Hamilton won his third British Grand Prix in a row as Rosberg breached the radio regulations. Here are 8 things we learnt from the 2016 British GP.
Crowd favourite, and crowd surfing, Hamilton won his fourth Grand Prix around the Silverstone Circuit as the reigning Formula One champion reduced his team-mate’s lead to a single point. Rosberg’s lead leaving the weekend could have stood slightly higher, but Mercedes came under fire as the first team to be punished for a breach of the radio regulations.
1) Hamilton wins British GP #4
Hamilton settled into his home Grand Prix from the first practice session to the last lap of the race. With Lewis topping each overall session, and taking the flag seven-second ahead of his championship-leading team-mate to convert pole into victory.
The win on Sunday marked Hamilton’s hat-trick of British Grand Prix wins. With the reigning Formula One world champion winning the British round in 2014 and 2015 – adding to his debut home win in his first championship-winning season.
In order to take his fourth victory of the year, one fewer than his team-mate and one fewer than his tally at this stage last year, Hamilton had to adapt to a drying track with a sudden downpour occurring in the moments before lights out.
The sudden downpour did, however, neutralise the start of the race as the Safety Car was called into action. Which itself caused Lewis issues as he raised concerns over the low speed they were lapping.
Added to the low speeds, Hamilton nearly cruised into the back of the Mercedes Safety Car as his brakes cooled.
2) Rosberg handed time penalty
As the end of the British Grand Prix approached, Nico Rosberg was struck with a gearbox issue that could have resulted in Mercedes being forced to retire their driver.
In a bid to prevent their driver from retiring, Nico’s engineer, Tony Ross, barked orders to the German of how he could get around his issue and continue to the flag. But in doing so, Tony Ross breached F1’s radio regulations on what can and cannot be said to a driver while they are on track.
Rosberg: “Gearbox problem.”
Engineer: “Driver default 1-0-1, chassis default 0-1, chassis default 0-1.”
Engineer: “Avoid seventh gear, Nico, avoid seventh gear.”
Rosberg: “What does that mean, I have to shift through it?”
Engineer: “Affirm Nico, you need to shift through it. Affirm, you need to shift through it.”
Telling Rosberg to go to “default 0-1” was not the cause of the 10-second time penalty – which demoted Rosberg from second to third, behind Max Verstappen. But rather the element of telling Nico he needed to shift through seventh gear – which was deemed to come under driver coaching, which was the main purpose of the radio restrictions.
As the FIA noted: “Having considered the matter extensively, the Stewards determined that the team gave some instructions to the driver that were specifically permitted under Technical Directive 014-16.
“However, the Stewards determined that the team then went further and gave instructions to the driver that were not permitted under the Technical Directive, and were in Breach of Art. 27.1 of the Sporting Regulations, that the driver must drive the car alone and unaided.”
3) Radio restrictions risk retirements, or breaches?
The precedent set by the penalty imposed on Rosberg now gives teams the ability to weigh up telling a driver how to avoid a retirement causing issue in favour of a similar penalty, or risk the driver retiring.
Should a driver lead by 10-seconds+ over their nearest rival – and not be in a position to overtake the car ahead, should there be one – a team may consider it worthwhile to breach the radio regulations in order to see their driver finish. A situation that makes a mockery of the radio regulations.
The radio regulations, though, do themselves no favours as it leaves drivers and teams in a position where they could be forced to risk retiring.
Mercedes, after withdrawing their appeal of the penalty, went as far to say: “During the coming weeks, we will continue discussions with the relevant F1 stakeholders on the subject of the perceived over-regulation of the sport. “
4) Nico nearly punished in qualifying
Added to his race woes, Rosberg’s grid slot of second place came under threat as the stewards requested to see Nico following qualifying for exceeding the maximum time between the two safety car lines at the start of the first qualifying segment.
Nico, however, avoided a penalty for this as he was not on an in-lap at the time and was, instead, taking the lap to cool his tyre temperatures prior to another flying lap.
5) Deleted times left Hamilton hunting pole
In Q3, Hamilton was deemed to be among the many to exceed track limits during qualifying. With Lewis’ provisional pole lap deleted after exceeding the accepted amount of exit kerb used at Copse.
With enough time in the session for another run, Hamilton was still able to secure pole for his home race – topping the session by three-tenths of a second to his team-mate.
After the session, Hamilton noted: “Being under pressure is something not to shy away from, something to attack full on and that is generally what I try to do.
“Every single lap I go out and every single corner I see the crowd they wave. There is nowhere in the world I can ever experience that and I wish people could feel what I feel.
6) Ferrari run ‘Halo 2’
After refinements were made from pre-season and extraction tests were carried out in Austria, Ferrari trialled the second variation of their Halo cockpit protection device during free practice at the British Grand Prix.
The variation of the cockpit protection hoop features the slightly wider shape to prevent a driver hitting their head in an accident.
Although Vettel did voice hesitations about visibility following the installation lap he completed.
7) Red Bull prepared to block Halo introduction
On the back of postponing development on their Aeroscreen, Red Bull trialled a variation of the Halo during post-British Grand Prix in-season testing. The Milton Keynes outfit, however, have made it clear they are not yet ready to support the Halo project.
With Red Bull team-principal, Christian Horner, questioning whether or not it would be worth waiting for extra research to be carried out on the Halo. In addition, Horner stated he is “not a big fan of the Halo” and feels it is “an inelegant solution to the problem it is trying to deal with.”
8) Ericsson’s heavy free practice crash
After his high-speed crash in final free practice, Marcus Ericsson was taken to a nearby Hospital to be checked over for any injuries. Which, remarkably, there were not – with Marcus himself noting: “It’s quite incredible”.
Ericsson said: “I was going at 230 kilometres per hour when I lost control and I don’t think it went down much before I hit the barrier – and to walk out without an injury is pretty impressive.
“It says a lot about safety of Formula 1 these days that you can do a crash like that and, okay, you feel sore and some pain, but you’re still fine.”