The tedium of late has finally been broken by an exciting race featuring crashes, battles, adverse weather and a resurgent Williams team. But even so, it wasn’t the best British Grand Prix that you’ve seen in the last few years…
2013 – TJ13 reader score – 8.11
The British Grand Prix tends to throw up exciting races and few more so than the 2013 edition, with your average score being over 8, higher even than this year’s stellar event. The race was full of drama and controversy. Hamilton led from the start, with Vettel close behind after slow starts from Rosberg and Webber.
The tyres that Pirelli had brought were too fragile for the conditions and the demands put on them by the high speed corners and sharp kerbs. Lewis was leading by a small margin over Vettel when his tyre delaminated and ruined his chances of taking a home victory. He managed to crawl back to the pits with three wheels on his wagon and rejoin towards the back of the pack.
Two laps later, Felipe Massa’s Ferrari suffered the same fate and the Brazilian spun off the road. This was followed shortly by Jean Eric Vergne who’s tyre exploded, throwing debris over the track that hit Raikkonen on the helmet. This brought out the safety car while the shrapnel was retrieved.
At the restart Vettel scampered off into the distance, only to retire with 19 laps to go with a gearbox failure, his first DNF of the season. Rosberg inherited the lead and was hounded by Mark Webber to the flag. Alonso and Hamilton made fantastic efforts to climb the field with overtakes and with new rubber passed Button, Ricciardo, Sutil and Raikkonen to finish third and fourth respectively. Massa’s recovery drive to sixth was also particularly impressive, after being dropped to last after his tyre failure.
2014 – TJ13 reader score – 7.13
The excitement of the race was slightly tempered after a dramatic first lap crash for Kimi Raikkonen, who ran wide on the Wellington straight. He bravely (and in hindsight somewhat foolishly) kept his foot buried on the throttle. When he attempted to rejoin the track he was caught out by a bump that pitched him hard into the barriers. The race was delayed for an hour while extensive repairs were made. When the race was eventually restarted, Nico Rosberg led comfortably but retired from the lead with gearbox trouble, handing the victory to Lewis Hamilton for his second win on home turf. Valterri Bottas stated 14th on the grid but scythed through the field to finish an excellent second. Jenson Button has never finished on the podium in Britain but came agonisingly close behind Daniel Ricciardo for fourth.
Behind them, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel enjoyed an epic battle at high speed, with often only inches separating their cars. After switching places multiple times over a very exciting few laps the German won out and finished in 5th position.
2015 – TJ13 reader score – 7.83
Lewis Hamilton won the race from pole position, but it was far from an easy feat for the home favourite. Both the Mercedes cars were outdragged off the line by the customer Williams duo of Massa and Bottas. It seemed that the Finn was so excited to be there that he forgot how to race and left the door wide open for Hamilton to slip back through in the complex.
After a safety car period to reclaim the stricken Toro Rosso of Sainz, Hamilton made a switchback lunge down the outside into the Club chicane. He was over-aggressive locked up his brakes and after running off the circuit was passed by Bottas and had to defend hard against Rosberg.
Massa led the Williams pair, but Bottas was clearly the faster of the two. The team initially made the decision to hold station and pull away together, but realising that Massa would hold them both up they reversed the decision to stop Bottas from challenging. The short time between these conflicting orders from the pits meant that Bottas was denied his best opportunity to pass and had to tuck in behind. The Williams boys were unable to pull away and an exciting battle was in store.
Sadly this prospect was slightly neutered by yet another poor strategic decision from the Williams pitwall, who stopped for new tyres a lap too late, allowing Hamilton to breeze past on the undercut. Rosberg was not so lucky, having second choice on timing of his own stop and was unable to take advantage to leapfrog past.
The race had settled after the pitstops with the Mercedes-Williams sandwich going stale. This was until the rain came to add yet more intrigue to the situation. The Williams chassis with inferior downforce does not suit wet conditions at all and neither driver was a match for Rosberg and even Vettel once the track became slippery.
Rosberg seemed much more adept at keeping temperature and pressure in his tyres in the cool damp conditions as he sailed past the Williams and cruised up to the back of Hamilton by almost two seconds a lap. Hamilton, clearly about to lose the lead dove into the pits and gambled on a set of intermediate tyres. This choice looked foolish for all of ten seconds as the heavens suddenly opened and made him look a genius. The result was Lewis’s third win on home soil.
TJ13 Driver of the weekend – Lewis Hamilton
The call seemed to provide some retribution for the poor tactical decision making in Monaco and saw Lewis take a very popular third British Grand Prix victory. One slight mistake from the organisers was preventing the jubilant fans from running onto the track until the anthems were playing, but nothing could dampen the enthusiasm of the British crowd welcoming home their hero. He also romped home for top honours in our poll, with nearly 50% of the votes.
