Twenty races. Yes, there are 20 races on the 2017 FIA Formula 1 World Championship this year. That means the conclusion of the tenth round of the championship, the British Grand Prix, puts us only halfway through the season. But with a proper F1 title battle between two drivers from different teams, and a third driver in the mix, producing some absorbing Grands Prix it’s a good thing that we still have some way to go!
That would also be the sentiment for Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes AMG F1 as the former three-time world champion took a dominant win from pole position over the course of the 51-lap race around the 5.891km, 18-turn, Silverstone circuit.
Hamilton’s win took him level with the late-great Jim Clark for the most number of British Grand Prix wins at five.
An aborted start due to Jolyon Palmer’s Renault stopping due to a hydraulics leak, a safety car period due to Daniil Kvyat taking out Carlos Sainz and the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel both suffering punctured tyres due to blistering punctuated an eventful race.
A race that also saw wheel-to-wheel battles between Vettel and Red Bull-Renault’s Max Verstappen, who jumped ahead of the German to compromise his bid for the win. And then between Vettel and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas who brilliantly recovered from ninth on the starting grid (due to a five-place penalty on account of changing a gearbox) to finish second after Raikkonen’s tyre issues.
LEWIS FROM START TO FINISH
Hamilton led every single lap of the race after managing to shut the door on a fast starting Raikkonen while Verstappen managed to force his way past Vettel.
As the Briton pulled off into the distance, Vettel’s pace was compromised as he tried everything possible to pass the young Dutchman who was adept at placing his car at exactly the right point on the track to fend off the German’s advances.
With Bottas – starting on soft tyres instead of super-softs like everyone else in the top ten – closing in on him as well, Ferrari took the decision to pit Vettel to try and ‘undercut’ Verstappen, which they were successful in doing so.
Meanwhile the other Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo was making its way up the grid from 19th – following a penalty for changing an MGU-H on the power unit – and in doing so, fighting with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg who was making the most of a new floor for the car that had him competitive in qualifying too.
Vettel’s bid to limit the points deficit to Hamilton was put through the test not only with his battle with Verstappen but then also Bottas who managed to catch up to him following his change to super-soft tyres.
Vettel’s tyres developed blisters, as happened with other drivers on the grid including Hamilton, but it was Raikkonen who suffered a failure on his left-front tyre first. Forcing the Finn to pit.
However, almost immediately after that Vettel suffered a puncture on his left-front, which dropped him to seventh place at the finish line after being forced to pit on the final lap.
This gave some luck to Raikkonen who finished on the podium, but not in second place as he had hoped.
That place went to Bottas, who ultimately crossed the line 14 seconds behind Hamilton while Red Bull Racing benefitted from Vettel’s misfortune to finish fourth and fifth with Verstappen and Ricciardo, who ultimately finished ahead of Hulkenberg.
The top ten at the final classification was; Hamilton, Bottas, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Riccciardo, Hulkenberg, Vettel, the Force India-Mercedes cars of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez and Williams-Mercedes’ Felipe Massa.