Silverstone F1 2017: Lewis Hamilton vindicated? And what happened with Ferrari tyres?
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Lewis Hamilton
Posted By: James Allen  |  16 Jul 2017   |  5:40 pm GMT  |  278 comments

It was a tough build up to the British Grand Prix, with the announcement of the break clause being activated at Silverstone and the row over Lewis Hamilton’s decision not to attend the London Live promotion. But the race certainly delivered with some great racing, close battles and spectacular scenes of celebration for Lewis Hamilton.

We also had drama with Ferrari hitting tyre problems late in the race on both cars.

Hamilton had one of those very special weekends with a stunning qualifying session, pole position and a race, which he was able to completely dominate. He ends the weekend having closed the gap from 20 points to just 1 behind Sebastian Vettel.

Lewis Hamilton

He was rightly criticized for being the only driver not to appear at the London Live promotion on Wednesday, but then he went out and dominated the Silverstone weekend, so his mini-break had achieved his objective in clearing his head of all the negatives around Baku and the Vettel (non-)penalty and the gearbox penalty he suffered in Austria.

There was a lot of talk about his no-show at the London Live on Wednesday, but Hamilton knew what he needed to get ready for the British Grand Prix. My own view is that, if he was determined to go, he probably should have told his story a bit better before jetting off to a Greek island for a couple of days of R&R to manage expectations.

Had he explained why he needed to miss the London promotional event before going people may have understood better. Although on balance I think that if he had his time again he probably would have grabbed a rest on Monday and Tuesday and appeared on Wednesday evening in London. But we are not privy to the other discussions going on at the moment between Liberty, Mercedes and all the star drivers about promotional days and what they need to do for F1 as a whole. There are some skirmishes going on behind the scenes, despite the hugely positive moves forward that the sport is taking under the new owners.

Hamilton said after the race that “this is the best I have driven ever” and he certainly had a point to prove. All eyes are now on Ferrari to see how they react.

Mercedes didn’t bring an upgrade to this race and they say that the new engine wasn’t worth much in terms of additional power. But it’s clear that they have developed slightly better than Ferrari in the last few weeks and more than that, they have understood the tyres better than at the start of the season. The two things together have given them a margin over Ferrari.

However the next race in Hungary will be a strong race for Ferrari, a tighter race track and they have an upgrade coming for that race, as do Red Bull and Mercedes. The Mercedes long wheel base car was well suited to this Silverstone track and they made the most of it with a 1-2 finish, despite Bottas needing a five-place gearbox penalty.

Sebastian Vettel

What was going on with Ferrari as front tyres fail?
The race went wrong for Ferrari after both cars suffered front left tyre problems in the closing stages. Kimi Raikkonen had the second place bought and paid for after Max Verstappen got ahead of Vettel and held him up, which wrecked Vettel’s race. It also gave Raikkonen a big lead in second place.

Bottas was trying to come through from 9th on the grid using a reverse strategy of soft tyres for the opening stint and supersoft for the second stint. He would not have caught Raikkonen without the tyre problems, which struck out of the blue with two laps to go. But Bottas was the cause of Ferrari’s problems as his pace meant that they were pulled into a mentality of doing one stop, when they – like many others -had thought that this would be a two stop race. Add to that the fact that Vettel undercut Verstappen by making an aggressive early pit stop and it’s clear that they were pushed to the limit. Vettel’s lock up exaggerated the problem and he paid the price.

Many teams were in two minds about whether to do one pit stop or two, but it swung towards one stop after the supersofts turned out to suffer low degradation in the opening stint and they were able to go longer. Bottas managed to take his soft tyres to 36 laps of life, which is more than Ferrari did before hitting trouble.

There were reports that Raikkonen hit some debris, but he said he did not. Raikkonen and Vettel’s problems allowed Verstappen to make a precautionary pit stop without losing position, as his tyres were on the limit too.

There was no discussion on the radio of the team considering switching the cars when Bottas was catching and Vettel was only four seconds behind Raikkonen. It could have been risky anyway as Raikkonen looked set for second place at that point and there was no guarantee that by slowing to allow Vettel to pass, that they wouldn’t have both been passed by Bottas anyway. The maths show that without his tyre problem Bottas would not have caught Raikkonen.

Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo has one of his strongest drives
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo did not make it six podiums in a row. But this was still one of his best drives in F1.

He did a superb job once again to finish in fifth place from the back of the grid, without a Safety Car (apart from the one in the very early laps).

He did it through a combination of good strategy and some fine overtakes. Although he blotted his record a little in the early stages when he undid all his good work at the start by running wide at Woodcote and being overtaken by the cars he had just passed.

He was in a similar position to Valtteri Bottas in needing to offset himself against the cars ahead of him so he did a long first stint on supersoft tyres, which wasn’t easy to achieve at the pace he was going. And once he got onto the soft tyres, he was able to use the combination of the speed he could come out of the Maggots/ Becketts esses complex onto the Hangar straight and then being able to use DRS on the straight, to pass cars. For example when he passed Perez he was doing 320km/h while Perez was at 288km/h without DRS. That’s why he could pass the Force Indias, but they struggled to pass Magnussen for example.

What were your highlights of the British Grand Prix? Leave your comments in the section below

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1

Max will deside the championship between merc and ferrati

2

Errrr, guess who was in Mykonos at same time??? Yep Shirtslinger!!! nicole that is!!

So he couldnt wait for three week break? I work for myself, funny last night in the storms, i was awake all night out in a field with calving cow. Came in at 5am, yet I am back in the marine business working a 7.30 am. So sorry its bollocks! You have easy life to majority of people and earn far more than any of us can ever dream of, so try that bit harder. Your fans deserve it as you will never have the worries we do

3

And a pound to a penny, you were neither at the London event nor did you attend Silverstone.

Fan my backside.

By the way, you just described the average day and night for most livestock farmers. Only it’s usually in the middle of winter or spring. They earn very little full stop these days unless they are one of the few very large farms. They have earned very little since the end of the Milk Marketing board in the late 80’s. Yet they continue to heroically do what they do because it’s a way of life ingrained in them. I know, I am part of a sixth generation farming family. We moan only about weather, poor government management and prices.

We really do not care what others do in their private time when they provide such entertainment for us during their working hours.

4
Tornillo Amarillo

Stroll said a broken barge board ruined his race at Silverstone, he had to pit again believing they were the tyres, but not, big problem in the car performance.

5

The battle between Ricciardo and Hulkenberg would perhaps have been a bit different without the real bad stop with about 5s for Nico?

6

Hi James
I find it odd that both Renault and Ferrari have not developed own qualifying mode like Mercedes have. Would this not be a key area to focus on considering it has potential to bolt you further up the grid ?

7

Lewis did very well this weekend. Kept his head down and delivered the goods.

I don’t think the London event is a paid-event by fans, so only best effort required. If Lewis has other plans, I’m glad my driver is doing what makes him ready for the race.

One point I’d like to make is that, crowd surfing and climbing over the fences looks extremely dangerous. Any slip and fall can be career ending, hope Lewis does less of that.

8

James, could the safety car have affected the change from 2 stop to 1 stop? Less laps at full speed.

9

The one thing Bottas has shown us this year is that there is a whole stack of very good drivers in the F1 midfield who could win races and titles if they got to drive the Mercedes. Alonso, Hulkenburg, Perez, Ricciardo, all are the equal to Hamilton. Raikonen is close, but has probably lost a step with age. Massa is likely in the same boat. Verstappen has the raw talent but lacks the experience and common sense. Grosjean is hard to tell since he never gets a decent car to drive. But the one thing that has become blindingly obvious is that Hamilton isn’t nearly as superior as the English speaking press constantly promotes him into being. Unfortunately, Hamilton has now developed a gigantic ego which far exceeds his real driving skills. But we’ve seen with Bottas that any decent mid-field F1 driver can get in that car and win races.

The smart move for Mercedes would be to let Hamilton go when his contract expires and demands a giant pay raise, and then replace him with a young but experienced driver like Peres who can take the superior Mercedes car and win just as well. Although my preference would be to see Hulkenberg finally get the break he’s long deserved.

10

Just to endorse @KB Davies comments.
Lewis was only “rightly criticised” by the press, who were probably peeved they missed an opportunity to write more hype about him.
It’s clear from Silverstone, the real fans, including me, didn’t care a hoot.
So he wants a few days off to regroup and recharge in pursuit of a WDC in which he is already 20 points behind. Fine by me.

