Lewis Hamilton dominated to claim a record-equaling fifth British Grand Prix victory at Silverstone, with a late puncture for Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel allowing the Brit to cut his rival’s Formula 1 World Championship lead to a single point.
A similarly late puncture for Vettel’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen deprived him of second place and, though he still took a podium finish in third, Valtteri Bottas was able to complete a resurgent drive from ninth on the grid to complete a Mercedes 1-2, just six miles from their HQ in Brackley.
A slow pit stop prevented Max Verstappen from sustaining his challenge for the podium and he finished fourth, with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo surging from the back row of the grid to fifth.
Nico Hulkenberg completed a strong drive for Renault in sixth after a similarly impressive qualifying, with the stricken Ferrari of Vettel in seventh.
Force India took another double points finish with Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez in eighth and ninth respectively and Felipe Massa scored a point for Williams in tenth.
When the red lights went out, it was Raikkonen who made the better start on the front row, but a quick dart across to the right from Hamilton discouraged the Finn from attempting a move through Abbey.
Verstappen, however, made a blistering start in the Red Bull and took third from Vettel around the outside of Turn 4.
Toro Rosso’s weekend unravelled on the opening lap as Sainz and Kvyat duelled into the Maggotts/Becketts complex. Kvyat ran across the kerb on the inside and, in rejoining the circuit, collided with the side of Sainz’s car, ruling the Spaniard out.
Kvyat survived, though a drive-through penalty and two pit stops to evaluate damage ruined any chance of points.
With equilibrium maintained at the front between Hamilton and Raikkonen, the focus was on the battle for third between Verstappen, Vettel and Bottas.
The German tried to pass on the inside of Stowe, running the Ferrari out wide to restrict Verstappen’s exit, but the Dutchman held firm and repeated the exercise on Vettel into the final chicane. “So, he wants to play bumper cars, does he?” Verstappen quipped over the radio to his team.
A slow pit stop would unravel Verstappen’s charge, but Bottas’ blistering pace in the middle segment of the race allowed him to leap frog Verstappen, relieve Vettel of third and capitalise on Raikkonen’s misfortune.
The podium slots looked settled with a brace of laps of the 3.6 mile International circuit at Silverstone left to navigate, then disaster struck as Raikkonen suffered a puncture at Copse, before Vettel’s front-left cried enough at Luffield the following lap.
Both pitted along with a cautious Verstappen keen to avoid the same issue, ensuring Bottas would complete a 1-2 for the Silver Arrows and Raikkonen’s blushes were largely spared. “I never seem to have any luck” was still the Finn’s evaluation.
Daniel Ricciardo was also able to overturn the consistent Hulkenberg in the closing laps to complete the top five on an impressive weekend for the Australian.
Jolyon Palmer suffered a disappointing home Grand Prix after a brake-by-wire failure in the hydraulic system of his Renault forced him to retire on the formation lap.
Lewis Hamilton, however, was imperious all weekend and heads into the second half of the Formula 1 season with the tide of momentum firmly in his favour.
Sebastian Vettel will look to strike back when the circus travels to the Hungaroring near Budapest on the final weekend of July for the next event.
2017 ROLEX BRITISH GRAND PRIX – RESULT (51 LAPS):
|1||Lewis HAMILTON||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team|
|2||Valtteri BOTTAS||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||+14.063s|
|3||Kimi RAIKKONEN||Scuderia Ferrari||+36.570s|
|4||Max VERSTAPPEN||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||+52.125s|
|5||Daniel RICCIARDO||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||+1:05.995s|
|6||Nico HULKENBERG||Renault Sport Formula 1 Team||+1:08.109s|
|7||Sebastian VETTEL||Scuderia Ferrari||+1:33.989s|
|8||Esteban OCON||Sahara Force India||+1 lap|
|9||Sergio PEREZ||Sahara Force India||+1 lap|
|10||Felipe MASSA||Williams Martini Racing||+1 lap|
|11||Stoffel VANDOORNE||McLaren-Honda||+1 lap|
|12||Kevin MAGNUSSEN||Haas F1 Team||+1 lap|
|13||Romain GROSJEAN||Haas F1 Team||+1 lap|
|14||Marcus ERICSSON||Sauber F1 Team||+1 lap|
|15||Daniil KVYAT||Scuderia Toro Rosso||+1 lap|
|16||Lance STROLL||Williams Martini Racing||+1 lap|
|17||Pascal WEHRLEIN||Sauber F1 Team||+1 lap|
|DNF||Carlos SAINZ JR||Scuderia Toro Rosso||Accident damage|
|DNS||Jolyon PALMER||Renault Sport F1 Team||Mechanical|