You, the jury, seemed to be more impressed with Massa’s performance than Bottas and voted the Brazilian a distant second, just ahead of Vettel in third. He benefitted from the rain to sweep past the Williams into the last podium position, but on a dry track the Ferrari looked struggle in comparison to the Williams this weekend.
Hulkenberg finished seventh on the road and fourth in your standings, still enjoying the buzz from his Le Mans victory and shading his teammate once again.
An enforced early summer break due to the cancellation of the German Grand Prix will allow many to chew the fat over what went wrong for Williams, but let’s hope that the next time out in Hungary is just as exciting!
19 days until the next race. 😢
For you, it’s only 3 more days for WTF_F1 and I before the first practice session for the MotoGP round at the Sachsenring.
The Doctors office will be open to see his patients Lorenzo and Marquez….😝😝😝😜
Vale was also Bottas’ simracing handle on LFS 😛 #77
I have to say that the two wheeled nut jobs do make the f1 drivers look rather tame. The old Doctor really knows how to give a show and his last race was something else,that last corner spat would have had f1 crying foul and court action followed by public hanging. Instead we hear at the interviews two racers saying it was not only fine but bloody fun. Then we have the riding wounded,had an operation?well we can injuct a pain killer and strap it up and then doctors advice…don’t fall off on that side lol that is why I chuckled at the young Max when across the radio when he said,’I have a headache’…#46
They are definitely some nut jobs. Lorenzo a few years ago, severely broke his collarbone (i think it was at Assen in the rain) and had to have a titanium plate fitted, he was back for the next race where he finished 4th or was it 5th.
MotoGP and WSBK riders are made of some very stern stuff.
Yeah never was for the two wheels.
No I think there might be another reason to look forward to Hungary and beyond for Mercedes fans. During free practice, both Lewis and Nico were very insistent on lots of practice starts. Why? New clutches, possibly. However just days before, the strategy folks declared that driver aids for starting, would not be permitted from and including the Belgian Grand Prix. Both Nico and Lewis had terrible starts, that reminded me of the past, when bogging down and wheel spin were common, even for the best drivers. Did Mercedes take a calculated risk/inspired move, to test out a start in a real life situation, without start systems? Thus giving them a head start over others. There was no way that they were going to be beaten at Silverstone, having seen the performance of Ferrari etc. Williams were no real threat, because they don’t have the same power as the works teams, or the aero performance. Both Nico and Lewis are masters of the hot lap before tyre changes, so the undercut would happen at some point. The next race is Hungary, which is low grip, and hard to pass. Not somewhere you want to try something new during the start.
Just a thought.
I’m not sure what I said above that had anything to do with what happened at the weekend.
But your theory could be true, but I’ll point you to what happened in the GP2 race on Saturday. Both 1st and 2nd were leapfrogged off the line, if I remember correctly, the guy on pole dropped down to 4th. Also look at the start of the 2014 race and you’ll see a similar situation.
Also I thought the changes to the start procedure won’t come into effect until next season?
@Fortis96 Also I thought the changes to the start procedure won’t come into effect until next season?
For all the talk of people not willing to attend races anymore due to high ticket prices and the ‘boring and predictable’ races, this years race has erased some of those myths.
Over 350k fans attended over the entire weekend with 140k on race day. So if Silverstone can do that, then why are the other circuits having problems filling the stands?
Because Silverstone was much cheaper than it ever was in the last, what? 10 years…
So if Silverstone can offer cheaper tickets and make a profit at the same time, then why can’t the other circuits do the same? After all it’s not like they’re paying that much different to host the race.
Well, F1 is more established in Britain, France, Germany and Italy than anywhere else.. the problem is that only Silverstone, Spa and Monza are drawing huge crowds.. on that note, it would be interesting to get an attendance figure for all the races? Any bets on which is lowest? 😀
F1 is more established in Britain, France, Germany and Italy than anywhere else..
I’d remove France from this list. While motorsport undoubtedly has history and heritage in France, generally the hoi polloi couldn’t care less and it remains mostly a niche interest. For instance, you’ll be hard-pressed finding a bar putting broadcasting an F1 race on Sunday…
Well, the UK is probably one of the best followings for F1, along with Italy, France and Germany. That said, Silverstone, Monza and Spa can draw big crowds, but what about other races?
It would be interesting to see attendance figures for all races, also directly compared with ticket prices. Any bets on which are lowest? 😀 I know Malaysia GA ticket is lowest price.. attendance is trickier.
Fantastic wrap-up. Always great to recall the details of races of yore…
Loving these poll reviews Catman. Defo something no one else is doing this way.