British GP | Hamilton takes lights-to-flag win, Ferrari punctured

Lewis Hamilton wins his fifth British Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton makes it four in a row at Silverstone, as he ties Jim Clark on five British Grand Prix wins. Taking a lights-to-flag victory and reducing Vettel’s championship lead to a single point after late punctures hit both Ferrari’s. 

Qualifying yesterday came with a downpour of rain moments before the green light came on, leaving many drivers questioning what tyres to head out on.

Some, like Hamilton, opted for slicks. But those who did soon realised their mistake, as Ricciardo went fastest on the intermediate rubber.

Unfortunately for the Australian, it was here in Q1 where his session would end. Back of the grid with Fernando Alonso, as engine penalties galore adorn the back row. Even though Fernando flew as one of two to take on slicks, topping the opening stage of qualifying to cheers from the grandstands.

The cheers, however, were nothing for Fernando compared to Hamilton as the crowd favourite cruised home later on to clinch his fifth home pole position. Moving level with Jim Clark for British Grand Prix P1’s, the perfect place to start his chase to a fourth consecutive home victory.

Hamilton qualifying -

Sparks fly under the Silver Arrow as Lewis Hamilton clinches pole at the 2017 British Grand Prix. Photo credit: Mercedes AMG F1 Team.

Joining Hamilton on the front row was Kimi Raikkonen, just like 10 years ago. Putting his championship-leading team-mate behind Hamilton on the grid and alongside the fast-starting Max Verstappen.

Verstappen, interestingly, noted on the grid how Sebastian’s rear brakes began to smoke following an aborted start for Palmer’s stricken Renault. Taking the under-pressure Brit out of his home round with a hydraulics failure before the lights faded.

When they did, Hamilton dropped the clutch for a rapid start to pull into Abbey with his lead intact. Although it was not a start as quick as Bottas a week ago to question a jump start, but fast enough to cover the Ferrari’s as Verstappen pulled alongside.

Sebastian, with his brakes easing smoke, sluggishly eased out of his grid spot to allow Verstappen to move into third without a challenge. But with Raikkonen covering the inside line for Village, Verstappen was left watching Vettel move back ahead and alongside his Red Bull for The Loop. Leaving Verstappen on the outside line.

A strong spot of traction, however, launched Verstappen out of the corner and onto the Wellington Straight with third place once again his. Frustrating Vettel for many laps to come as the Red Bull proved a tricky customer.

Their fight, though, would have to wait as contact between the Toro Rosso’s brought out an early safety car.

Kvyat nose change

Daniil Kvyat stops for an early nose change after contact with Carlos Sainz. Photo credit: Toro Rosso.

Sainz had overtaken Kvyat on the run into Copse. Putting his nose ahead through one of the fastest corners on the track, only for Daniil to tuck into his slipstream on exit. Handing the Russian a run into Maggots, and going side-by-side while rubbing the kerb.

Rubbing, though, soon turned into running as Kvyat ran off track. Rejoining into the side of his team-mate, taking Carlos out of the race with a spin at Maggots. Clipping the rear of Magnussen, too, but not enough to take another driver out of the race.

Trouble at Toro Rosso as Sainz parks at Beggets. “You can tell Dany he did a very good job,” came the message.

Kvyat was later punished with a drive through penalty for rejoining the track unsafely rather than the retirement that it caused. Putting the Russian further back in last place, having taken to the pits already.

With debris and a car on track, the safety car was called for and Hamilton’s initial lead was taken away. Yet as soon as the Mercedes safety car pulled in, Raikkonen dropped back. But not into the clutches of Verstappen, who too reacted slowly.

The determined stare of Daniel Ricciardo. Photo credit: Red Bull Racing.

Ricciardo, on the other hand, was punchy at the get go to take Stroll into Vale.

Daniel continued his early charge through the lower half of the grid in the following stages as he chased Grosjean through Luffield. Trying the outside line as he looked for a way past, only to run into the gravel and demote himself back to last place.

Also on the move was Valtteri Bottas. Overtaking Ocon for sixth after a gearbox change saw the Finn handed a five-place grid penalty.

DRS then made a move on Hulkenberg look like the Renault was in a different category to the Mercedes. Diving down the inside of The Hulk at Stowe from miles back – a favourite overtaking spot for the Mercedes man running soft tyres.

The harder compound did not mean Bottas’ pace was hurt, with the Finn closing in on Vettel for 4th as Seb tucked behind Verstappen. Growing in frustration with every lap, leading to a lunge at Stowe only leading to both running wide.

“He wants to play bumper cars or something?” claimed Verstappen.

Forced to tuck back behind as Verstappen covered the inside of Vale only increased Vettel’s anger. Again trying his hand on the outside of Stowe next time around, only for the door to close.

Vettel -

Sebastian Vettel, gaining on Max Verstappen during the British Grand Prix. Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari.

Vettel was not giving up, however, and again took the fight to Bottas at Stowe with another move around the outside. But once again, Verstappen closed the door. Leaving Vettel chasing into The Loop, where oversteer moved Bottas to within two seconds of the fight.

Despite catching, Bottas dropped back to Vettel with his used soft tyres. Knowing his chance to overtake would be through the pits, and without taking life out of his tyres he knew he would not get back with supersofts.

