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Formula 1 ... British Grand Prix ... Seb first and Kimi third on rivals’ home turf


The start

The start

 

Silverstone, 8 July, 2018

Weather
sunny and dry
26-29°C air
48-54°C track

The best race of the year so far, ended with a win for Scuderia Ferrari, which sees Seb Vettel increase his lead by 7 points to 8 in the Drivers’ championship and the team extend its advantage by 10 points to 20 in the Constructors’. Despite some neck pain Seb secured his fourth win of the season and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen made a good recovery following a collision shortly after the start. The SF71H proved to be the car to beat, even if that had not seemed the case going into this event.

STORY OF THE RACE
Would the boiling hot tyres give enough grip? Yes would seem to be the answer given the way Seb shot from second on the grid into the lead. Kimi fought with Hamilton and it did not go well, with the Mercedes spinning and the Ferrari continuing in fourth place, before retaking Ricciardo at the end of the opening lap.

In the early stages, Seb’s SF71H was clearly the quickest car on track, while Kimi was right up Verstappen’s exhaust pipes. However, after seven laps, the Stewards hit the Finn with a 10 second penalty for the collision at Turn 3, while the driver was radioing the team asking about suspected front wing damage. They decided to bring him in on lap 13 to change the tyres and take the penalty. He rejoined tenth, between Sainz and Magnussen. He immediately dealt with the Renault and set the fastest lap. The aim was to stay ahead of Hamilton when he too would have to pit.

In the early stages, Seb’s SF71H was clearly the quickest car on track, while Kimi was right up Verstappen’s exhaust pipes. However, after seven laps, the Stewards hit the Finn with a 10 second penalty for the collision at Turn 3, while the driver was radioing the team asking about suspected front wing damage. They decided to bring him in on lap 13 to change the tyres and take the penalty. He rejoined tenth, between Sainz and Magnussen. He immediately dealt with the Renault and set the fastest lap. The aim was to stay ahead of Hamilton when he too would have to pit.

At one third distance, Kimi had moved up to sixth and Red Bull called in its drivers to avoid finding themselves behind the Ferrari. At the end of lap 20, Seb pitted switching from Soft to Medium tyres. He emerged ahead of Hamilton, as planned. Obviously, at that point, Bottas was told to pit, but Sebastian still found himself leading, by the same margin of 4”4, as before the stop. However, now it was time for tyre management.

Hamilton pitted on lap 26, but surprisingly, Ricciardo hung on for a further five laps before handing fourth place to Kimi. With 20 laps to go, Ericsson crashed into the barriers at the first corner and the safety car came out, which changed the shape of the race. Ferrari pulled off a double pit stop, switching back to Softs, but the Mercedes duo stayed out, so that behind the Safety Car, Bottas led the way, from Vettel, Hamilton, Verstappen and Raikkonen.

At the end of lap 37, the race resumed with Seb maintaining position and Kimi fighting with Verstappen. But almost immediately there was another crash, this time involving Sainz and Grosjean at Copse. So once again the Safety Car appeared, coming back in with ten laps remaining. The first three tore off and behind them, Kimi got the better of Verstappen and set his sights on Hamilton. The next two laps were incredible with four cars fighting it out. Then, on lap 47, Seb concealed his move to the very last moment and dived inside Bottas at turn 6. He was first! And for the second time in this race, those behind switched places. Only three laps left, but there was plenty of excitement still to come. Kimi attacked Bottas and passed him decisively at turn 6. First and third “here at their home” said Seb on the radio.

Maurizio Arrivabene
“This was a well deserved win, mainly down to a great job from the team at the track and back in Maranello and I congratulate them. Winning here is not easy as England is home to the Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren, Force India and Williams and others. That makes winning here all the more special. Sebastian drove a great race, fighting like a lion despite the pain in the neck he has suffered with since Saturday. Kimi also had a strong race proving once again what a fighter he is. The SF71H confirmed its strengths as it has done on other tracks already and the Pirelli tyres were a perfect match for our strategy. Tomorrow we will have our debrief and right from the afternoon we will start preparing for Sebastian’s home race, the German GP.”

