This was the view I and many other F1 fans who invaded the track post-race had, after Lewis Hamilton made what was a race-winning call at the very moment it rained. Even Hamilton himself said it was the “best call of my racing career” to his engineer Peter Bonnington, before heading out to collect the illustrious Royal Automobile Club trophy.
Normally when a driver receives a trophy he gives it to his trainer or a team representative for them to take care of, but Hamilton wouldn’t let this one go. He took it everywhere; the interview penn, post-race press conference, even on the Silverstone infield stage. You could tell how much it meant to him and what it represented, which is what winning a trophy should be like instead of it being a bank advert.
What was odd about Sunday’s race, despite the late shower which really did mix things up for the drivers, is that we still ended up with the same podium; Hamilton, Rosberg, and Vettel. It could’ve so nearly been a Williams one-two had the team not inflicted team orders on its drivers, and allowed Bottas to overtake during the early stages. Their pitstops were also woeful, even up to the point when it would’ve made sense to copy Hamilton’s strategy like Vettel did in the Ferrari when it started to rain.
But for what its worth, Martin Brundle made the observation that its no wonder that the two world champions to dominate the last five years of the sport made the right call at the right time. For Williams is was a case of another “missed opportunity,” and I only hope all these “ifs” and “buts” amount to a very Merry Christmas for them car wise.
The same can be said for McLaren, who seemed to slip into amateur mode all weekend after fitting Alonso with Button’s tyres during Qualifying and receiving a reprimand, only to add insult to injury with both drivers crashing into each other on Sunday.
Admittedly it wasn’t their fault, but for Button to retire at his home race through no fault of his own seemed unwarranted. He usually always addresses the British crowed post-race as well, but this time he didn’t for reasons out of the promoters control. In my books it was also another wasted race for Alonso. Even though he scored McLaren’s first point of the season spent most of the race behind the driver he said had “a lot to learn” in Abu Dhabi last year – referring to homeboy Will Stevens.
There are big egos in that team, and one wonders whether all these miserable Sunday afternoons will finally make them snap in a similar fallout to Red Bull and Renault.
Speaking of which, only one Red Bull car made it across the line on Sunday. Both Toro Rosso’s retired (right in front of me too!) after Verstappen binned it on cold tyres, whilst Sainz had Power Unit-related problems which brought out the Virtual Safety Car. This seemed to confuse the people sat around me in the grand stands, who thought Hamilton and co. had problems with their cars, which was rather funny. Ricciardo also retired with similar issues in his Red Bull.
I managed to speak to a member of the team that was staying in the same hotel as me on the Saturday, who I grabbed in a moment of luck as he was stranded outside his room after key card stopped working (will anything work for them these days?). He attributed their poor performance to the natural curve in performance in Formula 1, which we’ve seen in soo many years. But I can’t say he didn’t seem happy about being apart of the sport, even though the team has tanked in terms of results in the last 18 months.
Which brings me onto my final point. In the last couple of races there has been a lot of people talking down the sport, but much like moments last year Formula 1 always delivers with a spectacular adventure that reminds you why you fell in love with the sport in the first place. Maybe I’m slightly euphoric after seeing the cars on track in person for the first time in 12 months, but surely the same effect must filter down to the people in charge of this sport.
It’s three weeks until the next piece of F1 action, then another four after that. F1 will stay in the news in the meantime, but I hope its not all doom and gloom.