Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

sunnuntai 16. heinäkuuta 2017

British GP: 4th consecutive win on home soil for Hamilton!

The sky was grey, but conditions were dry, as the lights were about to go out at Silverstone. Due to the stoppage of Palmer´s Renault there had been another formation lap before the start. I was extremely worried about the conditions of Sebastian´s SF70-H, as there was smoke coming from the rear of his Ferrari. Verstappen, who was alongside him on the grid, reported on the team radio, that Sebastian´s brakes were on fire! Luckily everything seemed normal after the start. Hamilton and Kimi both got a superb start. Behind those two it was extremely tight between Sebastian and Red Bull´s Verstappen. The flying Dutchman had the upper hand in the end and managed to make it past the German. Bottas, who had started from P9, had gained two positions right away and was in P7. This time there was a first-lap incident between the Toro Rosso teammates Kvyat and Sainz. Fighting for positions, Kvyat hit the kerb and lost control of his car and ended up crashing into Sainz! The Spaniard was out of the race, but Kvyat was able to continue the race. Safety car was deployed. Later on in the race the Russian was given a drive-through penalty for re-joining the track unsafely after the incident.

After a couple of laps the safety car came in, and the race was back on. Bottas made it past Force India´s Ocon and jumped P6. Two laps later the Finn made a move on Renault´s Hulkenberg and passed the German in style. There was no doubt, that Valtteri was going to fight for a podium place. Things got heated between Verstappen and Sebastian. The Ferrari pilot seemed to be faster than the Red Bull ace, but Max is known as a driver, who can´t be overtaken easily. Sebastian made a move on the Hangar straight but Max wasn´t going to give up on his third place. A lap later Sebastian made another move, making his way ahead of the Dutchman. But Max drove absolutely fearlessly and was stubborn to defend his position by any means necessary. He went wide but re-joined the track ahead of Sebastian. What a breath-taking battle between my two favourites!

As there was no overtaking Verstappen, Ferrari called Sebastian in on lap 19. The pit stop was almost perfect, and Sebastian re-joined the track on soft Pirellis in P6. Red Bull reacted to Ferrari´s strategy right away and called Max in on the following lap. There was a small difficulty with attaching the rear-left tyre, and Max re-joined the track behind Sebastian. This was a genius strategy from Ferrari, as Sebastian benefitted from the undercut. Kimi had been able to match Hamilton´s pace surprisingly well, and the Iceman was doing excellent job. Kimi pitted on lap 25, also for a fresh set of soft tyres. Kimi re-joined the track ahead of teammate Sebastian.

Mercedes reacted immediately and took Hamilton in. Teammate Bottas, who had started to the race on the soft compound, pitted not until on lap 32. His last stint was looking competitive, as he opted for the red-marked super soft tyres. Bottas re-joined the track in P4. Hamilton was leading the race with a clear margin, Kimi was second and Sebastian third. There were about five seconds separating the red-suited drivers, and for some reason Sebastian seemed unable to match his teammate´s pace.

With ten laps to go, storming Valtteri had closed the gap to Sebastian and made it within DRS distance from the championship leader. The Finn was determined to pass Sebastian. He made a move on the Hangar straight, getting alongside the German already. Sebastian had a lock-up going into the next turn, but just barely managed to keep Valtteri behind. This was true racing! And a lap later Valtteri did it; he made a successful overtaking move on Sebastian and jumped third. Now his eyes were on his fellow countryman Kimi, who was 8 seconds ahead of Valtteri.

What a dramatic turn the race took three laps before the chequered flag. Suddenly Kimi suffered a front-left puncture, which forced the Iceman to come in for an unscheduled pit stop! Red Bull made a pre-cautionary pit stop as well and called Verstappen in. Kimi was now fourth in the race. What a shame! Kimi had driven such an impressive and strong race, and without the unlucky puncture he would have finished in P2! But unfortunately this was only the beginning... As only a lap later also Sebastian suffered a front-left puncture! How was this even possible, that both Ferraris were hit with a similar problem? Sebastian limped into the pits, but the unlucky German dropped down to P7 due to his extra pit stop. What a disappointing and horrifying end of the race!

Hamilton took his 4th consecutive win on his home soil; now the Briton has won the British GP already five times in his career. Bottas made it the second 1-2 of the season for Mercedes, which meant maximum points for the Silver Arrows. Kimi finished on the podium despite the unlucky puncture. This time Verstappen managed to finish the race; P4 was a great result for the Dutchman. Teammate Ricciardo, who had started to the race from the back of the grid, managed to make it as high as P5, which was a magnificent job from the Australian. No wonder he was voted as the Driver of the Day. Hulkenberg finished sixth for Renault, followed by disappointed Sebastian in P7. The pinks scored points as well, as Ocon finished 8th and teammate Perez 9th. Massa scored the last point for Williams.

Sebastian´s puncture meant bad news for his championship lead; Sebastian´s lead has now shrunk from 20 points into one point only! Valtteri is now 22 points down on his teammate. Mercedes has further increased their lead in the constructors´ standings, as the Silver Arrows are already 55 points ahead of their closest rival Ferrari. This is only the halfway point of the season, but I certainly feel a bit worried for Sebastian and Ferrari... Mercedes have emerged stronger and stronger every race. The red team has to bounce back in Hungary!

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