Power Ranking the Formula 1 Teams After 2014 British Grand Prix
The 2014 Formula One season produced another great race on Sunday.
Silverstone was the venue for the 65th British Grand Prix of the world championship era. Lewis Hamilton won to breathe new life into the title race, but even his home win was eclipsed by events elsewhere.
Valtteri Bottas' run from 14th on the grid to second in his Williams was one of the drives of the season so far. The battle between the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso and the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel provided lap after lap of edge-of-the-seat action.
McLaren soared, Force India faltered and Marussia showed they're closer than ever to the true midfield fight.
Looking at reliability, qualifying and race pace, here's how the teams currently rank.
New owners, new team boss, same result.
Despite the chaotic nature of Q1 on Saturday, the two Caterhams still managed to qualify last and second-to-last.
When the race got under way, Marcus Ericsson made a great start from 21st. This was critical, as he was ahead of Kimi Raikkonen's massive first-lap shunt.
Kamui Kobayashi wasn't. The Japanese racer was right on the scene, and only an admirable piece of evasive driving kept him from slamming straight into the Ferrari. But the trip he took across the grass didn't do his CT04 any good.
He was way off the pace when the race restarted, and finished a distant 15th.
Ericsson's good start was all for naught. He was soon passed by everyone he'd overtaken at the start, and he retired with suspension failure on the 11th lap.
Caterham remain 11th.
Marussia had one of their best weekends of the year.
The changeable conditions during qualifying on Saturday saw Jules Bianchi qualify a brilliant 12th. Without the late yellow flags caused by Esteban Gutierrez, he might even have got through to Q3.
Max Chilton was 14th, but after the grid penalties settled, he started 17th.
Bianchi got up to 10th, and though he was gradually overtaken by the quicker cars behind him, he was by no means a mobile chicane. His race pace was good, and not too dissimilar to that of the Lotus' and Saubers.
Chilton had a lucky escape when his car was struck by debris from Kimi Raikkonen's first-lap crash. He got a penalty for coming into the pits under the resulting red flag, ended up a lap down and finished a distant 16th.
But his pace was okay too.
Marussia stay 10th.
Sauber had another disappointing weekend and are now on their worst-ever run of pointless finishes.
The tone was set on Saturday with both drivers spinning off. Adrian Sutil beached his C33 at the end of Q3, and Esteban Gutierrez went off at Luffield at the end of Q2. After grid penalties and exclusions were applied, Sutil lined up 13th with Gutierrez 19th.
Neither car had good pace in the race. Gutierrez collided with Pastor Maldonado and put himself out, while Sutil ran as high as 10th in the early laps.
But he fell back into a scrap with the Lotus drivers and finished 13th.
Sauber remain ninth.
Anyone remember the Spanish Grand Prix, where Romain Grosjean started fifth and finished an excellent eighth despite struggling for most of the race with a sensor failure?
It seemed like Lotus had finally turned the corner after a dismal start, but they seem to have taken a wrong turn somewhere between then and now.
Grosjean started 11th at Silverstone, but had a poor getaway. Teammate Pastor Maldonado was excluded from qualifying and started 20th, but he had a better opening lap.
By the time the red flag came out, Maldonado was 15th and Grosjean 17th.
When the race got going again, they spent the afternoon locked in battle with Jules Bianchi's Marussia, the Saubers and (oddly) the Force Indias.
So a step forward against Force India, but no gains relative to anyone else.
Lotus remain eighth.
7. Toro Rosso
Toro Rosso had shown reasonable pace at the last race in Austria, a circuit that on paper should not suit a Renault-powered team. Daniil Kvyat mixed it with the big boys and was unlucky to miss out on a decent points finish.
One might have thought they would be competitive here, but they—like their big brothers Red Bull—fell a little short of expectations.
Both Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne made it into Q3, but once the race got started it was clear they didn't have the pace to hang on to the front of the midfield battle.
They spent most of the afternoon battling the Force Indias, also having off-days, but they were far closer to the Saubers and Lotus' than they were to the McLarens, Williams' and Ferraris.
Toro Rosso drop one spot to seventh.
McLaren are having a bizarre season.
In Australia they scored a double podium, but two races later began a three-race pointless streak. It seemed clear they were the worst of the Mercedes-powered cars, and even under threat from Toro Rosso.
Then came Silverstone.
