British GP - Sunday - Race Report

Silver Streak: How Hamilton won

Lewis Hamilton, British GP 2017

Lewis Hamilton, British GP 2017 

 © RV Press


By Dan Knutson in Silverstone

Lewis Hamilton streaked to victory in his Silver Arrows in his home Grand Prix of Britain. He was in total command all afternoon as he started from the pole, led every lap, set the fastest race lap, and won for the 57th time in his career. His teammate Valtteri Bottas finished second and Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen joined them on the podium.


Hamilton's chances of winning the Austrian Grand Prix were spoiled by a five-place grid penalty because his car needed a new gearbox. A week later it was the turn of Bottas to have his chances of challenging for a victory spoiled by a similar penalty. Bottas started the race way down in ninth place.


It looked like Sebastian Vettel's chance to challenge for the victory would go up in smoke as smoke was pouring from his brakes which caught fire just before the start. While he didn't have to retire on the spot, his start was compromised.

"From there it was a difficult race," the Ferrari driver said.


Red Bull's Max Verstappen did his best to get to the front on the first lap, fighting past Vettel and challenging Raikkonen. But he could not get ahead of Raikkonen, and therefore had no chance of attacking leader Hamilton.


Hamilton was on a mission from the moment he arrived at Silverstone and certainly in the race. He steadily pulled away from Raikkonen and was never challenged.


For most drivers, this was a one pit stop race, switching from Pirelli's super soft compound slicks to the soft compound tires. A few, most notably Bottas, started with the soft compound and then took on the super softs. This meant there was really no way any multi-pit-stop strategy could be used to unseat Hamilton.


There was a 60 percent of chance of rain during the race, but the rain stayed away and that meant that there was no chance of rain changing the outcome of the race and threatening Hamilton's lead.


There was only one Safety Car period during the race – from laps two through four after Toro Rosso teammates Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz tangled – so that was way too early for the teams to try any creative pit strategy.


Bottas did 32 laps on the soft tires before switching to the super softs for the rest of the race's 51 laps.

"Towards the end, when we put the super soft tires on, I was on a fresher tire, managed to get through Sebastian," he said. "I caught Kimi but realistically he would have been too far away for me to get through. But then I got lucky, Kimi got unlucky and lost his second place."


With less than 10 laps remaining, Hamilton radioed that it felt like his tires were blistering. Would this be the chink in the armor that robbed him of victory? Nope, he continued his blistering pace.


Ferrari's efforts imploded, or more accurately exploded, with three laps to go as Raikkonen had a left front tire delaminate and a lap later when Vettel suffered a problem albeit far more drastically with a blow out on the left front. That dropped Raikkonen from second to third and Vettel from fourth to seventh.

"There was no sign of that happening, Vettel said.


Raikkonen unhappily settled for third place.

"I think we got more or less the most out of the car in the race," he said. "Unfortunately it's just an unlucky situation that keeps following us. Not happy but it's better than nothing."


While he would have preferred to win, as he has in Austria a week earlier, Bottas acknowledged that to finish second after starting ninth to give Mercedes a one/to was a perfect result for the team. Hamilton concurred.

"I'm really happy for today," Bottas said. "It was not easy, many cars to get through, but the team did a perfect strategy. I kept my head down and we managed to get through."


The only time Hamilton took it easy during the race was with a long, slow cool down lap to celebrate the win with his fans.

"Thank you to everyone who turned up. I see you! God bless you," he said.


After the podium celebrations, Hamilton continued to celebrate with his fans by launching himself into the crowd to body surf, and then by greeting as many more fans as he could.


"It's a feeling I can't really describe," Hamilton said of the performance of his car, the Mercedes team, the race win and the fans.


Hamilton joins Jim Clark and Alain Prost as a five-time winner of the British Grand Prix. He also equals Clark's streak of four consecutive wins in his home race.

20 TO 1

Hamilton cut Vettel's championship lead from 20 points to 1 point.

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