Lewis Hamilton took the chequered flag at Silverstone for the 2014 British Grand Prix in front of the home crowed. The Mercedes driver managed to finish ahead of Williams driver Valterri Bottas by thirty seconds, and from Red Bull driver Daniel Riccardo by a further sixteen seconds. Hamilton managed to take the win after his teammate Nico Rosberg retired from the race on lap 28, after his gearbox suddenly failed.
The German driver was already reporting a problem to his engineers over the team radio, at one point referring to a “problem” just before his first pitstop on lap 19. Nine laps later, after Hamilton made his first stop on lap 25, the German encountered an issue with his upshift mechanism heading through the ‘Loop’ section of the track. Through resetting some switches, he made it all the way over to Corpse before the gearbox when back to neutral. Then as he went through the Beckett’s section, he pulled off onto the grass and retired from the race once it became a terminal problem.
That pretty much set the tone for the lead of the race, with Lewis Hamilton just making sure he drove the car home without any issue. The team originally put him on a two-stop strategy and – despite Rosberg’s retirement – stuck with that strategy, and pitted him on lap 41 for a new set of Hards.
Valterri Bottas meanwhile came up the highest in the race on the one-stop strategy. After starting in P14 for what was a disappointing Qualifying session for the team, the Williams driver managed to gain a lot of positions at the start after the race was Red Flagged due to an incident involving Kimi Raikkonen. The Ferrari driver started from P18, but went off track at Aintree just as the cars came onto the Wellington straight. As he rejoined though, the rear of the car was unsettled by a rain gully just on the edge of the track, causing him to loose control of the car and smash right into the barrier to the left of the bridge.
The car then speared across the track and went into the oncoming traffic, reminiscent of Mark Webber’s crash at Brazil in 2003. Whilst the Caterham of Kamui Kobayashi was able to manoeuvre out of the way in time, the Williams of Felipe Massa caught the Ferrari unsighted and smashed into the side of Raikkonen, damaging the rear crash structure and rear left wheel in the process. Raikkonen got out of his car with a few bruises on his ankle, however the damage sustained by Massa ended his 200th Grand Prix early.
His teammate meanwhile, managed to gain five places on that start, getting up to P9. Jules Bianchi also managed to get up to P10, with both McLaren’s getting into P2 and P3. The race was suspended for a good hour whilst barrier repairs from Raikkonen’s 150mph impact were taking place, but before long we were back underway and racing at Silverstone.
Hamilton was able to make swift work of the two McLaren’s, both of whom slowly fell down the order as the laps went by. Bottas meanwhile was making moves on the circuit, eventually finding himself in P4 behind Button. The Fin followed the McLaren driver for a good part of the lap, before perfuming a brilliant overtaking manoeuvre on the outside of Stowe to get into P3.
Fernando Alonso was also making up places after starting from P16 on the grid. Like Bottas he was also on a one-stop strategy, and was able to make up places on those who had pitted early on the two-stop. By lap 38, he found himself battling with the two-stopping Sebastien Vettel for P5, who had just came out the pits on cold tyres. The Ferrari driver used DRS to his advantage, and was attacking and defending all at once heading into Luffield as he also had the McLaren of Kevin Magnussen behind him.
As Alonso and Vettel approached Corpse corner, the Ferrari took to the outside whilst the Red Bull was on the inside, and in what is usually a tricky corner as it is, the pair went side-by-side and Alonso managed to take the position in what was a brilliant skilful move. Vettel wasn’t done with him though, and a couple of laps later tried to retake the position back heading down the Wellington Straight. Vettel tried the outside, but Alonso covered him on the inside heading into Luffield and had the drive heading through Woodcote.
The battle went on for about ten laps, before lap 48 came by and Vettel managed to get a better run through Woodcote, with the pair going side-by-side into Corpse. It was going to be a case of the last of the late braker’s, and Vettel just managed to go 5m further heading into the corner on the inside, regaining P5 in what was an incredible hard fought battle.
Whilst all that went on, further back in the field Pastor Maldonado retired with an exhaust failure and Marcus Ericsson retired with front suspension damage. Romain Grosjean also passed Adrian Sutil for 12th place, after the Sauber driver was complaining to his engineers about his steering being off-venter and adding “How am I supposed to race?”
Jenson Button meanwhile found pace on his Hard tyres against Daniel Riccardo, and challenged the Red Bull driver on the last lap for the final podium spot. But it was Lewis Hamilton who took the chequered flag in front of an elated crowd, finally getting his hands on a win and closing the gap to Rosberg in the championship.
1 Lewis Hamilton
2 Valterri Bottas
3 Daniel Riccardo
4 Jenson Button
5 Sebastien Vettel
6 Fernando Alonso
7 Kevin Magnussen
8 Nico Hulkenberg
9 Daniil Kvyat
10 Jean-Eric Vergne
11 Sergio Perez
12 Romain Grosjean
13 Adrian Sutil
14 Jules Bianchi
15 Kamui Kobayashi
16 Max Chilton
17 Pastor Maldonado
18 Nico Rosberg
19 Marcus Ericsson
20 Esteban Gutierrez
21 Felipe Massa
22 Kimi Raikkonen