Sebastian Vettel
“Every race is a team race, but today it was even more important for us to win here, because the last few years had been very difficult to us. This year we have proved to be strong every time on every track so far. The most important thing is that the car is strong and fast. The new updates that we brought here have worked very well through the whole weekend. In qualifying we were just a little bit slower, but during the race it was just great. Today during the first stint I probably pushed too much on the Soft tires, but during the second one I had everything under control. The Safety Car made everything more exciting, but even more tricky. However, the strategy with the tires was great and at the end we got a fantastic win as a team. I really enjoyed this race and I am happy for me and for the team. Also, the start was very important for us and it was great. Now it’s important to keep working. I say thanks to the whole team for this win!”

Kimi Raikkonen
“My start was not perfect; in turn 3 I locked the inside wheel, lost a bit of grip and couldn’t slow down as much as I wanted. So I ended up touching Lewis’s rear wheel and unfortunately he span. I had to serve a ten seconds penalty and after that my race was a bit messy. Overtaking was difficult, and I fought against the Red Bulls for many laps. When I was on my own the speed was ok, but once I was behind them, their wake seemed to affect my car a lot more than the Mercedes did; I was losing a lot of downforce and that upset the balance of the car. We were quite a bit faster, but it was really tricky for us to follow them. It was a close fight for quite a lot of times, at the beginning and at the end of the race. Finally we managed to pass them and then I overtook one of the Mercedes. It was not an easy day, but I gave my best and made a decent comeback.”

Marcus Ericsson
"It is disappointing that I did not finish the race today. It was going really well, we were following the strategy plan and had a good first stint. Then, the second stint also started well, and we were waiting to become stronger through the race. Unfortunately, I had to retire following my crash in turn 1. The DRS was open, and I lost the car. The positive is that we made further progress and I look forward to fighting back at the next Grand Prix in two weeks' time."
 
Charles Leclerc
"It is a pity that I had to retire from the race today. The start was exciting and I was able to gain a few positions during the opening laps. The car felt good, our pace was competitive, and things were running smoothly. Unfortunately, there was an issue during the pitstop, and we had to retire straight after. In any case, mistakes can happen, and the team has been doing a great job with the pitstops in the past races, so we will move on from this and go into the next race weekend feeling positive about the progress we are making."
 
Freìdeìric Vasseur, Team Principal
"It was a tough race for us. We had a good start, with both of the drivers putting in a strong performance. Everything was going well, with Charles advancing to P7 and Marcus steadily catching up with the midfield. Unfortunately, things took a turn after Charles' pitstop. There was an issue and he had to retire from the race immediately after. Then, Marcus lost the car in turn 1. It is a tough outcome for us, but we have to stay positive. Despite the final result today, we have made another step forward since the last Grand Prix weekend, and are in shape to come back stronger for the next race at Hockenheim."

Lewis Hamilton
It was a difficult race, but I gave it everything and I’m grateful to make it back up to second. It was eventful from the start, but in the final laps we just didn’t have the pace of the Ferraris on the fresher tyres. I’m very grateful that the car was in one piece after the incident in Turn 3 and that I could continue the race. I was last at that point, but I still believed that I could win – and I needed that mentality to make it back to where I finished. When the guys in front of me pitted under the Safety Car, it was an opportunity for me to get up into third. It was absolutely the right decision – if I had followed them into the pits I would have come out behind them on equal tyres and I would have struggled to get by them and most certainly would not have been second. The fans have been incredible this weekend and I’m so grateful for all their support.

