Mercedes driver, Lewis Hamilton closed to within one point of team mate and championship leader, Nico Rosberg taking a dominant victory at Silverstone on a typical British afternoon. Max Verstappen took the chequered flag in third place after a valiant, but futile defense of second place against Rosberg; but those positions were switched post race due to Mercedes’ infringement of radio communication rules.
The race started behind the safety car; which is disappointing, F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport; I don’t think so. Back in the day, it was rare to have a race start under safety car conditions. Now there seems to be an automatic safety car if there is more than a sprinkle of water on the track.
The race got started in anger on lap 6 when a third of the field immediately went into the pits for intermediate tires. Then on lap 7 the second third pitted for intermediate tires. Finally on lap 8 the leaders came in for intermediate tires under virtual safety car conditions due to Pascal Wehrlein beaching his Manor in the gravel trap. After the shakeup; Hamilton led Rosberg in 2nd and Verstappen in 3rd.
If you’re a person who likes cars spinning and sliding on and off the track, you’d give this race a “10”, but I would say that for a mixed weather conditions race it was actually reasonably dull. Even Fernando Alonso took a trip across the gravel and managed to recover back to the track. Only the two Manor drivers crashed out while four more drivers had miscellaneous technical failures during the course of the race.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo finished where he started the race; in fourth place, you’d have to say he was somewhat disadvantaged by pitting a lap earlier than Verstappen; not benefiting from the VSC like his team mate and the Mercedes duo. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen finished in fifth place; again where he started while team mate Sebastian Vettel could only manage 9th place after a race filled with incidents.
Force India’s Sergio Perez had a solid race; although you have to say he lucked into sixth place by virtue of pitting under the VSC like the three leaders. Nico Hulkenberg who didn’t pit under the VSC ended up behind Perez in seventh place despite starting three places ahead of his Force India team mate.
STR’s Carlos Sainz had a reasonable race finishing in eighth place; but was running in sixth place earlier in the race before spinning on lap 25 allowing Raikkonen and Hulkenberg to pass. The Spaniard never really recovered from losing those two positions. The final points scorer was Danill Kvyat, who has struggled with bad luck ever since his demotion from the senior Red Bull team after the Russian GP.
OK, time to address the elephant in the room; Mercedes actions in regards to breaking radio communications rules. I have already heard the conspiracy theorists talking about how Mercedes deliberately screwed Rosberg; but I feel it was just a terrible judgement call by his race engineer.
I do, however believe that Rosberg was fortunate to only receive a 10 second time penalty, it could have been a lot worse for the German, the FIA stewards have the option of excluding him from the race.
On the flip side of that, I still think this radio communication ban is stupid, F1 is supposedly a team sport, yet the driver has to be “unaided and alone”. I simply believe that a race driver traveling at speeds in excess of 200mph shouldn’t be fiddling with controls on the steering wheel, either make it simpler or relax the radio ban to allow teams to pass on information about car issues and how to fix those issues.