I defy anyone to suggest his preparation for the weekend did not contribute to him being “on another planet” (to quote this column) during Q3.
What do his employers think? Obviously they were ok with it. They didn’t criticise him.

What is it with the press telling people how they should behave? I find it a little arrogant to be honest.

Fact is, Lewis continues to promote the sport far more than anyone out there. And his actions at the weekend eclipse anything a meaningless ‘promo’ event could achieve. Without him, hits on this website and others would plummet.

11

I think Toto Woolf made an unnecessary statement about LH missing the London event. Would he say the same if LH missed the Mercedes end of season event? Anyway all a storm in a teacup. On with the racing. I very much enjoyed The British GP even if it was freezing on Saturday qualy. Congrats to Lewis H Valterri B, Kimi R Max V Seb V, and Daniel R for the entertainment.

12

In my view, LH had nothing to vindicate nor explain himself from to anyone . He made his choice for himself and does plenty of other charitable work and non track activities I am sure, but it clearly worked for him and it showed with a dominant display at the weekend.
I wonder how many people thought the wheel to wheel racing (bumper cars!) was acceptable? Personally, I loved it, and I chuckled at VB’s response to the question of was it ok? Yes!, he would have run the other driver out too! So I often question why is it LH is such a bad, bad, person and should be DQ’d for doing this, but its all exciting and acceptable when its anyone else? No need to reply, it was rhetorical as some people can not bring themselves to compliment Lewis as their hatred of him clearly runs deep! Apart from those few moments, the only other enjoyment for me was watching Danny rip through the pack! Even he experienced the running off of the road by another driver, but hey, thats OK, its racing…as long as it didn’t involve Lewis 😀 Ferrari’s were left wanting! Running too long with possibly an aggressive front end set up and being forced in to an early stop??? Bottas managed an equally long stint perfectly well how ever. Who knows? All I can say is, it looks as though Lewis is primed and ready to ramp up this championship battle to the next level and Seb and the rest will either have to put up or shut up. I really hope this years crown is decided by all the cars actually finishing every race with points being scored on merit and not settled like last years reliability governed championship. Grenade has been tossed……quietly walks away!

13

Ubique, you are quite right to point out the glaring discrepancy between certain posters reactions to firm but fair wheel to wheel manoeuvres, depending on the drivers involved. You are also right to not expect a response from those posters when challenged on these double standards, none of them are man enough.

14

@ Ubique…Why is it that when someone makes an observation that doesn’t accord with your opinion of Hamilton, be described as being a ‘hater’ ? A very poor choice of language. As an example, i don’t particularly like the chap and i am not afraid to say so, but i don’t ‘hate’ the guy. My hate is reserved for terrorists and paedophiles plus others who violate the concept of human decency. You should reflect on that.

15

F1 by not allowing in season testing is killing the sport one nail at a time. The level of Mercedes dominance we’ve seen in the turbo era is unprecedented. How can there be any competition when one team carries a 1 sec/lap advantage over its nearest competitor ? If there was any doubt that Mercedes will yet again make this a single-make championship , then their utter crushing dominance in Silverstone should settle it and remind everyone who wishes to see some close racing that it is not happening any time soon.

Thank heavens for Motogp. We have 4 great riders from 3 different team separated by 10 points into the season. Liberty and Ross Brawn have their task cut out if they are to make this sport closer and more competitive.

16

James, is it possible to do an analysis of straight line performance between Mercedes and Ferrari when they run their Q3 engine modes? Using GPS data for instance?

17

The last four races have shown us this season will end the same way the last three have, double title for merc, the fans more turned off and the rest of the field waiting for 2021

18

‘He was rightly criticized… ” Criticism okay, but rightly I don’t think so because’ Two Day Holiday has paid off

19

Earlier in the year Lewis tweeted in the early hours how much he missed Nicole and then had a couple of duff races.

So I’m surprised, nobody else has picked up on this, when Lewis didn’t attend London and was away. Who else was staying where Lewis was this week, a certain Nicole. Lewis all chirpy this weekend and blows everyone into the weeks, coincidence my a***.

Ron commented Lewis’s performances often reflected how well he was getting on with her.

