The Formula 1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone on 9th-10th July certainly lived up to expectations, with some great overtaking, crashes through the weekend and a British winner.
Of course, the typical English weather managed to wreak havoc on race day – drivers had to drive behind the safety car for the initial five laps of the race while the track dried up. In the end, Lewis Hamilton, who started on pole, won the race after leading for the majority of it, only dropping down to second position during pit stops.
The weekend’s drama started during Free Practice 3. Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson hit the tyre wall exiting Stowe’s corner meaning the session had to be red flagged for 17 minutes while Ericsson and his car were recovered.
Ericsson was taken to hospital for precautionary tests but was later released and given the all clear to race on Sunday. He unfortunately missed Saturday’s qualifying session and so he was forced to start the race from the pit lane behind the other drivers.
“In true British fashion, there was heavy rain before Sunday’s race so race control took the decision to start the race under safety car conditions”
He qualified in pole position, much to the delight of the British fans, followed by Nico Rosberg, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo – so it was a Mercedes front row and a Red Bull second row.
In true British fashion, there was heavy rain before Sunday’s race so race control took the decision to start the race under safety car conditions while the track dried out. The visibility was so poor at the start that even Hamilton nearly had an incident with the safety car due to the slippery surface.
“Due to the conditions, there were many crashes and spins throughout, so the British fans were definitely not disappointed”
Whilst the drivers adapted to the conditions the safety car was appreciated by many. However, there were several complaints from drivers, teams and spectators alike that it stayed out for too many laps. Jenson Button was one of those who complained about it saying, “It was definitely the right decision to start the race behind the safety car […] but I think it should have been recalled two laps earlier”.
Once the safety car retired, the race really got underway with Hamilton pulling out an early lead, leaving Rosberg, Verstappen and Ricciardo trailing behind.
Due to the conditions, there were many crashes and spins throughout, so the British fans were definitely not disappointed. Perhaps the most spectacular part of the race was in lap 16 when young Verstappen passed Rosberg around the outside of Becketts.
“Silverstone turned out to be a very decisive championship round for many drivers”
Rosberg later took this place back and finished in second position, until he was given a penalty and demoted to third position. This was one of the most controversial moments of the whole weekend as Rosberg was penalised for illegal radio instructions from Mercedes, following a gearbox problem for the German.
Mercedes were going to appeal against the decision but a few days later they recalled their appeal, accepting that despite trying to help Rosberg, they had indeed breached Article 27.1 of the sporting regulations.
Silverstone turned out to be a very decisive championship round for many drivers, as thanks to his win and Rosberg’s penalty, Hamilton caught up to his team mate in the drivers’ standings and is now only 1 point behind the German.
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) July 10, 2016
This could mean some very intense battles for the drivers in the coming races. But there are worries over issues with the drivers, as only a few weeks ago the Mercedes drivers were warned against causing problems and risking having their successes taken away from them.
Both Hamilton and Rosberg are free to race each other but after three incidents in the five races before Silverstone, the team imposed stricter rules to prevent further damage. In other news, Ricciardo is now in fourth position, only 2 points ahead of Sebastian Vettel whilst Kimi Raikkonen remains in a steady third position.
However, there are only 16 points between Raikkonen in third and Verstappen in sixth position so it looks like we are in for a tight battle for the top spots in the championship. The Hungarian Grand Prix is next on the agenda on the 22nd July. With both the Red Bull and Mercedes drivers looking strong, it looks like we have a lot to look forward to.