Without Bottas, Sebastian vs Verstappen rumbled on as the Ferrari picked up a strong run out of Chapel to carry more speed onto the Hangar Straight.

The story, however, was the same as before. For despite gaining with DRS, Max covered the braking point and again covered at Vale. Leaving Vettel to thunder onto the team radio claiming the Red Bull was moving under braking.

No investigation came his way and unable to get ahead, Ferrari brought Vettel into the pits for a possible undercut.

Attacking immediately on the soft tyres to post a purple sector time one and a half seconds faster than the Red Bull. Moving the German ahead, as Red Bull’s forced response could not prevent the move after a slow rear-left change.

Max Verstappen flows into Luffield with the BRDC grandstand behind. Photo credit: Red Bull Racing.

Vettel and Verstappen both stopping released Bottas into the clean window he needed to push. But despite the clean air, he could lap no faster than his chasers. Posting purple sectors times to within tenths of a second of each other.

Raikkonen soon stopping then allowed Lewis to pit knowing he would not be stuck behind anyone. Emerging directly in front of Bottas and immediately pulling a one second lead over his team-mate.

The clear gains of the fresh rubber meant Bottas was unable to keep pace with his Lewis. Falling back further into a window that saw his stop drop him to 4th, just ahead of Verstappen who was now being held by traffic.

“Can you move out of the way?” Verstappen kindly asked Wehrlein.

Ricciardo, having started on the back row of the grid, had now exited the pits too. Solidifying his true position in 10th, just behind the Force India of Perez after the Mexican was held by his team-mate when he took on fresh tyres.

Ocon holding Perez at the benefit of Ricciardo was akin to Canada when Perez refused to let his team-mate ahead with a podium chance on the horizon, only to free the Australian instead.

Daniel Ricciardo spreads his wings at the British Grand Prix. Photo credit: Red Bull Racing.

The similarities continued to extend, as well. As Ricciardo breezed into 8th at Stowe to dispatch the second Force India. Continuing his charge by picking off Magnussen into Copse thanks to the Haas still being yet to pit.

With the position gone and Perez’s best tyre life used, Force India could only reflect on a possible team call not taken again. Losing out once more, at the benefit of Ricciardo.

Ferrari, meanwhile, were left pondering the same but were not in a position to do so, with Sebastian running behind Raikkonen while being closed in on by Bottas. But with Raikkonen lapping faster than his targeted team-mate.

Soon, Sebastian began losing time hand over fist to Bottas who was quick into Copse. A spot where he tried a run around the Ferrari’s outside, only to be forced onto the run off as Seb fought back – locking up into Vale on tyres he was already blistering.

The added damage to his tyre would only have hampered Vettel’s pace even more so. Yet was able to cover the Mercedes into Brooklands, leaving Bottas looking at Stowe once again. Putting Vettel off the podium and taking three-points away from Seb’s championship lead over Hamilton.

From there, it looked like fourth would be all Sebastian could claim. But disaster for the other side of the garage as a late puncture struck Kimi moved Bottas into second, and Vettel once again into third.

Raikkonen -

Kimi Raikkonen, from the front row to podium potentially lost after a late puncture. Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari.

The puncture meant Raikkonen’s great race would not bare the rewards that were previously on offer. But thankfully the disaster only pushed the Ferrari down to fourth as Red Bull responded again to call Verstappen in having stopped just one lap later earlier in the race.

Verstappen may have felt as if he should have stayed out, claiming fourth place for himself. But his thoughts would surely have changed just seconds later when Vettel’s front left tyre delaminated. Creating a bigger puncture than Kimi, with the tyre shredding and attacking his front wing.

Vettel was able to limp back to the pits despite the damage. But his seriously reduced pace meant he fell down the order. Falling behind the Red Bull’s and even Hulkenberg to emerge in 7th place. Now, the podium looked a distant dream gone.

Not only was the distant dream of a podium gone, but his previous 20 point championship lead was wiped away in the moment. Only coming home with 6 to his name, 19 points less than Hamilton’s in first.

Now just one point separates Hamilton from Vettel going into Hungary. A circuit Lewis has more wins at than any other driver – having won there on five occasions. Vettel, on the other hand, has won there just once.

Victory today after leading every lap also means Hamilton has five wins to his name on home soil. Joining Jim Clark on five wins in Britain, while standing atop a podium with Bottas after the Finn’s ninth-to-second charge.

Hamilton Bottas podium -

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas spray the champagne on the British Grand Prix podium. Photo credit: Mercedes AMG F1 Team.

Pos. Driver Team Gap Points
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 25
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 14.063 18
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 36.57 15
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull 52.125 12
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1’05.955 10
6 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1’08.109 8
7 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’33.989 6
8 Esteban Ocon Force India 1 lap 4
9 Sergio Perez Force India 1 lap 2
10 Felipe Massa Williams 1 lap 1
11 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1 lap
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1 lap
13 Romain Grosjean Haas 1 lap
14 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1 lap
15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1 lap
16 Lance Stroll Williams 1 lap
17 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 1 lap
Ret Fernando Alonso McLaren
Ret Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso Contact
Ret Jolyon Palmer Renault Hydraulics

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