Lewis Hamilton was victorious in the British Grand Prix for the second year in succession, and in the process stretched his lead over championship rival Nico Rosberg to 17 points. It was a thrilling race, with the lead changing hands numerous times.
The race began in dramatic fashion, as both Mercedes drivers were sluggish out of the blocks, with Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas being the beneficiaries (although the latter quickly lost second place to the recovering Hamilton). Four cars ground to a halt after the first corner, meaning that the safety car was brought out. Once the race was allowed to properly resume, Hamilton took a gamble by attempting to pass Massa in a risky manoeuvre on the outside. It proved to be a bad decision, as Finnish driver Bottas seized his chance to take hold of second place, with Rosberg also waiting in the wings to overtake his team-mate. Max Verstappen was the next driver to make a premature exit from the race, on a day which saw a high number of casualties. After pit-stops by Hamilton, Massa and Rosberg in quick succession, Bottas found himself in dreamland out in front. Of the aforementioned three drivers, Hamilton’s pit-stop was by far the most successful, and he put clear water between himself and his rivals. Massa and Rosberg were jostling for third place after entering the pits at the same time, and after a tight manoeuvre, it was the Brazilian who emerged in front. Shortly afterwards, the two-time champion was able to regain first place after Bottas made a pit-stop of his own. He wanted to come in again for a tyre change, as rain was starting to fall in some areas of the track. However, the Williams strategists initially resisted those calls. Meanwhile, Vettel was inching himself up the field, beating Raikkonen on the inside.
Bottas was struggling in the increasingly damp conditions, and Rosberg capitalised on the reduced speed of the Finn to take third place in a race which never became predictable. It was not long before Hamilton’s German nemesis had more overtaking joy, with the victim this time being Massa. As the race approached the last ten laps, the race was starting to shape up in the traditional way, with Mercedes ruling the roost. Hamilton then dramatically entered the pits, as his team felt that the likelihood of the rain getting stronger was high enough to change onto the intermediate tyres. This immediately appeared to be a smart move, as the current championship leader eased past a sluggish Massa, while Rosberg was also losing a tonne of time on the unfavourable hard tyres. Although he had been leading, the Wiesbaden-born driver could not take the risk by staying on his current tyres, and he was forced to head into the pits for a second time. Hamilton’s slightly earlier switch to the intermediates proved to be the decisive move of the race, and from that point on he was assured of the victory. Vettel was continuing his impressive charge up the leaderboard, sliding past the Williams duo to ultimately find himself in the podium positions.
The last lap was a procession for Hamilton, and he was greeted by rapturous applause from all sides of the track as he wound his way to his third triumph at Silverstone, with Rosberg and Vettel trailing behind.
Featured Image: The Times