Front to back: the British Grand Prix

Reviewing every F1 team and driver from Sunday’s race at Silverstone.


Lewis Hamilton:
qualified 1st, finished 1st
Nico Rosberg: qualified 2nd, finished 3rd
An exemplary performance from home hero Hamilton, who took his third British GP win in succession, his fourth home win overall, and his fourth victory in the past five Grands Prix to narrow the gap to teammate and championship leader Rosberg to a single point, the closest the Mercedes pair have been all season. The reigning world champion had few scares of note save for a leery off at the treacherous first corner on lap 28, but that was as bad as it got as he sent the majority of the 139,000 fans in attendance home happy. For Rosberg, this was no ordinary third place – in stark contrast to his teammate, the German’s afternoon was a struggle as early as lap nine, where he’d already fallen to five seconds behind Hamilton and relinquished any chance of a win as he slithered around in the wet conditions. Verstappen made an audacious move on Rosberg into Chapel Curve on lap 16 stick, and it took Rosberg until lap 38 to restore order in a plainly faster car, albeit one that was struggling with gearbox gremlins late. After the race, Rosberg had a 10-second penalty added to his time for breaching F1’s radio rules regulations on driving “the car alone and unaided” after he asked his team how to combat losing seventh gear, which dropped him to third behind Verstappen and cost him three precious points.

Sebastian Vettel:
qualified 6th, finished 9th
Kimi Raikkonen: qualified 5th, finished 5th
Ferrari can forget challenging Mercedes for the constructors’ championship; that was the big takeaway from an underwhelming Sunday at Silverstone that saw the pre-season title challengers fall to 131 points behind the Silver Arrows, and stay just six points ahead of the stampeding Red Bulls. Another five-place gearbox penalty for Vettel, his second in as many races, saw the German start from 11th, and after he was the first driver to be brave and fit dry-weather tyres on a semi-wet track on lap 16 in an attempt to vault up the order, Vettel spun just two laps into his stint and ruined any chance of a decent points haul. A five-second penalty applied after the race for forcing the Williams of Massa off the track when he passed the Brazilian veteran was the full stop on a bad day that saw him drop to fifth in the drivers’ standings. Raikkonen’s biggest win for the weekend came off track, the 36-year-old signing a contract extension with Ferrari that was surely based on continuity rather than performance. The Finn had a messy qualifying with a spin and lock-up but still out-qualified Vettel, and started and finished in the same spot, a whopping 69 seconds behind race-winner Hamilton.

Front to back: what happened in Austria?

Felipe Massa:
qualified 12th, finished 11th
Valtteri Bottas: qualified 7th, finished 14th
A desperately unhappy race for Williams in its home Grand Prix, the much-loved British team failing to get either car into the points for the first time this season. Bottas felt he “got everything out of the car” in qualifying, which was a bit of a worry as he was 2.270secs off the pace and seventh, and he spun on lap 11 from eighth place and never figured in the points conversation thereafter. Massa didn’t even make Q3 on Saturday and complained of rear tyre issues, and while a final stop on lap 39 for the faster soft-compound Pirellis threatened to drag him into the top 10, the Brazilian just missed out.

Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo:
qualified 4th, finished 4th
Max Verstappen: qualified 3rd, finished 2nd
Verstappen took his third podium in six races at Red Bull and his second in seven days with arguably the drive of the day at Silverstone, and his pass on Rosberg to take second place will go down as one of the moves of the season. The Dutch teenager’s tyre management and ability in semi-wet conditions was a standout, and he did all he could to resist the much faster Rosberg for as long as he could late in the race, earning some criticism from the German for his robust defence. In the wash-up, Rosberg’s belated penalty promoted him to second again. Verstappen’s weekend really came alive 24 hours earlier, when he qualified a career-best third and broke Ricciardo’s unblemished record on Saturdays with his teammates this season. The Australian was a frustrated fourth for the fifth time this season and over 15 seconds behind Verstappen at the finish after a lonely race; he pitted for tyres at the end of the first flying lap of the race on lap six, but any chance of an undercut on Verstappen and the Mercedes drivers was scuppered by the top three getting a pit stop in under virtual safety car conditions a lap later when Wehrlein’s Manor spun out of the race. The one bit of good news for Ricciardo was that he jumped one spot in the drivers’ championship to – you guessed it – fourth overall.

