2014 British Grand Prix: Race Analysis

Hamilton Hits The Home Run

The British fans went home happy yesterday, with Lewis Hamilton hitting the home run and winning his second British Grand Prix. In a dramatic race, Nico Rosberg’s luck finally run out, as his gearbox failed at around half race distance and Hamilton was ready to capitalise in emphatic fashion. A standing ovation met the sole remaining Silver Arrow as it crossed the line and the applause would have been even louder if Jenson Button had managed to complete his late charge and overtake Daniel Ricciardo for P3. Despite catching the Aussie at an astounding rate, Button simply ran out of laps. Regardless, yesterday was all about Lewis Hamilton – His 27th career victory is no going to be forgotten in a hurry.

HAMmer Time

After the disappointment of Saturday, Hamilton had much to consider ahead of the race. P6 was a disastrous result, particularly considering that his fate was in his own hands heading into the final run of Q3. Regardless, the Brit’s mindset was evidently in a much more positive mode for race-day. He was into P2 in no time, but finding Nico five seconds ahead, he had a mountain to climb. “Still I Rise” was unquestionably in effect over the weekend and while the gap stabilised throughout the opening exchanges, upon fitting the hard compound tyre, Hamilton found incredible pace and reeled in a limping teammate by an astounding second per lap. With pace of this calibre, Hamilton was fast becoming the favourite for the race victory, yet had Nico not broken down, the imminent battle would have been fascinating. Even Lewis has stated that he would have much preferred to battle his teammate and give the fans the on track excitement that they so craved. However, I think a Lewis victory was fairly good compensation.
What I was particularly impressed by was Lewis’ attitude – perhaps not on Saturday, but Sunday’s performance showed great maturity. For example, following another lackluster pit-stop, (this time not influenced by Hamilton’s positioning in the box), Lewis immediately came over the radio, stating, “Don’t worry about the stop guys. Let’s just get the next one right”. This is maturity which we have not seen from Lewis in a long time, and is unquestionably advantageous to his title challenge. Its easy for the Brit to act like a champion in one race, but across a number of races is the real challenge.

Alonso vs Vettel

Two of the greatest drivers of this generation battling tooth and nail, with points and pride on the line is always going to provide fireworks. Two stopping Sebastian Vettel catches the one stopping Fernando Alonso with ease and after the Spaniard has been claiming that Sebastian’s talents have been overstated in recent years, this was his chance to prove his theory. We all know that Fernando is an incredible driver when on the defensive – perhaps the best there currently is on the grid – and he certainly highlighted his talents yesterday. While some of his desperate moves were on the limit of fair, that is the way that the best in the business operate.
One of the most jaw-dropping moments so far this year came during this spectacular fight. Alonso was defending the outside line heading into Copse and with Vettel on the inside, the Red Bull driver had the high ground. However, in typical Alonso fashion, the Spaniard claimed the corner and forced Sebastian to take his foot off of the proverbial loud pedal. The trust which Fernando placed in Sebastian in this instance was remarkable – if Vettel had not reacted to the Ferrari, the two would have had a huge accident. Safe to say, Fernando would not have defended in this manner against a rookie!
Its better to ignore the fact that both drivers were reporting each other to the stewards on countless occasions and just recognise and appreciate the incredible skill demonstrated. Vettel may have come out on top, but Alonso’s defence has once again highlighted his remarkable ability.

Raikkonen’s Red

However, all this action came an hour later than expected. A huge accident for Kimi Raikkonen on the opening lap prompted the red flag to be waved for the first time since Monaco last season, and the need for barrier repairs meant that the race was suspended for one hour. This was the least of the fans worries though, considering the ferocious impact sustained by Kimi.
I’m sure anyone who is interested enough to have continued reading this far has already seen the crash, so there is no need to explain what happened. However, the 47G impact suffered by the Finn was certainly a talking point. Fortunately, the chassis remained in tact, (which you would expect after the rigorous crash tests in the modern era), and Kimi has escaped with nothing more than some nasty bruises. These bruises are serious enough to prevent him from taking part in Wednesday’s test, but Jules Bianchi will be keeping his seat warm for him. It is expected that he will be fit for the German Grand Prix, which is obviously the most important upcoming date in the Finn’s diary.

Conclusions

Lewis’ fifth win of the season is perhaps his most crucial to date. The Brit has suffered three disappointing weekends in a row prior to Silverstone and with momentum seemingly playing a key part in this year’s title race, Hamilton needed to halt Rosberg’s relentless march. Its the first time Nico has not been in the top two at a race weekend all season, yet the bubble has now burst – the question is, can Rosberg bounce back at his own home race in Germany, or is it Hamilton’s turn to apply the pressure.

Driver of the Day
Valtteri Bottas
The flying Finn tag may have to be applied to young Valtteri soon, as the start of his race was nothing short of remarkable. Bottas made some fantastic manoeuvres at Stowe in the early stages to get into the podium positions. After this, he was simply untouchable for the rest of the afternoon and the best of the rest accolade was never in doubt.

Race Result
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2 Valtteri Bottas Williams
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
4 Jenson Button McLaren
5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull
6 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
7 Kevin Magnussen McLaren
8 Nico Hulkenberg Force India
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso
10 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso
11 Sergio Perez Force India
12 Romain Grosjean Lotus
13 Adrian Sutil Sauber
14 Jules Bianchi Marussia
15 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham
16 Max Chilton Marussia
17 Pastor Maldonado Lotus
Did Not Finish
Nico Rosberg Mercedes
Marcus Ericsson Caterham
Esteban Gutierrez Sauber
Felipe Massa Williams
Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari    
        

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