Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

sunnuntai 5. heinäkuuta 2015

British GP: Hamilton won the action-packed and rain-hit race!

Today´s race turned out to be an absolutely entertaining and thrilling one. Max Verstappen in P13 was the only driver to start to the race on the orange-marked hard tyres. Action started already at the start: Massa in P3 took an explosive start and made his way past both Mercedes drivers into Turn 1! Also Massa´s team-mate Bottas took a staggering start and P2 was already his for a second until Hamilton claimed it back. Rosberg was left 4th in the start. The opening lap didn´t lack drama: the Lotuses of Grosjean and Maldonado and the McLarens of Alonso and Button were involved in a collision, which meant that both Lotuses and Button were out of the race. Alonso had to pit for a new front wing. Safety car was deployed due to the collision. Kimi had dropped back to P6 as Force India´s Hulkenberg had managed to pass the Iceman. Sebastian had also lost a position to Red Bull´s Kvyat. So not the perfect start to the race for the Ferrari team-mates.

At the re-start Hamilton was desperately trying to take the lead from Massa. It wasn´t a wise move: Hamilton locked up his front tyres and went wide, which gave Bottas the opportunity to pass the Briton. Bottas didn´t hesitate to use his chance and took the second place. Williams was having a double lead! Unbelievable, who would have thought that could happen!?! Bottas was right at his team-mate´s tail and it seemed that the Finn was faster than Massa. However, the team told Bottas not to race his team-mate. Bottas urged to get a permission to try an overtaking move and a moment later he was granted by the team to make a move on his team-mate, as long as it would be "a clean move". Massa, however, wasn´t going to let his team-mate pass him. Bottas tried everything he could but overtaking seemed absolutely impossible. But the battle was utterly thrilling to watch! All top 4 drivers were within a few seconds and it really seemed that this time Williams could actually challenge the Mercs.

To my disappointment Verstappen drove off track on lap 4 and had to retire the race. It was such a pity as Toro Rosso´s pace had seemed excellent in the free practice sessions. Sebastian´s race didn´t seem too good, either: he had lost a position to Force India´s Perez and was down in P9. Because Kimi seemed unable to overtake Hulkenberg, Ferrari decided to take the Finn in for a pit stop on lap 14. Sebastian pitted a lap later. Hamilton was the first top four driver to pit on lap 20. The Briton had an absolutely perfect pit stop: only 2,4 seconds! Massa and Rosberg pitted on the following lap but Hamilton managed to jump both of them when they rejoined the track. Bottas was the last of the top four to pit for a fresh set of hard tyres but his 3,2-second pit stop wasn´t fast enough. The Finn rejoined the track behind Massa in P3 and was very close to losing his position to Rosberg as well but barely manged to keep the German Mercedes pilot behind him. Hamilton in the lead started increasing the gap to his rivals immediately and in no time he had a 3-second gap to Massa.

On lap 33 Carlos Sainz´s Toro Rosso stopped on the finish straight and virtual safety car was deployed. And there was more drama on the way: rain was coming! With about 15 laps to go the light rain started. Sebastian passed his team-mate and Kimi was the first driver to pit for a set of intermediate tyres. However, the rain seemed to stop as suddenly as it had started so Kimi´s call to pit so early turned out to be a wrong one! At the same time Bottas was struggling on the damp track and Rosberg managed to overtake the Finn. Only a moment later Rosberg made a move on Massa and suddenly Mercedes had taken the double lead! Wet conditions didn´t suit Williams at all.

Suddenly the rain started to pour down again and Hamilton pitted for a fresh set of intermediate tyres. Sebastian pitted on the same lap but the Williams duo Massa and Bottas pitted a lap later. Sebastian gained from the undercut and made his way up to P3 behind the Mercedes duo! Meanwhile Kimi´s intermediate tyres had totally died and the Iceman had to pit for a fresh set of intermediates only 4 laps before the chequered flag. What a tactical mistake, Kimi had dropped down to P8.

So Hamilton took his 3rd win on his home soil at Silverstone. Rosberg made it 1-2 for the Silver Arrows and Sebastian took the splendid P3! That was really more than I could have dreamt of today! He was back in P9 for a long time but he managed to make the right call at the right time, which cannot be taken granted in this kind of conditions. It was such a pleasure to see Sebastian on the podium after the break :) It was also very touching to see how delighted Hamilton was about his victory and how he thanked all his fans who had come to Silverstone to support him. In spite of the glorious start the Williams duo had to settle for P4 (Massa) and P5 (Bottas). Kvyat finished 6th, Hulkenberg 7th, Kimi 8th, Perez 9th and Alonso 10th (finally points for McLaren!).

But to be honest, this wasn´t the kind of race I was hoping for Kimi today! Yesterday´s qualifying was great but today it was up to Kimi to decide when to pit for the intermediate tyres and the Iceman simply made the wrong call. Naturally it was almost impossible to predict when the rain would intensify and how much rain there would be and when it would stop... But still many drivers made better job than Kimi today including his team-mate. Without the rain Kimi would likely have finished the race in front of Sebastian though.

Hamilton increased his lead into 17 points in the championship standings so Nico has to give it all at Hungaroring to out-perform his team-mate. Williams´s pace surprised me at Silverstone (Bottas already made his way in P4 ahead of Kimi in the championship standings), I hope Ferrari will find more speed in Hungary in three weeks´ time!

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