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg:
qualified 9th, finished 7th
Sergio Perez: qualified 11th, finished 6th
Perez was once again the Force India driver who came out smelling like roses, taking advantage of a well-timed decision to pit under virtual safety car conditions to jump Ricciardo into fourth and stay ahead of the Australian for 13 laps in treacherous conditions that rewarded his renowned tyre management skills. Raikkonen in his much faster Ferrari finally passed Perez with four laps to go, but sixth was a strong return after a qualifying session that didn’t go to plan on Saturday. Hulkenberg was 0.7 seconds in arrears of his teammate after 52 laps, using the same wet-intermediate-medium tyre strategy as the Mexican, but being caught out by pitting as soon as the race was released from its safety car start, the chaos in the pit lane making a routine stop take longer than normal. A haul of 14 points, combined with Williams’ disastrous day, saw Vijay Mallya’s team creep to within 19 points of taking over fourth place in the constructors’ championship.

Jolyon Palmer: qualified 18th, did not finish
Kevin Magnussen: qualified 16th, finished 17th
A difficult Sunday in a season of difficult Sundays for everyone at Team Enstone. Palmer failed to advance out of Q1 for the third straight race at his home circuit, and what slim hope he had of progressing too far in the race ended on lap 17, when he was released from his pit stop with no right rear wheel attached, condemning him to an extra stop for a 10-second penalty. He eventually retired on lap 40 with cooked brakes after ranting about the blue flags he was receiving for being lapped. Magnussen’s Saturday was similarly fraught – the Dane survived an investigation for exceeding track limits in Q1 to make it to Q2 and was fortunate to escape a penalty for getting in Kvyat’s way late in the session – and he was the 17th and final car classified as Renault’s struggles continue.

Toro Rosso
Daniil Kvyat:
qualified 15th, finished 10th
Carlos Sainz: qualified 8th, finished 8th
Times have been tough for Toro Rosso of late, so a fourth double-points finish of the season was gratefully received by Red Bull’s sister squad. Kvyat broke a four-race points-scoring drought by coming home 10th and doing well to advance from 15th on the grid, finishing in the points at Silverstone for the third time in as many visits. Sainz had a few sideways moments that evoked memories of his legendary rally-driving dad Carlos Snr in the wet, but held off Vettel late to finish eighth. His qualifying lap late in Q2 on Saturday to sneak into the top 10 at Perez’s expense was a mighty effort, while Sunday’s four points saw him draw level with Hulkenberg for 11th in the drivers’ standings.

Felipe Nasr:
qualified 21st, finished 15th
Marcus Ericsson: qualified 22nd, did not finish
Nasr briefly ran in the top six as he stayed out on wet tyres while many of his rivals pitted once the race got underway properly on lap six, but tumbled down the order thereafter to stay pointless for the season. The Brazilian’s weekend was a lot more straightforward than Ericsson’s, the Swede missing qualifying altogether after a massive shunt at Stowe in FP3 which saw him taken to hospital for checks and a CT scan. The cash-strapped team rebuilt Ericsson’s chassis overnight, but he struggled with engine problems from the outset after starting from the pit lane, calling it a day after 11 laps.

Jenson Button:
qualified 17th, finished 12th
Fernando Alonso: qualified 10th, finished 13th
Another British team to have a disappointing weekend at home, with Button’s barren run at Silverstone continuing for another frustrating year. The Briton had the rear wing endplate on his car come loose in qualifying, and despite frantic repairs, he was left in the garage in 17th and out. Button finished ahead of Alonso largely due to the latter’s spectacular high-speed spin at Turn 1 on lap 24, the Spaniard’s McLaren rotating three times before lightly nudging the barriers in an incident that could have been far worse. Alonso was less than happy during the race with what he felt were unnecessarily conservative calls on strategy from a team with little to lose, but he was more positive afterwards, commenting that Sunday was the first race he’d felt competitive, especially in the wet-dry conditions in the first half of the Grand Prix.

Pascal Wehrlein:
qualified 20th, did not finish
Rio Haryanto: qualified 19th, did not finish
A harsh dose of reality for Manor after the highs of Austria seven days’ previously, with Wehrlein aquaplaning off the circuit on lap seven at Turn 1 and triggering a virtual safety car, and Haryanto going off at the same corner on lap 26 and finding the barriers. It was the first time neither Manor had seen the chequered flag since the Canadian Grand Prix of 2014, a span of 36 races.

Romain Grosjean:
qualified 13th, did not finish
Esteban Gutierrez: qualified 14th, finished 16th
A quiet first British Grand Prix for the sport’s newest team, with Grosjean retiring on lap 18, and Gutierrez finishing ahead of only Magnussen after feeling points were in play after their Q2 exits on Saturday. “Everything was open and I would have loved to get some more laps on such an amazing track,” was Grosjean’s lament afterwards.


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