Both drivers qualified well in the tricky conditions, and good starts saw them running second and third when the red flag was waved. Once the race got going, Jenson Button led the way, demonstrating pace on par with the Red Bulls and Ferraris.
Fourth was his reward, but one more lap might have seen him claim an emotional podium. He was chasing down Daniel Ricciardo and finished less than a second behind.
Kevin Magnussen wasn't as quick as his team-mate, but he too fought with Ferraris and Red Bulls on his way to seventh place.
Now the question is, can they maintain this good form into the next race, or will it be another false dawn?
McLaren rise one spot to sixth.
5. Force India
Having showed impressive pace at the last two grands prix, Force India produced one of their most disappointing efforts of the year at Silverstone.
Curiously, it came after their best qualifying result of the season. Nico Hulkenberg started fourth with Sergio Perez in seventh.
It has often been the case that the two VJM07s struggle on Saturdays and excel on Sundays, but that didn't happen here.
Hulkenberg fell back to sixth at the start and was quickly dropped by the leading midfield runners. He finished eighth, almost a minute down on Valtteri Bottas' second-placed Williams.
Perez had an even worse day. Tagged by Jean-Eric Vergne into the first corner, he was last at the restart. Good straight-line speed carried him past the slowest back-markers, but like Hulkenberg he was nowhere near the leading pace.
He finished 11th, capping off a poor weekend for the team.
Force India remain fifth.
Ferrari's weekend got off to a nightmare start when the team misjudged qualifying and both cars went out in Q1.
Things got worse on the opening lap. Fernando Alonso missed his grid slot and would later receive a five-second stop-go penalty, while Kimi Raikkonen ran wide out of Turn 5 and had a horrific accident.
But then things got a little better.
Alonso lined up 14th for the restart, and quickly set about scything his way past slower cars. He was fourth when he made his only stop on the 25th lap.
Six laps later Sebastian Vettel came out just ahead of Alonso. The Spaniard produced a beautiful piece of overtaking to get by on the outside of Copse, and what followed was one of the best duels of the year.
Vettel eventually prevailed, leaving Alonso to come home sixth.
In the team rankings Ferrari remain fourth.
We all knew Williams were never going to be as close to the Mercedes' here as they were in Austria, but it was perhaps a surprise to see them involved in the fight with Red Bull and Ferrari.
And even more surprising that they won it, especially after such a dismal qualifying effort.
Both cars were eliminated in Q1, with Valtteri Bottas just ahead of Felipe Massa. Following the application of various grid penalties and exclusions, Bottas started 14th with Massa 15th.
The Finn got a great start and was ninth when the red flag was waved. At the restart he carved through the field to establish himself in third.
Even on old tyres Bottas' pace was good, and he rose to second—the position in which he would finish—when Nico Rosberg retired.
Massa, by contrast, got a terrible start. He dropped back, and that put him right at the scene of Kimi Raikkonen's first-lap smash. The Brazilian did at least manage to avoid a full-on smash, but the damage he sustained was enough to put him out.
Williams now look clearly ahead of Ferrari, and closer to Red Bull than ever before.
They remain third.
2. Red Bull
Silverstone is the sort of circuit Red Bull might be expected to excel at, and they were indeed very strong through the Maggots-Becketts-Chapel complex.
Sadly for them, they weren't so good everywhere else. The two Mercedes' simply disappeared into the distance.
The damp, changing conditions on Saturday allowed Sebastian Vettel to qualify on the front row for the first time in 2014. Though the German lost places at the start, he clearly had good pace and looked on course for a podium.
But a poor strategic call and a beautiful overtaking move by Fernando Alonso dropped Vettel behind the Ferrari, and he lost a lot of time in the titanic tussle that followed.
Daniel Ricciardo was the man to benefit. He has demonstrated slightly better tyre management than Vettel this year, and third place was his reward for a long 35-lap stint on the mediums.
Red Bull remain second.
Another pole, another fastest lap and another race win.
The margin enjoyed by the two Mercedes' of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at Silverstone was one of the greatest we've seen all year.
After the safety car came in at the restart, they were flying around two seconds per lap faster than anyone else.
The margin to the field narrowed as time went on, and when Rosberg retired, Hamilton greatly reduced his pace.
But the W05 remained the class of the field, and had both drivers remained on the track, pushing hard, they could realistically have lapped everyone up to Daniel Ricciardo in third.
Only the team's questionable reliability can stop them from winning all the remaining races.
Mercedes remain on top.
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