20

Really? Is that on again?
Get set for the yoyo!

21

Happy Hamilton won, now we have a champion battle!
But it seems that Mercedes has an advantage for the future.
Ricciardo, what impressive driving, Ferrari and Mercedes should chase him for the 2019 season!

22

Interesting to see so many saying that Ferrari are fading. Let’s play the ‘What if …’ game. What if Vettel had qualified ahead of Kimi? What if Kimi hadn’t blocked Vettel from passing when he caught him, even after Vettel’s poor start? Or I think pretty much anything that put Vettel ahead of Kimi would have given Ham/Merc a challenge. Verstappen only got ahead of Vettel because Kimi blocked him off (fairly of course), without that Vettel would not have pitted early and things would have been very different.

23

Kimi was the faster Ferrari driver on the day, no question. There is absolutely nothing in Sebs race that indicated he had the race pace to challenge Lewis. Seb on new softs was only managing to keep pace with Lewis on his worn tyres. Add in the fact that Lewis was cruising and the deals done. Nothing Seb or Ferrari did or could have done would have changed the winning result.

24

Verstappen only got ahead of Vettel because Kimi blocked him off (fairly of course)

I think you mean to say “Vettel only got ahead of Verstappen since Kimi blocked him off (fairly of course)”.
Or if you want to be 100% correct:

Verstappen had a better start than Vettel, then Vettel only got ahead of Verstappen since Kimi blocked him off (fairly of course) after which Verstappen only got ahead of Vettel because Kimi blocked him off (fairly of course).

Kimi blocked Vettel exiting the slow corner, then Max saw an opportunity around the outside of the fast left hander and went for it. Brilliant racing from all 3 of them although I don’t think Kimi purposely blocked Vettel there. That Max/Vettel moment could have ended really bad for at least one of them but both were right on the edge. Great racing.

25

@ Tony…some interesting points there. Raikonnen got a hefty ‘kick in the a$$’ from Marchionne and he has reacted. It was effective. say no more.

26

Kimi was just plain faster than Seb. As you could see even when nobody was slowing him down. And he should have got past Max, he abused the tires, made a bad start…no need to feel sorry.

27
The Grape Unwashed

Hi James, Verstappen surely deserves more of a mention: the Red Bull was clearly inferior to the Ferrari, but he simply outraced Vettel in Silverstone. First, that beautiful overtake at the start, driving around the outside of the Loop, a very long apex corner; then, the staunch defence in a clearly slower car, holding his nerve as Vettel pushed him off at Stowe and returning the compliment through Club. This was an exceptional performance from Max, he just looked the better driver versus Seb.

My bet is that Red Bull will be mighty around the Hungaroring, if the long wheel-base Mercedes struggles we may see a Red Bull 1-2 there, but certainly they’ll both be fighting for podium places. A 6-way fight to the finish? I can hardly wait!

28

No Verstappen mentions, because the race and the fans topic was awesome and overwhelming (…boredom of a race).
I have to admit I’ve never seen such a promoted and hyped driver (aside from Hamilton but by British press and himself only), but aside from that, his reputation is well deserved. The moves on Vettel with less power and inferior machinery were one of its kind. I hope he keeps his head cool and down to earth, unlike the british-Harlem driver.

29


he just looked the better driver versus Seb

he always has! 😉
In all seriousness, I was gutted to see RBR so close to the pace in Austria (where they didn’t expect it) and so far off it in Silverstone (which they thought would suit them better). All Max’ fights with Vettel have been hugely entertaining, especially because you know Vettel will always complain (his hand gesture 😀 roll back to Brazil 2016 turn 4).

30
The Grape Unwashed

Jeroen, yeah I had high hopes after Austria that Red Bull had closed the gap, but they were so far behind in Silverstone 🙁

I get the same excitement watching Max race that I got in 2007 when Lewis burst onto the scene – he’s a game changer for the sport, he contributes hugely to the enjoyment of the race.

If Renault can produce a properly competitive engine we might see a few years of three teams and three greats competing – it would be another golden age for the sport.

31

A really boring race, can’t be better put than Button’s description of the race in C4…”boring at the front, boring at the back”.

Silverstone has a nice layout, but these cars following each other at high speed is not a recipe for overtaking. I guess GP fans need to thank the freak event of the Ferrari tires which provided the only excitement of this race.

