by off track matters in the second half of the season, whilst also attempting to keep up the fight for fifth in the constructors.
Valtteri Bottas deserves more credit
For some a questionable choice to replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes despite his strong performances at Williams, Valtteri Bottas has developed and matured quickly with F1’s top team in 2017. A first win in Russia was added to ten days ago in Austria, and at Silverstone the Finn displayed raw pace and skill to climb from sixth on the grid following a penalty for a gearbox change, to complete a Mercedes one-two behind a dominant Hamilton come Sunday afternoon.
He will find it hard to wrestle the Mercedes championship contender bragging rights from Hamilton but just 23 points adrift from Vettel he cannot be discounted – especially if he continued to marry speed and maturity for the rest of the year. Having already proved he was worthy of a place on F1’s top table, Bottas is now quietly, but assuredly, making his mark on the front of the grid.
Formula 1 returns with the Hungarian Grand Prix, 28-30 July.
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