All eyes were on Lewis Hamilton heading into the British Grand Prix on Sunday, and the home favourite didn’t disappoint, cruising to a convincing victory at Silverstone.
The Englishman finished 30 seconds clear of runner-up Valtteri Bottas to close the gap on Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg at the top of the F1 standings, claiming the second British Grand Prix triumph of his career.
Rosberg led at Silverstone thanks to some expert racing once again, but was forced to retire with a gearbox issue just before the halfway point, leaving Hamilton to romp to victory. Here’s how it finished on Sunday:
|2||Valtteri Bottas||Williams||+30 seconds|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||+46|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||+53|
|8||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||+88|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||+88|
|10||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||+101|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India||+108|
|12||Romain Grosjean||Lotus||+1 LAP|
|13||Adrian Sutil||Sauber||+1 LAP|
|14||Jules Bianchi||Marussia||+1 LAP|
|15||Kamui Kobayashi||Caterham||+2 LAPS|
|16||Max Chilton||Marussia||+2 LAPS|
|17||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus||+3 LAPS|
Dream Victory for Hamilton
Though Sunday’s victory was Hamilton’s fifth of the 2014 F1 season, this particular chequered flag holds special significance.
Not only did it put him right back in the hunt in the drivers’ standings, but winning on home soil is also a feeling like no other.
Clearly elated with his victory, Hamilton was patriotic in his celebrations, seemingly dedicating his victory to England when he crossed the line, as Autosport Live reported:
"Lap it up boy," Hamilton is told. "ENGLAND!" he yells in response. #F1— AUTOSPORT Live (@autosportlive) July 6, 2014
The win was nothing more than Hamilton’s driving deserved, though, despite his Mercedes teammate’s retirement.
Rosberg has driven phenomenally all weekend around Silverstone, and Mercedes labelled his early exit from the race as “undeserved":
However, despite leading at the time of his gearbox fault, Hamilton was eating up the seconds on Rosberg in second place and may well have passed him in the closing laps.
The German’s first retirement of the season meant that it wasn’t a grandstand finish on Sunday, but it sets up a thrilling World Championship race, as Sky Sports F1 revealed:
Here’s a look at the 2014 Formula One standings following Hamilton’s triumph:
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Australian||Red Bull Racing-Renault||98|
|6||Sebastian Vettel||German||Red Bull Racing-Renault||70|
|7||Nico Hulkenberg||German||Force India-Mercedes||63|
|11||Sergio Perez||Mexican||Force India-Mercedes||28|
Elsewhere, Jenson Button narrowly missed out on joining his countryman Hamilton on the podium after he was pipped to third place by Daniel Ricciardo.
Button ran the Australian close, but it could have been a different story had McLaren got their tactics right—just bringing him in a few laps too late to reach the podium.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso also raced well to cross the line in fifth, but the day belonged to Hamilton, who said that he was pleased with his performance despite the lack of a crowd-pleasing finish, per Andrew Benson of BBC Sport:
“I honestly feel I had the pace today," he said. "I was catching Nico in the first stint and was feeling pretty comfortable. I never want to see my teammate fail like that. I was looking forward to a wheel-to-wheel battle but I'm sure we'll get many in the future.”
Indeed, there will be many more battles between the Mercedes pair as the race for the World Championship heats up, starting with the German Grand Prix on July 20.
There, Rosberg will be the fan favourite as he looks to restore his dominance at the top of the drivers’ standings.
However, if Hamilton emulates his Silverstone form in Germany, Rosberg will have a tough time keeping tabs on the Englishman, both on the track and in the race for the World Championship.