IMHO, that was it for Ferrari. Mercedes has clearly the better package and the momentum. So, heading into the classical ‘meltdown’ point at Ferrari?, including possible driver farewells perhaps? (Vettel having his own meltdowns)

32

There’s nothing good about the Silverstone track, it’s just cause its british hence the uproar about it leaving.
If its not a wet race its 100% boring if you take a look at reports after the race its always mainly about fan engagement never on track action.

The on track action is no different to a race in the middle east.

33

Agreed, in terms of racing. The track itself is fun to drive, though flat. (Though I admit I have no clue why they scrapped the old layout BTW), But, badly located, and yes, only attraction is the rainy wetter to mix up things.
Still hard to absorb the British media hype around it.

34

@ Reutermann…would be interesting to know the the stats. How many actual passes were there and who made them? Someone, somewhere,……

35

I have no stats, that’s for the journalist on this site. Not counting lapped cars and the Ferrari incidents, I guess pretty much Ricciardo gaining ground with a much faster car.

36

@ reutemann…I’ve heard figures of 34 passes of which DR made 24? That seems to be higher than i thought but then again he was on fire and pulling some great passes along the way.

37

@kenneth, thanks mate. Yes, that roughly seems like the guess ratio we were discussing. Put a fast car at the back of the grid to compensate the lack of overtakes (not the McLaren of course 🙂 )

38

Does anyone really think we would not have got pole, fastest lap and the win if he had attended the event!

39

The driver market is going to get interesting now. Is Vettel stalling on anew contract because he wants to go to Mercedes and is Mercedes keeping its options open by courting Vettel in case Hamilton decides to retire soon? Would the prospect of Hamilton winning a WDC with a third team (never done before) entice him to Ferrari? And what about the red bull drivers given their contracts are up at the end of next season. Lots of questions yet to be answered under the backdrop of an exciting season.

40

I sincerely doubt Hamilton would even be on the podium at Ferrari.
With his weak morale he would be “out” from the second race on. Probably announcing a sabatical to recover from mind fatigue for the 3rd race on.
Even the eternal optimist fernandi Alonso could not take anymore at the time, Vettel is looking arround already, even “Iceman” could swallow Ferrari in small doses at a time. Something there is corosive. Red is from rust ?!?

41
The Grape Unwashed

I’ve never understood the appeal of Ferrari, the only time it’s worked well was when Todt/Brawn/Schumacher formed into a single organism which the management found impossible to divide and conquer. The rest of the time it’s seemed more interested in winning internecine struggles than titles.

42

In my opinion Mercedes quail-mod wins the races and championships more than anything or anyone lese. Of course they have got a strong package, but that is the key. Put Verstappen, Alonso, Ricciardo, Vettel in a Mercedes and all the statistics will look quite different. Preparation, holiday etc. before the race probably a nice thing to have, but Bottas, Verstappen or Ricciardo all have done a pretty good job on Sunday and they were attending the London Show.

43

Peter, surely the point is Mercedes didn’t want those drivers, they wanted Lewis….

44

I wonder if you asked them now, would they have a different opinion?

45

LKFE, if that was the case why do they keep offering him new contracts and upping his pay?

46
The Grape Unwashed

Bottas qualified behind both Ferraris.

47

In my opinion Mercedes quail-mod wins the races and championships more than anything or anyone lese

So why did both Ferraris outqualify Bottas? Or is this “mode” only on one Mercedes?

48

Bottas was my highlight of the race. Combined with the Mercedes strategists.

And unlike Nico Rosberg, Bottas seems less concerned about mind games from Vettel or Hamilton. I think Bottas is going to be as dominant as Mika Hakkinen eventually.

49

Lol, Bottas dont make such jokes more like Merc being dominant.

50

@ Nomad, I personally think that there were two D’sOD…Bottas and Ricciardo. Both these drivers had to battle hard for their positions, They provided some good racing.

51

Is it just me or does this feel like the begining of Mercedes dominating and running away with the championship? I really hope Ferrari have something mega with their update next race to keep this interesting.

Brilliant drive by Danny RIC to recover all those positions. Same to Bottas. Sucks for Vettel to lose 19 points in under 2 hours.

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