Valtteri Bottas
I’m very disappointed, leading the race and then dropping to fourth in the last few laps feels pretty bad. The others pitted under the Safety Car, but we took the risk and stayed out to get ahead of Sebastian. It worked out initially, everything felt fine in the beginning. I was giving it everything I could in the re-starts, I had to push like in qualifying, but with about five laps to go, the tyres just could not take it any more. I tried everything to not give up the lead, but there was nothing I could do at that point to defend against the others on the fresher tyres. We knew a one-stop was not going to be easy, but we decided to take the risk. Unfortunately, that stint on the Medium tyres was just a bit too long today. It’s always easy to judge these things in hindsight, but at the point we made the call to stay out I was on the same page. I could have easily taken second place today, but we decided to go for it. I will continue to give it everything and I’m sure that one day it will work out.

Toto Wolff
That was an incredible race – thrilling right to the finish and full of drama. For Lewis, it was an awesome fightback to second after running dead last on lap one; and for Valtteri, we gave it everything to try and claim the win – and he arguably would have done so without the first Safety Car period, as he was closing fast on Sebastian at that point. First of all, we need to look at our own performance and what we can improve from today. We clearly have work to do on our starts, as we lost ground once again to Ferrari. But after yesterday’s very close qualifying session, it was encouraging to see the underlying pace of the car – and that we had better tyre usage than our competitors. We made the right call to leave both cars out under the Safety Car: we had planned to do the opposite to Ferrari, as it was our best chance to win, so when they pitted we stayed out on track with both cars. We took the improved track position and knew it would be tough to hold on. Valtteri defended like a lion but just couldn’t hold off Sebastian as the tyres were dropping away – and still did a great job to take P4. For Lewis, on fresher tyres, it got him back to P2 and maximum damage limitation. Overall, though, we are left with the feeling of “what might have been” after one of our cars was taken out for the second time in three races on lap one. In the past three weekends, we have lost points through our own mistakes and those of others – now we need to get our heads down, keep developing and put the performance to good use in the next 11 races. It’s all to play for.

James Allison
This sport is at its very best when unpredictable and we saw that proven today with a thrilling spectacle for the aficionado and casual fan alike. However, as a Mercedes team member, it hurts a lot not to have Lewis on the top step of the podium where his blinding pace today should have put him. Leaving aside the misfortune of the first lap, it is intriguing to speculate how the final part of the race would have played out without the Safety Car. Valtteri was in very good shape on his tyres, and closing on Vettel, who we had seen was more challenged on tyre wear during the race. But it was not to be. Although we have endured a couple of difficult weekends, this has not been because the car was slow but for a host of other unconnected reasons. In the end, pace normally tells over the course of a season, and if we bring it to bear in the next 11 races, we will muscle our way back into a title race that is very much ours to win.


 

 

Pos

Driver

Car

 

Time/Retired

Laps

1

Sebastian Vettel

Ferrari

 

1:27:29.784

52

2

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes

F1 W09 01

+2.264s

52

3

Kimi Räikkönen

Ferrari

 

+3.652s

52

4

Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes

F1 W09 04

+8.883s

52

5

Daniel Ricciardo

Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer

 

+9.500s

52

6

Nico Hulkenberg

Renault

 

+28.220s

52

7

Esteban Ocon

Force India Mercedes

 

+29.930s

52

8

Fernando Alonso

McLaren Renault

 

+31.115s

52

9

Kevin Magnussen

Haas Ferrari

 

+33.188s

52

10

Sergio Perez

Force India Mercedes

 

+34.708s

52

11

Stoffel Vandoorne

McLaren Renault

 

+35.774s

52

12

Lance Stroll

Williams Mercedes

 

+38.106s

52

13

Pierre Gasly

Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda

 

(+34.129s
+5.000s)
 +39.129s

52

14

Sergey Sirotkin

Williams Mercedes

 

+48.113s

52

15

Max Verstappen

Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer

 

DNF

46

NC

Romain Grosjean

Haas Ferrari

 

DNF

37

NC

Carlos Sainz

Renault

 

DNF

37

NC

Marcus Ericsson

Sauber Ferrari

01

DNF

31

NC

Charles Leclerc

Sauber Ferrari

04

DNF

18

NC

Brendon Hartley

Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda

 

DNF

1

Gasly received a 5 sec penalty  … for improper overtaking Perez